A broken shell sits atop my roll-top desk among other sentimental treasures.   Two other broken shells sit on my bathroom counter among a few seemingly ‘perfect’ shells.  The shell on my desk is from our recent Spring Break trip.  The two on the bathroom counter are wonderful reminders of our women’s retreat, held at the beach last fall.  It was there that I learned to treasure the special beauty of broken shells.

I’ve always collected shells.  At age 47 I STILL can’t resist picking up shells as I walk along the beach, and I LOVE to walk along the beach!   I used to only search for unbroken, whole shells. However, now I see special beauty in the broken shells, too.  I learned to appreciate the beauty in broken shells after hearing one of my friends excitedly share the story of how God had spoken to her during her early morning walk on the beach at our women’s retreat.  I don’t recall exactly what she said, but this is how I was inspired by the beauty of broken shells:

We, like shells, get tumbled around on our journey.  Sometimes we take hard knocks and get battered around by life, and these rough times can cause wear and tear, cracks, and even break us in places.   Other times we allow ourselves to remain dormant in troubling situations and ‘barnacles’ of anger, resentment, jealousy, pride, doubt and other negative influences begin to attach themselves to us.  Eventually we’re like the broken shells that wash up upon the beach, but that’s ok!  As the friend who shared her story says, it makes us “beautifully broken”.   God sees beauty and opportunity in our brokeness.  It’s in those times and places within us that He can do His best work!

We are ALL broken shells!  None of us have arrived where we are today completely unscathed or untouched by life situations.  Each of us has experienced pain, fear, disappointment, loss, illness, injury, and the list goes on.  It’s been through those times that we’ve had the opportunities to grow, mature, and become even more beautiful!  Since becoming a woman of faith, it’s been in those times that God has shown Himself most beautifully to me.  In fact, if you look closely at what appear to be perfect shells, you’ll see many scratches, marks, and imperfections.  Pssst…people are like that, too!  They might look all perfect and whole at a quick glance, but if you look closely you’ll see signs of imperfections – in EVERYONE!

Many people pass by the broken shells on the beach or even toss them back into the ocean.  They might do the same with us,  but not God.  He sees the beauty in us no matter what!  It’s when we wash up on the shores of life looking broken, damaged, and having signs of wear and tear that He most wants to be with us!  He wants to be the first to pick us up so He can add us to His collection of the “beautifully broken”, for it’s in those times that He truly can create beauty from the broken times of our lives.

It’s quite appropriate that God shared this lesson with my friend because she calls herself “beautifully broken” in the title of her blog site, Beautifully Broken Amanda.  How about you?  Are you ready to call yourself Beautifully Broken?  If not, please let God turn your brokeness into beauty as only He can.

And, you know what?  It’s because of the broken places on the outside of the shells that I can see the special hidden beauty on the inside of the shells.  Haven’t we always been told it’s what’s on the inside that counts?  God bless you and your brokeness, too!

Dear God, Thank You for making beauty out of the broken places of my heart and the broken times of my life.  Help me to always see the beauty in the brokeness of others, too.  And Lord, please help others in their brokeness, too.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen. 

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