Friday, October 14, 2011

Four More Graduates Celebrate Freedom and Restoration!

Miracles are happening every day at Mercy Ministries as hurting girls experience God’s life-transforming power. Four more amazing young women recently celebrated their healing and freedom as they graduated from the St. Louis home and we wanted to share their miraculous stories of restoration with you. “If He can save me, He can save anyone,” said recent graduate Emily…


Emily

My parents got divorced when I was two, and my older sister and I lived with my mom. My mom got remarried when I was three, but my life was chaotic, and I was constantly walking on eggshells. When I was about five years old, a family friend began abusing me. As I grew older I was also picked on a lot at school. In the seventh grade, I started a cycle of eating disorders, self-harm and substance abuse. I just barely made it through high school when my stepfather tried to commit suicide. While he was in the hospital in a coma, I got high at a friend’s house, and her brother took advantage of me, leaving me with a lot of shame. I looked online for free residential programs that might be able to help me and found Mercy, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I learned that He is bigger than I could ever imagine - even bigger than my doubts. He is my strong defender when I am weak. My God is an awesome God. If He can save me, He can save anyone.

After graduation, I want to help and support young girls in my community who are struggling and don’t know where to turn. I want to point them to Jesus.

Cassie

Throughout my childhood, my mom was very sick and was constantly in and out of hospitals. I started looking outside of my home to meet my emotional needs. I also started cutting at the age of 12 as an escape. I eventually fell into an inappropriate relationship with a coach when I was 15 and thought I had found the love and support that I was looking for. Then one night at a party, I was raped by four guys from my school. I was in and out of unhealthy relationships over the next 6 years and found myself spiraling deeper into depression. I turned to alcohol, drugs, self-harm and restriction of food to escape the hurt I had experienced. A counselor told me about Mercy, and when a friend mentioned it a second time, I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has literally pulled me out of the pit that I was in and has set my feet upon His firm foundation. Mercy Ministries and the staff at the St. Louis home showed me the love of God in action, and His love has truly transformed my life and set me free! The more I learn about Him, the more the desires of my heart begin to change. He has shown me who I am in Christ and that I don’t have to hate myself or anyone else for the things that happened. He has shown me His goodness and that He is a God who loves me and truly wants what is best for me. He has freed me from depression, the desire to hurt myself through self-harm, drugs and alcohol and struggles with food. God has filled my heart with the desire to live for Him and share with others who He really is and what He wants to do for them!

After graduation, I hope to find a job working with kids and go back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree in sports management with a minor in coaching. I hope to use my platform in athletics to share God’s good news!


Chelsee

My father passed away when I was 15 years old, and I was never really able to process my feelings about his death. I didn’t want to feel anything at all, and I found that using drugs would temporarily do away with all my hurts. I held on to unforgiveness and anger from my past and the drug use quickly became a full-on addiction. I started selling myself for drugs and money. Soon, I was struggling with depression and lost the will to live. I heard about Mercy from my probation officer. Nothing I had tried in the past had worked, and I couldn’t afford to pay to get help, so I decided to apply to Mercy’s free-of-charge program.

Before I arrived at Mercy, I was angry at God and blamed Him for all the things that had occurred in my past. Not only has He completely transformed my life while at Mercy, but He has made Himself real to me for the first time. I’ve really taken hold of his promises and gotten into His word to find out who HE says I am.

After graduation, I plan to start working full-time while I save up for school. I want to pursue degrees in biology and psychology. Eventually, I would love to work in the medical field and go on mission trips with teams to Africa and help HIV victims. I also plan to get involved in my church and begin attending a local Bible study.


Whitney

I was sexually abused on a regular basis between the ages of 9 and 11. My life was completely out of control. Growing up, I was bullied and teased a lot by my classmates. I became extremely depressed and started cutting myself on a regular basis. I often had flashbacks and nightmares of the past abuse. After just three months in college, I had to quit because I was so depressed and suicidal. Then I started an inappropriate relationship with a married man who introduced me to pornography. His wife found out about us, and our relationship ended. I hated myself for what I had done. I heard about Mercy from a friend, and deep down I knew that God was the only one who could save me, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God showed me that the past is the past. He has forgiven me for what I have done and chooses not to remember it anymore. I have learned how to forgive myself and love myself because God has forgiven me. I’ve also learned that I am valuable, and I have a voice. I now have peace and joy that I have never had before.

After graduation, I will be working full-time to save money for college and pursuing either a career in missions or working with kids. Mercy has completely changed my life. I honestly don’t think I would still be alive if it wasn’t for what I learned here.


Congratulations Emily, Cassie, Chelsee and Whitney! It is incredible to see how your lives have truly been transformed! We are so excited to see where the Lord will take you in this next season of your life as you trust and rely on Him!