Amanda – 2014 Graduate
Growing up I spent very little time with my father because of his demanding job and often felt abandoned and rejected. My mother stayed at home to take care of my siblings and me, but things at home were very stressful. When I was eight years old, I was sexually abused by a family member. My mother found out, the abuse stopped, and it was never spoken about again. Because of my confusion and pain, I did what I could to escape the chaos of my home. Church became the only safe place I knew, and staying busy became my identity. I began volunteering every Sunday just so I had an excuse to stay out of the house. The shame and guilt I felt from the abuse led me to isolate myself emotionally. I began self-harming to numb the pain and soon developed an eating disorder to feel some sort of control. On the surface, I held everything together.
Eventually, I was hired to work on staff at church. This only reinforced my need to look “perfect.” Finally, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. The embarrassment I felt caused me to look for a different church to attend. I couldn’t possibly shatter the image I had portrayed to my church family, so I went to a church that didn’t know who I was or have any expectations of me. While there, I heard Nancy Alcorn share her life story and how she needed a counselor to help her sort through unresolved issues. I remember thinking that if Nancy Alcorn can admit she needs help and set her pride aside, than surely I can too. That night I purchased Nancy’s book Mission of Mercy. As I read the book, God made it clear to me that things needed to change. I reached my breaking point and applied to Mercy.
A turning point for me at Mercy was the moment I realized that what I thought I had control over actually had control over me. Mark 3:28 says, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” I finally realized that I cannot stand if I am against myself. I learned the concept of true forgiveness and saw that in the end, I was the one in bondage holding onto bitterness. I have learned that my identity is no longer based on my performance, but it is based on the fact that God thinks I am worthy enough to send Jesus for me! With the help of the Mercy staff and God, I have been able to transform my mind and replace the enemy’s lies with God’s truth. I learned that I can choose what I think about and how I respond to a situation. The Lord has given me a spirit of self-control.
After Mercy, I plan to go back to my work in ministry and share all that God has taught me to those around me! To everyone who gives to Mercy Ministries, thank you for your obedience and willingness to invest in this program. It truly has transformed my life.