As I stated in my previous post, I have never seen as many shells in one place at one time ever in my life. When I was little, my family took a trip to Panama City Beach every Summer for family vacation. I can remember combing the beach for shells and swimming out to the sandbar to find sand dollars (hello, mom and dad... were we not afraid of being eaten by sharks back in the day?????). I even recall one year taking the little boat tour out to Shell Island. I got a little bag, and the boat carried you out to the island where you looked for shells. I think we pretty much decided you could find as many shells on the regular beach you had already paid to use instead of paying to use an alternate beach. Live and learn, you know.
Anywho - Scott and I were so amazed by the shells. If I had taken my camera, I would have been glad to take a picture of the masses of shells lying on the beach. I am assuming it had something to do with the tides. There were areas on the beach that had absolutely no shells, and then there were places that had tons. There were broken pieces - some small pieces and some pieces of shells I would love to see in their whole state. Scott and I picked up and looked at hundreds of shells, and the glory of it all is that I never saw two alike. Even the broken pieces - I never found two that looked like they belonged together. And in one moment, I stood there and realized just how amazing my God is and this big beautiful world He created. How miraculous it all is when you stop and think about it.
We found beautiful shells - so perfect and gloriously colored. I had never seen a blue shell on the beach before. We found some with striations of blue and grey and white. I found some dark grey and nearly black shells. Some were solid white. I found some that were smooth and some that were patterned. But no matter what, each was unique. Just like people and souls. No two alike. Each individually crafted. Pretty cool when you really stop to think about it.
We found some really ugly shells. One in particular Scott found looked like a toad. It was bumpy all over the outside and the most blah shade of grey-white. We had to keep it because it was so stinking ugly, and we had never seen a shell like it before. I had taken a liking to the ugly and dark ones, probably because they reminded me of me. I am a dark soul, full of ugly defects, but I found so much comfort in knowing that God made me the same as he made all these shells. I am unique. There is no one else like me. He gave me a purpose, and the defects, darkness, and ugliness don't change the purpose inside my soul. He sees the inside. He knows my heart. And he knows which shore I'll wash up on one day. He glories in me no matter how cracked, broken, or dark I am.
That's what I liked the most - I looked at all the shells and realized that they all had virtually the same purpose. They all held some sort of living organism inside at one point. And it didn't matter how they formed or what color they were, or if they were smooth or bumpy. They all had their purpose. I have a hard time looking at others and comparing myself. You know, constantly saying to myself, "Oh they are a prettier Christian than I am. They aren't as dark, as broken and cracked. They are smooth, not rough around the edges like me." But what I realized while I walked with my husband and we gloried in those shells was that someone glories in me. Someone. And I may not look like everyone else, my path might be different, I may have some ugly parts, but I am made by the same hands as all those pretty ones. And He loves me just the same.
The shells reminded me of my purpose. I am more clear on it now than ever. And I am growing and moving forward, hopeful, and feeling loved more than ever.