Candace – 2015 Graduate
I grew up in church, but behind closed doors my home life was dysfunctional, chaotic, abusive and violent. It caused a lot of hurt and pain, and I often felt anxious, confused, depressed, neglected, rejected, fearful and abandoned. I turned to the world and started looking for love, acceptance and attention in all the wrong places. I began dating different men who showered me with gifts. They were abusive and took advantage of me. I started partying and getting in trouble at school. I joined a gang/rap group because they were like family to me. I started dancing, and this made me even more popular with men. Eventually, I entered into an abusive four-year relationship in which I had a miscarriage and was raped several times. On top of all this, I was diagnosed with a lot of health problems. I started abusing prescription drugs and having suicidal thoughts. I had several failed suicide attempts, hoping that I would just fall asleep and not wake up. I began binging and purging and started self-harming as a way to escape all of the hurt and pain that I felt. I had no self-control, and I did not know how to deal with my emotions in a healthy manner. I hated myself and everyone around me. I felt trapped. Then I had three losses in my family and became very afraid that if I got close to someone, I would lose them or they would abandon me.
I found out about Mercy, truthfully, from God. I got sick and tired of everything that was going on at home and in my life, so I started praying and crying out to God for help. He then led me to get online, and I started searching for different programs. Each search led me to Mercy. Applying, I had so many questions and concerns, but God was faithful to answer them. Going to Mercy was the best decision I have ever made.
The major turning points for me during my time at Mercy were throughout the different parts of the counseling model. I was most deeply impacted by the principles of forgiveness, learning who I am in Christ, and learning how to renew my mind. I began to know that God loved me!
While at Mercy I learned tools to fight for my life. I learned who I am in Christ and to trust again and let the walls around my heart down. I know that God loves me unconditionally, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He that is within me is greater than he that is in the world, and no weapon formed against me shall prosper. I came in full of death, but I chose life. God completely transformed my life. He restored my hope, my joy and now I am free, and I walk in victory.
After Mercy, I plan to go back to my home church and intern with their transformation home for women. My future plans are to marry a Godly man and raise Godly children. I also want to change the lives of hurting people in my city. I have a huge dream to open several homes for men and women depending on their particular struggle.
I would like to say thank you to all the Mercy supporters for helping those of us in the program go to Mercy free of charge. I thank God every day because I was so blessed to be in a safe place. I really appreciate all that you do. Now I am able to go out and change the lives of hurting people by providing hope, help and healing.