Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 113

Praise the LORD.

Praise, O servants of the LORD,

 praise the name of the LORD.

Let the name of the LORD be praised,

 both now and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,

 the name of the LORD is to be praised.

The LORD is exalted over all the nations,

 his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the LORD our God,

the One who sits enthroned on high,

who swoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust

and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.

He settles the barren woman in her home

as a happy mother of children.

Praise the LORD.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Longing Fulfilled

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:10


It was 3 years and 3 months ago today.

My sister and I had traveled to Nashville, TN, to pitch an idea to a publisher about creating retreats-in-a-box, kits with everything a church needs to have an in-house retreat. Our retreat was entitled YOU-nique: Embracing God’s Design for You.  It’s purpose: to help believers realize that they were born ON purpose FOR a purpose so we need to live our lives WITH purpose.

On the morning of our meeting, my sister rose early and, thinking I was still asleep, took her Bible into the bathroom for a time of reading and meditation.  A few minutes later, she came out running, shaking a piece of paper, and screaming, “It’s here!  It’s here!”  After scaring me half to death and then calming down, she explained.

A few months earlier, Cyndi and her daughter had attended a Mother-Daughter Weekend event in Houston, TX, hosted by Mercy Ministries of America and the singing group Point of Grace.  They went to see Point of Grace; they returned talking about Mercy Ministries, a non-profit organization that helps young ladies overcome life-destroying habits, situations, or abuse (see post article “Mercy Has a Face,” dated 11-2-09).  That morning Cyndi had pulled out of her Bible a brochure on the ministry and realized Mercy Ministries’ (MM’s) corporate headquarters was based right there in Nashville, TN.  “We have to go and visit them!” So she called, set up an appointment, and got directions.

While meeting with the publisher, I shared with him my firm belief that, while women come in for a retreat, some type of ministry must flow out from it; therefore, each retreat needed to have a mission action project.  “Take, Mercy Ministries, for example,” I said.  “YOU-nique’s message tells us that we are God’s very own works of art, giving the learner a greater sense of self-worth.  And because MM deals with girls who have very low self-esteem that results in acting out in dangerous ways, then doing a project for MM would be a great mission project.”  The publisher liked our idea and promised to give it consideration.

We left the publishing house and headed out to find Mercy Ministries.  Though MM did not do tours on this particular day of the week, they listened to Cyndi’s heartfelt plea and relented.  We were blown away by all they do to help not only enrich lives but to literally save the lives of these beautiful young women.

Before leaving the campus, Cyndi and I looked at each other and said almost in unison, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to come back here and lead these girls through the YOU-nique retreat?”  What an awesome dream!

Fast forward 3 years and 3 months.  Here we are again, my sister and I.  We are in Nashville, TN, scheduled to visit Mercy Ministries tomorrow.  Though the retreat-in-a-box idea did not become a reality, the study book YOU-nique: Embracing God’s Design for You did get published by another company!  And Cyndi and I are scheduled to lead 17 MM counselors and program directors through it tomorrow.  They will serve as a jury, so to speak, to decide if YOU-nique is something they could use for their small group counseling sessions in all their homes, both here in the US and abroad!

Cyndi and I had a dream over 3 years ago; we did nothing to bring it about.  God remembered our dream and He worked it out far better and far faster than we could have ever imagined.  By a miraculous chain of events that could have only been orchestrated by God Himself, we had the opportunity to meet Nancy Alcorn, the founder and president of Mercy Ministries.  Less than 3 weeks after meeting Nancy, here we are, only a few hours away from a “longing fulfilled.” 

This God of ours: isn’t He something?!praise

Not to us, O LORD, not to us

but to your name be the glory,

because of your love and faithfulness.

Pslam 115:1

Precious Little Secrets


As I sit here on my couch, drinking  my last cup of coffee for the morning, all I can say is, “God, you’ve done it again. You’ve wowed me beyond words.”

God has shown me much favor the past 2 weeks.  Again and again, I’ve looked up and said, “God, I don’t know what else you could do that you’ve not already done.”  And it’s as if He said, “Well, I know.  How about this?”  And I’m wowed all over again.

God has done some pretty wild and wondrous things these past 14 days. And He’s done some precious and personal things, too.  I’ve shouted aloud to my friendsHEART about the wild and wondrous, but I think I’ll keep the precious and personal to myself; keep them just between Him and me. 

If you’re married, you might  know what I mean. It’s like those precious little secrets between you and your spouse: an intimate moment, an inside joke, a learned lesson, and so on. Later, even much later, you can be in a crowded room and hear, see, or smell something that sparks one of those memories. You look at your spouse and find he’s already looking at you — and smiling.  You laugh together without ever having said a word. You know what he’s thinking, but it’s a secret. A precious, intimate moment between bride and bridegroom. 

That’s what I’m feeling right now as I sit here and look up at my Bridegroom.  Without a word, He knows what I’m thinking, what my heart is feeling. And though I can’t see it, I can feel His smille. A precious, intimate moment with my Husband.

At this moment, I know I am absolutely loved.

At this moment, I know I am absolutely secure.

At this moment, I have absolute peace.

At this moment, I have absolute  joy.

[You can go now, but I think I’ll just linger here a little while longer.]

Mercy Has a Face

Consider the statistics:

  • 1 in 3 girls becomes pregnant at least once before age 20.
  • 1 in 5 young women struggles with an eating disorder.
  • The number of girls seeking help from self-harm practices doubled last year.

Hurting young women in staggering numbers crying out for help.  What’s the answer?  Mercy.

Mercy Ministries (MM) is a Christian non-profit organization that offers a free-of-charge Christian residential program that helps young women between the ages of 13-28 who face life-controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, physical and sexual abuse, depression, and unplaned pregnancy.  MM provides these young women the opportunity to experience love, forgiveness, healing, and God’s transforming power.  It also offers transitional care, including life-skills training and assistance with housing, transportation, job placement, and school applications.

Having worked 8 years for the state of Tennessee at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls, MM’s founder and president Nancy Alcorn9_nancy_alcorn saw girls released from the facility only to return again – or die.  Nancy knew the only agent of true change is Jesus Christ and was determined to provide a sure hope and lasting healing for these young women. So in 1983, she moved to Louisiana and opened the first Mercy house in West Monroe.  MM operates on 3 guiding principles: 1) the girls come free-of-charge so that they’ll know they are loved and that MM is not making money off their pain; 2) MM accepts no money with strings attached, including any federal, state, or local government funds; and 3) all contributions made to MM will be tithed (10%) and given to other ministries.

How well does it work? Just a few months ago, an independent firm conducted an extensive survey to find out just how effective MM truly is.  What they found was staggering: a 94% success rate! That’s right; 94% of the girls who graduated from MM testified that Mercy Ministries changed their lives and that they have not returned to their old lifestyles or addictions.  These graduates can be found attending colleges, building diverse careers, working on the mission field, being godly wives and mothers — all the while sharing the message of freedom found only in Christ Jesus.

Almost 27 years after it began, Mercy Ministries (now headquartered in Nashville, TN) operates homes in Nashville, St. Louis, West Monroe, and Sacramento, as well as in Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Peru, and Australia. And Nancy’s not finished building yet!

Yes, Mercy has a face. It’s the face of Jesus Christ shining through the face of Nancy Alcorn, through all Mercy’s girls who’ve found freedom in Christ and who extend it to others, and through all those who have supported this life-transforming ministry known as Mercy Ministries. 

How about you? Does the mercy of Christ shine through you?

For more information on Mercy Ministries or to make a contribution, visit www.mercyministries.com.

(Information on MM was taken from the brochure Mercy Ministries: Lives transformed. Hope restored.)