RG, 2011 Graduate

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. It was June 2010 and my anorexia was out of control.  I had been in the hospital for 3 weeks at this point and my doctor told me that based on all the damage I had done to my heart, if something didn’t drastically change, I would be dead by Christmas. I remember feeling this incredibly misguided sense of peace wash over me. It was finally going to happen. I only had to live for a few more months. The end to my suffering was coming. I was happy. But God had other plans!

During that hospitalization Pastor Amy showed up in my room and tried to connect with me. It was an awkward exchange, aside from the fact that she had brought her five year old daughter with her (God knew I have a huge soft spot for daughters). We ended up talking for a bit and Amy told me about a place in British Columbia called Mercy Canada. It wasn’t open yet, but would be soon.

To be honest, I filled out the application to make everyone think that I wanted to get better by applying to a residential program. I thought I wouldn’t have to go because it was not in operation yet. I was already on a 1.5 year wait list for the publicly funded in patient treatment program in my city and had looked into a few private facilities as well. The cost of $600-$800 per day, coupled with the minimum 80 days required stay for the severity of my ED, made this unattainable.

As always, God had his ways and I walked through the doors of Mercy Canada on Sept 9th, 2010. I don’t think the staff, or myself, knew what we were getting into. Suddenly, I had to deal with the extreme sexual and physical abuse I endured throughout my childhood. I had numbed myself with years of anorexia, alcohol abuse, promiscuity, prescription pain medicine abuse and used anger to keep everyone away from me. At Mercy, I didn’t have any of those options and so thanks to groups, counseling and staff support I slowly started to replace these old coping mechanisms. Instead I filled my life with worship, truth statements, and Bible readings. I asked for help when my emotions became overwhelming.

I couldn’t figure out why the staff at Mercy put up with me. To my core, I thought I was disgusting and worthless, definitely not worthy of living. I did everything possible to push them away and get them to send me home. I thought I could push them to the point where they would write me off as garbage, just like everyone else. But I was wrong. No matter what I said or did, they continued to love me and pick me back up. Slowly I realized that I was worthy of love… that I was lovable… and through Mercy I learned that God loved me just the way I was. All of me. All of my brokenness was on display and God used the staff at Mercy to start putting me back together, piece by piece.

Going to Mercy saved my life! I will never be able to truly express how thankful I am to everyone involved in my journey. Mercy staff, partners, treasure builders, churches etc. There are so many people involved that I will never meet or know about, but God knows, and I pray for them every day!

It has been a few years since I graduated now and I love the journey I am on. Thanks to the counseling at Mercy, my husband and I just celebrated our 12 year anniversary. Our two boys are growing up fast with a compassion for hurting women, and now know what a stable family life is like. Generations have been changed because of the chains broken at Mercy. My future grand-babies will now know healthy families! The ripple effect will continue long after my graduation. We are planted in an incredible church with amazing community who are our family. I can’t imagine life without them. And Pastor Amy? She is my accountability partner and best friend. God has a huge sense of humor!

Life is good and full-on and hard… but it is also beautiful! I love every day that I am given!