Friday, May 22, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015
For this Freedom Friday, we flashback to our beautiful 2014 Mercy Graduate Francis sharing her story for the 2014 Merry Mercy Christmas Benefit. Francis is the epitome of beauty, redemption and resilience. God's light shines in her smile and in her dreams to change the world!!
Friday, May 8, 2015
In celebration of Mother's Day we are honored to share the story of a beautiful mom and 2015 Mercy graduate, Danielle!
When I walked into Mercy in September of 2014, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. This was my pathway to true freedom. As I unpacked my things that first day I’ll never forget the thoughts that crossed my mind of my beautiful children, who I left in the care of my parents. I smiled thinking of their laughter and how much I'd miss it, but in the midst of sadness there was also peace. For the first time in a long time I had made the right choice.
Before Mercy, I was a single mother of three--with no fathers in the picture, and a drug addiction that cycled in and out of my life like a hurricane. I beat myself up on a daily basis for my failures as a mother, and by the time I reached Mercy, I felt like I didn’t even deserve the love of my children or to be a part of their lives. I soon discovered that was a lie planted by the enemy. I felt like my addiction not only controlled my life, but it consumed it from every direction, engulfing the very essence of who I was. I was a drug addict. It always seemed that simple to me. However, during my stay at Mercy, I learned that there were so many things that were controlling my life. I discovered that my addiction was not my problem, it was the solution I chose for my problems. In counseling, the barriers of those problems were demolished and exposed, one by one. One of the most meaningful things I learned at Mercy was to forgive myself for my past and have compassion for the girl I used to be. I accepted the decisions I made out of pain and brokenness and came to realize that through Christ we are all new creations. The Lord is always on my side.
I no longer have fear of what the future of motherhood holds. Rather, I anticipate the joy it will bring me and the challenges it will create. I no longer seek a man to love me or to step in as a father for my children, I rest in solace knowing that my God is a good father. He has it all worked out for my good, and my babies are His children, above all, and I could not ask for more in a father. Being a mother has been my greatest blessing, my hardest test, my longest roller coaster ride, my funniest story, my saddest song, but it has never ever been my biggest failure.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So for Mother’s Day I would like to offer a few words of encouragement and advice to all the other moms out there and moms-to-be, from my heart to yours. First off, before you consider any other advice or tips out there for being a mother, put this one at the very top of your list: Never ever let the enemy convince you that you’re a bad mother. When he tries, because he will, remember who your Creator is, and know that he makes NO mistakes. He carefully selected you to be a mother. He chose you to nurture his son or daughter. The enemy has no hand in giving life, therefore he has no hand in your calling as a mother.
1. When you get frustrated and feel like you just can’t do it anymore and you want to cry… girl, cry it out! Trust me, it helps a lot and you’re totally normal for feeling that way. Every mother has days when she wakes up and just doesn’t want to do life that day, or the dishes, or laundry, or change diapers, or shower. Give yourself grace.
2. There are no supermoms out there, so do not attempt the “I’m going to do it all on my own” bit. You cannot do it alone. I assure you, I’ve tried. Your elders and other experienced parents are blessings in your life--accept the blessing.
3. Nobody, I repeat nobody, is ever fully prepared to be a mom, and you cannot predict what it will be like. Don’t stress over making everything perfect to bring your baby home. New mommas do not need stress, just focus on your baby, all else will fall into place.
4. For all the single mommas out there like me, just breathe. Mercy taught me the value of routine. When you only have two arms, but more than one child or a newborn, routine saves you a lot of stress, anxiety, and worry.
5. Instead of stressing the mess, stop, and spend time with your child daily even if it’s 15 minutes. Find a group activity to include all your children, but try once a week to make one on one time! It shows your children just how unique God made them and it will change the way you parent on so many levels.
Children are a God-given gift and you were chosen specifically by Him to love nurture, guide, and protect your little one. This Mother’s Day, I encourage you to celebrate your children. Celebrate the honor you hold as their mother and let them know what a blessing they are to you. Let them know that when they came into this world, it was them who gave you life.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Today's blog post is from 2013 Mercy graduate, Angie. Angie shares a piece of her story below as we wrap up Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Alongside Angie, we urge you to be on the lookout for those in your life who may be suffering the effects of sexual abuse in silence.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I am advocating on behalf of all sexual abuse. This month, the Mercy Multiplied Ambassador Program challenge was to return to the emotions surrounding our testimony, further inviting God to speak truth over it, and then share it with someone in that context. At first I didn't know how I was going to go about finding someone to talk to, and I brushed it off. However, as the month progressed, I felt it laid upon my heart to utilize social media as a means to reach others.
In the past week I have gone through my photo albums to find pictures of my younger self for the collage featured right. I chose the photos that held the most memories. I often talk to people about my eating disorder, and I seldom share the reason why I had an eating disorder. I am a sexual abuse overcomer, and for the longest time all I did was merely survive the abuse. There was not much joy or happiness that disbursed from me. The smiles I gave were often forced, and in each of these photos there is a definite guard that presents itself. The photo of me wearing a1999 Academic All Star t-shirt is the one that breaks my heart the most. I have allowed myself to feel the pain that I was experiencing at that time in my life, and am thankful that I have given myself that opportunity.
I am here to share with you a small portion of my life. While you read, I want you to try to put yourself in my shoes, and ask yourself: how can I make a difference to someone who is hurting?
My life rapidly changed when I was 16 years old. I had informed a teacher, via an essay, that the harm I was doing to my body through my eating disorder was a result of sexual abuse. I then experienced firsthand how the court system in this country works. I was taken out of my parents’ house, placed into a group home, and then eventually into a foster home. I found myself the topic of conversation at school and at church. I was eventually in a court room facing seven jurors and having a lawyer try to tear my story to shreds. During that year and a half, I faced a lot of rejection, ridicule, and blame. I did not have the support that I have now, and I faced a lot of that journey alone. I found my support in a few teachers at school, a couple of friends, and a family who took me in.
My pediatrician often saw me during my childhood years, and when he found out that I had been sexually abused, he had a hard time forgiving himself. He was often amazed at my high pain tolerance growing up. I had several injuries in which my reactions to the pain did not match the severity of the injury. During my court process I had to go see my doctor for some tests, and while I was in his office, he apologized to me for not doing his job correctly. He told me that he should have asked me more in depth questions about my high pain tolerance. His tone was full of regret, and he had tears in his eyes for the life that I had lived.
I was an angry pre-teen and teen. I was often in trouble for beating up my younger siblings. I had anger consuming my entire being but then became sullen and withdrawn. I would go weeks without talking to anyone at home. I would do a lot of “uh-huhs, mmmms, mmmhmms” and other nonverbal cues to get by. There was often a scowl upon my face, and my hatred for others could actually be felt within my heart. I was often told, “If looks could kill...” then whoever my glare was aimed at “would be dead.”
The clothes that I resorted to wear were tennis shoes, blue jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. I wanted and needed to cover up my body. I did not want to draw extra attention to myself, so I often wore clothes that weren't very bright. I was not comfortable in my own skin, and the more clothes I had on, the safer I felt.
I am thankful that I am not that girl who I once was. I no longer have the hatred and anger laying upon my heart and squishing the life out of me. I have shared my story so that awareness can be brought to the subject of abuse.
Be aware of the signs for abuse: http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/warning_signs.htm. I want you to pray for those who are being victimized and pray for the perpetrators. Pray for their families and ask those who are hurting, “How may I help?” Teach your children, spouse, friends, and family “to walk in love, as Christ also has loved us” (Ephesian 5:2).
You can and will make a difference in someone's life. Thank you!