My parents have a beach house, so a few times a year we’ve been fortunate enough to have family time there. In the past, my children have found almost every type of shell imaginable and common to the area: conch shells, clam shells, even fossilized turtle heads. They take much pride in adorning the beach house with their findings.
A couple of years ago while we were there for my birthday, I headed out for my daily walk/run to the pier, and Haley decided to come along. This was a first in our history of beach vacations. 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 seriously walking.
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! She had grandeur ideas of making jewelry and craft projects. Enamored by her creativity and love for every shell, I watched and listened, as she handled them all with care and singled out common shells as breathtaking.
I thought this is how God really does want us to see people. This is the way He must see us! It’s how He wants us to see ourselves too! 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 break. But each one, though imperfect 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. When we look at ourselves or others and see common messes with cracks and jagged edges, 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 more special than Haley’s jewelry making. 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