My childhood was pretty good. I was very loved by my family. While I was growing up, my dad wasn’t always around. We never had the emotional connection I longed for. However, I was very close with my grandfather – he was my whole world. Then when I was 12, my grandparents got a divorce. When my grandfather left, I never saw him again. I made a vow that I would never love so deeply again. I put up high walls and didn’t let anyone in. I refused to cry or grieve over what had happened, so I had a lot of pent up emotions that resulted in a lot of internalized anger. I spent my teenage years lonely and insecure. I developed an eating disorder and started self-harming. This was also around the time I started a six-year struggle with pornography. I had so much shame because of this and other things I’d done. My eating disorder, self-harm and depression all escalated through college, and I also started using alcohol to numb. I became very suicidal and spent time in a hospital. I was so hopeless, and I wanted to die almost every day.
I heard about Mercy through my best friend, whose sister was in the program. I felt like this was my last chance, and if I didn’t go, I would die. I arrived at Mercy overwhelmed, angry, in denial and hating myself. I didn’t even know if I wanted to stay because I didn’t feel worth it.
A major turning point was being able to forgive my grandfather and myself. I learned that my worth and value isn’t based on what I do, my mistakes, or my past. I learned I’m loved and I can love others. I fell in love with Jesus, and my whole world changed.
Through Mercy I learned that I have a choice in how I behave and what I think about. I realized I’m worth fighting for and that I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. God has given me a hope and joy I thought I’d never have again.
After graduating from Mercy, I plan to finish my last semester of nursing school in the fall. I’d also like to become a yoga instructor and eventually work with girls with eating disorders to show them what healthy exercise looks like.
I can’t even express how grateful I am for the opportunity to come to Mercy. I’m so thankful for the unconditional love and grace I was shown—it was a true representation of Jesus. God saved my life through Mercy!