Growing up, I was in a very stressful, tense, and broken home. My parents’ relationship was not happy, and it was evident to me. The first year I started public school, a family member sexually abused me. I kept it a secret for many years, but it ended up weighing on me, and I developed such a fear of older men; I hated being around them. The only man I trusted and loved was my dad. I eventually found out he wasn’t my biological dad, and it broke my heart. From an early age I was very angry. I didn’t receive the attention, time, or love I needed from my parents. Starting at around age 10, my mom and I could never get along, and we fought constantly. Throughout middle and high school, when I wasn’t living with my dad, I was sent me to live with other people. That left me feeling unwanted, unloved, un-cared for, and very alone. Depression had already been an issue in my life, and that caused it to increase. Due to my parents always working, I became responsible for taking care of my brothers. That caused me to become very self-sufficient and very protective over the boys. Thinking about my siblings was the only thing that made me willing to go another day. I was involved in many fights, and I didn’t like people. I was also deeply involved in same-sex relationships. I found my comfort, identity, and worth in them. In June 2015, I got married to the woman I loved, and we moved to Missouri together. I tried so hard to be excited for a new chapter in my life and having my own family, but things just didn’t seem right. Two months into my marriage, my world came crashing down when I found out I wasn’t the only woman in her life. Our relationship became emotionally and physically abusive, and I decided to move back in with my parents while working through the divorce process. I could not stomach the hurt and brokenness I was experiencing. I desperately needed someone to take all my pain away.
My mom and my grandma told me to look into Mercy, a ministry they have always supported. I looked into it and was immediately drawn in by graduates’ testimonies and different videos I watched. I wanted to be like those girls and experience the freedom they professed. When I arrived, I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t like people, but I tried to pretend I did. I had been so used to taking care of myself that I struggled with communicating with staff about my needs and accepting their help. I had no trust for anyone.
Things started to change when I learned about forgiveness. I had been carrying all my hurts and anger for so long. When I read about how unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment can affect a person, I was in awe. I also learned how to renew my mind in the Word. I knew I had always been a very negative person. I expected exclusively bad things to happen in my life, and I rarely spoke positively. I was very judgmental towards myself and others, and I would attract negative situations to my life. I had never realized just how unattractive and unhealthy my thoughts and perceptions were before.
God revealed to me all the areas in my life that were suffering from unforgiveness. I allowed God to show me many things He had forgiven me for when I didn’t deserve it. The Lord was able to turn my negative thoughts and mindset into appreciating who He’s created me to be. I continue to pray for Godly thoughts and to see other people and situations through His eyes. By God showing me and allowing me to work through situations in my past, I’ve also learned how to not let feelings surrounding bad events consume and control me. I have the authority in Christ to turn away from thoughts and feelings that are from the enemy.
After Mercy, I plan to go back to my family and spend quality time with them. I’m looking forward to getting involved in my church by volunteering in the nursery and being a part of bible study groups. While I was at Mercy, God told me that I have a lot of education ahead of me, and that someday, I will get married and have babies! I’m also looking to spend more time with the Lord and grow in relationship with Him. One day I plan to reach out to women who have felt stuck and need freedom from their past. It’s a miracle that I’m here today and can proudly say I know what joy feels like. It’s also in my heart to introduce someone else to the Lord.
To all the supporters of Mercy, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would have not been able to come here had it not been for your help. Coming here was the absolute best decision I could have ever made in my life. Thank you so much for helping make my freedom a possibility!