Broken Crayons Still Color!


Broken Crayons Still Color!

Maybe you’re struggling this Christmas season, whether it be with your health, finances, a family crisis, grief or loss.  Perhaps you feel broken, discouraged, even hopeless. You may be broken-hearted, have a broken spirit, or a broken family.  Your body, mind or spirit feels crushed and in pieces. If this describes you, please know that the God who knows and loves you can pick up the shattered pieces and mend your hurt. And He will, gently and lovingly, if you place your trust in Him.

Though you may be broken, your life still has meaning and a purpose. You still belong to God and you are valuable to Him. He loves you beyond measure and you are His child. No matter what you’re going through right now, you still have a future–one with much to experience and to learn. You have a future in which to find new hope, joy and meaning, as you color the world with the beautiful gifts God has placed inside you.

That’s right. You may be broken but God can bring forth beauty from your brokenness.  Don’t lose hope, my friend. Hold on to it like a treasured keepsake. For you are God’s treasure and His plan for your life is good. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for you so that you might have new life.

In the midst of your struggles, draw near to Jesus and He will draw near to you. He alone can mend your hurt and uplift your spirit. You are part of His master plan, and He can bring forth beauty from your brokenness. So don’t give up! Someone out there needs what you are still able to give. Remember, broken crayons still color!

May God bless You and Lift You Up!

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 92:12-14 “But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The LORD is just! He is my rock!”

Lamentations 3:22-24 “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Though our Lord Jesus was broken for you and me, His life was restored and He has touched untold millions with His love, grace and hope. Today we find refuge, healing, strength and peace in Him!

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Zephaniah 3:17 “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”



Making Your Home a Haven


Making Your Home a Haven |

Courtney Joseph

December 19, 2013

Why do we love certain houses, and why do they seem to love us? It is the warmth of our individual hearts reflected in our surroundings. — T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, quoted in Welcome Home

We all desire to make our homes a haven. After all, no woman wants a cold, messy, or critical home. Whether you homeschool or not, whether you are a mom or not, or whether you are a full-time homemaker or work outside the home, your role in the home is huge!

Is your calendar full like mine? Do you feel tense, rushed, and even panicked at times when you are running late? Do you feel that the rest of the family is feeling the same way? When I am tense, the rest of the family is tense. When I am crabby, my family is crabby right back at me. I want to have a peaceful home, and I have learned that it starts with me.

Proverbs 14:1 says, The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.

What makes a home a haven? Is it having a well-decorated home that looks as if it popped out of Better Homes and Gardens? Is it a home that has massive amounts of toys, food to feast on, video games stacked high, and every movie imaginable to view? Is it a certain number of square feet, a separate bedroom for each child, or the neighborhood in which you live?

No. It is not the things we have or the things we do not have that make our homes a haven. It’s you, my dear reader; you are the key to making the home a haven.

Let me propose a challenge: Purchase an extra-large candle and light it every day in your home. I start mine in the morning, but you can start yours at dinnertime. Do what makes sense for your family. I often have a candle burning in my kitchen, the main hub of my home. Each time the candle catches my eye, I say a prayer for peace in my home. I encourage you to do the same — watch what God can do!

How to Make Your Home Sing

Edith Schaeffer wrote, “There is a charm in making music together which not only stimulates interest and creativity, but which breaks through whining and fussing and clears the atmosphere.”

Playing music is another way to bring peace to your home. I love to play classical and worship music daily, but we also enjoy upbeat music when we are cleaning or letting loose. As I light my candle, pray for peace, and turn on soft music, I am reminded to pursue using peaceful words in my home. I want to maintain peaceful relationships. There is no room for seething anger, tattling, criticism, and back talk when together we pursue making our home a haven.

Need music suggestions? Here are mine:

If You Know How to Play an Instrument, Play It!

In our home, when I sit down to the piano to play, the atmosphere completely changes. All whining and complaining disappear, and dancing and singing begin. This is what the book of Psalms is all about — making a joyful noise unto the Lord. So pull out your dusty instruments and start playing.


Sing or hum in the kitchen while you cook, in the bathrooms while you clean, or while you drive in the car. Force yourself to open your mouth and let your joy of the Lord be heard by your family. It will be contagious!

Strike Up the Band!

My typical morning includes a cup of coffee, a lit candle, piano music, and time in God’s Word. Your musical preferences may vary from mine, but whatever type of music you like, play it while you go about your daily tasks and you’ll find a smile on your face.

Use Peace-Filled Words

Instead of raising your voice in anger, lower your voice to a whisper. Proverbs 15:1 says, A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.Don’t let someone else’s anger make you angry. Stay in control of your emotions, and do not let the other members of your family dictate your mood.Remember, yelling at a bud won’t make it bloom. Your home will not blossom into a haven if you are not controlling your temper.Continue to pray for peace in your home. Never cease praying. James 5:16says, The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Cleaning Up Clutter

Managing clutter is a huge modern-day problem for homemakers, and it can turn a haven into a hassle. Here are some ways to tackle this problem:

Contain Clutter

Pick an area of your home where clutter collects, and put something there to contain it. For example, I keep a small basket at the bottom of our stairs to collect all the little things that need to go upstairs. Truthfully, I need one the size of a laundry basket because often we are carting up stuffed animals, books, toys, hair ribbons, my purse, shoes, and more. Put bins to catch papers in the kitchen, office, and family room. I also love using buckets to organize under my sinks in the bathroom.

Set a Timer

Set a timer for twenty minutes, grab a trash bag, and walk through your house, throwing stuff away. Throw away old magazines, broken toys, and papers. The rule is, if you haven’t used or worn it in a year, either give it away or throw it away. Clutter attracts clutter. If you are a pack rat, this is a challenge. Take this challenge; you won’t regret it. And trust me: you won’t miss these things! Things will never make you happy. Unused clutter only weighs you down.

Organize Clutter Spots

List a few of the spots in your home that make you visually stressed because of all the clutter. Now organize them with hooks and containers, or move it all to a drawer, closet, or the trash can. Work on cleaning up clutter. Throw things away.

Deal with Spiritual Clutter

Oftentimes we have spiritual clutter that weighs us down. First John 1:9 says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Pause for a moment and ask yourself, “What sin have I not confessed that is getting in the way of a peaceful home?” Now confess it. All of us carry the stain of sin. At any moment we may sin again… and often we let ourselves off the hook too easily. We justify our sin by saying things like, “I’m just discerning, not judgmental,” or “I’m just truthful, not rude,” or “ I’m just sharing prayer requests, not gossiping.”

The earlier in your life you confess sinful strongholds, the better. I encourage you to root out those sins now before they become habits. Do not get cozy with sin. Repent daily. Free yourself of spiritual clutter.

Create Family Nights

J. R. Miller says, “The richest heritage that parents can give is a happy childhood, with tender memories of father and mother. This will brighten the coming days when the children have gone out from the sheltering home, and will be a safeguard in times of temptation and a conscious help amid the stern realities of life.”

In our home, I’m the family night coordinator. If there’s going to be a game night, pizza night, movie night, or a social happening, it’s because I planned it. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. Growing up, my mother did a great job of creating fun family memories. They weren’t complex or over-the-top, but they happened! They happened year in and year out, and now the memories of those fun moments give me security, comfort, joy, and a bond with my family that will never be broken.

A wise mother knows how to have fun and how to be tender. She knows the healing touch of her hands. Jesus used His hands to touch and heal many. There is power in the gentle expressions of love through warm embraces and cuddles.

Mark 10:16 says that Jesus “took them [the children] in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”

Bless your family with tender, physical love.

The Art of Cooking

God created taste buds, the sense of smell, and the eye that is drawn to beautiful things. To please our senses, He created crunchy green peppers, fuzzy peaches, juicy watermelons, sour lemons, and sweet potatoes!

Cooking should not be thought of as drudgery but as an art. It’s the coming around the dinner table that blesses the souls of our families. In Luke 11:3, Jesus says to pray, “Give us each day our daily bread.” In America, we are so blessed we rarely have to ask God for our daily bread, but we must remember to give thanks for our food. Bowing our heads as a family in thankfulness to God is a gift we give our children and a memory they carry with them into adulthood.

I remember when I was a child, shortly before dinner would be served, a loud beeping sound would come from the kitchen phone. In the olden days, when a phone was taken off the hook, it would beep very loudly at a fast pace so you were alerted to put it back on the hook. Well, my mom took the phone off the hook on purpose because she did not want our time around the table to be interrupted. She guarded our family dinnertime.

Children and teens who eat a family dinner tend to get better grades, are less likely to do drugs, have healthier eating habits, and communicate better with their parents… and yet baseball coaches schedule practice right in the middle of dinnertime. What do we as moms do? We have to get creative! We need to move dinner to a later time or we have to say no to obligations that stand between us and our family time. We must not cave in and abandon the tried-and-true practice of eating dinner together. It truly is important.

Edith Schaeffer says, “Food cannot take care of the spiritual, psychological and emotional problems, but the feeling of being loved and cared for, the actual comfort of the beauty and flavour of food, the increase of blood sugar and physical well-being, help one to go on during the next hours better equipped to meet the problems.”

Alexis and I connect over peeling potatoes and cracking eggs. She loves to stir a pot of soup or pour the ingredients into the mixing bowl. She enjoys making meals appealing by pulling out fancy napkins and china alongside me. We don’t have to have guests to pull these things out; we make our home a haven when we treat our own family as worthy of these special touches.

Let’s bless our families this week with special surprises from our kitchen! And while the candles are lit and the music is going, take your husband by the hand and slow dance cheek to cheek — the children will love it! Grab them by the hands, too, and swirl them around. Have fun together as a family as you walk with the King!

* * *

Your Turn

In what ways do you try to make your home a haven for your family? In what areas do you struggle? Leave your comments on our blog. We’d love to hear from you!

In God’s Family There Is Love


A Family Is…

A Family is a Place
To cry
To laugh
To vent frustration
To ask for help
And tease
To be kissed and hugged and smiled at.

A Family is People
Who care when you are sad
Who love you no matter what
Who share your triumphs
Who don’t expect you to be perfect
Just grow with honesty in your own direction.

A Family is a Circle
Where we learn to like ourselves
Where we learn to make good decisions
Where we learn to think before we do
Where we learn integrity and right and respect for others
Where we are special
Where we share ideas
Where we listen and are listened to
Where we learn the rules of life
To prepare us for the world.

The World is a Place
Where anything can happen
If we grow in a Loving Family
We are ready for the world.

– Author Unknown


In God’s Family There Is Love

I like the prose above and wish I knew who wrote it because it conveys so much of what I believe a godly family should be, especially from the perspective of a child. And by “family”, I am not only referring to the traditional family, but to all families, including our church and neighborhood families, as well. Especially in today’s world, it would do us great good to consider the author’s words in describing what a loving, nurturing family should be.

When you think about it, there are many different types of families. There are biological families, blended families, adoptive families, extended families, school and workplace families, organizational families, team families, community families, and the list goes on. Each and every one of us belongs to a family, whether it be small or large. Most of us are part of more than one family. But the most wonderful thing is that we can all be part of God’s Family!

It is in God’s Family that we find refuge and the strength to face life’s day-to-day challenges. In God’s Family we are accepted, loved, and cared for as His children. Each of us is unique and special to our Heavenly Father. In His Family we find shelter, comfort, guidance, strength, and peace, as we learn to receive God’s love and to love Him and others in return.

In God’s Family, there are children with many colored faces, differing characteristics, and from all walks of life. We are all different because He created us that way. He delights in our differences and loves each one of us with a love that is unconditional and everlasting. It is here in God’s Family that we discover what a loving Father our Creator really is and that we learn and grow in grace and wisdom, as we receive and share His love.

Families in today’s world are faced with so many challenges and external forces that threaten to destroy the values that hold them together. In previous decades there has been much talk concerning “family values” and what the “ideal family” should be.  As the face of our society continues to change, it is especially important that we remember who we are as God’s children and that we strive to uphold the loving values taught in His Word. By “His Word”, I am referring not only to God’s written word, the Bible, but to the true Word of God- Jesus Christ, His Son. He is the Living Word of God to us and the ultimate example of God’s endearing love for humankind and how we should treat one another.

Always remember… in God’s Family there is love, first and foremost. True family values are those taught in the book of I Corinthians 13, in the Ten Commandments, and in the words of Jesus found in Matthew 22:36-40*. Families are as different and unique as the members who belong to them. And an “ideal family” is one where God is honored and where love abounds!

by Angela Hall Dobbins


Our home is built

with the light of God’s love,

caring and sharing

His gifts from above.

*Scripture References:

Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” ESV

Joshua 24:15 “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” KJV

Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” KJV*

John 1:12 “To all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” NIV

Romans 8:16 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” NKJV

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” NIV

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. KJV

I Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” NIV

I Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” NIV

I John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” ESV

I John 3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” NIV

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)

If you don’t know Jesus Christ but you’d like to, pray and ask Him to come into your heart today.  God loves you and longs to wrap His love around you and embrace you as His child.  Nothing in this life can give you a sense of security and belonging like the love of God.  And God has given His love to all of us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  So get to know Him today… He will change your life!

Love in Christ Jesus,