Monday, December 28, 2009

Home Again

It is so good to be home. I've just spent most of the past two weeks at the beach in North Carolina, though this time it wasn't for a vacation, but because my help was needed. Still, I was able to take an hour or so each day to walk on the beach, and really enjoyed searching for shells, watching the shore birds, pelicans, and gulls, beautiful skyscapes and the ever-changing wave patterns. Each day held a different kind of beauty, and I found lots of shells that were less ordinary than we tend to find in the regular season.
In fact, I sort of prayed to find certain shells. I don't mean I wrestled in prayer, but in my morning conversations with the Lord, I mentioned some of the things I hoped to find. I think God, in His grace, answers these kind of prayers just to remind me that He truly does hear every prayer, which encourages me to believe He hears those other, more significant prayers, as well.
Anyway, on my first walk, I asked to find a fancy shell- like a whelk. I found a beautiful little whelk on the first day! Then I hoped to find some "jingle" shells. I like them, and I've only found broken pieces of them in the past. I've got them now in several different colors! Then there are those lovely pink calico scallops.... it was really kind of amazing to me how, each day, I would find what I was hoping to find.
Two days before Christmas, near the end of my walk, I saw a broken piece of a sand dollar. I've never found a whole sand dollar before, but I thought, "Lord, how special it would be to find a sand dollar!" So the next day (Christmas Eve in the morning) I set out hoping to find my sand dollar. It was a beautiful, beautiful morning, but there weren't many shells on the beach. I walked along the water's edge, at one point, stopping to watch a cute bird who ran in and out of the water with awkward, gangly movements. Another walker came my way, greeting me cheerfully. As she passed, I felt like I'd been blessed by a sunbeam. A few minutes later, she turned and came back to where I was standing. She held out her hand. "Look," she said. "A sand dollar. Would you like it?"
I didn't find it myself- it was a gift.
Why did God arrange it this way- a gift given, instead of one I found myself?
I'm still pondering it. But two thoughts so far....
First, do I actually realize that all good gifts come from my heavenly Father? Do I really know that it's all about His goodness and love? And secondly, I thought about that person who gave it to me, who was like a refreshing ray of sunshine to my heart that day. Can I do what she did, and find ways to bring blessings to the people I pass by in my days?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Another Birthday

This morning, I woke up with the line of a song going through my mind: "If it wasn't for the lighthouse, where would this ship be?"
I guess birthdays are a good time to reflect on our lives, so I have been doing that a little bit this morning. As the song ran through my mind, I thought about my life, and how, in my youth, I proudly thought I was totally on track and had it all together. Then I was confronted with Truth- and my need for a Savior. To continue the lighthouse theme, Jesus is the lighthouse, and He made a light shine on my life, and that light not only lights my way, it reveals dangers in my path- dangers I had been totally unaware of before. The song refers to the rocks of sin- and I had never seen the danger those rocks presented. I've made plenty of mistakes and wrong choices, despite His light, but He's kept me from shipwreck. I am so thankful for His mercy and love!