Sarah – 2017 Graduate
I was born to a young, single mother. Since I never had a relationship with my biological father, I believed I was unwanted and unloved. Part of my identity was missing and this left a hole in my heart. Because of a sickness I had at birth, many people helped take care of me. I was told this story over and over growing up, and it made me feel ashamed. I believed I was a burden. My mom met the man I called my “dad” when I was a baby. After this relationship ended, my mom married my stepdad. It was confusing and chaotic for me, going back and forth between two very different households. My dad had many girlfriends consistently moving in and out of the home, and he brought unsafe people inside the home. Through this, I experienced sexual abuse at age five. I was later sexually manipulated and abused by three guys who I thought were my best friends after high school. At this point I had been attending church for a year and got radically saved. The church was the first place I felt my Father’s love. However, because of the abuse, I became depressed and suicidal.
I felt called to ministry and started attending a bible college. In college, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and suffered severe symptoms. This caused a lot of nagging insecurities for me. I hated myself and didn’t see how any man would want me or find me attractive. In addition to the ovarian disease, I struggled knowing my purpose and finding my identity in Christ. Puberty had caused me to gain weight, my hair turned curly, and I struggled with my ethnicity, being in a small, rural community. I hated how short I was and how different I looked than everyone else. This caused me to overachieve to earn love. I was a perfectionist and took pride in playing sports, graduating third in my class, and getting into honors college. However, I still didn’t like myself despite my achievements. In adulthood, I became a workaholic. I kept striving, was self-sufficient, and a people-pleaser. I found my comfort in fast food, and I didn’t know what self-love and self-care looked like.
I first heard about Mercy Multiplied in bible college from a previous graduate. I applied, but withdrew my application because I didn’t feel like my issues were “severe” enough. I went on to be a youth pastor and lead worship at my church, but endured spiritual abuse. Life became unmanageable and my dreams and goals of ministry were crushed. I decided it was time to apply to Mercy again. When I came to Mercy, I was chronically fatigued, overweight, unhappy with my life, had low self-esteem, and nagging insecurities from the ovarian disease I have been battling for ten years. I was experiencing a lot of shame, guilt, and condemnation.
At Mercy, a turning point in my journey was learning the “Renewing the Mind” principle of freedom. I was able to recite over ninety scriptures over myself daily, which helped replace the many lies I believed about myself with the truth of God’s Word.
Through Mercy, God has helped me overcome the pain of my birth story, the abuse, and has restored my emotions. I overcame my insecurities, fears, negativity, shame, guilt, rejection, self-sabotage, unforgiveness, and abandonment issues. I began thinking more positively about myself. The burden of nagging insecurities lifted and so did my fear and self-hatred. As I got healthier emotionally, I started to get healthier physically, too.
After I graduate from Mercy, I plan on working for a non-profit Christian organization, serving in ministry at my church, and getting married!
Thank you to all of the donors who have made my transformation possible.