My childhood was very dysfunctional. My biological mother was an alcoholic and addicted to drugs, and my stepfather was not around much. At a very young age, I didn’t feel like I belonged. I was immediately removed from my home when it was revealed that I was living in a dangerous environment.
I moved in with a distant aunt who took me to see a counselor and during that visit I was sexually abused. In addition to that abuse, I was physically and emotionally abused by a family member. I believed that these things were my fault and that I wasn’t good enough. Around the age of nine, I was put into state custody and was in and out of foster homes.
When I was twelve years old, I was adopted and finally had stability. Even though I was in a good, Godly home, I continued in a downward spiral, and I was angry with God. I didn’t realize it at the time, but He did answer my prayers— just not how I expected it.
When I was 16, I started developing an eating disorder and was self-harming on a daily basis. My depression was getting worse, but I didn’t let anyone know. Feeling like I wouldn’t be loved for who I was, I started to develop online relationships with people to feel loved. On the outside I developed a mask. I went to church, had a job, helped around the house, made good grades, and did all the right things, but on the inside, I really wanted to die.
When I was 18, all this was revealed to my mom and she tried to talk to me about it. I reacted out of anger and ran away from home, moving in with a co-worker I barely knew. While away from home, I started to drink heavily to cope with the depression and shame. I was constantly high or drunk. I eventually began a relationship with a man. He was physically and emotionally abusive and one night, he raped me. This threw me further into my self-destructive behaviors. One day when I was alone, I attempted suicide for the last time. I miraculously survived. Still, I continued with my destructive behavior. I knew things needed to change but didn’t know how to do it. I had known about Mercy for years and decided to finally apply.
When I got to Mercy, I tried acting like I had my life together. I just wanted to get healing and go. After some tough conversations with staff, I started to throw myself into my healing journey. I learned to be vulnerable and show how I am feeling and to communicate. I was able to see God in a whole new light and see Him as the loving Father He is. I was able to renew my mind and see myself in a new light.
During my time at Mercy, the biggest thing for me was seeing my family in a new light. I realized I took them for granted. I pushed them away because I was so scared that they would leave me. Through all of that, they have never stopped loving me. God has shown me how He strategically placed me in this new family. I now know that He did answer my prayers all those years ago; at the time, it wasn’t how I wanted the prayer to be answered, but it was the right answer. God has shown me how He is the redeemer and Father, and how I need my family and their love.
When I go home, I plan on working part-time while finishing my high-school degree and continuing to rebuild my relationship with my family. I plan on going to school for early childhood education and children’s ministry, and eventually helping kids who are like me by being a foster parent to youth.