To paraphrase a message by Andy Stanley, never leverage another person’s pain to justify the inexistence of God because what you’ll often find in the face of great adversity is great faith.

I’ve been a single mom to my 6 kids most of their lives and for the 7 of us, life prior to Mercy was defined by abuse, depression, fear, and poverty.

I suffered physical and sexual abuse, rape, and homelessness. Despite how bleak that must sound, I know that God never left us. But as a result of what was done to me and my children, I spent years cycling in and out of depression living in near-constant anxiety and fear. At my lowest, I believed the lie my children would be better off with my life insurance policy than with a single mom who was always exhausted and burned out.

I felt I deserved abuse. It was my normal. But I knew my children didn’t. So I filed a restraining order against my 2nd husband and decided to start new. I got a great job. I was in the process of refinancing our home. I remember thinking, it’s so perfect. I don’t ever want anything to change, but everything did when I became involved in an unhealthy relationship. I lost everything. Everything except my faith. In the moment, that didn’t feel like much, so I was forced to spend the next week in and out of hospitals on suicide watch.

The day I was released my chaplain took me on a tour of Mercy, and 5 months later I was there.

Mercy was what I needed. Both God and Mercy Multiplied. In losing everything that mattered to me, I found a closer relationship with God, and my time at Mercy has been nothing short of miraculous.

In order to receive healing, you have to want the Healer more, and God met me where I was. Depressed and full of fear, He dealt with my sexual immorality- something I didn’t think I could give up, even if I wanted to, as sex had become an addiction in my life. But God freed me from my addiction.

At Mercy, I learned the power of praying aloud. I heard God speak to me. I’ve been part of a miracle here. I know now that if it matters to me, it matters to God, and He hears my prayers. God broke the power of fear in my life. The demonic darkness I’ve seen, the nightmares that aren’t dreams, I now know I have authority in Christ to drive them back. For years, I lived with fear controlling me, but not anymore. Not ever again.

2020 has hands down been the hardest year of my life. But despite the loss and pain, in the 5 months at Mercy, I’ve received the most spiritual growth I’ve ever had. I never pictured breaking the cycle of depression. All I wanted for years was peace through suicide because I believed the lie that I was worthless, that I’d never get it right. I’d never be free. Because God DOES have a plan for me and my kids, I now trust Him fully with their futures and mine.

I have forgiven my ex-husbands for the pain they’ve caused me and my children. Because as Andy Stanley says, in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is just a gift from one undeserving soul to another. I’m finally at a place where I can genuinely pray for my kids’ dads. For their salvation and their own healing journeys. Despite all of the uncertainty, I trust God will fulfill His purpose for me and my kids- because He loves them even more than I do and for that, I am forever grateful.

To the donors, thank you, thank you, thank you, for allowing this life-changing ministry to stay open. Your generosity means the world to so many of us who would otherwise go without the help we so desperately need. It’s completely worth any and every investment.