Monday, September 15, 2014

Fun & Healthy Recipe from the California Mercy Kitchen

Our nutrition manager at the Mercy home in Sacramento, CA introduced this recipe to the residents there to help them broaden their horizons by learning to love (and cook!) vegetables. 

Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon and Shallots

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts (trimmed, larger sprouts cut in half
3 slices of turkey bacon (chopped)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, chopped
1 cup chicken broth

Salt and pepper, to your taste

Brown bacon in a skillet over medium high heat. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan. Add chopped shallot to the pan and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and coat in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook Brussels sprouts 2 to 3 minutes to begin to soften, then add broth. Bring broth to a bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 10 minutes, until tender. Transfer sprouts to a serving dish with a slotted spoon. Chop bacon pieces and sprinkle over your dish!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Only Grace

By Kirsten Wallace
staff member at our California Mercy Home

Everything good and wonderful in my life is because of God's grace—only because of God's grace.

I am 55 years old and have walked with Jesus for 35 years. As young as four years old, I can remember being afraid. Fear, especially the fear of death, was a major force in my life for many reasons, including exposure to horror movies and sexual abuse by a family member. Trust was broken, and I was afraid of most everything.

I started self-harming at age 10, and did so until I was 19 years old and in college. That's when I met Jesus. The transformation was radical and beautiful. Jesus became the love and the joy of my life as He still is today.

Even though Jesus transformed my life, the root of fear ran very deep. Although my specific fear of death had gone away, other fears took longer to overcome. When I married a pastor, I hoped it would give me the dream life I had envisioned, but marriage only further revealed fears that still remained. Somehow, through all the hardships and storms, God and His grace were always there. Jesus was my anchor through thick and thin. It was grace that gave me hope to overcome my fears and find healing.

Two of my favorite Scriptures are:
Revelation 12:11…“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony,” and Ephesians 3:20-21…“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask, think, hope, dream or imagine, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus both now and forever Amen.”

I love those three powerful words GOD IS ABLE, because HE IS!! I know that Jesus is all-powerful and I know with every cell and fiber in my being that GOD IS FAITHFUL.

My husband and I have now been married 29 years and have been blessed with four kind, hardworking, talented, intelligent and now-grown children who all love Jesus. We are also super blessed with two beautiful grandchildren.

By God's grace, I am the woman I am today.

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!