Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two St. Louis Graduates Celebrate a Bright Future

Staff, residents, friends and family gathered together at our St. Louis home to celebrate two recent graduates of Mercy Ministries. These ladies, like hundreds of others, have seen their once seemingly hopeless lives transformed by the love and power of Christ. We are excited to share their stories with you.



Jenny

My birth mother left me and my younger brother when I was 2 years old. One of my family members became controlling and abusive and would often punish me by making me spend hours on my knees against the wall and would often beat me. The physical abuse became worse as I got older. Other family members molested me and this abuse eventually escalated to rape. The emotional pain led to cutting and a long battle with self-harm and bulimia. I became very confused about my sexual identity and got involved in relationships with other girls. Because of my rebellion, I was kicked me out of my home and fled to a Christian friend. When I thought I was controlling all of my issues, I realized that they were actually controlling me. A Mercy graduate who attends my church shared her testimony one Sunday morning, and I decided to seek lasting change for myself.

During my time at Mercy, I learned that God already knew all of my past and my mistakes but He still accepts me just as I am. All I have to do is be willing to surrender everything and lay all my burdens down at His feet. I experienced the overwhelming love of Christ when I finally put on my crown of forgiveness and gave Him all of the ashes of my life. I am so thankful that God took my past and turned it into something that would ultimately make me turn to Him and fall in love with Him.

After Mercy, I plan to go home to Mississippi and pursue a degree in Elementary Education. After this, I know God will lead my steps and reveal His plans for me.


Ashlie

Before coming to Mercy, I looked like I had everything together on the outside and no one knew that on the inside, I was dealing with a great deal of pain, guilt and shame. Childhood abuse mixed with addictions to pornography, various prescription and over-the-counter drugs and an eating disorder had created a miserable and potentially deadly reality. I was at the end of my rope and that is when my mom told me about Mercy Ministries.

At Mercy, God’s love has allowed me to forgive, let go, change, grow, challenge, convict, move forward and most importantly, love myself as a perfectly made child. I still don’t fully comprehend God’s love for me, but perhaps I never will, but what I do get blows my mind. I now know who I am in Christ. I have learned that I can’t be in control because this life is not my own. I can’t always do what I want with it, but I can trust that my God knows best!

After graduation, I plan to return home and finish my Master’s degree in Counseling so I can work either in a group home with teenage girls, or as a behavior specialist. I hope to open a chain of counseling centers to help people understand the REAL God - the one that loves them unconditionally.



Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you, and we are excited to see how God will use your gifts and talents to change lives!!