Recently the kids and I had the opportunity to go see Jake in North Carolina. While we were there we went to Wrightsville beach and walked up and down the shore so the kids could get sea shells and fill their shoes with sand. Every car needs a pound of sand scrubbed into it's carpet from time to time.
For as far as the eye can see the shoreline goes on and on; waves lapping and dancing up to the edge and then quickly retreating as if the sand had burnt their watery toes. As I bent to pick up a broken shell, God began showing me how we as humans are like these broken and battered shells.
Every few minutes the kids would bring me a new shell to inspect and ooh and ahh over. Some of them were nice, but some of them weren't so pretty. That is when it hit me that we are just like that to others. What I regard as beauty, my kids might find boring. There were shells that my kids found that I would have quickly over looked. The neat thing was that each shell was fulfilling it's purpose, being who it was and just how God had designed it. The shell didn't, and more importantly couldn't change anything about itself to make it more appealing to the observer. I think God wants us to understand that. We don't need to change anything about ourselves to be loved, admired or chosen by God. Who cares if person X doesn't like your shell? The next shell hunter probably will and that is who needs your shell. Ok, let me speak in human terms, I think the sand went to my brain. There will be people who pass us by, who over look our gifts; however, the reason God has us here is to be Jesus for the one who needs us most. We all have unique gifts, just like every one of those shells I picked up had unique markings. The cool thing is that every one of those shells had to be broken and bounced around in the waves to be polished so they would catch our eye. I think that is how God uses most of us. We are broken and bounced around in the waves so we can be polished and honed just right to be used for His glory.
When I think back on the things in my life I have walked through, I see how God has used it to shape me into the person I am. Even the hardest things in my life like my dad's death when I was five, and the physical challenges I face with Danny, God has used those things to grow me. Yes, I felt like I was being tumbled in the waves and sometimes forgotten on the beach, but looking from the other side I can see how God was polishing me and making me into something that can hopefully glorify Him.
Next time you have the chance to go to the beach, take the time to search for some broken and imperfect shells and hold them to your ear. You never know when one of them might be speaking to you.