My life growing up was filled with lots of uncertainty and confusion all around me. I knew my parents loved me, but it wasn’t enough to hide the persistent strife and conflict we lived in. Being surrounded by this made me believe marriage wasn’t worth it because if conflict is all there was, I didn’t want any part of it. I stopped believing in love and that it could last. Living in fear of conflict and not knowing how to handle it, isolation and escapism became a safe haven. Out of this fear of conflict and abandonment, I developed severe perfectionism and obsessive compulsive disorder. Though I didn’t know it at the age of 8, these would become evil companions that followed me through life. I felt like I had no control and was bound by insecurity. My body was the only steadfast as it was the only thing that remained the same. I got lots of positive comments which only fueled obsessive thoughts that it was the best or only feature that mattered. My parents separated during my freshman year of high school and depression took over. I hid it well because I was naturally happy and bubbly, but inside there was just despair. I figured it was my fault and blamed myself for not being able to find a way to keep them together and I felt worthless. I never felt like I could be good enough for my parents or for anyone. I engaged in self-harm and self-punishment as a way to cope and because I perceived everything to be my fault because I thought I was bad. This led me down a path I knew wasn’t where God wanted me. Eating disorder mindsets and behaviors held me captive. I rarely got out of bed or ate anything, became addicted to pornography, and suicidal thoughts plagued my mind. On June 24th, 2017, after almost following through with an attempt to end my life while on a mission trip, I knew I couldn’t do this on my own anymore and God led me to a familiar song that ended up leading me to my true freedom!
I found out about Mercy through watching a music video by Francesca Battistelli called “He Knows My Name”. I decided to apply because I was just not okay and was going down a bad path and wasn’t sure how much longer I would be around. I knew I needed help and this sounded like it might work for me, or at least help. It was also free which made it even more appealing. When I arrived I was broken and wanted to handle every situation with self-harm because that is all I had known for a while and I was fearful and very insecure.
When I was working through Choosing to Forgive I was able to not be so angry and be controlled by resentment, bitterness, and anger. I could let it off my shoulders and give it to God as I forgave. I also was able to FINALLY accept grace which used to be my greatest pain coming from punishing myself all of the time and now it is the most beautiful gift and I am so thankful for God’s grace. I was able to understand a fear I thought was irrational and came from nowhere. My fear of men was addressed and God showed me that it was due to experiences and He delivered me of this and told me He has a husband for me in the future.
God did so much I can’t fully describe it here. But I will try! God enabled to me to see that I am worth it, mistakes and imperfections and all. He helped me to tear down my mindsets of perfectionism, the need to punish myself and always thinking I was a failure, that I am not desirable to anyone and never will be because I am not beautiful enough, and helped me to eat and enjoy food and not be afraid of it and worry myself to death over it.
I will be going home to live with my mom and her fiancé. I will be attending a new church, getting involved in small groups, and volunteering on a regular basis there. I will be going back to my job as a care taker at a residential care home for the elderly and saving my money and managing my finances to honor God.
To Mercy supporters: thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t say it enough! I wouldn’t have been able to come here and to stay here if it weren’t for you. You help to keep this place running and give me safe place to lay my head, have counseling, and free meals and laundry. You even allow fun things and lots and lots of blessings as well! I wish I could give you all a hug because my life is transformed because of Mercy and you all are a big piece that holds it together and I will be forever grateful. You are helping change lives! :)