Beauty in the Broken Pieces

Beauty in the Broken Pieces

Squeal with delight

His little feet raced from one shell to another. “Here’s one, mommy.” My son reached to put it in my bucket as we walked down the beach. I explained I wanted pretty shells, whole, not the broken ones.

He quickly told me those shells were pretty, too. “Just because they’re broken doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pick them for our collection.”

In Parker’s eyes, all shells were pretty.

Those simple child-uttered words spoke to me.

Do we sometimes see the broken as unlovely, not worth our time? How often do we search for the unblemished, the perfect relationship, the perfect family, the perfect church, the perfect (you fill in the blank).

The reality? Things break. Life is not perfect. No real surprise there, right?  But if we look, we can find beauty and even restoration in the broken.

God sees our hearts

Jesus saw beauty in the broken. It seems He sought them out.

He saw Mary and Martha. He healed the woman with the seven demons as well as the woman who touched the hem of His garment. Jesus saw Zacchaeus. He even invited another tax collector into His inner band of believers. He had compassion for the crowd of 5,000 who needed food.

Long before he came to live on earth, He saw a broken world and made a plan to rescue it and set things right.

Jesus sees beauty and value in us. He sees through our pain, our struggle and our rebellion. Jesus knows our hearts. He sets things right.

He sees beauty in the broken.

Am I still looking for the perfect shell? Yes. But God and a little boy reminded me there is beauty even in the broken pieces.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling,” (Psalm 46:1-3 ESV).


Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

The Delight of My Heart

The Delight of My Heart

I love weddings. Attending my niece’s wedding recently brought fond memories and happy times. Also, she touched my heart when she included her Uncle Matthew’s photo in a memorial display at the reception.

With weddings — and human nature — hiccups surface here and there. Usually, they’re insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

However, some weddings have a story to tell. Like my sister’s.

Two hours before the ceremony, her wedding dress caught on fire. Yes, you read that correctly. Minutes before marrying the love of her life, the wedding dress caught on fire. Typical of the late 80s, candles filled the stage and big hoop dresses were the thing. A LOT of candles and a WHOLE LOT of dress marked that day.

The photographer asked her to move closer to the candlelight. Which she did. He then asked her to step forward. And in that moment, the lace in the big hoop of her skirt caught the wick of a votive candle on the altar. Flames shot up. It was such a large hoop that she did not immediately notice it.

Fortunately, someone else did and began yelling and waving her arms, saying “Lisa!” “Lisa!” “Lisa!”

The photographer beat the flames out with his hand while he and my sister had a moment of pure shock thinking “did that really just happen”? Then the photographer asks… “who’s the best seamstress we can get”? That seamstress was our mom.

Mom and the pastor’s wife came to the rescue with thread and white shoe polish. And no one who wasn’t witness to it saw the hole from that near disaster. Amazingly, my sister held it together, and did not fall apart.

Was God with her that day? You’d better believe it. If not for the hoop in her skirt, the flame would have touched her skin and been much, much worse.

But we have God to thank (and a hoop) and a story to tell.

Love and adoration

Thankfully, there were no disasters like that at my niece’s wedding! However, I am sure there were things that didn’t go exactly as planned. But nothing could take away the pure joy on their faces.

I think that there is a moment when the busyness, the stress of all the preparation, the last-minute mishaps — and sometimes disasters — fall away when standing face-to-face reciting vows. At that point, it’s just the bride and her groom, completely immersed in love and adoration for each other, making their commitments and beginning a new life together.

I especially love seeing the moment the groom sees his bride for the first time. His expression speaks volumes.


Here’s something to think about. The Bible tells us that one day soon Jesus will come for his bride, the church. That bride and groom moment will be reversed on the day we see Jesus face-to-face. We will look on Him with complete love and adoration. He alone will be our reward.

Friends, the King of the World has chosen us and wants a relationship with us. As believers, He is our redeemer.

He has redeemed us from:

  • Shame and guilt of the past
  • Feelings of failure
  • Low self-esteem, low self-value
  • Our mistakes, and the resulting regret
  • Our pride
  • And a host of other things.

Don’t let mistakes or mishaps or “near disasters” take your joy from the one who loves you with an everlasting love. You CAN

  • Find joy in the Lord.
  • Find joy in the word of the Lord. The principles we find in scripture are truly life-changing.
  • Find joy in the opportunities for new beginnings. Let Him become the delight of your heart.
  • Find joy and praise Him for His protection when challenges or disasters come our way.

Let’s be completely immersed in love and adoration for Jesus, our King of the World.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16 ESV



Don’t know Jesus, our Redeemer? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.


Written in collaboration with Lisa Mencer.


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John 8: 1-11 tells a story of a woman caught in adultery. The scribes and the Pharisees brought her to Jesus to test Him. Thrown into the sand, she awaited the sting of the stones that would crush her and seal her fate.

She was guilty. She knew it. Her accusers knew it. She had been caught in the act and there was no way out.  

Did panic set in? Or was she resigned to her punishment of death? Were her eyes locked on Jesus? Or cast down to the ground?

But then Jesus’ hand reached down and wrote in the sand. One by one, her accusers left.

No stone was cast her way.

Jesus had her back. He did not condemn her; He rescued her. His words only directed her to go and sin no more.

One Pair of Hands

I heard a new song last week. It is an old song, but new to me. Written and recorded by Carroll Roberson in 1971, One Pair of Hands was also sung by Elvis Presley.

The song encourages us to put our faith in Jesus. Its lyrics tell us God formed creation with one pair of hands. Jesus healed people from sickness, raised people from the dead and fed thousands with one pair of hands.

Like the adulterous woman, we have all sinned. Maybe it’s obvious to those around us. Maybe not. Maybe it’s simply a lack of faith.

Consider Peter’s short stint of walking on water.

Strong and confident, bold was his middle name. But when he began to sink, his confidence faltered and fear gripped him. Once locked on Jesus, his eyes shifted to the wind around him. He began to feel the weight of the wet substance as it soaked into his cloak.

However, in the next moment, a hand reached down and rescued Peter from the deep, dark water.

The Bible speaks of many more rescues by Jesus.

  • One pair of hands cleansed a leper.
  • One pair of hands broke a loaf of bread, placing the pieces in baskets to nourish the crowd.
  • One pair of hands took saliva and dirt, placing mud over the eyes of a man born blind. And gave him sight.
  • One pair of hands held babies and children.
  • One pair of hands raised a girl to life.
  • One pair of hands washed the feet of his closest friends, even his betrayer.
  • One pair of hands were extended and nailed to a cross. Arms stretched in agony secured our hope and sealed our fate . . . if we only believe and receive.

The Price Paid

Have you been desperate for a rescue? Do you need forgiveness today? Restoration? Salvation?

Jesus has already paid the price. His hands have already done the deed, reaching out to us.

Let the goodness and love of our Lord Jesus Christ wash over you today.

Seek Him and put your faith in the one pair of hands.

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:1-2

I Know Who Holds the Day

I Know Who Holds the Day

After a stressful and disappointing week, I continued packing up the house we built and lived in for the past 12 years. I had so many questions for God. In my head, I had created a hundred solutions to how he could work things out for me that would give me the answer I wanted. Instead, I got a closed door.

Yesterday, while going through pieces of paper art created by my boys – loosely stacked on top of boxes in the attic because they were too big for a box – I ran across this framed scripture.

Cast all your cares on him for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Randomly stuck in between all those papers, I have no idea how that frame got there. (Confession: I keep everything, which is going to make this packing process even harder.)

Anyway, God used it to speak directly to my heart. It appeared at exactly the time I needed it. 🙂

The greatest message ever told

What has God done for you lately? Have you stumbled across a message from Him that spoke to your heart? This Easter, be reminded of the greatest story ever told. It’s not the words spoken so much as its message through action.

I can imagine how Jesus’ followers felt when he hung on the cross for them. They likely didn’t understand it all at the time, but His sacrifice came at exactly the time humanity needed it. The exact time appointed by God.

He died a cruel and brutal death, and that seemed to be the end.

But He arose! Because of Jesus’ resurrection three days later, we celebrate Easter – a new beginning. Jesus took our sin upon Himself and gave us hope. His triumph that day was for our gain.

Death to Life

He came to the earth, did what he said he would do, and then paved the way for us to live with him in eternity. He absorbed our punishment – the punishment we deserve — on the cross that day. He gave us what we could never earn on our own.

His death was a gift of new life for anyone who will accept it.

I cannot get the lyrics to the song Miracle Power by We The Kingdom out of my head.

I may not know what a day may bring but I know who brings the day.

That is the hope we have in Jesus. We can give him our burdens. We may not know what’s coming, but when we know Him as our personal Lord and Savior, we can have hope. After all, He owns the day.

Because of His ultimate sacrifice, we can trust that He is big enough, strong enough, and cares enough to handle our burdens.

This morning, I asked the Lord to let me hear from him today. As I was finishing my quiet time, I happened to look at the scripture reference at the bottom of my devotional. The words stunned and amazed me.

Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. Psalm 55.22 (NLT)



A Changed Heart

A Changed Heart

Matthew 27 tells us a story of a changed heart.

The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matthew 27:52-53

Seeing is believing

The centurion and those with him guarding Jesus had a change of heart after they had seen all that had happened. Terrified, they exclaimed “surely he was the son of God.” (Matthew 27:54)

What a sight to see dead men walking – appearing to many people! I’d be terrified too.

As God breathed life into man when He formed him, Jesus’ death gave the breath of life back to many holy people.

You only live once

You’ve heard the saying “you only live once.” Well, there are people who got to live twice on earth. Scripture tells us about many who were raised from the dead. For example,


Jairus’ daughter; and

The widow of Nain’s son.

But what about those who were given new life at the moment Jesus took His last breath? Matthew 27:52 says many holy people were raised to life at that moment.

I wonder what they did from the time they were raised until three days later when they went into the holy city.

I wonder how they honored God when they came back to life. Were they able to finish unfinished business this second time around?

What would you do if you had a second chance at life on earth? If I had a do-over, I’d try to correct past mistakes, and be more mindful of my words and actions.

The Bible also says we are dead in our sins before we come to Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1) The apostle Paul goes on to say that because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ.

Breathing new life

So, in a sense, we are like those dead men.

Once Jesus breathed his last, they breathed new life. Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we come out of a spiritual grave to walk into new life. We breathe new life and are told to walk in it.

Can you imagine the families of those people? How excited they were – and maybe a little afraid – to see them again.

What about us? Here on earth, our loved ones (in most cases) rejoice in our new life. But not only that, the angels rejoice too. They rejoice when a sinner repents. (Luke 15:9-11)

Walking beside them

So what can we do to help new believers walking around in new life?

Walk beside them.

  • Teach them what we’ve learned in our walk of faith.
  • Encourage them to stand strong in their faith.
  • Pray for them to grow and seek Jesus in the big decisions in life as well as the small.

If you don’t know Jesus personally, don’t let his suffering and last breath be for nothing. He rose again into new life, conquering death before He returned to the Father in heaven. He did so that we might live through Him and spend eternity in heaven.

The centurion got it right that day. You can too. Today, receive His gift of life, His mercy and grace, and show many people what your new life is like. What a great time to begin a new life, and astonish others with your boldness and faithfulness.

 To learn how, you can go here.

Stand Tall

Stand Tall

Last weekend we celebrated a late Christmas with the Cameron family. It was the first time we could all get together. I had every intention of taking down the Christmas decorations before then, but the closer it got to our getting together, I just decided to leave it all up.

Now . . . the tree had been dead long before Christmas, so it was really dead at this point. As soon as everyone left, we hauled the boxes from the attic and took down the tree and decorations. Then, my 17-year-old son headed to the tree recycling pile in the city.

Once back home, he told me how that dried-up tree took flight and soared out the back of the truck, landing in the middle of the road and stopping traffic several cars deep. In case he had missed the spectacle, someone stood in the road waving his hands to let him know.

He said the worst part was he knew about four people who yelled out their windows, teasing him. He picked up the tree and re-loaded it into the truck. 

I’m sure it was quite a sight . . . and was probably on social the next day.

We laughed until we were in tears. 

Stand tall through the winds of change

Sometimes our lives can be like that dried-up Christmas tree. When that tree, once carrying the pleasant scent of pine and Christmas, gets cut off from its source of life, it becomes dry and empty.

Like that tree, we can become dried up and no longer of any use, at risk of being tossed by the challenges of the day.

But with Jesus, our lives can be full and bear much fruit, able to stand tall through the winds of change.

Let’s stand tall, my friend, and stay connected to our source of life — Jesus Christ — and point others to Him and the salvation He offers.

Now this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3