I had a sweet childhood. My parents loved me well, never pushed me too hard, and encouraged any endeavor I sought after. However, when I would excel at different activities – from simply getting an “A” on a test to scoring the winning goal – I relished the attention I received from others and fed off the praises of my family. I began believing that if I performed well, I would be met with acceptance, love, and success. If I could be perfect, then I would no longer be deserving of the guilt and condemnation that I felt. This led me to desire success in everything I did, and it worked for a while, or so I thought. In reality, it helped build a fortress of self-protection and insulated me from the pain of life. All this time, I believed in the Lord. I loved Him and gave my heart to Him. I read that Jesus died for my sins, and I was accepted and loved by Him, but my feelings, thoughts, and the world around me shouted otherwise. They continued to berate me about the ways I had failed. They harped on me to achieve perfection and promised to stop taunting me once I reached it. I eventually turned to mind-numbing, addictive behaviors to get the condemning chatter to cease. I went to college and received my undergraduate degree in Animal Science and then continued on another four years to receive my Doctorate in veterinary medicine. In the Lord’s kindness, He brought people into my life to love me in spite of my despair. I married an incredible husband who has always been a steadfast voice of Truth in my life.
Around this time a dear friend I met in veterinary school told me about Mercy Multiplied. Feeling stuck in the bondage of my behaviors and suffocating under self-hatred, I applied to Mercy and was accepted soon after graduating veterinary school. I spent six months in a safe, consistent environment where I was daily shown how to not live by my emotions or thoughts, but to stand on His Truth. The staff at Mercy loved me even on my hardest of days and taught me how to bring my pain and hurt to the Lord. I allowed Him to heal my wounds instead of self-medicating with destructive behaviors.
Six months later, I left Mercy with a fresh start at life with my husband. I had assumed that a hiatus at Mercy would prove to be career suicide, but while I was there, the Lord promised to restore that which I thought was lost. After graduation, the taunting feelings and thoughts I struggled with did not automatically cease, but I used the tools I learned to navigate through these situations in a healthy way. Most importantly, I knew I was loved deeply by the King of Kings. I knew that I was righteous, holy, and His beautiful daughter.
The Lord continues to teach me who I am in Him and who He has created me to be. He reminds me that I have complete peace with Him, and that the voices of accusation, condemnation, and self-hatred have no right control my life. Two years after graduating, I had an opportunity to begin a veterinary ophthalmology residency. How the Lord orchestrated this opportunity, the provisions He supplied throughout the three-year process, and His faithfulness as I successfully completed the program is an ever-present reminder of His love for me and fulfillment of what I thought had been lost. We serve a God that loves us deeply, that pursues passionately, and one who desires complete redemption of our lives … in Heaven and on Earth.