Cherish – 2015 Graduate
I grew up without my parents around and most of my childhood was spent in an orphanage. I was heartbroken and unable to understand why my parents gave me away. I feel like I know what it was like for Jesus when the people closest to him denied him. I was physically abused by people who said they loved me, and I began to believe that I deserved the abuse. I couldn’t trust people, so I spent many days as a child trying to defend myself from the accusations, shame and abuse I endured for being different.
A friend of mine went through the Mercy program and inspired me to apply. Jesus had brought so much change to her life. She seemed so confident in herself.
I came to Mercy very confused. I believed that I was an afterthought to God. I was a very serious person and felt as if I was carrying the whole world on my shoulders. I felt like it was my responsibility to take care of other people’s problems. I was afraid of making friends and afraid to ask for help. I was unable to see myself as beautiful and did not feel that I had any reason to be happy. My relationship with God translated to numbers–in my mind, if I made one mistake He would take something good from my life. I felt like God favored others over me.
A turning point for me at Mercy was when I discovered that in order for me to make a change, I had to realize my need for help. I learned to reach out to others. I now know that I don’t need to be so hard on myself. I love myself more than ever, and I have discovered what it is like to live a life with trust and without fear.
I discovered so much about God’s character while at Mercy. I learned that knowing God is not a religion but a relationship. I also learned that God’s gift of free will is out of love. While in the program I came to know that my voice does matters, and it needs to be heard. My identity in Christ is what truly matters. I was not born by accident, and God showed me that He had me on His mind before I was even born. My future is not determined by my past. I am now convinced I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to. I truly believe I was created for something greater. I won’t settle for something less than what I deserve, because my story is not to be ashamed.
After graduating from Mercy I want to be a voice for the voiceless. I plan to go to college to study music. Someday I hope to get married and have a family of my own. I want to live or visit Australia and write a book.
To the Mercy supporters, I want to personally thank you. Thanks for being a light in my most dark times. Because of your love, today I am able to enjoy life and celebrate with laughter. You have shown me what God can do when we walk in obedience. You have helped me see a future I was once unable to look forward to. Your giving is truly making more of a difference than you can imagine.