My mom recently gave me a very special gift. It was a book called "My Beautiful Broken Shell", by Carol Hamblet Adams. It is such a beautiful depiction of me, my life, and the lives of so many others who have been broken and tossed and turned by waves and storms of life. It says so many things I want to say and share, it truly speaks so much of My heart.
Wanted to share the story here... I'm leaving some parts out but the whole thing is such a worth while read! It's a bit long... but I pray it encourages others and it has me.
...This is My first morning at the ocean, and as I walk to the beach, feeling the rich, warm sand beneath my feet, I decide to collect a few shells.
...I walk by a broken scallop shell.. and leave it to search for more perfect ones.
But then I stop.. go back.. and pick up the broken shell. I realize that this shell is me with my broken heart.
This shell is people who are hurting... people who have lost loved ones... people who are frightened or alone.. people with unfulfilled dreams.
This shell has had to fight so hard to keep from being totally crushed by the pounding surf... just as I have had to. Yet this shell is still out on the beautiful sandy shore.. just as I am.
Thank you, Lord, that I haven't been completely crushed by the heaviness in my heart... by the pounding of the surf.
If our world were only filled with perfect shells, we would miss some of life's most important lessons along the way. We would never learn from adversity... from pain.. from sorrow.
Thank you, Lord, for all that I learn from my brokenness... for the courage it takes to live with my pain... and for the strength it takes to remain on the shore.
Broken shells teach us not to look at our imperfections.. but to look at the beauty... the great beauty... of what is left.
If anything is still left of me or my loved ones, then that is enough to grab hold of.. to keep me going... to thank God for.
Broken shells mean lots of tears... lots of pain.. lots of struggle.. but they are also valuable for teaching faith, courage, and strength.
Broken shells inspire others and demonstrate the will to go on in a way that no perfect shell could ever do.
Broken shells are shells that have been tested.. and tried.. and hurt... yet they don't quit. They continue to be.
Thank you, Lord, for the great strength it takes to simply be... even when I hurt so deeply that there seems to be nothing left of me.
As I walk along the beach picking up shells, I see that each one has its own special beauty... its own unique pattern.
Lord, help me to see my own beautiful pattern.. and to remember that each line and each color on my shell was put there by You. Help me not to compare myself to others, so that I may appreciate my own uniqueness.
Help me to truly accept myself just as I am, so that I may sing the song in my heart.. for no one else has my song to sing... my gift to give.
I watch the tolling surf toss new shells onto the shore, and I am reminded of the many times that I, too, have been tossed bu the storms of life and worn down by the sands of time, just life my beautiful broken shell. But I am reminded that broken shells don't stand alone.
Thank you, Lord, for being with me to share my life... to help me carry my burdens.
Thank you for the precious gift of faith that keeps me strong when I am weak... that keeps me going when it would be easier to quit.
Thank you, Lord, for hope in times of despair... for light in times of darkness.. for patience in times of suffering... for assuring me that with You all things are possible.
A wave crashes, sending tiny sand crabs scurrying for safety... and I am reminded that even the smallest creatures depend on each other. Especially in our brokenness, we need the Lord, and we need one another.
Thank you Lord, for filling my life with people who care. Thank you for my family... for my friends... for those who are always there for me.
As I look at my beautiful broken shell, I see that it has nothing to hide. It doesn't pretend to be perfect or whole... its brokenness is clear for everyone to see.
Lord, may I be strong enough to sow my pain and brokenness like this shell. May I give myself permission to hurt... to cry... to be human. May I have the courage to risk sharing my feelings with others so that I may receive support and encouragement along the way.
Lord, help me to reach out to others... especially to the broken and discouraged... not only to love then but to learn from them as well. May I listen... comfort... and give unconditional love to all who pass my way.
Lord, help me to realize that I am not the only one hurting... that we all have pain in out lives. Help me remember that in my brokenness I am still whole and complete in Your sight.
As I walk among the many washed-up shells, I suddenly spot a broken conch shell... white and ordinary on the outside... yet brilliant coral inside.
Lord, help me to see inside the hearts of people who touch my life... and to see their true colors.
Somehow, here at the ocean, I receive so many gifts. I am grateful for the inner peace that fills my soul. I take time to notice sandpipers playing along the shore... beach grasses swaying in the salty breezes. I delight in finding simple treasures... a piece of smooth green glass polished by the waves... a transparent white stone... a starfish.
Lord, help me to remain childlike in my appreciation for life. Please slow me down... that I may always see the extraordinary in the ordinary. That I may always wonder at the shell in sand... the dawn of a new day... the beauty of a flower... the blessing of a friend... the love of a child. May I always take the time to watch a kite dance in the sky... to sing... to pick daisies... to love.. to take risk... to believe in my dreams.
As I look once more at the broken scallop shell in my hand, I am reminded of all the beautiful shells God has placed around me.
Lord, may I truly value every moment spent with my loved ones while this life is so briefly mine. Let me not destroy the beauty of today bu grieving over yesterday... or worrying about tomorrow. May I cherish and appreciate my shell collection each and every day... for I know not when the tide will come and wash my treasures away. Thank you Lord, for embracing my shell... whether I am whole or broken. Thank You for sending me loved ones who care. Thank You for holding me in the palm of Your hand... for keeping me safe from the pounding surf.
For now, I'll just continue walking and add to my collection of beautiful shells.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves".