A little girl with a sun-yellow dress, matching hair bow and Mary Jane shoes—this is the last image that pops into my head of my childhood memories.

My childhood left that little girl with open gaping wounds that I didn’t think could ever be healed. My abusers were people who I thought were helpers, people who I thought could be trusted. For years, I did not trust anybody who came near me. I constantly questioned their intentions and built a wall so high, that I never thought it could be broken through. I had no hope.

I attended The Haven Retreat with an open mind and a battered heart. I tried talking myself out of going for months. I gave every excuse I could think of, but I am so glad that I got on that airplane. I left that beautiful home in the mountains with not only new friends but I am noticing now that those once gaping wounds are becoming scars. Scars show me that even though at one time I was hurt, that eventually that pain is replaced with new, tough skin.

Every single day, I am choosing to walk taller, to look people in the eyes, and to finally let that little girl with all of the hurt, fly free. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to attend The Haven Retreat. I am breaking free from all of the hurt and pain. Finally, I am free.

-Mandie, Survivor

Interested in Attending The Haven Retreat?