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Austin – 2013 Graduate

AustinI grew up feeling that I had to be pretty and skinny. I was praised for those things, so I strived to be what I thought was expected of me. My parents weren’t around often, so out of loneliness, I turned to food at a young age which later led to binging and purging behaviors. Eventually, I was miserable and prayed that God would end my life. I was a slave to other people’s opinions of me and pretended that my life was perfect. I hated my body and spent my life obsessing over how I could look better and avoid food. I also cut myself to relieve the shame of my severe self-hatred and secret food and body fixation.

I found out about Mercy through my counselor and a minister at my church. I decided to apply because my life was completely out of control. I was desperate for help and knew that Christ was the only one who could bring me out of the pit I was in. Mercy was my last hope.

While at Mercy, I learned that God’s grace covers me. I do not have to be ashamed. I used to try to hide from everyone, including God. But now I know that He sees me even my deepest weaknesses and failures, and He loves me just the same. He created me to be far more than just a pretty face or someone that stays quiet and floats through life. I am His daughter and a woman of God. He has given me gifts and strengths I never would have dreamed possible. He broke the chains of my prison—I’m free! Food doesn’t control me anymore. My heavenly Father speaks to me and gives me hope for a new life ahead. I no longer want to die. I have joy and love! I want to serve people and teach them of His unfailing love. I want my entire life to be kingdom focused. I am in this for the long haul and am a hundred percent unashamed to proclaim His name to the world.

After Mercy, I am going to college to pursue nursing. My dream would be to work with women who have addictions or eating disorders, maybe even at Mercy someday! I would also love to do medical missions overseas. I have a passion for hurting women and children.

Mercy is a remarkable program. I praise God everyday for bringing me to this place. This journey will be my fondest memory until my hair is gray! I cannot wait to give back to this ministry. The women here are truly “Proverbs 31 women” and I pray that I will grow to become more like them. I am so thankful to all who gave so I could get the help I needed.