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The latest from Chaplain Allen:

Broken Crayons Still Color

As a child, one of my favorite things to do was to color. When I joined the Marines and learned our long honored tradition was crayon eating…well salmon took on a whole

new meaning for me. Even as an adult, I still color now. I color after a long day, that has been stressful, or if I just need to escape and find a place to just collect my thoughts.


Growing up, Crayola was my favorite brand of crayon because they color the best. You couldn’t bring me cheap crayons because I wouldn’t use them. They just didn’t color right. I also had to have the box with the sharpener included, in case my crayons got dull. I hated when my crayons broke. You would have thought it was the end of the world. Every time I got upset, I would go to my mother and she would always say, “Broken crayons still color.” But at three years old, I didn’t understand that. I thought I

needed my crayon to be whole in order to color correctly.

I still color outside the lines sometimes, but that doesn’t matter, what matters is that I am still able to color. Some of my crayons are broken, but they still color, so there is no

need to replace them.

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AMVETS National Chaplain & USMC Veteran

   I want to share something with you today. I was in a state of brokenness. My heart was

broken, my spirit was broken, my faith was low, and my mind was all over the place. I

didn’t feel I was good for anything. I didn’t think there was much I could do. I also

didn’t think I could fulfill the purpose God had given me. I stopped reading God’s

Word. I stopped going to church, praying and fasting. I didn’t feel like being social or

encouraging to others. I had a failed marriage, I had lost my kids, I was living in a

boarding house, I was alone and broken, no family, just me alone. I had forgotten my

coloring book and the crayons. Everyday was a struggle, and it didn’t seem like things

were going to get any better. I had forgotten that "broken crayons still color.”

I felt like I had nothing left to give. I needed to be encouraged. When I was feeling at

my lowest, God said this to restore me: it was time to get up and get back to work. He

reminded me that He had a plan for my life and a purpose for me to fulfill. After our

conversation, I started praying and asking God, “ I have lost it all, how can you use me,

I failed You? God kept telling me, “Broken crayons still color.” God was saying, yes you

are broken, but you can still do what I made you to do. You can still do what I called

you to do, what I purposed you to do. Yes, you are broken, but I can still use you.

    There were many broken people in the Bible, and God used them, even though they

were broken. People like Moses, Ezekiel, Naomi, and Rahab showed me the other side

of brokenness. No matter what broken state we’re in, we are never beyond God’s reach.

We are never so far gone that God can’t make us effective for His purposes.

Moses was a Hebrew who grew up in Pharaoh’s house. He fled Egypt after killing an

Egyptian guard. But God had a plan and purpose for Moses’s life. Though he left as a

murderer, God eventually sent him back to Egypt as a deliverer of the people (Exodus

2:1-3:12). Ezekiel wasn’t allowed to mourn because God was using him as an object

lesson to show the people of Israel what they would soon experience at the hand of

their enemies (Ezekiel 24:15-27). Even in his broken-hearted state, Ezekiel had to

continue to fulfill his purpose, which was to speak and demonstrate the Word of God

and carry out God’s commands.

    Naomi shares a similar story. She had lost her husband and two sons, but even through

her feelings of loss, emptiness, and bitterness, she helped instruct her daughter-in-law,

Ruth, on whom to marry. Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho, and we know prostitutes

aren’t regarded well in society because of what they do. But Rahab came to know God.

She hid two spies and told them, “…for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and

on earth below” (Joshua 2:11). Because God had a plan for her life.

Do you see yourself in any of these stories? As you read your bible, pay attention to the

similarities in the character’s lives. Note how people are used in effective ways, despite

their shortcomings.

The Other Side of Brokenness

I love God so much because God doesn’t throw us away when we’re messed up. God

doesn’t say He can’t use us because we’re so broken. When we are feeling lost,

discouraged and broken, know that He is right there to bring us through it. He is there

to give us hope and increase our faith in Him.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 New King James Version

8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is

better than the proud in spirit.

No, it doesn’t feel good when we’re going through hardship, but Ecclesiastes 7:8

assures me that, “the end of a matter is better than its beginning.” Even in our state of

brokenness, God is still doing a good work for us. Though it doesn’t look or feel so good

in the beginning, the end is going to be so much better.

When we are broken, it is not the time to give up and turn away from God. Rather, it’s

the time to draw nearer to God. That is when we should seek God all the more for

direction, clarity, help, and strength. It’s the very time to ask God to remind us of our

purpose, because sometimes we lose that perspective along the way. When we come out

on the other side, we’ll have more faith, more joy, more strength, more hope, and a

closer relationship with God.

So, don’t give up. Remember “broken crayons still color.”

Psalm 31:24 New King James Version

24 Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who

hope in the Lord.

Let Psalm 31:24 encourage you: Read this daily, and maybe, just maybe, go out and buy

yourself a coloring book and crayons.

In His Service,


Milton Allen, GySgt (Ret) USMC

National Chaplain, AMVETS

Chaplain, District III AMVETS, 

PDC, Department of Georgia AMVETS


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