Monday, April 12, 2010

Are You a Damaged Good?

I am so happy to be posting. I have been looking forward to it. I really miss having the time, freedom, & opportunity to post every day. Maybe again someday.... I hesitate to share what I have decided for my posting schedule because every time that I do, I change it. LOL I think for right now, I am going to blog about whatever our church sermon was about that Sunday. I am finding myself taking more & more notes & I want to share that with all of you. In addition, I will probably post a marriage specific post once a week. I may write it myself, or I may repost from another marriage blogger. I am going to start there & see how things go. I am thankful that even in my personal struggle, the Lord can use me to reach all of you. Praise God.  (But really Lord, enough of the personal struggle. LOL)

The series that our church is working on right now is, Damaged Goods. Do you consider yourself to be a damaged good? I think that we all do to some degree. I wanted to take a photo of the back drop of the stage & I am not sure why exactly I left without doing it. It was beautiful & amazing. It contained about 40 different pieces of cardboard from old boxes. Each piece had a word written on it. Some in black sharpie & some spray painted. Words that we would use to describe ourselves. I will never remember all 40 words but I will give you some of the ones that I would have to use to describe me or my past.

Photo added after initial post -

  

Abandoned - Drugs - Control Freak - Depression - Separated - Profanity

There were plenty of other words to choose from as well. Such as, suicidal, cutter, whore, rape, violence, cheater, abuser, alcohol, pornography, liar, gambler, felon, etc. If you could choose all of the words that describe who your are now or who your once were, what would they be? Be honest with yourself. If it makes you feel better, share them with us. I did. Church staff wore t-shirts last week during service with their words displayed. How powerful?! Can you imagine wearing your dirty laundry in public, & to church no less? 

We are ALL some of these words. Even our pastors, best friends, parents, spouses, children, etc. are ALL some of these words. The point is that you are not defined by these words. You are not defined by your past. You WERE this person, that doesn't mean it is who you ARE. Even if you WERE this person 5 minutes ago, you CAN change. You could put all of that in your past. Right now! Your DENT does not determine your iDENTity. 

We all have people in our lives that try to keep us in the past. People that ignore all of the good that we are doing in our lives to change. People that just want to remind us of all of the bad that we have done. It makes it hard for us to believe that we are "worth it". Well, the Lord purchased us for a purpose & the damage that has been done to us hasn't discounted the price that was paid for us. We are ALL WORTH IT! 

Someone recently said to me, "You could only forgive a person so many times." Well, that really isn't true is it? Does the Lord say, "Enough is enough. I have forgiven you plenty of times & you keep screwing up. Sorry, I am done with you!" NO! He forgives us over & over again. We keep screwing up & often times even slap the Lord in the face with our clear disobedience to His will. Even though He sent His son to die for us. He never stops loving us & forgiving us. If we are to be Christ-like, shouldn't we forgive over & over again? Regardless of the cost? Surely the cost is never as high as sending your own son to die. 

So, just like we have people in our lives who want to remind us of all the bad that we do or have done.....we have been that person to others at times as well. Who have you done it to? Your spouse? Your kids? You have been GIVEN grace & forgiveness by the Lord, but are you making others EARN it from you? I have been guilty of this. I suspect that we all have. 

I posted on Facebook & Twitter today a statement that Pastor Jeff made that really pressed on my heart. It is something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. As many of you know, I am working in a restaurant right now. If you have ever had this position, you know that the back of a restaurant is not a place where you hear much about the Lord. I have been wondering what the Lord wants me to do with this situation. I haven't quite figured all of that out yet, which is why it has been on my mind so much. 

However, something really cool happened to me this week. I was talking with several people & they were discussing how frustrating it is that certain people get all dressed up on Sunday, go to church, & call themselves Christian. They, like many people in the world, have a very bad taste for "Christians". Conversation turned a little inappropriate & someone looked at me & told me to cover my ears because I am a good Christian girl. I am not allowed to wear my cross at work (no jewelry except for wedding rings & small earrings) so I wasn't sure how he knew this about me. I have not gone around preaching....just yet. LOL As it turns out, he has seen my Facebook page & all of my scripture posts & motivational phrases. While not a "fan" of Christians as a whole, he told me that he respects me for my beliefs & how I carry myself. He hadn't seen anything in me to go against what I had been posting about. That was an amazing compliment to me because being a good Christian girl in this environment is similar to being the unpopular girl. 

Some of us have been trying to get people to believe in the Lord for what seems like forever. What if they finally accept the Lord & then they see us slap the Lord in the face with our purposeful disobedience? What if we are model Christians & then when the going is tough, we quit on the Lord, even just a little? What if they have heard us "preaching" & then we don't follow everything that we have said ourselves when we have given advice? It is OUR fault that these people feel the way that they do. We have all done it. I've done it. We have all turned someone off of the Lord. Maybe we didn't know it & maybe we never will. We have to stop doing it. NOW. What if I am hanging out with my new co-workers & I start using drugs again, speaking profanity, going out getting drunk, sleeping around when I am still married, etc. etc.? What then? Those people that saw me "preaching", may be turned away from the Lord. Possibly forever.

So what if we TALK one way, but WALK another, aren't we proving these Christian critics right? Are we only being Christian on Sunday or on holidays? Are we erasing all the good work that we have done? We can't pick & choose WHEN or WHAT we follow in the Bible. The Lord doesn't pick & choose when or what to forgive us for. He just forgives. EVERYTHING. We can't say, "I don't cheat on my husband but I am going to do drugs. God will forgive me." Or, "I don't get drunk or beat my kids so it is okay that I look at pornography. We all sin & God will forgive me." Stop making excuses! One right behavior doesn't cancel out a wrong one. 

So, back to the quote from Pastor Jeff. "You may be the ONLY Jesus that some people will ever see." Think about that. What if you are the only chance that person has to come to know the Lord. What impression will you be leaving? Will they see a convenient Christian, a hypocrite, a liar, a double standard, OR will they see forgiveness, faith, grace, worship, unconditional love, proper behavior, understanding, patience, praise, & holiness? What would you think of your preacher or a church staffer if you saw them out drinking & using profanity in a sleazy bar? You wouldn't much believe what they had to say after that, would you? Why not? You are sinning in your own way in front of others. You expect people to believe you when you speak the Word of the Lord, don't you? You can't sit around getting drunk on Saturday night & then ask your buddies to go to church with you on Sunday. It doesn't work. So what if all of those people that once came before us are lost? What if those people never meet another ONLY Jesus? What then? What damage are we all causing daily?

If you remember all of the words that you chose for yourself in the beginning of all of this, you may be thinking that you are not worthy of being the only Jesus that someone will ever see. You would be wrong. Typically we find the Lord when we are down in the dirt. This summer, the Lord had to strip everything from me for me to take a hard look at myself. Sometimes you have to be totally alone & empty to rely on Him. Here are two quotes from Pastor Jeff..."If you have ever felt unequipped or unlikely then you're probably the one for the job." "God is most likely to use the unlikely." Remember those cardboard testimonies? How many of those people made you think? Would you listen to them & how the Lord made a difference in their life? Well, you are that person. Right now, sitting in your chair, that is you! 

You just need to make up your own piece of cardboard or damaged goods t-shirt. You need to be honest with yourself & make your current sins your past. Put them behind you. Then, get an accountability partner of the same sex that you trust. Why? Because when life gets tough we always turn to what makes us feel better & what is familiar. We turn right back to that addiction or sinful behavior. (Galatians 5:1) You need someone who will not let you go there, will hold your hand, & will help you through the tough time. Not someone who will tell you what you want to hear & will make you feel better. You need someone to help protect your salvation. That is a true friend. Who needs more Earthly friends? Personally, I need people in my life that are going to help me into eternity. My time on Earth is so small. Are you that person for someone special to you?

When the time is right, share your testimony with someone. You just might be their piece of Jesus!

Aimee Freeman

11 comments:

gramkappy said...

wiw aimee! that was awesome! you took alot of notes. good insight, too.

The Carpenters said...

Aimee, this was just what I needed to wake up and realize that God doesn't make mistakes in His choices. Thank you for baring your heart, once again, and speaking words of such truth and wisdom. Love you!

mjellis said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. It is something that I needed to hear!

Beth said...

This is a great post. I attended a Joyce Meyer Conference this past weekend and she taught on "Knowing Who You Are In Christ". Just what I needed to hear, too!

teacheroftwos said...

There is a book I read to my preschoolers called, You Are Special by Max Lucado! It is a cute little story that touches on this subject. I highly recommend it for any age. I am going to get it for my son's 14th birthday. He struggles with labels people have placed on him. I too have done the same thing, but going back to God everyday to be remind that I am his precious child makes me remember the truth!

Kelly said...

I'm so glad that you are back and blogging!

http://thesmiplelife.blogspot.com

trooppetrie said...

so glad I found your blog. I would love to hear him talk about it. And I do not think we can discuss marriage enough.

Kendra Lynn said...

Beautifully put. I love that part about being the "only Jesus" some may ever see.
Thanks.

Kendra

Jayne said...

So, I saw your title and thought "Yes, yes I am damaged goods" But we're all "broken" somehow, right? & this brokeness is what the enemy uses against us and to start trouble in our marriages. Today I went into Chapters with time to kill and cried right there in the store as I read half of the book " Love & War" by John & Stasi Eldredge before I bought & took it home. Hubby & I had half of an absolutely amazing and special day togther yesterday before we had a big fight about nothing and he left for work without resolution (as men are prone to do, according to the book) Perfect timing. Highly recommend this book about "Finding the marriage you've dreamed of" So, so many great insights. Thank you too, Aimee for sharing your marriage experiences, insights and wisdom. Marriage is hard sometimes, right? But so totally worth it.

Sonya Schroeder said...

Hi Amiee thanks for stopping by today. I cant wait to check out your blog and sit down and read. Hope to see you soon!!

Be blessed. Serving with joy,
Sonya

Anonymous said...

I like it we all are damaged in someway,God is good you have to believe in him and remember you might have given up on him but he'll never give up on you.

 

Template and Design: By His Design