Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Six Nashville Residents Celebrate their Freedom

Nashville residents and staff came together to celebrate the graduation of six more young women!! We are excited to share their stories of transformation and hope with you:


Kendyl


My father was not a key figure in my life and I struggled with his absence. I became extremely depressed. Then I was raped and I fell into an even deeper pit of depression – I felt like my whole world was caving in. I finally reached the point that I knew I needed help - I truly desired change and a brighter future. I wanted to find purpose for my life. My mom told me about Mercy Ministries so I went online to research the program and was excited to find Mercy on MySpace. I decided to apply to Mercy hoping to find real freedom.

While at Mercy, I came to know God as my father. He has shown me how to love myself and how to love others. He has shown me what it means to forgive and who I am in Him. While in the program, I gained self-confidence and my desire to live has been restored.

After Mercy, I plan to move home with my mom and step dad. I am going to finish my sophomore year of high school. I would love to play basketball in college. I also plan to get involved in my youth group. I hope to also reconcile my relationship with my father.


Laura


Growing up, I was physically abused. I developed a 10 year drug addiction that stemmed from a life of abuse, rape, abandonment and manipulation. Eventually I started practicing self-harm, and I became bulimic and anorexic. I tried to numb the pain by living a life of destructive behavior. My drug use continued to increase, and I had several near-death experiences. I was tired of the harmful life I was living, and I was desperate to receive help and healing. I found out about Mercy from my friends at my church, Word of Life Center in Shreveport, LA, and I decided to fill out an application.

I came to Mercy with several life-controlling issues. These included anorexia, bulimia, depression, drug and alcohol addiction, self-harm, and physical and sexual abuse. When I walked through the doors of Mercy Ministries, I experienced God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. Now I understand that regardless of my past, He will continue to love me and provide for me, and ultimately, I can trust and depend on Him to be my true father. While at Mercy Ministries, God changed my heart, and now my whole perspective on life has changed as well – I have hope for my future!

After I graduate from Mercy, I ultimately want to become a youth pastor. I have a desire to reach out to people who have drug addictions and let them know that God can completely restore their lives.


Sandra


I grew up in a loving Christian home in Central Africa. When I was10 years old, my family moved to America. I was often bullied and ridiculed by my peers because of my broken English and my weight. My loved ones also criticized my size. I became obsessed with dieting and developed an eating disorder. My depression worsened, and I lost my desire to live. After several attempts to take my own life and numerous stays at psychiatric wards, I desperately wanted help and true freedom from my struggles. My counselor introduced me to Mercy Ministries and I decided to apply.

When I arrived at the Nashville home, I was struggling with anorexia, bulimia, depression, and self-harm. Throughout my stay, God has healed me from the inside out. He has restored broken relationships in my life, and He has set me free from my struggles. I no longer look to society to define me and for the first time, I feel loved and accepted.

After I leave Mercy, I look forward to finishing high school. Then I would like to attend college. I have a desire to help children and I hope to become a pediatrician one day!


Ashley


When I was a young girl, my mother passed away and then my father was not there. I never had an opportunity to deal with the pain and grief I felt from those losses. I was angry and deeply saddened, but I tried to hide it from the people around me. I always felt a need to please others and I would go to great lengths to be accepted by my peers. I would do almost anything to get someone to like me. I became deeply depressed and really struggled with my past hurts. At this point in my life, I was very distant from God, but I desired to go to a Christian program where I could build a personal relationship with Him and receive healing from my life-controlling issues. My mother’s friend, Debra, told me about the program and I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me who I am and who He has created me to be. I have learned to forgive the people who have hurt me, and that has been a big part of my transformation. I have continued to grow in my walk with the Lord. God has proven Himself faithful and shown me the freedom that is only available through a personal relationship with Him.

After graduation, I am going to go back home and finish my junior year of high school. After high school I plan to attend Johns Hopkins University and study pediatrics.


Carrie


I grew up in a loving Christian family but when I was 13 years old, I started to act out and rebelled against my loved ones. By age 16, I was drinking, smoking marijuana, and taking other illegal drugs. Then I was raped and my struggles worsened. While attending a Christian college, I was involved in two controlling and abusive relationships, and I became severely depressed. I had no hope and turned to an eating disorder to help me cope with the difficult situations in my life and the overwhelming emotions that came from the abuse. Eventually I was kicked out of school and moved back home. I continued to struggle with an eating disorder, depression, substance abuse, and self-harm. Then I found out I was pregnant, and I knew I needed to seek help. I found out about Mercy Ministries in a book and decided to fill out an application.

During my time at Mercy, God has shown me that I am loved and I have value. I used to feel unloved and unaccepted, but now I understand that God’s love is unconditional, and I have a hope for my life that I never had before. I have a real relationship with God that I never thought was possible, and I have learned and grown from my past mistakes. I have joy and freedom through Him and God’s Word is becoming truth in my life.

After I graduate, I am going back home to live with my parents and baby girl. I plan to finish college and go on to get a Master’s degree in counseling.


Joy

Before Mercy, my life was on a downward spiral. I never smiled, I was disrespectful to my parents and loved ones, and I was very irresponsible. I covered up my feelings with alcohol, was depressed, and blamed my parents for all of the “hard times” in my life.

In May of 2008, I was arrested for driving under the influence. My driver’s license was revoked and I lost my car. One month later I found out I was pregnant. When my boyfriend found out about the pregnancy, he left me abandoned and helpless. I was evicted from my apartment, broke, and alone. I called my parents and begged for help and forgiveness. I wanted to straighten out my life and get help. A family at my grandmother’s church told me about Mercy Ministries, and I decided to fill out an application for the program.

During my time at Mercy, God has done amazing things! He has healed me from the pain of my past and set me free from my alcohol addiction. God has restored my smile and shown me the meaning of my name - now I know who I am in Christ. He has taught me how to forgive the people who hurt me in my past and most importantly, He has taught me how to forgive myself. My time in the Mercy program has been one of the best gifts I have ever received. Now my son can have a healthy, strong, and confident mother. I look forward to loving him, providing for him, and raising him to know and love the Lord. I can’t wait to be a mom!

After my son is born next month, I plan to move in with my grandmother for a while. I am going to attend her church and take life one day at a time. Eventually, I want to go back to college and take culinary arts classes. I would love to be a nutritionist one day!