Friday, August 21, 2009

Joyce Meyer Is In Nashville!

Last night, we took all 40 of our Nashville girls and a whole bunch of our staff down to the Sommet Center to be in the first of Joyce Meyer’s three-day conference in Nashville. The opening session was really powerful and we had a blast! The night kicked off with Matt Redman and his band leading worship, and that in itself was phenomenal. The time of praise and worship totally paved the way for our hearts to receive God’s Word. Joyce spoke about having a spirit of generosity in our lives, not just about giving financially, but more specifically being a generous person in every area of our life – putting others first, going out of our way for people, being willing to be inconvenienced, etc. We were really challenged to die to selfishness and prefer others over ourselves. It was a really special time, and I thought you might enjoy seeing a picture of Joyce as she shared last night, as well as a few pictures of several of our girls waiting for the service to begin.

It’s so cool to see the arena packed out and also to hear Joyce’s message that will undoubtedly bring freedom to many people. Speaking of freedom, I just got this really cool email from one of our graduates in the UK that I wanted to share with you. It’s probably better if I let her tell it in her own words, so here it is…

Hey Nancy,

My name is Hannah and I graduated from Mercy UK in May 2008.
I've been at Rocknations in Bradford some of this week and heard you speak a couple of times. I didn't manage to come and talk to you because it was so busy but I wanted to let you know some things that have been on my heart for a while now.

I first heard of Mercy nearly 5 years ago through a lady at my church who gave me an "Echoes of Mercy" book, even though she didn't at that time know me or what was going on in my life. I looked over it briefly, but my Dad found it and took it away before I had the chance to read it. I remember feeling the hope those first few chapters had stirred in me drain away.
I was only 17 years old and had been a Christian since I was little, but I had truly come to believe God hated me. Constant nightmares of past sexual abuse, the belief that I was a lesbian, ongoing physical abuse, self harm and shame were just some of the things I spent years trying to free myself from - but in my own strength (which was all I knew) it was impossible.
There was literally no doubt in my mind that I would one day kill myself, but every time I tried somehow I'd survive. I didn't see it as God's protection though, just as another sign I couldn't get anything right.

About a year after being given the Echoes of Mercy book, I was given a ticket to an event in Glasgow, Scotland where Mercy was doing a conference. It was to raise funds for the MMUK home, as well as to raise awareness about Mercy. I went along fully expecting it to be like every other Christian event I'd gone to, only this time I had less hope than ever. I'd only just come out of hospital and knew that the people around me had no idea what to do with me anymore. Nor did I.
If I'm honest I only went because I couldn't stand the thought of being asked to explain why I wouldn't go.

When I got there, I was so uncomfortable and felt like a total fraud. I only hoped to get through it looking interested enough so as not to upset my friend.
You came on and started telling us about the work Mercy was doing and the lives God had told story after story of real transformation. Debbie gave her testimony...which was the first time I had ever heard anyone tell of the change God had brought in their very own life. I actually remember thinking my heart was going to explode at one point because I had NEVER before heard anything like it. Somehow hope started to stir in me.

Where I had believed I was hated by God, a disgrace and unworthy of love, Mercy said otherwise. God said otherwise. I was so confused. It freaked me out!!!

At the end of the night, my friend wanted to introduce herself to you, despite my protests. Eventually I said I would come over but just so she could say hello. I tried so hard to avoid looking at you but you said Hi. You asked if I was thinking of applying, and before I even knew it, I was crying and nodding my head. You encouraged me to keep on going. You said that it would happen but just not in the way I'd expect and that my testimony would one day reach people other people couldn't. I'm not sure how much I took in of what you were saying, but those words turned out to be so true.

I started applying to Mercy soon after. There was still no Mercy UK, but I was willing to travel to the USA if it meant I'd finally change. Then my Dad found out I was applying, and made it impossible for me to continue. I felt the same dread and hopelessness come on me, and I thought again death would put a stop to that...but then I remembered your words about it happening but not like I would expect. So I didn't give up. I eventually left home and started the application process again, but more and more obstacles seemed to be blocking the way. Instead of pushing through, I decided to accept it wasn't going to work out and stopped applying. I told God that from now on, I wasn't going to look for help, that He would need to make it clear if He wanted me to because I couldn't keep getting it wrong.
As time passed I learned to hide my dysfunction from people more, but I was no less broken or hopeless. I continued to self destruct and wanted to die as much as before.

Three years later I heard God say one word to me..."Mercy". I was so shocked because it had been a long time since I even thought about Mercy, but I knew He was telling me now was time.
By that time, the UK home was open and so 4 months later, I walked through those doors. I've always wanted to let you know Nancy, how much your words meant to me. I know that if you hadn't told me it would happen but not as I expected 3 years earlier, that when God whispered "Mercy", I would have ignored it. I would have thought of the failed attempts I'd had so many times before to change and I would have dismissed it totally.

I was loved on and valued and taken care of like I never knew was possible. I was given grace when all I'd known before was punishment. I was given time and space to get to know the God who never ever hated me...but who waited until I was ready to let Him show me how much He loved me.
I know that the time I spent at Mercy not only changed my life, but it saved my life. And I'm sure that God's timing was perfect, although God never once left me I'm sure I wouldn't have been ready any sooner to get real and start allowing God to heal me.

Life has been amazing since I graduated. I never thought it possible that I would ever laugh as much or enjoy being alive as much. It hasn't all been plain sailing but I know how blessed I am to know the God who saved me!

I want to thank you for the work you do for girls just like me. I really love your relentless passion for helping the captives be set free and am honored to be one of the thousands in the number God has rescued and restored.

Thank you for believing in me.
Love you,
Hannah x

I hope you are encouraged by this awesome testimony! In closing, if you’re reading this and you live in the Nashville area, I hope you can make it to tonight’s service at 7:00 PM and tomorrow’s closing session at 10:00 AM. We’d love to see you there! Have a great weekend!

Love to all,


Anonymous said...

As always, Nancy, I am excited to hear the many wonderful testimonies of the girls that God is healing through Mercy! You may or may not remember me as I am the woman who works with the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders as a Life Coach and have worked with many other young women who are struggling with some of the same issues that Mercy works with. I became acquainted with Selah Hirsch and my own organization, Abundant Life Ranch. We have desired to work with young women and horses for the past 6 years and for some reason there are always girls and horses but never a facility to operate from. Still trusting the Lord but also asking if He wants me to just funnel young women to you. We took them into our own personal home this year and have learned alot but been thrilled with the freedom they have experienced in the Lord. Thanks for all you do and know that you are in our prayers always,
Nanette Flynn

Aubrey Harris said...

oh, I'm so sorry i missed this!!! but i know it was amazing!!!! For sure I need to come next time...