Note from Sadie: I am so excited to invite Nancy Alcorn, Founder of Mercy Multiplied, to share about the impact that their free residential program is having on women who are struggling with suicide, depression, sexual abuse, eating disorders, anxiety and more. God is using this ministry in incredible ways and I feel so honored to support them.
*THIS WEEK ONLY* we are partnering with Mercy to donate 500 ‘LIVE’ books to the women that walk through the doors at Mercy. My team and I have already donated and we would love for you to join us. Will you consider being a part of changing a women’s life today?
Click the image below to donate a book now and enjoy today’s post 🙂
You were created for more.
I want you to understand this because suicide has become an epidemic in our society. Too many people are believing the lies that no one cares about them or that their life is no longer worth living. Chances are, many of you reading this blog know someone who chose to end their life. Maybe you have considered taking your own life. I am here to tell you there is hope and that God created you on purpose for His purpose and He has a great plan for your life!
When people who have been hurt hear that God has a plan for their lives, they often say, “If God’s plan looks like what I’ve experienced, I don’t want anything to do with Him.” I want to be clear with you, though: There are two plans for your life. God has a plan for you, and the enemy has a plan for you. And they couldn’t be more opposed to one another.
As the Founder and President of Mercy Multiplied, a free Christian residential program for young women ages 13-32, I have seen thousands of young women walk through our doors feeling hopeless and worthless.
These young women tried for years to “fix” themselves by changing their behaviors. Behavior modification does not bring healing and freedom and transformation from the inside out. Only Jesus can do that! We have to get to the root of our issues if we really want to live free and stay free! But you have to take the brave first step and ask for help. Jesus did not die for you and me so we could live in bondage. He died so we could walk in freedom and thrive!
Breanne is a 2013 Mercy graduate who was in Bible college when she made the choice to get help. She had struggled for many, many years before making that decision. But because she reached out for help, she is now living a full life.
I grew up in a Christian home with great parents and three younger brothers. I was a pretty carefree, happy-go-lucky kid and loved making people laugh. However, when I was 12 years old, my parents moved us to a new community for my dad’s new job. It was hard for me to make friends. I was hit so hard with depression and anxiety to the point where I could barely leave my parents’ side in public, even at church. My friendships became smaller and smaller and I started isolating myself and turning more inward.
As the depression set in, I started having dark thoughts like, ‘I am untouchable and unlovable. Would it even matter if I wasn’t around? Would anyone notice if I were gone?’ These thoughts escalated to, ‘You need to be punished for the way you are. You’re a horrible kid. You have a good family, you know God, and everything has been provided for you, so why are you struggling like this?’
I started believing these lies and started thinking about myself as ‘worthless’ and ‘garbage.’ I was physically unhealthy, friendless, and falling hopelessly behind in schoolwork. I decided I needed to be punished, so I began to self-harm.
When I was 15, we had new youth pastors join our church. They reached out to me and made me feel welcome in the youth group. I started to enjoy church again for the first time in years. But the darkness and loneliness at home increased, and I began considering suicide more seriously.
I graduated from high school and looked for a fresh start in Bible college. I knew if I could leave town, I would leave my issues behind and everything would be fine. I could finally move forward. For a while, it worked. I started gaining confidence and making friends, but I felt like a fraud because I didn’t feel like I had a relationship with the Lord. Isolation returned my sophomore year and I became depressed again.
I felt worthless and would compare myself to everyone. I thought to myself, ‘Nothing’s different. I still feel left out, hopeless. I brought all my problems here with me.’ The worse I felt, the more I refused to go out with my friends. I began to self-harm again and this time I ended up in the hospital twice during the fall semester of my junior year. I almost couldn’t bear the thought of my peers at school finding out. ‘You’re at a Bible college!’ I told myself. ‘You’re a Christian. You’re not supposed to struggle with suicide. What do you have to be depressed about?’
A peer at school told me about Mercy and I remember looking at her and saying, ‘that is a place for girls who are dying, that is not for me.’ And she looked at me and said, “Breanne, you are dying.” She had such seriousness on her face that it really hit me that I needed to get help.
I remember driving up the driveway at Mercy with my friend who came with me. I looked at her and said, ‘please don’t make me go in.’ I knew I needed to be there, but it was still so hard, especially making the decision to leave college.
When Breanne came to Mercy in 2013, God started bringing light to the darkness and showing her the lies that she was believing. He started replacing those lies with the truth that she was worthy of love, that her life was worth living. She was able to work through the pain of her past and allow God to bring a deep level of healing into her life. As she allowed herself to actually feel pain, the door opened for her to start feeling all emotions again – including joy and peace. As Breanne was able to truly feel again and no longer believed that she was “garbage” and needed to be punished, she wasn’t compelled to self-harm anymore. When her roots were exposed and uprooted, the life-controlling behavior no longer had a place to grow.
Another important part of Breanne’s journey was in learning how to forgive herself for her past choices. The enemy, who is also known as the accuser, had heaped so much shame and condemnation on her. Some of us may be able to accept and believe the fact that God has forgiven us, but like Breanne, we have a hard time forgiving ourselves. We may feel as if we are more in control and even experience a sense of safety by remaining angry with ourselves, but that control is deceptive. We must learn to fully receive God’s grace but also to extend that grace to ourselves.
When Breanne started to understand the truth of God’s good heart towards her and His good plans for her life, she was able to trust Him again. She learned that God is perfect in love and had only done good to her. It was never His desire for her to be hurt and rejected.
Breanne’s life was not only completely transformed, but she graduated from Mercy, she went back to Bible college, took summer classes and was able to graduate with her class. Today, Breanne works for a child and adolescent psychiatric residential treatment facility. Children ages 6 to 18 spend several months to a year on the locked and secure campus, each struggling with some kind of disruptive or life-controlling behavior. Breanne conducts individual, group, and family therapy sessions and gets to live life six days a week with the residents. The problems they bring — suicidal thoughts, self-harm, aggressive behavior — are not for the faint of heart, she says, but Mercy so impacted her with its example of effective residential care that Breanne wants to multiply the result from her own life into the lives of many others. She is living the full life God created her to live!
I want you to know that, through the power of Christ, you can overcome whatever issues or hurts you may be struggling with. You do not have to live your life under a list of labels or diagnoses. You do not have to stay in bondage to all of the things you have experienced, in fact, those are the very things that God will restore and use to be part of your testimony of freedom. Don’t waste another minute of your life living in bondage, thinking this is the way life is always going to be. There is no such thing as a life that cannot be transformed when someone allows God to work in their heart and life. He loves you and created you to do so much more than just survive, He created you to thrive!
You can watch Breanne’s testimony here.
If you are struggling or know someone who may need help, please visit www.MercyMultiplied.com for more information and resources.
Nancy Alcorn is the Founder & President of Mercy Multiplied, a Christian non-profit that offers free residential counseling for young women ages 13-32 and Outreach services that equip people to live free in Jesus Christ.