I grew up as your typical middle child. I was lost and felt like I had no identity of my own. Living in a toxic home, I developed a negative self-image, and many times was left feeling worthless. I experienced physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual trauma all by the age of 10.  One of my close family members had severe anger issues and was a raging alcoholic. In elementary school, I was labeled ADHD and dyslexic and was bullied by my classmates and siblings for being dumb and overweight.

Right before high school, I was sexually assaulted by a classmate. I had extreme anxiety and paranoia about seeing him, which led to me developing an eating disorder. I had my first intentional overdose that year – the first of many. I began drinking and experimenting with drugs. After being kicked out of my home, I was eventually placed in youth shelters, hospitals, rehab centers, and other programs. After a suicide attempt, I was taken to a college youth group event, where I made some friends who told me about Mercy. Four years later, after toxic relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, and multiple suicide attempts, I finally applied to Mercy.

Going to Mercy was an answer to my prayers. I remember walking into the home with tears of gratitude, feeling safe for the first time in so long. The most impactful lesson I learned was Healing Life’s Hurts, which helped me break free from my suicidal thoughts. At Mercy, I traded my grave clothes for a robe of righteousness. It may have taken a long time, but by the grace of God, my counselor, and working with a dietitian weekly, I broke free from an eating disorder. I now know that I have so much worth and value in Christ. I learned to connect and have authentic relationships, and for the first time, I am comfortable in my own skin. The Lord conquered my inner battle and gave me peace so that I could bring peace to our broken world.