I was raised in a good Christian home and grew up going to a private Christian school and church. My whole life I heard about God and His love for me, but I actually had no idea who He really was or how much He really did love me. I had no idea who I was and was always really insecure about myself. I only had one true friend growing up and the rest of my friends were really mean and made me feel like I was never good enough, which enhanced my insecurity about myself. I also saw a lot of hypocrisy and judgment in the church. This distorted my view of God and I started viewing Him to be the exact same way. I believed that because I could not meet perfection, God would never be pleased with me and did not truly see me. I did not know my own worth or value and did not believe that God loved me, which led me to look for love and my worth through my looks and relationships. I validated myself through friends and boys and started experimenting sexually at the age of 13 and I began self-harming. I also got diagnosed with OCD because of nagging thoughts in my head that would not seem to go away.

At the age of 15, I changed schools and started going to public school. My friends seemed so free, and the church seemed to be nothing but full of hypocrisy and judgment, and people with masks on, that I became deceived. I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol thinking I would gain the freedom I desperately longed for. I began going downhill, but my real downfall was when I received the news that my aunt and uncle had been brutally murdered by someone very close to me and my family. I had a lot of guilt and shame because I believed that I had contributed to it by some things I had said to the person that did it, right before it happened.

After this I started down my path of destruction. I began partying all the time and using harder drugs and became pregnant with my son. A couple of months after becoming pregnant I got very sick and was admitted to the hospital. I was put into a coma and me and my son almost lost our lives, but God had other plans. I was eventually brought out of the coma and was able to leave the hospital with a healthy baby boy in my tummy. After I had gotten out of the hospital, I was told by my family that I either needed to give my son up for adoption or marry his father. Not wanting to give my son up and feeling like I had no other choice, me and my son’s father got married. Shortly after my son was born, I began partying and using drugs again and hanging out with the wrong people and became very reckless. My relationship became verbally, mentally, and physically abusive and my drug use gradually got worse to where I was using every day and I became very isolated.

My life got really bad and I had an incident where I thought that I was overdosing, and my life flashed before my eyes. I realized that I needed help and that I didn’t want to die, so I applied to Mercy.

At Mercy, I got to know who God really is and in Him I truly found everything I’ll ever need and in Him I found the love of my life. I learned that it broke God’s heart when I would isolate myself and that He wants me to have good people in my life and for me to be happy. I learned to trust again and what it looks like to have safe relationships. I was given life-changing principles and information and learned how to fight the schemes of the enemy going through all the modules with my counselor. The two most impactful modules for me were Renewing The Mind and Freedom From Oppression. In the Renewing The Mind module, I learned how powerful my thoughts and words are and that I needed to take my thoughts captive and replace them with God’s truth. It was really surprising to me how much peace I would feel when I would do this and that it actually worked. I used to believe the lie that I was worthless and that God did not love me because of the things that I had done. But in doing my truth statements, I no longer believed that lie and now know my worth and God’s unchanging love for me. I learned about my authority in Christ and who I am as a child of God and that Satan did not have the power to oppress me with anything.

God showed me His faithfulness through all my mistakes, His sweet and loving nature, and that when I had left Him, He had never left me and that He was always right by my side in everything that I went through. He showed me that I have a purpose and that everything Satan used for evil, He is turning for my good. He showed me that He, the God of the universe, is jealous for me and that He didn’t leave me, and He fought to have my heart. He never stopped pursuing me and He was never going to let me go, and that is something that still blows me away. At Mercy my foundation was laid and I cannot wait to see what God builds onto it.

After Mercy, I will be going home to be the best mom I can be to my son and will be finding a job and a place for the two of us. I plan on finishing getting my real estate license and going to Bible college if that’s where the Lord leads me. God has given me new desires, a new life, and true freedom. He awakened my soul. He gave me beauty for ashes and joy for mourning and just as He fought to have my heart, I will now go out into the world and fight for His truth.

To the donors, thank you so much for everything you give to Mercy! We would not be able to be at Mercy and focus on our lives and our healing without you guys!