I was born into a single parent home with my mom and older sister. Despite my dad’s absence from my life, I felt secure in my mom’s deep love for me. I grew up in faith and was saved at the age of four. Things were relatively stable until middle school. My struggles with perfectionism and people-pleasing became clear as I began to battle significant body image issues after being categorized as overweight. What started as trying to eat more moderately quickly turned into an obsession that launched me into an eating disorder for the next 12 years. I became consumed with changing my body by whatever means necessary. Because I didn’t always look the part of someone with an eating disorder, it went undetected. I began to believe the lie that I would always struggle this way.

After pushing myself to the breaking point, I completed my nursing degree and began working during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was battling severe depression and anxiety with my eating disorder which became all-consuming. After reaching out for help, a church family friend told me about Mercy and encouraged me to apply. I began to battle suicidal ideation and was hospitalized for my safety. I began residential eating disorder treatment but after a few months was discharged back home where I found myself quickly relapsing. As my depression began to escalate again, my family and friends asked me to reconsider Mercy. I reopened the application and was later accepted.

When I arrived at Mercy, I was exhausted, defeated, and numb. I doubted that it would make much of a difference in my life. But God met me here and I began to hear from Him again. I wanted freedom but wasn’t sure it was possible. God clearly spoke to me about how near He had been through all of my shame, and I finally accepted His forgiveness for myself. The weight of shame and self-condemnation was lifted, and I began to see and believe His truth.

I had grown so comfortable with my sickness and feared what true healing would bring. But God had so much more for me. He had a whole new identity waiting for me on the other side of my answer to His question. I chose to accept His offer of new life and turned from a path that had brought me so close to physical and spiritual death. I placed my trust in Him and was certain that He who began this good work in me would be faithful to complete it. I am a beautiful daughter of the one true King. Satan has no hold on me and what he meant for evil God has turned for my good and for His glory.

After Mercy, I plan to go back home to continue walking out the freedom I found here. I hope to transition back into nursing but as a different person who will keep God first and will serve out of the overflow. I have a strong, loving support system who will help me get back up on my feet and I hope to serve my church family and community. I want God to use my story to bring hope to other broken and hurting young women. Though I don’t know what my future holds, I know who holds my future in His hands. The same God that met me at Mercy will be with me and promises to never leave me or forsake me.

The impact Mercy has had on my life has been beyond what I could have imagined for myself. The support of all the donors provided me with a scripture-soaked, safe environment where I was able to hear again from the Lord and experience His healing hand in my life.