Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Six Graduates are Celebrated in Nashville and St. Louis

Nashville and St. Louis residents and staff came together with family and friends this month to celebrate the graduation of six more incredible young women! These ladies have chosen to reclaim their lives and we are excited to share their stories of transformation with you!



Nashville


Kristan

6Before Mercy, I found my identity in the world. I was begging for attention that I never could seem to attain, and every day was a constant battle to please the people around me. I became incredibly sick with an eating disorder, and I began falling into a pit of depression. Eventually, I got to the point where I did not care if I lived or died. A friend told me about Mercy Ministries, and I decided to apply to the program because I knew that I needed to find some hope for my life.

Since I have been at Mercy, God has completely transformed me. I no longer journey through life afraid and insecure. I know that I am completely loved, just as I am. My hope is in Jesus Christ, and this kind of love is something that I never thought was possible.

After Mercy, I plan to finish high school and college and then pursue a career in ministry, both overseas and inner-city. I want to share the hope of Jesus with everyone I meet!



Kelsie

4Before coming to Mercy, I was a mess. My day-to-day schedule revolved around my struggle with self-image and an eating disorder, and eventually I began struggling with cutting as a way to release my emotional pain. The enemy’s lies took root in my life, and I didn’t think anyone really loved me. A sexual relationship with a guy who was using me also left a huge emotional scar. A friend told me about Mercy, and soon after, I applied out of desperation, knowing I needed God.

During my time at Mercy, God has completely healed me from my heart break. I have forgiven the guy that hurt me so badly, and I know that when I enter into a marriage relationship someday, I will be able to love my husband with all of my heart. My health is still being restored but I have lost the desire to cut and purge. My identity is completely new because now I know I have great value!

After graduation, I plan to finish high school and then pursue a college degree. I also want to be involved in my church worship team so I can sing praises to God and honor Him with my talents.




St. Louis


Angela

1Before I came to Mercy, I had experienced childhood sexual abuse. Several years later, I found myself struggling as a single mom, barely surviving and deeply in debt. I tried many things to numb the pain. I would often drink to avoid cutting, and eventually I found myself addicted to laxatives and obsessed with performing my own abdominoplasty or cutting “fat” off my abdomen. Because I repeatedly put myself in compromising situations, I was raped and began prostituting my body in exchange for things that I could not afford, like having my car fixed. Eventually suicide seemed like my only escape. When I found myself hopeless, I learned about Mercy Ministries, and made the decision to apply.

God has completely transformed my self-perception since being at Mercy. I was not made for abuse or rejection, but Christ took all of my guilt and condemnation and made me brand new! He is enthralled with my beauty, and I’m learning to trust God and hear His voice.

After graduation, I plan to finish my degree in psychology and pursue a Master’s degree in criminology. I can also see myself getting a Doctorate in forensic psychology. It is my desire to work for the FBI someday! My long-term goal is to speak, write books and build non-government funded housing for single mothers. I’m looking forward to my life after Mercy!!



Kim

Before Mercy, my life was a complete wreck. During my childhood, I was sexually and physically abused, and after my parents divorced, my world quickly began to change. I grew up thinking that the abuse was my fault. After I lost my sister in 2004, I began cutting and hurting my body in any way I could think of. My struggle with self-harm did not ease my pain, and it eventually led to an eating disorder. I told myself that if I changed my body, no man would ever touch me or hurt me again. After trying many secular treatment centers, I learned about Mercy and decided to give freedom one last shot. I told God that if He wanted relationship with me, He had to show me He was there and my life had to change. That is exactly what happened!

During my time at Mercy, I learned that I am loved and my life is valuable. I know that my past does not determine my future and it does not define who I am. God has shown me that His love for me is never ending, and His mercy is new everyday! The staff and residents at Mercy have proved to me that there are good people in this world. I do not just exist anymore. I will use my life to glorify my Creator.

After Mercy, I plan to move back to Missouri and attend Truman University. I hope to become a life coach and eventually open my own coffee shop to raise money and awareness to stop human trafficking.



Holly

2As a young girl, I often attempted to define my identity through the approval of others. Although I grew up in a Christian home and had a relationship with Christ, I longed for the acceptance of the world more than I longed for God. In high school, I began believing lies about my appearance, and I fell into the trap of starving myself for days, purging when I did eat, compulsive over-exercising, and laxative abuse. My eating disorder followed me to college. I felt like I was trapped in quick sand, and the more I attempted to escape, the deeper I would sink. My efforts to have control and to be perfect finally collapsed and so did I. I knew, deep down, that Jesus was my only hope to finding true freedom. My pastor told me about Mercy Ministries and I was excited to hear about a place that could offer me Christ-centered help.

While at Mercy, God has taught me how to receive His acceptance and love. He is not a passive or angry God. Instead, He is close to the broken-hearted, and He is passionately in love with me. I have learned to boldly speak truth over my daily life and to claim the abundant freedom that God has promised me.

After I graduate, I would like to work with Christian camps and women’s groups in order to help them find their true identity in Christ and let them know that they can live every day in freedom and victory! I am excited about the life that God has set out before me.



Jen

3My life before Mercy was a roller coaster. I had deep emotional wounds from sexual and physical abuse, and I eventually could not function in my daily life without chaos. I desperately needed to escape the pain and feelings of rejection that I was experiencing so I began to self-harm. I wanted to die, but I clung to a small measure of hope. I knew that I needed a time set apart for healing and growing in relationship with God. A friend’s counselor told her about Mercy, and I knew, without a doubt, that I was supposed to apply.

At Mercy, my defenses and walls were shattered when I discovered that I was lovable and valuable. God has revealed many areas of pride and rebellion in my life and has taken me on a journey to humility. I have learned that God is bigger than anything that I have experienced.

After graduation, I plan to attend the St. Louis Dream Center and pursue a degree in biblical studies. After that, I hope to open a coffee shop that will raise awareness about human trafficking. I also want to do missions work in and around brothels. Whatever I do, I know that Christ will be at the center of it.




Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you and we can’t wait to see all the beautiful plans that God has for your lives unfold.