Amy - 2008 Graduate
My struggle with an eating disorder started in early adolescence with the desire to feel noticed, pretty and to get attention from others. I decided to go on an extreme diet the summer between my 7th and 8th grade years, and lost about 20 pounds. Unfortunately, I did receive a lot of attention from others telling me how good I looked. At first, I justified my actions as being just a weight loss strategy that satisfied momentarily. I felt empowered because of the extra attention I received from being thin. The compliments fed into restrictive eating which then led to full-blown bulimia.
In the years that followed, I became a slave to the disorder, and when I wanted to stop, I couldn't. I was obsessed with food. I would wake up and go to bed thinking about my next binge/purge episode. Bulimia allowed me to stuff feelings of loneliness, hopelessness for my future, fear, and inadequacy. Avoiding my feelings was easier than confronting them. I realized there was a life going on outside that I couldn't even get to. I was tormented, hopeless, and stuck.
When I was about 24 years old, my mom gave me the book, "Mercy Moves Mountains" by Nancy Alcorn to read. It was filled with stories of girls who found freedom from addictions like I was facing. That book changed my life, and I realized there was hope for me. I applied and was accepted into the program. The same day I learned I was accepted, I was told there was a bed available for me in St. Louis that very week. I believe God knew I needed to be there right away. If I had waited any longer, I may not be here today.
When I first arrived at Mercy, my first impression was complete fear and panic. I knew I needed to be there, but I was afraid of the life change ahead. My addiction of 9 years had become all I knew. Even though I desperately needed freedom, I didn't know what it would look like. But the home was beautiful, and the girls were really sweet. I remember seeing the staff, and they just had a glow about them.
The scripture that changed my life was Jeremiah 29:11. I had seen that verse numerous times before, but it never went to my heart. When I saw the scripture at Mercy, I realized for the first time how God has great plans for my life. It was the first time I felt hope for my future. My time at Mercy brought me back to life. I found my faith and voice again. I am able to dream again, have hope again, and live out my life in a way I never imagined possible. I was desperate for a miracle, and that miracle was Mercy Ministries.
My life after Mercy can be described as bright and hopeful. I am going to school for ministry, and I graduate in the spring. God is bringing back my dream for incorporating music and ministry… a dream my eating disorder tried to take away. The enemy meant to destroy my dreams, but God plans to surpass them. I would never have had the opportunities before me without my transformation at Mercy Ministries.