Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Seven More Graduates Celebrate Hope and Freedom!

“I knew that Mercy could help me not just deal with my issues, but also help me to know who I am in Christ and how to live a victorious life for God,” said recent graduate Candace. Mercy Ministries exists to provide opportunities for young women like Candace to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power.

We wanted to share the inspirational stories of Candace and the six other incredible young women who recently graduated from our Nashville, St. Louis and Sacramento homes. They have not only been set free from their life-controlling issues, but know who they are in Christ and look forward to the future God has in store for them. Read these incredible stories of transformation:

Sacramento

Candace

I was raised in a loving Christian family, but a family friend molested me and exposed me to pornography at a young age. This left me angry and confused and I lost any sense of self-worth. I grew up feeling like I couldn’t trust anybody because of the sexual abuse I experienced. I went to college and played basketball, but when I was abused by some players on the men’s team, I got involved with drugs, alcohol and self-punishment to deal with my pain. Soon, I found myself in one abusive relationship after another. I went into a deep depression and all I wanted to do was die. I heard about Mercy Ministries from a pastor. I knew that Mercy could help me not just deal with my issues, but also help me to know who I am in Christ and how to live a victorious life for God, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God showed me that I am loved, and I have worth. I have learned how to deal with things in my life according to God’s Word, and I really am a new creation. I also learned that my past does not define me, nor does it determine my future. I am so thankful and blessed that God put Mercy Ministries in my life. It is a good feeling to wake up and be excited to be alive.

After graduation, I plan to get involved in my church and give back. I want to show others God’s love. I will also be returning to college in the fall to play basketball and pursue a degree in paralegal studies.

Nicole

I was physically and sexually abused many times throughout my life by several men. I was also verbally and emotionally abused and eventually ended up in a cult where I was totally manipulated. All of this resulted in a life of drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, suicide attempts and psych wards. My life was chaotic, unstable and completely godless. I was in so much mental and emotional turmoil, I felt completely hopeless. I heard about Mercy from a counselor and decided to apply, because I knew I couldn’t keep living life the way I was.

While at Mercy, I came to know Christ. I want to take the unconditional love and mercy that I received and impact the world for Jesus. Because of Mercy, I know who my Heavenly Father is and now have an identity I can be proud of. I also learned the value of community and support. I was trying to get through life alone before, but I’ve come to realize that people, safe people, are a huge part of healing. I’m eternally grateful for all Mercy has done for me.

After graduation, I will start my new job. In September, I plan to go to a 9-month discipleship program at the Rock of Roseville. I want to grow in intimacy with God and would love to be a wife and mom one day.

Whitney

I was sexually abused as a child and developed an addiction to exercise at the age of 9. I was deeply depressed and hated myself and everyone around me. At age 11, a boy my age started touching me, and I felt so much shame, I started restricting my food. My senior year of high school I was sexually assaulted again. I felt violated and had no hope. By the age of 20, I was partying a lot and destroying my body with the eating disorder. After a failed treatment center and relapses that left my family over $100,000 in debt, I began self-harming. I heard about Mercy from a graduate I knew. I thought I would die if I didn’t get help. I decided to apply because I wanted to live and fulfill the purpose God has for me.

While at Mercy, my life was completely restored! God can truly take all the bad and hurtful things in your life and turn them into beauty. I now know who I am in Christ. The enemy has no power over me now, because I am a confident woman who knows the authority I have. I am so thankful that the eating disorder, self-harm, alcohol and sexual abuse no longer control me. I now stand in freedom and have true joy.

After graduation, I plan to finish my degree in psychology. I have a huge passion to see captives set free, because I was once that captive. It is possible to live in freedom! Thank you, Mercy, for providing a place where my life could be completely restored. I have hopes and dreams again.


Nashville

Nikki

While at Mercy, God showed me who He really is. He brought me out of despair and hopelessness, and my past is now behind me. I know who I am in Christ. I have forgiven the people who hurt me, and I now want to show God’s love to others. God is also restoring my relationship with my mom. I love my life now, and I am excited for my future and the plans God has for me!

After graduation, I plan to finish high school and get involved in a wonderful church back home. My dream is to go to college and pursue a career as a veterinarian.

Madison

I grew up in a Christian household, but I never really knew God. I was also very sheltered as a child and knew nothing of the troubles of the outside world. I always tried to please everyone around me, but when I started middle school, I was physically and verbally abused by my classmates. After being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts when I was 12, I started cutting as punishment, because I hated myself. I eventually turned to bulimia and alcohol as further punishment. When I found out about Mercy, I knew I had to apply, because deep down I didn’t want to die, I just wanted help.

While at Mercy, God transformed me from a suicidal wreck into His glorious princess. I am safe, and I am healed. I don’t feel like I need to hurt myself anymore because my pain is gone! He has taken away every single addiction I struggled with and set me free!

After graduation, I will prepare to return to high school in the fall for my sophomore year. I will be celebrating my freedom and rejoicing in the time with my family.

Rachel

I started having anxiety and depression when I was in 6th grade. I started cutting when I was 12, but I had been self-harming in other ways for as long as I can remember. I struggled with suicidal thoughts as well. I didn’t believe in God and had no hope for my future. I got in trouble with my school for drinking, and one of the school counselors told me about Mercy. I knew I needed help, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God restored my hope for the future, and I’m actually excited for what’s to come in my life. I’m free from self-harm and am no longer depressed. My relationship with my parents has also been restored, and we can now function as a normal, healthy family. Most importantly, I have learned that God really is there, that I can actually have a relationship with Him and that having that relationship is worthwhile. He has given me His peace and joy, and I learned that I can go to Him with anything and lean on Him for strength.

After graduation, I plan to finish high school. I want to go to college and major in either social work or Christian counseling.


St. Louis

Esther

Before coming to Mercy, I was going through the motions. There was no joy in my life, only secrecy. I wanted to reach out and connect with others, but I was too afraid of being rejected, so I kept myself isolated. I was consumed with negative thoughts due to abandonment in my past. I was struggling with eating disorders, self-harm and depression and couldn’t seem to overcome my issues. I knew I needed help, but I couldn’t afford to go anywhere to get it. I heard about Mercy from a friend at church and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God showed me His true character. The staff gave me unconditional love and a lot of mercy. I’ve learned the true meaning of grace and that God made me beautiful.

After graduation, I’m going to get plugged into a church, and I’m planning to get a job. I want to thank all the staff and donors for making it possible for me to be here, for not giving up on me and for loving on me.

Congratulations ladies! It is so awesome to see you walking forward in faith, knowing you are already victorious in Christ. We are so proud of you!