I was born to loving parents, and I grew up very happy. I was very involved in church, but at a young age, I began to see myself through the lens of what I could and should be for others. During college, I experienced a lot of hypocrisy and abuse within my school and church. I also ended up in many toxic and abusive relationships, which only fueled my distrust in authority and God. After a very serious breakup, I fell heavily into drinking. I felt I had nowhere to turn to, but the one constant in my life – alcohol. I neglected and subsequently lost a lot of meaningful relationships and then filled the voids with shallow ones. I completed two separate stints in rehab, but my heart was not changing at all. Still, looking back at this time in my life, I can see how much God was pursuing me.
After years of attempting various forms of counseling, medicines, new jobs, new relationships, self-help books, different doctors, and every journaling exercise imaginable– I knew I was running out of options. My sister told me about Mercy. She had done the Keys to Freedom study with a small group of hers, and unbeknownst to me, she had been praying for my acceptance into a program I hadn’t even applied to yet. At first, I was hesitant about entering a long-term program, but I had exhausted all other options and felt if it were meant to be, it would be.
When I first arrived at Mercy, I was very hesitant to receive the spiritual side of things, because I had so many past hurts from the church and Christians in my life. I had a lot of head knowledge about God, but I had trouble connecting my heart to my head. Slowly but surely, I was connecting more, both outwardly and inwardly. From staff, counselors, and fellow roommates, I began to take down the walls, share more, and stop trying to be all the things I thought people wanted me to be. As I did that, I was met with such love and grace that I was able to build a stronger relationship with God.
As I started living as a more open person, God began to change things in me that I did not even know needed to be changed. I began to hope and dream again. Once I started to work on my pride and let go of the independence that I so tightly held on to when I first arrived, the more I was able to surrender to Him.
Within the walls of Mercy, I began a crazy application for graduate school, a dream job, and a place to live. He gave me a 3-in-1 miracle for my future. After Mercy, I will be moving and working towards my master’s degree. I will also be working for a university as a Retention Program Coordinator. It is bittersweet to leave a place I’ve come to know as my home for the last nine months, but I am beyond excited to see what God has in store for me in this next season of life. I am leaving here with more sisters in Christ and more faith in a God who truly does “exceedingly and abundantly more” than I could ever ask or think.
To the donors, thank you for providing a place where God can truly administer life, hope, and healing. My life and the lives of those I will impact in my future will never be the same.