Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nine Mercy Graduates Celebrate in Nashville, Lincoln and St. Louis

Nashville, Lincoln and St. Louis residents and staff came together with family and friends this month to celebrate the graduation of nine more incredible women! These ladies have personally experienced God’s life-transforming power and are excited to share their stories.


Nashville

Nicole

7Before Mercy, I grew up dealing with depression and anger as a result of being sexually abused by several family members. Eventually, I began struggling with self-harm, an eating disorder, and drug addiction. Confronting suicidal thoughts every day, I desperately needed to find a way out of the darkness I was living in. When I found out about Mercy from a friend, I finally caught a glimpse of hope for my healing.

At Mercy, God has given me joy and has proven how faithful He is to fulfill the promises He has made to me. I have learned how to forgive others and have also received a greater revelation of God’s grace and unconditional love for me.

When I return home, I plan to get involved in my local church and help on the worship team, and I would also like to pursue a college degree. I am so excited to see where the Lord is going to take me.


Jessica

3For most of my life, I felt like I was screaming for help but no one could hear me. I felt very alone, abandoned and rejected. I began to take drastic measures in order to get attention and landed myself in the hospital. After being sexually abused by a trusted doctor, I became very depressed. I had a huge fear of authority and no sense of self worth, and attempted to end my life several times. My life became consumed by my struggles with bulimia, over-exercising, and self-harm. This chaos led me to hit rock bottom. That is when I decided to apply to Mercy Ministries.

Wow! Since being at Mercy, I have learned to trust again - both in the people around me and in the Lord. God has filled the empty places in my heart that I had so desperately been trying to fill myself. He restored a joy for living that I haven’t experienced in a long time.

After Mercy, I plan to attend Baylor University to pursue a degree in social work. I am looking forward to getting involved in missions work and would like to minister to victims of human trafficking.


Melody

6Early on in my life, I learned that self-harm could help me gain control over my emotions. My mother was an alcoholic and my father also struggled with self-harm. The emotional and verbal abuse I received left me hating myself and I believed I was predestined for failure. I attempted suicide several times before finally seeking help. My social worker gave me the information I needed to apply to Mercy Ministries.

While at Mercy, I learned that God loves me. Now I know I am likeable and that I have hope for the future. I no longer turn to self-harm as a means to cope with my emotions. To God be the glory! I know I am a mighty woman of God and that I will help bring people out of darkness and into His light.

After graduation, I am excited to be attending Jacksonville State University on a scholarship and will be pursuing a degree in music education. I hope to use my degree to become a music teacher. Eventually, I would also like to pursue a degree in counseling so I can help other young women who have experienced similar childhood abuse.


Lincoln

Amanda

1Growing up was difficult for me because I experienced abuse, abandonment, and the death of several loved ones. I turned to drugs, alcohol and promiscuity to ease the pain and depression. I desired to numb myself to everything and not face any of my issues directly. The life I was living was killing me. I knew I needed to do something different and a friend shared with me how many girls had found hope at Mercy Ministries, so I applied.

My time at Mercy has been completely miraculous. God has given me an understanding of who I am in Him and I now have a genuine love for myself and for others. I am not afraid to love anymore, and I am excited about my life!

After I graduate, I want to tell others about the hope that I have in Christ because that is my passion for the future.


Beth

2My life before Mercy was out of control. I had been physically, sexually, and emotionally abused which led to many of my struggles. I was constantly looking for ways to fill the void in my heart and self-harm, alcoholism, and an eating disorder were symptoms of this overwhelming emptiness. I was lost. I felt like no one was there to help me and that I deserved to suffer. Suicidal and at the end of myself, I applied to Mercy Ministries as my last hope.

During my time at Mercy, God totally revealed Himself to me and set me free from all of my issues. He has shown me how much He loves and adores me. I am running full force toward God and learning to rely on Him for everything.

After Mercy, I plan to take part in a 9 month internship at The Rock of Roseville Church near Sacramento, California. I also want to pursue a degree in sports education and hope to one day work for Mercy Ministries.


Lily

5Before Mercy, I was full of anger due to a childhood of physical and emotional abuse. At first, food restriction was a method I used to calm myself down and cope with this pain. Eventually it became a way to lose weight and succeed at something. Anorexia, self-harm, and over-exercising allowed me to have power over my life. My issues made me feel unique and negative attention felt better than being ignored. Ironically, I came across Mercy Ministries when I was looking online for a treatment option for a friend. Later, when I was trying to get sponsorship for the 2008 Run for Mercy in California, a friend told me that they would only donate if I was a resident! I agreed and applied to the program soon after.

Because of my time at Mercy, I now know who I am in Christ – capable, approved, accepted, joyful, strong, confident, healed, and God’s unique handiwork. Christ was nailed to the cross so that I can live FREE, not just coping or existing. I don’t have to live like a victim anymore.

After Mercy, I plan to find a job and pursue a degree in dietetics. I’m looking forward to getting plugged in to a local church where I can build Godly relationships.


St. Louis

Teresa

9My parents were emotionally absent throughout most of my childhood so I never felt loved or accepted. A sexually abusive relationship with a boyfriend led me to obsess about my body because I felt like I was not good enough. I believed that my entire worth was dependent on my physical appearance and my accomplishments. When I got involved in basketball, I strived for perfection that I could never obtain. I was constantly trying to earn God’s love. My eating disorder and uncertainty about my relationship with God made me feel hopeless and suicidal. After reading the book Mercy for Eating Disorders, I decided I either had to apply to Mercy Ministries or take my own life. I’m so glad I made the decision to apply.

At Mercy, I have learned that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I no longer have to try to change myself on my own because I am now submitting to God daily and relying on Him to transform me. I am embracing God’s love which enables me to truly love others, and am no longer ruled by fear, guilt and condemnation.

After I graduate, I plan to get involved in my local church in St. Louis and eventually pursue a Master’s Degree in psychology or sociology. I hope to one day work with other women with life-controlling issues.


Lauren

4Before coming to Mercy, I struggled with anorexia, depression and self-harm. I believed God was a demanding task master who was always disappointed in me and would never love me unless I was perfect. With the mindset that I could never be healed, I became interested in Mercy Ministries because I believed the program would teach me life skills. The truth is that I was in bondage and could not continue living the same way, so I applied.

God spoke to me at Mercy and revealed Himself in a way that I never thought was possible. I do not have to be ashamed or hate myself because I was made beautiful in His image. God continues to restore the joy and love inside of me that I thought was dead. I am so thankful for learning the truth!

After graduation, I plan to reconcile with my family and be the daughter and sister that was lost for so many years. I want to live my life helping others who need to find new life.


Tasha

8I grew up feeling very numb and emotionless because I had suffered physical abuse at the hands of a close family member. I felt dead, so I naturally did not really care to live. I wanted to die. I isolated myself from others feeling as if I was never going to be good enough for anyone to accept or to love me. I was tired of waking up over and over again in the same horrible situation. 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 know I am not worthless because God loves me and I can do anything with Him at the center of my life. The enemy no longer has a hold on me and he has been defeated!

After Mercy, I plan to pursue a degree in Pediatric Cardiology and hope to use public speaking in my ministry. I am excited about my future!


We are very proud of you and your accomplishments! You’ve shown heart and determination in the journey to regain your life and we are very excited to see you live out your freedom.