If you think you’ve messed up too much for God to love you, I bet my story can give you some hope.
I used to live recklessly. I drank, smoked pot, was very promiscuous, drank more, smoked more pot, and so on. There were times I would wake up the next day and not remember how I got home until I looked out the door and saw my car parked outside and realized I drove home drunk and/or stoned again. If I went out, I had only one purpose, and that was to get wasted.
I remember one time I was hanging out at a random house when someone pulled out a bag of weed, but unfortunately, we had no way of smoking it. That was until someone came up with the brilliant idea to use the Bible. That’s right, I smoked a joint rolled in a page of the Bible. To be more specific, I believe it was a page from the book of Psalms. As the joint was being passed around, I remember having this feeling that something about this isn’t right, but I quickly shoved that feeling away.
Deep down, I knew there was a God, but I knew God was not for me. And if God wasn’t for me, it didn’t matter what I did with my life, because it was my life after all. I had written off God because I was convinced he had written off me too.
So how did I go from a pot-smoking party girl to working for a church? Jesus. Come on, the answer is always Jesus, but the real truth is I started to read the Bible instead of smoking it.
When I sat down and read the Bible, I realized all the people God used were way more messed up than me. One of my favorite people in the Bible is King David. I had some big a-ha moments with King David. My first being, I didn’t realize that David from David and Goliath was the same David as in King David. The second a-ha moment was David was really screwed up. He slept with another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and covered up the pregnancy by sending him to the front line of the war where he died. David was an adulterer and a murderer, but God still used him. In fact, Jesus comes from David’s ancestor line. Holy crap! God uses messed up people. There is hope for me!
If God still loved David, maybe God didn’t write me off, and even liked me. I slowly started to make changes in my life. The first being, I stopped smoking pot. Honestly, that had nothing to do with God and everything to do with my husband. When I started dating Doug one night when I was high, he looked at me and said, “You can’t smoke pot and date me.” Doug was a cop, and apparently having a pot-smoking girlfriend was not a good idea. I had to make a choice—pot or Doug. I chose Doug. Since I couldn’t smoke pot anymore, I drank more. I’m embarrassed to say the number of times I went out drinking instead of hanging out with my husband and kids. Even though I was a married mother, I continued to live the life of a single party girl until I had an affair.
After the affair, I knew I had to make drastic changes in my life, and one was to stop partying. I was making bad choices when I was drunk. They no longer affected just me, but my entire family. Something had to give—either my marriage or partying. I decided to fight for my marriage.
That’s the point, right? I had to make a choice. God was never going to make the choice for me. He was waiting for me to choose. He was waiting for me to choose my husband, my kids, and, more importantly, God was waiting for me to choose him.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 51. Yes, you Bible experts, I catch the irony of it. It’s the Psalm David wrote after he committed adultery. In it, he says, “Restore me to the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways so that sinners will turn back to you.” I believe he was saying, God, I screwed up, but help me to use my mistakes to let others know that no matter what they have done in their life, they can always come back to you.
I have screwed up a lot in my life, but I know God redeemed me and not only redeemed me God uses me. When I run into people I haven’t seen in a long time, and they hear I work for a church, they are always completely taken back. When they knew me, I was known as a pot-smoking drunk or tramp, and now I work for a church. My response is always, “I know, right? God is pretty amazing and can use anyone, including me.”
Wherever you think you land on the spectrum—from using the Bible to roll a joint or killing your adulteress’ husband—I promise you have not screwed up too much. God still loves you. He even likes you, and He can use your life too.