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Carmen – 2015 Graduate

CarmenI grew up in a good, Christian home, but began being bullied in fourth grade. When I was in ninth grade I was isolated by all of my friends. I began self-harming and feeling suicidal. I also turned to drugs and sex. That same year I entered into a very controlling and emotionally abusive relationship that lasted for two years. My suicidal thoughts led me to be admitted to the hospital the summer after ninth grade. I continued engaging in destructive behaviors and returned to the hospital after a suicide attempt the next year. I later went to church camp and recommitted my life to Jesus. However, after my family and I moved to a new county, I was raped and fell deeper into self-harm, promiscuity, drugs and alcohol. I was isolated, depressed and dependent on food.

When the things I was experiencing and engaging in escalated, my mom told me about Mercy. She had met a graduate and thought it might be a good place for me to find freedom. I was hesitant to apply, but after reading Mercy’s lives transformed, I felt led to find freedom. I know now it was the Lord prompting me.

When I arrived at Mercy, I was really nervous and insecure. I was miserable and hated rules. A major turning point for me was when I received a personal word of encouragement from a guest speaker that reminded me of my spirit of worship. I felt encouraged to fight through the opposition I was facing, and I learned A LOT about myself and God through worshiping Him! I was also impacted by different parts of the counseling curriculum that helped me realize I could hear from the Lord.

While at Mercy God restored peace, strength, joy and purity in my life. He showed me what love and sustaining joy really look like. He has spoken to me more clearly than ever before. He has not only given me peace in crisis, but in everyday situations. He is my comfort – not food, self-harm, drugs, alcohol or sex. Balance is a good word to sum up a lot of lessons I learned and received through the program.

After graduating from Mercy I’m going to finish high school. I’m planning to volunteer at my local Humane Society, get involved in my church, and get a job. I want to go to college and major in marketing. One day I will be married and have awesome kids and be involved in ministry in whatever way God has planned!

Jesus healed me while I was at Mercy. Without the support of Mercy donors, I would still be where I was five and a half months ago. I wouldn’t have ever been able to afford going to any type of other treatment programs, and I know now, they wouldn’t have worked. My freedom has started a ripple effect because I am inspired to reach out and help in any way I can.