Broken Crayons Still Color

by Toni Collier January 25, 2023
“‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” John 8:11b-c (NIV)

One evening after dinner, I walked into the living room to a pretty wild scene.

All over the floor in mini piles were crayons that looked like they’d gotten into a fight. My preschool-age daughter, Dylan, had peeled off their paper wrappers and broken each and every last crayon.

When I asked why she’d ruined all the crayons, she just looked at me and said, “Mommy, color.”

Later, as I was on my knees scraping up the crayons, I broke down … exhausted, alone and in tears. This wasn’t about crayons; it was about a life that had come crashing down into broken pieces of despair — broken like the crayons scattered on our carpet.

I’d been let go from a church that had promised me a promotion and raise a few months earlier. Countless nights had been spent shuffling through divorce papers because I couldn’t afford a lawyer. Looking at my finances and the bills I would now be carrying as a single mom, I didn’t see a way out of this valley of complete darkness.

Thinking back on Dylan’s comment — “Mommy, color” — I realized she was saying, “Yeah, I broke the crayons, Mom, but they still work!”

Here I was in a valley, thinking that my brokenness discounted me. And yet there are stories all throughout the Bible showing broken people, including broken women, whom God rescues and welcomes.

There’s a hard but beautiful story in the Bible that shows a picture of Jesus’ desire to choose those of us who struggle to see our value. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in adultery to the temple courts where Jesus was. Could you imagine being caught in the very act of some of your biggest mistakes, arrested on the spot, and dragged to a public setting to be killed?

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

‘No one, sir,’ she said.

‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:7-11, NIV).

You see what just happened? He flipped the script.

Not only did Jesus create accountability for the public shaming, but He also chose to show love to a woman who, to her community, was blemished and worthy of death. Her brokenness didn’t discount her access to, and love from, the Savior of the universe.

When you decide to bring your hurts into the light, hope and healing can be yours. Through this act of choosing the woman in John 8, Jesus is showing us today that He chooses you and me as well. Jesus is choosing you right now. The question is: Will you be brave enough to fight for your greatest hope by fighting through your greatest hurt?

We all have things that have deeply hurt us, things we need to heal from. We need restoration and true freedom. Our childhood wounds can be transformed into adult scars that are healed and sealed.

You can absolutely look at all your past mistakes, your past pain, the parts of your story that you just want to forget, and declare that they don’t get to have the final say in your life. That’s exactly what Jesus did when He died for you — declaring that those things don’t get the final say, but God does. And, friend, He’s not done with you yet. Broken crayons still color!

Dear God, You know what I’ve been through. Thank You for never giving up on me. Please bring me to a place of healing that allows me to share my story and the good news that hope is available to us all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Toni Collier’s new book, Brave Enough to Be Broken, is a biblical road map you can use to heal from the pain, shame and regrets that have tried to steal your joy — so you can rest in the unconditional love, healing and hope of Jesus. Get your copy today to start bravely processing your brokenness so you can experience the fullness of God's restoration power.



Connect with Toni on Instagram, or check out her podcast, Still Coloring.

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Psalm 91:15, “Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.” (MSG)

What’s an area of your life you’ve discounted God from using because of past mistakes or pain? Pray a prayer today declaring that your mistakes, pain or shame don’t get the final say in your life — God does.

© 2023 by Toni Collier. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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