This piece by Mercy Survivor Alicia was originally published on her blog, “Beyond Silence: My Mercy Journey” and can be viewed here.
While I was on the waiting list for Mercy Multiplied I remember promising them I wouldn’t act out in my eating disorder or self injury. The desperation to get into the program lead me to abstinence from my eating disorder and self injury but once I got there and they met me in person. There were all these promises going into Mercy Multiplied that every girl including myself wanted. I made a choice to go there but my choice was based on false promises things I thought the program would truly give me.
I wanted so desperately for God to heal me. Everyone told me Mercy Multiplied was my last hope. Looking back God gave me more chances even after Mercy Multiplied. God showed me that a man-made program that isn’t aligned with everything He has for me isn’t going to heal me. Only God can heal me. I quickly found that Mercy Multiplied and people were put on pedestals. They left out that God was one with the power to heal not Mercy Multiplied. That’s why that any ministry that claims to heal is not going to heal if they look at themselves as the sole part of the healing. God can use man-made things to help us but true healing comes from God. Until a ministry realizes this, no one is going to have true healing. If they claim healing it’s only going to be temporary.
It’s so sad on the flip side watching girls who graduate fall back into their addictions after telling their story saying Mercy Multiplied did X, Y, Z for them… Truly God is above Mercy Multiplied and yeah it was used to change perspective but their whole mindset did not change overnight. God has to be the one we give glory to not a man-made program.
I went to Mercy Multiplied with this idea of all these false promises in my head. There were situations that made me question is this really the place for me? I found quickly if you could not submit to authority, Mercy Multiplied was not for you. I found that my biggest struggle. God is my authority but not man I couldn’t bring myself to bow to a ministry. My heart belonged to God and not to their authority.
I wanted freedom but when I was at Mercy Multiplied I felt like I was chained down with no freedom. I had to do many things other girls did not have to do. I know my experience is part of my life journey but sometimes I think that certain things could have went a different way.
I find myself wondering why we had to hold ourselves to so much accountability before going to Mercy Multiplied but yet the ministry itself hasn’t held itself accountable to anyone. There’s a lot of things that have happened beneath the surface of the stained glass windows, fundraising events, success stories we read. There’s a lot of pain and a lot of girls that have gotten hurt in this program but its’ all gotten covered up. I wonder when will they be held accountable.
I left Mercy Multiplied so broken and lost that I had a hard time even trusting God with my life. I went to Mercy Multiplied with such a positive outlook hope to recover. My hope was displaced in a man-made program and God quickly showed me my hope had to be in Him. I was there trying to put my hope in him. My counselor there often made me feel like I had to speak great of Mercy Multiplied. Yet on the inside those people were not kind. I spent most nights trying to hold back my tears.
I remember one morning before class, I was crying my eyes out. I remember my counselor coming in my room and telling me I didn’t want to be in the program because I was crying my eyes out. I felt like they were trying to silence me. Everyone has feelings and emotions and they can’t be silenced. I think about this moment and everyone after. I had to meet with the nutrition/fitness person and my counselor for special meetings. My crying episode lead to more consequences. Sitting down with the fitness lady and my counselor, they determined I had set goals that I needed to meet to stay at Mercy Multiplied. I had to shower two times a day. I had to put stuff in my shoes, I couldn’t go in my room until my roommate was asleep, I had to walk outside laps around the parking lot between class and snack. There were so many limitations on my life.
On the day I decided I had enough I wanted to go home. I couldn’t go through anymore crap there. They said to me you don’t have enough money you can’t leave. I questioned where all my money was going since my prescriptions were supposed to be purchased and mailed to me. They had been purchasing all my medications at an out of network pharmacy so I was paying $11 dollars a prescriptions which I didn’t really need to it was more they were shamed to use my insurance card at a local pharmacy so all my money went to medication. So I had nothing when I went to leave. I had to borrow money to go home. It was the best choice I ever made.
Before I left they put a paper in front of me asking me to sign that I’d not speak about my experience at Mercy Multiplied. I came home and I hid for months. I didn’t want to go back to church or be around anyone. I didn’t want people to know I failed at Mercy Multiplied. Thing is, I didn’t fail. Mercy Multiplied failed me because it’s a man-made program. God didn’t fail me but I did see many lessons I could take from the program and apply to my life journey.
It wasn’t until 2014 that I got break through with the Mercy Multiplied stuff. I had went to treatment for PTSD it was there that I discovered that Mercy Multiplied tried to silence me. To make me think that if I didn’t make it there I wouldn’t make it anywhere. They tried to make me think that if I spoke out against them bad things happen to me but that’s not true at all.
We must remember that no one can silence us. God doesn’t want us to live in fear or live in shame. We are his children he’s given us a voice. We can’t let some powerhouse non-profit that claims to heal people bring us down. They need accountability too! By sharing our stories we put a big red Stop sign and say No More! We have to find ways to keep on sharing and Stop them from falsifying claims to heal. Man-made programs can fail you, even those $30,000-a-month treatment centers can fail us. True healing comes from God alone. Yes He uses programs to provide us tools but the healing comes when we make a decision to give it to God.
For anyone that doesn’t believe in God. It’s your choice but please remember you can’t let them win. You have to speak out and tell your story. It may take a few months of blogging to get it out there. Living in silence just says they win and they are not winners in my book. We must stand up and fight and hold them accountable for the injustices we have faced in life because of many who had errors in judgement and we must do what is right for those who have lost the battle or who are afraid to speak up.
Courage is action filled with hard work but it makes a difference.