This piece by Mercy Survivor Christan explains how at Mercy Ministries, Mercy staff and God become one and the same. This piece was originally published on her personal blog and can be viewed at Pretty Pink Koolaid.
Margaret looked like someone I would expect to see at Mercy Ministries. Everyone on the website, in the brochures, and magazines were pretty and smiling. Margaret was definitely striking with her dark, medium length hair, sharp outfit and dark brown eyes. She was an average size but carried herself very well – with authority and poise – and…she was smiling. Well, mostly smiling. “Hi Christan, welcome to Mercy Ministries. Please sit down.”
I sat on the fluffy loveseat adjacent to Margaret’s light wooden desk and waited for her to speak. And speak she did.
I was excited, scared, and hopeful to find out about this new world I had entered into. I listened with intensity.
Margaret started off by sharing that God had brought me, specifically, to Mercy Ministries in order to be “healed and set free”. I was a very special girl, as not everyone gets into the program. In fact, there had been many young women who waited much longer than I to get into the program. Margaret told me that God had his hand on me in particular, which is why Mercy Ministries was led by God to accept me into the program.
Margaret explained something during my time on the fluffy loveseat that I was not familiar with in the Christian/Baptist circles I had grown up in. She explained that in the Kingdom of God, there is a hierarchy to maintain order, and this hierarchy was very much was a part of the structure at Mercy Ministries.
Before explaining the hierarchy, Margaret took a break to sit back in her chair and express sympathy that I struggled so deeply with issues like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. She let me know that I certainly was not in line with God to be dealing with the tragic circumstances/events that led me to Mercy Ministries.
I didn’t argue with Margaret or question her. I had certainly done things that were wrong according to The Bible, so it was no surprise to me that I was “far from god.” Luckily for me, I thought, God had hand-picked me to come to a place where he could to help me get better.
As a part of following God in obtaining healing, Margaret explained, I was to listen to my authority (the Mercy Ministries Staff) and do what they asked of me, even if I didn’t understand. Deterring or questioning this authority would be questioning God, and in questioning God, I would be jeopardizing my healing.
I was told that the staff would be God’s voice to me as to how long to stay in the program, and if I ended up leaving earlier than the staff deemed necessary, or when I “graduated”, that I would out of God’s will, and therefore outside of his protection/healing.
Margaret explained further that God had chosen Nancy Alcorn to start Mercy Ministries, so God was Nancy’s authority and he spoke to directly to her.
Nancy, having heard from God, handpicked the Mercy Ministries staff – so God’s authority flowed through Nancy to the Mercy Staff.
The Mercy Staff then had authority over the Mercy Girls, as the authority continued to flow down.
I didn’t understand the concept, as in growing up Baptist; I was taught that the relationship is just between you and God. Not you and God and other people. However, I had already given up life in the “outside world” to come to Mercy Ministries. I was told that this place helped heal people that psychologists/psychiatrists couldn’t help. So in my desperation, I was going to at least try and let this staff be my “Godly authority,” even if I didn’t understand or if I disagreed.
After all, I was in a place where I desperately needed help from addictions and depression and God was going to speak to me here through Nancy Alcorn and the Mercy Staff. Certainly if God was leading the way in my healing everything would turn out alright…right?