Janna – 2015 Graduate
I was sexually abused by a family member for three years as a young child. I began to live a life of secrecy, which drove rejection, shame, guilt, and fear deep into my core beliefs. I internalized my thoughts and feelings and tried to gain acceptance through performance in sports, music, and theater. At the age of 14 I began to self-harm and smoke weed as a way to escape my frustrations inside. And when I was 16 I developed an eating disorder. I found my worth and value in what others thought of me, and I tried to be perfect in every area I could to find the love and acceptance I was searching for. After graduating high school I became lost in the freedoms of college. I fell in with party seekers, chasing the next high in life. I used drugs, sex, and performance to fill the void I had within and keep myself numb. At 21 I became pregnant outside of marriage and thought I could change by adjusting my behaviors. That came only as a temporary fix. After my daughter was born I dealt heavily with post-partum depression and sank even farther down in my battles with addictions to try to cope with my reality. I was lost in mental chaos, searching for a release that would free me from my own struggles.
I heard about Mercy at a leadership event I attended. At first, I told myself that my issues weren’t that severe, and I could fix them myself. After struggling for two years on my own I finally surrendered and applied to Mercy.
A major turning point for me at Mercy was learning the importance of connection and relationship with Jesus Christ. God gave me freedom by giving me the choice to choose Him. I choose to live my life in a way that reflects the value I have for my connection with Jesus. True freedom is not the absence of something, but the presence of Jesus in your life.
God has restored my freedom and redeemed my life to live for Him. He has given me purpose, shown me my worth and value, and brought restoration to my family. He has taught me what real love is and has equipped me to live the life of a champion.
After graduating from Mercy I have a desire to work with single moms and families, teaching them the importance of loving our children on purpose and how to cultivate future generations of world changers. I also want to further my personal training education. I want to educate others on how to live a healthy lifestyle that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. I want to live my life on purpose, speaking life and sowing gospel threads into every conversation, in hopes that they may see a glimpse of who Jesus Christ truly is.
The amazing blessings that God has given me through Mercy would not have been possible without the obedience of people like Nancy and the donors and supporters who make this ministry possible. The best way for me to show my gratitude is to live my life in a way that continues to multiply others and be a blessing the way Mercy has been for me. Thank you.