Monday, March 23, 2009

Mercy Ministries Celebrates Six More Transformed Lives!


The Monroe and St. Louis staff and residents came together with family and friends to celebrate six amazing young women as they graduated from the Mercy Ministries program. Here are their stories of transformation:

MONROE:

Jennifer

When I was 7 years old, I was already struggling with depression, and by the time I was 13 years old, I was dealing with suicidal thoughts and an eating disorder. These issues stemmed from years of abuse. For 15 years, I experienced sexual abuse, and I was physically and emotionally abused and neglected for most of my life. This abuse caused me great anguish and confusion. The anger turned into self-destructive behaviors and I started to practice self-harm. I hated my body and everything about my life. By the time I was 21, I tried to take my own life on two separate occasions and was then hospitalized for suicidal tendencies. After several failed suicide attempts, I was at a point in my life where I knew I needed help. I had known about Mercy Ministries for several years, so I decided to apply to the program.

At Mercy, God has shown me who I really am. I am beautiful and my Father delights in me. Through God’s perfect love, I have come to find truth and an inner peace that I have been searching for my entire life. I am not perfect, but I have many good qualities, and I am working on changing my faults and weaknesses. God has shown me that I am loved and I have value. Now I know I have a purpose and a great future ahead of me.

After graduation, I plan to get a job and go back to school. I would love to study art.

Trinity

Before Mercy, I was really shut off from reality. I spent a majority of my time trying to please everyone around me. My life was controlled by perfectionism and a fear of rejection and I felt like I needed the approval of others to feel good about myself. I struggled with anorexia, bulimia, depression, drug and alcohol addiction, self-harm, the effects of sexual and physical abuses and sexual addiction. The abuse caused me to develop a deep root of shame and the addictions had become my way of escape and comfort, and they also became a way for me to seek attention. I had been to several other treatment centers but nothing seemed to work. I knew I needed help and the testimonies on the Mercy Ministries website gave me hope that I could overcome my issues, so I decided to apply to the program.

While I was in the program, God restored my joy and laughter. He has shown me the truth about my life. I learned that I am not defined by my past and that I am worthy of love. I deserve to be loved, valued, and respected. I know that my issues don’t have to control my life and I can walk in freedom. God has shown me that I can dream and have goals. My life has been restored and I have learned that my true identity is in Christ.

Now I pan to get a job and go back to school to finish my degree in counseling and Biblical Theology. I would like to thank the Mercy staff for showing me the way back to God and for pouring love and grace into me throughout my hard times. Thank you for giving me the tools to live, laugh, and love God!

Morgan

By age 21, I was morbidly obese and struggled with compulsive over-eating. Before Mercy, my past was filled with darkness, depression, binging at least 5-7 times a week and people pleasing. All the while, I was falling further and further away from God. My roots behind my struggles resulted from continued verbal and emotional abuse from my father. I was also sexually abused by my brother when I was a teenager. I knew I needed help. My binge eating was taking a toll on me physically and emotionally, and would eventually kill me. My mother told me about Mercy Ministries and when I found out it was a Christian program and free-of-charge, I decided to apply.

During my time at Mercy, God has shown me that a real, continual, loving relationship is possible with Him. Thanks to God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, I have been transformed and healed!

In the future I plan to live find a job and then attend college at North Central University in the fall of 2009. I hope to pursue a music degree with a minor in business administration. I would like to thank Mercy Ministries for changing so many lives everyday!

ST. LOUIS:

Kelly

Before Mercy Ministries, I struggled with a severe eating disorder, self-harm, guilt and shame as results of sexual abuse. I felt rejected and unloved by my dad due to the lack of relationship, as well as the lack of attention I received from him. I started numbing my pain with drugs, alcohol and men. I used these substances to cope with a deep self-hatred.

During my time at Mercy I experience God’s unconditional love. I know that there is nothing I can ever do to separate myself from Him. He has redeemed me. I have been filled with a joy and a peace that I have never known before. I am certain of the future He has planned for me - a future full of hope.

I plan on going home to Michigan to look for a job, get married, and go to school. My desire is to pursue a career in nursing. I am looking forward to all that God has in store for my life.

I want to thank all of the Mercy Ministries staff. If it was not for the love and support of the staff, I would not be here. I am so grateful to have a future to look forward to.


Rachel

I grew up in a loving Christian home, but I was always striving for the approval of others. I was unable to form my own identity due to the fact that I could not say ‘no’ to others or set any boundaries. As a result, I walked in shame and rejection. The pressure of striving to be accepted caused me to turn to bulimia and self-harm. Shortly after, I turned to drugs as a coping mechanism. I was trying to fill a void and numb my pain with one thing after the next. I thought that my family hated me. Therefore, I began building relationships with people that were also doing drugs because I felt accepted by them.

My time at Mercy has revealed that true love and acceptance come from Jesus. I have learned to rest in the truth of what He says about me. He says that I am His beautiful princess! I have been transformed by the love of God, and I am able to trust others without the fear of being rejected. I am no longer defined by the opinions of other people. I rest in His peace and joy, which could never be compared to any drug or person.

I plan on going to Youth With a Mission in Gold Coast, Australia for six months of discipleship training. My heart’s desire is to some day have a dance ministry where I can incorporate the Bible into teaching dance.

Danielle

My life before Mercy Ministries consisted of behaviors such as drug and alcohol addiction, self harm, and an eating disorder. I used those behaviors to numb the pain of my past. I grew up with two alcoholic parents who were physically and emotionally abusive. In the third grade, I began having memories of fists in walls, beatings, violations, arguing and hiding. Throughout my childhood it seemed like I was never good enough or acceptable. I was always looking for a way to be validated. Depression started controlling me as I started engaging in self harm and fantasizing about suicide. In high school I made several attempts at suicide.

Shortly after high school, I was drinking at a party and was raped. I started college and continued drinking and experimenting with any drug I could get my hands on. After college things remained out of control. Therefore, I started controlling my food intake by skipping meals and purging regularly. I came to a point where I could not function without alcohol. I was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and really had no motivation to get out of bed. This was when I decided that something had to change. I was done medicating and trying to fix the symptoms. My desire was to deal with the root issues of my pain, and that is when I applied to Mercy Ministries.

God met me throughout my time at Mercy. God taught me how to slow down and listen. He showed me that all I have to do is be - there is nothing that I can do to make Him love me more. God replaced my rejection, guilt and condemnation with a secure sense of who He says I am. He has called me beautiful, redeemed, blameless, valuable, acceptable, and His beloved daughter. I am no longer defined by my past. I have been set free and am a completely new creation. I now know that I am not a victim, but an overcomer! I am leaving Mercy bold, fearless and on fire for my Savior. This transformation is incredible and I am excited to walk out my freedom.

After Mercy, I plan to move in with the pastors of my home church, Victory Life Center. I would like to get a job using my degree and eventually pursue a Master’s Degree in social welfare and work with abused children, possibly in the realm of advocacy in the legal system. There is a lot of uncertainty in my future, but I am secure in knowing that He has my life in His hands!