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Broken Crayons - Margaret Richey

As I relate this story of God’s love and grace, I am at my easel painting in a special room in our home where I have prayed for our beloved city of Mobile for many years. For the last seven years, it has also been my studio. I must complete several new pieces for a show at the University of South Alabama only a few weeks away. Let me tell you how it came to be.

I am one of eight children raised in a New York apartment where slim resources had to stretch far. That stretch did not include even a box of crayons for my school art class. I so enjoyed creating with the colors but was able only to use broken crayons left on the teacher’s desk. My childhood dream was to someday own a 62-pack of crayons. But the money was not there. I still remember the shame of borrowing broken crayons. Over time, I learned to lock away thoughts of art.

As I grew older into marriage, I began to express my creativity through Christian ministry. My husband, David, and I fell in love with Mobile and have invested thirty-five years there in local radio, Sidewalk Sunday School, church ministries, and international church development. It has been and is the most meaningful of experiences. But, apart from sketching on long international flights, my artistic talent remained locked away.

At age 64, we were non-stop in active ministry. As part of that, I was directed by God to give my car to a single Mom. So, I had a year without immediate transportation. What a gift! I was able to slow down for the first time in a long while. During that year, praying and exploring God (I called my special room the incubator) He began to revive my latent art talent. On my 65th birthday, my children gave me the gift of art lessons and painting supplies.

I began to paint memories of our work . . . the beautiful women of Africa, the vintage cars of Cuba, landscapes in beautiful places. As I painted, I would pray and was often so moved that tears would drop on my palette. I mixed the tears with my paint and applied it to the canvas. My instructor was so encouraging, “Your painting takes me to a place of peace.” God was at work.

I am 72 now, and my art has gained attention. Pieces are found in Mobile, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Michigan, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, London, Liverpool, Nigeria, Cuba, and Illinois. And . . . in a few days on display at the University of South Alabama.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He is still doing it. In addition to my paints, I now have a nice large box of crayons, and I am grateful!


"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13


Margaret and her husband, David, have lived in Mobile since 1988. They are active in Christian ministry and church development in Mobile and, through their international ministry, in points around the world.

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