Sabrina's Story "Mercy to Both"

I'm a faithful believer in Jesus Christ who has been delivered from self harm and suicidal thoughts. I’m still working on anxiety, eating disorders and trust and forgiveness towards those who have hurt me deeply. I share my story with you in hopes of showing that with Jesus anything is possible no matter how impossible it seems. In my 21-years-old life, I have endured some things that have been extremely painful to speak of. This is my first time speaking out on some of the topics I faced growing up.

Growing up I went back and forth between parents and grandparents. My parents were both extremely young and my mom had me at age 15. My parents got married before I was born in hopes of having that "perfect" family. That didn't last longer than a year. By the time I was 12-months-old, my parents were divorced and back to their old lifestyles of drinking and drugs. My childhood is a little blurry until the age of 6. All I really remember is going back and forth between parents, being exposed to drugs and alcohol and my mom being in abusive relationships.

When I was 3-years-old, both my mom and dad found their soul mates. I truly despised both my step parents in fear that they were trying to replace my parents. When I was 6-years-old, my mom and step dad moved me and my sister from Texas to Missouri away from our family. I had so much hatred towards my mom and step dad for taking us away from what we knew, but I also had anger towards my dad for allowing him to let me be taken away. I travelled back and forth on holidays and summers.

After moving to Missouri my mom and step dad gave their lives to Jesus, and I did as well. I grew up going to church weekly and I loved Jesus. But as I continued to grow up I continued to grow farther and farther away from him.

I went through life never expressing my feelings or my problems in fear of judgment and of not being understood. I was afraid that if I told people what was going on in my life I wouldn't be believed. Growing up I was molested, by three different family members. I never told anyone this horrible secret until literally this year. I was young when it happened and I didn't really understand what it meant to be molested or why I was. Growing up I would always be asked if I was being, molested but one person in my family would tell me "no" while another was telling me "yes". I became extremely confused and afraid of telling the truth because I didn't really know what the "right" answer was. I now understand what molestation is, and that it never was my fault and I'm not guilty to blame.

My life spiraled out of control in high school. I wasn't disliked but I definitely wasn't the most popular kid in school either. It was my sophomore year when one of my friends introduced me to self harming (cutting). I remember my first real boyfriend had just dumped me and I was just extremely depressed. My friend was going through the "phase" of self harming. She said, "It really will help make you feel better and it takes your pain away for awhile." Little did I know that self harming would be one of my darkest times and a addiction I held onto for almost six years. Once people knew that I self harmed I started losing all of my so called "friends." Everyone turned on me and started spreading rumors. I felt like the outcast and I hated that.

I decided that I would run away from my problems at school and moved to Texas with my dad. I started partying weekly with my new friends, drinking and smoking weed to take away the pain. I started shoplifting for the thrill of it. I ended up getting caught and going to court for shoplifting charges, but was able to get it taken off my record. Every night I cried and wanted my life to end. I knew it wasn't the life I wanted to live but at the same time I couldn't move back to strict parents and problems I had at my old school.

However, I finally decided my senior year that it was time to move back to Missouri. The depression and self harm became a daily battle. Late at nights I would spend time writing out suicide notes, cutting, and blaming God for the life I was living. I hated life, I hated feeling like I had nobody to talk to without feeling judged or misunderstood. It was my last night of senior year when I took my last drink of alcohol. A friend and I had two guys over, one who was my best friend and another who was a friend we met a few months back. My best friend who was sober took advantage of the fact that I had too much to drink that night - he raped me and left me in the car overnight. The guilt, shame and incident replayed in my head over and over. I became more depressed, more suicidal and turned to self harm multiple times a day. I was so afraid to speak up because I was afraid that I would be told "If you hadn't been drinking that would never had happened" My "best friend" didn't only leave me feeling guilty and shameful, he left me with a STD.

The beginning of my college year I met my current boyfriend. He treated me like a queen and truly understood me. He seemed so perfect but not too long after we started dating the boy I started falling for became my abuser. For a year I was being physically, emotionally and verbally  abused by the one I loved. Nobody knew about the abuse, nobody knew about my self harming and suicidal thoughts. Everyone would look at facebook and think we were the happiest couple, but behind doors it was completely different.

The razor became my best friend and the only thing I could depend on to make me "happy." We broke up weekly and would get back together a few days later. He told me he was going to break up with me and for some reason I was afraid to lose him so I said "if you break up with me I'll kill myself." He reached out to my mom and told her that I was suicidal. That night I was placed into a psychiatric ward for a week for suicidal thoughts and self harming. I was placed on a medication for anxiety and depression that made me more suicidal. I lied my way through evaluations just so I could be released from the ward. I was released but the shame from being in a mental hospital got the best of me. I isolated which led to more depression and anxiety. I really was ready to just give up on life all together.

My boyfriend and I got back together a few days after I got home from the ward. Nothing changed. I finally broke up with him five months later after a horrible beating and he got arrested. I had a restraining order against him so I was forced to stay away and not talk to him even though I really wanted to talk to him and see him even after all I went through. I was lost, I was scared, I was angry and feeling ashamed and full of guilt. Months passed without talking.

I started struggling with my identity and decided to take up modeling and pageantry. My worthy came from the amount of likes and comments on each photo posted of me. Modeling was the start of a new addiction - anorexia. It started out skipping one meal, then two meals then three for days at a time. My health started failing as I started losing way too much weight. I lost 30 pounds in literally two weeks. I still wasn't happy with how I looked. People were constantly telling me I was too skinny and losing too much weight but I only saw "fat". I started working out three times a day, still not eating for days at a time. I ended up in the hospital multiple times for problems in my health. I knew what the problem was but I allowed my parents to think it was gallbladder problems. I allowed myself to become so sick that I wanted to do nothing but just sleep. I was weak but I was starting to like the way I looked. But not deep down. I was given the opportunity to do Miss Missouri USA pageant and the prepping process was nothing but destructive. I had a size 0 dress that I had to make sure I fit into, so the excessive exercising and starving myself was taking over my life.

I came across a Christ based recovery program called Celebrate Recovery at the church I work for. Deep down I knew I wanted to try it out to help me overcome my abusive relationship and my self harm but I feared judgment and having to open up about my problems. I attended for a couple months but saw no change in myself or my addiction to self harming and thoughts of suicide. I decided I didn't need recovery and it wasn't for me so I stopped attending.

A few months later my college boyfriend and I were reconnected. I didn't tell anyone that I was talking to him because after all, he was my abuser and I had a restraining order on him. But I didn't care. He told me "I'm ready to change and I'm sorry for everything I did." That wasn't the first time I heard it so honestly I didn't believe it but I still gave him another chance. He mentioned attending Celebrate Recovery and I remember saying, "It's not going to work, it didn't the first time so it won't now, unless we really try to change."

God had a completely different plan for us! Since attending recovery, we have both gained relationships with other believers who have helped bring us closer to Jesus. I rededicated my life to Jesus and my boyfriend has accepted Jesus as his Lord!

We have been able to work on our own struggles and our struggles as a couple. I am nine months clean of self harm and suicidal thoughts! My boyfriend is 11 months delivered of abusive behaviors. God has really been using Celebrate Recovery to help us grow closer to him and work on ourselves and our relationship. We have both decided to get baptized to show our love for Jesus. Without Jesus and our recovery group I truly believe our life would be a complete mess and extremely toxic.

God has shown his love and mercy to both of us in the middle of our storm. God continues to work on my life daily but he is also using me and my story for His purpose - to share with others and show them what hope looks like. I truly serve an amazing God, a God who can transform lives for something so much greater. Everyone said my boyfriend couldn't change, but God really worked within his heart and proved just how wrong everyone else was! I'm so thankful for my recovery program, I'm so thankful for all that God is doing and I'm thankful for all my support. I've learned that it doesn't matter how bad your past or your present is because God can change it and use you for His purpose!

This story was prepared, written and submitted solely by Kimberly in her personal capacity. The content and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of 7 Billion Ones, Randy Bacon Photography and/or any members or associates of these organizations.