The trek to the beach was long; the sun peaked high on a cloudless day. The AC was set on high—it felt good. It felt like a typical summer day in Wisconsin—only it was April in Florida—a thousand miles from home.
We parked and set out towards the beach. The smell of salt lingered in the air as waves filled the silence gaps between the voices of fellow tourists.
“Charlotte*, take a pic of me next to the palm tree.”
“Uh okay sure.” My friend snapped a photo of me with my Polaroid.
We trekked our way towards the ocean. The sand squished and sprawled beneath my feet, making it harder to walk. Sand sprinkled its way into my flip flops irritating me even more so I took them off, daring my way across barefoot. The sand was hot, as if the sun was trapped in the tiny little grains. Finally we found an open spot not to far from where the dry sand kissed the wet.
I dropped my backpack on top of the beach blanket and ran towards the water, my feet sloshing on the wet sand into the edge of the water. A big wave crashed against my legs as if trying to push me over. Seahells were pushed forward before being pulled back with the current. My hand swooped down and grabbed a tiny, broken, cream-colored shell. Though it wasn’t a perfect shell, I decided I wanted to keep it. Eventually with a lot of searching and avoiding huge waves, I did find many nice and even some “perfect” shells.
It’s funny how when many folks go to the beach some are looking for shells to keep as souvenirs or whatever given reason. Some folks are okay with a few shells whether they be perfect of slightly chipped. Some folks won’t settle for anything less than giant, perfectly shaped shells.
I spent a good chunk of time picking at different shells looking for small ones and big ones, and even keeping a few broken ones because of their coloring. I’d let the ones I didn’t want slip between my fingers and plop back into the ocean.
It’s funny how in life we pick and choose our relationships much like these shells. We search and search for those “perfect” and big shells, yet there are imperfectly perfect shells slipping between our fingers simply because they’re slightly broken. We don’t want the broken ones because they’re not as pretty to look at. And they’re typically more fragile.
After my ex and I parted ways, I felt stuck like the tiny shell at the bottom of the ocean. Just being pushed and pulled by the currents of life on occasion but mostly just submerged there under water. I liked being at the bottom where it was dark and cold—yet I could still see steaks of light that gave me pieces of hope here and there and on occasion I got swept up to the surface—if only temporarily. Though I preferred to be half buried under the cold sand, because I was broken. And useless. No one wanted me.
Jesus doesn’t look at us like that though. He doesn’t care if you’re the giant shell or the tiniest broken speck of a shell. He can use all shells for a specific purpose.
He scooped me up and carefully held onto me—because He knew I was fragile. And he searched for other broken pieces to put me together again to create what He saw as a whole person. Granted I’m still originally that broken, tiny shell but made whole because of Him.
He can do the same for you. He can bring you to the surface and put that tiny shell of yours back together with other pieces. Granted you will never be the same as you once were. But you’ll still be made whole again. And even more beautiful and unique than you were before.
*indicates name change