I can’t believe I haven’t told him before now. I’ve known him for 37 years and haven’t told him a very pivotal story in my life. A turning point. A tipping point. I’ve shared a bed with him for nearly 35 years but I never told him the story until this week. If you haven’t guessed, who “he” is, it’s my hubby. And this week he heard the story.
This week we were sitting on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean enjoying some pre work trip together time when I decided to take a nighttime stroll along the beach by myself. I needed clarity of mind, heart and soul and God’s creation always helps. I was walking along the shore with only the sand, surf, wind, moon and God as my companions.
And the story of long ago, came to the front and center of my mind.
I was an 18-year-old girl who was moving across the country to go to college in a town at a huge university where I knew NO ONE. Okay, I had met my roommate one time and talked on the phone a few times but we didn’t really know each other. Other than that, I knew not a soul and would be about a 3-day drive from my family. Not that it mattered because I didn’t have a car or even a bike.
Before my mom dropped me at school with just two suitcases, our family had a weekend vacation with my Dad’s side of the family on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. As the time together started to wind down, the uncertainty ahead of me started to loom bigger and bigger.
So I took off down the beach alone. I waded into the water hoping to find a rare, coveted unbroken sand dollar. Sand dollars in the Gulf of Mexico are small and thin so finding one the force of the waves didn’t fracture as it pushed it toward the shore was rare. I walked with my head down searching.
And I walked. And I walked.
Then I prayed.
Walking next to the vastness of the ocean made me feel small and unseen. I talked to God about needing to be assured He would go with me in the next stage of my life. I wanted to know the God of the universe who put the ocean in motion saw me. I poured out my heart as I walked and looked for the ocean’s currency – the sand dollar.
I walked some more and waited for His answer. All I heard was the roar of the ocean and the squawking of the seagulls so I turned to head back to where my family was gathered.
I felt even more alone and unseen.
I hadn’t taken ten steps before a completely whole sand dollar washed past my feet. I stooped to pick it up – daring to hope God sent it my way. Another step. Another sand dollar. And another.
Soon my hands were full so I looked around for something to put them in. A discarded plastic cup became my treasure pail. I continued to stoop and pick up the little round symbols of hope.
And then I knew. God saw me. He was letting me know I was not alone. I KNEW he would go with me and that no need or desire of mine was too small (or two big) for Him. I KNEW.
I may have felt as small as a grain of sand on that beach but if God knows the number of hairs on our head, I believe He can see the individual speck of sand.
I still have those sand dollars because they are a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, nearness and concern for me – and all mankind.
And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7, 9-10
God may not express His love and concern for you with a beat up Solo cup full of sand dollars, but He will show you in a way you need to see Him. Maybe it’s a note or call from a friend, the coos of a baby, the promise of sunrise or the glisten of dew on the grass. If you seek Him, you will find Him.
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29
Have you felt unseen or alone? Ask God to show up – and He will! Some way. Some how. He will show up!
How about you? Has God shown his faithfulness to you in a tangible way?
Steve Sweat says
This was so good to read Shelly. We love you. I feel so connected to Jesus s He has comforted me through these months of losing mom and dad especially at the 29-20. I feel his calmness and love. Never have I questioned him or doubted him. I hear people talking about fearing God. I’ve never had that feeling, not have connected with those thoughts even knowing it’s talked about in the Bible.
Is that rare? Do you know what I mean?
Thank you. I hear people talking about fearing God too but don’t relate as He’s been my friend since I was a little girl.
I’m so glad your faith has carried you through the hard times. I always say – Jesus isn’t our bridge over troubled waters – He’s the one that carries us through the troubled waters. He goes with us through the hard times. Doesn’t just keep us from them. 💛
That is awesome – so well written, but mostly so heart warming. This a beautiful story that you can pass on to your children, and grandkids .