I was born the second oldest of eight children, the first daughter. I stepped into a parental role around the age of five years old. My parents were physically present but emotionally absent. I would make dinner with my older brother when our parents were not available. I did well in school on smarts alone. I hardly did homework, not out of rebellion but because I didn’t always have time. I was either cooking dinner, cleaning the house, taking care of one sibling or another, protecting my siblings from verbal abuse, or finding some time to numb myself by gluing myself to a screen.

Being put into a position that was not for me to have, I didn’t know what to do. I turned to a few things to try to survive my situation. Even though I was surrounded by people, I felt alone because no one understood what was going on. My family looked wonderful on the outside, but we were broken. I had a few people not believe what I told them about my situation. After a while, I stopped trying to get people to understand what was happening. I gave up on being understood or loved. I started to isolate myself from everyone.

As things in my life played out, I often felt like I had no control. I would see the effects of what I thought was the only way to display anger, and it hurt. I was determined never to be angry if that was what anger was. So, when I felt angry, I turned my anger inward and punished myself, releasing my anger on myself, so I wouldn’t hurt anyone else. When times got overwhelmingly hard and I no longer wanted to be around, I tried to check out.

At the age of 17, I was given the opportunity to escape, so I did. But as many people know, leaving an environment is very different from changing your perspective. Like having old dirty glasses in a dirty environment, trying to see clearly by just changing rooms does not work. You have to clean your lenses and maybe even get your eyes rechecked. With that revelation, I decided to go to Mercy; I started cleaning my glasses off.

I came to Mercy looking for my ‘why.’ Why should I keep going? Why am I here? Why did these things happen to me? God showed me my ‘why,’ and He taught me many other things. The greatest lesson is that my purpose is to be in relationship with God and to serve Him with all my heart, soul, and strength. To listen to Him in each and every situation and to be a light for Him. I have been gifted with many different talents, so I will be able to serve God in many different ways.

I have come to a greater understanding of the fact that words have power. My truth cards have helped me to personalize and claim the promises of God in scripture. Knowing my identity in Christ is powerful. Once I knew who God was and who I was through Him, all else fell into place. Isolation is not the answer. God created us for community; even within Himself there is community in the Trinity. The girl that walked in the doors of Mercy months ago is not the woman I am today. The only way I can explain it is by saying Mercy was my “One Miraculous Touch.” God touched my soul and changed me from the inside out.

After Mercy, I will be preparing to move and plug into a church. I plan to save up so that I can continue my education. I will be studying for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After I get my Nursing license, I hope to become a Traveling Nurse. I have always had a heart for traveling and finding adventures. I also want to travel overseas to bring medical help along with spiritual help. I would love to work for St. Jude’s Hospital for Children as I settle down.  I plan to share with others along the way how God has turned my life around. I am not sure what other adventures God has in store for me, but I am excited to be a part of His plan. Thanks to my Heavenly Father’s glasses, I see a world full of possibilities in places that were once hopeless.

To all the donors, words cannot describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to receive help without the added stress of how to pay for it.