I was raped when I was eight-years-old. I know when we talk about young children being hurt we prefer to use the word “molested.” It sounds nicer – less painful – but truthfully, molestation can simply be inappropriate touching. I wasn’t molested; I was raped, and it nearly destroyed me.
I’ve never admitted this before, but being raped is what led me to asking Jesus to save me from my sins at the young age of eight. I knew I was broken, wrecked, dirty. Although I couldn’t explain it, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my life was completely shattered and I needed a Savior. I needed someone bigger than me to pick up the broken pieces and make me whole.
It’s been a difficult journey. I wish I could say becoming a child of God instantly restored what one senseless act of violence destroyed, but it didn’t. There have been times it’s felt like I was crawling through broken glass just to move forward. It’s been hard, always thinking I’m unworthy of God’s loving patience. Yet He’s never given up on me, even though He has had to restore me piece by piece.
But that’s what God does. When He looks at us He sees us, not for what we are, but who we can be. He doesn’t just see the failed marriages, broken families, the lost and damaged soul. He sees beauty in the broken, life in the death. Even at our very worst, He wants to restore and make us whole.
Yet we forget that. We become so focused on all that we aren’t – the depravity of our lives – we forget what Jesus did for us on the cross. For so long, I believed I was the black sheep of God’s family, that He loved me because He had to, not because He wanted to. But in doing so I forgot something vital – God is Lord of all and nothing can make Him do what He doesn’t want to do. God doesn’t love us out of obligation. At any time, Jesus could have removed Himself from the cross. He had the power, but He chose to stay for you and for me.
Ephesians 2 goes on to say in verses 4-7: “But God is rich in mercy because of His great love for us. We were dead because of our failures, but He made us alive together with Christ. It is God’s kindness that saved you. God has brought us back to life together with Christ Jesus and has given us a position in heaven with Him. He did this through Christ Jesus out of His generosity to us in order to show His extremely rich kindness in the world to come.”
God knows us. He sees the truth of who we are – the flaws, failures, imperfections – and He loves us anyway. His love for each of us is greater than we can ever begin to fathom. He wants to take the time to put us back together piece by piece. He wants us to be whole.
I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has told me God can’t love them. Their sins are too great and their lives too broken. Every person’s story is different. Some are similar to mine and they’re trying to recover from a rape or a brutal crime. Some have committed adultery and destroyed their families. Some were alcoholics or drug addicts. I’ve even met a few people who were victims in sex trafficking. What I’ve discovered is no matter what our story, we all struggle to a varying degree with the fact that we’re unworthy of God’s love, and Satan likes that! He wants us to focus on our brokenness, rather on who God says we are despite our failings.
Instead of being so focused on how unworthy we are, we need to remember that Jesus makes us worthy. He is greater than our past mistakes. There is never a person too flawed for God’s redemption. Even the greatest villain is redeemable because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
If you have a personal relationship with God, you’re no longer unworthy. You’re a child of the Most High King. You have been redeemed, restored, and renewed. You belong to God. Don’t let Satan tell you that you’ll never be enough. Life may have broken you, but God will make you whole.