I was placed in the care of my grandmother at birth, but after her death, was placed in foster care. I was in the foster care system until I was adopted at four years old. This experience caused me to struggle with feelings of abandonment and planted the seed of rejection. Though I was raised in a Christian home, I didn’t know anything about God; I didn’t know He loved or cared for me. Throughout my childhood I experienced physical and verbal abuse, which caused me to believe I was bad. I began to believe that I needed to perform in order to be accepted and loved by others, especially God. I became very angry and resentful toward my mom for the things that had taken place. Instead of voicing my pain, I shoved it down and acted as if nothing could hurt me. Going into middle school, I struggled a lot with my weight and appearance. Facing ridicule for my weight, I turned to guys and food for my comfort instead of trying to lose weight. In high school I became promiscuous with guys at my school. I started to believe lies that I was used, dirty, and that no guy would want me after the things I had done. In turn I had no self-worth, and I put my identity in the things of this world instead of looking to Jesus. After graduating high school, I moved to a different city. I was angry because I had to move away from my friends and the city I had known. I began to drink, use street drugs, and self-harm in order to overcome the feelings of loneliness and hurt. On my 20th birthday, I was raped by two guys, and I blamed myself. In turn, I did the thing I knew how to do best – I pushed it all down and pretended like it never happened. I continued self-destructive patterns in order to cope with the pain that was building up inside of me. When I was pulled over for drinking under the influence, I went full force into my addictions and promiscuity instead of taking this as a sign that my life was getting out of control. At this point I had zero self-respect and did whatever I could for that next high. My mom was absent from my life around this time, and my life started spiraling out of control. My life didn’t make sense. I felt hurt and abandoned, so I turned to women hoping that I could find some fulfillment in that, but it didn’t fill that deeper need that I longed for. Over the next couple of years I continued to struggle.
I first learned about Mercy from a friend who tagged me with the Francesca Battistelli music video, “He Knows My Name” on social media. She knew how badly I was struggling and encouraged me to look into the program. I wasn’t ready to turn my life around, and I didn’t think it was possible, so I ignored her. A year later, my mom sat me down and told me I needed to do something drastic in order to change my life because the way I was living was leading me to disaster. I decided to apply to Mercy because I had finally hit rock bottom. I knew that there had to be more to life than what I was experiencing. I was tired of just trying to survive until the next day. I didn’t have a fulfilling life. When I arrived to Mercy, I was very guarded. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into, but I was willing and open for change. I struggled with anxiety and depression, and it showed.
A major turning point for me at Mercy was realizing how much power there was in my choice. I had the choice to either surrender completely to God and let Him heal my heart, or continue down the same dark path that would eventually lead to death. At that point, I chose to give everything to God. I was tired of trying to do it all on my own. He met me right where I was at and began to do a work in my heart and spirit.
Through my time at Mercy, God restored my hope and dreams. For so long, I had no dreams for my life, and I thought that how I was living was just how life was supposed to be. He showed me that I have a purpose on this earth, and it wasn’t to just drink, party and sleep around. I am called to glorify Him in all I say and do and truly enjoy the life He gave me. God showed me His heart, and I now know that He is for me and loves me as His precious daughter. It doesn’t matter what I have done, or what I have yet to do, He chooses to love me and show me grace. That has changed everything for me!
After graduating from Mercy, I plan on going to a transitional home where I will find a job, learn to live independently, and continue developing my relationship with God.
If it weren’t for Mercy supporters, I would have never been able to gain the freedom I now have or find healing in so many areas of my life. Thank you for being obedient to God and playing a part in helping young women change their lives!