Thursday, July 17, 2008

Six St. Louis Graduates Share Their Life Transforming Stories

This month Mercy Ministries celebrated the graduation of five girls from the St. Louis home. Here are their stories of transformation and hope:

Bridgett’s Story

When I was 12 years old my father passed away. My family life was very chaotic and I struggled with my loss. I turned to bulimia to cope with my pain. I struggled with this eating disorder for 13 years. When I couldn’t overcome the eating disorder on my own, I began to experiment with drugs and alcohol… somehow, I thought they were a solution to my problem. I became addicted to meth and alcohol. Unfortunately I could not fix my problems on my own. I knew I needed help. I searched for places I could go to get help. After calling several facilities, I found Mercy.

When I arrived at Mercy Ministries, I didn’t have a relationship with God. My future was bleak. I had always tried to resolve my problems on my own. But while I was at Mercy, God transformed my life. For the first time, I accepted Christ into my heart and developed a personal relationship with Him. He has shown me that I am not alone and He will help me get through my struggles. When I am faced with a problem, I have learned to look to Him for guidance. God has revealed His grace to me and has forgiven my sins. Now I am capable of forgiving myself and looking forward to my future.

After Mercy, I will stay at home and take care of my two children. I am going back to school to become a Respiratory Therapist. My future is bright and I will continue to build my relationship with God.

Sarah’s Story

“When I was 22 years old my mother was killed in a motorcycle accident. I never allowed myself to grieve over my loss. I became very depressed and isolated and had a major fear of death. In an effort to fill the void, I was also very promiscuous. I became pregnant and put my son up for adoption. I was left feeling empty inside. I knew it was the right decision to give my son up, but I felt extreme loss and I felt like a failure. A family friend introduced me to Mercy Ministries.
Since I have been at Mercy, I have found an abundance of love and acceptance. I have given up control and in doing so, God has been faithful to intervene and take control. Joy has been restored in my life, and I am no longer afraid of dying because I know that when that day comes, I will be with my Creator in Heaven. My identity has been found in Christ, and I no longer try to be what everyone else wants me to be but what God has called me to be.

After Mercy I am going to live with my dad in Colorado Springs. I plan on finishing my degree in exercise science and dietetics. I am looking forward to seeing my son and his family. I want to share my Mercy experience with them. God is restoring my relationship with my dad and sister. This was only possible after I got right with Him first. My priorities are finally straight and I plan to love and follow Christ for the rest of my life!”
Autumn’s Story
“Growing up, I struggled with the fact that I was a people pleaser. I could not say “no” to others. I tried to fill the void in my life with food, shopping and many other things. I spent my life looking for love in all the wrong places. I developed an eating disorder at age 17. I learned about Mercy Ministries when I was looking for a Bible on CD online. I read some of the testimonies on the Mercy website and decided to fill out the application.
When I arrived at Mercy Ministries, I had a lack of vision for my future. I was emotionally unstable and I tried to fill my emptiness with unhealthy relationships and food. I depended on boyfriends for love. I was trapped in a lie thinking my previous sins would not be forgiven.
While at Mercy, God has shown me that I can make good and healthy choices in my life. I can choose to have a healthy lifestyle, and I can choose to say no.
Now I understand that Jesus died for all of my sins. I know the Father’s love, and I know He is standing beside me during all of my heartbreaking moments.
I know that a man will not solve all of my problems. Before Mercy, I was under the assumption that the only way I would be happy was if a man is telling me I was beautiful. Now I know that my Father thinks I am beautiful on the inside first, but also on the outside. I can hear God’s voice now, and I know He is not upset with me. Mercy has taught me to grow up and take responsibility of my life, my body and my future.
I plan to go home to Michigan to live with my mom. I will be working part-time, getting involved in my church, looking for schools in my area and seeking God’s guidance.

I would like to encourage anyone who is lost and wonders if there is more to life to try Mercy Ministries. Giving up 6 months of your life to find true, lasting happiness is so worth it. At Mercy, I discovered who I was. Now I know that happiness is not based on what size I am. Happiness comes in knowing that I am loved unconditionally by a God who created me.”
Kelley’s Story
“For the past eight years, I have struggled with anorexia and bulimia. Through one of my eating disorder support groups, I met a friend who came to Mercy in 2005. I applied, but I ended up backing out at the last minute. In 2007, another one of my friends came to Mercy. This finally gave me the courage to follow through with the application process. It is the best decision I could have ever made.
When I first came to Mercy, I thought I was just dealing with anorexia and bulimia, but soon I realized I was struggling with several other issues, including obsessive compulsive disorder. While at Mercy, God has set me free from these problems.

God has done so much in my life here at Mercy. I had been raised in a church that was very legalistic so I viewed God as someone sitting up in Heaven waiting for me to mess up so that He could strike me down. I finally understand that being a Christian is not about being perfect. Now I know God loves me unconditionally. He is my friend and my father and he has given me my life back. I want to tell my testimony to others so they can experience this freedom too.
In the future I am going to live with my sister and her husband in Atlanta, GA. I eventually want to get my Masters Degree in Christian counseling, and my dream is to one day work for Mercy Ministries.

I would encourage anyone even thinking about coming to Mercy to pursue it. It hasn’t been an easy journey but it has been well worth it. When you let go and allow God to work though you, He will do amazing things. I now have a life worth living!”
Kayla’s Story

“I had been dealing with an eating disorder and a chemical dependency problem off and on for the past 4 years. I had a deep sense of rejection and I had no idea who I was. I found out about Mercy Ministries through James Robison. He had Nancy on his show and told my parents about the ministry.
While at Mercy, I have grown to love myself as the person that God created me to be. I realize there is a purpose to my life. God has called me to reach out and help others. I am excited to let Christ dwell in me so that others can see His amazing renewing power.
I don’t look to drugs to alter my emotions anymore. I no longer feel rejected and unaccepted because I know the truth. God has given me the revelation of who I am in Him. I can stand on the Word of God and declare that I am His delight and His desire.
In the future, I would like to help others. I would love to start my own company with a focus on philanthropy. I have a desire to see people healed and restored. I want others to have the opportunity to walk in complete freedom.”
Alexis' Story
“I grew up in church, but never had a real relationship with God. After my parent’s divorce, I tried to fill the void by seeking acceptance and approval from others. When that didn’t work and I couldn’t seem to please people enough, I became depressed and turned to an eating disorder, which consumed me. My life completely fell apart and I lost all hope for the future. My identity was in my eating disorder, and I didn’t believe that I would ever be free. After multiple suicide attempts, I went through numerous treatments, therapists, and psychiatrists, but was still bound by shame and depression, and my eating disorder only continued to worsen. I didn’t see anything worth living for, so I assumed that I was a mistake and God wouldn’t care if I died.
My parents found out about Mercy Ministries through Ken Freeman and challenged me to apply. I felt like it was my last hope and decided to reach out for help one more time.
While at Mercy, God has shown me that I am not a mistake and that I already please Him because He created me in His image. He loves me and has my life planned out. I am no longer bound by fear, anorexia, bulimia, shame or depression. I have found freedom, and for the first time, I am confident in who God has made me to be.
After Mercy, I plan to restore my relationship with my family. I am going to start college in the spring. I plan to continue to follow God and bring glory to Him through all that I do. I want to help other young women and show them that life is worth living. I want to help with mission trips and share God’s love. I aspire to become an author and possibly write books one day.”