rebelling against low expectations

You Are Never Too Far Gone

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A year ago, I was standing on the outskirts of an empty football field.

The morning was cool — I breathed in, letting the air dry my tears. Putting in my earbuds, I started following the outline of the fence, passing rows of bleachers one by one as I willed myself to put the next sneaker forward.

The inciting event had been someone asking, “How are you?” — to which I couldn’t work up the courage to tell them I was not okay.

Not at all.

As I walked, scenes from the past ran through my mind.

All my life I had been the good girl — the one who helped with missions projects; the one who stood in the foyer and judged the other girls by their short skirts and mascara.

However, I had been living a lie for months.

I was in love with a man who encouraged me in my sin. I had deceived myself — walking away from the church while sitting in a pew.

But God had seen me when no one else could.

He had sent my family to my aid, and they rightly exposed my double life. My pastor had started counseling me. My friends had begged me to repent.

Nevertheless the choice was still in my court.

Would I choose my boyfriend, my sinful life, and my lies? Or would I choose God? How could I choose when I already felt so far gone?

That’s when I decided to hit play on my iPod. I listened to the lyrics of “Never Gone” by Colton Dixon, with tears in my eyes:

“We break when we fall too hard, lose faith when we’re torn apart. Don’t say you’re too far gone — it’s a shame. I’m still standing here, no I didn’t disappear. Now the lights are on — see I was never gone! I let go of your hand to help you understand I’m with you all along…oh, I was never gone.”

I listened to it two, three, four, five times.

Never gone. You’re not too far gone. I’m still here.

The words whispered to my heart. Even in the confusion, I could still hear them.

At that moment, God helped me to believe those words. He helped me to say goodbye to the past and trust Him even though my heart was breaking.

Step by step, He showed me redemption.

He showed me that it was not for perfect people, not for people who have it all together, but for people like me — those who believed they were too far gone.

He showed me that hope was born when I hit rock bottom; that grace was there when I couldn’t see the light.

If you are in a similar place – standing on a football field and trying to make sense of the world — I beg two things of you.

First, believe the Gospel.

You are not too far gone. You are not too broken to be fixed. You are not too lost to be found.

One of my favorite passages during this time was Psalm 139:11-12: “If I say ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with You.”

Imagine that!

Even the darkness that chokes us, the pain that cripples us, and the tears that we cannot wipe away are not too much for God. He knows how we feel, and He also knows that hope exists behind our darkest moments.

Second, know that you will have to keep believing that every day.

I thought that after I chose God over my sin, it would all get better.

That was wrong.

The months after my breakup were the hardest I have ever experienced. There were many nights of tears and desperate prayers; those were followed by days when I could see no hope for my life.

However, in this I not only learned to believe, but also to endure.

When I was too far gone, all I wanted was to be fixed. I wanted to feel better and have things work out.

Through the months afterward, God showed me both the consequences of my sin and the endurance that I would need to keep fighting it. I learned that I didn’t need to just choose Him that day on the football field.

I had to choose Him every day for the rest of my life.

Today, I have seen God restore parts of my life that I thought were lost forever. I now know that redemption is real. I know that darkness will turn to light. I know that I was not (and am not) too far gone.

And neither are you.


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About the author

Brooke Lauren

is a small-town girl who sells bagels in order to disguise her obsession with literature and Christian rock bands. She desires to live in light of eternity and find greatness in the mundane. Also, if you happen to bring her coffee, you can be her soulmate.

129 comments

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  • This is one of the best articles I’ve ever seen on the Reb. We are indeed ragamuffins who owe everything to the mercy and longsuffering of God! Thank you for sharing your story, Brooke!

    • His mercy is one of the beautiful things that still exists despite our earthly suffereings 🙂 Thank you for commenting!

  • It is SO true! We have to choose Him every single day! This is very near and dear to my heart. I can understand you so well even though our stories may be different. The agony of still not being enough, and then realizing that we need to give our lives over unreservedly to God!!

    • Thank you for sharing! 🙂 I think that when we give into him, even when we don’t understand, He can make such beautiful things of our mistakes and insecurities. Thank you for your words!

  • Thank you, Brooke, for such a wonderful article! It’s so encouraging, and something we all must remember. We must come to Jesus as sinners, for if we wait to attain perfection, we will never be free (because obviously we won’t ever be perfect). Praise God that He rescues each one of us if we ask, and we’re never too far gone.

    • It reminds me of the words from a hymn: “If you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.” You hit the nail on the head! Thank you for commenting! 🙂

  • Wow…I needed to hear this. It’s astounding how many times you can fall down and Christ gives you the strength to go just one step further. I’m reading Unbroken right now the story of Louie Zamperini WWII veteran and Japanese POW. He was on the verge of death several times but God would give him strength when he shouldn’t have made it.
    His story inspired me that when we can’t stand God stands in us. When we can’t make it, God takes us across the finish line. When our enemies triumph over our fall he picks us up and gives us the power to take another step, sometimes another fall. But with every step we take it’s defiance in the eyes of the enemy.
    So when all is lost, think again. We’ve already won.

    • I LOVE what you said: “When our enemies triumph over our fall he picks us up and gives us the
      power to take another step, sometimes another fall. But with every step
      we take it’s defiance in the eyes of the enemy.” You are right that we have already won, which makes it interesting why the little battles get us down sometimes. Thank you for commenting!

      • It’s something I just now learning. Everything we live for, everything we fight over is just down right stupid. I mean I fight over my clothing with my dad all the time, and I’m coming to the realization that It really does not matter.
        The only thing I need to TRULY live is God. It doesn’t matter what the world says or what my friends say. The only one you should never disagree with is GOD.

  • Congrats on your first article!!! Your writing style is superb and extremely engaging. Thanks so much for touching on a point we ALL need to hear: That you can never fall far enough that God can’t pick you up and give you strength to push onwards.

    • Thank you so much 🙂 God has a way of taking our impossibilities and turning them into miracles!

  • Sniff, sniff. I’m so thankful that you had the courage to share your story! It was a huge blessing to read. I was just at a gospel-focused camp and God has been teaching me so much about the truth and power behind the gospel. Even though I’ve known it all my life, it never gets old. And like you said, even if I feel too dirty for God, He can still cleanse me and make something beautiful out of the shattered pieces of my wayward heart. Thank you so much! 🙂 🙂

  • Your story brings tears to my eyes because the love of God is written so clearly in your life! Thank you for sharing.

  • Thanks for your openness to share, Brooke. My Aunt, who doesn’t know the Lord, is struggling with this issue of being too far gone right now too after some choices she’s made in her life. Again, really loved reading the story. Thanks!

    • Thank you for commenting! God has the power to break into any darkness….and I will pray for your family member!

  • My heart needed this. This was an awesome encouragement to me!! A comforting as well as convicting reminder.

    Thank you @Brooke Lauren for your honesty…your willingness to share how God has been with you throughout every step of life. Perfect, living example of how gives beauty for our ashes when we choose Him.

    • Beauty from ashes is a perfect illustration 🙂 One of my favorite verses is Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” We may not understand but someday all our scars will be beautiful! Thanks for commenting!

  • I needed this. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

    “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one whose delight is in Him. Though he may stumble, he WILL NOT fall.” Psalm 37:23-24

    Choosing to delight in Him every day isn’t always easy, but it’s more than worth it!

    • Thank you for sharing that verse–that’s a beautiful reminder! It is worth it, even though it is hard! Thank you 🙂

  • I needed to see this light. The way God still works in us even though our society is living in a dark place. I needed this story’s hope right now in this time to help see God is still there and He still has a plan for us.

    • He does indeed–His light will overcome any darkness, even when that is all we can see. Thank you and God bless 🙂

  • Thank you so much for telling your story. While my experience is of a different sort, I have been where you were and felt like I was too far gone for God to save. I felt that if I could not forgive myself then how could God? I still struggle with the temptation to revert back to my old state and your story has really helped to strengthen my daily resolve and remind me that God will never gives up on me.

    • I think it is wonderful that while people have different stories and heartaches, they can all unite in the fact that, as you said, “God will never give up on me.” Amen! Thanks for reading!

  • There just aren’t words to describe how I feel about this article, so here’s what I think.

    It’s just so REAL. It doesn’t gloss over, or make you think that “Oh, she had this miraculous revelation, and now everything’s fine and dandy.” She admits to still struggling with her sin and doubt, and it takes guts to be honest about that.

    She does share that she reached a point of repentance, and discovered the truth of the gospel, so even though she still struggles, you can read and tell that something has actually changed. She is no longer as despondent. She has hope and faith that everything will somehow come out alright.

    I can relate to that. Absolutely fantastic job, Brooke! God bless you:)

    • That is exactly it, Mallory!!! There never comes a point where the pain just goes away, but there is repentance and sometimes God even gives restoration in this life…and it is wonderful! Thanks for reading!!

  • Thank you so much for this! It is very encouraging to me as I’ve struggled with letting go of my past regrets and focusing on God’s blessings. It seems that at times I’ve just fallen so far away that it would be next to impossible to get back. But I have to realize, everyone should realize, that our sins do not define us. Your article again breathes encouragement to me to fight the good fight of faith and to continue to turn to God, even in my struggles.

    Thank you again for writing this! Hope to see more of your work! 🙂

    • One of my favorite stories is that of Hosea’s wife, and how God turned her sins into a beautiful display of his glory, even though she continually turned from Him. He does the same for us! Thanks for commenting, Colin!

  • Dear Brooke, thank you for sharing this with us! Sometimes life can be so hard. l totally understand the pain you had to gone through, especially when you realize you’ve been drifting away from God. But you are right, God is always by our side, no matter we can see this fact or not. Sometimes we are blind, we only see our sins, and this makes us unable to see God. At this time, it’s the hardest time! Praise God for always being here for us, and being available to us. He can always console us in time before we are too broken to keep holding on to it!
    l shall keep it in mind that we need to choose Him everyday, not just on some certain day!
    Thank you again, and wish you the best dear sister!

    • The truth of needing to choose Him everyday has been one of the hardest and most encouraging things for me to learn through this. Thank you for your words! 🙂

  • Absolutely beautiful and honest – you’ve made an eloquent expression of the raw, painful truth of sin and redemption. Thank you so much for this! Seeing the situations sin tangles us all in, I’d been wondering if it were possible that the amount of pain necessary to break free from these situations could actually produce something worth the process – you’ve powerfully reminded me that with God, all things are possible, and He does redeem the broken things. God bless you dear sister!

    • God bless you too! 🙂 I have indeed seen that beauty can be made from ashes, and I hope to carry that with me the rest of my life. Remember His promises!

  • This is such a beautiful story of hope, i would call it, “where there’s life, there’s hope”

    • I completely agree with you….there is never a reason to give up hope because God works in the impossible things! Thanks for commenting!

    • That is the best thing about grace–it is bestowed upon those of us who least deserve or who have earned it. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  • What an encouraging article! Yes, the Lord will never leave nor forsake us. No matter how much we wrestle with the flesh, we always end up defeated. But with God, we are victorious. How amazing His promises are!

    • I think that one of His best promises is what you said, that “the Lord will never leave nor forsake us.” Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Wow, this made me change my perspective on my life and made me feel comforted and not alone but having people out there that know and feel in the same place as I do. Thank you for your courage and I’m praying for you.
    Thank you so much for sharing, this has changed my life.

    • Thank you for your prayers! 🙂 I remember whenever I have gone through hard times, one of the best things is knowing that there is someone there beside you–someone who is facing the darkness with you or has gotten through and seen light on the other side. Thanks for commenting and God bless you!

  • I think it is good to remember those times so we remember what we have learned. 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement!

  • :’)

    This is soooo good. So good. God bless you for sharing this amazing article Brooke. I needed this.

  • Wow! So inspiring! Thank you Brooke for sharing this article. It’s a wonderful reminder that even when I mess up, Jesus is still beside me and will never let me go. Thank you again. =)

  • Thanks for sharing your heart with us and being real, Brooke! Such a great first article. I hope you keep writing! 🙂

  • Dear Brooke,

    The Grace of Jesus Christ abounds over our sins and enables us to trust Him even through the hardest experiences! Only when all God’s people are joined together before our Saviour’s Throne will the power His Grace had upon us be known and understood! We can rest upon Him and trust Him!

    God bless you… and thank you!
    Make He keep you unto His Kingdom!

    • Thank you for your words 🙂 I am looking forward to the day when we will understand that power fully!

  • Hey Brooke
    Awesome post i can see why Brett said it was one of the best articles ever. Is this your story?

  • A very stirring read, I admire your courage. Baring your soul to all of us makes you tougher than most folks, myself included.

    • It took me a long time to have any desire to talk about this part of my life because it hurt too much…but since I have started talking God has been working more and more! He is good! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  • God is great and radiant, shining brightly in the darkness. Your story (thank you so much for sharing, it was truly a blessing reading this) is a great example of that.

  • Thank-you so much for sharing your story, Brooke. I love the way you pointed out how the truth of the Gospel is not for those who think they deserve it, but for those who know that they don’t. And how continuing faith is more important than being perfect. Sounds as though God’s done some great things in your life!

    • He has indeed! “Continuing faith is more important than being perfect”–wow, there is no better way to say it!!!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this! I am so glad that God is working through you to help others see Christ as more beautiful and believable than before.

  • I needed this encouragement today! Even though my situation is very different, the same truth still holds. God has never left my side, and He never will. No matter what we go through in life, He is there, helping us, holding our hand, and carrying us through the worst of times. Thank you for sharing your story Brooke!

    • It is a great thing that believers can find unity even though their situations and struggles are different! Thank you for reading!

  • Praise be to God for the work He has done and is doing in your life! Thank you for being transparent and not being more concerned with what people think, than sharing truth, this not only helps others to not feel alone, it also gives glory to God!

    • “It’s easy to live in the darkness”–wow, how well put! It is true…it hurts to come into the light especially when you have lived in the night for so long. As John 3:19 says, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people
      loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”
      But God has brought us into the light again and made us love it too! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  • Awesome article! I have been about where you were; and God is truly the only way to turn around. Thanks for being willing to share you story so that it can encourage others!

  • Hey Brooke! I understand what your saying here, but I can’t say that I agree with all of it. Mostly, I just can’t see myself as choosing God. The question is do you want God. I’ve done some bad things in my life and I can say for a fact that I preferred wallowing in the pigsty of my sins than experiencing the beauty of being one with Jesus Christ. In John 15:16 Jesus says “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit …” The more I think about how wicked I was the more clearly I see God by his grace sovereignly choosing to set his love on me. Your right Jesus didn’t die on the cross to save “good” people He died to save people who hated him. People who didn’t want him. How deep the Father’s love for us!
    Ephesians 1:4 …even as he choose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

    • Amen! 🙂 If it weren’t for Him saving me I would still be in my sin…there is no hope apart from Him saving us…and by His grace I can choose Him every day!
      Thanks for reading!

  • I understand the feeling, something similar to that happened to my sister with a guy at our Church. That was almost a year ago.
    The main problem now is that his family won’t even talk to ours.
    If my Dad’s preaching in Sunday school they wont come.

    I just wanted to say I know the feeling, I know it hurts. But things will get better.

    • That is very hurtful…it takes a long time for wounds to heal, and alot of times they don’t heal the way we want them too. But God is always at work no matter what! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      • I’m glad I’m not the only on that is in a situation like this.
        No problem. Stay strong, I’m praying for you.

  • This a beautiful testimony of God’s grace in your life, Brooke! Thank you for being willing to share this story with everyone. It was very encouraging!

  • That was a very empowering story! I also have had experiences like this so I totally understand how you felt. Thank you for sharing that with us!

  • I have to agree with everyone, this post is fantastic!!! I’m super encouraged. Thank you for writing this, and please write more for the Reb! I really like your style!

  • Amen!!! God is soooo good! He takes the OLD and makes it NEW, He takes the BROKEN and makes it WHOLE, He takes the UGLY and makes it BEAUTIFUL! He did it with me and He can do it with anyone 🙂

  • Great post Brooke!! So true and encouraging, God showed me this stuff about a year ago and I’m learning like you said, to keep believing every day. Thanks!

  • I’m speechless. My thank you is too miniscule to describe the gratitude I feel towards you sharing your story through a beautifully written post and towards God who inspired you to write it! May He continue to bless you:)

  • It’s amazing what God does in our our lives. Just think about it. Me and my family have been blessed many times. And what happened to brook is perfect example of that.

rebelling against low expectations

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