Mikaela – 2017 Graduate
I was adopted to a loving Christian family at birth. We moved out of the United States when I was five years old. The kids around me bullied me for being “fat” because I was bigger than everyone else. The bullying continued for a while. I had extremely low self-esteem and abandonment issues that stemmed from being adopted. I had a friend that was killed in a motorcycle accident, which only made these feelings worse. I began to struggle with anxiety, self-harm, depression, and an eating disorder. I began a relationship with a man online because he told me I was beautiful. He became emotionally abusive and told me he would harm himself if I didn’t show him pictures of my body. I started to have panic attacks, and my self-harm became worse.
I finally broke up with the man I was dating online. I began to turn to God in my pain. My relationship with Him was strengthened, and my eating disorders and self-harm addiction were no longer as extreme. I began dating in my senior year of high school, but was pushed further than I was comfortable with physically. I believed the lie that a man would love me if I gave him my body, so, I let it happen. I felt that my body had to be perfect, and my habit of over-exercising and my eating disorders got worse. I moved back to the United States when I graduated high school, and I was sexually abused at a camp. I began to show my body to men online after this, believing that I was only good for my body. I was taken advantage of at a party, and I started to believe that the abuse wouldn’t stop. I was sexually abused by multiple guys that I thought were friends. I felt that every guy just wanted me for my body. I began to go out and meet men I hadn’t met before, because I felt that it was better if I gave up my body willingly than if it was taken from me. I eventually began to take money or gifts from men.
One day, I broke. My boyfriend found me crying after harming myself badly. I wanted to die. I felt like I was a terrible daughter and sister and that my boyfriend was crazy for staying with me through all of this. That’s when I asked my parents for help.
I learned about Mercy Multiplied through my parents. They had seen the Francesca Battistelli music video “He Knows My Name” which features Mercy graduate testimonies. At first, I didn’t want to apply because I was fearful of being away from my boyfriend. I was very codependent. Eventually, I decided to apply knowing that the only way I would survive was if I turned back to God. When I arrived at Mercy, I was angry, hurting, dark, and consumed by my pain.
My first night at Mercy Multiplied, I cried out to God for help. I knew that I needed to be at Mercy and that I couldn’t do this on my own. I felt God tell me He was there and that I needed to surrender my need for control to Him. I couldn’t do this in my own strength. A huge part of my journey was a makeup fast that I decided to do for a month. During that month, I focused on my beauty in Christ. Who I am in Christ is what matters, and not what other people think. I began to realize that the most important relationship in my life is with Christ and not my boyfriend. I began to see that if I lost everyone close to me and it was just me and Jesus, I would still be blessed. I can do life right in His strength.
While I was at Mercy, God showed me I am worthy. I am worthy of love and affection, respect and protection. Worthy of joy, hope, and healthy ways to cope. Worthy of peace, grace, and boundaries for my space. Worthy of forgiveness, redemption, and friendships with connection. God showed me I am worthy of all this and more. Mercy helped me discover my wings, and God helps me soar.
After Mercy, I plan to move and share an apartment with a friend. I hope to get a job and finish school online.
Mercy donors, thank you so much for giving to Mercy. Mercy has changed my life. I went from a broken, hurting girl to a woman who knows that her strength is found in Christ alone.