(A jar full of our broken shells)
This summer my husband and I took our kids to the beach to visit family. This was probably the first time my kids had been to a beach where there were lots of shells to collect. So while walking on the beach one morning, I had the humbling experience of having my 5 year old speak truth to me.
We were looking for sea shells and I was, of course, looking for ones that hadn’t been broken or chipped. I also wanted them to be an interesting color or have a cool design. So when my littlest came up to me and put a broken shell in our collection bag, I said, “Buddy, we don’t want the broken ones. Let’s look for ones that are still whole.” And he, very matter-of-factly, tells me, “But I like the broken ones and they’re special to me.”
And that’s when it happened.
It dawned on me that God was using my child to tell me something about Himself. He reminded me that I’m chipped and broken but I’m special to Him. While I was searching so hard for perfect and interesting, He let me know that He values the broken. He gave up everything for the broken. He thinks the broken are special because they are His.
I try so hard sometimes to hide my scratches and broken pieces. They’re shameful, or at least I think they are. What would people think if they knew those things about me?
God has to teach me over and over that I don’t have to be perfect for Him to use me. The only perfect person that God ever used was Jesus. He gave him the hardest task of all. For everything else, He’s used the broken and chipped people. The ones that don’t have it all together. The ones who maybe aren’t exactly sure they can do what God’s asking of them. The ones who don’t feel worthy. These are God’s people that He sent Jesus to redeem. And because of that, God has made us something beautiful.
Then I was reminded of something. The sand. The sand is nothing more than a compilation of broken shells, rocks, and minerals. If all the shells were perfect and whole, there would be no sand. And most shells you find on the beach have at least one imperfection. But in His goodness, He brought the broken pieces together to make something incredible. Because what would the beach be without the sand? And what would God’s story be without the broken people? He’s using us to create something amazing, friends. Maybe it’s time we let Him.