Shayna – 2014 Graduate
I had a very difficult upbringing. A close family member was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to me my entire childhood and into my teen years. Because of this abuse, I turned to self-harm, porn and promiscuity at a young age to try and cope with what I was going through. I acted out more and more so I could actually feel something. This led to an alternative sexual lifestyle I quickly became involved in and addicted to. While in this lifestyle, I was deeply abused on many different levels, and that abuse drug me further into my addictions because that’s what I felt I deserved. I burned bridges and tried to run away from God. I was in so much pain. I didn’t think I could be loved with what I had done.
I found out about Mercy through an ad online and requested an application packet. I didn’t fill it out immediately because I wasn’t ready yet. But when I hit rock bottom a few months later, I knew I needed help. I walked through the doors of Mercy angry and self-reliant, thinking I would be able to breeze through the program and be out in a few months.
There were three big turning points for me while I was at Mercy. The first was when I realized I was trying to compensate for my lack of relationship with God by being overly close with people, even the staff. The second was when a guest speaker came to the home. What she said really resonated with me. We got the chance to talk one-on-one afterwards, and through that conversation I was able to realize I was not alone in my issues. She had gone through some of the same things I had and had been able to come out on the other side. The third turning point came when I got the tragic news that my mother had committed suicide. That was one of the hardest moments of my life but one of the most defining ones as well. Through this loss I was able to see that God really was close to me in every situation. I was able to grow closer to Him during that time more than ever before.
God has touched my heart, broken open my wounds and brought healing to me in ways I never thought He could have. I have a hope for a future that I had thought was impossible. The biggest thing that I learned was that I can have a deeply fulfilling relationship with God that goes beyond anything I was ever taught it could be.
After Mercy, I plan to go back to work and eventually go to school. I would like to get a degree in apologetics and comparative religion. I would also like to volunteer, if not work, for Mercy someday.
To everyone who gives to Mercy, your faithfulness and obedience to God helped save and drastically alter the course of my life. Thank you for what you did, and please don’t ever stop, because what you do really does save lives.