Uses for Broken Crayons

“It’s bwoken, Mommy!”

All I could see were her eyes brimming with tears. It was the kind of devastation only a two-year old could display. She’d been coloring in her favorite Princess Tiana coloring book when the unthinkable happened. Her crayon—the one that’s her favorite color purple—broke in half.

To get her world spinning again on its axis, I examined the crayon for her. I pulled back the excess paper from around the portion that now laid smashed on my beautiful, mahogany-stained, recently waxed, hard wood the floor. After “fixing” the crayon, I handed it back to her. It wasn’t a total loss. She could still color with it.

“No!” she said.

“You can still use it, Kayla. It’s okay.”

“No! It’s bwoken!”

Now it’s been several weeks since this happened. She’s broken many more crayons since then and seems to have resigned herself to using them despite their various lengths or whether or not they have a nice neat wrapper around them. But at least on that day, my daughter refused to color with that crayon. She’d rationalized in her mind that when something was broken, it was useless.



As God often does, He got me thinking about this. How many of us have been broken a time or two or twenty in our lives? We’ve made mistakes. We’ve made bad choices. We’ve been hurt and have done our own share of hurting. Our heartaches and experiences can often chip away at our self-esteem. Some of us might not even “look” as shiny and new as we used to. We might not even stand as tall as we once did when our self-worth and confidence was intact.

But there are just as many more of us who never gave up! Despite having been broken… or having had a broken moment or two… God still uses us. In fact, He’s so fly that for some of us he has taken what some see as our brokenness and turned it into the very thing we stand on to fulfill our life’s mission.

That woman who was raped? Yeah, she’s set to run the largest advocacy agency in her town.

That child who was abandoned? Yeah, he stands proxy as a father to an entire neighborhood filled with boys who have similar stories.

That drug addict who robbed people to get her fix? Yeah, she’s clean and helping others to get clean too.

So parents, let’s be watchful. Sometimes the small stuff, in the minds of our children, isn’t small stuff at all but seeds of discontent meant to thwart their destinies. Even the seemingly innocent issues our children present to us can ultimately turn into permanent mindsets if we are not careful. Let’s teach them that even broken pieces—of crayons and lives—are still useful. Let’s share with them that there’s always hope. In fact, hope is most alive when we can’t see it.

We are in a perfect position to serve both God and humanity when we least think we are.

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Tracey Michae'l

Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at


  1. This^ right here was for me and gave me some hope. Bc i was DONE feeling like ‘no!’ Too. Like just forget it, its screwed up damaged done just take it back to the store. Thanks so much.

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