Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Graduation Celebration – Six More Young Women Experience Freedom!


Staff, residents, family and friends gathered at both the Nashville and St. Louis homes to celebrate six more incredible women who have made the choice to leave their pasts behind and embrace all the successes that God has planned for their lives. We are excited to share their stories of transformation with you:



Nashville

Rebecca

For as long as I can remember, my stepdad sexually abused me. As I got older and began to understand it was abuse, I told my mom and the truth spread quickly. A few months later, I learned that my stepdad killed himself, after allowing self-hatred and guilt to drive him to depression. When I got into high school, I quickly fell into the wrong crowd. I became addicted to sexual relationships and started self-harming as a way to relieve my pain. Desperate and with nowhere left to turn, I decided to apply to Mercy in order to find a place to escape and try to turn my life around.

Since I have been at Mercy, God has shown me how to really live. He also showed me that I’m beautiful and worthy of love, regardless of how people have treated me. I have been able to confidently proclaim that I am a princess, dearly and intimately loved by God. The love I have been searching for was within arm’s reach, but I just never noticed it enough to let it in. Now that I have experienced this love, my life is forever changed and I will never let go of it. I am no longer the victim but I am the victor. Mercy was a tool that God used to grab my attention and heal my broken heart!

My plans after Mercy are to go home and be with my family. I’m certain now that God has a plan for me, even if I don’t know exactly what that is yet. I want to change lives by example, meeting people where they are and showing them that God is not too small to help them.

Rachele

Before Mercy, I was angry at myself and God. When I was four, my Dad died and I believed a lie from the enemy that a loving God could never let that happen. Because I believed these lies, I lost myself in a life gripped with depression and self harm. Sometimes I prayed to God, asking Him to kill me like He did my Dad. Finally, I began to see I was hurting myself and others, so I applied to Mercy for help.

At Mercy, I have learned that God is the only One in this life who will never let me down. He is always with me no matter what I do. I have found my identity in Him. I have discovered that I don’t have to tell lies in order to be accepted. Now, I love truth and it has set me free. One of the most amazing truths I have learned is that God loves me unconditionally. This love has changed my life.

When I leave Mercy, I plan to go home and finish high school. After that, I plan to pursue a degree in counseling and develop my public speaking skills so I can tell others like myself what God has done for me and what He can do for them.



Chantelle

Before coming to Mercy, I had a very twisted idea of love. I thought love and acceptance involved a sexual relationship with a guy. I had been self harming since I was very young, and I started cutting at the age of 14. Harming myself physically gave me a false sense of control and security. When my uncle died, my depression took over and I was numb to everything. I sought thrills just to be able to feel something and ended up in very dangerous situations that only the hand of God could have delivered me from. At first, I didn’t think I was desperate enough to seek help but, in my heart, I was crying for freedom from my pain. My parents encouraged me to apply to Mercy, and with what little hope I had left, I followed through with the application process knowing there had to be a better life than the one I was living.

Since being at Mercy, the healing I have known is immeasurable. I have learned that I have potential to be wise and discerning. I am beautiful and I have a beautiful voice to sing for God. I have also learned that my thrill seeking is a gift from God and a tool to use for the places he sends me. There is nothing dysfunctional about me and I am no longer a victim.

After Mercy, I plan on going into the mission field- that is where I feel most alive. I’m going to be a worship leader someday and whether or not that includes college is up to God. I can’t really tell you my future, but I love Proverbs 16:9-“In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”



Rachel

Life before Mercy was hard. With the depression I had built up over the years, it caused me to lose custody of the two most important people in my life, my kids. That led me to thoughts of suicide, and I experimented with self-harm and started using drugs and alcohol to try to take the hopelessness and unworthiness away. I had a lot of anger towards my mom, who left me at age 7 and had not been there to show me how to be a mother. When I got pregnant with my third child, I knew I had to find some way to help myself so I could be a good mother. I shared with a friend that I was ready to seek freedom from my emotional pain and she told me about Mercy Ministries.

During my time at Mercy, God has surrounded me with amazing women who have shown me that I do have what it takes to be the mother that I have always desired to be for my children. God has completely taken my depression from me and has given me joy that I never thought imaginable. He has shown me that I am worthy of His love and the love of others and that I am accepted. I can now look forward to each day ahead of me.

After graduation, I plan to make a home with my husband to parent my new baby girl. I plan to keep walking on the path God has set before me, and I hope to eventually reunite with my other children. Eventually, I want to go back to school and continue my plans of working as an RN at a children’s hospital. I’m so thankful to Mercy for helping me get back on the path God has set before me.



St. Louis

Annie

My life before Mercy consisted of living in the past and trying to always figure things out in my head instead of being in the present moment. I felt checked out in a lot of ways. I was battling depression and I had a clogged mind. I could not find the answer to all of my problems. I started rebelling in college, which led to a life of misery and shame. Pride and anger had gripped my heart, and bitterness and resentment were the results of many years of fighting God’s will for my life. I reached a point where I was unable to fully function and engage with the working world. My friend Amy told me about Mercy. Soon after, I applied out of desperation and a desire to learn how to live again.

During my time at Mercy, God totally restored me and gave me tools to really live the rest of my life. Now, more than ever before, I know not to live off of feelings. Rather, I seek to enjoy the moment. God helped me take my eyes off of myself and focus on what matters. Also, God has been faithful even with my hard-heartedness – He has truly taken my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh. He has never given up on me.

After Mercy I am moving back to Minneapolis, MN to reside, work and enjoy the city. I am excited to be a part of a church and get plugged in as a way to meet new people. I hope to meet the man God has for me, settle down and have kids.



Caroline

I came to Mercy struggling with past sexual and physical abuse, self-harm, sexual promiscuity, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, abandonment, neglect, negative self-image, and perfectionism. The root behind all of these struggles began with lies that Satan fed me after my mother died of cancer and my father was murdered. I began to believe that I was worthless and that I had no purpose in this life. I believed I was an inconvenience to everyone. I knew that I needed help when I began to have several angry outbursts a day, always blaming others for my problems. My self-esteem had hit rock bottom and I knew I needed to get back on the right track with Jesus Christ, so I looked online for Christian programs and I found Mercy Ministries.

During my time at Mercy, God restored my shattered heart. He has given me beauty for ashes and has redeemed me from generational curses. I am freed from the bondage of my past and God has filled the voids in my heart. I have learned that there is nothing I can do that will cause God not to love me and now I know that I am very valuable to Him. My true identity is in Christ alone!

After graduation, I also plan to attend a junior college to get my basic education and then I want to pursue a Bachelors degree in Forensic Psychology. I have also made plans to marry my fiancé, Derek, in October 2010.



Ladies, we are so proud of you! We are excited to hear about all the plans God is unfolding in your lives!!