It's tough sometimes; hearing from you. I've been told many times to practice the art of hearing from God, but I often feel as if I fail you in that area. Lord, I drove to the beach to be closer to you today. I even walked to the water's edge and dared you to speak to me. Thank you, Lord, for meeting me there. At the beach, I saw you in the waves. I felt your emotion in the wind, and I even experienced your happiness when a couple's puppy trotted up next to me seemingly happy just being free. I love you, Lord. Thank you for the lesson with the seashells. You said, “See, Terri. Even though these shells are broken, I still have a purpose for them.” I cried warm tears. That analogy broke me even more. My feelings of insecurity were quenched when I grasped our conversation. I love it when you care enough about me to hang out with me. You are the ultimate friend. When I mess up, you don't ignore me, leave me, talk about me or fear me. Instead, you love me, teach me, forgive me and chastise me. Thank you Lord for being magnificent. For being refreshing. For being, you. Because even when I'm weak, when my words fail, when I fall on the alter, you still dominate my self. You hear beyond the words I bring. People fail you and I fail people, but I feel confident in knowing you won't fail me. This is a journal entry about brokenness that I wrote at Sandbridge beach a while back...
I was so broken that day, and I remember feeling so insignificant. Since moving to the east coast, my home away from home has always been the beach. I go there when I want to feel closer to God. I go there to spill my deepest concerns and fears. I even yell sometimes. But mainly, I go there to cry. This day, I went to the beach because I remember feeling broken and alone. I needed to be filled because I felt as if I was running out of gas. I felt like I had no direction, like what I did and said didn't matter. I felt like a broken vessel waiting to be thrown away because in my mind, being broken meant being useless.
As I walked along the edge of the water, I remained silent. In my heart, I was reaching and searching for anything. I had so much emotion to convey, I couldn't put words into speech. Instead, I walked silently, but I'm sure my spirit was speaking to God even though I couldn't. After a few moments of quiet, I noticed that the sand was filled with many broken sea shells of every shape and color. I remember looking around hoping to find a whole shell instead of the partials I saw. As I looked, God said, “Have you found a whole shell yet?” “No, I haven't,” I said out loud. Suddenly, I saw a shell in the shape of an oval. You could tell that the shell had been worn by the water and the other shells around it. It was broken, discolored but still beautiful. I walked over to the shell and picked it up, and when I did, God said to me, “See, Terri. Even though these shells are broken, I still have a purpose for them.”
Here's the lesson God taught me: The shells that come out of the sea were once attached to sea creatures. Over time, those sea creatures were either eaten, died or somehow detached from their shells. Moving with the current of the ocean, the shells eventually wash up on shore. Sand is, in essence, loose particles of hard broken rock. The force of the water, erosion and weather crush seashells, which ultimately turn into sand. No matter what happens to us, God's purpose is ever-evolving. No matter what turns we make, God's purpose is ever-evolving. No matter the failures or successes, God's purpose is ever-evolving. When we are broken, battered, abused, left out and forgotten, God says that He has a significant purpose on the other side. When we are broken, God will use that to turn us into a different vessel. He'll use that brokenness and reshape us into what He desired in the first place. Being broken doesn't take away from our beauty, our talents or our goals. Truth is, being broken only means that God gets to reshape you. He gets to breathe new breath into you. As we move with the current of life, we have to remember that the direction we're traveling is being steered by God. In order to be reshaped, we've got to be broken.