Yesterday I was surprised with a beautiful gift, a new diamond ring. Ok, so it wasn’t a real diamond, but it was real love. It was a shiny silver plastic, the back of it broken so that it no longer made a full circle, the hot pink “gem” was glued on it off-centered, and most of the little “diamond studs” around it had fallen out, leaving nothing but the yellowed glue that once held them in place.

But my 5 year old son had come home from school chatting excitedly about this “surprise” he had for me. He got straight to work making a card, finding a box to put it in, fishing through the gift bags for the perfect one, and adding wads of tissue paper – purple, my favorite – for the finishing touch. He was happily at work for over 20 minutes, spurred on by the thought of my delight at his gift. He finally presented it to me with a face full of pride and excitement.

A broken plastic ring. The most beautiful I’d ever seen, equal in my eyes to the engagement ring I was given 16 years before, because it held within it the same amount of love that he was so eager to pour out on me. He had been eyeing it for weeks in the prize box at school. As the days went by and he earned tickets for good behavior, he would see it, but end up cashing in his tickets for another toy at the last minute. But yesterday, he earned his tickets with a new goal in mind. To get Mommy that ring.

I read a child’s testimony in the Crumb Donor newsletter once about pennies. The child wrote that this ministry was in the business of “picking up thrown-away pennies and making them priceless”. He related himself as the penny. Dropped and forgotten somewhere in a parking lot or on the side of the street, something of so little value that no one even sees it. And those who do see it most often don’t even find it valuable enough to bend down and pick up.

But that child’s life IS priceless, whether or not deemed so by passers-by. Because God is in the restoration business, making broken things whole. Making forgotten things shine. But only when given to Him. That ring is priceless to me. It is transformed from brokenness to wholeness because it is filled with love. Before, while mixed in with other donated plastic toys, it was forgotten – tossed away by someone who no longer saw value in it because of its brokenness. But my son saw beauty in it, and great potential as he imagined the joy it would bring me. And he was right. Because once filled with his love, it became a priceless treasure.

So the next time you see a penny on the road, or a broken plastic ring, stop and pick it up. And take a moment to consider this – what or who around YOU is a thrown away, forgotten, or broken? What in your life needs to be noticed, picked up, dusted off, and re-purposed as a representation of your love? Who do you know that can be transformed from worthless to priceless, simply by being filled with your love? Because love changes our value. Without it we are broken. With it we are made whole again.