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Kayla – 2014 Graduate

KaylaGrowing up, I went to a church that was very judgmental, which made me feel like I had to be perfect. I developed an eating disorder around 11 years old and was later sexually abused by an extended family member. I started drinking and smoking to deal with my feelings. At age 13, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I began self-harming and was suicidal. I almost didn’t graduate high school due to missing so much school because of my eating disorder. After high school, I went to a Christian college but got kicked out because I didn’t follow the rules. I was partying and sleeping around. I got pregnant and had an abortion, which led to severe depression and more drugs and alcohol. I was involved in several abusive relationships and was in and out of the mental health unit in the hospital. I got so depressed I thought, “Why not try God?” I had nothing else left.

My parents encouraged me to apply to Mercy. I knew I needed help. I was so hopeless that I wanted to die. When I got to Mercy, I didn’t like being told what to do, and I didn’t have a good attitude toward authority. However, I decided if I wanted to get better, I had to start following the rules. I allowed the teachings to change me. The biggest thing that helped was the sessions on renewing my mind because I had a lot of negative thinking.

Now I’m learning to take hold of my negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. I now know what it is to have a real relationship with God. I know He loves me and doesn’t hold my past against me.

After I graduate from Mercy, I plan on working and attending church. For my long-term plans, I would like to do an internship at a church or in Guatemala, where I have traveled four times to the same orphanage. I also want to continue working on my Spanish. I hope to go back to school get a degree in some field of ministry. Sometime, I want to get married and have kids.

If it wasn’t for the donors who give to make Mercy possible, I would not have been able to get the help I needed. Mercy changed my life, and I will never be the same. Thank you for this amazing experience!