I have started reading "Broken Into Beautiful" by Gwen Smith and loosely following the study guide she posted on her FB page a few weeks ago (I was not able to do the study at the time it was running live). In the first chapter, I find it remarkable how similar our childhoods were. I was saved at the age of 10, grew up in a SBC church, was extremely active in youth group, and attended church camp every summer to be filled by the Holy Spirit and meet boys.
In college, I began to fall away from my faith. Not because I had some existential crisis of faith where I questioned the purpose of life and the origins of the universe, but because there were so many fun, secular, things to do! Parties, sorority and fraternity events, football games (War Eagle!), tailgating, trips to Mardi Gras and Panama City Beach. All of these things began to slowly replace the space in my life previously reserved for worship and fellowship with Christ.
My favorite quote from this week's study was
"God can use each and every person who surrenders her brokenness into His hands...no matter what."
I want God to use my life to touch others, to further His kingdom, and to share the gospel. But I have always felt too broken. I am shy, nervous around other people (especially those I don't know). I don't have great event-planning skills (as evidenced by my HS Group get together yesterday!). I am not always a very good listener, although this is a skill I am working very hard to develop. I have a terrible memory....life events, birthdays, prayer requests...if I don't write them down, I don't remember them.
But my most "broken" parts come from terrible, painful decisions I made in my youth. In those "in-between" years after school and before Rick and I found our way back to God and the love of His Son, Jesus Christ (much like the prodigal son...but that is another story). Drugs, alcohol, compromised moral values, gross irresponsibility with my life and the lives of others. I hurt people; sadly, I believe the people I hurt the most were my parents.
I believed that I was too broken, too far gone for God to use. I was relegated to being a consumer in church, not worthy to be a part of the sharing of the gospel....I mean, who would want to listen to me?
But I understand that I am EXACTLY the type of person God wants to use. He desires and loves to turn broken into beautiful and I look forward to this continuing transformation!