Melody, 2015 Graduate

I struggled with being a pastor’s daughter; I never felt good enough. Every mistake I made felt recorded and I had to be on constant guard for perfection. As time went on, I grew very bitter towards both my parents and the church. I didn’t find a sense of belonging there.

When I was 11, my innocence was shattered by a janitor at the school I was attending. A couple of years later I had a relationship with an older boy who put pressure on me to meet his sexual expectations, but he soon broke up with me.

I was very broken from this relationship and chose to remain silent about it for years. I became very promiscuous with my words, actions, and online exchanges and soon those exchanges went viral in my school. The shame that fell over me became overbearing, so now 14 years old, I walked to the overpass near my house with the intention to jump over. I was already over the railing when I felt someone touch my shoulder and say my name, asking me to stop, and begging me to let him take my pain away. When I turned around, no one was there. My heart pounding, I walked back crying all the wayI know God was there that day.

I continued to jump from relationship to relationship, getting hurt countless times. At 18, I found myself pregnant. I had no idea what to do and I was afraid of my parent’s reaction, so I hid the pregnancy and moved out. After the baby’s father found out, he threatened to take me to court. 

At 5 and a half months, before anything could go further, I went to the hospital and was told I was in fact experiencing a phantom pregnancy (when an empty embryo plants itself into your uterus and grows, thinking it’s a baby).

Nothing prepared me to hear that I was in fact never pregnant. I thought I must have been crazy so I told everyone I lost a son, covering the story to prevent people from judging me. I kept this secret for 2 years until I got to Mercy.

My life continued to spiral downward after high school. I moved in with a boyfriend, took a modelling job which led me into the dark cold world of pornography, and was again sexually assaulted by a friend. Soon after I found out I was pregnant, for real this time.

Just at that time, my cousin texted me out of the blue (after not being in contact for 2 years) telling me he was praying for me. I felt a pull to BC, knowing something needed to happen.

When I arrived, the local church community welcomed me and loved on me, regardless of my pregnancy. I found that I was not judged as I thought I would be by Christians. At a conference held at the church, I was touched in a way I hadn’t been before. I gave my life back to God that day.

Unfortunately, I miscarried, which started a long, hard, painful time in my life.

I felt God was now punishing me for my past life, telling me I was never going to make it as a mother. In the midst of that misery, the pastor from our church told me about Mercy, I agreed to go, desperate for the help I needed.

I didn’t quite know what to expect coming to Mercy. But I knew something in my life had to change. Being at Mercy, life began to open up in ways that were much more beautiful than I could have imagined. I was encouraged to speak truth into my life with scriptures that I didn’t even knew were there. I began to really see the Bible as the living, breathing Word.

Thanks to Mercy, I have learned to fully receive the unconditional love of Christ and to embrace His mercy for me every day. I may not be perfect, but I am perfected through Christ. His love will never run dry. It’s been a hard, but a beautiful journey. There is nothing in my past that defines me but the blood of Jesus that has washed me clean.

Mercy has helped me to let go of the past through forgiveness. Christ loves us so much that He forgives us, regardless of the sin. And I’ve learned that without forgiveness, my life can’t move on in the right direction. Forgiving all those that have hurt me has lifted a burden that has set me free from chains.

But the biggest part of forgiveness for me was learning to forgive myself for all the things I’ve done. I blamed myself for a lot of things and never left room to forgive myself.

If I hadn’t come to Mercy, I don’t think I would have continued down the path God’s called me to. God is no longer that far distance father that I thought measured me by works, but He is my Abba, my restorer, my comfort, my support and my friend. I pray that in my life, I can only start to share that immense grace and love God’s lavished over me. My past mess can be used for a powerful, beautiful message.