I broke a crayon this week. It was a brand new, perfectly sharpened, royal blue Crayola that was just waiting to be used. I broke it accidentally while cleaning and just placed it back in the box with the others, knowing it could still be used despite the minor flaw. This was not the end of the world (considering we have 157 other crayons in this house), but my toddler made much haste in bringing the brokenness to my attention once she found it.
“Mommy crayon broke! Fix it! Fix it!” She loves to point out imperfections. I can’t blame her; she comes by it honestly. I have an eye for things out of place. But she takes things a step further and insists they be fixed immediately. If a toy isn’t working her response is usually, “Daddy, go to the store and get batteries.” The girl knows what she wants and knows how to get it.
Back to the crayon. She brings it to me in distress, hoping I can put the pieces back together. Without hesitation I say, “We can’t fix those. Some things have to stay broken.” Then I couldn’t help but think of Jacob and his story of wrestling found in Genesis 32.
Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, did not have a good relationship with his twin brother Esau. When we pick up with Jacob’s story in Genesis 32, he is preparing to meet his brother and is fearful Esau will kill him. Jacob cries out to the Lord for help. Instead of audibly answering Jacob, God actually wrestles with him. During this wrestling match God touched Jacob’s hip socket and put his joint out of place. This seems bizarre but hang with me. I want to focus on what happens after the fight. In Genesis 32:31 we read, “The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.”
Jacob was limping.
He would walk with a limp for the remainder of his life on earth.
Jacob appeared broken. He wrestled with God and walked away a bit scathed. His limp served as a reminder of the strength he found in the Lord, not the weakness he found in himself. Just as some crayons must stay broken… Some people stay broken too. May our brokenness point to our great Deliverer, the One in whom our strength is found.
This post was originally print in the Lincoln Journal as part of a weekly devotional series.
The past few months have been tough on everyone. Whether you lost your job, started working from home, or cared for yourself (or a loved one) while sick – there has been a lot of anxiety to go around. Our world is dealing with big questions like pandemics, racial injustice, and human trafficking. Our families are dealing with questions equally as overwhelming; like sending our kids to school or attempting remote learning. All of this feels like too much to carry most days.
When we find ourselves slipping into worry, we have to make a choice. We can either sit in those anxious thoughts or get moving. It isn’t practical to just forget about the things that make us worry, but we do have the opportunity to stop and breathe for a moment. We can change the current of our thoughts simply by being still and trusting the Lord. A great way to practice this is by seeking beauty in your everyday life.
I wake up around 6:30 am every morning. First I make coffee, then I grab my Bible and sit in prayer for a couple minutes. Some mornings my prayers are deep, but most mornings they sound something like, “Help me find the good today” or “Open my eyes to the things I am missing.”
As David wrote in Psalm 27:13-14, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage.” I choose to see beauty and goodness in the stillness of my neighborhood on early mornings. The smell of freshly brewed coffee makes me smile. And just reading God’s word is enough to bring me to tears on most days.
The scent of wildflowers, a perfectly flipped pancake, a bountiful garden in harvest… These are all reminders of God’s goodness. His creation reflects His own beauty, and by His grace we get to enjoy it. Look around you today at the things big and small, and ask God to show you something beautiful.
Last August, our daughter was born. She entered the world, and ready or not, a couple parents were born too. I knew Matt would be a great Dad. Mostly because he was scared and unsure. That told me it mattered to him.
Marriage is this weird dance that you think you know how to do, but then you start stepping on each others toes and stumble off beat. Just when you find the rhythm again you say “hey, let’s make this interesting” and have a baby. The music changes and you’ve got to learn to dance all over again.
Matt is kind, considerate, and funny. He can make me laugh when no one else can. The way Daphne giggles when he’s tossing her in the air, it melts me. Watching him with her is one of my greatest joys. The best thing I could ever give my daughter is a loving father. I know she’ll see his heart and get a glimpse of another Father who loves her too.
As I’m writing this, its Saturday night and we’re sitting on the couch rewatching episodes of The West Wing. Daphne’s asleep after a long day. Earlier, you got her out of the bath and lathered her up with our favorite lotion. I laid out her pjs and you got her dressed. While I put her to bed, you picked up toys laying around the living room. We share the load and know the importance of leading sacrificially. You model that for me, and I’m thankful you do.
So today we celebrate you and all the Dads out there doing your best to love and lead your people.