According to Troccoli, everybody wants that magic wand. "Unfortunately and fortunately, it's a process. What I tell people is that you have to be patient with yourself, you have to patient with God's working in you because we've got to let the river flow a different way, and that takes time."

 

Choosing to stay in the light is hard, Troccoli adds, "but that's how you get out of pits. It's the sovereign hand of God, but it's our choice every day. Do we want to bring our pain to the light, or do we want to stay in the shadows?"

 

Support

 

Each of these women emphasize the power of supportive friends. "Our testimonies help each other," says Troccoli. "What I am finding when I get on stage is that women are saying, 'Kathy has gone through what I have gone through, and she is making it, and she is telling me I can make it.' I think it is very important for women to choose good women to be around, women who pursue holiness, substantial women who can help you discern," she adds.

 

Curry says she gained a great deal of strength from the other women in her prison cell. "They believed we were going to get out of prison alive, which helped sustain my hope. From the minute they walked through the courtyard gate, our friends began encouraging us with Scriptures."*

 

Mercer found comfort with a special person who allowed her to cry: "I was truly comforted. I never felt like I had permission to cry. [She] let me be free enough to cry without trying to fix me."

 

Guthrie sounds a similar note: "God has blessed me with people who allow me to feel how I feel and think how I think and be who I am. I have not felt pressure to be or to do anything else, for which I am very grateful."

 

Finding Purpose

 

Ultimately, all four women found that seeing purpose in their pain has spread a healing balm on their hurting hearts.  "I'll often speak about the fact that God is using all that pain right now when women ask me a ton of questions about their own lives," Troccoli explains. "The places where I've been wounded, where I have bled, God is using those same places now to pour His healing virtue in. Those are the places that are actually comforting women."

Mercer calls prison "the most terrorizing" experience of her life and also "the greatest privilege" of her life. "I stand in awe at all the millions around the world who have heard this story," Mercer says. "It was God who put us in prison. It was not the Taliban. He used them for His greater purpose. Now I am seeing more of what that purpose is."


God has given Heather Mercer "an amazing platform" from which to proclaim His glory. This self-described "simple servant" says she never thought she had anything to offer. "I hope the world sees that we are not heroes, but because of our obedience, He used us." And through this story, "God is telling the world that He is real, that He answers prayer and that He works miracles."