Contrary to what I always believed, God used me in my brokenness to build His kingdom. I climbed the mountain with dirty hands and an impure heart, yet He welcomed me anyway.
I thought I had to get myself sorted out before I could do great things for Him. Now I know that, although He wants me holy as He is holy, it's not about being perfect before we can get to work.
I can't fix myself anyway.
That's where grace comes in.
I like what Zodiates dictionary says:
"Grace is the absolutely free expression
of the loving kindness of God to men
finding its only motive
in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver."
It's about God's loving kindness, not my goodness or obedience or holiness. Sure God loves it when I'm walking in His ways, but even when I'm not, He's still full of overflowing grace.
My righteousness, or lack of it, doesn't attract or repel His grace. Grace flows from who He is, not from what I've done.
Trying to be perfect so God can use me is a slippery slope to false righteousness. It's so easy to put on the mask and be all smiles, like I've got it all together, when beneath it all is the messy truth that doesn't seem to go away despite my best efforts.
Yet Grace sees the sin beneath the mask, and loves me anyway.
Should I therefore go on sinning so His grace can abound more and more? Of course not. That's not the point.
The point is that I stepped back and looked at the last 12 years of my life, saw all that God did despite my sin, despite my brokenness, and I was humbled that He would use this fragile jar of clay to help build a Kingdom that will endure forever. Somewhere in that Kingdom I've placed a ruby here, a golden brick there, a sapphire gem somewhere else. Not because I deserved it.
Simply because of His amazing grace.