Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Amazing Mercy Grad Shares Her Story of Hope

Friends and family gathered with the staff and residents at the Monroe home yesterday to celebrate the graduation of an amazing young woman who is already paying it forward. While at Mercy, Hannah was completely healed and restored from the pain of past sexual abuse. She has become passionate about sharing her story to encourage others, and recently spoke at a special fundraiser in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Hannah speaking at a recent event in Shreveport, LA

Here is Hannah’s amazing testimony of freedom:

When I was five years old, I was molested by a trusted family friend from our church. I began to believe lies about myself. “You are worthless. No one is going to love you now. You’re damaged goods, broken.” And I believed that it was all God’s fault. From that point on, I cut myself off from God.

For as long as I can remember, I have had a void in my life. I became determined to fill this void; it became my biggest motivation in life. I would give myself to guys sexually, expecting them to give me love in return; a love that would make me whole and take all my pain away. Little did I know, I was only making my pain worse. I had no respect for my body. On the inside, I was screaming for help and for someone to take care of me. I hated myself and would punish myself for my actions. I told myself it was what I deserved.

I started drinking in high school. Eventually, I felt like the alcohol became necessary for me to be happy and have joy. I would blame my actions on being drunk and would pretend to move on, suppressing how I really felt about my behavior. I would go through times where I would try to get my act together, but every time I would relapse, and it would be worse than before. Finally, in August 2010 I hit my all time low and felt completely helpless. I heard about Mercy from my sister-in-law and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, Jesus answered many of my questions. For years, I felt like I was dirty, ugly and damaged. I was mad at Jesus because I knew He had the ability to cleanse me, but He wouldn’t for some reason. God showed me that all these years, I had been deceived, spiritually blinded. God showed me that I’m not dirty; I’m pure because of Him. I’m not junk, but loved! I can turn to Him and have Him bear the pain. Jesus took the abuse, the shame, the guilt and the filth in my place. Now that is true love. I fully surrendered myself to Christ. I am no longer my own. Thank you so much to everyone at Mercy for giving me the opportunity to meet God face to face and for letting me share that with others.

I want to encourage other young women who struggle with life-controlling issues. Mercy isn’t about learning how to cope with life so you don’t have to deal with pain anymore. It is an opportunity for you to take some real time to get to know the God who truly loves you and is the answer to all of your problems.

After graduation, this incredible young woman will be enjoying her summer before returning to school in the fall to finish her degree in fashion design. We are so excited to see her passion for Christ as she reaches out to others who are in need of His healing! We are excited to see where the Lord will take her in this next season of her life! Congratulations on your graduation Hannah! You have already started a ripple effect that will change the lives of countless others. We are so proud of you!