Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nine More Graduates Restored and Free!

Nine more amazing young women who came to Mercy Ministries feeling worthless and rejected are graduating from the program knowing God’s unconditional love and acceptance. Staff, family and friends gathered in Nashville, Monroe, and St. Louis on Tuesday to celebrate their healing and transformation. Each girl told her incredible story of moving from death into life and we wanted to share their powerful testimonies with you.

Nashville

Jena

Before coming to Mercy, I had a very distorted view of God. I was sexually abused throughout junior high and heading into high school. I started using drugs in sixth grade to cope with the shame, fear and guilt I carried. I repeatedly overdosed and ended up in the hospital and various treatment programs, but nothing seemed to help. I attempted suicide when the drugs could no longer numb the pain. Eventually I moved in with a boyfriend, and we planned to get married. Those plans were shattered when he and his mother were killed during a robbery. When they died, I wanted to die too. I started hanging out with drug dealers and pimps and began selling drugs as well as my body. One night, I began to cry thinking about how disgusted I was with myself when I remembered my pastor telling me about Mercy Ministries. I checked out the website, read a few of the testimonies and decided to apply.

Days before arriving at Mercy, I was in a major car accident where I broke my back and pelvis. The enemy tried to stop me, but I am so glad I came anyway. God has done a MAJOR work in my heart and life. He has given me beauty for my ashes. I now know that I am clean and pure and He loves every single part of me. He has given me purpose, and a reason to live. God has restored everything that the enemy stole from me sevenfold, and I know that He will use every bit of the pain I experienced to help other hurting people be set free.

After graduation, I plan to attend college and pursue a degree in Christian counseling. I want to help rescue and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking!

Heather

Before coming to Mercy, my parents divorced. I moved to a different state and my dad wasn’t really involved in my life anymore. I would go to school, not talk to anyone, come home, binge and then sleep the rest of the day. I felt like nothing around me was stable or consistent. I became depressed and was very disrespectful and rebellious. I would constantly lie about anything and everything. I wore so many masks and had put up so many walls, I didn’t know who I was anymore. A few girls I knew that had graduated from Mercy called me and said that I should really consider applying, so I did.

While at Mercy, the biggest thing I learned is how much God loves me. He has been with me, holding my hand through all the things that I have been through. He has shown me grace and mercy and continues to restore my relationship with my family. I have learned how to truly forgive. He has also shown me that I really am beautiful because I was made in His image. Through Christ, I am loved, secure, and accepted.

After graduation, I will finish high school and go to college. I would like to pursue a career in special education. Eventually, I would love to get married and do missions work overseas with my husband.

Jessica

I grew up in a very legalistic, controlling Christian family. I was emotionally abused and grew up not having any sense of value or self-esteem. I struggled with depression and self-harm and started drinking and chatting with men online for attention. I hated myself. I just wanted to die and not have to pretend everything was okay in my life anymore. I worked at a library and someone returned the book “Cut: Mercy for Self-Harm” by Nancy Alcorn. I took it home and read it and decided to apply. I knew God was the only way to freedom.

While at Mercy, God has placed such a joy and peace inside me and such a deep love for others in my heart. I know I have worth and value and I know God loves me and will always love me no matter what I do. I know He has a purpose and plan for my life and I am so excited. Mercy has been amazing. Gods’ presence is so strong in this house. All the staff really loves us and shows us God’s love and mercy.

After graduation, I plan to go back to my job at the library and search for an apartment and roommate closer to my church. In the fall, I am planning to go to college and get an associate’s degree in ASL/Interpreting.



Monroe

Kimmy

I was sexually abused by a family friend from the age of six to 16. Rejection was always a part of my life, and I never felt like I was able to measure up. I was always worried about image and began restricting my food and binging and purging. I thought if I could not control what happened to me, I could at least control myself. I felt like I would never be free from my past. I did not want to live anymore. I heard about Mercy from my sister and knew that God was my only hope.

While at Mercy, God has shown me that my past does not determine my future. I can choose to live in bondage or choose to be free. (Deuteronomy 30:19) God created me. I am His beloved, and He values me as much as he does everyone else. God has amazing plans for me, and my past has not disqualified me from His calling.



Anita

Before coming to Mercy, I struggled with perfectionism and wore many masks. I started struggling with eating disorder behavior at the age of 12. I always tried to seek the approval and acceptance of others, but I never felt loved or accepted. I grew up in church, but over time I became very legalistic and religious and felt like I could never measure up spiritually. For the last two years before coming to Mercy, I struggled with depression daily. I was desperate for help, and when my aunt and uncle told me about Mercy, I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has done so much for me! He has given me freedom from eating disorder behavior! I have found my confidence in Him alone. My view of God has changed dramatically, and our relationship has grown so strong. I have learned how to set healthy boundaries in relationships. I’ve also learned how much freedom there is in forgiveness.

After graduation, my plan is to serve God with all my heart. I will be going to school to earn a teaching degree and plan to get involved in my local church. I am very, very grateful for Mercy! I met Jesus here, and He changed my world. He is the reason I’m alive. Thank you to Nancy and the Mercy staff for being the hands and feet of Jesus!


St. Louis

Angela

Growing up, I never knew who my biological father was. The father that claimed me left when I was five years old, after abusing me physically and sexually. I never felt like I belonged and ended up using drugs during my teenage years to escape the pain. I was devastated at age 16 when this father legally signed off his parental rights. My drug dependency grew worse, and I gave myself away physically to boyfriends in hopes that I would somehow feel loved. At 20 years old, God intervened and my life was turned around, but I found I was still haunted by my past. I heard about Mercy from a graduate and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me that He is my true Father and He is everything I need. He has shown me that He is not like my earthly fathers and that He will never leave me or give up on me. I know that He is the answer to any problem or issue that I will ever face and that I can fully trust Him and His Word. He has freed me once and for all and has healed my deepest wounds. This season has refined me and strengthened me to go and reach the lost and hurting.

After graduation, I plan to go to Bible college and continue in my studies. Then my plan is to go to a university and major in counseling and adoptions/social work. I am also interested in church planting and missions that help orphans.


Audrey

Before Mercy, I was depressed, anxious, self-harming, and deeply struggling with anorexia and bulimia. I was barely functioning in my job as a veterinarian or as a wife. Every day, I flirted with death and had thoughts of suicide. I didn't value my life, nor did I take God at His Word. I heard about Mercy from a friend who graduated from the program and decided to apply, because I was scared for my life.

While at Mercy, I have realized Christ's love for me. I now know that I don’t have to be perfect. I have been able to forgive people who have hurt me in the past and have found His joy again.

In the future, I plan to get a job in the veterinary medical field and enjoy one day at a time with my husband, Ben.

Elizabeth

My life before Mercy was a huge struggle, I had debilitating depression, and I hated myself. Not only was my life in turmoil, but so was everyone around me. I was not taking care of my son, and there were days that I just could not get out of bed. My life needed to change, not just for my sake but for my son’s sake as well. A friend from church told me about Mercy, and I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has taught me so much. He has shown me that He can handle whatever issues I may have. I’m not depressed, and I don’t hate myself anymore. He has healed me! I also learned that God is forgiving, and He loves me no matter what. I am a new creation in Christ.

After graduation, I plan to go home and be a good mom. I also want to go back to school and get a degree in either nursing or social work. I would love to help children and go on a mission trip.

Camillia

Life before Mercy was a nightmare. My father committed suicide, and I was angry and bitter. I had no concept of the grace of God. I lived in continual shame because of the choices I made. My view of God was that He was a taskmaster, and I felt that I constantly had to perform in order for Him to accept me. I viewed myself as defective, and it only made sense to me that everyone else would view me the same way. Because of my fear of rejection, I would isolate myself. I self-medicated with alcohol and marijuana and suffered from anxiety and depression. I learned about Mercy from a Joyce Meyer magazine and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I have learned of God’s relentless unconditional love for me. I now know that He loves me and that His love is not based on my performance. He has COMPLETELY transformed my mind and heart. I have learned how to forgive, how to have healthy relationships and how to love myself. I now look forward to the future and trust God and His Word. God has truly changed me from the inside out.

Once I graduate, I plan to seek employment, build my own marketing business and help others through my church.


Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you and the commitment that you have shown. Your growing faith and desire to help others is so evident, and we look forward to seeing your futures unfold. We know God has amazing plans for you!