grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

We Are Broken Seashells

on March 18, 2014
The Middles + I

The Middles + I @ The Beach

I went on my very first trip to the ocean several days ago.

Growing up – and living – in a land-locked state doesn’t afford opportunities to experience the beach on any kind of regular…or ever…basis.

And so a few days ago, while visiting The Middles (my two middle girls) in their new state, the three of us decided that a Coastal Day Trip was in order. We packed water bottles, lunch, snacks, sodas, sunscreen, and a quilt for sitting on the sand. We drove on roads new to the girls, with the Google Maps Lady gently bossing us toward our destination. (It was one of the few times in my life when being bossed around – even gently so – didn’t bother me a bit.)

We were going to the beach!
The Real Atlantic Ocean Beach!
(It didn’t matter that the high temperature was forecast at only 68 degrees!)

Once we parked and gathered up all our Waterfront Paraphernalia, we walked the block and a half to The Beach.

It took my breath away.
The sand.
So. Much. Sand.
The blue sky.
So. Much. Sky.
The water.
So. Much. Water.

The first thing we did, after setting up our little staging area, was roll up our jeans and take off for the water’s edge.
My thinking was that we’d wade a bit…maybe get the bottom folds of our rolled-up jeans wet and call it good.
The girls had a different idea.
They wanted to go in as far as they could without going under…and they wanted me to join them.

I didn’t even balk.
We brazenly faced the early-spring cold of the ocean, grabbed each other’s hands and ran in!
{That’s kind of how we roll in this family…Go Big or Go Home.}
I was up to my armpits in water that started to feel like icy needles, the oldest Middle actually fell in up to her chin, and Middle #2 was up to her armpits, too, just then remembering that she hadn’t brought her asthma inhaler on the trip.
And we were laughing hysterically.
Maybe from how c-o-l-d that water was…but also from the joy of it all.
The three of us spent the rest of the day trying to dry off in the sun and wind (after having gone back in one more time), drinking sandy water bottles, eating sandy snacks, laying on that sandy quilt.

And we walked.
We walked in the sand, among the waves, searching for shells and other treasures delivered by the water.

I was picking up one of the many pieces of broken shell that littered the beach when I thought…
’We are the seashells.’

So many times, we are broken.
In places we never could have imagined.
In ways that leave us almost unrecognizable.
In pieces that cause us to feel good-for-nothing.
And what breaks us may be something we think we know.
Someone we think we know.
And still, we break…
Like the living things that called those shells home…
They know the ocean.
They know the waves, the tides, the rhythm.
And still, they break.

As I was stooping and gathering, gently brushing off the sand to find the beauty, I thought…
’This is what God does.’

God stoops.
God gathers.
He sees the beauty in the broken.
He knows where the break occurs.
He recognizes us even when we’re fractured.
He visualizes the good-for-SOMEthing we are.
He collects the shards…the pieces…the tide-tumbled bits.
He gently brushes off the sand and brine and dried sea grass and deems us beautiful.

I am a seashell.
You are a seashell.
We are all seashells.

Today, I am grateful for the stooping, gathering Grace that found me.
I am grateful that, despite the breaking, God sees my value.
I am grateful that He knows, He really knows, about the breaking.
And I believe He calls it ALL good.

{I stooped and gathered almost a shoebox-full of broken shells that I am going to take back to that land-locked state I call home. I am going to buy a pretty {big} jar and put those beautiful broken shells on a shelf where they will remind me that we are all broken, we are all beautiful, and we are all seashells.}

(I have the lovely honor of linking up with Holley Gerth and Jennifer Dukes Lee today. Each of their sites have so much beauty and hope to offer…click on through and find just the thing your heart needs.)

Coffee for Your Heart 

14 responses to “We Are Broken Seashells

  1. christywillard says:

    I love the beach! And this story of wild fun with your girls! It sounds like a beautiful memory was made that day. I have come to see the seashells in the same way — broken, but beautiful — as we all are. Thanks for sharing this today!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life

    • LauraK says:

      It was such a precious memory-making day! I am totally in awe of the wildness of creation – and even more so after that afternoon at the beach! Thank you for stopping by today!

  2. I love you post, and I truly do love the beach and seashells, I have them decorating my home in glass containers of all kinds…love the analogy with us…broken and beautiful, thank you 🙂

  3. “I’m grateful for the stooping, gathering Grace that found me.” Visualizing soon to come beach weather and the beauty I’ll now find in broken shells. He redeems it All! Happy to have been your neighbor at Tell His Story!

  4. jecolorfulheart says:

    I’ve thought of the seashell analogy before (and you described it beautifully, by the way)…but had never thought of Jesus being like me as a shell gatherer–searching for and finding beauty even in the broken bits… THANKS for the new image!

  5. I live a stone’s throw from the beautiful Atlantic and can I tell you something? I cannot believe you dove in the frigid water. I am so impressed. Locals barely walk on shore during these cold months, let alone get in. It sounds like a marvelous time was had by all, the true definition of joy. And I collect shells every single time I go, there is so much beauty washing up daily, I never get tired of it.

    • LauraK says:

      So happy for you that you are so close to the ocean and can enjoy it’s power and beauty all year long! We really did have a blast – even if was breath-takingly cold! 🙂 I’ll be back some day when it’s warmer.

  6. Leelee says:

    Now I want to go visit the ocean, despite the winter weather. The ocean truly is one of my favorite places.

  7. sandymairart says:

    This was a refreshing and honest post. I was right there with you in that cold water and gathering those shells. <3..

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