I grew up in a very loving Christian home with my parents and four siblings. I asked God into my heart more times than I can remember growing up because of how I viewed God through what I was taught. I grew up thinking that God was going to punish me, and I thought that I would not be forgiven for certain sins. I tried so hard to be good. I heard that God loved me, but I had no understanding of His love in my heart. I was sick and tired of trying to be good enough for God and for my parents.
I started drinking at the age of 14 and began to self-harm. I lost my virginity at age 16 to a boy that crushed my heart. High school was a very dark time. I graduated high school early so desperate to follow that boy and be free from expectations and condemnation and I attended college for 1 year. During that time, I sought my value through sex, I went to jail three times, and I partied hard.
One day while in my college dorm, detectives knocked on my door to tell me that there was a video going around of me being raped. I was encouraged to prosecute, but I ran away from the situation because I blamed myself. I was full of shame and guilt. I dropped out of college and pursued life on my own. Misery and pain cannot begin to describe it well enough. Alcohol addiction took me to a darkness so hopeless, it would have been easier to have died. I planned everything around alcohol. No one understood the extent I went to just so I could function. Every day I felt embarrassment, anxiety, fear, and despair. Doctors gave me anxiety medications, but my alcohol use would never allow me to take them. I went to the hospital multiple times for panic attacks or alcohol-related issues. I gave myself easily to men. My soul was destroyed by the promiscuous life I lived, and shame drove me deeper into addiction.
In 2017 my upstairs neighbor sexually assaulted me, but once again I blamed myself. I stayed in denial about being raped and downplayed my sexual assault. I knew I was not going to wake up one day with the amount of alcohol I was consuming. But I just accepted it. I lost all hope, and my self-harm was getting worse. My sister Damaris always talked about Mercy to me, but I couldn’t figure out how to want it bad enough. In May of 2020, I quit my job and three days later had a wreck that could have killed me or someone else. I got a DWI. I knew I had to do something.
After being at Mercy, I can confidently say that I experience God’s love for me. I finally accepted what happened and let go of all of the shame and guilt that I had buried inside. I finally believe in my heart that it was not my fault. That burden I held is gone. I have learned how to break the strongholds that were weighing me down and tormenting me. I have learned how to take every lie that the devil tries to tell me captive and speak the truth about who God says I am! The anxiety that doctors told me I had is defeated. All the fear that crippled my everyday life is defeated. All the hopelessness and despair are defeated. All the mental torment is defeated. The 12-year battle with alcohol addiction is defeated. Sexual addiction is defeated. A 10-year smoking addiction is defeated.
I can stand here today and say that I love the woman I am, and I am so proud of myself. It is a dream come true to be able to say that. I have fully forgiven those who hurt me, and I have forgiven the person that was the hardest to forgive – myself. My Sovereign Father fights for me, pursues me, cherishes me, adores me, and He wants to be with me every single day. He saved my life and fully restored my body back to health. I am going back home to live fully alive as the woman I have always been at my core. I will be planting seeds of romance, the beauty of life, and helping others awaken their deepest inner self to live fully alive with God.
To the donors, thank you would never be enough. I would not know the freedom I have today without your support. Thank you for making freedom a reality for me.