Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nashville and St. Louis Graduates Celebrate Changed Lives!

Friends, family, residents and staff gathered together in our St. Louis and Nashville homes to celebrate the graduations of nine incredible young women. These young women have taken personal responsibility for their lives by taking a time out to face their problems head on and they have each experience true freedom through Christ. We would like to share each of their stories with you:








St. Louis


Lindsay

8Before coming to Mercy, my childhood was relatively functional. I grew up in a Christian home with loving parents. It was in school that I became an easy target, often being teased about my weight or about how I dressed. Through a very difficult series of events, I lost all my friends, my extra curricular activities diminished, and I became extremely depressed and suicidal. I was consumed by death and even tattooed the words “Silent Asphyxiation” on my forearm, branding myself for death, not thinking I’d live to see my 21st birthday. I heard the music group Barlow Girl promote Mercy Ministries on the radio, and decided this might be my last chance for help. After investigating the website, looking up a couple online videos about Mercy and crying like a baby, I printed off the application and decided to go for it.

During my time at Mercy, I have been redeemed from 9 diagnoses and have been taken off ALL the medication doctors told me I would be on for the rest of my life! I have grasped the reality of the truth in God’s Word! Now, when I look in the mirror, the young woman staring back at me radiates beauty, confidence, and undeniable passion! I am called and equipped for a great future!

After graduation, I will be returning to live with my parents, attend an awesome church, and will begin the process of looking for a job. I want to save money so I can go on a mission trip next summer. Eventually I see myself becoming a full time missionary.



Katie

7Before Mercy, I grew up in a dark world that was fully of physical and sexual abuse. As a result of the guilt and shame, I became sexually promiscuous. This just led to depression and an addiction to self-harm. I wanted to give up, but I also new that I could not pull myself out of the pit I had fallen into without God’s help. My godmother told me about Mercy, and I’m so glad I took her advice and applied.

At Mercy, God has taken my guilt and shame away and clothed me in His beauty. He has revealed to me that I am pure and spotless in His eyes. I am chosen to be His precious daughter, and I am living proof of a life transformed.

After my time at Mercy, I plan to enter the Job Corps program so I can pursue a degree in either photography or media. I’m looking forward to the journey!




Nashville


Andi

2Before coming to Mercy, I hated everyone and more than that, I hated myself. Physical and sexual abuse left me depressed and without hope and I used self-harm and an eating disorder to cope with the pain and try to gain acceptance. I remember asking God to allow me to fall asleep and never wake up. Tortured by my past, I felt stuck and like I couldn’t move forward. For a long time I could not find anyone to help me, but I learned about Mercy on the Life Today television show, decided to apply to the program, and I haven’t looked back.

At Mercy, God has miraculously healed me. I now know who I am in Christ and I know how much He loves me. Learning to like other people has taught me to like myself and I’m so thankful that God is continuing to make me whole in my spirit, my mind, and my body.

After graduation, I know God will reveal my next steps and take me on a journey with Him. I’m looking forward to it.



Amber

1Before I knew about Mercy, my life was consumed with drugs, smoking, alcohol, and constant self harm. I felt like the living dead. After being violently attacked during my 8th grade year, I began smashing breakables against my body to numb the pain I felt inside. Eventually, an addiction to purging my food took control of my life and I did not feel like God cared about my pain. During a Girls of Grace conference I noticed many women who genuinely had joy in their lives and I decided that I wouldn’t settle until I had the same thing. With my mom’s encouragement, I applied to Mercy Ministries.

During my time at Mercy, God has freed me from bulimia and has healed my broken heart. He showed me how to live again, and I am so thankful that I have a personal relationship with a God who I can talk to all the time and who has a perfect plan for my life.

After I graduate, I plan to pursue a speech therapy degree and work with children who are deaf and autistic. Another desire that I hope to fulfill is to someday travel to Zambia and work with children. I’m ready to “run the race” and glorify God in everything I do.



Bethany

3I have always had trouble dealing with my emotions. Fear, anger and hurt consumed my life, and after surviving a traumatic event in my childhood, the depression became debilitating and led to an emotional breakdown. I began an 8 year struggle with an eating disorder and self-harm because physical pain felt more comfortable than the emotional pain. On the verge of committing suicide, I came to the end of myself and tried to find help online. I applied to Mercy because I desperately needed to find hope.

At Mercy, I have received a revelation of God’s radical love for me. I trust Him in a way that I never have before, and He is truly the lover of my soul. Self-hatred is a thing of the past! I am so excited that I am becoming what God created me to be!

After Mercy, I will be returning to my hometown in Kentucky. I don’t know exactly what God has prepared for me, but I have no doubt that He will provide. He has placed a dream in my heart to minister to teens that are hurting, and I want to be a youth evangelist.



Meagan

9Before Mercy, I felt trapped in a self-destructive cycle of confusion. Bulimia and self-harm took over my life. Not understanding the roots of my struggles led to more frustration and anger, and I progressively became hopeless. A couple of friends put a mirror in front of my face and helped me make the decision to seek help. I was desperate, so when I learned about Mercy - a program that was Christ-centered and that would take me in for free, I knew I had to apply. I would not have been able to afford any other programs.

During my time at Mercy, God has revealed the reasons why I have struggled. Despite growing up in church, I never truly understood the value I have in Christ. God replaced all the lies I believed with the truth from His Word and He has shown me how much He desires to have a relationship with me.

After graduation, I plan to pursue a degree in Christian studies because I feel led to work in ministry. I know I can trust God to lead me one step at a time.



Jessica

6Before coming to Mercy, my parents divorced when I was very young. Although my mother remarried and I had a wonderful stepdad, I never understood the absence of my biological dad, who was an alcoholic and drug addict. Feeling abandoned by my father, I began seeking love and acceptance from guys. When I was 16 years old, I was raped and the emotional scars left me afraid and alone. Drinking, smoking and sexual promiscuity became a daily routine, and eventually I entered into an abusive relationship with an older man. I lacked hope, but I knew that if anyone could help me it was God so I decided to reach out for help.

While at Mercy, I have learned that Christ is alive and real and He is the source of my life. I don’t have to live defeated because He has replaced deceit with truth!! God has rescued me and also transformed my family. He is so amazing and I am so thankful for His love.

After I leave Mercy, I will be studying at a Bible college. One day, I hope to work with disabled and hurting children.



Hannah

4My life before Mercy was miserable, and I felt like I had no life inside of me. Each day, I obsessed over my body because I never felt accepted by anyone, especially guys. I started restricting and binging in order to stay thin and maintain control of my appearance. Acceptance was my number one priority.

While I have been at Mercy, I have learned that my life is not my own. God has a plan and a purpose for my life and I don’t have to find love and acceptance in anyone but Him. He will satisfy all my needs.

After I graduate, I want to pursue a degree in counseling so I can pay it forward and help girls who are hurting and who don’t know God’s mercy.