Thursday, April 23, 2009

Six More Lives Transformed – Read Their Stories!!

Family, friends, staff, and residents gathered at the Mercy Ministries Nashville home to celebrate six more lives transformed by love of Jesus Christ. These young women have graduated the program with hope for their futures and incredible stories of freedom and new life. We would like to share their stories with you:

Susie

When I was in the 4th grade, I started struggling with anxiety, depression and panic attacks. I always felt like a freak because I had the most irrational fears. I was very skinny as a child and my peers consistently made fun of me, which caused me to be extremely insecure. So as a way to fit in, I began drinking, smoking, partying and hanging out with older guys. At 15 years of age, I fell into a controlling and abusive relationship with one of those men and started using alcohol as way to cope. Finally, I turned to anorexia to help me control the pain. I ended up in a six year battle with anorexia that almost took my life. I was in and out of residential treatment facilities that were not helping just searching for find freedom. I came to a place of desperation without hope, and I knew that Mercy Ministries was an answer to my prayers! I had read about Mercy years before I actually applied, and I remembered hearing stories about other girls who had found freedom. I completed the application, and was accepted into the program.

Since being at Mercy, God has transformed me from the inside-out! I have finally found freedom and a renewed hope for the future. God has shown me that I am forgiven, accepted, and treasured in His eyes! I have learned that I can turn to God whenever I need comfort, peace or strength to face the day. I am excited to see the journey that He takes me on.

After I graduate, I plan on going back to Illinois State University to finish my degree in Health Education. After college, I want to pursue a career where I can help other people who struggle with addictions. Someday, I would love to work at Mercy Ministries or some other ministry similar to Mercy helping hurting young women find hope and freedom in Christ.

Sarah

My life was chaotic and out of control 24 hours a day. When I was four years old, my parents separated and my sister and I were left to live with our father. When my mom left, I became overwhelmed with feelings of rejection, neglect and abandonment. In the 3rd grade, my sister and I were illegally taken from our dad and we lived with our mom for five to six months. During that time period, my mom was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. I believe that the abuse was the root of my battle with an eating disorder, self-harm and multiple suicide attempts. The brokenness that defined me became unbearable, and that is when I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries.

Wow! Since being at Mercy, my relationship with my parents has been restored. I have found real freedom in Christ. The Lord has softened my heart towards people that I never thought I would be able to forgive. He has given me an authentic smile and real inner joy. I am truly thankful to be alive and to live the abundant life that the God has planned for me.

After Mercy, I plan on going back home to Texas to be with my amazing family. I am looking forward to finishing high school, and after I graduate, I am open to whatever the Lord calls me to do!

Caroline

I grew up feeling very misunderstood. Throughout middle school, I was consistently teased for being so small, which eventually led to me hating my body. I hated being ‘cute little Caroline’. In high school, I was referred to as anorexic. I became very angry, and as way to prove myself as big enough, I chose to become involved in the party scene. At first, I was doing it to prove myself, but I ended up destroying my reputation. During all of this, I was raped and basically hated myself. I was certain I would be dead by 18. Drugs owned my life, and I did not know how to stop. I found out about Mercy and knew it was my last chance to get my life in control.

While at Mercy, God gave me my life back. He released me from all the shame and guilt I carried around for so long. He has restored my hope for an amazing future full of His plans. If God can see past all my flaws and still love me, then I can love myself too. I have learned to trust Him, to trust others and to trust myself.

I plan on attending Middle Tennessee State University in the fall and working with children to show them God’s love. I would also like to return to Mozambique on a mission trip. I will always share God’s transforming work in my life as a way to encourage others.

Grace

Before Mercy, my life was controlled by an eating disorder and self-hate. I was addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex. All of those behaviors were just a way to cope with the pain of my childhood physical and sexual abuse. Finally, I tried to commit suicide, and when I failed, I realized that I had no more hope. I desperately needed help. When I found out about Mercy, I immediately saw a glimpse of hope for healing.

At Mercy, I found freedom from drugs, alcohol and the eating disorder. My joy and hope have been restored. I have also received a greater revelation of God’s grace and unconditional love for me. I have forgiven my abusers, and I have learned to trust God even when life is difficult.

When I return home, I plan on working at a Christian summer camp and pursuing a degree in Leadership and Communications at Regent University. I am excited to see where the Lord is going to take me.

Georgianna

At 16 years of age, my dad left and I desperately tried to regain control through bulimia, anorexia and over-exercising. Before I knew it, these things had taken control of me. I began overdosing on pain medications and sleeping pills. I also started self-harming as a way to cope with the pain of my dad leaving. I was depressed and hopeless thinking that there was no way out. I truly thought that I would be trapped in darkness until the day that my heart stopped beating. Out of desperation and a life that was falling apart, I applied to Mercy to regain control of my life.

I walked through the doors of Mercy with a lot of doubt and distrust. I did not believe that God could really heal me. Within a few days of being at Mercy, I got a glimpse of hope for the first time in six years, and I cried out for freedom. God honored my heart of surrender and obedience by completely healing and restoring me. I have learned that He is trustworthy and more than enough. I have realized that He is all I need to define myself.

After Mercy, I will be leading worship at my church. I plan on going back to college to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. I am not sure what all of that will look like, but I am totally trusting God!

Ashley

I was physically and sexually abused for most of my life. At one point, my mother and father abandoned me, which left me confused by feelings of rejection and abandonment. I became an addict for four years as a way to numb the pain of my past. I hated my life and I hated myself. I would have done anything to leave the world, but I knew I needed help. I did not want to live that way anymore so I applied to Mercy Ministries.

At Mercy, I learned that I have a choice for life or death. I realized that I am a child of God with an amazing future in Him. He has restored my joy and shown me unconditional love. Now, I love myself!

When I leave Mercy, I plan on going back to Virginia and getting a job. I am looking forward to letting God lead me wherever He wants me to go!

Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you and we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for your new journeys.