Damaged goods…

It’s Saturday morning and [insert your favorite store’s name] is having a HUGE sale. This sale beats all the sales in the store’s history. You sit in the parking lot, anxiously awaiting the store’s opening so that you can rush in and shop until you drop. You drank your energy smoothie, triple knotted your shoelaces, and even stretched because you are just that ready for this sale.

Ok, the doors are opening.

It’s go time.

You race in the store like a madwoman (or madman) and you beginning perusing through the store’s infinite rows of merchandise. Thirty minutes later, your cart is half-full and you spot the item that you didn’t know you needed until right now. You approach it slowly, as to not draw attention to your growing desire to obtain this item. Once you arrive at the item that you fell in love with from a distance 30 seconds ago, you notice that there is a rather large hole/tear/scratch in it. Your heart melts with devastation. There is no possible way that you can buy this now- it is noticeably damaged.

What possible use could you have for a damaged good???

My damage…

I had unknowingly been using my childhood horror as a reason to led an “unsavory” life. As my mother’s grasp on my life got tighter and tighter, I started lying more and more to break free of her rules. I didn’t realize at the time that she was just trying to make up for not being able to protect me as a child. So when I graduated from high school, I decided to go to a college in my home state, but just far enough down the highway that my mother would not come for regular visits- I just needed a break from her rules.

I was a college freshman, rooming with her childhood bestie, in a coed (and multi-class) dorm. TROUBLE! I’m sure we did study at some point during freshman year but being honest with myself (and you), we partied more than anything. Around winter of that year, I brought my car to campus (illegally) and then I was really wild. I would bribe upperclassmen to buy me and my suitemates alcohol by offering to drive them to the grocery store. The college was in the middle of nowhere and public transportation did not exist after 6pm. I can vividly recall this big food fight that we had one weekend with the boys down the hall. It was huge. It was epic. It was college.

College is many things but if you work it just right, it can be the biggest party season of your entire life. Let’s do some quick math:

Alcohol + coeds + low supervision = “adult behavior”

Thanks to my past, I already had low self esteem but now I was on a college campus with high levels of alcohol and lowered inhibitions. I engaged in many things that continued to damage my spirit and my relationship with God. Now understand, it wasn’t that God changed or had pushed me aside. Instead, my sinful ways made me feel as though I was not worthy to be loved by Christ. I was damaged. How could He possibly love someone as broken and damaged as me?

Damaged but Good…

Thankfully, God is not man. He loves us even in our brokenness. We are never too damaged for Him. It is natural for us to think that because we have sinned that we cannot be loved by God anymore. To be honest? I often think the same thing. But as I was reading Mended by Angie Smith, I was reminded that although He is a big God that handles many things all at once, He is never too big to love us even when we are in our lowest of places. The feelings that make us think we are “too far gone” are tools of the enemy, designed to keep us in our sin and away from God.

Let me be clear- our sin does separate us from God but He is a just and forgiving God and when we sincerely repent and turn from our ways, He is able to forgive us. Once forgiven, our sins are washed white as snow. Jesus suffered, bled, and died so that our sins could be made clean through Him. He did that because He loves us just that much. His love for us does not waiver and does not fade with the seasons. He is faithful and an ever-present Help. We are never too damaged. God loves us inspite of our mess.

Reflection…

Recall something that you did that made you feel too damaged to be loved or repaired. How did you recover from that moment?

I recall Rev. Dr. Gregory B. Perkins saying in a sermon that “hurt people, hurt people.” At the time I was not mature enough to fully comprehend what  that meant but today I can understand that statement’s full power. When we feel we are hurt/hurting, yet still enter into relationships (of any kind) without healing the hurt, we will in turn hurt people- whether we intended to or not.  While God can still love and use us in our brokenness, we must still find a way to heal.

Might I suggest one powerful, healing balm?

His name is Jesus. He is a friend to the friendless and He walks with us no matter where we go or what we do. He is able to fill the empty cracks and holes in our lives and make us whole again.

Seek Him.

Trust Him.

Let Him fill you. Completely.


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