Lisa – 2017 Graduate
Since the day I was born, I felt like I was a mistake. I never met my father, but I prayed to meet him one day. When I was 13, I met my father for the first time. I was excited and filled with faith for reconciliation. But unfortunately, my father left me once again, and I quickly blamed myself and felt rejected. I started to grow a distorted self-image. I believed that my father left me because of my appearance. I was deceived with tormenting thoughts about my weight, so I turned to running, restricting food, self-harm, diet pills, and laxatives. In desperation to feel lovable, I opened my heart to a man who sexually assaulted me with his friend when I was 15. I was filled with so much shame that I kept this secret for years and repressed all the memories because they were too painful to face. The following year, I was in an unhealthy relationship with a man I eventually married when I was 18. At 19 years old, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter and filed for divorce right after. The pressures of being a young, single mother only added to the weight on my shoulders. Alcohol became a new addiction, along with all the others I still had. I cried out for God’s mercy, but I failed to truly repent, because I relied on my own strength to do the work only God could do through me.
In my brokenness, I allowed men to take advantage of me, all the while praying for a man who was after God’s own heart. God’s grace flooded into my life again when I was introduced to a Godly man. I was overwhelmed by his heart to love me for who I was. We got engaged and during our engagement, he told me about Mercy Multiplied. I decided to apply to get help and be healed from all the bondage in my life.
On August 2nd, I said, ‘I do’ to my wonderful husband, and on August 3rd I said, ‘I do’ to the King of Kings, and walked into the doors of Mercy Multiplied! I entered into God’s rest by presenting my brokenness and pressing into His healing.
While at Mercy, I became aware that there was a spirit of striving in my life. All I had to offer God was myself, and I quickly learned the intrinsic value I carried as child of the living God. The fear in my heart calmed into a steadfast love for the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. This is when I started to really believe what God said about me.
A major turning point in my Mercy journey is when I put up boundaries for myself. I began to protect my heart in ways that I didn’t know were possible! One of my favorite studies we did at Mercy was “Renewing the Mind.” I began to understand the power and authority I have in Christ. As God began to heal my heart, I was introduced back into a healthy approach to exercise. In being honest with God, I shared how terrified I was to step back into that atmosphere. He reminded me that He would go with me, and He would never leave me.
God became more real than ever to me. He taught me how to trust Him in the deepest part of my heart. In the study “Healing Life’s Hurts,” I grieved the time I didn’t have with my earthly father and renounced all the lies I spoke over myself as a young girl. I was able to forgive my father for being absent in my life. I was able to grow compassion for him and began to pray for his salvation. I no longer look at my heavenly Father through the lenses of my experience with my earthly father. I learned how to create healthy boundaries in my relationships. I came into a place where I learned how to truly honor my mom for who she is.
When I came to the end of myself, God spoke and showed up for me at Mercy. Today, God is my loving, compassionate Father who never fails me, and since God doesn’t make any mistakes, I know that I am not a mistake. I’m thankful to have a Father, a Savior, a Strong Tower to run to.
My plans after Mercy are to continue walking and talking with God. I plan to take delight in being a Godly wife and enjoy motherhood by raising my daughter in the truth of the Gospel. I want to work with teen and gang ministries. My goal is to empower this new generation to call out to God and be transformed. If God can do it for me, then He can do it for you!
Thank you, Mercy supporters, for believing in me when I had no hope for the future. You have been the hands and feet of Jesus by giving and professing your faith!