“You shouldn’t speak on our church’s stage. You’ll normalize divorce for young girls.” With shame from a divorce and a still-raw heart, those words replayed over and over in my head. I had started to believe the lie that I was unqualified and disqualified because of my past circumstances. A year later, I received a phone call from Our Daily Bread Ministries. They were interested in giving me a microphone to co-host a project focused on the needs of women.
I was hesitant. Mainly because those shaming words from a church leader kept replaying in my head. Could God really redeem my brokenness to help others? Would my past circumstances reflect negatively? I’m so far from perfect. Wouldn’t I do more damage?
God actually used that surprising phone call invitation to gently transform my way of thinking. My co-host for the podcast would be a woman named Elisa Morgan. Prior to our meeting, I took to Google and studied her accomplishments and read her work. Based on my past experiences, I felt seriously unqualified but decided to give it my best shot.
Our first meeting was something like a friendship blind date. It happened on a summer day in Grand Rapids, Michigan – home to neither of us. After flying in late at night from our home states of Colorado and Georgia, we met early one morning over coffee at the hotel’s breakfast bar. From first sight, we knew we were different. One young, the other older. One blond the other one brunette-turned-gray. One artsy and tatted and cool, the other edgy but pretty status-quo.
We dove deeper, meandering through my divorce and her mistakes, our woman wounds. We shared our stories of falling and getting up and discovering more of Jesus through both downs and ups and coming out “better” somehow. Through my relationship with Elisa and my relationship with the ministry, God replaced those shaming words, with His love.
If I had turned down that phone call out of shame, I would not have seen this project come to life. I would not have been transformed through it and I would not have experienced what God so loves to do. He loves to recover. Rebuild. Redeem. He loves it when we surrender our thoughts and ask Him to replace ours with His.
As Elisa and I worked together, we grew great strength from two truths:
He loves us exactly the way we are, mess and all. And he loves us too much to leave us that way and instead carefully reassembles our broken into his concept of beautiful.
Sometimes even more powerfully than before we were shattered. We think that our broken disqualifies us from effective use in God’s world, in ministry, in life. A divorce. That illness. The wayward teen we raised. The messed-up mothering we experienced.
But the thing is, when we put our broken into the redemptive hands of Jesus, he can actually mold it to further qualify us for his purposes. By breaking, our hearts grow rooms where we can connect with the pain of others and offer them the comfort we have received from our Comforter and the hope we have gained from our Hope.
So, wherever you are right now…tired…jaded…worn out…maybe you’ve made decisions that you thought would help remedy the pain but actually made things worse. Maybe someone told you that you will not amount to much. Here’s good news for your spirit that’s about to toss in the towel: God does not toss us away. He leans in close to show us we don’t have to be perfect to make impact. He can use our broken circumstances to create a level of empathy in us that more people need to encounter. If we don’t see our broken circumstances as strength with God in it, the enemy will use them as a foothold to feed a bigger lie that will ultimately paralyze us from moving forward.
We get there one way and one way only. Not by force but by surrender. Pull out all the mess you tend to hide away, hold it in your arms and then hold out your arms and say… God, if you are who you say you are, that means you want all of this. ⠀
We’ve learned he does. He wants it all. He desires the invitation to be brought into the mess. He will soften that heart of yours. He’s just that good. That creative. That loving.
Eryn Eddy is the founder and CEO of So Worth Loving, a lifestyle clothing brand bridging the gapbetween not talking about self-worth andtalking about it. She is a media host for Our Daily Bread Ministries and her debut book, So Worth Loving, releases January 2021.
Elisa Morgan is an internationally-recognized speaker, the author of The Beauty of Broken, President Emerita of MOPS International, and co-host of Discover the Word Radio. You can keep up with her at elisamorgan.com. Together, Elisa and Eryn co-host the podcast God Hears Her.