My trauma began just after I turned 5 and through the beginning of Kindergarten. My babysitter’s husband raped me up to 10 times a day for almost that entire school year. It finally ended when they moved away. Two years later when I was 7 I told my mom what happened. Because I waited to tell anyone, there was no longer enough evidence to convict him. That time in my childhood caused a dark hole to be created within me and the only way I learned how to cope was by ignoring it at all costs. The hole only grew deeper every time I was sexually abused again, both by people I knew and strangers throughout my life, up until a time just before I came to Mercy.

In high school, I started to use any and every substance I could get my hands on to help me ignore the pain from within. Shortly after my 21st birthday I started using heroin. I discovered the guy I was dating at the time was using and because of my extremely addictive tendencies I decided to join him instead of getting out of that relationship. During that time, I began spending entire paychecks, borrowing money, pawning my phone and laptop, and stealing from Walmart. All to support my couple-hundred-dollars-a-day habit. My life had truly become the definition of insanity and completely unmanageable. I was self-mutilating by picking my skin for hours creating scabs all over my face and body. After a few accidental overdoses and waking up in the E.R. I realized the hell I’d been living in would simply slip away forever with one strong shot. I had given up on life and had nothing left to keep going. Every couple of weeks, I tried overdosing on purpose and every time, by the grace of God and my mom’s unrelenting prayers, I would wake up. My mom told me I needed to get help. She began researching rehabs. I was reluctant at first but felt a supernatural peace once she discovered Mercy Multiplied. Her best friend, who attended a different church, knew my mom was looking for rehabs for me and had heard about Mercy in a church service. It took me six months to get through the application process, but I walked into the doors of the Mercy home in Lincoln, California. That first day was a nightmare for me and probably for the staff as well. After our initial tour and talk with Freddie, the home director there, I refused to say goodbye to my mom and uncle. Instead I sobbed for over 20 minutes on the ground outside the home until staff came and told me I needed to wrap it up, so my family could leave. I spent the remainder of the day walking around, a rose in hand that my sister had given me, with my head down, and my hair covering my face, so I could avoid everyone I passed. When I started the program, I was physically dependent on drugs and due to my extensive use, I was under-weight and had scars all over my body.

Mercy Multiplied has taught me what freedom is. I now walk in that freedom as a result of renewing my mind. I’m able to identify when the enemy is trying to fill my head with lies. I have learned to combat the lies with God’s truth. I’ve gotten a lot of practice setting healthy boundaries, which allows me to be there for others without giving too much of myself. When stressful or sad situations come up and cause heartache, instead of using substances to dull the pain, I have learned to feel that emotion and then release it to God. During those times, I try to remember what I have to be grateful for and that helps me shift out of negativity and into positivity. One of the greatest gifts I have received is self-confidence through knowing who I am in Christ. He has empowered me to use my gifts and strengths to spread God’s deep love for each individual. God has also shown me that He is a redemptive and restorative God. Despite the many things I have done wrong throughout my life, nothing was too big for God to forgive. Nothing was too much to prevent me from experiencing the blessings in life God has intended for me. He has transformed me physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

After I leave Mercy, I am going back to the help and loving support of my family. There I will give birth to my beautiful little girl. She is due on my Birthday. After I have her, I will begin training as a dental or medical assistant, so I can support my daughter and myself. When Ella gets older, I will go to school to study phycology and sociology, so I can help others who are hurting. Although my life has taken many detours along the way, I’m grateful for where I’ve been because my past doesn’t define me. It has shaped my destiny.

To the donors, thank you so much for the support you provide to Mercy Multiplied. You may not realize the impact your contributions have, but so many women like me, are transformed by the healing process Mercy offers, through the help from people like you. Because of my healing, I actually have a chance to live the life God intended me to live. I will also be able to give my daughter the life she deserves. In my case, it wasn’t only one life that was saved, it was two.