I grew up in a very chaotic environment that included domestic violence and abuse. My parents divorced when I was five years old, and from then on, they were almost constantly in custody battles over my siblings and me. I began to feel used and like my feelings didn’t matter, like a pawn in a game of chess. On top of this, a close family member was very verbally and emotionally abusive, constantly calling me fat and making me feel bad about myself. After years of this, I really believed that I was fat, ugly, unworthy, hopeless, and that my voice would never be heard. By high school, I was very depressed and had severe anxiety. I developed numerous unhealthy ways to cope with my pain. Shortly before I graduated high school, I started going to church and tried really hard to turn things around for myself, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed to trust God, but I didn’t know how to give up control. I was too scared to trust Him. Eventually my friends at church pointed out that I needed help, but I didn’t know where to go, nor could I afford to go anywhere. 

I found out about Mercy while searching for a residential treatment center. I decided to apply after checking out Mercy’s website and reading some of the graduate testimonies. Reading the testimonies gave me hope, and I got the feeling that Mercy was the answer to my prayers. When I arrived I was hopelessly depressed and really needed God to show me that there was more to life than what I was currently living. For so long I had been trying to cover up my pain but nothing seemed to be working anymore.

A big turning point for me at Mercy was realizing my mistake in trying to control things. I didn’t want to surrender control of my life and trust in God’s plan. Once I realized I was wrong in thinking I could do things better on my own, God redeemed it. He showed me that He really is walking through this life with me, and He is not going to leave me. I will never be perfect, but I am so worth loving, helping, and giving a second chance.

I used to think I was defined by what I have always known and lived in, and I used to believe I was a mistake. I learned that those are all lies. I have value and I have purpose, and God knew exactly what He was doing when He created me. God doesn’t make mistakes, He makes masterpieces, and I am not an exception to that. I have a future. I may not always know the exact plans God has, but that doesn’t mean there are none. I just have to trust in Him and trust in His timing. Through my journey at Mercy, God has brought true freedom to my life.

After Mercy, I went back to school and finished my associates degree and am now pursuing my bachelor’s degree. My GPA has been a steady 4.0, and I will graduate in 2019 with a major in social science and a minor in Biblical studies. I plan to attend law school after that. To prepare for law school, I am interning with the county’s chief assistant prosecuting attorney. I love the idea of being able to bring justice to people whose lives have been drastically impacted by crime.

I am on the university cheer, cross country, and track teams, which is amazing because I never thought I would get the chance to participate in sports again! I also have been serving in youth ministry and love being able to pour into the lives of young people.

I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to go through the Mercy program, as it has changed my life. Prior to Mercy, I really had no idea how I was going to get through life. I was so broken and had so much baggage. Now I am excited and hopeful because I know that God has a plan for me, and He will provide everything I need to see His plan through.