They’re broken. Fragments of what were once beautiful. The pieces fill my daughter’s bucket, along with sand and seawater. She’s collecting shells. Old enough to discern the difference between shells worth keeping and those needing to be tossed aside, my sweet girl chooses the broken.
We spent the day diving beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Scuffing feet against the sandy bottoms, waiting for toes to hit edges of possible magnificence and under we’d go.
Our efforts would sometimes produce a pretty little shell. But most discoveries were disappointing. Worthy of being dropped back to the depths of the salty sea.
Ella and I both hunted that perfect, elusive seashell. While we did find a few examples of perfection, they were inhabited by angry creatures ready to pinch off fingers and toes. Definitely dropped back to the depths! Beautifully unusable.
Our search seemed to be in vain. Wasted. While we had an incredible afternoon together, we produce few, if any, real examples of seashell flawlessness. I gave up. Headed back to the blessed shelter from the sun. But my girl? She kept hunting.
Her search changed as the sand beneath her feet shifted and moved with the tide. Feet kicking up white sands, she raced, bucket-full, toward my shady paradise. The smile on her face matched her giggles.
I anticipated magnificence. She displayed the broken.
Oh, the lesson my child had for me. She was able to look past the fragments, the holes, the pieces. She found beauty in the broken.
And isn’t that—Just. Like. God?
Because we’re all broken. We are fragments with holes in our hearts and jagged souls. And yet, our Creator sees the beauty. He sees the magnificent. He sees poured-out lives and hands lifted up—ready to be chosen.
We all want to be picked-up off the sandy beach where the waves pound and crush. But too often we hang our heads in shame. We are so very aware of our scars. Our ugliness. Who on this earth could ever think we’re beautiful? Worthy of being chosen, much less capable of being used by God?
But I am discovering the Shell Finder and my daughter have a lot in common. Like my Ella, God chooses the broken. Because brokenness can be used in ways wholeness cannot. Because perfection often bites and can’t be used.
It’s not the perfect human who can reach out and hold the broken soul. No. Rather God chooses the broken to reach out and help mend the scars of other fragmented lives. Because only a perfect, unblemished God can fill our heart holes and use our cracked souls minister to others.
The Shell Finder looks past our chips and our jagged edges, and He sees the glorious. He sees the magnificent. We are worthy of being picked-up, out of the thundering tide because the Shell Finder loves us, fragments and all. He sees beauty in the broken. And you, my sister, are beautiful.
“The Lord is near the broken hearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.”