Friday, February 27, 2015

The Joy of Freedom!

We could not help but share this amazing update from Mercy Graduate Sara! Her story proclaims redemption and joy.


"On February 22, 2015, I got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. It took many years to get to this point, but it was well worth it. This day was special for many reasons and signifies many things. It was specifically planned so that it would be as close as possible to my one year graduation date from Mercy Ministries. That alone made it very special. But there is a back story to this accomplishment. I got into Tae Kwon Do after the last time I was sexually abused. It was a way of making sure I could defend myself, but also a way to force myself to interact with others, despite my fears to do so. After a few months, I began to make friends with all of the others in my "color belt" group. I truly enjoyed it, so when my struggle with an eating disorder got so bad that I had to quit, I was devastated. I had to quit for almost a year and a half total by the time I was able to come back to it after Mercy. By then, all of my friends had their black belts and mine was still sitting on the shelf. I was in a complete new group of people and felt the pain of failure many times, because I was so far behind everyone else. I worked hard and continued on and was finally able to celebrate not only getting my black belt and re-entering the same group as my friends again, but also the freedom that came along with it. Now I can work out and not worry about my weight or my health! I have made many new friends, and best of all, I can feel the joy that comes along with it all--something I had not felt for some time before Mercy!"


Friday, February 13, 2015

Celebrating Four Years of Freedom!

We are honored to featured the below post celebrating, 2011 Mercy Graduate, Rachel's four year graduation anniversary! Check out Rachel's blog here
Four years ago, I was sitting at the front of the room with four other girls, our backs to a large picture window. Unbeknownst to us, there was a beautiful snowfall outside. It was the perfect backdrop for the occasion: our graduation from Mercy Ministries. Though our sins and pasts were once as scarlet, they had become white as snow.
February 9, 2011 was one of the most beautiful, freeing days of my life. I had waited almost eight months to receive my Mercy graduation ring (left) and officially become a Mercy Grad, a title that held high honor in my book. There were times (even the week before graduation when my RSD decided to flare up) when I wondered if I’d be able to complete the program, but I felt so proud and grateful when I was presented with my ring and certificate.
I entered Mercy Ministries on June 17, 2010. At the time, I wasn’t super into the idea of being in another “treatment center” of sorts. I had spent four months at a residential facility in Arizona the year prior, only to return home with more problems. I wasn’t totally convinced that this would be any better, but I had made up my mind to either give Mercy a try or give up on life altogether. There was still that tiny spark of hope that kept me going as my feet stepped onto the foyer tiles and I committed to putting forth my best effort.
The shy, wounded girl with anorexia, a cutting addiction, depression, and anxiety who first entered the doors of Mercy was nothing like the confidenthopeful Mercy Grad who stepped from those tiles and out into the “real world” that snowy graduation day. I had gone through such a transformative process during my time at Mercy. I chose to let go of my past and trust God with my future. I had an amazing counselor to talk to, a great staff to lean on, and a group of lifelong friends who were all walking through their own battles but encouraged me along the way.
I can’t even describe the process of how I changed, but it was a daily decision to choose the higher path rather than being dragged down into my addictions and problems. It was a season of receiving tough love, having difficult conversations, crying tears of brokenness, and praying many heartfelt prayers. It was scary and very, very hard…but it was also incredibly life-changing. My time at Mercy saved my life. It restored my hopetransformed my mind, and gave me the opportunity to go from darkness to light.
I am forever thankful for my time at Mercy Ministries. Without taking the risk and walking through those doors that sunny June day, my life would have taken a much different path. In fact, I don’t think my life would have had many more days. Today, I am reflecting on my time at Mercy. Remembering the days when I wanted to quit, the days when life was so overwhelming, the days I just wanted to go home. I’m also remembering the days of victory. The day when I realized that the numbers on the scale no longer controlled my feelings toward myself. The day when I decided to give up control. The day when I finally graduated. I’m remembering with a full heart and a sense of awe for how blessed I am.
Four years and still walking in freedom daily. Thank you, Mercy. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Flashback Freedom Friday

Sometimes you just need a great story of transformation. We are flashing back all the way to a 1999 Mercy Graduate, Lisa. Lisa shared her transformation for our 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2013!

“Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart." Genesis 50:20 (MSG)

Lisa's Story from Mercy Ministries on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

If Only You Could See

By Mercy Graduate Brittany

Brittany wrote the below letter to all of her Sisters in Christ who needed a little reminder of who they are! We hope it blesses you today as well. There is something powerful about hearing and speaking these words over yourself.

My Dearest Sister,
You are beautiful.  If only you could see.
See the flawless features of your face.  Your captivating personality.  Your laugh.  Oh, how seldom you laugh.  But when you do, it’s glorious.  It fills a room.  Like your smile.  Your real smile.  Not the one you put on for the world, but the one that comes from a peace.  A peace that’s so elusive.  I see the way you strain.  You twist and turn and grasp and cry.  If only you could see how close it was.  A state of rest.  The one you so deeply crave.  The one you deserve, despite your doubts.  If only you could see.
See that you are not alone.  That even as I speak to you, there are 3 others doing the same.  Expressing their state of brokenness.  Their shame.  Their hopelessness.  Their disappointment in what they’ve become.  You are not alone in your desperation.  In your struggle.  See the anger in my eyes.  The fire in my heart that burns with rage at the evil one who crushes your spirit and those of the ones I love.  If only you could see the lies.  That you have been deceived.  Oh how my heart breaks for you.  For us.  If only you could see.
See that the world is more than a shadow.  That you are more than skin and bones and blood coursing through your veins.  You have a heart.  A beautifully intricate heart filled with unique passion.  Talent beyond your comprehension.  You are an all-consuming radiant being.  Carefully crafted by an Almighty God.  If only you could see that “complicated” meant complex, not tormented.  Intricate in the most compelling way.  If only you could see.
See the light that is your life.  The darkness that would fill the world if you were not in it.  The richness you bring to the lives of those who love you.  See that you are loved.  Not for what you do.  For who you are.  See that perfection is a myth.  One that torments lovely women like you.  The trap.  Oh, the trap that leads to death.  Darkness.  See that grace covers everything.  That you are enough.  Now.  In this moment.  If only you could see.
See that you are where you’re supposed to be.  That you are fulfilling God’s will for your life in the present.  I see your yearning.  The way you punish yourself and wonder.  Oh, your restless heart.  It searches and searches and searches for answers.  The fear.  The fear that you are not where you’re supposed to be.  That you made a wrong choice.  That you’re on the right path.  See, sister.  See!  That every choice was a right one.  That you are always in God’s presence.  Even in this season.  If only you could see.
See the end of the story.  The one that culminates in the ultimate victory.  The crown upon your head.  See that you are a princess; a daughter of the King.  Oh, the beauty of your character.  The loveliness of your heart.  The purity of your spirit.  That it’s okay to yearn for more.  That you were never meant to be satisfied here.  That you were created for a different world.  A better one.  If only you could see.
See, my sister.  We are blind to the truth of our identities, yet we see it so clearly in others.  Believe, my sister.  That these words are true for you.  That you are beautiful.  Brilliant.  Radiant.  Unique.  Priceless.  That you are not alone.  Oh, if only you could see.  That the stories you hear are rare.  Embellished.  Edited and revised to convince you that you are not enough.  If only you could see my heart behind this letter.  That your story…your doubts…your loneliness…your shame…your restlessness…it is universal in a way that is devastating.  If only you could see.
See yourself in the mirror.  See the glow.  See yourself surrounded by your sisters.  Feel the love you have for one another and…for a moment…have compassion on yourself.  Let your love for others reflect in your own eyes.  See the truth and not the lies.  See the beauty within yourself.