2016 Mercy Graduate Lea knows the difference between treatment and transformation. She shares a bit of her journey and how discovering the love of Christ changed everything in her battle with hopelessness.
One of the many things I learned while at Mercy Multiplied is that God’s way is not the world’s way.
When it comes to the world’s way of treating eating disorders, I would say I am an experienced expert. Prior to entering Mercy, I went through multiple different facilities and stages of care for eating disorders, all of which were what the world considered top treatment centers. However, after each stay and discharge, the treatment that was supposed to help me overcome always left me more frustrated and hopeless than before. Not only was I depressed and hopeless, I felt like the only one. Everyone was telling me that I was ready to go and live on my own, outside of the treatment center, when inside I knew I was not changed and certainly not strong enough to live on my own.
Why wasn’t I growing and changing? I could not figure it out and was extremely angry, frustrated, hopeless, and scared.
Then I was told about Mercy Multiplied. They claimed to help “restore hope and transform lives” through the power of Christ. After trying many of the treatment facilities the world’s way, with no success, I was willing to give anything a try. Even though I was not a Christian before coming to Mercy, the promise of having my hope restored and my life transformed was too good to resist.
I knew instantly that Mercy was not just another “treatment” center. There was definitely something different about the home. I soon found out what that something was, it was the power of Jesus Christ, who does not want to “treat” our lives. Jesus wants to come in and put a totally new spirit in us (Ezekiel 36:26) and make us a completely new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17.) I was blown away by all the teachings, Bible reading, worship, and fellowship, all declaring one major thing: With Jesus, a brand new life is possible.
Mercy’s Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, often says that it does not matter what the problem is, Jesus Christ is the answer, and I was experiencing this truth in every area of my life.
Treatment centers, while they have good intentions, focus on behavior modification. They teach you to “just believe in yourself and your own strength.” In my experience it often led to maliciously planning ways to deceive and lie to my treatment team and loved ones, then feeling overcome with guilt and condemnation for lying to everyone. But transformation through Jesus Christ teaches that there is always a why behind the what and a root to the behavior. For me that meant that the anorexia really was not the problem. It was all the rotten roots planted deep in my heart from years of lies, unforgiveness, and simply living in the world without the Lord.
Another huge part of my transformation, and a key to freedom in Jesus, was renewing my mind with His word. I went from all the vain, empty “positive self talk statements” that I learned in treatment – believe in yourself, you are beautiful, you can do it, – that left me relying on my own strength, to learning who I am in Christ! I now know that I can do it, but it is through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13), I am beautiful, and it is not just because I should love myself, it is because God knit me together in my mother’s womb, fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:13-14) and my Creator does NOT make mistakes.Transformation requires surrendering all to Jesus and giving your entire life to Him.
Today I use the tools to freedom in Christ daily. I read my Bible and speak truth over myself. I dive into teachings and fellowship with other believers. I continue to choose to forgive and praise my savior! Even though it is not easy, I know for a fact that I am brand new and Jesus has transformed my life! I am not who I used to be! I do not need “treatment,” I need Jesus as Lord of my life in every single area. Mercy’s declaration of lives transformed is absolutely honest and true.