Debra – 2015 Graduate
I was sexually abused from the age of 11 to 18. This filled me with so much shame and guilt and started cycles of depression and suicidal thoughts in me at a very young age. I discovered self-harm when I was 14, but soon it was not enough to help me cope with all the pain I felt inside. I began experimenting with drugs and alcohol when I was in high school. I was raised in a Christian home, so deep inside I always wanted to do the right things. I was also called into full-time ministry when I was 14 years old. I thought that going to Bible school would help me overcome all of the issues I had, but the internal damage was too great for me to successfully complete college. After failing at college, my life just spiraled out of control. I became heavily involved in drugs and the whole ‘party scene.’ I then started to deal drugs to maintain my own drug addiction. I went from Bible college to a drug dealer, and my life, my dreams and my heart were shattered. I was so desperate. After many failed attempts to make things better on my own, I knew I needed help.
A graduate told me about Mercy four years ago. She even printed out the application for me, but at that point I was still running from God. I almost got to the end of the application process but then backed out. I even attended a friend’s graduation and toured the home, but I was too terrified to let anyone in. After four more years of fighting and my life getting worse and worse, I decided Mercy was my only hope. I knew I was dying, so I decided to complete the application. When I got to Mercy I was so closed off and scared. I didn’t want anyone close to me, and I took extreme measures to keep people away.
The biggest turning point for me was when I actually trusted God enough to allow Him into my heart. It took me quite a while to get to that point. But after I started to actually understand and accept God’s love, I began to see that He really is good and that He is trustworthy. I truly believe that it was at this point that I began to experience freedom.
God has reintroduced himself to me—not in the context of religion and rules but through relationship and love. He has so gently untangled and mended my hurt and pain, and He has replaced it with beauty and grace. God has spoken and shown me the worth and value that I have had all along, that I never saw in myself. Now I have a friendship with God, and I love Him so much!
After graduation, I am so excited to get involved in my church! My heart really is in ministry, so I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me. I also want to spend time building Godly relationships. I want to see God make my family relationships even better! I absolutely love that I will be able to spend time with my younger siblings and show them that a friendship with God is possible.
To Mercy donors, I am so thankful that you have chosen to obey God and follow His leading. I am one of the hundreds of girls on the other side of your obedience. Thank you so much!