Friday, October 8, 2010

Mercy Ministries Graduates Excited for What the Future Holds!

“After graduation, I am excited to go home and excited about life – finally!” said recent graduate, Krista. Family, friends and staff came together with the residents in St. Louis and Lincoln to celebrate the graduation of six beautiful young women whose lives have been completely transformed! Each of them has experienced the freedom that can only come through Christ and we want to share their powerful stories with you:

St. Louis

Melissa
I was teased a lot about my size growing up which led me to develop a deep hatred for my body. I believed I had no value or purpose. I wanted to ruin and destroy my body so I tried to punish myself in every way I could. I restricted my food and had an intense fear of gaining weight. My mind became so distorted that I believed that I was overweight when I really wasn't. I would also cut myself as punishment to try and cope with my depression. My home life was not peaceful and it left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I wondered where God was and if He saw what was going on or cared that I was hurting. My parents told me about Mercy and I decided to apply in hopes that I could be free from the past and deal with the issues that were keeping me from truly living life.

While at Mercy I have learned so many things! I've learned that God hears me and that I am not forgotten! He knew when I was hurting and saw the things I was going through. He still loved me even when I didn't love Him. I've learned my sin isn't too big for God and because of Jesus' sacrifice, God looks at me as pure and lovely. He has also shown me through staff at Mercy that I am worthy of love.

After Mercy, I plan to finish high school. After that I'd like to go to a culinary arts college and get a degree in pastry and confectionary arts.

Sarah
I grew up in a single-parent home. My father was an alcoholic and drug addict who rejected and abandoned me so I grew up with a lot of fear and uncertainty. When I was in the 7th grade, the Christian school I attended closed and I started going to the local public school. That's when things became very chaotic. I got involved with drugs and alcohol and put myself in unsafe situations which most often ended up in sexual and/or physical abuse. During my senior year, I became extremely depressed and attempted to kill myself by overdosing on medications. A couple of friends told me about Mercy and I went to the website. I was completely lost and knew that in my own power, I could not overcome the struggles I was facing, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has restored my life and given me such joy and peace. He has taken all of my shame and guilt and has freed me from my addictions. One of the most life-changing lessons I learned while at Mercy is that God invites me into His presence just as I am, imperfections and all! It is amazing to truly know His unconditional love for me.

After graduation, I plan to return home, get a job, and go to college. I also plan to volunteer with my church. After attending the Designed for Life Conference recently, I am interested in checking out their Leadership/Bible school for possible enrollment. I’m also really looking forward to get back into music and art.


Amber
Before Mercy, I had a lot of pain in my life. My parents fought a lot when I was little and my dad was very violent towards my mother and older siblings, including using gun threats. Eventually my parents divorced. I also lost my vision in my right eye when my sister accidentally shot me with a bb gun. As a teenager, I had a poor self-image and developed bulimia. Before Mercy, I was throwing up several times a day. I learned about Mercy through a book called The Real Me written by Natalie Grant. I decided to look into the program and find out more about Mercy Ministries. After reading Nancy Alcorn’s books, I believed Mercy could give me the tools to be free from the life-controlling issues I was facing.

During my time at Mercy, I've learned to look to God as a loving Father and I know that I am not alone because Christ lives in me. I've also learned that I have a purpose for my life which includes helping others. I appreciate the encouragement and help I received from the Mercy staff and I felt safe in this home.

After graduation, I plan to finish up my general associate's degree, and then possibly transfer to a university to work on a bachelor’s in psychology. I also plan to get involved in serving my church and community.



Lincoln

Julie
Before I came to Mercy, I hated myself and my body and felt completely rejected. I would put on a happy face and go to school and church but secretly I was struggling with bulimia and self-harm as a result of sexual abuse. I was angry with God and really hated my life. I knew about Mercy because my friend Megan was at the Nashville home. I didn’t know how to get out of my situation and was desperate for help so I decided to apply.

During my time at Mercy, God truly showed Himself to me and He is good! I learned the true meaning of forgiveness and how to live a life of balance, especially when it comes to exercise. I’ve also learned how to set boundaries and how to have great relationships.

After graduation, I want to get involved with my church, especially with the youth. In the future, I would like to get a job and maybe go back to college and finish my art degree.


Krista
My life before Mercy was dark and lonely. I struggled with anorexia, bulimia and depression and my life revolved around thoughts of food. I spent most of my time sleeping and I isolated myself from others. I felt like I had failed at everything and was destined for a sad, horrible life that wasn’t worth living so I started thinking about suicide. I felt abandoned by God and I hated myself. I wanted something more for myself but I didn’t see any way that was possible. My sister told me about Mercy Ministries and I thought maybe they could help me.

Over the past six months, God has transformed me and my whole outlook on life has changed! I now know who I am in Christ and that I am accepted, valued, worthy and beautiful. I know that God has plans and purposes for my life and it is my desire to pursue Him and impact others with the love of God.

After graduation, I am excited to go home and excited about life – finally! I am planning to go back to school and either get a degree in education or do event planning. Most of all, I am so excited to pursue my relationship with God and I would love to one day have a loving husband and lots of kids!


Dianne
I was physically and sexually abused and struggled with drug addiction, self-harm, and an eating disorder before coming to Mercy. My life was in shambles and I didn’t know who I was. I felt so rejected and thought I was unworthy of anything. I knew I needed to go somewhere that was Christian-based and free and a place that would accept me just as I am. Nancy Alcorn, the Founder of Mercy Ministries, made a presentation at my school and so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me what it is to be free and to not live in bondage any longer.

After graduation, I am planning to go to college and pursue a degree in sociology. I am so thankful to Mercy Ministries for teaching me who I am in Christ!

Congratulations ladies! We are so encouraged by the incredible transformation we have seen in you. It is so exciting to see your newfound hope for the future as you move forward in your journey!