Friday, November 12, 2010

Five More Mercy Ministries Graduates Restored and Free!

One of yesterday’s graduates had every intention of ending her life on June 17, 2010, but God had other plans. At Mercy Ministries, God brings hurting young women from death and darkness into a life of hope and freedom. Residents, staff, family and friends came together at the Nashville and St. Louis homes yesterday to celebrate the healing and restoration of five amazing young women and we wanted to share their courageous stories with you.

St. Louis

Casey

My life before Mercy was empty. I was sexually abused by a family member when I was 8 years old. My house was full of anger, constant yelling and fighting, and emotional neglect. When I was 14 years old I started cutting because I felt so dead and lonely. I made a lot of bad choices in an effort to fill the void I felt and eventually at 22 years old I found myself headed down a path of destruction with sex, drugs and alcohol. I found out about Mercy at a BarlowGirl concert and decided to apply. I still had plans to end my life on June 17, 2010, but God had other plans. I got my arrival date for Mercy and it turned out to be June 17, 2010!

I have learned so many things while I’ve been here, but the thing that stands out the most is LOVE. The staff here demonstrated God’s love to me everyday no matter what kind of day I was having. With that love came knowing that I am accepted, important, and forgiven.

After graduation, I am going back to work as a kindergarten teacher at the daycare I’ve worked at for 9 ½ years. I also want to pursue a desire to serve in a children’s orphanage in Africa.


Jill

During my adolescent years I struggled with extreme insecurity that led me to seek approval from others. I quickly became a perfectionist and developed a serious eating disorder. The eating disorder controlled my entire life and took over my identity. I made some horrible choices while caught up in this vicious lifestyle and felt guilt, shame, and condemnation. The guilt only made the eating disorder worse and I started to abuse alcohol in order to blackout and numb myself of the pain I was feeling inside. My mom saw Nancy Alcorn on Joyce Meyer’s show one morning and when she heard about Mercy, she knew God let her see that for me. I knew I needed serious help if I wanted to save my life and future, so I decided to apply.

When I came to Mercy in June, 2010 I was not really sure what to expect. I mostly thought I would be learning behavior modifications. Once I learned how huge God is and His amazing grace and forgiveness, I realized how wrong I was. Words truly cannot describe the work Christ has done in my life. I can now look at myself and say I am holy, clean, pure, and righteous before my God! It is such an amazing feeling to not be stuck in the past anymore. I used to be so empty inside and tried to fill all the voids in my heart with worldly things. Since coming here, I’ve realized that God is the only one who can sustain and fulfill me. He redeemed my life!

After graduation, I plan to get involved in my church wherever God opens doors. I have a desire to go back to school and possibly get a degree in ministry. My heart’s passion is to minister to the youth of this generation and love on them as Jesus would. All I really know is that God has great plans ahead and that I’m going to follow where He leads me.



Nashville

Kristen

I grew up in a Christian home, but I felt like I would only be loved by God and others if I was perfect. I became a people-pleaser and feared rejection, so I attempted to be perfect in all I did, especially in sports. In 9th grade, I moved to a bigger town where there was more competition. I compared my body to other girls and was determined to be the best runner with the best body. I developed an eating disorder and lost about 40 pounds, which left me weak and dangerously underweight. I was hospitalized for a low heart rate, but continued to exercise daily despite the fact that I was dying. I wanted to be free from my eating disorder, but I didn’t have the money to get treatment. I knew Mercy was a Christian program and I saw how God had freed so many other girls. I had heard about His power but never experienced it, so I applied.

Since coming to Mercy, God has revealed how much He loves me. I know He has grace when I mess up in my pursuit to be like Him. He has taught me that I don’t have to be perfect to get His attention. He is near to me if I just call to Him. I have learned that there is so much more God has planned for me. Life is so much more than being thin and exercising. I want others to be set free like me.

After graduation, I believe God is calling me to go to college to pursue a degree in social work. I want to get involved in my church by joining a small group and possibly work with the youth group. Thank you Mercy Ministries for pouring so much love into me. I am sure that I am free in Christ because of the truth you spoke over me. I now know the power of Jesus’ name. God bless you for your obedience to Christ! I am a life transformed!


Heidi

Before Mercy, I spent most of my time trying to escape reality. I was very anxious, especially in social situations, and afraid of failure. I came out of a lot of poverty and confused thinking. I used self-harm out of frustration and thought it would make people see how much pain I was in. I hated my family and I thought they hated me too. I felt dead inside and believed that there was no hope for me. My dad told me about Mercy, so I decided to apply.

Since coming to Mercy, I am no longer confused and I don’t want to die. I learned that the Bible is God’s Word and it is absolute. I’m not angry at God anymore and I learned that He has a purpose for me that is more than I could ever imagine.

After graduation, I plan to go to college and look forward to seeing all that God has in store for me!

Christina

Before Mercy, I used self-harm and prescription medications to cope. I hated myself and felt so much shame and guilt because of my lifestyle. I knew that only God could heal me and I was determined to receive that healing. I heard about Mercy from my sister and decided to apply.

During my time at Mercy, God has freed me from depression. I no longer suffer from fear or feel I need to live behind a mask. He has restored my hope, confidence, and boldness. I have learned that God has forgiven my sins, He loves me, and that I am His prized daughter.

After graduation, I plan to get degrees in criminal justice and social work. I have a passion to work with and mentor troubled teens in urban areas. I want to show them the love of Christ and speak truth and show light in the dark world we live in. My dream and vision is to bring hope and healing to young people and see them set free from depression, addiction, and other life-controlling issues.

Congratulations Casey, Jillian, Kristen, Heidi, and Christina! It is so incredible to see how your lives have been transformed and restored. Your heart to serve others and bring the light of Christ to the world is inspirational. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!