I grew up in a Christian home, and as a little girl I accepted Jesus as my Savior. Despite this, life was far from perfect. I was verbally and physically abused as a child. My mom was sick a lot, and I lived a lot of my childhood in a state of fear. I had to grow up fast and eventually learned to bottle things inside.
As a young teen I started suffering from severe depression and suicidal thoughts, and eventually self-harm and an eating disorder. Even though I had some support, my problems progressively got worse. I spent many years in and out of several psychiatric hospitals and adolescent residential treatment centers. I had received a lot of comfort and support through secular treatment, but it couldn’t free me or heal my internal wound. My problems were still lurking inside of me. Pain still engulfed my heart.
In addition to self-harm, I eventually turned to men and a secret life of promiscuity to try and find solace from my insecurities, and an anesthetic for my pain. Treatment hadn’t seemed to help, and my church shamed mental health issues, so I gave up on treatment. I tried the “fake it till you make it” approach to life. I transferred to a Christian university, tried to press into God more, and got involved in a different church. But the pain and problems didn’t go away. After three years of barely scraping by spiritually, emotionally, and academically I knew I couldn’t continue doing the same thing.
Nancy Alcorn spoke at two of my church’s women’s events, and after making many excuses of why I shouldn’t apply, I finally got up the courage. I walked through the doors of Mercy, broken and in so much bondage. I was excited yet terrified because I knew Mercy was my last hope of healing and freedom.
My journey at Mercy was, to say the least, bumpy. I struggled to let go of my old, self-destructive behaviors. But God met me within these walls time and time again, especially on my hardest and lowest days. Every conversation, class, counseling session, and assignment helped me grow and heal. The more that Jesus worked on my heart and mind, the more I realized that I am enough, and that God had more in store for my life than simply surviving.
Through the Holy Spirit working through some difficult conversations with my counselors, I came to grips with some past trauma that I had never accepted, and once I did this, a load was lifted from me. The chains of shame, guilt, and condemnation that had held me captive for years broke. Without the chains, I began to see myself as a daughter of God and grow in an intimate relationship with my heavenly Father. Other aspects of my healing and transformation fell into place when I started living in my identity of who I am in Christ instead of the labels of my past. I began to overcome the lies I had believed for years when I realized I’m NOT dirty, damaged, guilty, worthless, or defined by my past, but I AM clean, redeemed, pure, precious, and made for a purpose. The pain from my past lessened as I received God’s healing and comfort. I learned to rely on Him on the hard days. I allowed Him to take off my sackcloth of mourning and replace it with joy.
After Mercy I’ll be moving back home to finish up my last year of college to receive my Bachelor’s in Youth Ministries. During that time, I’ll also be working with my university to become a credentialed minister. I plan to work with youth and young adults in whatever capacity God leads me to. I want to pour into the lives of hurting young people because of the freedom and healing I have received here at Mercy through the love, mercy, and grace of God.