Friday, October 15, 2010

Mercy Ministries Graduates See A Bright Future!

One of the six amazing young women to graduate from Mercy Ministries this week is looking forward to getting home and volunteering her time with disabled children, showing that Mercy graduates not only find freedom from their life-controlling issues, but they give back to their communities. Residents and staff gathered together with family and friends at our St. Louis and Sacramento homes to celebrate the graduation of these incredible girls and we wanted to share their powerful stories of transformation with you:

Sacramento

Leslie

Before coming to Mercy, I was depressed and barely functioning. I struggled with anorexia and bulimia and thoughts of food consumed my life. I also struggled with self-harm and substance abuse and frequently had thoughts of death. I was completely void of hope and felt I could never be redeemed from my mistakes and failures. I was out of options and out of money when I heard about Mercy Ministries from a social worker. I believed in God but I didn’t understand why my prayers didn’t seem to be working. I wanted to feel Him, so I decided to apply.

During my time at Mercy, I’ve learned that through the death of Christ, I am redeemed and that God no longer remembers my past failures. I am loved and cherished by God and through Him I can do anything! He has renewed my hope and I can love myself for the first time, even in my imperfection.

After graduation, I plan to finish my master’s degree in clinical psychology and I would like to work as a counselor. And of course, I want to get married and have children.


Kristin

I had unrealistic expectations placed on me at a very early age which led to perfectionism. I was so consumed with people-pleasing that I kept quiet, assumed responsibility for things that weren’t my fault, and placed all of my value and worth in my academic and athletic accomplishments. I struggled with self-hatred, anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. I also began to use self-harm to deal with my pain. I heard about Mercy from a friend who graduated from the program and decided to apply because I was tired of fighting.

At Mercy, the Lord has given me hope and joy and I’m excited to be alive! God has shown me that my value isn’t based on my performance or other people’s opinions of me; my value and identity are found in who I am in Christ. God has forgiven all my sins and He loves me unconditionally. My past doesn’t determine my future because I am a new creation in Christ and my old self is dead and gone.

Upon returning home, I will be working part-time as a mentor for children with disabilities while I review my nursing materials and volunteer in the medical field. I plan on getting involved in a Bible study and small group at church and spending quality time with friends and family. In the future, I want to pursue a nursing career, write a book, and minister to others who are lost and hurting. I want to thank Mercy Ministries and all the staff for all that they have done for me. This has been a life changing experience!


Kiersten

Before Mercy, I had no direction and no hope of ever going anywhere in life. I was sexually abused and was caught in a horrible cycle of cutting, an eating disorder, and drug overdoses. I felt completely worthless and wanted to die but couldn’t. I found out about Mercy from the website and decided to apply.

Since coming to Mercy, God has given me hope. He showed me who I am and how He sees me. I know I am loved and forgiven, worthy and wanted.

After graduation, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in social work and work with developmentally delayed children.


St. Louis

Monica

I battled with an eating disorder for over 15 years, and struggled with self-harm, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. I grew up in an alcoholic home, experienced all forms of abuse, and as a result, I made many poor choices. I truly despised myself and my life. I lost my health, my job, my apartment, my dog, valuable relationships, and so much more. I knew I needed more than what any hospital counselor or medication could give me. I needed the Lord, fellowship, and my mind to be renewed by the Word of God.

While at Mercy, God has transformed me by the renewing of my mind with His Word. I have learned that I have a choice and I don’t have to listen to the enemy’s lies. The Lord has shown me that I am worthy of love and because I am forgiven, I can forgive others. His love and His Word have healed and restored me. I no longer dread the future and I have a desire to serve and bring glory to God and His kingdom.

After graduation, I am going home to live with my mom. I am considering going back to school for art ministry. I want to find a job, get involved in my church, and do what I can to give back. I am so grateful for Mercy Ministries!


Sarah

Growing up, I had unrealistic expectations for myself and as a result I developed an eating disorder and began to self-harm. I also shopped excessively, became obsessed with men, and was very reckless in my behavior. I felt hopeless and went to a secular treatment center for help. Nothing seemed to work so I eventually left. My mom made contact with the mother of another girl in that program and found out she had applied to Mercy Ministries. When I looked into it and read the testimonies of some of the girls, it gave me a ray of hope, so I decided to apply as well. I wanted to be free!

During my time at Mercy I learned that I have a future. I learned how important community and accountability are. I no longer strive for perfection, but desire to do my best with what God has given me and enjoy it. I learned how important community and accountability are and that I have a beautiful family. I’m so excited about life!

After graduation, I plan to live in accordance with the Word of God and to fulfill His plans for me with a right heart.


Kody

My father was an alcoholic and my mother was addicted to prescription drugs and very suicidal. My life growing up was chaotic and painful. There were constant screams, tears, and pain. Hiding in dark closets was a part of life with my father. When I was 12, my dad left and my mom’s drug abuse got worse. I became the mother to her and my younger sister. I believed I was worthless, selfish, a huge failure, lazy and ugly. I received Jesus into my heart, but I thought He was just going to leave me too one day. I trusted no one. I heard about Mercy through a friend and thought, “I’ll just apply and see what happens.”

While at Mercy, I remember the day the truth that God really loves me pierced my heart. I was overcome and amazed! He really loves me! I know I don’t have to worry about Him leaving me because He is trustworthy. I am free and for the first time in my life I look forward to the life God has for me.

After graduation, I plan on working so I can earn money for college. I will go to school this coming spring of 2011. I am not sure what God wants me to study but I know this: He has a plan!


Congratulations ladies! It is so wonderful to see you trusting God with your future and looking forward to what he has in store for you! We are so proud of you and it is such a joy to see you so excited about life!