Thursday, August 19, 2010

Six Graduates Celebrate Transformation at Mercy Ministries!

Residents and staff came together with family and friends at our St. Louis and Nashville homes today in order to celebrate the remarkable transformations of six more Mercy Ministries graduates! These young women have found freedom from their life-controlling issues. Check out their stories:

St. Louis

Melissa C

I grew up in a family that was very distant, controlling, and verbally abusive. My parents spent most of their time caring for my oldest brother who is mentally handicapped. I learned to become independent at an early age and often felt isolated and abandoned. Between the ages of 9 and 13, I was sexually molested. I felt ashamed and believed it was my fault so I turned to anorexia to gain some control of my life. I also turned to drugs, alcohol, and homosexuality to fill the void in my heart. These things only created more confusion, anger, and depression. I lost my job in 2009 and hit rock bottom. That was when I applied to Mercy Ministries. I entered the doors of Mercy feeling worthless.

While at Mercy, I have built a strong foundation in Christ. I have a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him than I ever have. I have found that along with faith and obedience comes freedom. For the first time in my life I feel beautiful. I like my body, I like myself, and I genuinely like other people. I realize that I was not created to be independent and alone, but I was created for fellowship. God has also continued to restore my family.

Mercy is only the beginning of my journey. I plan to move to Texas, look for a part-time job and complete my degree in Dietetics. I am looking forward to being involved in my local church where I can stay connected with a body of believers and get involved in reaching out to others. Above all, I am excited to go deeper in my relationship with God because I know that He is my ultimate joy and strength.

Theresa B

I grew up in a home that was filled with arguing, criticism, and conditional love. We went to church every Sunday, but to me, God was someone peering down from Heaven watching every wrong move I made. I became a perfectionist which led to self-hatred, self-harm, and an eating disorder. My counselor gave me Mercy for Eating Disorders by Nancy Alcorn. I knew that I needed help and a Christ-centered home so I decided to apply.

During my time at Mercy, God has taught me that only He can heal me. I know that I can come to Him just as I am and still be fully accepted. He has shown me who He created me to be and awakened dreams in my heart. He has given me hope!

In the future, I hope to open a boutique, and be a voice of true beauty. I would also like to work with young people and do missions work. I have been incredibly blessed! It is a privilege to be loved and taken care of by God! I am SO grateful!

Brittany S

I struggled with an addiction to alcohol for 13 years. I was in a deep depression and had no desire to live. I felt my life was empty and meaningless and I was angry with God. I was overwhelmed and did not see any way out of my despair when I heard about Mercy from a friend who knew a graduate of Mercy Ministries.

During my time at Mercy, God has given me new life, hope, joy, peace, and dreams for the future. I have learned how to make good choices in everything I do, say, and think. I have also learned the power of God's Word and how to replace all the lies I believed with God's truth.

After graduation, I am going home to look for a job and attend college where I would like to major in Early Childhood Education. I plan to live life to the fullest and pursue my dreams of teaching children on the mission field.


Amanda L

Before Mercy, I had no desire to live. My parents divorced when I was very young and my father moved across the country. I tried to make up for his rejection by striving for acceptance from others. This desire to please people led to anorexia, bulimia, and an addiction to exercise and pro-anorexia websites. Further social rejection led to self-harm and I eventually became suicidal. I hit rock bottom when a failed suicide attempt landed me in the hospital. My parents told me about Mercy Ministries and I didn’t know much about the program but I knew I wanted to be free, so I decided to apply.

During my stay at Mercy, God has opened my eyes to His truth. Not only am I beautiful and truly treasured but He really does have a plan to prosper me. God has brought me to such an intimate place with Him and I can’t wait to walk out the path He has laid before me.

After Mercy, I’m going to return home and make up for lost time with my family. I’m planning on taking some time off before going to college where I hope to major in Music Business.

Cara E

At the age of four I remember looking in the mirror and thinking my legs and stomach looked fat, and by the time I was eleven I stopped eating. I loved sports and would exercise constantly. My parents took me to a doctor who diagnosed me with anorexia. I believe I developed anorexia because it was my way to be noticed and cared for. My family was very loving, but I felt I needed to get extra attention. I entered a different treatment program with the hope that I would be free. The counselors there told me I would never be free of anorexia and would deal with it for the rest of my life. I only got worse and learned how to hide my anorexia better. My life was horrible and I wanted to die because I was so miserable! Finally, a mentor told me about Mercy Ministries. I knew that God was the only one who could heal me, so I applied in the hopes that I would finally be free.

Since coming to Mercy, God has rocked my world! I’ve learned He does love me and He was with me through every struggle. I learned that He made me and I am beautiful. I am not a mistake! I know now that I do not need to control my eating and exercise with a strict regimen. God has given me hunger and fullness, and exercise is no longer compulsive, it’s fun! I know my identity is in Christ. I am free!

After graduation, I’m going back to high school for my junior year. I’m going to spend time with my family and start rebuilding relationships. I really can’t wait to play sports again too! Thank you to all the staff! You guys love us so much and believe in us. And thank you to all the benefactors. Without you, I don’t know if I’d be alive and Nancy, you are my hero! Thanks for giving your life to God’s will!

Sarah S

I was physically and sexually abused from a very young age. By the time I was 13, I developed an eating disorder. While in high school, I started to self-harm, tried to commit suicide, and was in and out of hospitals and treatment centers. I eventually went to college, but one night at a party I was sexually abused by an older student. Things got worse from there and I ended up leaving school. I heard about Mercy from a friend and decided to apply because I knew I needed to deal with the root of my issues.

While at Mercy, I learned who I am in Christ. I know that my past doesn’t dictate my future and that my moods don’t have to depend on a number on the scale. I am who God says I am.

After graduation, I plan to finish my degree in psychology and get a job working with special needs children. I also have a dream to be a foster mom one day. I am so grateful to Mercy for giving me this opportunity and believing in me.

Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you and we can’t wait to see what God has in store for you. Your testimonies are going to have a ripple effect on future generations.

Check out this video from the Nashville graduation: