St. Louis and Nashville celebrated the graduation of three more amazing young women this week! Whether it is because of past abuse, abandonment or even growing up striving for perfection, the girls who come to Mercy have at some point in their lives lost all hope. The three young women who graduated this week have had their lives transformed and their hope restored by the unconditional love of Christ, and we want to share their incredible stories of healing and freedom:
Before coming to Mercy, I had not dealt with the physical and sexual abuse from my past. I was very distrustful of people, especially those in authority, and I allowed fear and secrecy to dictate my life. I had a horrible self-image and developed an eating disorder as a result. I also struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts and would isolate myself and not talk to anyone. I heard about Mercy at a Girls of Grace Conference where Nancy Alcorn spoke. I still thought I could help myself, but years later, I was still was struggling. I remembered hearing about Mercy, and I decided I wanted a new chance at life, so I applied.
While at Mercy, God has done such a work in my life. He’s revealed His relentless and unfailing love to me. He’s a good God, and will use all that I’ve been through for good. God has taught me so much about forgiveness and how to see things from His perspective. He’s also taught me so much about trust. Honestly, the things I’ve learned here have saved my life, and I am forever grateful to this ministry. I hope and pray that more homes can be opened so that more girls can receive help.
After graduation, I plan to finish college with a degree in criminology or sociology, and aspire to someday attend law school. I really want to work on the legislative side of the sex trafficking issues in America. I also plan to get involved at my church and give back to the community through some volunteer efforts.
I suffered physical and sexual abuse growing up and struggled to trust others since authority figures in my life abused or abandoned me. I also struggled with insecurity and control issues which led to an eating disorder. I suffered through some miscarriages and started having suicidal thoughts. All of this was causing problems in my marriage, and I was feeling completely hopeless. I heard about Mercy from my cousin, who is a graduate of the program. I knew that I needed a relationship with God, and I wanted to be a better mom for my children. I knew the program was free, so I decided to apply.
While at Mercy, God has shown me unconditional love, and I know I can lean on him no matter what. I am no longer defined by my issues, and I know that I am beautiful and forgiven. I now have the tools I need to handle difficulties and problems in life. I also know that God can do anything, and I trust Him. Mercy has changed my life, and I have so much hope now! I would have died without Mercy’s help.
After graduation, I plan to go back to work, raise my three sons to be godly men and live my life for God.
I was raised in a Christian home, but I started struggling with perfectionism at a very early age. I don't remember a day in my life when I didn't want to die. I started self-harming at age 11, and I attempted suicide for the first time at age 12. I had a huge fear of being alone and thought that controlling my outward appearance would be a good way to control whether or not people liked me. This eventually led to anorexia and bulimia around age 12. The eating disorder and self-harm got a lot worse in high school. I attempted suicide for the second time when I was 14 and for a third time at age 17. My counselor told me about Mercy in December of 2010, but I didn't think I really needed it. Then I met Kelly, a graduate from the Nashville home, and she really encouraged me to apply. I decided to apply because of her testimony.
When I arrived on May 20, 2011, my mindset was that I would prove to everyone that this doesn't work, but during my time here, God has completely brought me from death into life! I didn't believe that I had a future worth living for, but now I know I do. I can now look in the mirror and actually believe I'm beautiful. God has shown me that I don't have to punish my body by self-harming because His blood covers all my sin. I have also learned the power of words and how important it is to speak life over myself. Even though I still have negative thoughts, I no longer speak them out of my mouth. Once I realized that I had a choice, I chose life, and I decided to work the program like nobody else. I am so excited about my future now.
Congratulations Candace, Amy and Martha! We are so proud of you for choosing life in Christ! We look forward to all God has in store for you and know that as you share your story, you will bring hope to countless others!