Friday, June 26, 2009
Because of our supporters, girls like Ashley who are facing unplanned pregnancy can come to Mercy and receive the help they need, and then choose to parent or place their babies for adoption. Your support is literally saving and changing lives every day. We thank God for our supporters – you make it possible for us to see lives transformed through the love of Christ day after day!!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Staff, residents, family and friends gathered together at the
Before I came to Mercy, I was struggling with self-harm and suicidal thoughts. I've also struggled with depression my whole life. It started at a very young age when I started being sexually abused. The abuse lasted throughout my childhood. I was very scared, but somehow knew in the back of my mind that there was a God that loved me.
During my teenage years, I began struggling with self-harm, which became my addiction. I always thought about it and it was my "escape." Also, I had thoughts that were so tormenting - everyday, I wanted to die. I threatened suicide many times and even made attempts to end my life. I went to numerous mental hospitals, just to get out and return the following week. I knew I needed something to change. At that point in time, one of my friends told me about Mercy and I began the application process.
God did SO MANY things for me while I was at Mercy. As I renewed my mind to His Word, He helped me to become more in control of my thoughts. For a while, things were so bad that I thought I would be that way for the rest of my life. I literally thought that I was born that way, but God helped me to recognize that my mindset was based on lies! God completely and totally transformed and healed me. I am AMAZED and I rejoice that He makes ALL things new!
After Mercy, I plan to go back to
I grew up knowing Christ, but turned my back on him after being sexually abused by my brother and my mom all throughout my childhood. I developed a performance driven mindset and I tried to please everyone around me including my mom. Pleasing my mom meant that I had to be skinny, which led me down a path full of unhealthy addictions. I became desperate for a better life. I was ready to give up on life and happiness, which is why I decided to come to Mercy.
Once I got to Mercy, I began learning about truth. I realized that who God says I am is all that matters. I found out that my internal beauty is the only beauty that defines me. No longer do I have to please anybody else because my Heavenly Father already delights in me.
After graduation, I will be going to a Christian camp for kids called Sky Ranch to be a counselor. Immediately following the camp, I will be attending
I spent my entire life without ever knowing my Dad, which was always hard on me. I began looking up to my uncles, but most of them were bad father figures. So, during my 6th grade year, I started looking up to male classmates. During the summer after my 7th grade year, I chose to engage in sexual sin. Soon after, I found out I was pregnant and realized that I could not continue going to school because I would be made fun of. I was already picked on and I knew that I needed to make a change. My mom’s best friend told me about Mercy and I knew that they could help me.
During my time at Mercy, God taught me how to surrender all my problems to Him and how to leave them at His throne. God restored me with His love. He gave me back the life that He put on this Earth for. After much prayer, I decided to place my baby for adoption with an amazing and loving family.
After I graduate, I am going home to live with my family. I am going to summer camp and then back to school. I will be going into the 10th grade and hopefully playing on the basketball team. I am excited about the life that God has set out before me.
My life before Mercy was very destructive. I began struggling with rebellion when my grandfather died, which was just before my 14th birthday. At the age of 18, I became very rebellious and as a result, I got wrapped up in promiscuity with dangerous guys. My life was out of control, and I could see that regular counseling was not enough to get me on the right track. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I had to do something. My mom told me about Mercy and I made the decision to apply.
God has completely restored and transformed me while I’ve been at Mercy. He showed me that my identity is no tin a guy, but in Christ. He also showed me that my past does not define me - Christ defines me.
After graduation, I plan on going to a maternity home in
I was abandoned at birth by my parents. I was left in the hospital due to poor choices my mom made. I had some birth defects which led to Asthma and a learning disability. I was placed in foster care for about 9 months and then a family member decided to take care of me and my two other siblings for 10 years. During that time I was starved, locked in the basement and physically abused. I began stealing and hoarding food because of hunger pains and intense fear. At the age of 6, I was sexually abused, and due to that I had intense feelings of shame and guilt.
At the age of 10 I moved in with another family member. I was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by them. At that point, I started begging for money on the streets, which lasted 5 years. Eventually, I got into a car with a stranger and came close to being raped. Finally, I was removed from the home and placed in foster care for 6 more years. I moved into six different homes within that time and felt very unstable. I experienced deep feelings of rejection. I became promiscuous at the age of 13 until the age of 17, which led to an addiction to food and pornography. I was diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depression and Anxiety. I was physically alive but spiritually and emotionally dead. I had no concept of true happiness and joy, which led me to apply to Mercy. I was desperate for help.
Since being at Mercy, God has removed all shame, guilt and condemnation. He has placed true joy and happiness within me. I am blameless and the apple of Gods eye. I am beautiful on the inside and out. God has restored my purity and innocence. I came to Mercy with lots of shame, embarrassment, feelings of unworthiness, filth, and rejection, but God has shown me how to separate who I am from what I do. I now know who I am in Christ and I have confidence, the ability to make decisions, and the ability to detect what control and manipulation looks like. My beauty is restored because I now have the identity that Christ has given me. Christ died to set me free, and I am happy to announce that I have a life worth living. I am a princess because my Father is the King of Kings. What was meant for harm, God used for His will and purpose.
My plans after Mercy are to continue working on my dog walking business and volunteering. I plan to go back to school to pursue a degree in Sociology and a Master’s in Social Work so that I can continue to serve God.
I grew up in a strong Christian family that always went to church with parents that were busy serving in leadership positions. Growing up, I felt I needed to live up to the “perfect Christian girl” label. I felt I had to be the best at everything. For some reason, I was always insecure with my weight and who I was. When I was 15, I decided I had enough of being the fat girl. I saw a movie where a girl stuck her fingers down her throat, threw up, and began rapidly losing weight. It sounded easy enough to me. I began a full blown eating disorder within a week’s time and I threw up every single thing I ate.
After several months, my mom found out and thought she could help me. She watched me like a hawk and therefore, I began restricting instead. Throughout high school, my life was centered on music, exercise, and the eating disorder. I wanted so badly to be noticed and loved. I began to abuse laxatives and exercise, and I became very depressed. I thought, “If I am going to have live with this eating disorder for the rest of my life like they say, then I just do not want to live.” In July 2007, I attempted suicide as a cry for help. I soon began cutting to feel something, anything other than the apathy and numbness. I began to party a lot. At this point, I had already begun the application process for Mercy Ministries, but I filled out the application half-heartedly.
I was completely consumed with bulimia, partying, and drinking. I would drink a lot to escape the confusion and pain I felt. Nothing in my life was balanced and I felt like my life was spinning out of control. I had the head knowledge about needing Christ, but did not have the discipline to transfer my head knowledge into heart knowledge. I was convinced that I would never change, but I knew I was ready for help. So, I applied to Mercy again after my youth pastor’s wife told me about it – this time I was serious about getting help.
During my time at Mercy, God revealed His steadfast love for me and how I did not need anyone else’s approval because He already loved and accepted me. I finally figured out who I am in Christ. I am beautiful because He who is in me is beautiful! I am a daughter of the King! I am an overcomer! I discovered that I am complete in Christ.
After graduation, I am going home to
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The game featured present and former members of the Tennessee Titans competing against each other, while raising funds to help the community. Proceeds from the game benefited Mercy Ministries, as well as several other local charities.
The Mercy girls had a blast cheering on several of their favorite Titans, including head coach Jeff Fisher, as well as Vince Young, Keith Bulluck, Cortland Finnegan, Vincent Fuller, Donnie Nickey, Lavelle Hawkins, Nate Washington, Kerry Collins, Michael Roos, Ahmad Hall, Justin Gage, Jacob Ford, Jevon Kearse, Craig Stevens, Jason Murphy, Jevon Haye, Eugene Amano, Patrick Ramsey, Jason Jones, William Hayes, Mark Jones, Matt Mulligan and Rob Bironas. They were joined by former Titans Steve McNair, Brad Hopkins, Kevin Dyson and Chris Sanders.
To avoid a second loss to Coach Lowry’s team, Coach Fisher’s team loaded the bases with cheerleaders to take the lead. After 10 innings and an attempt to pad the score, Jeff Fisher’s team finally claimed a 10-8 victory.
Following the game, Coach Fisher named Kevin Dyson as the game’s Most Valuable Player and Lavelle Hawkins as the Least Valuable Player. The evening was brought to a close with an incredible display of fireworks for the grand finale.
Here is what some of the residents had to say about the game:
It meant so much to know that Coach Fisher and the team made it a priority to spend the day raising money for a cause. Investing time, money, and influence for lives to be changed! We are truly so blessed by the Fisher’s and the team and all that their support has added to our futures. Thanks so much! It was a day we won’t forget! -Adrienne
Danielle said, “I am so grateful to have been invited to the game. It was touching to get a glimpse into how many people support us.”
Sam said, “I really enjoyed seeing thousands of people that are in support of Mercy. The game was so entertaining and uplifting!”
Brandi said, “It was an amazing thing to see all of those football players out there, having fun ‘out of their element’ and supporting us Mercy girls. It was also incredible to see Mercy supporters filling the stands. Thank You!”
Friday, June 19, 2009
Yesterday, we were so excited to have Lisa take time out of her busy schedule to pay a special visit to the
We were absolutely thrilled to have Lisa visit our
Here is what some of the Mercy girls had to say in response to Lisa’s time at Mercy Ministries:
Amber said, “I realized that God wants us to present our lives to Him. He is the only One who can truly bring the best out of us. Every interaction is an opportunity to bring heaven to earth.”
Kristan said, “Wow! Lisa’s message really sums a lot of things up. So often we use our strength to benefit only ourselves instead of using it to bring glory to the Kingdom. We put up a shield and act tough, ignoring those in need. We are so wrapped up in glorifying ourselves that we miss out on His.”
Meagan said, “I loved it when Lisa said that strengths are to be used for service and not for status. That really made me think and want to use my strengths to serve others rather than just to get ahead. Our world would be a much better place of more people would live this way.”
To learn more about John and Lisa Bevere, visit their website at www.messengerinternational.org.
Thank you, Lisa, for taking the time to come and bless us! We are so grateful all you do for Mercy Ministries!
In the fall of 2007, a group of women in the Nashville community began volunteering their time to organize and host baby showers for the mothers-to-be at Mercy Ministries who have chosen to parent their babies. Each of these volunteers has children of their own and shares a heart for single moms. The purpose of the baby showers is to provide the expectant mothers with abundant resources to help get them on their feet, including items such as strollers, car seats, baby clothes, diapers, bottles, toys and much more.
At each shower, before opening presents, the mother-to-be enjoys cake, finger food and punch with a handful of her family and friends.
This past Sunday, current resident Andrea was joined by several guests for her baby shower at the Nashville home. Andrea said, “This was such an amazing blessing to me! I am so appreciative of the group of women who threw the shower they were all amazing. It was so much fun!”
Kay, one of the ladies who host the showers said, “The baby showers are really fun and we absolutely love doing them. The girls are so precious. It’s so fun to be able to bless these girls in such a practical way.”
Special thanks to Kay, Ann, Mandy, Violet, and Tracy for giving of your time and resources so generously to bless our girls!!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In April 2009, Rebekah and Barbara found themselves returning to Mercy Ministries. However, this time, they came to celebrate a graduation at the
After Rachel’s graduation, Barbara said, “Words can’t describe how thankful my heart is for what Mercy has done for my daughter and now my granddaughter. I have seen such a complete change in both of them. I have watched them be obedient to what the Lord has told them…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose LIFE that you and your seed may live! The Lord has brought restoration to our entire family through Mercy Ministries. It is hard to put words to what I really want to say. It is not by might, not by power, but by His mighty work! I cannot thank God enough for Mercy. We are so excited about the plans for a Mercy home in our hometown of
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Author and Singer/Songwriter Karyn Williams was invited to our
At 28 years of age, Karyn just released her first book this past May. “The Takeaway”, which she co-wrote with her dad, is a reflection of the most important life lessons that she learned from her dad. Karyn is also a gifted songwriter here in
Karyn, with the help of songwriter Brian White, sang several songs for our
The following is what a few of the girls had to say about Karyn’s visit.
Amber said, “I really liked Karyn. She really inspired me. All the songs she sang really had an impact on my life and it was something I actually needed to hear. I hope she comes back again!”
Jessica said, “I loved Karyn Williams and Brian White coming here. I was so blessed and the lyrics to their songs brought me hope and joy. I was so glad to know God’s perfect timing brought them here when I needed it the most.”
Julie said, “I really loved their visit. I liked how Karyn sang that there is no future in my past and that past decisions can’t keep me from future achievements. I was so blessed by their visit.”
Jessica said, “I loved both of them! They were both awesome! I loved how she said - find a man who brings out the qualities you want in yourself! She reminded me that there is NO future in my past and I need to make the most of each day.”
Click here to watch the video of Karyn's visit.
Click here to watch the video of Karyn's visit.
Friday, June 5, 2009
In the past, Raquel received crowns that lost their sparkle and left her feeling dissatisfied. Raquel said, “I got caught up with wanting more and more fame. Eventually, I fell into depression and a continual desire to be thinner. Finally, I gave up striving for fame and realized that Jesus Christ is the only famous One. No longer did I have to be dissatisfied with myself. I realized that I am forever His princess and I let go of my earthly titles.” Raquel and two other women shared their stories and encouraged our residents that confidence in Christ and a life surrendered to Him is what makes us beautiful from the inside out. The ladies gave all the girls pedicures and manicures and blessed them with flowers, treats, beauty treatments and gifts.
Raquel said, “He had my life planned out without me even knowing. It was never about me winning the pageants, but rather, about me getting to use my experiences to love on these girls. All of the women came home very touched. We had so much fun and the girls were amazing. We would love to come back, as well as visit the other homes.”
Thank you, Raquel and your ‘beauty team’, for bringing such an amazing group of women to pour into the lives of our residents. The girls were overwhelmed by your generosity. We are looking forward to next ‘beauty day’ at the
The following is what a few of our residents had to say about their ‘beauty day’.
Ashley said, “I really enjoyed beauty day! It was so much fun being pampered and talking about Jesus all at the same time. I truly felt like a princess!”
Amber said, “I really liked beauty day. I felt so special! It taught me a lot on how we have so much beauty within us and that God made us the way He wanted us to be.”
Samantha said, “Beauty day was an absolute treat. The ladies made us feel like we were really princesses. They treated us like we had just won a beauty pageant and really boosted our self-confidence!”
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
In His Wakes provides a safe and successful environment for the girls to engage in water sports activities that challenge both their physical and emotional limits. The activities provide an opportunity for the girls to leave their fears, pride, and insecurities on the dock and jump in the water to experience new and overwhelming challenges.
Upon arrival this past weekend, the Monroe girls were told that this was going to be their day to face challenges, try new things, and have fun! After dividing up in different groups, each team took a boat out on the lake to try tubing, skiing, or wakeboarding. The girls cheered each other on between moments of endless laughter. They stepped out of their comfort zones and conquered their fears!
After a morning of fun and excitement on the water, the residents had lunch by the lake and spent the afternoon with a time of praise and worship and then received metals, goodie bags, and t-shirts. The girls were filled with a sense of accomplishment as they learned to trust and communicate with those around them and overcome their fears.
Here is what a few of our residents had to say about the day on Lake Griffin:
Amanda said, “I had an excellent time at the In His Wakes event. I can honestly say that I haven’t had that much fun in a very long time. I really appreciated the sacrifice that the In His Wakes staff made for us and how they paid close attention to what each of us needed or wanted to try. For instance, one girl on my boat was able to try again when at first she couldn’t ski. The day was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”
Christine said, “In His Wakes Ministry is an amazing group. It was so much fun hanging out with them at the lake. I really liked when they told us victory only comes when we get off the dock. We needed to take new adventures and just have fun. It was a wonderful time.”
Kate said, “In His Wakes Ministry talked about trusting God and getting off the dock, so I decided to try it all. I am so glad I did. I was able to really let go, let my guard down, and I had a blast. I am so thankful that we got to do this. I had a huge breakthrough about trusting God and doing it afraid.”
Hannah said, “This was by far my favorite Mercy outing thus far. Fun in the sun is right up my alley. The In His Wakes staff was so helpful and Christ-like. I was really motivated to take some risks in my life. I only live once and God wants me to live well.”
Thank you, to all the staff from In His Wakes Ministries for faithfully partnering with Mercy Ministries. We always look forward to having a blast under the sun and in the water with your team.
To learn more about this unique ministry, check out their website at www.inhiswakes.com.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Having come to Christ during her college years, Jaime admits to making her share of mistakes early on and is equipped to talk with girls about modesty and purity. She challenged the Mercy girls to live in a way that reveals security in who God says we are which is reflected in all areas of our lives.
Jaime writes music about escaping life's noise and passionately seeking God in the midst of distraction. Our residents engaged in Jaime's passion for worship and were encouraged by the insightful lyrics from her new album, "Above the Noise." She sang about how loving God is not a complicated ritualistic thing, but it's about receiving His unconditional love.
Jaime has a sincerity that she pours into her lyrics that touched the hearts of the Mercy girls. Here is what a few of the girls had to say about their visit with Jaime:
"I realized that my conduct in dating relationships and the way I dress is a reflection of Christ in me." - Megan
"I don't have to mimic what I'm seeing on TV. I can be trendy and cute and not reveal everything. Jaime helped me think about how I have to believe God for who He says I am and that my identity is in Him alone." - Katie
"Jaime told us about how we can lift Christ up above issues and chaos in our lives. I want to dress in a way that glorifies God." - Leslie
In addition to her special private concert with the
To learn more about Jaime or her new album, "Above the Noise," visit her website at www.jaimejam.com.