Friday, November 18, 2011

Freedom!!! – Four More Mercy Grads Celebrate!

Young women come to Mercy Ministries desperate to fill the emptiness in their lives that the world has failed to satisfy. Four more amazing young women have learned that only Christ can fill that void and set them free. Residents, staff, family and friends recently gathered at the St. Louis home to celebrate their graduations, and we wanted to share their incredible stories of healing and transformation with you:

Kelly

Since the age of 16, I have been heavily involved with drugs and alcohol. Being raped at the age of 16, and then being told that it didn’t happen or that it was my fault, really distorted my perception of myself and of man. I never learned how to respect my body as a woman or to develop healthy relationships with people. In May 2008, I was diagnosed with AIDS. Since then, my life has consisted of one devastation after another. On a daily basis I prayed that God would either let me die or help me to live. When my aunt told me about Mercy, I knew that my prayers for help had been answered.

While at Mercy, I have learned that I am a new creation in Christ and that all things are new. I now have a personal relationship with God. I know that He has been by my side since the day I was created. I know that God never intended for me to experience any of the pain I have, but that all along He has been carrying me through it. I now have hope and feel like I'm living for a purpose. I am so excited about what's coming next and look forward to each new day.

After graduation, I plan to get actively involved with my church and other ministries that help people find restoration and freedom from addiction.


Rae

Before coming to Mercy, I struggled with depression, drug addiction, anxiety and anger. I couldn’t function in normal, everyday life without painkillers. I was extremely insecure and didn’t feel like I had a purpose. I didn’t have any dreams or goals and didn’t feel like I was good at anything. I had lost all hope, and I was tired of hurting myself and others. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I heard about Mercy from my cousin, and I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has shown me who I really am. I no longer believe the lie that I am worthless and hopeless. I know I have a purpose, and I can do anything with God by my side. I know now that God has always been pursuing me even when I thought He was a fantasy. He loves me more than I can comprehend. God has taught me how to dream again.

After graduation, I plan to go to college. I’m also getting married in December and want to eventually start a family. I would also like to one day get involved with prison ministry. I am forever grateful for Mercy and all the staff. Coming here has changed my life.


Alleah

Growing up, I was constantly sick as a child, which later translated to the thought that there always had to be something wrong for me to get attention. I was also a level 9 gymnast and trained several hours a week at the gym. While competing, I used the sport as a cover for self-harm and would often push my body to hurt myself on purpose. I found my identity in gymnastics, but as my body deteriorated, I was no longer able to participate in the sport. After quitting gymnastics, I turned to prescription drugs to numb my emotions, and I made plans to take my life. After my first hospitalization, I turned to cutting. I was also placed on medication that caused weight loss, which only made me want to lose more weight. I heard about Mercy from a friend who graduated from the program. I saw the freedom and happiness she had received, and I wanted the same thing. What I was doing wasn’t working, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I have learned that my identity is in Christ, and I have the power to choose life or death. I made the decision to choose life. I have also learned that I must keep my eyes on Jesus.

After Mercy, I plan to get involved in my church. I also plan to go back to school to get my associate’s degree in graphic design so that I can one day have my own photography business.


Stephanie

The last 8 years of my life, I spent addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was physically and sexually abused and attempted suicide several times. I was diagnosed with several mental illnesses and told I would be in and out of hospitals for the rest of my life. I tried other facilities, but they didn’t work. I heard about Mercy Ministries, and I had nowhere to go and no more money, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God has done so many things for me! I am a new creation in Christ. I am no longer an alcoholic or addict or any other label, and I have been off all medications for three months now. I now know my identity in Christ, and I can quit running- finally! I would like to thank Nancy Alcorn for her obedience to God to follow His will for her life. I am forever changed. Thank you!

After graduation, I plan to get my degree and become an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I will also be serving at my church and joining a small group Bible study.

Congratulations Kelly, Rae, Alleah and Stephanie! We are so proud of your bravery and maturity and can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you on your new journey with Him. We look forward to hearing how He will use you to help others!