Mary Catherine – 2015 Graduate
Parts of my home life caused me to believe my needs and emotions came secondary to the needs and emotions of others. The first time I can remember feeling bigger than I should be was when I was five. I would carry this perception of myself into my teen years. Sexual experiences at an early age also led me to develop unhealthy sexual behaviors that brought a lot of shame and guilt. I developed a skewed idea of what love really was, and I felt the need to bottle my emotions and keep things to myself. In my teen years I began to self-harm as an attempt to release all the emotional turmoil. I also decided that if I were skinny, my problems would go away, so I began binging and purging. When my parents divorced a few years later, alcohol provided me an escape. I started being promiscuous in an attempt to gain love and acceptance. I started smoking weed, and by the end of my junior year I was expelled for marijuana possession and paraphernalia. In an attempt to get sober I admitted myself to outpatient rehab. I ended up staying sober for eight months only to relapse on New Year’s Eve. By this time I found a substance that suppressed my appetite, so not only was my addiction back in full swing, but my eating disorder was out of control. I was consuming more substance than food, and my life was extremely chaotic. When presented with the option of moving out or getting help, I left my dad and step mother’s home. All my money went toward my habits, so I was also constantly worried about where or when my next meal would come and where I would sleep each night.
I heard about Mercy from my step mother who knew the parent of a Mercy graduate. Even though I didn’t believe I had a problem, I agreed to look at Mercy’s website. After I watched the promo video I knew I had to get into the program. I wanted the freedom the girls in the video had. When I got to Mercy I had pretty much lost all hope. I had lost all sight of who I really was, and I didn’t have any idea how I was going to climb out of the giant pit of mud that had become my life. I knew if I didn’t try to get help it wouldn’t be long before my issues would end up costing me my life.
A major turning point for me was receiving a personal word of encouragement from one our guest speakers in the home. It was the first experience at Mercy to ignite my hope and propel me into the healing process. After that I had no doubt about the character of God and His promises for my life. The rest of my time at Mercy was a process full of many life-altering revelations, one right after another. It allowed me to experience God and allow Him into all the places that were broken.
While at Mercy not only did God strip away all my former issues and the shame along with them, but He started creating this entirely new woman of integrity, one with hopes and dreams that looks forward to her bright future. God redeemed absolutely everything while I was at Mercy: my mind, my passion, my hope, my joy, my love, my relationships, my self-worth and value, right down to the person He has created me to be. Absolutely everything I lost in the chaos of life, God restored and then some while I was at Mercy. I’ve learned so much, it’s hard to put into words.
After graduating from Mercy I plan to go back home and continue my education, as well as go on my first international mission trip. My long-term goals are to write books that will help broken women and one day have a family of my own.
I don’t possess the vocabulary to accurately express my gratitude to Nancy Alcorn and people who support Mercy financially. All I can say is thank you so much for making my freedom a reality! Because of your obedience to the Lord, I now have the freedom I’ve always longed for but never knew was possible. My life will never be the same.