I’ve thought over the years about my journey, this crazy roller coaster of a ride, with definite highs and ridiculous lows. When I was younger, in the core of my lows(drugs, alcohol, sex, lying, stealing), I struggled seeing hope, feeling hope, desiring hope, and even know what I would do with it if it found it’s way to me. At one of my lowest points in my life I recall being drawn to the Word of God. It made no sense. This broken hot mess who was making one bad choice after the other, and really was less than impressed with the church, felt compelled to open a Bible in which I had very little understanding about. It just didn’t make sense. What I can tell you is this: Over the years this book has unveiled misunderstanding after misunderstanding about my own beliefs of God and who He is.
I always thought it was a story about a bunch of perfect people. How could “I” relate to any of that… That’s when the transition started. It wasn’t about perfect people, it was about misfits, broken hearts, sinners, people who made a million mistakes and yet God loved them still. Why? How? They were horrible! The old testament was the one I struggled to connect with the most, until recent years. War, killings, murderers, betrayal, wiping out nations and tribes, these crazy rules that we could never keep… all pointing to one thing… we needed what was coming, a Savior. We couldn’t follow the rules, they were meant as a guide, we struggled in this fallen world seeking approval of man and acceptance in our stupidity. Yet God still offered us hope.
You see caricatures like David and Daniel, who were not caricatures but real people, showed us broken hearts, sacrifice, risking everything, loyalty, how a broken choice can be redeemed, how a situation as crazy as you could imagine was an opportunity to trust. It’s all so relevant, it’s been relevant from the beginning. Testimonies shared bring hope. David shared his heart, his betrayal, his broken pieces, his dumb choices all to cry out to a God who could heal his broken heart(Psalm 51 is my favorite). This book is a guide, something that lets us know that life is no black and white story. That we all have stuff and we all have an opportunity to make peace with our stuff. These people show us how real life is and how brokenness can be used to help others, and how life is about so much more than us, our situation, our hurt.
So I was drawn into the Word to heal. At the time I didn’t always understand what I was reading, and sometimes I became mad at what I was reading, frustrated with God and frustrated with people. It wasn’t until I realized that God loved me in my worst the same as in my best, that I decided this God was worth pursuing. Because frankly my worst days were embarrassing and humiliating, yet He still loved me.
I searched for love and acceptance from many people in my life, I felt judged and ashamed for a good part of my life. Afraid of my skeletons showing up when I least expected them. I started facing my choices and owning the lesson, not fixating on the choice. I started seeing my life as an opportunity to relate to others’ pain, brokenness and helping them find peace in those areas through nothing more than sharing where I was, and where I am, carrying hope within me. If all I have went through is never used to help another then what is the point of hard stuff? God is close to the brokenhearted, he wants to heal all brokenness within us, whether it was my choices or someones else’s choices that hurt me.
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”
So this Jesus guy, do I believe?… Yes, yes I do. God loved each and everyone of us knowing full well what we would do in our lives, and He thought we were still worth saving. THAT is love. God coming down in man form to live a limited life in flesh with us. It sounds far fetch doesn’t it? We’ve all heard about the parting seas, the ark, crumbling cities with music, and one man dying and coming alive again to save us all. You see faith is no easy thing, for it is believing the unbelievable, believing in something we do not see… or do we? I think about my life and the many times I should have died, I should have never made it through, I should have ended up less than who I am today due to circumstances. The miracles of our child born with abnormal kidneys and at 12 years old they were perfect. The child with a broken foot that 2 weeks later was no longer broken, the ‘hunch’ I had that something just wasn’t right and I drove my car to be looked at only to discover the radiator had broken, the daughter that was in a car wreck and a police officer that tells me with a pale white face, “She shouldn’t be alive.” I could go on and on over the things that are impossible in my life that God made possible. There is no dismissing miracles when you experience them yourself.
I was delivered, I was redeemed, I was brought out of a dark place. A story of attempted suicide, saved by a phone call from a stranger. I story of a drug house I should have never gotten out of, a story of violation, of betrayal, and a broken heart that learned to love again. It’s my story, my journey and only by the grace of God have I came out of any of it. It’s really a redemptive story.. a relatable story, a God story. God did this amazing thing, He gave me peace over my life. My story has allowed me ample opportunities to share hope, some parts harder than others, yet the end result is always, He brings peace, love and hope to press on.
I have limited days, as we all do. Goodness and love are hard to come by these days and even as I sit in this little office, in my home in the middle of the Midwest in a small town of 6000 people I know this is where I’m to be now. It’s my healing place, it’s where I’ve made peace with my past, and what God does next I have no idea. I trust, I wait, and when it’s time to move on I will be open to whatever that looks like. He’s used me to help people heal broken parts of their lives, to bring hope, to encourage people and most importantly, shine His light to others. That’s my call. The concern of what others ‘think’ of my past plagues me no more. I am who I am and my journey is my journey.
Some days I think, “Am I doing enough, am I working enough, am I really in the right place?” Then I remember as scripture shows, God is specific. He gives instructions to those who seek Him. David was called on because of his music and in turn he became a King, He didn’t seek it out, he trusted in the process, jail and all. Peter was called to leave everything behind Him, he wasn’t asked to go get a 40 hr a week job and make lots of money. He was called to disciple people, but only after he himself was taught. Broken people called to do great things in God’s timing. How relatable would David and Peter be had they not made any mistakes?
So I ask you, what are you being called to and what are you avoiding because of your past? May you have ears to hear the direction God is leading you into or away from. All I know is our brokenness is for a reason and that reason is to help others find hope.