I may be damaged but I am favored by God.
Damaged Goods: something that is broken and impaired due to physical or emotional injury; no longer regarded as valuable or useable
Broken and impaired...I may be damaged but I'm not destroyed.
And I'm in good company.
My picture is called The Four, by Tricia Robinson Art. It is special to me. It depicts four women, four broken, impaired women, four women who, by the world's standards, are considered to be damaged goods.
But these women, are not unusable, not unvaluable, they are Grandmothers in the family tree of Jesus. Their Royal lineage displayed by a crown on their heads.
Tamar: (Genesis 38) a widow disguised as a prostitute, tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her so that she could conceive a child
Rahab: (Joshua 2) a prostitute who worked with Jewish spies to save them from being killed by the king of Jericho
Ruth: (Ruth 1) a young widow who left her own country to follow her mother-in-law, struggling to put food on the table and live in a country where she didn't belong
Bathsheba: (2 Samuel 11-12) an adulteress who arranged the death of her husband
These women were not defined by what they had experienced or what they did. They were defined by God. Some made poor choices but some were a victim of circumstances out of their control. Just like us.
They are forgiven, highly favored daughters of the King.
They are Perfect Imperfection. Just like me.
Remember Esther (book of Esther).
She was a beautiful young woman who had a pretty rough life early on. She was an exiled Jew living under the rule of King Xerxes, she lost both parents and was orphaned as a young child, she had to be taken in and raised by her cousin Mordecai and lived as a slave under Persian rule.
King Xerxes, who was married to Queen Vashti, had gotten drunk and given an order to the Queen, who refused to obey. Angry with her disobedience, the king ordered that Vashti never enter his presence again. So, he was now in the market for a new Queen. To fill that vacancy, the king ordered that all beautiful young women be brought to the palace so that Xerxes could chose the new queen from the prospects. So…she was taken…did not volunteer...human trafficked to the palace.
Because of the sovereignty of God, Esther was chosen out of all of the women taken to the palace -- she would become Queen. But she held on to a secret – she was a Jew in a Persian palace. She was out of place.
Life outside of the palace became complicated, and due to Mordecai standing up for his beliefs and refusing to bow down to Haman (one of the king's evil nobles), the Jews were now in danger of all being killed. If the secret got out about her Jewish heritage, Queen Esther would become part of this massacre. So in desperation, Mordecai came to her and said:
Esther 4:14 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
My paraphrase: If you do not speak up then God will raise up help from someone else...but, who knows, you may have been broken, been damaged, been changed, been placed into the position that you are in for such as time as this.
God loves us as His children and doesn't cause bad things to happen to us but in His sovereign wisdom, He knows what will happen and uses our experiences for His plan and His glory.
Seeds cannot be planted until the ground is broken.
Before a farmer plants seeds, something hard is used and forced into the soil in order to soften it so that it will yield to the planting. In order for the seeds to yield the most fruitful harvest, the soil in which they are planted must be softened. It must be broken. And being broken hurts.
Within that soft, brokenness, the earth can yield to the downward push of the tiny seed's roots. Because of this, these roots can then be established so that the young plant can be nourished. The deeper the brokenness the easier it is to establish deep, powerful roots that will enhance the growth. Once the plant has grown, the harvest from the brokenness can encourage and feed those in need.
God has the power to completely restore but even after restoration a residual brokenness may still remain.
Residual effects that occur with damage sometimes remain during and after restoration by a Holy God. Sometimes that residue causes the softness and the fertility needed for seeds of ministry to be birthed. He has moved the pieces of your life around in the perfect position so that you can see others from a new vantage point for such a time as this. He may use the brokenness to birth new skills, new wisdom, a new empathy and a new focus.
So....Serve out of your weakness.
Lingering effects of trauma can come in any form and sometimes those trauma responses may return when you least expect it.
do memories sometimes cloud your reality when you least expect it?
do memories sometimes impact your day to day functioning?
do you feel sometimes that you are too bruised to heal and that you may never be the same?
do events sometimes trigger strong uncomfortable emotions that you don't understand?
does the emotional baggage that you carry sometimes spill over unexpectedly?
do you project your saddness or anger on someone else?
are you hyper-sensitive to the defense of yourself guarding against additional hurt?
do you enter a fight or flight mode when you least expect it?
in your mind is the incident defining who you think you are today?
I have residual effects of injury and I'm not keeping it secret because God is using that broken softness of the ground in my life and is honing the rough edges into something He can use. He is sharpening the damaged spots of my life to create weapons designed for spiritual warfare against the evil that is trying to destroy the lives of others. He is using the change and differences that I still have to create a mighty harvest that He can use.
And he is doing that same work in you.
So, stop allowing Satan to define you by your past.
Remember the story of Joseph and the trauma he endured at the hands of his brothers. Even though God had restored his life, Joseph still had lingering effects of trauma. The trigger of seeing his brothers and making himself known to them, brought on strong emotion and brokenness. But in that residual brokenness, God mightly used him.
Genesis 45:2 He (Joseph) wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him....
Has God worked a miracle of restoration in my life? Absolutely without a doubt.
But are there lingering effects of trauma that still exists? Absolutely.
Am I destroyed, beyond use? No. Way.
God is using the brokenness in order to soften for planting.
The residual damage that still remains in me?
I am overly sensitive to the words and the emotions of others....but God will use it.
I am overly empathetic to the struggles of others....but God will use it.
I understand the fight or flight mentality....but God will use it.
I have looked into the face of evil...but God will use it.
I know what it's like to have been hurt....but God will use it.
I know what it's like to be scared....but God will use it.
I know what it's like to have been rejected...but God will use it.
I know what it's like to be abused....but God will use it.
I know what it's like to have no hope....but God will use it.
I know what it's like to be lonely...but God will use it.
I know what it's like to have been degraded....but God will use it.
I know what it's like to encounter darkness head on...but God will use it.
And I know what it's like to think that God has disappeared....but He has not and He will use it.
As a forgiven believer, You are a highly favored child of the King. You are part of the Royal lineage. Let God use the broken places of your life to set you up for such a time as this so that You can serve out of your weakness.
I promise that He is faithful.
My prayer today:
Father God, I pray for those who have been broken. Sickness, divorce, loss, addiction, rejection, injury, hurt, abuse, etc. can break us and damage us beyond repair unless you take control. Satan would like nothing more than to let the experience define and limit us so that we feel useless and without hope. I pray strength, restoration and renewal over those affected. I pray that you will use the brokenness for Great things in your kingdom. Give us wisdom from our experience and add fresh new skills to our spiritual toolbox. Use us as we serve through our weakness. You have made the imperfect perfect and we are highly favored in your eyes. We trust, love and adore you.