Jessica – 2012 Graduate
I was born into a family that severely abused me emotionally, physically, and sexually. At a young age, my family sold me for sex at hotels to men and women. I was also forced into pornography and sexually abused by several family members on a weekly and often daily basis.
I was told I was fat, ugly, and only good for sex, among other horrible lies. I grew up believing them. I was never allowed to say no or fight back during the abuse. I had no way to express on the outside what was going on in the inside of me, so I started using self-harm as a way to express what I could not say in words.
Eventually, a counselor told me about Mercy. I started the application process but then backed out. A year and a half later I decided to reapply and I was accepted. I walked through the doors of Mercy in 2011.
When I came to Mercy, I was broken. I was dealing with feelings of guilt, shame, condemnation, self-hate, and fear. I struggled with thoughts of self-harm, depression, and many other forms of bondage as the result of my abuse. I kept myself as isolated as possible… until I learned what love was.
At Mercy, I learned how to face my past and invite Jesus into my life. I learned I could share every detail with Him and ask Him to heal all of my wounds. I was taught how to stand on the truth of God’s Word by speaking it out loud over my life and choosing to believe it. I grew to trust God and see myself as who He created me to be. He was not and is not the author of my pain. He felt everything I went through, and He went through it with me. He never left me.
I began to forgive the people who hurt me, and I received freedom from the pain I had been holding on to. I saw God take my impossibilities and turn them into His possibilities. Through the staff at Mercy, God showed me that I am loved for who I am. I didn’t have to do anything to receive their love. It was given to me freely, with no strings attached. They taught me how to love others in the same way.
Through Mercy and God’s Word, I learned that I am a new creation in Christ. I am not who my abusers said I was. I am who God says I am. I am beautiful. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am a daughter of the Most High King. I am loved.
Since graduating from Mercy, I’ve started attending college with a focus on ministry leadership. I am in the process of learning how to embrace the dreams God has given me. I have a passion for people and a heart to see their dreams fulfilled. I love sharing the freedom God has given me with others, because the same freedom I have received is available to anyone through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the one who saves, and He has saved me from death and given me life, that I may live abundantly in His grace!