I was a good kid, who loved the Lord and was raised in a Christian home with a solid family and good values. However, those factors did not exempt my life from struggle or pain. I wrestled throughout adolescence and early adulthood with extreme depression and anxiety. A happy-go-lucky child slowly morphed into an isolated and internally imprisoned young girl. The internalized pain manifested in self-harm behaviors and losing the will to live at a very young age. I struggled with guilt, shame, and denial due to the misconception that “Christians don’t struggle.” I refused to admit my need for help because I did not believe I was worth it. I clung to the false belief that I had not “gone through enough” to deserve help.
When I arrived at Mercy, I had become the walking dead. I had isolated and numbed myself emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. I felt unworthy of love and affection from those who tried to love me, including God. I felt unseen, unheard, and unimportant. The self-hatred I held so tightly created the lie that I deserved punishment. Ultimately, I believed my life was utterly worthless.
Towards the end of my journey at Mercy, I finally chose to surrender the hatred I had for myself and accept the love God had been saturating my heart with all along. My journey came down to love and choice. Through Mercy I learned that I could choose to allow others, God, and myself to love me. I also learned to make the choice each day to follow God and nurture His life in me. I often liken Mercy to a spiritual defibrillator. My heart was numb, and Mercy provided the shock it needed to begin beating again.
It’s been over two years since I graduated, yet God has continued the transformation process in my life. And believe me, it’s been just that – a process! My physical health, spiritual walk, relationships, and calling are continually being stretched to new levels of restoration. Prior to my time at Mercy, I weighed nearly 300 pounds. Over the past two years, I have lost half of my original weight. I am continuously experiencing new aspects of God’s character and love as I choose to trust in Him daily. I’ve never been closer to those He has placed in my life! He is continuously renewing and healing many of my relationships, including my family! I have grown professionally as well. I was blessed to receive my Bachelor’s degree in Christian Counseling and Bible two years ago, and this spring I will have completed a Master’s degree in Counseling. My heart is to be a continual life source for the hurting, hopeless, and bound. Learning and developing in my education, spirit, and personal life has given me the honor of walking with such individuals!
Although so much has been transformed in my life, I will always be in the growth process! As I choose to move forward everyday, I see God providing new mercies and grace to walk in. I hold tight to Philippians 3:12-14:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)