Tiffany – 2014 Graduate
I grew up in a stressful home filled with abuse and neglect. I began to struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and a people pleasing mentality. When I was nine, my mother told me that my father wasn’t my biological father, and that she had become pregnant with me from an affair. When I found that out, I felt like I was a mistake. Later that summer, a relative began molesting me. I didn’t understand why it was happening to me, but I believed that I deserved it. A few years later, my friend’s brother began molesting me, followed by one of the neighbor girls. I looked for an escape in all of the wrong places—an eating disorder, self-harm and suicidal ideation. From ages 11-17, I unsuccessfully attempted to end my life five times. When I was 17, I turned to the party scene to find acceptance. One night, I drank too much and ended up passing out, and one of my co-workers raped me. I was devastated and found that my coping skills were no longer enough. I continued to use alcohol to numb the pain, began experimenting with illegal drugs, and turned to pornography. After I was raped, I spent the next four years in turmoil. My days were spent binging and purging, and I used self-harm nearly every day just to survive. I felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and had no desire to live. After one last failed suicide attempt, I told God that if He wasn’t going to let me die, He would have to show me how to live.
I found out about Mercy when I was 16 from my youth pastor, but I insisted I didn’t need it. I started the application process six times, but could never commit to finishing. After my last suicide attempt, my therapist and spiritual mom told me that I needed to seek long-term help. I wasn’t keen on the idea, but later that week, I was approached by three different Mercy graduates who shared their own stories of healing with me. I knew that it was God trying to tell me something, and decided to apply again. When I arrived at Mercy I was broken, scared and angry. I didn’t trust anyone or believe that God could heal me.
God has totally, completely and radically changed my life. I have learned that I have to choose to live my life based on God’s truth. I am not a mistake. The truth is, God doesn’t make mistakes! He knit me together in my mother’s womb and had every day of my life planned before it ever came to be. While at Mercy, I’ve discovered who I am and understand that my identity is in Christ. God also taught me about forgiveness, and that forgiving doesn’t make what happened to me okay, but it releases me from the bondage of my past. Surrendering was a huge theme throughout my stay here. God wants me to turn to Him for every one of my needs, and I’ve learned that using my coping skills instead was basically like saying I didn’t trust Him to provide for me. I also found hope here. My life before coming to Mercy was completely hopeless; I thought I had no reason to live. But I’ve discovered that my hope is in God and because He lives, my life is worth living. I can get up every day with excitement for my future, because I know that God has an awesome plan for my life!
After I graduate Mercy, I will be moving back home to be a nanny to three beautiful kids. Next year, I hope to attend college and begin working towards my degree in psychology. One day, I would like to be a counselor at a place like Mercy, offering hope to those who seem hopeless, like I once was. I also look forward to being both a wife and a mom one day.
I am so thankful for everyone who supports Mercy. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be alive today. Because of them, I was able to come to Mercy free of charge and learn about myself and my Savior. They helped me find health, happiness and freedom, and for that I am forever grateful!