Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Six More Changed Lives Celebrated at Mercy Ministries

Residents and staff came together with family and friends in the both the Nashville and St. Louis homes last week to celebrate the graduation of six more lives that have been forever changed by the love and forgiveness of God. Here are their stories of transformation.


Nashville


Gina

4My life before Mercy was full of heartache. After I was molested at the age of 10 and later sexually abused by someone I trusted, I began a deadly cycle of binging and purging that led to several hospital visits. After a life long battle with depression and bulimia, I began self-harming and experimenting with drugs to cope with my emotional pain. Mercy was literally my last chance to escape death and find lasting hope.

During my time at Mercy, I have learned that I am not my issues. I am created in God’s image so I am beautiful, lovely, worthy and pure. What Satan used to destroy me, God is using for my good. I have a purpose in this life and I’ve learned what love really is.

After graduation, plan to finish high school and get involved in horseback riding again. I’m really looking forward to finding ways to serve in my youth group at my church. God used Mercy to forever change me!


Jessica

5I have battled an eating disorder for the past 10 years. Isolating myself from friendships, I have spent most of my time in a deep depression, simply existing rather than living. Over the past two years, I have basically been an invalid in my parent’s home and had to take medical leave from school. My battle would have cost me my life, but my mother told me about Mercy and I decided to seek freedom from my issues.

At Mercy, I have been completely transformed. I don’t have to be stuck in the past because I am a new creation in Christ. God has shown me His unconditional love and how good He really is!

After I leave Mercy, I’m going home to Baton Rouge to be a nanny. In the near future, I plan to travel back to Nashville and pursue a degree in dietetics at Lipscomb University.


Beth

3Before Mercy, I felt paralyzed by strongholds of self-harm, depression and drug and alcohol abuse. Molested at a very young age, the lies I believed about myself were only magnified when two different boyfriends raped me. I was raised in an atheist family and knew nothing of God until 5 years ago. After accepting Christ, I really struggled with the division this created in my family, but I knew God was the only answer for my healing. Several people came into my life to tell me about Mercy and after attending Mercy’s 25th Anniversary celebration, I applied to the program.

While at Mercy, God has opened my heart so I could realize the amazing plans He has for my life! I have hope in Him! I have learned the power of God’s Word and how it speaks to me daily. Most importantly, I have learned the power of prayer.

After graduation, I will complete my Masters of Education degree in Learning, Culture and Society. After this, I plan to attend Asbury Theological Seminary and pursue a Masters in Youth Ministry or Christian Education.


Ashleigh

2My life before Mercy was a constant struggle with perfectionism, and at the cost of my own happiness, I was constantly striving to please everyone around me. Self-harm became an escape for me because I was always hiding behind my struggles. During college, restricting and purging became another source of shame, and I lost hope for my future. For a long time, I tried to figure everything out on my own, but I finally came to the conclusion that only God could answer my questions and give me true healing and make me whole. I discovered Mercy’s website and decided that this program was the best way for me to get away and seek God for my needs.

Being at Mercy provided an opportunity for God to teach me unconditional love. There is nothing that I can do to escape His love for me. I have learned that my value does not come from the number on the scale, but from God. I am precious to Him and He has given me freedom, healing and wholeness.

Once I graduate from Mercy, I am returning home to finish up my Associates Degree. I plan to go on and pursue a degree in Graphic Design. God has also given me a heart for ministry and I’m looking forward to discovering what doors He will open for me.



St. Louis


Amanda

6Although I grew up in a Christian home, I always craved attention. One way that I fought to manipulate and control my family was with self-harm. The desire to constantly lose weight by refusing to eat developed into another compulsive behavior to gain attention. These seemingly overwhelming addictions led to depression and I reached a point of hopelessness and desperately needed help. A Mercy graduate urged me to apply and I’m so thankful I took her advice.

During my time at Mercy, I have learned so much. I have been healed and now I understand that Jesus is my healer, provider and my comforter. He came to set the captives free, and I am finally free from my addictions and my past! I’m so thankful for all His love and provision!

After graduation, I will be returning home and attending a community college. I plan to study Youth Ministry at the Moody Bible Institute next fall and serve God through missions work.



Amy

My life before Mercy was full of dark suicidal thoughts, an alcohol addiction, prescription drug abuse and self-harm. I hated myself. In order to escape my own negative thoughts, binging, purging and cutting often felt like a distraction and a release. The truth is, I was very confused about my identity and had a distorted view of God. After failed treatments and counseling, a friend directed me to Mercy, and I believed this was my last hope.

Being at Mercy has completely transformed the way I think. I’ve been able to forgive myself and accept God’s forgiveness. My mistakes do not define me and nothing I do will ever cause God to love me any less or any more than He already does. No longer do I rely on what others think or say because I know what the Bible says, and I know I am a new creation in Christ.

After Mercy, I will be returning to school to complete my Nursing degree. I have made plans to get involved in my church’s outreach programs, and I have a strong desire to serve through medical mission trips. I want to share my story and reach out to other hurting people because my life has a purpose now!


Congratulations girls! We are so proud of you and we are excited to see how God will use your stories of transformation to change lives!!