Nadia – 2017 Graduate
Growing up, I had parents who loved me, but who had an extremely dysfunctional relationship. Although I never knew my biological father, my stepdad treated me as his own, and I always felt love from him and my mom. I was the only colored child in my family which made me feel like I didn’t belong. I saw a lot of pain, depression, anger, addiction, and death in my family at a very young age. I never truly felt like I could be myself or pursue the things I wanted. I felt inadequate, inferior, and ultimately rejected. In middle school I was bullied about my weight and looks. This made me feel like my worth was in what I looked like, what I could do for people, and how well I could perform. I so desperately wanted someone to love, accept, and pursue me. I’d always dreamed of having a boyfriend, and the end of my senior year of high school, I began my first real relationship. I quickly found myself being manipulated, controlled, and abused. Once I thought I finally escaped the relationship, I found out I was pregnant, and my world came crashing down. In my desperation, I decided to have an abortion. This led me into a dark cycle of addiction where I used drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity to numb all the pain I was feeling. When the news spread of my abortion to my family, I had to move out of my house. I felt more betrayed, alone, and insecure than ever. This took me down a path of promiscuity and drinking. This went on for a long period of time. Then, I met a new man who swept me off my feet. I thought I was in love. I found out I was pregnant, and he manipulated me into thinking that it wouldn’t be fair for him, that I was too young, and we were both unprepared. Because I feared his rejection so much, I proceeded with my second abortion. I thought this would lead me into “happily ever after” but instead he began to talk to me less and less and started treating me differently. He started dating someone else, and my heart was crushed. I fell into an even deeper pit of depression and isolation. I began to abuse prescription drugs and started experimenting with many other drugs. I tried to forget about the turmoil I was living in, but I became very suicidal. While at a music festival, I tried to take my own life. After this, I knew I needed help and finally got serious about applying to Mercy.
I learned about Mercy Multiplied through my mom. She saw a music video at our church by Francesca Battestelli called He Knows My Name, which featured four Mercy graduates. At first, I half-heartedly applied because I knew my mom wanted me to. But after my suicide attempt, I really wanted to come and was accepted. I was nervous, but also excited for this new journey. When I walked through the doors of Mercy, I felt God’s presence, and I felt His love through all my Mercy sisters and the staff. The staff encouraged me to show emotions and open up.
One of my major turning points during my Mercy journey was when I read the Invisible Bond by Barbara Wilson and listened to her teachings. Coming into Mercy, I struggled to get over my past relationship, but when I heard Barbara’s words, they leapt out into my heart. Once I began to discover my identity in Christ, I learned that by being physically intimate with men, I was giving away pieces of my soul and decided to commit to not using my body to gain love or attention. Another major turning point at Mercy, was during a worship session when we listened to the song Reckless Love by Bethel. I had always known God loved me, but I never really felt it or believed it. Once I heard this song, I began weeping because I realized that God would do anything to be with me, to protect me, and fight for me. I realized that I am unique and that He loves me personally. I realized He’d been pursuing me my whole life. I felt His love so deeply. It was an amazing experience, and it really boosted my confidence. Another major turning point, was when Freedom and Fashion came to teach at the Mercy home. I had always taken an interest in fashion, but buried those dreams because in my old life, I was using fashion for the wrong reasons. Freedom and Fashion showed me fashion in a whole new way. They taught me the true meaning of it and why it is important. I saw God’s hand in the industry and how intentional the Creator of the universe really is. Through this learning experience, I finally viewed myself as holy, blameless, and as a temple of God.
Throughout my time at Mercy Multiplied, I learned about who I am in Christ and about my true identity. One of my favorite lessons was “Renewing the Mind,” where I began to pick out the lies I believed that had so much of an impact on my view of life, behaviors, and actions. I replaced them with God’s truth and started speaking it out over myself. In the lesson “Choosing to Forgive,” I let go of all the bitterness and resentment that was poisoning my soul. With God’s help, I forgave all of those who hurt me and more importantly, I forgave myself for all the horrible decisions I felt I had made. What really set me free was learning about soul ties and just how deeply a life of promiscuity can affect you. I learned my worth and value and realized that they don’t come from your looks or performance. Now I can view my body as a temple of God and view physical intimacy as a gift reserved for marriage. I gained a deeper level of respect for myself and my Creator. I understand that I have been loved and accepted and that God has been relentlessly pursuing me this whole time!
After Mercy, I plan to pursue a degree in business and fashion. Ultimately, I want my life to be a message so powerful it will move others to change and find the freedom in Christ they’ve been searching for.
Dear Mercy Donors, YOU have helped save my life. Because of your giving, Mercy is able to take girls who are just like me into their homes. You have no idea what an amazing thing you are doing and how much of an impact you have on so many lives. You are truly special and appreciated. I hope that just as much as you pour into us, you are getting blessed and prospering. Thank you again for all your support and love.