Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Six More Lives Transformed

Jennifer
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I came to Mercy in a broken state. I was fighting a twenty-year battle with an eating disorder. I also struggled with self-harm. I was overwhelmed by depression and suicidal thoughts. I was hopeless. I found myself angry with God for creating me. Every night, I prayed that I would not live to see another day.

During my time at Mercy, God set me free from depression that ran so deep I never imagined living without it. He has restored my joy, my dreams and the purpose that He has for my life. The Lord has taken away the fear that kept me locked inside myself. Now, I desire to live. I am determined to fight a life of freedom. I also want to help others fight for their freedom. I am alive in Christ.

I will be attending Harding University in January. I plan to pursue a major in social work and a minor in missions. God has given me a huge burden for the children in Africa. Therefore, once I finish school, I plan on moving to Africa in order to utilize my degree while walking out my heart’s desire.


Katie
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I did not have a relationship with the Lord and I was at the end of my rope. I needed help. My life was full of destructive behaviors as an attempt to fill a void. When I hit rock bottom I realized that I did not know who I was in Christ. My self-esteem was non-existent, which fed a never ending path of trying to be the ‘prettiest.’ Soon, I found myself struggling with anorexia and then body dysmorphic disorder. I just wanted to die, but I knew that there had to be more to life.

Since being at Mercy, God has performed a total transformation within me. He has filled the void. I finally found the One who defines me. I know who I am in Christ! I have grown to love myself just the way He created me. Comparisons are no longer lies that I allow to overpower me. I can face my fears instead of running from them. The Lord has given me something to smile about! I am no longer defined by my disorders or the opinions of others; I am defined by my Father in Heaven and He tells me I am beautiful!

I am returning home to my family and I am excited about walking out the fun-loving person that God created me to be! I plan on getting involved with my church youth group, as well as finding a job. I hope to attend college in the fall to pursue a career as a veterinarian!


Ashleigh
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I thought I was going to go crazy! My mind was so wrapped up in an unrealistic world driven by fear, rejection and anger. I was desperate! I started doing drugs in an attempt to numb those feelings. I had been sexually abused and abandoned. Therefore, I raised my siblings from a young age while also becoming addicted to weed and ecstasy. Running away seemed to be my only option. I hated everyone including myself. I was confused about what life is really about.

During my stay at Mercy, the Lord has shown me that the pain caused by my own parents does not define me. He has freed me from addictions, shame and guilt. He has traded my insecurity for acceptance and self-worth in Him. The Lord has shown me the true love of a father through His unconditional love. Relationships have been restored and new friendships have been formed. It’s so cool because I have never had a ‘true’ friend. He has given me a new life, but most importantly, He has given me a whole new heart!

As I leave Mercy, I plan on pursuing Master’s Commission and then moving into full-time ministry. I would love to be a full-time youth minister and do evangelistic missions.


Tamara
Mercy Ministries Graduate
Sexual abuse, rejection, shame and a low self-image were devastating my world. I was part of an extremely violent and abusive family. I was left feeling like I was defined by my issues. I was living under depression, severe self-harm, suicidal ideology, bulimia and binging, and no relationship with the Lord.

While at Mercy, the Lord restored my foundation in Him. He has allowed me to walk out a personal relationship with Him that has taught me balance in many areas. He has set me free from depression, suicide, and self-harm. Now, I know the importance of keeping Christ at the center of all my relationships. I have felt His unconditional love and acceptance.

I plan on going back to Michigan and getting involved with my church. I am going to go back to school and find a job as well. My desire is to eventually return to Nashville to finish my degree in education. I would like to be a middle school teacher.


Stephanie
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I did not trust anyone. I wanted to fit in, but I could not please everyone. I was always concerned about what others would say or think about me. I began struggling with an eating disorder and self harm. At the same time, I was dabbling in drugs and promiscuity, addicted to pornography, lying compulsively and rebelling against everyone as a way to gain attention.

God has set me free. He has showed me that He is trustworthy. I know that I do not need to please man, but instead, I can be single-focused on and defined by who I am in Him. I found who I am meant to be.

I plan on going home to finish high school and then go on to graduate from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Marine Biology. I am looking forward to mending relationships with my family.


Megan
Mercy Ministries Graduate
I accepted Jesus into my heart at age three. I grew up in a Christ-centered home that filled me with the Word and the truth about the incredible plans that the Lord had for me. At the early age of four years, I was stricken with fear and anxiety. When I was seven years old, lightening hit our home and burned my bedroom to the ground. That occurrence reinforced my fear and anxiety. Soon after, my mother fell into a major depression and as a means of control, I stepped into the enemy’s trap of anorexia. I believed that anorexia was my ally and that it would claim my life.

At 17 years of age, the Lord reminded me of His promises to me as a child, but I continued to struggle with anorexia throughout high school and college. I went through seven rounds of inpatient treatment within 12 years. An addiction to running left me suffering from osteoporosis and multiple broken bones. I finally obtained a degree in Psychology and English from Asbury College. My heart’s desires for singing, academics and loving others did not dwindle amidst the anxiety, depression and anorexia. Later, I had three suicide attempts within four months, but the Lord spared my life each time. God’s grace and mercy still abound as I finally conceded and sent in my application to Mercy.

Mercy has been a vital step in my healing process. While at Mercy, the Lord took me from a place of resentment to a place of thankfulness for His provision and live-saving works (Psalm 40). He drew me from the pit and placed my feet on the rock. Mercy was a time of letting go of my anger with God. God has restored my joy and my song. He has brought peace to my life and I find rest in Him.

I plan on going back to North Carolina where I will work at Starbucks and substitute teach. I hope to attend Ashbury Theological Seminary in the fall to get my Master’s Degree in Counseling. For now, I am excited to share about what Jesus has done in my life!


Congratulations, Girls!! We are so proud of you and can’t wait to see what God has in store for your futures!!