Monday, July 6, 2009

Five More Graduates Let Go of The Past and Look Forward to the Future!

St. Louis and Nashville staff and residents gathered with the family and friends of five more incredible young women as they graduated from Mercy Ministries in Nashville and St. Louis. These young ladies made a brave decision to put their lives on hold to get to the root of their issues so they could attain lasting change. No longer are they allowing the pain of their past to dictate their futures. Check out their stories!

Nashville

Michaela

My life before Mercy was a mess. It was a game of hide and do not let anyone seek. I suppressed everything from sexual assaults and death threats to harsh words that cut deep. I always felt as though I had to be perfect and nice to everybody. In order to be “nice,” I found myself allowing people to trample all over me, which eventually built up so much pressure that I began self-harming. I became addicted to hurting myself and quickly became very suicidal. I frequented secular treatment centers, but my insurance was running out. A friend and graduate of Mercy, told me about the program so, I decided to apply because I desperately wanted my lifestyle to change.

During my time at Mercy, God has shown me that He loves and desires me. I realized that He wants to be a true Father and a real friend. He has shown me how to magnify Him instead of the problem and how to have faith that He will work all things out for His glory. I also figured out that no sin is unforgivable and that I am called to love others at all times. The Lord also restored my dreams and my personality.

After graduation, I plan on pursuing a college degree in counseling and art therapy. I would also like to get a degree in photography and open a home in the inner city area of Philadelphia that helps young people through art therapy.

Jacquelyn

Before coming to Mercy, I was part of a divorced family and I had little sense of warmth and security. I grew up around a mother, grandmother and aunt that were all struggling with eating disorders, which distorted my mindset from an early age. Once my mom died of alcohol abuse and an eating disorder, I began struggling with an eating disorder too. I constantly put on the mask that everything was okay. I lived a ‘Christian’ lifestyle that was based on works and I was determined to prevent anyone from getting a glimpse into the darkness of the eating disorder. Two of my friends and graduates of Mercy were free from their struggle, and I wanted to experience that same freedom. I found out about Mercy Ministries on Facebook and immediately applied.

While at Mercy, I experienced God’s love and His true character. He filled the very depths of my heart. I learned how to spend time in His presence and discern His truth over my life. I shattered the box that I had placed God in and many of the legalistic walls I had built up were torn down.

After I leave Mercy, I plan on finishing my degree in Dietetics and eventually pursuing a Master’s in Dietetics. One day, I hope to walk alongside girls who are struggling with the very same things that brought me to Mercy. I am looking forward to instilling hope into the hearts of women by showing them that lasting freedom is possible.

St. Louis

Cecily

Before Mercy, I was going through a phase of destructive living that was spurred on by feelings of seeking to find pleasure no matter the cost. In some ways, I acted like I was indestructible, as if I did not have to worry about repercussions. I would binge drink and have one-night stands with random guys and not worry about any of my behavior having consequences. I always knew that the path I was headed down was not God’s will and that He had better plans in store for my life. I felt hopeless at the thought of ever changing until one of my friends told me about Mercy Ministries. I had hope for the first time and I knew that they could help me change my destructive cycle.

While I was at Mercy, God opened my eyes to who He says I am in Christ. Now, I understand who God is in relation to me. I learned how important it is to renew my mind daily and to walk with integrity in the smallest of decisions. Making right choices in the minor stuff is pertinent to continuing to walk in freedom.

After graduation, I plan on returning to school in order to attain a BA in dance or performing arts. Later, I plan on finding a job close to home and rejoining all my dance classes.

Susanna

Before coming to Mercy, I was purging up to 50 times in one day. I spent hundreds of dollars on food each week, I was too depressed to function, and I engaged in self-harm on a regular basis as a way to cope with the past. Finally, my mother told me about Mercy Ministries and I knew it was where I needed to be.

During my time at Mercy, God set me completely free from the eating disorder and self-harm. I learned of His unconditional love for me and that my past does not have to determine my future. I discovered who I am in Jesus Christ and that He is a loving and accepting father.

After I graduate, I plan on going back home and going to college to study Physical Education, Nutrition and Upper Elementary studies. I hope to one day work for Mercy.

Becki

My life before Mercy was a constant battle with feelings of abandonment, rejection and a lack of purpose. I created a distorted body image in my head and quickly began struggling with an eating disorder. My life was inconsistent and no treatment centers were able to bring lasting change. A family member told me about Mercy Ministries. I knew that God was missing in my life, so I decided to apply.

Being at Mercy provided an opportunity for God to show me that I have a purpose and that I will never be alone. God showed me that He has planned great things for me and that I am the most beautiful woman in His eyes. I learned that I no longer have to focus on myself or worry about anything because all I need is found in Jesus Christ. I realized that by following God’s Word and leading, I have a promising life and salvation.

Once I graduate from Mercy, I will be preparing to attend college. I am not sure where I want to study or what I want to study, but I know that God has great plans for my life!

Congratulations Michaela, Jacquelyn, Cecily, Susanna and Becki! We are so proud of you all for having the courage to seek lasting change. We are excited about the journey that has been set out for each of you!