Before Mercy, my life was filled with fear, anxiety, and depression. These things from an early age craftily poured into my life.  When I was just a little girl, one of the first things I remember is having an overwhelming feeling of questioning why I was alive. This led to an overarching fear in my life. From ages three to five I was sick and would throw up for days on end. I was consistently in and out of hospitals and severely underweight. My little body could not handle all the anxiety I was dealing with, so it could not handle any food. Eventually, the anxiety started slowing down, and I started living a somewhat normal childhood.

I grew up in a Christian family as a pastor’s daughter. I accepted Christ at the age of 10, but never truly pursued a relationship with Him. Then I got very involved in sports. While in middle school and high school I became a junior Olympian in track and field and competed at the state level for soccer and swimming. Then one day in a soccer game I got very hurt. This led to four major surgeries and years of intense physical therapy. I felt hopeless, lost, and without a purpose. I endured daily panic attacks and sleepless nights. We tried everything to give me relief. Unfortunately, even when we were trying to get help, one of the mental hospitals mistreated me and abused me in many ways. My life felt like a downward spiral. Then, when I thought I hit rock bottom, my best friend died very unexpectedly. I was crushed. I put my identity in this world and all it could offer me, including unhealthy relationships with boys, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and clinging to anyone or anything that gave me a second of relief. I was so lost; I was never wanting to take another breath. My friends and family were constantly scared for my life, until they heard about Mercy. Some people at our church told us about Mercy, and even some graduates met with me to talk about the program. After some convincing, I decided to apply because I was at my breaking point, and this was my last shot at getting any kind of help.

When I walked through the doors of Mercy, I was welcomed with love and no judgement. The beginning of my Mercy journey was very hard. I didn’t make things easy; I didn’t think anything would work, and I continually tried to pack my bags and go home. However, the Lord always stopped me. When I decided to put my two feet into the program, it changed my life forever. I learned the fear and depression I was experiencing was not from God. I realized I could choose life, because God did not give me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. I could bind   those thoughts and receive truth. I could live and walk in freedom because God had already won my battle. I started declaring truth and living by who God says I am, and God delivered me from the fear and sadness that was over my life. I can truly say I do not recognize the girl that walked into Mercy a couple months ago.

Over Christmas break, I got a tattoo. It is a drawling I did of a sink, and the sink is all one continual line without any ends. You might wonder why in the world would you want a sink on your arm for your whole life? I cannot count the number of days and years I stood over my sink and looked into the mirror and prayed that I would not wake up the next day. But, much like the continual line in the drawing of my sink, God did not end my story; He continued it.

I am so grateful for Mercy, the staff, and my Mercy sisters who God used as a vessel to transform my heart. After Mercy, I plan to get involved in ministry and missions, and attend college.

To the donors, thank you so much! With your help God was able to change my life!