Fake smiles, broken homes, and feeling all alone. That’s what growing up looked like for me. My mom left when I was two years old, so I always felt like I was a disappointment and that I wasn’t loved. In elementary school I got bullied, and at that point, I stopped caring about myself. I stopped showering and doing my hair because I hated myself. In high school the bullying stopped, but I started hanging out with an unhealthy crowd. I started smoking weed and drinking to avoid the pain I was feeling on the inside. My parents found out that I was smoking and drinking, so they took my bedroom door off and I lost all trust. I felt like a disappointment again. In the summer of 2016, my Aunt Katie passed away. I felt so lost, like I was in this big world all by myself. I fell deeper and deeper into depression and had my first attempt at suicide. I was in and out of hospitals for the next year. I argued with my stepmother. When things became physical, she kicked me out. Again, I felt like a disappointment. I went to my first residential treatment center. I did not want to be there, so I lied my way out, saying I was fine. I went to live with my aunt and uncle, but I got back into drugs and drinking. One night I got into it with my best friend, and my whole world came crashing down. I attempted suicide once more. Back to the hospital I went. My aunt and uncle kicked me out too, because I wasn’t safe to be around their kids, so I began living in a shelter. I never would have imagined my life would have turned out like that. At this point, I decided that I needed help.
I found out about Mercy through James River Church and entered the program on July 25th, 2017. I was fresh to this whole “adulting” thing, and really, I didn’t want to be an adult or listen to rules. I was really rebellious at first. I didn’t start to dig deep into the Mercy program until we went to the Joyce Meyer Conference and I saw all those women worshiping God. Before this, I felt like I was always disappointing God and that I wasn’t worth His attention. But I realized that before I could truly work on myself, I needed to have a relationship with the person who created me in the first place. At first, I was still a little iffy about giving God everything. Then we attended the Designed For Life Conference in Springfield, MO. The first night God was really pulling at me to go up to the front to be prayed for, and so I did and just started to cry. God spoke to me for the first time in my life. He said, “You’re keeping me in a fish bowl when I created the whole ocean.” I shared that with my Mercy counselor, and we dug deeper into why that was and what I needed to do to fix that. A couple weeks before we went on Christmas break God spoke again: “Welcome to the ocean.” I started putting in what I wanted to get out of my stay at Mercy which was 100%. God showed me that I am priceless and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He kept putting on my heart “take up your cross daily.” I started to follow Him not just some of the time and say I love Him part of the time, but I learned to follow and love Him all of the time.
After Mercy, I’m planning to get my degree in leadership at James River College. My end goal is to be a pastor. I want to help change future generations and help them realize God is the person who is always there.
I want to thank the staff and residents for always encouraging and believing in me to do my best. I especially want to thank my counselors for showing me grace and mercy and love through my time of trouble. And for those who donate to this ministry, thank you! If it wasn’t for you, Nancy Alcorn, and the power of our great God I would not be alive today!