“I will restore the years the locusts have stolen.”
My name is Caitlin, and I am a 2008 Mercy graduate. Life before Mercy was anything but an abundant existence. High school was filled with drunken days, drugs, being arrested, immorality, depression, and suicidal ideations. By the age of 19, I found myself pregnant with twins.
I was five months pregnant when I began the process of applying to Mercy. Soon after applying, I was excited to be accepted into the program. Up until this point, I had been in and out of psych wards and rehabs but never truly experienced freedom. At Mercy, I began the process of renewing my mind with truth to overcome the lies that were keeping me bound in a destructive lifestyle. I began healing, finding freedom, and experiencing the truths of my new creation realities taking root. I ended up deciding to place my twins for adoption and was able to pick out an incredible family for them.
“Do not grow weary in well-doing, for you will reap a harvest if you do not faint.”
Life after Mercy was new, exciting, and full of possibilities! Yet, I would soon learn that God’s process of restoration would take digging in, overcoming push back, and staying daily rooted in His word. God began the process of restoration, but the process didn’t happen overnight. It took years of wrong thinking and wrong choices to get me to the place of heartache and devastation before Mercy, and I discovered it would take time to see full restoration take place.
I eventually moved back home with my parents, and for a time, felt visionless. During this time of being back home, I decided to pursue my dream of completing college. To say I was intimidated is an understatement. I had spent the majority of high school in rehabs or skipping class to get high. I never learned how to study or discipline myself. I went from rehab settings where my time was structured for me to trying to create a structure for myself. It all seemed overwhelming and out of reach, but God began to teach me to take it slow. He showed me I didn’t have to try to overhaul my life in one day.
I began taking classes at a junior college but knew trying to take on a full-load wasn’t feasible for the place I was at in life. I started by taking two classes and absolutely loved it. I felt alive at school. I eventually transferred to a local Christian college, where I began to pursue a Sports Fitness degree with a minor in Psychology. I had grown up playing sports my entire life. I was ranked top 10 in the state of Texas in tennis and top 100 in the nation, and I never thought sports would be a part of my journey again. But I found that when God restores something, He intentionally gives back what the enemy had stolen.
“We reap what we sow.”
During my college time, I got back into a workout routine and got involved in a weekly tennis group. I was able to teach wellness classes at local gyms and our local church and personal training. I ended up getting married and having children during this time and was balancing being a wife, mother, and student. During this season, I learned that we cannot grow weary, and we must press in to make wise choices to reap a harvest later on. There were plenty of times I wanted to give up, but by having the realization that planting new seeds meant a new harvest, I knew it would be worth it. And worth it, it was! I graduated with honors (cum laude) and was even asked to give my testimony to our campus’s entire student body.
My family and I eventually moved to Tennessee, where I am still involved in sports ministry, and am now the founder and owner of a clothing store called Cedar & Twine, LLC. I now have employees and get to lead my company, using the biblical principles that I learned at Mercy! I am forever grateful that our Father is in the business of restoration and that when He restores something, He gives back double for our former shame. If you are in the process of pressing in to take hold of what He has for you, my encouragement is to stay in the word daily, and to take it day-by-day, one step at a time! He will be faithful to complete the work He has begun!
This is only the beginning—onward and upwards, my friends.
Mercy Multiplied is a free-of-charge residential counseling program that helps young women ages 13-32 break free from life-controlling issues and situations. Apply today or learn more by visiting MercyMultiplied.com.
Want more? Listen to our MercyTalk Podcast episode “State of Mercy Address” with our Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, for updates on Mercy going forward into 2021. For daily inspiration, follow us @MercyMultiplied on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!