Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Six More Amazing Stories Of Hope and Freedom!

So often, the hurting young women who come to Mercy Ministries have tried to find freedom from their life-controlling issues by relying on their own strength and failed, leaving them hopeless and full of despair. When they come to Mercy, they experience God’s unconditional love and transforming power, and their lives are forever changed. “I feel like I’m alive for the first time!” said recent graduate, Kristina. Kristina and five more amazing young women recently celebrated graduation in Monroe and St. Louis and now have hope for the future. We wanted to share their powerful stories of freedom with you:


Monroe

Jodee

Before coming to Mercy, I was struggling with depression and anger as a result of sexual abuse. My whole day would be spent idly passing time, doing nothing constructive. I also became very promiscuous, wanting to please others and get their attention. I dug myself into a pit I couldn’t get out of. My counselor told me about Mercy, and I wanted help, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy I learned to see God and myself in a new way. I am so thankful for the staff not giving up on me at times when I was difficult. I’m so grateful to have a relationship with the one true God.

After graduation, I plan to get involved in ministry through my church. I will also be attending college and pursuing a degree in music. I will continue to pray for God’s favor toward Mercy Ministries, and I will be recommending Mercy to other hurting girls.

Heather

Before coming to Mercy, my life was spiraling out of control. I was very depressed and using alcohol and self-harm to cope with my pain. I was also secretly struggling with an eating disorder. I was filled with so much shame and had no hope of things ever changing. Many days I prayed for God to just let me die. In July of 2010, Nancy Alcorn came to my church and spoke at a women’s conference. I wanted help, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God opened my eyes to His love for me. For the first time in my life, I believe that God loves me and there is nothing I have ever done or will do that will stop Him from loving me. I am no longer filled with shame, because I know I am a new creation in Christ. I am unconditionally loved, protected and delighted in by a loving Heavenly Father who has amazing plans for my life.

After graduating from Mercy, I plan to get involved in my church and spend lots of time with my daughter. I also plan to apply to college. I look forward to following after God. Thank you to Nancy and Mercy’s staff, volunteers and supporters for allowing God to use you in this process of transforming my life! I am forever grateful and truly blessed!


Jessica

I grew up in a Christian home, and my family was very involved in our church. I constantly heard about the love of God, but I was also being sexually abused regularly. I believed I was too worthless, damaged and ugly to be truly loved by God or people. After being raped and molested again in my early teens, I became very angry and was determined to feel in control. I began partying, drinking, doing drugs, stealing, cutting and being promiscuous. I was in and out of unhealthy relationships, and by age 17, my obsession with my appearance and my desire for control led to severe anorexia and bulimia. Eventually, I became suicidal and was in and out of rehabilitation centers, hospitals and psychiatric wards. After my second suicide attempt, a graduate of Mercy who was on staff at my school told me about Mercy. I had accumulated tons of medical bills and couldn’t afford to go to another facility that cost money and only taught me to modify my behavior. I needed a free, safe place to deal with the roots of my problems. I knew Mercy would help me deal with the real hurt and anger at the root of my issues, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God took the lies I once believed and exchanged them for the truth. He took everything I thought I knew and redefined it. As I let go of the shame that previously kept me from experiencing His love, He proved to be trustworthy. God has revealed my purpose and taught me about true beauty and value in Christ. His truth has truly set me free.

After graduation, I plan to return home and finish Bible College. Eventually, I would like to work in full-time ministry and help women who struggle in the same areas I did. I would like to help women overcome their issues as they experience the love of God and the freedom in having a relationship with Him. Mercy has been such an amazing journey. I am truly grateful!


Kristina

I was raised in a dysfunctional home and did not know about Jesus. I was sexually abused by a family member and found comfort in eating disorder behaviors and self-harm. The only healthy outlet I had was academics, but after I was raped on campus during my first week of college, that world was shattered. The eating disorder behaviors escalated, and I attempted suicide. I was in and out of expensive treatment centers, but they all failed to get to the root of my issues. I was out of money and out of hope when I heard about Mercy from the family of another patient in secular treatment. I was desperate for change and knew I needed help that could only be found in Christ, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God showed me what a loving father looks like. I know that He died for ME and my sin is forgiven. I am now able to forgive my past offenders, and I am on fire for God. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced, and I love it!

After graduation, I’m returning home to be with my husband. I plan to volunteer and teach English as a second language. I also want to get more involved with my church, and I dream of one day having children. I am so glad I came to Mercy and feel so blessed for being given the opportunity. My whole life has been transformed. I feel like I’m alive for the first time!


Sarah

Before coming to Mercy, I was angry with people and even angrier with God. I had been severely hurt and betrayed by people in the church multiple times. I figured if God’s people hurt me, I didn’t want anything to do with God. My weight was always an issue growing up, and my doctors put me on several diets. This is where the root of my struggle with an eating disorder began. Later, I became very depressed and was failing out of college. I knew if something didn’t change, I would die. When I mentioned on my blog that I needed a free program that could help me, a girl commented and told me about Mercy Ministries. I’d tried to overcome many times on my own, but I couldn’t do it, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I have experienced God’s true character, and I now know that He loves me. I’ve learned that I have a choice; I don’t have to live in shame and guilt, because my Heavenly Father has cleansed me.

After graduation, I plan to go back to school and continue pursuing a degree in psychology. Eventually, I’d like to become a psychologist and help hurting young women.


St. Louis

Amanda

My life before Mercy was a juggling act. I wore so many different masks to hide who I truly was and to satisfy the people around me. I hid all of my struggles, thinking that it was weak to show them. I was angry and bitter about moving so many times growing up, and I craved the attention of others. I also never dealt with the grief and emotions of my mom’s death. Soon, I began cutting to deal with the pain I was feeling and had thoughts of suicide. I became promiscuous, and I hated myself. A family member found Mercy Ministries while searching online and told me about it. I had reached a point where I felt I had nothing left and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God helped me remove my masks and be honest about who I am and how I’m doing. I see now that I don’t have to pretend to be perfect, because none of us are. God loves me despite my imperfections and through my failings. I don’t need to perform or put on an act to be loved by Him.

After graduation, I plan to go to college and study business management and journalism. I am also interested in fashion and would love to one day start a Christian teen girls’ magazine.



Congratulations ladies! We are so proud of you and excited to see what amazing things God has in store for you. Your stories will bring hope to so many hurting young girls, and we know God will use you in a powerful way.