For as long as I can remember, this emptiness yanked on my heart like a leash on a dog. As a teenager, I started self-harming when I couldn’t control this longing. I had heard the concept of a “God-shaped hole,” so I thought I needed to pray more, read my Bible more, and surrender this to Jesus. Time and time again, I did this, but soon I’d find myself drowning again. It was exhausting. I rode on the highs of life and moments of feeling significant. In the low seasons, I was apathetic, which resulted in depression and a lack of self-worth. By allowing guys to take advantage of me, I developed resentment towards men.

I first heard about Mercy Multiplied in 2018 after I attempted suicide. I had been doing all the things you’re supposed to do for your mental health: therapy, medications, and church groups. I couldn’t just survive anymore, and I had exhausted all my resources, so a year later, I applied to Mercy. Honestly, I didn’t think they could tell me anything that I didn’t already know, but I at least hoped they could help me repair my relationship with Jesus.

When I arrived at Mercy, the staff was so loving and so full of faith; I thought they were all fake at first. For the first several months, I was controlled by my disorders. I let these things help me avoid confronting my shame and fear. My counselor assigned a book called “It’s Not My Fault,” and I learned how to trust God with what I can’t control and be a good steward of what I can control. Gradually, I stopped condemning myself for my shortcomings.

When I heard Priscilla Shirer’s “Discerning the Voice of God,” I started to understand that I can hear from God daily, at any moment, and I can listen to Him expectantly. What a concept. Because of the cross, the power of grace gives me direct access to God now. I can have constant communication with the God of the universe.

When we started the Keys to Freedom study, God promised that He would heal an ambiguous aching in my soul, and He wanted me to use Mercy as my practice arena to focus on walking out three specific things: being vulnerable, embracing warm feelings, and spending time with Him.

Mercy taught me what love is and what it isn’t. Mercy also equipped me to listen to discernment in navigating the vulnerability, warm feelings, and getting to know God one baby step at a time. One day, I was finally able to fully embrace it when a staff member told me that I am a priority and that I am loved. He used this moment to ignite love in me as I had never experienced before. It’s warm, and it’s bright, and it’s infinite. It’s connected to everyone around me, and it’s got God as the source, so I can tap into it at any time.

God is so good, and He proved to me that I don’t always have to figure everything out in order to be healed. God has been restoring my relationship with my family, and it will be different now that I am grounded in Christ. I’ll be able to love them. I’m eager to take home the principles that I learned at Mercy. I get to do everything with Jesus, and I can build stronger relationships with the community He’s placed in my life. As I continue to diligently seek God, I will walk in faith, in hope, and in love. He loves us each so much, and what He did for me, He’ll do again in the lives of others. He’s ready for them, with wild anticipation.

I’m so glad that there are people who believe in Mercy’s mission and that they care about us enough to donate! It honestly brings me to tears; it’s so encouraging to know that there are so many people that have a hand in this incredible gift. Thank you sooooo much!!