When I was a little girl, I had this image in my head that everyone and everything in this world was good and pure. No one would ever hurt me, I would never hurt anyone, and my relationship with God would always be strong. I didn’t even know weak and broken were words with meaning. I saw people in ministry when I was a child and thought they were perfect. I thought, “they must have this dynamic relationship with God”. I knew that was who I was going to be. I was going to be “perfect.” For the most part my teenage years consisted of me bragging that I had never done this or I had never tried that. I was really proud of the “good” choices that I had made in my life. I had this picture in my head of who I was and who I was going to be. Until.. well.. I can’t say until one day, but rather, until over time I wasn’t that same person anymore.
I could no longer brag that I hadn’t tried this or I hadn’t done that. I no longer was so naïve to the feelings of weakness and brokenness. Instead I had become the very definition of weakness and brokenness. It didn’t happen overnight but it happened over time. Yes, a good part of it was me starting to make bad choices that I never thought I would make. Part of it was just growing up and finding out that life isn’t as simple as it’s often thought it’s going to be when we are a child or a teenager. Part of it was having things done to me that I could never imagine. I went from thinking I could never do anything wrong to wondering if I could ever do anything right.
You could call it an identity issue if you want to, and that is the reality, but the reality is we don’t see how big of a deal that an identity issue can be. When I thought I was going to be perfect I had an identity issue. No one is perfect except for Jesus. When I thought I was worthless, I had an identity issue because no child of God is worthless. My reality of my identity was somewhere in the middle. I am not perfect- that is for sure. But I am also not damaged goods, that is for sure.
I had this picture of me and maybe you had this picture of me to: the girl who loved God, who dedicated her whole life to Christ, the girl who never sinned, never fell into temptation, never doubted herself, never gave into peer pressure, never went against God’s word, never gave people a reason to doubt her or not trust her, never lied, never was weak or taken advantage of, or just plain and simple- was never disobedient to God. I never thought I would be that girl until I was. I am broken, I am weak, I am sinful, BUT I am not damaged goods.
I may be weak and I may be broken- BUT I am not defeated.
Sometimes we don’t value the grace of God until we need it so desperately in our lives. I have needed God’s grace in my life and I still need God’s grace in my life. It has been in the between that I have found my identity. I am not perfect but I am not damaged. I have had to morn this perfect imagine of who I thought I was going to be or who others thought I was going to be. Not just as a pastor but also just as one of God’s children. I had to mourn the image of that girl but the image I see now is one I find even more beautiful. I am imperfect but I am still standing. I have made bad choices but I still choose Christ. I have sinned but I want to sin less. I have fallen into temptation but I have gotten back up. I gave into peer pressure but now I stand to my peers and show them the beauty in my scars. I have lied but I have found truth in God. I have been weak but I have been made stronger. I have been taken advantage of but that doesn’t limit my advantages in life. I have been disobedient but I am ready to walk in obedience. I am broken but I am still beautiful. I am not damaged goods, I am not a victim of my bad choices or other’s bad choices. Instead, I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I am beautifully and wonderfully created.
Instead of bragging about all that I have done right like when I was a child, I now testify that God has made something special of all I have done wrong. For that, I am eternally grateful. So yes, I had to mourn the image of who I thought I would be, but the image of who I am now is real, it’s raw, it’s beautiful, and it’s me.