Friday, August 29, 2014

What Is True?

"It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him—all things in heaven and on earth—for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for ALL by his blood." Colossians 1:20

No one is too messed up for God.

Jesus cares. He cares about you, your story, your hurts and your pains, the things you love and your biggest dreams. He loves you and wants an amazing life for you.

Jesus is the author of hope. He wants to set us free from the negative things we believe about ourselves. He sees differently than we do. Like the pink eraser, Mercy Ministries is at work helping to erase the lies girls have believed—that they are "messed up." Mercy is simply a vessel God can use to touch lives, change hearts, and allow girls to see the precious and valuable treasures they really are.

We may call ourselves broken, messed up, unlovable, and many other negative things—and you know what—we will live like what we think we are. If we think we are no-good and hopeless, we will live like that. Satan wants more than anything to make us believe that we are worthless. It makes his job of "killing, stealing, and destroying" our JOY much easier when we agree with his lies about who we are (John 10:10).

HOWEVER, Jesus wants us to know the TRUTH.

Because of Christ, we are NOT hopeless. "Messed up" is no longer our identity. He says we are His beloved, extravagant masterpieces! His family. We are wanted, loved, cherished, and so beautiful to Him.

Will we let Him show us how He sees us? Will we let our hearts listen? He wants to show us the lies that keep us down and replace them with His truth that will set our hearts free. He wants to reframe the way we identify ourselves. If we believe we are daughters of the King, we will walk differently, talk differently, and live differently. He will faithfully walk us into a brand new life of freedom, peace, joy and abundance!

"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you." Romans 12:2

Jesus gives us NEW hope, NEW life, and a NEW story in Him.

Friday, August 22, 2014

I am NEW! (Update from Mercy Grad Sara)

Sara at her Graduation after receiving her Mercy Ring!
Today marks six months after my graduation from Mercy Ministries. As I think back on these last six months and ponder what this last year has been like for me, I get completely and utterly speechless. Prior to Mercy, I was unable to sustain anything: a job, friends, school, etc. In fact, by the time I hit my lowest point I didn't have a job, school, or friends. I really was at my lowest of low.

While at Mercy, I learned how to manage all of those stresses without hurting myself in the process. When I graduated from the program back in February, I felt very prepared to tackle this thing called life. Little did I realize, though, how much Mercy truly had taught me!

Just a few weeks ago I was pulled into my supervisor’s office at work and told that I had displayed such patience, self-control in stressful times, and joy in my work life, that they wanted to promote me all the way up to the lead Residential Instructor position! I had only been there four months when this happened. If you had known me way back before Mercy (and even at the beginning of my stay at Mercy), I was not the most patient person, nor joyful—and I had no self-control to speak of. But now, when people look at me, they see the new me! It is an amazing feeling!

There are days where it is hard to walk in freedom, but I never let myself stray away. God has His hand on me. I have had to pace back and forth in my room speaking out truth, but I have never given in to the old lies of Satan that tell me that I am not good enough, not pretty enough, or not smart enough to do what I want to do in life. Its been a journey, that’s for sure—one in which I am far from finishing, but I am prepared for what lies ahead.

Only 15 months ago, I walked into the doors of Mercy—head low, hopeless, and defeated. But six months ago, I walked out with my ring and plaque, full of confidence, hope, and my held high. I now walk in a new peace, knowing I am loved. Today I smile because I am free and free indeed!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Directed Steps on the Road to Mercy

By Nicola Bartel, Executive Director of Mercy Ministries Canada

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

In 2003, I was six and a half years into what would be an eight-year journey directing a residential program for pregnant teens and young adult women. Along with unplanned pregnancy, many of the young women were struggling with eating disorders, self-harm, prostitution, gang related activity, anxiety and depression. In May of that year, I found myself at the Life Women’s Conference quite by chance, where, for the first time, I encountered Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries.

Nancy spoke of the three principles God had given her to begin Mercy Ministries in 1983, and I nearly leapt out of my seat with a “Yes and Amen!” (My British roots held me back J).  Prior to coming to this conference, God had been speaking loudly to me about two of these same three principles regarding the home where I was working. We had a small fee for service, which created a barrier for some, and a government grant, which limited how we could share Christ.

At that conference, the vision to bring Mercy Ministries to Canada was cast. I left the conference and could not stop reading Nancy’s books, which resonated so loudly with my heart. I soon contacted Helen Burns, an amazing pastor at Relate Church in Surrey, BC, and we arranged to meet. Helen’s heart was already burdened to bring Mercy Ministries to Canada, and when we spoke, the heart connection between the two of us was immediate! That was the beginning of an incredible journey that brought me to this unexpected blessing of serving as Executive Director of Mercy Ministries in Canada.

One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “Stand for justice, love kindness (Mercy), and walk in humility before God.“ Today, I continue to be transformed along with an amazing team of staff members and the many young women we serve. I am both humbled and passionate to be part of changing the nation of Canada for Christ through Mercy Ministries!

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Future & Promise (Update from Mercy Grad Kimmie)

Kimmie at her Mercy graduation, April 2014
My mom looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "A year ago, I was terrified you were going to die. I didn't know what to do anymore. I was at a total and complete loss. But God intervened, and I'm so grateful. This year as I look at you, I see a future and promise."

At my very worst, I walked through the doors of Mercy Ministries, and it forever changed both of our lives.

My mom's thankfulness echoes mine as I think back to only 12 months ago. I was sitting in the same seat I am now but I was a completely different person. I was so broken and tired and suicidal. Because of Mercy I now have hope! Now, I am made whole, and I am so excited about the future I have with the Lord! Now, I am not afraid. Now, I am free to face the world with the Lord on my side. Now, I am a conqueror.

This is freedom!

I love when the Lord gives me continual glimpses of where He has rescued me from and what He has rescued me to—a life to be free and to set others free.