Sometimes it can be hard to feel God’s love. Sometimes it can be hard to see His hand. Sometimes our view of who He is can get entangled in the hard of our day-to-day, and we might begin to lose sight of or even doubt His tender Father’s heart. And yet, as our guest Tara Johnson reminds us, He’s telling a story in and through us. May He grant us the vision to see it.
Stories are everywhere if we just ask God to open our eyes, and our stories are the most beautiful of all.
Our family recently vacationed in the stunning Pacific northwest. As our children flew colorful kites, waded through frigid waves and dug in white sand, I walked through the wide stretch of beach, enjoying the gritty feeling of sand between my toes. Gulls squawked overhead and the scent of decaying sea life and salt water permeated the air as I walked along, noting the items washed up on the shore.
Small sea creatures with tiny claws, white shells with striations of purple, orange backed crabs, twisted cords of driftwood, seaweed and round pebbles. It’s always interesting to see what the thundering waves spit out during high tide.
I had already found a particularly beautiful seashell. In just the right light, it shimmered like glitter. Its surface was like white, polished chalk, but it was broken. Beautiful but shattered. The turbulent waters had battered it beyond repair.
A large stone caught my attention, worn smooth by the pounding waves. The hard edges had been ground away leaving it easy to the touch, but the rock was also unremarkable. Dull of color with no interesting marks or features. The surf had beaten it down until it resembled every other stone dotting the shoreline. Round, smooth, lackluster.
As the cold wind tugged my hair across my mouth, I knelt when my toe bumped a rock different from everything else I’d seen. It wasn’t pretty as far as color goes, nor smooth or glittery yet it intrigued me the most.
Because it bore the imprints of dozens of tiny sea creatures who had once burrowed in its depths, yet now it was washed clean.
It was scarred, but it told me a story. It drew me in and fanned my curiosity to life. The indelible marks had forever branded it and its journey through the rough ocean waters. It had survived the mighty Pacific to find rest on the shore.
We all have wounds and scars. Some of us put on a show, slapping on our greasepaint and glittering makeup, praying no one will notice how broken we are, yet the world continues to break us until we feel we’re only shards of the person God intended us to be.
Some of us have let our culture so beat us and mold us and play with our minds and hearts that we no longer have our own identity. We look like everybody else and wonder why we feel helplessly lost, unnoticed and unappreciated. We’ve become people pleasers without a voice, without color. We’ve thrown away our God-given destiny and are aching to reclaim it.
Some of us are visibly scarred. We may not be as pretty as the seashell or as smooth and acceptable as the round stones, but do not discount the sharp beauty of the imprinted rock, for it tells a story. People who are seeking will notice it. They will ask, for it has the fingerprints of redemption all over it. It’s a story of survival and victory in the hands of the Creator. Those scars may be the key to unlocking someone else’s prison. Wear the scars with humility but never hide them.
Stories are all around us if we’ll only open our eyes, and ours are the most beautiful of all.
Let’s talk about this! Can you see God’s hand and character revealed in your story? Can you or have you seen His hand and character revealed in someone else’s story? Share your examples with us! Join the conversation on Facebook at Wholly Loved.
And if your struggling to see the beauty in your story and God’s love revealed in all the hard and painful, consider coming to our next Wholly Loved Conference hosted by Bethany Lutheran in Elkhorn, NE. Visit our conference page for more information.