When I, Clerissa, was younger, I was bullied. I was judged and hurt. I was friendless and lonely. People made fun of how I dressed, who I was, my personality. When I was 13 years old, I began my battle with eating disorders that consumed my life. I did everything to lose weight. I did not feel good enough, pretty enough or skinny enough. I had a void in my chest that I could never fill.
When I came to college, I struggled to make friends, was heart broken and did not fit in. I went into a dark depression where I slept all day, I cried non-stop, and I did not want to get out of bed. I was struggling with my eating disorders, depression and anxiety and I was losing the battle. I felt like I had no purpose in the world. I felt like I had no reason to live. I wanted to give up. I wanted to commit suicide.
One day, I was sitting in the student center at UC Irvine and 3 girls walked up to me and started a conversation with me. They shared a booklet that described more about a relationship with Jesus. I listened to what they said and then I took the book and put it in my purse and walked away.
Two days later it was Thursday, I was having a horrible day and I said to myself, “This is the day I am done with life.” I was looking in my purse for a tissue, when I found the Knowing God Personally book. On it was the time and place of the Cru meeting. I decided to go. From the singing of worship, to the message, to the loving people who welcomed me, I was blown away. I went home that night and said to myself, “I want to know more. I want to be Christian. God I want to know you.” I started going to Bible studies and Cru meetings. One of the speakers said, “you need to surrender your life to Christ.”
On my 19th birthday, I decided I needed to go into a recovery program and it was time to get the help I needed. I said to God, “I surrender my life to you and I trust you. I know this is not going to be easy but I have faith that you will help me through it.”
The first year of recovery was extremely hard. But I never lost faith and I trusted God. He helped me overcome those obstacles and get stronger. My 21st birthday is this month, will mark my 2 year anniversary of starting my recovery. I am the happiest and strongest person I have ever been. Today I know I am good enough and pretty enough because I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I am no longer ashamed of my past. I am proud of how far I have come. I love my body. I am stronger. I am a fighter. I am survivor. God used Cru to change my life and has provided me with a 2nd family that constantly loves, supports, and motivates me. If it were not for this amazing community and surrendering my life to Christ, I would not be here today. I have a purpose. I have a voice and a story. I want to change the world and be a light to people’s lives.
JJ and I (Carly) praise God for transforming Clerissa’s life! She continues to follow boldly after Jesus. I am thankful for her friendship and heart to care for others!
Thank you for partnering with us in reaching college campuses in Orange County with the gospel! Thank you for making an eternal investment!
Until the World Hears,
JJ and Carly Raymond