2006 Mercy Grad Inspires Residents
May 26, 2016
Last Tuesday morning, in the very classroom where she sat as a resident 10 years ago, 2006 Mercy graduate Tina shared her story of transformation with the Nashville Mercy residents.
Tina shared how she had attended church regularly during her childhood and was involved in Bible studies, but the lack of communication in her family caused her to strive to be perfect. She remembers struggling with perfectionism until she was 16 years old. That’s when her family moved to a different state, and she stopped caring. She didn’t care about God anymore and didn’t think He cared about her either. She instead turned to an unhealthy relationship with a guy who was heavily involved in drugs. Soon, she started using drugs and eventually became addicted to cocaine. She developed anorexia and bulimia and suffered from anxiety and depression. After her high school graduation, she hit rock bottom and overdosed on sleeping pills.
In the first month at Mercy, Tina said something changed within her. She saw the joy, freedom, and hope in the other girls attending the program – girls who had gone through similar things as her. She couldn’t deny it was God working within them. Her heart changed, and with the help of her Mercy counselor and other staff members, she was able to sort through all of the underlying issues of why she had chosen to do drugs. She discovered God’s unconditional love. She realized her security and hope is in Christ. She learned how to battle lies she believed and replace them with God’s truth.
“I don’t feel ashamed of my story,” said Tina, ten years removed from that girl that first walked through the doors of the Nashville Mercy home. “I am proud of it because I know that God is going to use all of that in my life for His glory and to help other people.”
And He has. After graduating from Mercy, Tina shared that she served on two different mission trips, one to Brazil and one to Haiti, and also went on to get her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. “When I was at Mercy, God planted a seed and a passion in my heart that I was going to help teenage girls and young women that were struggling like I was.” She now works at a wilderness therapy camp, counseling at-risk teenage girls. “I feel so blessed and honored to be on the other side, giving back,” she said.
Tina closed her time with the residents by offering some words of encouragement. She told them to resist growing apathetic in their relationships with God. She said that even though the healing process may be difficult, it is worth committing to the journey. “I am blown away when I think about where I am now,” Tina said. “I am so grateful everyday for what God has done for me.”
The Mercy residents were encouraged by Tina’s story. Below are a few of their comments:
“There was so much hope brought to me through this, and I loved it! I, too, lack communication in my family, and hearing that other people do, too, makes me feel better at not being open. But, I know I can work on it.” –Annalisa
“This was good to hear because I deal with a lot shame and feeling unworthy. It really stood out to me when she said, “Run to God!” I will have to remind myself of that, especially on my bad days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed or even living. I have to learn to lean on God and trust that He will keep me and be my strength.” –Nicole
“It was encouraging to know that I am hearing about another person that won the fight, and that just makes me want to keep going.” – Rachel
Mercy celebrates all that God has done and will continue to do in and through Tina’s life! For more stories of transformation, visit our Success Stories web page.