Ten years ago I stood in the blue first light of an Alabama beach, ugly crying over a pile of broken seashells. I was a mess of snot, sobs, and sea salt. But, these weren’t tears of sorrow—they were tears of joy.

I had just experienced the most significant breakthrough of my life.

The vice grip of depression had finally begun to release.

As I looked at the chipped shells scattered along the beach God whispered one phrase, “There is beauty in the broken.” 

Then it hit me. 

I am those shells. 

My shirt soon became a makeshift basket for about a hundred of these shells, I’m sure the collectors passed over. These weren’t worth taking home to any one else. But they were to me. 

I was a broken one. And like the prodigal son, my heavenly Father wanted to bring me home. 

I discovered my brokenness had a design: to bring others hope. 

God doesn’t waste a single shell on the shores of life. 

The Power To Speak Freedom

God spoke a single phrase to me that released the bonds of a decade-long fight with depression. 

Made in His image, God has given us the same power to speak those freeing words. To set people free. 

Jesus said that the truth would set us free (John 8:31-32). And a single honest word can breathe life into a withering soul. 

While that may sound like a cliché, it’s not. 

It happened to me. Recently, it came full circle.

Why Wait For the Funeral?

My wife, Tiffany, surprised me with an over-the-top book release party. We even took Payton, who rarely gets to go out. She looked stunning in her beautiful red dress (and even wore makeup for the first time)!

During the party, person after person shared about how our story has influenced them. I was flooded with gratitude. 

And no joke, while I was on stage sharing, a powerful thought hit me.

Here I was, sharing my heart with 120 of our closest friends and family. And also having the chance to hear their love and affection for us.

But the raw truth is, most of us don’t get that experience. Instead, people say all these nice things about us at our funerals. Beyond the point where we get to experience their love.

That got me thinking, “Why wait until someone’s funeral to tell them how important they are to you?” 

There are people in each of our lives who have brought us hope, peace, belonging, and love, and yet we wait until they are dead to tell them.

 It’s ironic that we wait for their death to speak life. 

I say we stop waiting.

Your Challenge: Speak Life Today

There are people in your life that need to be reminded that there is beauty in the broken. 

The word encourage comes from the old French meaning ‘to make strong.’ 

That’s exactly what we are called to do for each other. 

Paul the Apostle says, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other” (Romans 15:5).

Encouragement does more than put a smile on someone’s face; it empowers us to endure through the times when words don’t come easy. 

I think anyone reading this would agree that we should speak life into each other. But there will be very few who pick up the gauntlet and do it today.

Literally. Right now. Pick up your phone and call, text, or DM somebody some encouragement.

Will you speak life to someone today?

I promise, your words will be someone’s breakthrough.