Hayley – 2014 Graduate
I grew up in an unstable home with a lot of yelling and screaming. When I was seven years old, my parents got a divorce and eventually went through custody battles over my siblings and me. I had to change schools and be taken from everyone I knew for a while in order to be safe. I was told I had to be as good as I could and get good grades or I’d be taken back. I became a perfectionist and tried to manipulate my relationships because I was terrified people would leave me. I turned to guys to feel secure. In 8th grade I began to self-harm. Other girls at my school had done it and said it made them feel better, so I tried it. At age 13, I was hospitalized because of it. When I came back home, I continued to self-harm. A year after my first trip to the hospital, I tried to commit suicide and ended up in the hospital again. My parents reached their breaking point and began to research programs that could help me. My mom remembered hearing about Mercy through a teacher a few years prior and encouraged me to apply.
I came to Mercy broken and ashamed. I felt like I couldn’t get better even if I tried. About my third week in the program, I saw a picture of all these Mercy graduates with their rings on, walking in freedom. I decided no matter what happened, how long it took or how hard it got, I would get to that point of freedom.
While at Mercy, God redefined my life. I haven’t had the urge to self-harm for months. I am also filled with joy again and am beyond happy. I know I don’t have to be perfect because I will fail, but God is perfect for me. I’ve also learned that I am a beautiful daughter of the King.
After graduation, I plan to finish high school and go to college wherever the Lord leads me. I hope to pursue missions and get involved in rescuing sex-trafficking victims. Eventually, I want to get married and have children. For right now though, I want to grow stronger in my walk with God.
To all who give support and love to Mercy, thank you so much. Without you, I would not have had the life change that I’ve had. Everything you have done has blessed me in every way, and I can never thank you enough.