Dallas, 2012 Graduate

All my life I have been crippled in fear, usually in my sleep. My mom taught me to pray to God for protection, but the feelings of fear would not go away. I felt defeated and would usually begin to panic. This continued well into my teen years.

On the outside looking in, our family appeared to be flawless, but in reality that was far from the truth. A lot of mental, emotional, and physical abuse took place in my home for as long as I can remember. Everything that occurred at home was kept a secret. Very quickly I began to believe that no one could be trusted. I believed that it was my responsibility to be sure that I never upset anyone.

When I was 9 years old, I was pressured to become sexually active. I not only gained a lot of guilt and shame from the experiences, but I also the believed that I was used and dirty. Because of this, I allowed a lot of people to take advantage of me sexually. I soon became very promiscuous during my teen years.

Growing up I constantly struggled with being overweight. When I lost weight after a surgery at 14, I began to receive a lot of compliments. I began to believe the lie I had been telling myself: that my approval was based on my weight and appearance. As hard as I tried I could never keep the weight off.

Meanwhile, my mom was fighting a long term health battle. She was my stability and safety at home, so I feared about what life would be like without her. When I was 12 years old my parents got divorced. The process of my parents divorce was a complete mess and I was told to keep it secret.

In high school my life started to spiral out of control. At about the age of 14, I started doing drugs and drinking. I lived a double life and I was convinced that no one had a clue about what I was doing. Finally in grade 12 I got kicked out of school for showing up to school intoxicated. I started getting help for my addictions. I learned to “work the system” and lied to my counsellors about being sober. In the midst of all this, I started dating a man who was very opposed to my drug use. I started to clean up my act, but would still regularly get high with friends behind his back.

By about the age of 18, I developed a binge eating disorder. I got to the point that my weight became such a problem that I had no choice but to fix it. I began doing workout videos and eating right. But with my tendency to go to the extremes, my weight loss turned very ugly very quickly. Within only a few months, I was excessively counting calories, obsessing over food, exercise, and purging. I lost almost half of my body weight within one year. My restrictions and obsessions continued to get worse and worse, no matter how much weight I lost it was never enough.

My family’s worries about my low weight finally took its toll and my cousin flew in from another province to talk to me about Mercy. Something was different this time, there was a feeling in the pit of my stomach — it was hope. With the amazing support of my boyfriend, my family and friends I quickly started my application to Mercy.

While I waited to get into Mercy I was losing weight at a faster rate than ever before and there was nothing anyone could do or say to stop me. I was declined by every facility to help with my eating disorder and at the rate that I was going I needed help immediately. One Friday my mom received a phone call from my doctor that I urgently needed to be taken into the hospital, test results had come back and it showed that everything that could have been wrong was, and my life was on the line.

While I was in hospital many people were praying for me, the doctor came into the room with test results that proved something medically impossible had occurred. My body had begun to miraculously heal itself and my life was no longer in danger. My mom and I walked out of the hospital giving full glory to God.

After anxiously waiting for 4 months, I walked through the doors of Mercy with a desperate attitude to receive healing and freedom for my life. Mercy has not even come close to helping me cope with any of my issues, they have far surpassed that. I have learned that through Christ, I can overcome ALL my issues and no longer let them control my life.

Before coming to Mercy I would have never believed that God wanted to have a personal relationship with me. Within my first week at Mercy I welcomed God back into my life and was filled with the Holy Spirit. God met me in my traumatic incidents I suffered as a child and showed me that He has been with me all this time, He told me I have nothing to fear.

I choose to turn my thoughts to God and His great mercy rather than consuming my mind with addictions, sexual sin and eating disorders. Thanks to Him, I am now walking in freedom from my eating disorders and I know that I have the choice to choose life and not only that but I can enjoy it too. I am so excited to have the strength and energy again to do what I love, climb up into the saddle and ride my horses.

My mistakes do not define me and what I do does not add or subtract from who I am. I am a child of God and I am beautiful, blameless and treasured in the eyes of my Heavenly father. Because of God I no longer live under guilt and shame from my past.