Throughout my life, I was a competitive cheerleader, a softball player, and most recently, a lacrosse player. I spent the first two years of college playing lacrosse, and after those two years, I felt led to move back home and go to nursing school. I failed my first semester and felt like I was a failure. I was given the opportunity to retake the semester but found myself applying for Mercy instead. Before Mercy, I lived my life to please others. I had a fear of abandonment, failure, and judgment. I found myself searching desperately for who I was and who I wanted to be.

Growing up, our family fought a lot. The environment felt inconsistent, and I mostly saw the negative things. I took it upon myself to take some of the blame, and my relationship with my mom worsened as years went by. I found my identity in sports, academics, what others thought of me, and how I looked. After being bullied about my weight and appearance, I experimented with restricting my food intake, purging after meals, and became obsessed with exercising for the wrong reasons. When I looked in the mirror, I saw myself as overweight, and I let the scale determine if I was good enough or not. I dealt with anxiety, depression, and at different stages of my life, had suicidal thoughts. When I couldn’t perform physically or athletically, nothing really made sense, and I couldn’t figure out my purpose. Before coming to Mercy, I knew God, but I didn’t have the personal relationship with Him that I needed. I played the part on the outside, but I was confused and felt unable on the inside. I didn’t know how to live my life for God and be fulfilled.

While at Mercy, I found refuge, and I found peace. My relationship with the Lord became more intimate, and I began to learn more about Him the more time I spent with Him. I realized that I was trying to pay the price for my sin and shame when Jesus had already paid the highest price. I found forgiveness and an understanding for my mom. Our relationship has been mended, and God has softened my heart for her. I learned that being vulnerable and honest is important and that it doesn’t make me weak but does just the opposite. I also found the truth that I don’t need to be perfect for everyone around me and that I don’t need to perform to have purpose. God gives me purpose, and He showed me that I can rest in Him and not have to do things in order to be accepted and loved by Him.

I am learning what it truly means to love myself and to know who I am. I’m learning to trust my body and to enjoy food without being obsessed with it. I’ve learned that it’s okay to have more challenging days than others, but I can still be confident in my freedom. I can choose to walk in God’s Truth that I am His, and I have a choice to honor Him by how I treat myself and my body. I can stop allowing anxiety and depression to hold me in bondage and walk further, knowing, in confidence, that He will always be in control.

After Mercy, I plan to continue working and keep my options open to wherever the Lord is leading me next. I plan on deepening my relationship with the Lord and getting to know myself more. I plan to serve and share what the Lord has done for me, and not be ashamed of where my past has taken me, but rejoice in what I have overcome because of Him.