Garlands of Grace

I often walk in the cool of the morning when we vacation at the beach. Although the places we go aren’t noted for large shells, I invariably return with a handful of small ones. I love the diversity of designs and find pleasure in even the tiniest specimen.

One morning, I noticed that many of the shells swept in by the tide still held a bit of water that sparkled in the sun. My thoughts turned to God’s promise to make us vessels of His living water, offering refreshment to others.

 However, as I continued on my way, I also saw lots of empty shells. On close examination, I found most had a perfectly round hole that looked as if it had been drilled there. Any water they held when they landed on the beach had quickly drained out. They were lovely, and in some cases, the openings weren’t immediately apparent, but they were still empty.

Just like me sometimes, I thought. Some days I look pretty good, but it’s as if the enemy of my soul finds my weakest spot and pierces it through ever so precisely. Whatever joy or evidence of God’s presence is there, leaks out before I even leave home.

Next, I noticed a scallop shell with a jagged gap marring its otherwise beautiful exterior.

Looks like you’ve had some hard knocks. I know what it’s like to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But you are still lovely.  

I picked it up and cradled it in my palm.

Before I knew it, I was picking up all the holey shells in my path because suddenly I was able to see beauty and purpose in each one. I’d string them on a thread or cord to create a garland or necklace.

Isn’t that what our loving Father does with us? He’s just waiting to pick us up, wash us off and restore our souls. He doesn’t disqualify us because of our flaws and failures, past or present. In fact, I believe when we’re most injured by our own foolishness, He treats us with extra-tender care. All He asks is that we admit we need a Savior. When we seek His forgiveness, He makes us perfect in His sight through Jesus Christ.

I like to think He might add us, one-by-one, to a scarlet cord, creating a beautiful garland to wear over His heart. The strands are never ending.
Bind us together, Lord, with cords of Your love.

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

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