Broken Seashells

My parents have a beach house, so a few times a year we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it.  Since Hunter and Haley were babies, we’ve spent lots of time at the beach.  Each summer their fascination of all the sights and smells would grow.  First they toddled in and out of the little hole I would dig in the sand.  Strategically, I would dig it as the tide was moving out.  Placed in just the right spot so the water would come spilling over into it creating a small pool. Now, their curiosity has escalated to whether they can catch waves on their boogie boards that particular day.  And bless her, Haley’s little personality always wants to meet new people and have a friend to share in the fun.  So she’s always looking for a little girl nearby who appears close to her age.  Hunter is completely content doing everything alone… or with Haley.

We were there in April for my birthday.  Similar to most beach trips, Hunter and Haley collected numerous treasures.  In the past, they have found almost every type of shell imaginable and common to the area… conk shells, clam shells, even fossilized turtle heads.

One morning I was headed out for my daily walk/run to the pier.  Haley decided to come along.  This was a first in our history of beach trips.  I knew this walk would take longer than usual, so I decided to enjoy her company rather than dwell on our pace.  Good idea, since she was much more thrilled over the seashells and writing messages on the beach than the actual walk itself.

We wrote scriptures in the sand hoping someone would come along and read.  Haley began collecting.  Her shell collection grew as we walked.  I noticed that not one shell was whole.  I said, “Haley, sweetie they’re all broken.  If we’re going to carry all of these shells, why don’t we find ones that haven’t been broken.”  She insisted, even marveled,  that they were all beautiful and we must take them home!  Her grandeur ideas of making jewelry and craft projects fascinated me.  Enamored by her creativity and love for every shell, I remained silent.  She singled out common shells as breathtaking.  Soon I was on board with her idea that every shell is beautiful in its own way and lost in my own creative process.

Interestingly enough, Haley has a deep love for people  (and animals) in the same way.  I’ve noticed from early on that she absolutely refuses to leave anyone out or discriminate for any reason, which is a beautiful quality.  It’s a Jesus quality, and I love it.  I aspire to be more that way.  Joann, my sister-in-law who is a social worker for Hospice, says Haley is a social worker in the making.  We’ll see!

Anyway, I thought this is how God really does want us to see people.  And this is the way He must see us!  No matter what, we are beautiful to Him.  Even through our brokenness.  Just like Haley’s shell collection, each one had been hit hard enough by waves to crack and even break.  But each one, though broken had appeal to her, and to God.  He’s churning those broken shells for a purpose, to create sand and give the ocean its borders.  We will face crashing waves in life.   Some so hard they may injure us.  But even through our brokenness, God sees beauty.  We have appeal to Him.

Like Haley loved every shell she picked up, God loves every person He’s created.  He wants to pick us up and carry us in our weakness.  He delights in us and sees the plans He has for our lives, though we can’t always see.  He has creative ideas for us much more grandeur than Haley’s jewelry making.  And sometimes the process of being broken helps us become what He needs us to become…. Like the sand!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the LORD.  Jeremiah 30:17 a

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