A repost from August 17, 2014…
Seashells are quite sought after in towns along the coast. People come from all over the world, and so many of them must make a stop by a little tiki hut or surf shop to pick up a bag full of shells before heading home. Some will even scour the seashore for hours to find the perfect white sand dollar or one of those beautiful, large, spiral conch shells.
We were recently in a little beach town, and it was not much different from the beach town I grew up near as a kid. You could find a beach store on almost every corner, and inevitably, someone was there looking for shells. So many love seashells, and they just long to take at least one or two back home.
I think this is because seashells are both beautiful and useful. Some are the most beautiful in color or shape, while others are almost perfect, or partially broken, or all together crushed and, for all in tense and purposes, these are in what appears to be a completely ruined state. However, every seashell was made for a purpose, and each can continue to be useful even after it is removed from the shoreline. Those gorgeous, colorful and perfect seashells are, often, used for decorating a new beach condo or taken home as a treasured memory and souvenir of days gone by. Those partially broken ones, many times, are picked up by a small child who cherishes it as a precious gift for their “sand collection.” Yet, those crushed up and “ruined” ones…what about those? What purpose could those actually have for someone in this life? Have you ever walked into a dockside restaurant, or even into an inland restaurant, claiming to have the “best coastal menu around,” and glanced at the floor? Often, you will see a beautiful mixture of crushed shells and cement. Designers will choose this type flooring to bring “just the right touch” to the business’ appeal. Even though, many would have just discarded these broken pieces as trash, they have been taken and made into a very functional, and rather beautiful, asset by a master designer.
While in that little coastal town the other day, we walked into a restaurant, and I looked down at the floor and noticed the broken shells mixed in the concrete. At just that same time, my 8 year old said, “Look! That’s seashells, isn’t it, Mom? Now, that’s cool!” Even he noticed the beauty in the practical. This made me think about our Heavenly Father and how He creates each of us in different ways and uses us for different purposes. He constructs some to be very loud and outspoken, while others of us, He designs to be of a more quiet and calm nature. He develops some to feel very comfortable in more solitude type settings, while others, He forms within them a more social, crowd-friendly appetite. He molds some to strive and achieve those “high and, seemingly, lofty positions,” and then others, He intricately shapes to be at peace in the “seemingly more simple and humble” places of life. We are all made differently; yet, we are all created for a purpose…His purpose. Just as the tiny creature living within the conch shell cannot determine for what goal that shell will be used after it is removed from the ocean, we cannot predetermine our destiny nor our purpose. We cannot predict, nor can we limit, the future. We just simply cannot know. However, we can definitely make decisions which will propel us to, or hinder us from, such goals, dreams, and even destinies. If we will but submit to His ways and surrender to His will, He will take care of the “big stuff.” If we can ever let loose of the stranglehold we often have on the thoughts and plans we make for this life, and if we can just get to the place of “freely letting go,” we will be astonished at what He can accomplish through us!
You see, if that conch shell “creature” saw only the cracked and broken shell from which it had just crawled, and it believed THAT was it’s destiny, it would surely become desperate, hopeless and in despair! That tiny, “almost perfect” clam shell might grow despondent if it believed it’s imperfections were the end of the road. What these creatures would have failed to observe is the precious little feet walking that way and the tiny little hands that planned to delicately hold that miniscule shell all the way back home in order to just nestle it in their perfect little collection spot. When you’re only at the level of the shoreline, and all you can see is the wave rolling over your head, it’s impossible to see the great big ocean beyond or the miles of beautiful seashore a mere two feet away.
Just remember, where you are right now is only PART of the process! LIFE is a process, and every “shell” is different! So, find your purpose for being here in this “ocean” called earth, and then, relish in every single moment you have before you! Enjoy the seashells in ALL different shapes, colors and sizes; find the one that is perfect for you right here, right now, and remember, most of all, even the most busted up and broken shell can become a beautiful masterpiece in the hands of the Master of creative design.