Before coming to Mercy Canada, I looked for my value and identity in all the wrong places. Unqualified. Ugly. Fat. Not smart enough. Not good enough. These are the lies I used to believe about myself. On the outside, everything seemed perfect…no one would have ever guessed what I was going through. But on the inside, I was confused, frustrated, exhausted, full of shame, and struggling with an eating disorder. I knew I had to run somewhere, but where?

Concerned for my life, my parents pleaded for me to come home after living on residence at university for 2 semesters. My mom suggested Mercy Canada, but I justified not going by saying that I could get better on my own. But despite many attempts, I found myself trapped in the same cycle over and over and over again. One day, while deciding if I should go to Mercy, I heard the song “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli and fell in love with it. When I looked it up on YouTube, the video featured stories of Mercy graduates and my heart started pounding so fast. I knew this was no coincidence and God was speaking to me, telling me I should apply.

From my first day at Mercy Canada, I felt so out of place. But God kept assuring me I was exactly where I needed to be. Knowing that God was with me through it all gave me a sense of peace every morning and during any challenges that came up. God showed me how to forgive myself for my past and to let it go, and that it’s OK to not be OK. He taught me that my identity isn’t in who I used to be, but is rather rooted in Christ. I learned to let go of the lies I believed about myself and take hold of the truth: that I am made new in Him. Today I walk confidently knowing that God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.

Life after Mercy hasn’t been without challenges, but through it all I’ve been able to stick to my foundation in Christ—a foundation I built during my time at Mercy. I know without a doubt in my mind that I would never be the confident woman I am today, with a job I never thought I would get in a million years, if it wasn’t for what I learned through this process. My time at Mercy gave me the opportunity to encounter God in a whole new way, and for that I will be forever grateful.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the supporters and friends of Mercy that make Mercy what it is today. God did miraculous things in and through me during my time there, and without you I never would’ve found the help I needed.