Damaged but Not Destroyed

From Trauma to Triumph



Large Print

Audiobook Download

October 3, 2023 | ISBN 9780593662915

Apple BooksBarnes & NobleGoogle Play StoreKobo

About the Book

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • ECPA BESTSELLER • The author of Relationship Goals and Crazy Faith proves that no matter how badly you’ve messed up, no matter what hardship or pain you’ve experienced, nothing can destroy the priceless, God-given value of your life.

Damaged but Not Destroyed will encourage and inspire you to remember that your failures do not define your future.”—Robert Morris, senior pastor of Gateway Church and bestselling author of The Blessed Life, Beyond Blessed, and The God I Never Knew

Your Damage Does Not Define You

Underneath our designer clothes, makeup, jewelry, and photo filters are cracks left by abuse, mistakes, rejection, and disappointment. Bestselling author and pastor Michael Todd reveals his own damage: the hits he’s experienced from trauma, dumb choices, and lingering struggles passed down through generations. Using candid stories, engaging illustrations, and biblical wisdom, he encourages readers to be H.O.T.—humble, open, and transparent—and face the pain of past hits to move toward the triumphant future God has for them.

Damaged but Not Destroyed will give you tools to identify the impact of your damage, see yourself the way God sees you, and realize that healing is all about progression, not perfection.

No matter how badly you’ve messed up, and no matter the pain you’ve experienced, nothing can destroy the God-given value of your life. It’s time to turn your damage into destiny! You may be damaged, but you are not destroyed. 

The Value Is Still in You
Read more

Praise for Damaged but Not Destroyed

“Michael Todd is an innovative communicator with a passion to reach people for Christ. His new book will encourage and inspire you to remember that your failures do not define your future. No matter who you are or what’s in your past, the Lord can forgive, redeem, and establish a new work in you! Even if you feel like you’ve messed up too badly—you can still be used by God. In fact, He has an even greater plan for your life than you could ever imagine!”—Robert Morris, senior pastor of Gateway Church and bestselling author of The Blessed Life, Beyond Blessed, and The God I Never Knew

“The wisdom Mike exudes upon the pages of this book do not come from a place of theory; rather, they are the experiences amalgamated over time and seasoned with grace. Damaged but Not Destroyed encourages all of us and simultaneously leaves all of us with no excuse to play the victim.”—Tim Ross, Upset the World, LLC

“Mike Todd has not simply written a book; he has created a blueprint to help us bounce back from whatever life throws at us. His transparency is transformative, inspiring, and sure to revolutionize your life. You may be damaged, but you won’t be destroyed.”—Dr. Dharius Daniels, author of Your Purpose Is Calling

“Pastor Michael Todd once again has given us a true gift. Damaged but Not Destroyed should be in the hands of every person looking to redefine their past and allow it to fuel their future. There are few books that balance the dance of being both compassionate and challenging. This book will call you out of a holding pattern of excuses and launch you into the limitless possibilities of what’s to come.”—Pastor Travis Greene and Dr. Jackie Greene, pastors of Forward City Church

“In my brother Mike Todd’s book Damaged but Not Destroyed, readers are invited onan exploration of faith, perseverance, and the transformative power of a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior. Mike’s vulnerability and transparency is an inspiration to Christians everywhere and a mark of freedom to those who feel they are being held captive to the mistakes they’ve made. Redemption is available and free; Mike Todd’s testimony throughout this book is proof of that. It is my honor and privilege to endorse Damaged but Not Destroyed and encourage every reader to get ready to be transformed.—Kirk Franklin, Grammy-winning Gospel artist
Read more

Damaged but Not Destroyed


The Hit You Didn’t See Coming

Sucker Punched

The massive uppercut lands, and my head snaps back. Time slows, and I float to the mat, my too-­short life passing before my dimmed and blurry eyes.

I see myself and my brother Gabriel suited and booted in matching fancy clothes. Gabe is just eighteen months older than me, and as small boys we got a lot of twin treatment. But as ten-­ and eleven-­year-­olds, that closeness is fading. Now we spend more time chewing each other out than twinning.

I see our family together just yesterday, joyful and laughing at the Tulsa State Fair. Gabe and I each won a set of boxing gloves emblazoned with American flags. We were so happy. Why couldn’t we have stayed that way?

I see two brothers bickering and pestering until their mother can’t stand one more minute. I see her help each of them tie on their boxing gloves and climb onto her bed, which magically morphs into a Vegas-­sized boxing ring. Physical fighting is sternly discouraged in the Todd household, so this is extraordinary.

I see a microphone descend from the lighted catwalk (ceiling fan) above the ring and hear the announcer and referee (Mom) explain the rules:

    1.    No hits to the face.

    2.    No hits to the privates.

    3.    And . . . fight!

I hear the crowd roar and see myself, a frustrated baby brother whose time has come to shine. I’m quick and aggressive and more than ready to rumble, and I rain down blow after blow on Gabe’s body: arms, chest, sides, even legs. Meanwhile, my brother—­who is much bigger than me but also slower—­stands motionless as a mountain, immobilized by the fury and speed of my attacks.

I hear the ref’s whistle bring round one to a close, and I step back to catch my breath. I’m winning. I’m paying my tormentor back for everything. I’m going to absolutely destroy him! And I might want to be a professional boxer when I grow up, because, wow, I’m incredible at this.

“Mooooommmm!” Gabe wails. “He keeps hitting me!”

“Well,” the ref replies, “try hitting him back. Now, fight!”

I see a menacing change in my brother’s eyes. Something switches on, or maybe off. I see his arm wind up, like the Popeye cartoon on TV. I’m not sure what part of my body he intends to hit, so I’m waving my gloves all around my torso, trying to be there for the block.

The last thing I see before the lights go out is the American flag patch on his glove coming straight at my pretty face like a patriotic freight train. Wait. Wha—­


Right in the kisser.

TKO. (That’s “technical knockout,” for those who aren’t into boxing or MMA.)

Ain’t no hit like the one you don’t see coming.

Sure, there are physical hits like the one I took from Gabe. But mostly I’m talking about hurts that hit deeper—­much deeper. Hits that don’t heal with an ice pack. Hits that leave bruises on your soul. I’m talking about relational hits. Emotional hits. Ego hits. Financial hits. Family hits. And even spiritual hits.

Those hits—­and how we can heal from them—­are what this book is about.

But before we talk deep . . .

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

*clears throat, in my best imitation of JAY-­Z*

My name is Mike.

My government name is Michael Alexander Todd. I’m the second oldest of five boys born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by two amazing parents, Tommy and Brenda Todd.

At the time I’m writing this book, my high school sweetheart, Natalie, and I have been married for twelve years. She is my good thing, the apple of my eye, the sugar in my Kool-­Aid, the engine in my Ferrari (if I had a Ferrari), the best thing that ever happened to me, the finest woman to ever walk the earth, the wife of my youth (I’ll stop there and leave the rest for Relationship Goals: Part 2; see below). Nat and I started dating when I was fifteen, which, now that I have children, is way too young. Out of our love, we have four incredible kids under the age of ten: Bella Monét, MJ (Michael Jr.), Ava Rae, and Gia Joy.

When people ask what I do, I say, “It’s complicated.”

But if you want to hear it, here it go.

I’m a retired drummer and semi-­accomplished music producer who ran sound at a church in the hood of North Tulsa, then got tricked into youth ministry and four years later was handed the church by the founding pastors, then watched our community of about three hundred mostly older African American church members snowball in a matter of a couple of years into a multiethnic, multigenerational, multiplying megachurch with influence around the world.

If that feels like a lot, it is.

But it’s even more complicated than that.

In August 2017, I preached a sermon series called Relationship Goals that went viral. In the first message, I illustrated one of my points using Ping-Pong balls and water, and for some reason, two million people watched that clip within forty-­eight hours. Two years later, I released my first book, Relationship Goals: How to Win at Dating, Marriage, and Sex, which went to number one on the New York Times bestseller list and has now sold almost a million copies. That’s absolutely freaking crazy . . . until it happens, which is the theme of my second book, Crazy Faith, a handbook for doing extraordinary things with God based on what I’ve learned from my crazy journey with Transformation Church. It was also a New York Times bestseller.

But let me give you a little perspective. I dropped out of community college. (Shout-­out to TCC! Nutrition 101 took me out.) All these crazy things happening to me? Nothing short of a miracle. For young Mike Todd, church and English class were the two most boring things in my world. God’s funny, because now I’m both a pastor and a New York Times bestselling author. I’m proof that God uses foolish things to confound the wise. All of this is Him, y’all. And I’m so grateful.

But please don’t get the impression that it’s all fun and games and cash and fabulous prizes. The first time I ever saw stars and birdies circling my head was when Gabe’s mighty uppercut connected with my ten-­year-­old jaw—­but it was certainly not the last. I’ve been knocked to the metaphorical mat many times, and I fully expect to be hit again in the future. And most of the time, I probably won’t see it coming.

Have you ever been hit like that? Some of you are like, Nah, this face is way too pretty to put it in harm’s way. I agree! You’re beautiful. But I’m not talking about physical hits. Let me be H.O.T. (humble, open, and transparent) and tell you about a few of the hits I’ve taken over the years so we can get on the same wavelength.

The Dumb Hit

First let me tell you about a dumb hit. It’s dumb because I did it to myself. As a young adult, I foolishly bought a luxury car that I could pay for but I couldn’t afford. You know what I mean? I could juuuuuust manage the monthly payments, but I couldn’t afford for anything to break.

Well, guess what happened. Something broke.

During the time my fancy car was in the shop, I let my insurance lapse. I mean, no one was driving it, so why pay for protection I didn’t need? (It made perfect sense at the time to my still-developing early-­twenties brain.)

After suffering through weeks without my precious ride, I finally got the call that she was ready to be picked up—­on a day when Oklahoma winter was doing its thing and there was ice everywhere. I was so excited to finally get my car back, I decided not to wait for better weather. (This also made sense at the time.)

On my way home from the shop, I was ready to exit the highway when I saw a car spinning out ahead of me. By instinct I slammed on my brakes, which caused me to slide into the next lane. The car that was already occupying that lane smacked into me, and we both ended up on the side of the road. But when I started to get out so we could exchange information, that driver sped away on the icy shoulder to the exit.

It wasn’t until I was climbing back into my beautiful, expensive car (which now needed even more repairs) that I realized I wasn’t insured.

“Fifteen minutes could save you 15 percent or more” popped into my head. I called Geico right then and got insurance.

A couple of hours later, I called the claims department.

Taking my report, the claim adjuster asked, “Did you have insurance at the time of the accident?”

I answered, “My insurance was current on the day of the accident.”

Yep. I lied.

And here’s the thing: All lies are sin, but not all lies are a crime. That lie was a crime called insurance fraud, which was a felony.

It took five years for that lie to catch up with me, but it caught up with a vengeance. By the time all the paperwork and bureaucracy and hearings were done, I had mostly cleaned up my act and was a youth pastor.

Like, at a church.

About the Author

Michael Todd
Michael Todd is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Relationship Goals and Crazy Faith and the lead pastor of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His driving passion is re-presenting God to the lost and found for transformation in Christ. He speaks at a variety of influential churches, events, and conferences, such as Elevation Church, C3 Conference, Lakewood Church, VOUSCon, Relentless Church, XO Marriage Conference, and others. Michael and his wife, Natalie, have been married since 2010 and live in Tulsa with their four children: Isabella Monet, Michael Jr., Ava Rae, and Gia Joy. More by Michael Todd
Decorative Carat