When I turned six, my parents divorced and I became the messenger between my parents because they stopped communicating with each other. After everything in court was settled, custody of me was split evenly. I spent half the week with each of my parents. Two years later, my dad remarried and I gained four step-siblings. One of my new step-brothers and I were close in age. When I was eight, he violated me and told me if I ever told anyone he would lie and blame me for it. My dad divorced my first step-mom six months later. When I turned 12, my dad got married again to a woman who wanted me out of the picture. She often made hurtful comments to me about my weight and the way I dressed. One time when my dad was out of town, she was verbally abusive toward me and I called my mom to come get me. When my mom got to my dad’s house, my new step-mom started a verbal fight that soon turned into a physical fight. This ended with me and my mom in hand cuffs. When I was at my mom’s house, I took out my anger at my dad on her. We fought a lot and suddenly I felt like I had no one to trust. In high school, I was bullied and turned to drugs and drinking to numb myself. I ended up being raped by multiple guys at my school. I felt as if I couldn’t run from the pain, but that I needed to be stronger at the same time. After this happened multiple times, I was told I was only good enough for sex and that I would never be able to make any one happy. I started to believe this lie. This turned into an addition that started to control my life. I found acceptance in giving into what others wanted from me. This went on for five years. During my junior year of high school, my step-mom had my first half-brother. I was constantly told I wasn’t allowed to touch or even be near him. After I graduated from high school, my pappy was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in front of me. I turned back to sex for comfort and got pregnant right away.  Soon after this, I found out that one of my friends hung herself the night after we had been together. Throughout the next eight months things out only got worse. My baby’s father was an alcoholic and drug addict. I hoped so badly that we would be a family, but he only wanted me for money and sex. When I had my baby, his father lived with us for two months, but then he would show up for a couple days at a time then disappear for multiple weeks. As long as he had control over me and who I was with, he wouldn’t come around. About three months after having my baby, I found out that he had slept with all of my closest friends, leaving me alone. I worked full time and started EMT school. I wanted to be able to be independent from my baby’s father, but a month after starting school I dropped out. After having a big fight with my mom, I stopped caring about life altogether. I went out every night, quit my job and started selling drugs for money. Every time I went out, my ex-boyfriend would show up with other people to jump me. One night, I blacked out and some people who were supposed to be my friends raped me in front of everyone I knew. I was numb and spent the next week lost. I wanted to die and thought about it often. I didn’t knew who else to turn to, so I walked to my aunt’s house and that night we started the Mercy application process.

My aunt’s friend found out about how badly I was doing and told my aunt about the help her daughter found at Mercy. When she encouraged me to fill out the application, I did so as my last hope.

While I was at Mercy, a speaker came to the home around Christmas break. Through this person, God revealed to me that I needed to be there.

God showed me that I am loved and made pure in his eyes. I learned that no parts of my past are insignificant. I know now that the enemy has no power over my life. God provided a way for me to escape my past.

After Mercy, I want to go home and mend relationships within my family and gain their trust again. I want to be the mom that my two-year-old daughter needs. After I spend some time at home and get a job, I want to be able to share my story with people who have gone through the things I have and let them know that they are worth it. The fight is worth it.

I am thankful to the Mercy donors for giving me the opportunity for a second chance. Thank you also to all people who have shown me love while I was at Mercy, especially when I was unable to love myself.