Monday, October 19, 2009

Nashville and St. Louis Graduates Share Their Stories of Freedom

Last week at the Mercy Ministries Nashville and St. Louis homes, staff, residents, family and friends celebrated as six young women graduated from the program with their lives transformed and their hope for the future restored. Here are their stories:


Nashville

Brandi

2An abusive childhood left scars deep inside me that skewed my perception of who I was and what I could accomplish. After a failed marriage, I was left alone to be a single parent at a very young age, and eventually my finances were left in ruins. With the combination of depression and drug and alcohol abuse, I knew that I would literally not survive another year without help. I remembered an old news story that I had read about Joyce Meyer teaming up with Mercy Ministries and decided to check out the program. I’m so glad I did.

In the past six months of being at Mercy, the wounds of my childhood have been healed and I have learned true forgiveness. I now know I am accepted and loved by my Creator and Savior! Accepting my past and forgiving people for what happened in the past has totally transformed me.

In the future, I plan to pursue a degree in social work and counseling. I want to be equipped for the mission field and ultimately, explore foreign missions. I will always stay involved with Mercy Ministries every chance I get.


Jelsa

5My life before Mercy was a desperate situation, and I made all my decisions from a very legalistic perspective. I decided to apply to Mercy after my small group leader shared with me her experiences while working in the St. Louis home. I was tired of living in desperation and wanted to be free from my past.

At Mercy, God has totally transformed me. I now realize that I have a Father who loves me and His name is God Almighty. I have been called, not as a servant, but as a daughter of the Most High God, and nothing I have done or ever will do could ever separate me from His love.

After graduation, it is my desire to pursue a degree in youth ministry at Christ for the Nations in Dallas, TX. I now have abundant hope for my future!


Brandy

3As a child, I was raised around the ‘party’ scene and I often felt rejected and left out by my family. I felt so unloved. I was desperate for my mom to want to be around me more. As a result of these negative emotions, drug addiction, promiscuity and cutting ensued and I kept falling into a deeper depression. I was desperate for something, but I didn’t know where to turn. A friend from church told my mom about Mercy, and we decided I should send in my application.

When I came to Mercy, I had an identity crisis, but during this precious time in my life, God has totally redefined my understanding of who I am. I have a hope and a future and now I am excited to live my life. My life is not my own and that is such a relief!

After Mercy, I plan to go on several mission trips so I can begin making connections with other people who want to do ministry work. I also have a heart for ministering to children.



St. Louis

Michaela

6I grew up in an abusive home where everyone kept secrets. In high school, I joined the cross-country team in order to escape my chaotic family life, but my involvement in sports led to a 7 year eating disorder and an addiction to exercise. I desperately wanted control over what seemed to be a crashing world around me, but instead I started self-harming. I was on a downward spiral. After a failed suicide attempt, I knew that I needed help but my insurance company would not help me pay for treatment. I’m now so thankful that I discovered Mercy Ministries online and found a place that could give me the real help that I needed at no charge.

During my time at Mercy, I discovered who I am in Christ and not just what a hospital wristband labeled me as. I realize now that my body was created to be healthy so it can be used for God’s Kingdom. Every day is a journey, but I’m discovering the importance of submission to God’s authority. I’m now free to forgive all the those who hurt me in the past, and most importantly, I have forgiven myself.

After graduation, I plan to attend the University of Kansas in the fall and pursue a degree in music therapy and ethnomusicology. My dreams include traveling abroad and working with troubled youth and orphans, using music to introduce them to Jesus.


Amanda

1Before Mercy, I experienced the painful reality of sexual abuse and lost the desire to live. Between my obsession with being perfect and hating myself for failing at it, I was tormented inside. Eventually, I felt trapped inside my own mind and began struggling with an eating disorder and self-harm. My mother new I was depressed and she heard Nancy Alcorn share about Mercy on KLOVE radio. I knew I had no other options so I applied.

While at Mercy, God has shown me that nothing is too big to be forgiven. I am loved and accepted for who I am, and I’ve been healed and transformed! He gave me my identity. I am a daughter of God. My experience at Mercy, although hard, was so so worth it!

After Mercy, I want to take the steps necessary to work in the mission field and share the love of Christ wherever I go. Now, I’m confident that God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me and to give me a hope and a future.


Cortney

4Before I came to Mercy, I was trying to medicate the pain I felt inside in every possible way. After surviving a dysfunctional childhood and breaking off a co-dependent relationship, I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore or even deal with it. An eating disorder, self-harm, marijuana and alcohol addiction, and prescription drug abuse seemed the only way to deal with my negative self-image. I was so miserable that if there wasn’t a way out, I didn’t want to be alive anymore. Seeking God seemed like my only hope so I went on a mission trip and met a Mercy graduate who encouraged me to apply.

At Mercy, I’ve learned that there is no shame in confessing my sin – there is actually great freedom instead! I have allowed God to come in and heal every part of me. I had to face a lot of emotions and hurt head on, but once they came to the surface, God moved in. I learned to get honest with God and myself, and I will never be the same.

Once I graduate from Mercy, I would like to pursue a degree in Psychology, specializing in Christian counseling. I’m really excited about the future!


Congratulations girls! We are so proud of you and can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!!