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Shell searching

When we first arrived at the beach, we parked to go watch the sunrise.  This was right beside where we parked.
I texted a friend – “beauties in the weeds”.  She texted back Isaiah 51:3 NIV The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.  Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. 
The sunrise was my first comfort.  It brought tears to my eyes, and a song to my mouth.

The second morning my boys woke me up for the sunrise again, and off we went to see it – lovely.  It was overcast and within minutes beauty and light.  When we went back to the room, my daughter was upset because she missed it.  So I grabbed our books and some powdered donuts and took her for a picnic on the beach.  We were sitting on a towel reading, and this was my book:

Later, she said, Mom I am going to look for shells.  Within minutes she returns and says Mommy, I found this pink shell for you….

We grabbed our bucket and went to look for more shells.  The shells would be in sections all in a pile like this.  

From a distance it looked like ruins really.  Just a pile of broken shells that have been tattered about in the sea and washed up to shore.  She started picking up shells with holes in them, and I said, “no not this one – it has a hole in it!”  She replied, “Mom, I know!  I want to make a necklace with it.  I am looking for ones with holes in them.  Then we can use them to make shell necklaces!”  
Later my youngest joined in on the search and his favorite shells were the big dark rock looking shells.  He ran up and said, “look Mom!” and threw the heavy rock into the bucket and I promptly took it out and said,”no baby – look at these shells in here – see how pretty they are?”  He took his shell out of my hand and threw it back in the bucket and said – “my shell is beautiful.”  I picked up that ugly, heavy, dark rock and I turned it over in my hands and thought – He thinks it’s beautiful.  He continued to find more beautiful shells.

When the kids were bored with shell searching, I did a little soul/shell searching alone and I saw this shell.

This one song from the song lyrics book kept playing over and over and over in my head, and there is a why question in it.  Why?  I went there and was picking up shells by the handful and humming those lyrics.  Tears falling in my hands of broken shells.

A lady walked up to me and said, “here, you can have this…” and I looked up, stopped humming and saw her holding a beautiful bigger pink shell and I said, “are you sure?” She said, “yes, I have more.  I have never seen so many pink shells like this on the beach!”

I mouthed the words Thank You and said it’s beautiful.   I walked away thinking wow.

When we made it home, we washed and sorted all of the shells,

I tucked a few away for me in a box on my dresser,

Some broken or chipped – yet still beautiful

Each different, and all with their own story of the sea 

Some heart shaped and shiny

I think I am like a seashell.  I think I am so different.  I think no one has experienced the same waves as me.  I think no one understands me.  I think if you could see the hole in this shell you would toss me back.  If you saw just how broken I am you would think – worthless.

God….he sees my broken too.  He sees my flaws, my fears, my hurts, my failures.  He made me.  The sea of this world is a hard place.  Some waves crash harder than others, some currents and riptides are fatal.  Yet even amid any and all of that chaos – He is with me and He loves me.  I am His. He never lets go.

We see the ruins, and He sees the beauty.  
He takes our holes and mends them and makes them useful.  
He takes our jagged edges and smoothes them.
He mends our heart to Him.
He shines through us.
He cleanses us and takes our chips, our holes, and our brokenness and creates incredible beauty. 
Thank you Jesus. 

Isaiah 51:3 The Message
Likewise, I God, will comfort Zion
comfort all her mounds of ruins.
I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden,
her moonscape into the garden of God,
A place filled with exuberance and laughter,
thankful voices and melodic songs.


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