Recycling Crayons for Operation Christmas Child (and a lesson in restoration)

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!”
(Psalm 80:3, ESV).

Broken crayons drive me crazy.

So do crayons with the paper torn off.

And, while we’re on the subject, Play-Doh with all the colors mixed together.

Every year my daughter and I choose a project to make for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  We like to work all year long on crafting something with our own hands and praying over the kids from all over the world who will receive our little gifts.  Then, we use our items as part of our church-wide packing party to fill as many shoeboxes as possible!

This year instead of making bracelets or knitting, we decided to use a resource we have in abundance.

Broken crayons!

And, oh, it makes this momma’s heart so happy to recycle all those crayon nubs and paperless crayons into something colorful and beautiful and whole!

Here’s what we’re up to this year:

We collected the Crayola remnants and peeled off any remaining wrappers.


We filled silicone baking trays shaped in hearts and stars with the jumble of brokenness and melted the crayons in a 275° oven.


After the wax cooled completely, we popped out beautiful new rainbow crayons.

We made something fun, colorful, and unique out of the old, broken, and worn out and, as we did, I rejoiced in the way God restores us and transforms us, melts down brokenness, and makes us whole in Him.

God’s plan for restoring us in life is so often like melting down broken wax and transforming it into a uniquely colorful treasure with a beauty all its own.

We pray for restoration, hope for it, long for it with desperate hearts.  We need the fixing, mending, healing power of God in our relationships, in our worship, in our churches, in our sick and hurting bodies, in our grief, in our finances, and more.

Like David, we long for God to “restore my soul” (Psalm 23:3) and “restore to me the joy of my salvation” (Psalm 51:12).

But so often we think that means full-circle restoration.  We want what we once had, what Satan took from us, or what we’ve lost along our journey.

That’s what Israel prayed for when they were beseiged, starved, and taken captive:

“Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21 ESV).

Give us back the good old days!

And it seemed like that’s exactly what God did.  When Nehemiah returned to rebuild the ruins of the Jerusalem walls, he began at the Valley Gate (Nehemiah 2:13).  Then, 52 days later, they celebrated with a march through those rebuilt gates, starting once again with what many scholars believe was the Valley Gate.

In Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break, Kelly Minter writes:

“If God began Nehemiah’s journey at the broken Valley Gate and completed it at a restored one, we have reason to hope He will work with the same restorative power in our lives” (p. 151).

They had, after all, come full circle.

And yet, this wasn’t exactly the same as what they had lost; these were rebuilt walls, walls with a testimony.  They showed God’s faithfulness to His people, bringing them back from captivity and helping them rebuild their land.

The rebuilt walls in our lives are also a testimony of God’s faithful loving-kindness and mercy.

We want the same as the good old days.  Many times, however, He gives us more than we had before or even something better.

As Peter tells us:

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10, ESV).

He doesn’t just give us back the pieced-together remnants of our past; He restores us in a way that makes us stronger, and He does it Himself, crafting us into wholeness with His own patient hand.

For any local friends, we’ll be working on our crayon project all the way through the summer.  If you have your own broken, dull, paperless crayons that you don’t want to use any more, we’d love to have them!  No need to peel the paper off or anything; we’ll take care of all of that.  Thanks so much for helping us with our project!


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King


12 thoughts on “Recycling Crayons for Operation Christmas Child (and a lesson in restoration)

  1. TGAWrites says:

    Loved your post. Great comparison! God’s plan for our restoration is amazing! I’m thankful for what He has done in me and what He is doing every day, every moment in my life and my family. Thanks for sharing and encourage me to keep going everyday remembering the work He is doing in me, restoring my life. On the other hand, I participated once in Operation Christmas Child and it’s a great experience. A nice thing to do!

    Tayrina from TGAWrites

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