I was talking with a beautiful friend the other day about ghosts from the past. I have a few, as does she. Some of hers are just louder than mine.

She had been in conversation with a family member just hours before who had used the term “damaged goods” when referring to her. As she spoke the words through tears, I felt rage welling up in my spirit and showing itself all over my face.

Seeing the color of my cheeks change she added, “Joy, it really isn’t a big deal.”

“That is where you are wrong, darlin’. It is a very big deal. You are far from damaged.”

She cut my response short, “No, I kind of am. I would say it’s an accurate description.”

At this point in the conversation I had a couple of options. I could begin ranting about what a ridiculous self-assessment this girl was making or I could speak the truth in love. Please keep in mind that it infuriates me when someone allows another human being, mortal, flesh and blood, to strip them of their identity in Christ. What shakes me to my core is when that individual doing the stripping is a mother or other guardian who has been entrusted with shaping the life of someone else.

Thankfully I chose the latter of the two options.

“Here’s the deal, sugar. We all have things that can be categorized under the label ‘damaged.’ No one is worse than another. They are equal. Yours may look different from mine, but in God’s eyes, they are the same.” As these words were coming out of my mouth, I thought, “Do I believe this? Does my path of destruction look the same as what ‘church goin’, conservative clothes wearin’, orphan savin’, never kissed a boy, doesn’t sin unless by absolute accident, savin’ herself for marriage, non tattooed/pierced/scarred‘ girl’s destruction? Do I truly believe that? Hmmmm…I don’t think I do. Well, maybe I do. I hope I do. Sometimes…on a Tuesday…when the sky is blue…and cloudless…and all the planets are in line, I do.”

I had to come clean. “You know, it’s a difficult concept to fathom. At times I have trouble grasping it myself. But I know it’s true, because Jesus said it and He doesn’t lie.” We both agreed that neither of us could refute Jesus’ words.

As we left each others company that afternoon the wheels were turning in my mind. God is always on time, yes? This morning, Rodney Anderson spoke at Buckhead church. He took a passage from Luke 18 and explained it in such a comprehensive and applicable way.

He was talking about this very thing! Comparing and thinking better of oneself and praying as if God takes out His list to make sure we are worthy of being listened to. It doesn’t happen that way. It’s an awesome message that you can watch by clicking here.

He wrapped everything up with John 19:30 when Jesus said, “It is finished.” There is no longer a need for another human being, a middle man (if you will) to do our bidding for us. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and the comparing, accusing, condemning, rejecting was over. Now, whenever God looks at you and at me, He sees us through the eyes of His son, Jesus, who was and is the ultimate sacrifice for my “destruction.” And as Rodney explained so perfectly today, “That’s good news.”

Be encouraged. No matter the size of devastation along the trail you have blazed, Jesus is enough. He paid it all. Your ransom, my ransom has been PAID IN FULL.

Need a visual reminder? Click here

One Word: Enough

This year, beginning now, my word is “Enough.”
When taking the One Word 365 challenge, the word that kept coming to mind is “Enough.” What?! What does that even mean?! I want a better word.

Well, it has become abundantly clear that it is my word and I have been learning what it means. I hope to continue learning over the next several months. Here is what I know so far…

I want to improve of course, continually moving forward, not staying where I am. Complacency is a curse. However, I am Enough. I am not less than. I am not remarkable. I am Enough.

My House is Enough.
It is a home. A safe haven. A shelter from the world. It is Enough.

My Job is Enough.
It is a place for me to grow and fellowship with other believers. I am influencing the lives of precious children, laying the foundation of their faith. What an enormous responsibility. I will continue to dream of that which my heart longs for and has yet to do, while resting in the blessing of what I am doing now.

My Faith is Enough.
Hear me when I say that I must nurture and grow in my faith daily through constant communion with the Savior. What I mean by Enough is that, if I were to die today, I don’t believe that God would say to me, “If only you had three more days worth of faith, you would have been good Enough.”I believe in Christ. He came, He died, He rose. It’s Enough.

The Cross is Enough.
There is nothing I have done or ever will do that exceeds the redemption of the cross. Christ, a sinless, blameless, perfect being, took on all of my nastiness and paid for it on Calvary. The Ultimate Sacrifice is Enough.

There is so much more to come on this. I hope that you’ll stick around and learn with me. I have never “felt” like Enough. This year I will explore what Enough really means as I am not sure that I have ever truly known.