Monday, December 26, 2011

Transformed and Restored – Seven More Amazing Mercy Graduates!

Residents, staff, family and friends recently gathered at the Sacramento, CA home to celebrate the graduation of seven more amazing young women. After struggling for years with abuse, addiction, self-harm, eating disorders and other life-controlling issues, they have had their lives transformed and hope restored by the love of Christ! Here are their incredible stories of healing and freedom:

Heather

Heather
Before coming to Mercy, an eating disorder completely controlled my life. I had no sense of self-worth, and I was convinced that my value was determined by my relationships and appearance. I sought comfort in controlling what my body looked like, and I felt bound by the pressure to maintain a perfect image. I used alcohol as a way to numb my pain, and I slowly began shutting people out of my life. I was spiraling out of control when I heard about Mercy from a graduate of the program. I was willing to do anything to change my life and be happy again, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I learned the truth about my worth to God and the value I have in Him. The Lord showed me that my body is beautifully and carefully designed by Him and that nothing can change my value to Him. I met Jesus at Mercy, and I see myself as beautiful through His eyes. I am no longer concerned with my reflection in the mirror; it’s my reflection in Him that I seek. God has used Mercy Ministries to help restore every area of my life - spiritually, emotionally and physically. I have left no stone unturned and have experienced complete healing.

After graduation, I plan to return to teaching, and someday I would like to pursue teaching and working with women on the mission field.


Kristen

Kristen
Before Mercy, I was insecure, rebellious and out of control. Due to the divorce of my parents, I had a distorted view of how a relationship was supposed to be. I let guys treat me however they wanted, and I was willing to do anything to avoid rejection and betrayal. Through high school and into college, I tried to fill the void in my life with drugs, partying and unhealthy relationships with men. This only led me down a deeper path of destruction. I lost all respect for myself. I even began stripping to gain approval from men and to feel wanted. I used drugs and alcohol to numb my pain. I heard about Mercy through my mom and Word of Life Church in Shreveport, LA. I needed healing and restoration, and God prompted my heart to go to Mercy and get to know Him again, so I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, I rediscovered my identity and security in Christ. I have fallen deeply in love with Jesus. I have overcome feelings of rejection and betrayal and have replaced them with God’s approval and acceptance. God has filled up every area of my life with His unfailing love and peace. He has given me a sound mind, and I no longer live in fear.

After graduation, I am going back to school to major in criminal justice to become a crime scene investigator. I am also excited about being actively involved in my church!


Leanne

Leanne
Before Mercy, I was a wreck. I had severe anxiety and frequent panic attacks. I lived in complete bondage to perfectionism and fear of failure which drove me to self-hate, violent mutilations, and eventually a serious suicide attempt. I gave my life to Christ at an early age, so I knew what I was doing was wrong. I lived in condemnation, guilt and shame, but I couldn’t break away from my addiction. I was completely hopeless, broken and desperate for help. I heard about Mercy from a friend and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God taught me that I am loved, accepted and greatly valued. I am free from shame and condemnation. Knowing that I am forgiven and loved has released me from anxiety and fear of failure. God also completely healed me from self-harm. He miraculously restored my hope for life, and I am so excited to go pursue my dreams and live the abundant life God promises me!

After graduation, I plan to return to school to pursue a degree in English. I also want to travel the world and see God’s beautiful creation. I will continue to serve God no matter where I go or what I do.


Candice

Candice
Before Mercy, my life was spiraling out of control. I had so much pain, anger and shame inside of me as a result of verbal, emotional and sexual abuse I had experienced. I struggled with self-harm, binging and alcohol abuse. I also had a 9-year addiction to pornography. I hated myself, and I knew I needed help. I heard about Mercy from a graduate and after a lot of prayer and encouragement, I decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God opened my eyes to see who I really am and how much He loves me. He has given me dreams that have helped me change the way I want to live. He has shown me I am no longer a victim and that I can live a victorious and abundant life because of His ultimate sacrifice.

After graduation, I plan to pursue a degree in youth ministry. I would also like to volunteer with middle school students at my church.


Heather

Heather
I grew up in a large dysfunctional family where anger and manipulation were a way of life. I became very angry and violent to help keep myself protected. At age eight I started cutting, experimenting with drugs, and stealing in an effort to cope with my pain. Then, in high school, I hung out with a rough crowd and ended up in a physically abusive relationship. Things continued to get worse, and I struggled with drug addiction for seven years. I heard about Mercy from my aunt and decided to apply.

When I walked through the doors of Mercy, I was ready for a fight, but God met me right where I was. He told me that I didn’t have to be perfect, and He wanted me to be the woman He created me to be. God has set me free from addiction and made me a new woman. My past no longer dictates my future. I have found freedom in Jesus Christ!!

After graduation, I plan to finish my degree in theatre arts and business communications. Then I want to attend the University of the Nations for film and theatre acting and continue my pursuit of both stage and film acting. I would also like to do some missionary work. Mercy was the instrument that God used to save my life. “Thank you” cannot begin to express my gratitude.


Natalie

Natalie
Before Mercy, I spent my life with severe depression and anxiety while growing up in a dysfunctional home. I suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse. Doctors and psychiatrists placed labels on me throughout the years and prescribed me with many medications that led to addiction. I moved from relationship to relationship, drug to drug, and addiction to addiction. I had extreme panic attacks and went through many treatment centers. I heard about Mercy from a friend and decided to apply.

While at Mercy, God saved my life and brought peace into my heart. I am completely free from addiction and have been physically healed in so many ways! I now have so much more confidence, joy and hope for the future, and I have really started dreaming BIG dreams again. I am amazed at what I have learned!

After graduation, I plan to pursue dance and the performing arts and be an example and encouragement to other young women. Someday, I would also like to have a family. I am so blessed to be a part of this ministry. There are no words to express how thankful and grateful I am to be able to call Mercy my home and my family.


Nessa

Nessa
Before Mercy, I dedicated my life to legalism. I thought that I needed to work for God’s love and grace. I turned to self-harm whenever I felt I had not met expectations. I hid behind good works and a big smile, but inside I was angry at myself for my mistakes. I heard about Mercy when I was in another program and decided it might be the best place for me to find healing and freedom.

While at Mercy, Jesus pursued my heart. I learned the depth of God’s grace, and I now know how loved and valued I am in Christ. God loves me simply because I am His. I could never do anything to make God love me more or less than He already does.

After graduation, I plan to study music and intern as a worship leader at a local church. I am so thankful for the Mercy staff and all who invested in me and showed me God’s love throughout my time at Mercy.


Congratulations ladies! We thank God for what He is doing in each of your lives and look forward to the future He has for you as you take hope out into the world and let others know that freedom is possible.