Growing up, I felt like my life was spent being overlooked by others, which caused me to lose my confidence and self-worth from a very young age. I was bullied in junior high school and began isolating myself from people around me, and I soon felt invisible. I thought that my works or what I had were what defined me, so I felt alone and worthless.

I entered high school with this mentality and soon started to give myself away to anyone who would give me attention. I went down the path of smoking and sneaking around. My relationship with my family was untrustworthy, and I felt like I had no one to really trust and that nobody truly loved me. I became so ashamed and mad at myself that I increased harmful behaviors. It was when I reached a very low point that I then realized I was in a lifestyle full of cycles and that I could not keep living in it. Therefore, in an attempt to try to change the place I was in, I applied for Mercy.

Coming into Mercy, I was nervous and defiant. I did not think that anyone could help me in my situation; it was just something I had to live with. But after about two months there, I realized freedom from addiction and anxiety was possible. I started to realize I was living in a cycle of brokenness and insecurity, and I would only try to fix it with negative behaviors. Soon, I wanted to change for MYSELF, not for anyone else.

At Mercy, I found that God’s love is unconditional, unlike some of the relationships I have previously experienced in my life. God never fails, even when people do. I learned that my past is in the past and with Jesus Christ, I have a hope and a future because He knows the plans that He has for me. I also have been completely set free from anxiety, and I am confident in who God has made me to be.

While at Mercy, God has restored my family. My relationship with my parents is no longer distant, but now full of love and companionship. I am no longer afraid to tell them how I feel or how God is moving in my life. This only happened through the touch of God as well as family sessions and transparency from both myself and my parents.

The counsel and accountability of staff were vital to my process at Mercy. The staff really helped me understand the importance of using my voice as well as how to use it in an appropriate manner. They encouraged me to do the hard things, even if I did not want to do them. They also showed the love of Jesus to me in such a unique way. When I was struggling, they were not disappointed in me; they showed up and showed me how to get back up again.

After Mercy, I plan on going back to school and starting college in the fall. I plan to join the worship team and share with other teenage girls how God has changed my life and how faithful He has been to me. I am walking out of the doors of Mercy completely different than I was when I walked in.