Annie – 2015 Graduate
In my mind, my life couldn’t have been better growing up with my parents and brother. I thought that our family was perfect. I attended a private Christian school and was submersed into church and the Christian culture. I accepted Christ into my life at a young age, and I didn’t know that there was anything apart from the way we lived. When my parents were forced to close their business, we moved to a new town. In the midst of change, I began to isolate myself from my family and found comfort in overeating and sneaking food, which resulted in gaining weight. I was bullied at my new school for being overweight and the “goody two shoes new girl.” I didn’t understand why I wasn’t liked when my entire life I had always been accepted so easily. I felt betrayed and unwanted.
In middle school, I began to restrict my food and over exercise. I believed that the thin and pretty girls were the ones who were happy and noticed. I hated myself and the way that I looked. During this time, our family seemed to be falling apart due to job and financial stress. I found my identity in my grades, appearance, and approval of others. My struggle with eating increased, and I began self-harming. I felt so out of control but didn’t know where to turn. I was also being physically abused by a family member. On the outside I seemed to have everything together, but internally I was broken and longed for someone to notice my pain. When I received attention from an older boy at my church, I sought all of my worth and value in our relationship. Over time, the relationship escalated, and I felt trapped and alone. After we broke up, I began to further seek the attention of men. I entered into a lifestyle of sexual addiction, self-harm, disordered eating and depression. All the while I was attending church, proclaiming the gospel, and pretending to know God personally.
I knew that I was living in too much regret to continue the patterns I was walking in. I looked online for a Christian program that would give me the help that I was so desperate for. I knew God was the only answer, and my only hope for a better life. I found the Mercy website, quickly applied, and was accepted. I entered the doors broken and hopeless.
The Lord did so much in my time at Mercy. A major turning point for me came when I reached out for help and was accepted, instead of rejected. I recommitted my life to Christ and learned that my value is in who He says that I am in Him. With this truth, I was able to forgive myself and those who had hurt me. I entered Mercy thinking I had to be perfect.
While at Mercy I learned to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I was able to identify lies that I have believed about myself the past 20 years and find truth in scripture that went against those lies. Mercy has shown me an amazing biblical tool that I can use my entire life! I have already seen so much transformation in the way I view myself and my Heavenly Father. With this truth, I walk in victory daily, free from my past addictions and pain. I am a new creation in Christ, the old is gone and the new has come.
After graduating from Mercy, I plan to attend college in the fall and study to become a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. My heart is to have a family one day and to be a wife and mother. I hope to adopt a child through Mercy. I also want to share my story of hope with young women who are in bondage and question their value and identity. The change I have experienced has just begun, and I am excited to share the tools I have learned in my time at Mercy with others.
I am so grateful to all of the Mercy supporters who responded to God’s call to sow into His daughters. I never would have been able to come to Mercy without the program asking nothing of me financially. I want to sow back into Mercy when I graduate so that I can be a part of the transformation process for other girls in need of the love of Christ! I am so grateful for all your support.