Laura – 2017 Graduate
When I was six months old my parents got divorced, and we moved away from my dad. From age four to six, I was sexually abused by someone I should have been able to trust. My dad had “rescued” me from the abuse by removing me from the situation. I thought my dad was my saving grace. But when I was around him, I felt I had to be perfect. My idea of love was flipped upside down and backwards. I believed the lie that if I wanted love, I had to give a part of myself in return or I had to gain it by performance. After having a childhood of feeling unloved, I was on a mission to find it. At a young age, I began to give pieces of myself to anyone who would give me what I thought love was. When relationships would fail, I internalized all the feelings of rejection. I began to battle with an eating disorder. At first I was trying to perform to meet the standards of what I thought a “perfect woman” looked like, and I began to not eat. Then I turned to food as a comfort for all the shame and guilt I felt from the relationships I had. I tried to rationalize my eating habits and drastic weight loss by exercising and compromising what I thought health was. Food became my idol. I thought I could stop at any time, but my habit kept getting more and more out of my control.
I tried to find healing in many ways before entering Mercy. I tried doctors, counseling, and confiding in friends and family, but nothing worked. I found out about Mercy online. I started my application process, but still doubted I needed help. During the application process, I remember watching Nancy Alcorn’s messages, and for the first time in a long time, I felt understood and cared for. Walking in the doors of Mercy, I wore so many masks. I was trying to cover up the fear, the anxiety, and the loss of hope.
A turning point at Mercy for me was during a worship night. God gave me an image of being a child. He called me His child. This was so important to me because I felt I never was able to truly live as a child, but God was able to restore that portion of my life. I remember being able to be goofy and have a dance party, and I felt free. I was being silly, letting go, and loving every minute of it. I am so thankful for the open arms and the loving hearts of the girls I was at Mercy with. Without them and the staff, I wouldn’t feel free to be me again.
God had plans to show me something great. All the things I knew I needed, I have found in Him. At first, coming into Mercy with all this accountability scared me. Feelings of guilt trampled my mind, but God showed me that I am a new creation in Him. Jesus kindly walked me through this roller-coaster journey hand in hand. With the help of Mercy and the staff, I’ve been on this journey of discovering who the Creator is and making Him my focus rather than all the idols I built up in the past.
Some of my favorite studies we did at Mercy were about generational patterns and renewing the mind. In these studies, I was able to shut the door to negative generational patterns passed down, as well as shut the door to fear, condemnation, and shame. In the renewing the mind study, I learned that my thinking was wrong because I believed lies, and the only way to see the truth is through the Word of God. I started to take every thought captive and ask myself, “Would Jesus say this to me?” At first, hearing His voice was hard, and it took time before His truth really started to become belief. I learned that when I let go, it gave room for Jesus to work in my life. Surrender is becoming my new song.
After Mercy, I will press on to find more and more of my identity in Jesus Christ. I plan on attending college to pursue a degree in Visual Arts. My heart is to reveal to the world who our Creator is with sound and artwork. Lastly, I plan to continue to reach out to children with living situations that I had in order to rewind damage or even stop it before it starts.
Thank you, Mercy supporters, for saving my life and being a part of the body of Christ. Thank you for showing me, for the first time in my life, what true love looks like. Because of you, I got to relive and restore years of my childhood.