We collected so many sea shells that we barely had room to pack them for the trip home.
Most of our shells were small, broken pieces. But each one was unique and lovely. The textures — smooth, ridged, bumpy. The colors —- oranges, purples, yellows, browns and whites. Our plastic buckets grew heavy with our bounty. “There,” I thought, “we have plenty of shells.”
But the next day would find me walking the beach, carrying more shells than both hands could hold, wishing I had brought the bucket. It was thrilling to watch the tide surge forward and recede, rolling broken shells over the packed sand. The elements of Light and Water washing them clean and exalting their beauty.
These pieces are only a small part of a whole, beautiful and intricate shell. Our lives too, are a single detail in a whole and beautiful narrative. I see my brokenness —– I am the mom who lacks patience, doesn’t listen enough, who forgets to play with my kids.
God sees my brokenness, but I have reason to believe that He sees beauty in the broken me too. I am a broken piece in His hand and He does not cast me away.
Even more amazing, He plans to make me Whole. He can see the mom that I want to be, that try to be. He sees a mom who prays for her children, learns with her children, rebukes her children and sometimes even sings with her children.
He sees all that I am,
all that I am not
and all that I will be.
I look at my children, trying to see them through God’s eyes. It is all too easy to see their brokenness and feel anxious — “God help me, I am failing!” But perhaps my worst failing would be only seeing what my children are not, blinded to what they ARE and will be too . . . . . . . . . . . .
My 14 yo son who is not always loving to his brother, who lacks diligence is the same young man who protected his little sister, making her time safe and fun in the ocean waves. He did this patiently for hours. He is also slow to anger and quick to forgive. He is broken but beautiful.
My 12 yo son who can be grumpy and offends easily is the same boy with a tender heart and a desire for righteousness. I watched him play in the waves, his attention divided between his play and a careful watch over his sisters in those wide open waves. He is broken but beautiful.
My 9 yo daughter who is a bit bossy, who contends with perfectionism is the same girl who sweetly proclaims her good fortune when she discovers a ragged, sodden feather or a broken piece of coral on the beach. She knows how to be thankful for the lowliest and meanest of gifts. She is broken but beautiful.
My 7 yo daughter whose wildness inspires her to leap before she looks, who struggles with contentment is the same girl who wondered at the tiny shore birds. She flapped her own “wings,” imitating the silly birds scampering about the foamy surf —- her pleasure of the Creation before her unrestrained. She is broken but beautiful.
My husband who is proud. I have watched him take purposeful steps to bend and humble himself. He is quick to be the servant, no matter how tired he is. He is broken but beautiful.
And then there is me . . . . . . . . .it would be so easy to dwell and drown in my own brokenness. But I resist.
Only God can take our broken, beautiful lives and create something worthy.
I depend on it.