Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Five St. Louis Graduates Find Joy and Freedom

This week at the Mercy Ministries’ home in St. Louis, staff, residents, families, and friends celebrated as five young women graduated the program, ready to live a victorious life in Christ. Here are their stories:

Mercy Ministries Graduate
As a child, I taught myself to suppress my feelings and to disconnect from my emotions. It was all after I was abandoned. I felt so unloved. I was also broken by critical comments from someone who was close to me. I was told I was fat and I started believing their lies, which made me feel worthless. I was hurt but I refused to cry because I thought crying was a form of weakness.

I lived a destructive lifestyle and battled an eating disorder, drug and alcohol addictions, suicidal attempts, self-harm, anger, depression and an addiction to pornography. I realized I needed help so I started researching different facilities on the internet. I came across the Mercy Ministries website and I decided to apply to the program because I wanted to know what it was like to live.

During my time at Mercy, God has really done a work in me and has set me free of my addictions. He has softened my heart towards Him and my self-image has been restored. I learned that God isn’t after a religion but a relationship with Him. God has taught me how to love again and my love for life has been restored.

I plan to go back to college at Lee University in Cleveland, TN and earn a degree in Psychology. Once I finish school, I would like to do missions and help with orphanages in Africa.

I would like to tell girls that are considering Mercy Ministries, that it is possible to restore your life and get it back in order. Your life is worth so much more than the issues of this world and this program really works!

Mercy Ministries Graduate
I grew up in a very unhealthy environment and was exposed to drugs and alcohol at a very young age. When I started high school, it seemed normal to dive into a similar lifestyle. The drug and alcohol use started out as casual fun but quickly turned into a full blown addiction. Every aspect of my life was consumed by my addictions, and I lost all of my close relationships with my friends and my loved ones.

Eventually I ended up in a secular treatment facility. While I was at this facility, one of my counselors told me about Mercy Ministries and handed me one of Nancy Alcorn’s books. A girl from my counselor’s church had been through the program. That very same afternoon my father came to visit me at the hospital and said his friend told him about a place called Mercy Ministries that counseled girls with similar struggles as mine. I knew this was not a coincidence and decided to apply to the program.

I came to Mercy Ministries broken and struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and sexual promiscuity. While at Mercy, God has set me free from my addictions. I am in no way, shape or form leaving as the same girl that walked in just a few months ago. God has captured my heart with His love and He has taken away my guilt and shame. My innocence has been restored and I am no longer defined by my addictions.

After I graduate from Mercy, I am planning on going back to school, getting plugged into a church and living everyday with a purpose. I have a desire to work with troubled youth and would like to work in the foster care system. I am walking in freedom and now I have a reason to wake up every morning!

Mercy Ministries Graduate
Growing up, I suffered from verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. For over 12 years, my mother endured a chronic illness, and I was forced to become the caretaker of my family. I struggled with depression, anxiety, and was tormented by suicidal thoughts.

I wanted to live my life. Before I came to Mercy, I was trying to do whatever it took to survive another day. I was consumed with thoughts of suicide, self-harm, and obsessive behaviors. I felt so hopeless, but I desperately wanted help. A counselor at Beltway Park Baptist Church told me about the program and I decided to apply.

While I was in the program, God showed me how to trust others. Now I can let others into my life and form relationships and friendships. He is revealing Himself to me as a loving, heavenly Father and my mind has been retrained and renewed. Most importantly, I learned to choose life and choose Him. My emotions no longer control my life.

After Mercy I plan to go back to Texas to reconnect with my church. I would like to continue to teach and finish my Masters degree in counseling.

Mercy Ministries Graduate
Throughout my life, I had a big fear of rejection. In my past, I was sexually abused so I had trust issues. I never wanted to get close to people because I feared they would leave me. I hated myself and detested my life. I felt like I was in a downward spiral. I had no ambition in life and I lost my desire to live.

I knew I could not go on like this, so I decided to seek help. My youth pastor and a really close friend of mine told me about Mercy Ministries. They heard about the program at a church service and I decided to send in an application.

When I came to Mercy, I struggled with self-harm, an eating disorder, sexual promiscuity, addiction to sleeping pills, and lesbianism. I knew I was living a sinful lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to allow God into my life to help me with issues. While I was in the program, I learned how to overcome my life-controlling issues and my life has been completely transformed. God has provided me with love, mercy, and has shown me who He really is. Now I know I can trust Him to be true to His word. I have accepted myself for who I am and He has helped me love others and allow others into my life. I now have hope and a reason to live.

After graduation, I plan on getting a full-time job to start paying off my credit card debt. I want to put aside savings so I can finish my college education.

Mercy is an amazing place. The staff genuinely loves God and the residents. God is saving and transforming lives through this ministry!

Mercy Ministries Graduate
I was raised in a Christian home, but I did not know my identity in Christ. My life was controlled by perfectionism and a fear of rejection. During this time in my life, I had panic attacks and I could barely function. I was struggling with an eating disorder and self-harm and I was so miserable that I actually contemplated suicide. I went to a secular treatment facility to receive help but even after six months of care, I was still struggling with these issues. When the treatment did not help, I felt hopeless and I began to realize that God had to be involved in my healing process. I ordered books about the Mercy Ministries program online and then six months later, I found the Mercy Ministries website. At this point I was looking for another place to go for help, so I prayed about it and God opened the doors to Mercy Ministries.

I came to Mercy with low self-worth. When I arrived at the home, I was still struggling with self-harm, eating disorders and I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorders. While I was in the program, God revealed His grace to me and now I am free from my guilt, bondage, and shame. I have learned who I am in Christ and because of Him, I have gained self-confidence.

Prior to my time at Mercy, I was told that I would always suffer from my issues and that I would have to learn to cope with my problems. But since I have been in the program, I have learned how to live a new life of freedom in Christ. He has restored my life and I am finally free from my struggles! Now that I have graduated from Mercy, I am going to go back to school and walk out my freedom.