After my mom died when I was 14, I was never allowed to express my emotions. Instead, I used eating disorder behavior and self-harm to cope with my pain. I struggled with a lot of rejection, abandonment, depression and anxiety growing up. I hated who I was and what I looked like and felt like I was never good enough. Immediately after graduating from college, I married my high school sweetheart, but the loneliness of being an army wife caught up with me, and I began using eating disorder behaviors to cope with life. I became so completely engrossed in eating disorder behavior, I required multiple hospital stays. On two separate occasions, my weight was so low, I was forced to go on feeding tubes. I was wasting away and slowly dying. My life revolved around eating disorder behaviors, and it was all I could think about all day long. I spent months going through the cycle of treatment, recovery and relapse. I heard about Mercy from a friend and decided to apply.
While at Mercy, God has shown me His awesome and amazing love. I do matter, and I am and always have been enough. He has also shown me how truly perfect His timing is. While on the waiting list, I started rebuilding my relationship with my husband, and just a few weeks after coming to Mercy, I found out I was pregnant. I had learned and grown so much from the program that I was determined to stick it out and see it through for my own life and the life of my unborn child, very likely saving the life of my baby. God has shown me that my life does matter and that He loves me so much more than I can really comprehend.
After graduation, I plan to go back home with my husband. I want to volunteer and get involved with our church. I plan to be a stay at home mom for a while after the birth of our baby in March. Eventually, I would like to use my psychology degree and help other girls struggling with eating disorder behavior. I can’t thank Mercy enough for the healing they’ve helped me receive through God!
Before coming to Mercy, I was hopeless. I hated myself because of past sexual abuse. I felt like I had to punish myself for the things I had done, so I began cutting. I also developed an eating disorder in an attempt to feel some sense of control. Because I hated myself, I tried to end my life and ended up in the ICU. This began a cycle of going in and out of mental hospitals for two and a half months. Doctors told me that I would be institutionalized for the rest of my life. Then, my best friend graduated from Mercy and came home. I saw how truly transformed her life was and how God changed her heart. I wanted what she had, so I decided to apply.
While at Mercy, God has shown me that He truly loves me. My past abuse was not His plan. His plan is for me to have life and have life abundantly. I have also learned that God meets us right where we are. I don’t have to “fix” myself before I come to God, He accepts me just the way I am.
After graduation, I plan to get a part-time job and go to college. I would like to get a degree in the mental health field. I also have a heart for the homeless and hope to share the hope that I now have in Christ by volunteering at a homeless shelter. Mercy Ministries has laid the foundation of God’s Word in my life, and I’m so grateful.
Before Mercy, I felt alone and unloved. I was neglected, abandoned and abused multiple times growing up. At school, I was often the center of others' cruel jokes and felt stupid and worthless as a result. I truly hated myself and began cutting and starving myself as punishment for being unlovable and unwanted. I was angry with God and with those who had abandoned me, and I shut myself off from everyone, vowing to never trust again. I decided to starve myself to death, and when my counselor realized what I was doing, she told me about Mercy. I was losing hope, so I decided to apply.
Being at Mercy has been one of the best experiences of my life. Since being here, I have learned that I have value and a purpose for my life. Satan’s plan for my life was pain and death, but God has a plan to give me hope and a future. He took me out of the pit and gave me a new life. I have learned that what others say about me doesn’t matter, because God calls me beautiful and lovable. I have learned that only Christ can fill my heart and take care of my needs.
After graduation, I plan to go to Bible College to get a degree in counseling. I want to share my story with others and help them to know God’s unconditional love. I want people to know that God is the only one who can heal them and that what they have done in the past doesn’t mean they are disqualified from a relationship with Christ. He accepts us as we are if we just surrender our hearts to Him.
I was raised in a Christian family, but of course we had problems. I was learning about the Bible in school and my parents took me to church, but as I got older, I wasn’t interested in God. I felt like a freak and got involved in some deep sexual perversion. I began drinking and getting involved with guys in hopes of numbing my pain, but the relief was always temporary. There was so much chaos and darkness inside of me, and I had a deep desire to die. I ended up being controlled by obsessive thoughts of food and began starving myself. I saw several therapists who told me I would never be free and that women live all their lives with eating disorders. I would always leave in tears and despair. I would go to therapists who tried to help me, but without God, nothing helped. I heard about Mercy from a friend of my mom and decided to apply.
While at Mercy, I learned that God has been there, even in the most painful times. When I felt so alone and like I couldn’t take it, He drew near to comfort and strengthen me. I met people here who are so in love with Jesus that I can see Him shining through them and feel the love in their hearts. I’ve given my heart to the Lord, and He is my only hope. Now I am excited to live!
After graduation, I plan to get a new job and save up for college. In college, I’d like to study to be a teacher or a nurse. Thank you so much to everyone at Mercy! The care and counsel I’ve received here has been so precious to me.
Congratulations ladies! It is so incredible to see you so full of hope and excited for the future that God has for you. We know you are going to have an incredible impact on other hurting young women in your communities and around the world!