Thursday, April 16, 2009

Three Monroe Graduates Celebrate Freedom and Hope for the Future!

Monroe staff and residents joined by family and friends came together to celebrate three more lives that have been transformed by the love of God. Here are the stories of three incredible young women:

Ashley:

My life before Mercy was unstable and empty. I was constantly looking for way to fill the void in my heart. I looked to people, substances, or really anything that would fill me up and make me feel whole. I changed momentarily according to how the person or group I was with wanted me to be. No matter how hard I tried to define myself by guys, drugs or alcohol, I just felt more empty and incomplete. I lost who I was created to be. My life was out of control and I ended up in a psych hospital for the third time. I lost my job and I realized that my life was headed down a dark road. I knew needed to do something different and that is when I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries as my last hope.

After arriving at Mercy Ministries, I discovered that Jesus is the only one who can truly fill me up and satisfy all my heart’s desires. During my time at Mercy, He has given me joy for the first time in my life. I found the kind of joy that does not diminish according to current circumstances. Rather, I have joy that is rooted in my identity in Christ because I am accepted and loved by Him. I have learned to hear the voice of God as He reveals His amazing plans for my life. Now, I am excited about my future.

When I go home, I plan on getting involved with a ministry that focuses on reaching the world’s outcasts and the undesirable. No man deserves to be written off. I want to bring lasting change to hurting lives through helping people embrace the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ!

Savannah:

My childhood was rather normal until my dad went to prison. As a result, my mom became very ill with Chron’s disease and as a way to cope with it all, I became addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was raped at the age of 16, which caused me to fall deeper into my addictions. I became very promiscuous and began to prostitute my body for drugs. Things kept spiraling out of control, and I started feeling overwhelmed by shame and guilt. I began self-harming and dabbling in witchcraft. Cutting became a way to cope with my poor decisions. Eventually, self-harm became my life. During all of this, not only was my mom sick with Chron’s disease, but she also had to have brain surgery. Finally, we had to put her in a nursing home because it was too much responsibility, and soon after she passed away. After my mom died, I was cutting to control the pain, using drugs to numb the pain and sleeping with boys to cover the pain. I was absolutely hopeless and desperate to find something worth living for. I found out about Mercy Ministries through a magazine about a girl who struggled with cutting, yet she was able to find hope and freedom. I decided to apply to the program for myself.

Once I arrived at Mercy Ministries, I read a passage in Ezekiel that talked about how God could take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. He did just that! He took my old, cold and hard heart and He changed it to a soft and loving heart. God has shown me that I am worthy to be in His presence and that He is my Father who loves me unconditionally. He has set me free of issues that people told me I would have to struggle with for the rest of my life!

After graduation, I want to go to college to become a counselor. After that, I want to go to seminary. Eventually, I want to open a rehab program to help women who struggle with the same things I struggled with. My heart is to help hurting people and to tell them the truth about hope in Christ.

Eden:

Growing up was difficult for me because I was emotionally and verbally abused by my dad. As a teenager, I hated myself, my life, my home and my school. By my junior year in high school, I turned to alcohol and cutting to ease the pain and depression. After my dad passed away, I turned to food for comfort. I began purging as a way to control my weight. When I graduated from college, I was addicted to alcohol, cutting, bulimia and prescription drug abuse. That cycle continued for several years, which caused me to become consumed with thoughts of suicide and death. My life was spiraling out of control and the darkness began to close in on me. I wanted a way out. After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries. I completed the application process and was accepted into the program.

While at Mercy Ministries, God taught me that my identity is in Him. He also taught me that life is not perfect, but that He is guiding, directing and protecting me each step of the way. I realized that I have to relinquish control to Him. The Lord has also shown me that His mercy and forgiveness will always cover my mistakes.

After Mercy, I plan on moving back home and finishing the certification requirements to be a teacher. Once I am a certified teacher, I plan on finding a teaching job. I am also looking forward to getting involved at my local church.

We are so proud of you Ashley, Savannah and Eden. We are looking forward to what the Lord has planned for each one of you as you leave Mercy and move into a new season!