It’s easy to believe the lie that our messes can disqualify us from participating in God’s plans. “God only works through people who have it all together,” we think, but the Bible tells us a different story. Scripture reminds us that we serve a God who can redeem any size mess and make a miracle out of it, but we have to keep the messiness of these characters in mind as we remember this truth.

We often overlook the poor choices of our Bible heroes as they pale in comparison to their successes. We tend to glamorize biblical characters, remembering the stories of their great accomplishments for God and forgetting the mistakes and missteps they took on the way there. Or worse, we forget that these faithful individuals were real people—the kind of people who had fears, disappointments, worries, and regrets.

To help remind us, here are three characters from Scripture who God used and who had also made some mighty messes:

1 // David

We remember David as the kid who killed Goliath, as a good king and as 1 Samuel 13:14 says, a man after God’s own heart. David was all of those things, but his lust and poor choices also led him to become an adulterer and a murderer (2 Samuel 11). Even when he thought he had successfully covered up his mistakes, God still sought after him by sending Nathan to uncover his sin and recover his relationship with God (2 Samuel 12). God even used David’s line to bring Jesus into the world (Matthew 1:6-7).

2 // Peter

Peter did miraculous things recorded in the book of Acts. In chapter three, God heals a man who couldn’t walk through Peter. In chapter nine, a paralyzed man and a dead woman are healed by God’s power and at Peter’s word. Considering these incredible works God did through Peter, it’s shocking to consider that not long before—on the night of Jesus’ crucifixion—Peter vehemently denied even knowing Jesus (Luke 22:54-62).

3 // Paul

The apostle Paul wrote most of the letters in the New Testament that we read and his incredible missionary journeys are recorded in the latter half of the book of Acts. We’re encouraged by his example of boldness, faith, and perseverance, despite the difficult circumstances he faced during travel and in prison. Thousands of people heard the Gospel because of Paul and he continued to defend it until his death. God said of Paul that, “he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” In light of that mighty charge, it’s amazing to remember that before God revealed himself to Paul, he was Saul—a famed persecutor of Christians.

These faithful figures remind us that God’s love for us doesn’t depend on the quality of our lives—how many mistakes we’ve avoided or how many losses we’ve endured. He loves us as is, but he won’t leave us where we are. God has big plans and our mistakes have not disqualified us from fulfilling them for his glory.