Before coming to Mercy, I was always moving from shelter to shelter or from one relative’s house to another. Each move was very hard for me, and you could tell by how I behaved. I thought that I would always be on the streets and that my dreams would never come true. My life growing up was a challenge. I had 11 siblings (eight brothers and three sisters). Five of my siblings and I were adopted, and that also brought its challenges. That meant that I didn’t get as much one-on-one time with my parents as I needed. I felt rejected by that and felt that they were constantly going to leave. I had that fear because a few of my siblings had left, and I thought my parents would do the same. I threw tantrums, fought babysitters or my siblings, and tried to harm myself physically.

As I got older, I grew out of these habits and, instead, I wouldn’t talk to people when I was upset. I would stuff down my feelings and put on a happy face. A lot of the thoughts that were in my head were ones that told me I wasn’t wanted by anyone. I wasn’t wanted by my birth mother or by some of my siblings. I was constantly bullied by my siblings and some of the kids at my school. I decided to leave my parent’s house at the age of 16, the day before my birthday. I got involved with the wrong people while I was away from home and fell into a lot of behaviors and activities that I knew weren’t okay, but I still participated in them.

I found out about Mercy when my parents and I were looking at places for me because hopping from shelter to shelter wasn’t the best option. I wasn’t sure that I should be there, but I started the process anyway. After one of my weekly check-ups with my Intake Coordinator, I felt like I needed to be there. I now realize that it was God, but at the time, I didn’t realize it. I received my entry date, and I couldn’t wait to come to Mercy.

When I walked through the doors of Mercy, I instantly felt welcomed by the residents and the staff. When I was there, God confirmed many times that I needed to focus on myself and not others. He told me that I came here for myself. Going through Keys to Freedom, Safe People, Boundaries, and counseling made me realize that I didn’t want to remain the same person I was when I came to Mercy.

There were many obstacles along the way that almost had me packing my bags to leave. One of them was the passing of my aunt about halfway through the program. During that time, I leaned more into God and allowed the staff to help me. I knew that God was telling me to stay at Mercy because it was where I was supposed to be. God confirmed that by closing some doors. I had to obey God even if it meant I wasn’t going to be able to be with my family. God really showed Himself through songs, Bible verses, and through some of the residents and staff. He showed me who I was in Him and that I was priceless. He had patience when dealing with me, and the confirmation didn’t just show up once but several times throughout many weeks. God says I am chosen, wanted, loved, and His daughter. I am grateful for the different staff that God put by my side for this season. I am also grateful for how they obeyed God and stayed by my side no matter how hard I pushed.

After Mercy, I plan to go to college and study education. I want to then travel to Africa to teach and minister to little girls. I want to show them how amazing God is and that He can work in anyone’s life. I want to thank Nancy for obeying God because if she didn’t then I wouldn’t know who I am today.

To all the donors, thank you for supporting Mercy. Mercy has changed my life, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to come. Now I have an intimate relationship with God and before Mercy I didn’t. I know who I am in Him, and I now know that I don’t need to change for others.