My family and I love to go to the beach. We have particularly fallen in love with the beaches in Sanibel and Captiva Island in Florida. My littlest is a shelling machine and this past December, as we strolled along the beach with our buckets and shovels in hand, it looked as though the gulf literally dumped seashells by the bucket full up and down the beach as far as we could see. In some areas, we stood in shells that went over my ankles! My daughter giddy with excitement to share her love of shelling with me and me to spend some one-on-one time with her, we set our sights on finding our shells. I was in awe of the plethora of shells before us and it didn’t take long to notice that the shells we typically saw were not in the majority and the ones we had desperately sought before were there on display in large numbers and colors.
My girl immediately started to dig through the masses of shells, dispersed by the waves and with each find, I could hear her yell with excitement, “I got one!”. I stayed in one area picking through and finding the “perfect” ones, complete, beautiful, and without any flaws to add to my collection while quickly discarding the ones that weren’t “good enough”, broken, or ones I deemed unworthy or not beautiful. As my daughter’s yells of, “I got one!” carried on, another voice began competing for my attention and it was so strong that I had no choice but to give it my full attention. This voice in my spirit said to me, “This is what you do! You quickly discard your attempts at things and yourself as not good enough, you deem yourself as unworthy, you tell yourself that you are not beautiful and you hide behind and in your brokenness.” As I sat there acknowledging this truth brought forth to me, I knew God was using this as an opportunity to speak to my very soul.
You see, there is one Being that sees all, knows all and loves me and you still. He is God! He says we are worthy and that we are beautiful. We are not discarded because we are broken. We are not tossed aside because we are with scar, blemish or flaw. He sees past all of that to our very souls and makes us complete when we accept His gift and walk with Him. This is not something that we can do on our own but that of which He does for us when we present our brokenness before Him at His feet with repentance. He makes our brokenness beautiful!
Just as the seashells on the beach that I deem as not pretty enough or too broken to consider, I can turn them over, look on their insides, and find some of the most beautiful colors than that of it’s not so beautiful outside. The ones are that are the most beautiful on the outside have just a plain inside, nothing that would draw my eye when looked at with my human eyes if the color reversed. The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The Lord looks at our hearts! He does not see how the world sees us or how we see ourselves! He deems us beautiful, loved, and worthy where the patterns and values of this world does not. Where we are broken, He makes us complete in Him.
As with every sea shell, each and every person has value, worth, brokenness, and beauty. We just have to choose to see the inside of things and not the mere outward appearance with our physical eyes. My youngest brought this to full circle before me as she showed me her collection of shells or treasures as she calls them. Most of them broken, missing parts, all ones that I probably wouldn’t have sought after or chosen. To her each one was special and beautiful in their own way and when turned over, the colors much more beautiful. Much like our Father in Heaven sees us.