Friday, June 19, 2015

a support story: Mercy Gives Back

It was six years ago now, when I lived in a residential facility for young women with life-controlling issues. Sometimes I wish I could put those two girls side-by-side, the girl I was back then and the one He's breathed to life now. Truthfully, I think it would be hard to believe they were one in the same. Some may call it a transformation, a miracle, a good program, or simply behavior modification.

But I know it to be--redemption. That process of what was once dead becoming alive & new.

That's the crazy thing. I wanted to die. I spent years literally trying to die. Spiritually, I was dead.

But GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD in our trespasses, made us ALIVE TOGETHER WITH CHRIST--by grace you have been saved. [eph. 2:4-5]

Praise God, He had a plan for my life which so far exceeded my own.

Over the six months I spent at Mercy Ministries, the Truth of God's word finally began to penetrate deeper then the lies which had dictated my life up to that point. I began to experience freedom and to trust Him. That emptiness I felt inside which I had tried so desperately to gratify with anything and everything was being filled with the love of Christ, and it satisfied me more richly and completely then any of the million other things I had tried to fill that hole with. I began to understand how He created me to be dependent upon Him, and to be satisfied in Him alone. Life since then has been full of challenges and victories, utter brokenness and great joys, but I do know He has been my hope each step of the way.

Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. [john 15:4]

BEHOLD, all things are made new.

So fast forward six years and here I am, trusting Him in new ways through this support-raising journey, confident in one thing alone--that God has redeemed my life and has called me to share that same hope with students studying here at the U of A, literally coming from the ends of the earth, some of whom have never heard the name of Christ.

For the Lord has commanded us saying, 'I have made you a light for the gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth!' [acts 13:47]

This support raising process continues to provide countless opportunities to share God's story of redpemtion. The neatest part in all of this, is a full-circle moment which came with the very first partner to join my support team.
It was a Thursday when I saw the email come through. Just a week or so after my first newsletter went out,back when I had no idea how God was going to provide for me in this process.  This email was to let me know my very first supporter had given! I was so excited and grateful. There is something incredibly surreal and humbling about seeing that very first check come through. As the Lord would have it, that first gift was from Mercy Ministries, this very place which God first used to draw me to Himself & redeem my life from the pit.

How cool is that--only He would be sweet enough to use this ministry to point me to Christ through whom my life was made new, and now their impact carries over not only to thousands of hurting young women, but specifically to 1,800 interantional students literally coming from 112 different nations in whom God has called me to invest my life, and I can actually do that because of support like this from so many of ya'll--including Mercy!

"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done. I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land." [ps. 142:5-6]

Today, I needed to recall his faithfulness in bringing to me to here. I needed to hear the gospel, the way He's displayed it in my life. He really does pierce through sin and shame to teach us where the only lasting, eternal satisfaction comes from--Christ. 

There have been so many humbling and deeply encouraging stories of His faithfulness though this support raising process, I just thought I'd start at the beginning. I have no doubt He will provide just what I need--and I have even greater confidence that He knows what I need far better then I do. 

to so many of ya'll--"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." [Phil 1:3-5]