Open with Your Broken with Dana Goodrum



Dana Goodrum, smiling and relaxed in front of the cameras


Is the younger generation avoiding church? If you’re wondering why, you’re going to love the insight Dana Goodrum shared recently on Fireside Talk Radio. How is brokenness related to the millennial generation’s apparent aversion to organized religion? I am so proud to share Dana’s ideas here!

Dana’s First Chapter

Dana says everyone has a first chapter. My own life got off to a dramatic start, so I get it. Maybe like Dana and me, your first chapter is not the end of your story. Dana’s first chapter included drama; an unplanned pregnancy, the birth of her beautiful first child, a divorce, another wonderful kiddo, an abortion, homelessness, multiple sclerosis, and more. Like all of us, some of Dana’s troubles were self-induced; some were not.

Shame, Judgement and Brokenness

“There was a lot of shame, insecurity, guilt, fear, embarrassment” tied to some of her experiences, she says, particularly about her abortion.

“As I walked in (to the clinic), I was met with protestors. People screamed at me that I was a murderer, told me that I was going to hell,” she says. In her heart, she agreed with them, self-condemning and feeling unworthy of forgiveness. “I was crying before I even walked through the doors. I accepted that judgement; accepted, as in, ‘I totally get it.’ I went into a very dark place after that.” Her own judgment about her decisions led to a sense of unworthiness, with more negative consequences.

Broken People Attract More Brokenness

“Because I was in a broken place, I was attracting broken people. When you put broken people into a relationship together you have unfortunate results from that.”

Camped on her friend’s couch, a single mom with two children to provide for, Dana wondered if she could show her face in church ever again. 

Every First Chapter has a Purpose

But, even with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis thrown in the mix, Dana says that with God’s guidance, it all can become part of a greater purpose. (By the way, watch for another interview with Dana this coming year. I’ll definitely invite her back to share on living with M.S. What she said briefly about M.S. was very inspiring.)

“There’s purpose in the pain; purpose in the struggles, beauty in every bodies’ broken,” she says, “God didn’t cause it, but He allowed everyone’s Chapter One for a purpose. The best thing we can realize as Christians is that we all have a “Chapter One.”

Where’s the Church When You’re Broken?

“In fact, Pew Research Center shows that over half of today’s millennial generation view Christianity as strongly judgmental. I strongly believe that stereotype would be challenged if the holier-than-now view of Christianity was challenged by transparent, honest believers, who talked about who they were before God got ahold of their hearts,” she writes in her book.

Obviously, Dana was not alone in assuming that Christians would be too judgmental to receive her back into church. To the contrary, though, many Christians are scratching our heads trying to figure out how to win back the hearts of younger generations to a life of faith, sometimes in our own families. In Open with Your Broken, Dana claims that Christians can do a better job of letting folks know they’re welcome. Especially for millennials, she says, being open is essential.

Broken Before Thirty

“There was a point months later where I thought I was too far gone, I was past the point of grace, I had messed up, I was too broken.” She was convinced God was done with her. “I refused to even fathom of faith or praying; I knew if I even said God’s name, He would strike me down.”

Dana says, like many millennials, many of her most painful decisions were made long before she was thirty. In order to reach their generation, the church has to do a better job of admitting Christians are experts on sin and forgiveness, by sharing our own painful experiences openly. Fortunately for Dana, she had the courage to take a step in a new direction.

The First Chapter is NOT the End of the Story

“I reached and cried out to God when I tell you He rescued me and changed my life every day after that.” He’s not done with her, yet, she adds. “Everything that has happened since I have come to Christ, it’s not just about salvation, but there’s also this present day, every day walk with Christ that we get to experience.”

Now Dana is on a mission to tell others that Christ’s forgiveness and ongoing grace are enough. Plus, she’s helping churches welcome her generation back into Christian community, where they can find help and comfort for whatever choices they’ve made. 

“If you’re at that place of darkness or you have yet to understand God or don’t get all this (spirituality) is cracked up to be, there is such an amazing more. But it does take a small leap of faith. Not a big one,” she says, “All I did was, raise my hands from the floor of my little one room apartment, and told God I couldn’t do it anymore.” To find Dana, click here.

May I pray for you?

Father in heaven, we all feel broken sometimes. Maybe we hurt because of our own decisions. Or, maybe someone else injured or abandoned us. You offer comfort to those who will admit they hurt. Often, You use kind and trustworthy friends to provide help and comfort, even a spot on their couch. We thank You for the way You designed the Christian community to be Your way of comforting and helping. Teach us to put aside our judgmental attitude. In our weakness, give us strength to be open. Help us, O Lord, to know the full impact of Your mercy and grace in our lives. May we be more like You! In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

Are you wanting to make changes in your parenting? How will you find a church where your baggage is welcome, too, while you figure it out? What is the best thing you’ve experienced when it comes to forgiveness?

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts

If, like us, fellowship and community makes you happy, you may want to check out the podcasts we’ve done with Benjamin A. Simpson, Suzy Shepherd, James Van Dyke, Colleen Long. 

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