Broken Crayons Still Color

I heard this phrase years ago and wrote a poem based on it.  Today, I came across the devotional, perhaps from where the phrase originated.  I love it, it’s still relevant, and therefore I thought I’d share it.

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“Recently, when visiting my nieces in Florida, I got down on the floor to color with them. They love the Disney princesses, and so we were coloring a picture of Cinderella. When we opened their container of crayons, a burst of colors greeted us. These were well-worn crayons that had been used to color dozens of pictures. I chose a broken and worn-out green crayon.

In our throwaway society, it would be easy to think that the work of this crayon was done. That it needed to be replaced with a brand-new crayon instead. However, as I began to color with this broken worn-out crayon, my nieces looked at me and told me my coloring page was beautiful.

Because, you see, broken crayons still color.

Just like that broken worn-out crayon, we can also feel useless to God because of the mistakes we have made or the things that have been done to us. We feel broken and ugly and useless. We think God would rather have someone else do His work. Someone with less brokenness and baggage. Someone who has it all together.

The truth is, we all have brokenness in our lives. Many times we compare our blooper reel to someone else’s highlight reel. The truth is no one has a perfect life. And just like that broken crayon, God is always able to use our brokenness to create something beautiful.

A masterpiece.

Many times what we see as our biggest mistakes and failures can become what God uses the most. However, the enemy in our minds often tells us we are worthless and no longer useful for God’s kingdom. Little do we know that God is using our brokenness to create something more beautiful than we could ever imagine.

Prayer: 

Lord, thank you that you never waste anything that has happened in our lives. I thank you that you can turn my brokenness into something beautiful even when I cannot see it. Help me to open my heart to you and allow you to bring healing and freedom. I love you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”  From Body and Soul Publishing LLC.

#emotions  #pain  #healing  #prayer  #inspiration

Graduates

On yesterday evening, I paused action on my “productivity” list and decided to attend a graduation program that celebrates youth in foster care.  I was completely unsure that I would see anyone there that I knew (and sure enough, I knew NONE of the graduates) and I had no significant emotional ties to any of the staff and guests.  I only knew that I wanted to be a part of the celebration that honored these young people.  Here are some of the things I observed and appreciated:

  1. Not only were graduates honored, but so were their caregivers (foster parents, program supervisors, social workers, counselors, etc).
  2. A spoken word artist’s encouragement to embrace and share your story, no matter what it is.
  3. A reminder that all things (good and bad) work together to our ultimate good, to our ultimate shaping.
  4. That attitude is important…the attitude we choose to adopt and daily live by affects us. To my current memory, Stephen Covey referred to it as “our own internal weather.”

My fellow readers, some of these young people have faced horrors from which a lot of us were spared, but they chose to become focused and finish school.  Among them were scholarship recipients to well-known colleges, husbands and wives who’d already started families, teen business owners, singers, artists, and those who are still trying to figure out the next step.  The point:  they made it to this point, they achieved that goal and by God, they will continue to soar and achieve more.  I did not know any of them personally but I’m incredibly proud of each of them and was honored to have been in their presence.  In the words of Dr. John C. Maxwell, remember that “Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional.”  Choose growth.  Hats off to all graduates and the next step in this journey called life.

#fostercare   #ittakesavillage   #youth    #focus   #graduates   #Johncmaxwell

“Be Seriously Disturbed”

For 2018, I am rereading Pastor Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional and decided to share one that was particularly thought provoking from a few weeks ago, as it promotes a call to action BY YOU, whether it be via community volunteerism, advocating for a cause via your job, church, or wherever the opportunity arises.

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“One key to discovering your destiny is to identify the needs that stir your heart. What is it that upsets you? What causes you to think, “Somebody ought to do something about that”?

Whatever it is, that is the key to your destiny. My wife, Kay, calls it being seriously disturbed. Why? Because, it bothers you so much that it moves you to action. Is there anything that disturbs you or is your life so insulated that nothing makes you say, “Somebody ought to do something about that”?

Here is a homework assignment: Make a list of the needs you see that disturb you. Then pray and ask God to show you ways you can use your gifts to make a difference.”

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For me, it remains advocating for children who have been abused and/or neglected.  It’s something I’ll never understand and I’ll never stop fighting against.  My newest “disturbance” is childhood food insecurity in America.  It’s a larger problem than I initially thought.  I’m looking forward to making some level of impact in 2018.

What about you?  Share your “disturbance” and your plan of action!  It may not be something global, it may be something simple…and that’s ok. The goal is to set a goal to make a difference, whether it be in the home, in the community, in the country, or in the world.

Jehovah Loves Us

I read this statement and thought it was freeing and therefore worth sharing:

“Remember, nothing you ever do will make God love you less. Nothing you ever do will make God love you more. He loves you completely right now.”

Isn’t it a release of worry, a cessation of anxiety, to know that God loves us the same, whether we are seemingly perfect or atrocious? He may not appreciate our actions or behaviors that hurt others or are contrary to His will, but He loves us. He loved me first.  I love Him in return. 

#Jesus

PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK! VERSATILITY

Hello Everyone,

Some of you may recall that I published a book of poetry via Kindle a couple of years ago. People asked if there will ever be a print version.  Well, this is it, with additional poems included. With that said, I am very excited to invite you to pre-order my new book, Versatility. This collection of poetry holds my most personal considerations and everyday thoughts. I hope it will inspire you to live differently.

I want to thank you for all of your support! I’m proud of this light I am offering to the world. Mid-summer 2017!

Pre-order link: https://www.drconnieshipman.com/

A Perspective on “Giving It All”

From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional – originally entitled, “Will You Give It All?”

God will sometimes wait to see what we’re going to do with what we have before He steps in and turns a little into a lot. The Apostle John, in his account of the feeding of the 5,000, tells us that the hero of the story is a little boy. (John 6:9) 

There are three things to note about this little boy.  

He gave what he had – The boy didn’t have much, but he gave what he had. Never underestimate what God can do through ordinary people and limited resources given to him in faith. If you want to be used by God, just become available…with your time, your focus, your energies, and/or your money. Choose an area and progressively give it all to Him. As you grow, give more areas to Him until the whole of your life is focused on being instrumental for the pursuit of Christ; knowing Him and making Him known.  

The little boy gave God all he had, all five loaves and both fish. He didn’t hold anything back from God. If you want a miracle in your life, you cannot hold anything back from God.  

The little boy gave it immediately when it was asked for, he didn’t hesitate. As soon as he saw the opportunity to meet a need, as soon as he saw that Jesus needed it, the boy gave it to Him. 

Why don’t we give like that when we need a miracle? Either we don’t believe that God will take care of our needs if we give sacrificially to Him or we think, “What’s the use? How could my little bit help?”  Just remember, EVERY little bit helps.

The important thing is to be willing to give as much as we can, as often as we can. That is what God accepts.

#giving  #sacrifice

Sowing Is Key

Sow an act, reap a habit.  Sow a habit, reap a character.  Sow a character, reap a destiny.”

-Charles Reade (attrib.)

I normally have additional thoughts to add, but I feel this quote is rather clear, so “nuff” said.  I will ask you to ponder:  What will people mostly remember about your character when you leave this earth?  What are you sowing?  This is not just about wealth of money, it is equally about wealth of character, of paying it forward, of sowing into people.  Welcome to the weekend!

#destiny #character #sowingandreaping

The Audacity of Hope

A poem by Dr. Connie R. Shipman ©2017

From their homes, their place of safety, our ancestors were stolen.  Brought to a foreign land and forced to become less than who they were born to be, they survived, they fought, and they thrived, due to the audacity of hope.

For the rights that we have today, for the freedoms we enjoy to work and live and love alongside those not of African descent, freedoms that should not have had to be a fight, but were, all were brought to bear due to the audacity of hope.

The endurance of the water hoses, the dogs, the false accusations and wrongful imprisonments, inferior schooling and substandard housing, we had the nerve to survive and even thrive, due to the audacity of hope.

We rule, we teach, we organize, we preach, and we serve as activists, still due to the audacity of hope.

Why do we dare to hope, regardless of the challenges?  Because there is power, strength, viability, and endurance in not just the ideal, but the certain sincerity that exists in the audacity of hope.  Selah!

#hope

Your Work as Worship 

From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional 

“As you enter your Decade of Destiny, it is important that you understand your work can be an act of worship to God. In fact, if I want God to bless my finances, I must make my work an act of worship. 

What I’m saying is that no matter what you do – sweeping the streets, running a corporation or the work of a stay-at-home mom — your job is more than a job. The Bible says while you are here on earth, you should use your work as an act of worship. 
This means whatever you do, you are to do it with enthusiasm. If your heart is not in it, you are in the wrong job. If you are not working with all your heart, you are sinning. I didn’t say that, the Bible says it. 

Why work with all your heart? Because you are working “as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” No matter what I do, if it is to prepare a meal, if it is to sign an invoice, if it is to do an analysis, if it is to close a deal, if it is to make a sale, if it is to make delivery — whatever it is, I am to do it as if I’m doing it for God, and so it becomes an act of worship.”

Corresponding scripture reference:  Colossians 3:23

#Purpose

“Helping Others” Prayer

Below is a prayer regarding the concept of helping others.  Kudos to the author of this prayer at Koinonia Christian Center in Greenville, NC! – http://www.kccfamily.com

“Father, in the name of Jesus, I will do unto others as I would have them do unto me.  I eagerly pursue and seek to help and serve others.  I am intentional in my desire to express Your nature.  I will esteem and look upon and be concerned for not just my own interests, but also for the interests of others.  I want to be a part of my church’s effort to offer life changing ministry to everyone.  I will, on purpose, make it a practice to help my neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify, strengthen, and build him up spiritually, socially, and materially.  I will love my enemies.  I will be kind and do good knowing that You fight my battles.  I am merciful, sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate, even as my Father is, for I am an imitator of Christ.  Therefore, I walk in real love and service towards my fellow man.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!  (Luke 6:27 & 31; Philippians 2:4; Romans 15:2)”

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Also, my church is hosting a prayer campaign during October 2016.  Via a conference call, we meet every morning at 6:33 a.m. for prayer led by one person.  It lasts approximately 15-20 minutes and is a brief lesson or what I like to call “wisdom tips” for followers of Christ, a note of encouragement, and prayer.  We also have prayers for the month; the above is one of them.  Join us on the call.  Tootles!

Phone no. for live call:  1.712.775.7031 // Meeting ID:  435-786-492

Phone no. for recording of live call:  1.712.775.7029 // Meeting ID:  435-786-492

http://www.kccfamily.com

#serving #prayer