on crumpled bills and broken souls

Written by Cara Sexton

A wife, mom, foster parent, writer, and Jesus girl, trying to live out loud with as much grace and gusto as I can. Visit me at WhimsySmitten.com

May 13, 2013


He hands me a mason jar full of crumpled fives and hard-earned ten dollar bills. He’s only been here since December, our newly adopted son, but he’s no stranger to hard work and has earned well for himself.

“I want to help my brother buy a new computer,” he says. “You guys have given me so much. I want to give something back. You know?”

It is an offering of grace and selflessness and I tell him to keep his money but he insists on doing this.

“I didn’t have anyone to help me out when I was his age.”

There is something more beneath his words and I hope he knows it already but I tell him anyway, look square into the 15-year-old eyes that thank me every time I see them.

“We are yours already. You don’t have to earn us, son.”

He looks down and whispers, “I know.”

But a lifetime of instability has taught him differently and he is forever trying to prove to us his goodness, to show us that he is more than the sum of his past mistakes, diagnoses and quirks. He works hard to prove to us, to himself, that he deserves what he has been given.

I wrap my arms around his squaring shoulders and my Father wraps me up in His. It is my crumpled bills too that make their way into the tithe basket, my attempts at service and righteousness to pay back what I have been given. I want holiness because I want more of Him but also because I want to deserve it, but I know I never can.

“You cannot earn Me, Daughter.”

But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. –Galatians 4:4-7 MSG

The crumpled bills, this broken soul were always His. But I am adopted.

You are adopted.

And the whole beautiful inheritance belongs undeserved to us ragamuffin orphans who He wraps in his arms and lovingly calls His own.



  1. Kris Camealy

    Cara, this leaves me weeping this morning. I’m overwhelmed that God would have me. And in awe of how He’s stretching you and your family. Beautiful, beautiful grace here my friend. Thank you.

    • Cara Sexton

      Thank you for your words, Kris. I am overwhelmed right along with you.

  2. Amy Hunt

    my attempts at righteousness . . . I’ve been thinking about how I often think I’ll run out of grace . . . and it’s so not that way. I’m in awe of this metaphor and so appreciative how you could See the application of this story to all of our own. So appreciative for your worship in this today, friend.

    • Cara Sexton

      “Run out of grace…” Yes. Me too. It’s so hard for us to fathom this love in light of ourselves, isn’t it? Thanks for reading, Amy, and your always-encouraging way of seeing through to the worship in everything. You may never know how much that perspective has opened me to how the Father works in all ways. Love you, friend.

  3. Amy Smith

    Cara, you have this uncanny ability to take the simplest things and
    weave them into beauty. Stunning, this. You.

    • Cara Sexton

      Thank you, Amy.

  4. Diane Bailey

    Cara, this is beautiful. All those crumpled bills from this broken soul orphan, who can now be called His daughter. Great thoughts!

    • Cara Sexton

      Grateful that He calls me His. Thanks for reading, Diane!

  5. SimplyDarlene

    This bit, “because I want to deserve it,” really sticks with me. Thank you for sharing this story as a way of pointing us to His Truth.


  6. Lorretta Stembridge

    Oh, if this doesn’t say it, nothing does. Thank you. I needed this precious kiss.

  7. Nacole Simmons

    Oh gosh, *tears* here, Cara. This is beautiful.


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on crumpled bills and broken souls

by Cara Sexton time to read: 2 min