I wrote this in 2013 after a family vacation to one of our favorite beaches. It was a vacation filled with time for our family to reconnect with each other and spend some time reveling in what God made with just his hand. It was a time of reflection and a time of pondering the future but more than that it was a time we were fully present in the lives of our children with no distractions. It was pure bliss when my husband rose early and spent the quiet morning watching the waves with me. It was a heart full when we went kayaking and snorkeling in the cool back waters and watched our daughters get excited over crabs and sea shells. It was breathtaking watching the sun rise and set over the waves. It was even more fun staying up late to find crabs and jelly fish in the surf with others we knew nothing about but totally enjoyed their company as we searched together, shared laughter and time.
Our family laughed, relaxed and enjoyed each other as we tried to recreate photos on the beach from when the girls were little, tried our hand at making foot impressions in the sand and building sand castles that were soon washed away by the waves. But more than all this; it was humbling when our then 9 year old taught our family one valuable lesson that will stick with us for a very long time. It goes like this…
This year for our vacation we returned to a beach that was loved by our family years ago. We returned to the familiarity of the sand, the soothing sounds of sea, and the relaxing rays of the sun. We wanted to see what had changed, what remained the same and to revel in the peace we found gazing every morning at God’s magnificent masterpiece.
As with the preceding vacation mornings and evenings were spent combing the shore for shells. Not just any old shell mind you; there was categories of them. Prettiest, biggest, smallest, etcetera; coveted were the whole ones as they were seen as “pocket worthy”. My oldest coining this term as we picked up examined and discarded shell after shell in our attempt to find just the right one. These were used to make a jar filled with sand, drift wood and shells as a reminder of our vacation.
The youngest picked up and kept every shell or piece of shell she came across, exhorting the items most fantastic feature. Whether it was the biggest piece, prettiest color, oddest shape…on and on the categorizing went. Until pockets were bulging with her finds. Each one declared “pocket worthy” no matter the size, shape or condition it was found in. What her older sister and I saw as handfuls of broken shells, she found as works of beauty to be treasured.
Each day we walked searching for the ever elusive perfect shell; God began to reveal what he looks for in each of us. In Deuteronomy 7:6 he says, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession”. As He combs this life for “just the right one” he isn’t looking for perfection, for wholeness, for the biggest, or the best.
In Isaiah 41:9 he says, “I took you from the ends of the earth; from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you”. God wants the broken ones; someone who is willing to be filled with his spirit as a reminder of his grace and love. When he finds us there in our brokenness he does not toss us back no, he exclaims with love in his voice and a sparkle in his eye…”This one is pocket worthy”.