I snuck away for some alone time with the Lord. The clouds rolling in served as comrades, clearing the already sparsely populated beachfront. The cool salty breeze coming off the ocean caused me to cinch my recently purchased tourist-shop “hoodie” a little tighter.
The weekend had been wonderful and the women’s retreat had gone as well as I could have hoped for. The stress of the planning and coordinating from melted away into thankfulness for all the Lord had done and was continuing to do. It was beautiful seeing so many different women, from so many different places in general and places in their lives, find their love for Christ a common ground upon which to build the foundation of friendship.
As I walked, allowing my mind to rest and my bare feet to leave imprints upon the wet sand, I felt prompted to collect seashells. Not quite sure why, I began my search. Instinctively I looked for shells that were whole rather than broken. Those kind which you picture immediately upon someone saying the word “seashell.” The same ones that look like a fan and double as a makeshift digging device in the building of sandcastles. I collected them as I found them walking the stretch of the beach in my search.
As I walked I came across patches of sand completely covered by broken pieces of shell. Shells that were beautiful at one time, however, had broken down under the force of the wind and the waves of the storms they had encountered. What was the difference I wondered, between those shells which had been destroyed and those which had not?
Within, in that familiar still small voice, I heard my reply. “The shells which had endured the storm in tact were the ones that had rolled with the waves instead of against them.” I contemplated in silence for a few moments continuing to gather. My task complete I laid out my bounty before me examining each shell, still unsure exactly what their purpose would be.
They were all unique, varying in size, color and texture. Various visible degrees of weathering had occurred however all remained whole.
I felt led to take the shells back to the retreat house where each of the women were gathered, eating dinner together. The only one absent, I tread quietly upon the stairs tuning into the voice of one particular sister in Christ who was in the middle of sharing her testimony. Because I loved her, a smile joined with a tinge of hurt arose as I knew the depths of her pain, courage in sharing and ashes exchanged for beauty within her life.
Rinsing the shells clean, I placed them on a plate and passed them around the table instructing each beautiful woman of God to take one. When the plate made its way back to me I shared with them what the Lord had shared with me.
Each beautiful woman of God, like the seashell they had chosen, had weathered the storm. Each one beautiful and unique, though there were visible signs of wear within their life, had remained in-tact and whole. This was, the Lord had revealed to me, because they had chosen well in the midst of their storms and had chosen to ride with Him through the waves instead of fighting against them.
We all face wind, waves and storms. Those who weather storms best are those who turn their face toward Him and offer their hand to Him to be led through.
Father, thank you for helping me stay in-tact despite the storms I’ve had to face. I know that it is so, only because of You.