Life for me as a young girl was like most kids’ lives, from what I could tell. I was happy, carefree, and constantly playing outside. This was the case until I was diagnosed with ADHD at age seven. My world and all I knew about it changed in what felt like an instant. I saw so many books at home about “dealing with kids with ADHD.” Between my family, teachers, doctors, and kids in class, I heard things like: “you’re not smart enough,” “you’re stupid,” “why don’t you stop messing around and focus like everyone else,” “your brain works differently,” and “we just don’t know how to deal with you anymore,” spoken over me constantly. As a result, I began to see myself that way. I quickly figured that something must be wrong with me.
I have also been verbally, mentally, and sexually abused by two people who were supposed to be my protectors. Constant comparison and scolding led me to believe that everything was always my fault. By the time I graduated high school, my world was far from settled. I had to change schools a total of 13 times across all 13 years of schooling. After graduating, I began working regularly, and life seemed fine. That was until I started to be sexually abused for several months. My abuse shattered every aspect of my being, my world, my self-esteem, and my faith. My voice became totally insignificant, and when I reached out for help, it was brushed aside. I felt like I had nothing left. I felt totally invisible, worthless, cast aside, and ashamed.
When things got worse at home, and I feared for my safety, a friend introduced me to someone who opened her home to me as a place of safety, escape, and refuge. I was soon introduced to Jesus and am pleased to say that in the midst of all the chaos at home, I gave my life to Christ and got baptized. But much to my surprise, my struggles were far from over. I had no idea what to do next, so I presented my idea of coming to Mercy Multiplied. I’d heard about Mercy from a former Nashville graduate and decided that if I was meant to be accepted and go, then that’s what would happen. Three months later, I left for Mercy!
When I walked through the doors of Mercy, the enemy hit me hard right out of the gate. Despite my fears, I made the courageous decision to stay and work for everything this program has to offer. I wanted to let God’s Word set my heart on fire. I wanted to turn this spark that my friends saw into a flame for God. I realized that God’s glory showed up when I ran out of answers. I’ve learned that it is good for me to wrestle and that if I allow any troubles to get to me, He has already given me what I need to overcome them. I’ve learned that there is healing for both true and false guilt.
My strength has come from going through the storm and not avoiding it. Although I was in a dark cloud, a light has shown on me. He is God. I came to see God in a different way and best of all, love Him in a new way. His is a love that welcomes, pursues, waits, and graciously forgives. Mercy has shown me that I have a voice and that it is a voice worth using. My voice is strong, powerful, and beautiful. I know now that I am meant to use it for building up God’s kingdom.
I’m not certain what I’ll be doing in the years to come. However, I do have a great start. I’ll be working full-time at the coffeehouse next door to my church, volunteering at my church, and looking into applying to college. I hope to work for my church and/or a nonprofit that helps young women and their children that are victims of human trafficking. All this to say, I’m looking to whatever God tells me is my next step! Now, I am returning to the loving arms of my home and community and letting my roots grow for generations to come.
To all the donors, there aren’t enough words to say an appropriate thank you, truly. This program has changed my life for the better. I am so grateful for the ability to come here for free. Thank you for making this freedom possible for me!