Monday, August 15, 2011

Five More Graduates Want You To Know Freedom Is Possible!

The young women who graduate from Mercy Ministries have had their lives completely transformed and are eager to let others to know that freedom IS possible. “Mercy Ministries is amazing, and God is faithful. What He’s done for me, He’ll do for you,” said recent graduate Samantha. Staff, residents, family and friends recently gathered at the St. Louis and Lincoln homes to celebrate the graduation of Samantha and four other amazing young women. Here are their incredible stories of healing and restoration:


St. Louis

Stacy

Before coming to Mercy, I struggled with several life-controlling issues. Throughout my life, I struggled with eating disorders, drug and alcohol addiction, self-harm and sexual abuse. I was constantly trying to earn the approval of others, but at the same time, I hated myself for the choices I made. I was carrying around hurts from my past, was discouraged with my present and unable to see any hope for the future. I heard about Mercy from one of my pastors, Lindsay Willis, who is a Mercy International Board Member. I knew it was the absolute right next step for me to take, and I decided to apply. God’s hand was evident in every step of the process, and it was very clear that this was where He was leading me.


My time at Mercy was primarily a lesson in learning to rest. God showed me how wonderful and necessary it is to stop and rest in His presence. I’ve learned to rest from trying to earn approval and have been able to see that I have worth and value apart from what I do. The staff members here at the St. Louis home are such incredible living examples of Jesus and model the things they teach on a daily basis. I can now fully trust the promise of God’s faithfulness, both to get me through the present and giving me a genuine hope for my future.


After graduation, I’ll be going back to work, and I look forward to getting plugged in at my church again. I can now embrace the future with hope, knowing that God is walking with me and that He knows the way. I want to thank Nancy, all the staff and the donors for their hearts toward all of us and for their faith and sacrifice which has made my transformed life possible.


Stephanie

As a child, I was diagnosed with diabetes and felt emotionally detached from my family as a result. Later in my life, I turned to other things to fill the void I felt in my life and got involved in the party scene which included alcohol, drugs and sex. I was later raped, and after that I felt that there wasn’t any real meaning or purpose to life, so I began working as a prostitute. Prostitution led to more drugs and alcohol and a gang rape. I felt completely empty inside and didn’t care about my life at all. My family was constantly worried they would get the call that I was seriously injured or dead. They told me about Mercy Ministries, and I wanted help, so I decided to apply.


While at Mercy, I learned how to have a personal relationship with Christ. Through my relationship with Him, I gained self-respect and purpose for my life. God has also restored my relationship with my family and filled the void in my life with His love.


After graduation, I plan to go back to college to get my associate’s degree, and I would eventually like to pursue my bachelor’s degree in psychology.



Samantha


I was raised in a loving home, but my dad traveled a lot, and my family did not communicate well. I had an experience in the 5th grade that left me feeling rejected and alone, but I learned to hide my emotions. I struggled with perfectionism and developed anorexia and bulimia in my efforts to gain a sense of control over my life. I later started using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain I was feeling and eventually ended up with two DUI’s. I was also raped in the midst of all this. My mom heard about Mercy through Joel Osteen and told me about the program. I wanted the same love for life that I saw in my Christian friends, so I decided to apply.


While at Mercy, God freed me from bondage in every area. He taught me that I’m loveable, it’s okay to need help, how to be a good friend and that I am not a disappointment. I now know that freedom is attainable. Mercy Ministries is amazing, and God is faithful. What He’s done for me, He’ll do for you.


After graduation, I plan to go back to work and pursue my master’s degree. I also want to help other girls who are struggling with life-controlling issues.


Lincoln

Sara

My life before Mercy was full of hopelessness and pain. I was verbally, physically and sexually abused for a majority of my childhood. I was also sexually assaulted two times at ages 16 and 18. I felt an emptiness in my life that I tried to fill with a lot of different things. I self-harmed, developed an eating disorder and attempted suicide multiple times. I wanted freedom, but I did not know how to get it. I heard from a friend that Mercy Ministries was amazing, and they help people with my issues, so I decided to apply.


While at Mercy, God gave me hope. I now have a passion for life and want to tell others how God has changed my life. I have a purpose, and I know that I am loved. My past does not dictate my future, and the abuse that happened was not my fault. But it is my responsibility to go to God with the hurt and let Him heal me. I have forgiven the people who hurt me, and I now have joy and peace.


After graduation, I will be attending a Christian college and one day I hope to be a pastor. I would also like to mentor girls through the church and help them find the freedom I have found.


Emily

Before coming to Mercy, I was constantly seeking the approval of others, because I felt that would give me value. I felt worthless and was filled with shame and guilt as a result of verbal, emotional and physical abuse. I heard about Mercy from a friend, and I knew I needed help, so I decided to apply. I was ready to live the life Christ died to give me!


While at Mercy, God set me free. He exposed the lies in my heart. Now I know I have His approval, and He’s the only one that matters. I learned I’m uniquely, fearfully and wonderfully made. What the devil meant for harm in my life has turned out for good, and I’m a beautiful daughter of the King.


The grace and mercy of God pours through the Mercy staff into the residents’ hearts, bringing transformation. Mercy Ministries is an amazing, unbelievably loving place. After graduation, I plan to get my master’s degree in counseling.


Congratulations ladies! We are so glad that you decided to trust God for your healing, and we are excited to see what he has in store for you. By sharing your stories, you are going to help countless other hurting young women find freedom!