Katie – 2018 Graduate
My name is Katie, and this is God’s story of how He completely transformed my life. I was born to a wonderful mother but a physically and verbally abusive father who was an alcoholic with various mental illnesses. My dad called himself a Christian and went to church, but behind closed doors, he was very violent. At age four, I started self-destructive patterns by beating my head against the wall. When I was five years old, my mother and father divorced. I started having demonic nightmares almost every night. It didn’t let up, and I started having suicidal thoughts around age seven. Then after being bullied in third grade, I began cutting myself. My mom married my step-dad and we moved to a different state. I thought that would be some type of fresh start, but the bullying continued in school. My eating disorder began around sixth grade. By the time I was fourteen, I had been hospitalized three to four times for suicide. I went to another treatment center three times and to rehab twice. I was labeled with severe depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and anorexia with purging and over exercising behaviors. I found my purpose one night sharing a hospital room with a girl who was just like me. I had been to summer camp and was able to use what I learned there to tell her about God, and she became a Christian. But after that, things still continued to be really tough. I had gotten into unhealthy relationships and had become distant from God.
My parents are the ones who told me about Mercy. I applied but wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. While I was waiting to hear back from Mercy, I was really struggling. But there was one verse I read in one of Nancy’s books they sent me that kept me going. It was Deuteronomy 30:19, “This day I call the heavens and the Earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses, choose life so your descendants may live.” I told God, “If you want me to come to Mercy, have them call by Friday.” And they ended up calling that Thursday. Right then I knew I had to come.
When I first arrived at Mercy, I didn’t even believe it was possible for me to get better. I thought that Mercy would give up on me like it seemed all the other places did. But I was desperate and had nothing to lose, so I stayed. During my time here, God used a staff member to spark my love for songwriting again. I wrote another and another, until I had over 50 songs written with music. God had used her to spark back up something inside of me that changed my life. Another big turning point was when we took a trip to the Designed For Life Conference, and I got saved. The whole weekend I had a certain song stuck in my head that I barely knew. When they did an altar call at this conference, I went down to the front, and as we were praying the same song from earlier, Miracles by Jesus Culture, was playing. That was the beginning of the incredible journey God has taken me on. I’ve learned that ANYTHING is possible with God. I know I’m beautiful. I know my authority in Christ. The biggest thing is that I know who God is. I know He’s nothing like my earthly father. He’s merciful, loving, compassionate, forgiving, and everything I need Him to be. He’s a good father to the fatherless.
After Mercy, I plan to graduate from high school, which I never imagined I could actually do, and join a Christian band or worship group. God keeps reminding me that this is just the beginning—He’s not finished yet. I remember a guest speaker who once came to the Mercy home said, “When you graduate Mercy, you don’t leave perfect, you leave equipped.” I know now that I am equipped and ready to defeat the enemy in whatever he may throw at me. Now I choose to put on my Mercy ring, showing that “I chose life.”
To the donors and supporters, you guys are SUCH a blessing. I don’t know what I would’ve done if Mercy wasn’t a non-profit ministry! What you’re doing by your generosity is helping change lives. If I didn’t come to Mercy, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. Thank you SO much for helping make freedom possible for me!