The Lord met me at the beach last week. I am still in awe. Standing on the seashore I always get caught up in the seashells. I just love them. They are so beautiful and colorful. They are diverse and repeating. And for the most part, they are broken. That is why I only look for the perfect ones.
On the first day of the beach trip, I was so caught up in looking for the pretty shells that I had to stop, drop and roll. Stop looking. Drop the handful and roll my eyes out on the water.
To which I immediately heard, “I am so glad you came.”
After I fumbled an apology for getting distracted by the lesser thing, the Lord and I started a dialogue about how seashells are really sea debris. They are only indicators of life that once was. We talked for some time about learning to focus on the deeper life of God, the unseen reality of Him, instead of running from shell to shell on the shore. Instead of seeking the hidden living treasures of the ocean, I was captivated by the trash of the sea, the remnants and reminders of what lies in the depths.
“But, I still like them so much, ” I sighed. To which He replied, “I know, Me too. It is a way for you to see glimpses of My beauty.”
Fast forward to dinner that night with friends, and I was recounting the conversation. Then my friend Dana offered to read a poem that the Lord had given her. I sat there stunned as she read about the beauty of the broken shells like the beauty of broken lives, because life pours out when both are broken.
So the next day on my walk with God, I kept hearing the song, “Sweetly Broken” (by Jeremy Riddle). I asked the Lord what He was trying to say about that song and the conversation from the night before. And Wow. I saw a broken shell in the shape of a heart. I thought the Lord was just trying to love on me, but He told me to keep looking. So I found another. And another. And many, many more.
“What is this, Lord?”
“You were looking for perfect shells. But you can only find the hearts when they are broken.”
“Like people,” I said. “Like me,” I whispered.
“Yes, sweetly broken,” He said.
I began to weep. On the beach. In front of everyone, but I didn’t care. I thought about my own story. And the story of so many women and men. And you only see our hearts when we are broken. Like our Lord, we saw His heart when it was broken.
And His life has poured out on us, and our lives on others. Sweetly broken, the aroma of Christ. Hallelujah, what a God…