Lauren – 2018 Graduate
I grew up with godly parents in a loving home. I was introduced to Jesus at a young age and walked with Him throughout my early years. Despite this, I struggled with feelings of loneliness, depression, inadequacy, and a sense of belonging, which were only made worse throughout my childhood and early adulthood as my family moved and traveled a lot. Prior to coming to Mercy, I had developed a drug addiction and fallen into patterns of illegal, lawless behavior. I was believing all sorts of lies from the devil: that I no longer could have a bright future and do something significant, and that all I needed to do was to get by or survive without ending up in jail.
I found out about Mercy over 15 years before I actually entered the program. My family had been supporters of Mercy, and I remember even having a Mercy graduate live with our family for a little while after she graduated. When I entered the program, I felt very numb. I was so grateful to be given this opportunity to come to Mercy myself and find a new beginning like I had seen so many other girls do, but I had a huge mix of emotions inside me—confusion, disillusionment, hurt, regret, unforgiveness, disappointment, and a little bit of expectancy. I thought I could just go through the motions, but soon realized this process required emotion.
Each turning point while at Mercy was the result of learning to reconnect with a difficult emotion which was formerly suppressed through drug abuse and unhealthy rationalizations. This restored my humanity to me, reminding me of the truth that I am made in the image of my heavenly Father who has walked in my shoes.
While at Mercy, God led me “beside still waters” in order to compassionately speak to me that He was never the author of my pain or the bad circumstances in my life. In this period of time, I learned to believe Him, forgive Him, and forgive myself.
My plans after graduation include regaining full responsibility as a mother to my son and building our relationship, as well as working and staying healthy.
To Nancy Alcorn and all the Mercy donors, please continue to grow this ministry because God is so present in all of it, and the world needs more people who care like you do. I am so grateful for your obedience to God, and I cannot thank you sufficiently with words. I hope to thank you partly with the rest of my life, which I now to get to go live!