Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gifts from the Beach – Love Letters in the Sand


We’re finally here after a several year hiatus – at our Island Paradise, our lovely hideaway on the beach. As we experience the hot velvety sand under our feet, turning cooler and moister as we approach the gentle waves, it is as if God whispers, Come away with Me – be still and know that I am God. (Song of Solomon 2:10,13; Psalm 46:10).

His gifts are everywhere, love letters tucked away in secret places, hidden to be found at an unexpected time, waiting for the perfect moment to be read. With the anticipation of hearing from a long-lost love, I tremble as I open each one. 

Faint wisps of clouds swirl through the aqua sky, like ostrich feathers floating on the warm breeze. I don’t know how the Artist’s hand fashioned this design, nor do I know where the wind came from or where it is going, but I feel the Spirit moving (John 3:8).

A pen shell, longer than my hand, fragile yet miraculously unbroken, riding the crest of a sand dune like a shark’s fin cutting through the waves. This is My letter, written to you with My pen in hand, and I want you to write it down for others to read.

My heart flutters as I spot a perfect, full colored, lightning whelk, birthed from the waves and wet with foam. It would be a prize for any collector – the shell as intricately carved as a spiral staircase, displaying the Fibonacci sequence of proportions. The Designer used this signature not only in univalve seashells, but in sunflower heads, pinecones, land snails, and many other places in His creation.


But to my surprise, the shell is still inhabited, the muscular creature inside still pulsating to its own rhythm. Clearly this specimen is not for my desk, but to live out its life. After admiring it, we hurl it back into the churning waves. Each of My creatures is precious and needs saving, He says. 

Protect especially those in My image (Genesis 1:26). The unborn need physical protection (Psalm 139:14-16), the children need nurturing and admonition (Ephesians 6:4); the spiritually dead need to hear about Me (Matthew 28:19-20); and the spiritually reborn need teaching and encouragement in My Word (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 5:19).

A sandpiper scurries toward the waves with the dogged determination of a rick-shah runner, burrows in the sand with his beak, drinks voraciously of the sand crab and coquina broth, then races back toward shore so as not to get his feet wet! And so he runs, to and fro, on and on, not in the least deterred by our presence.


Sometimes you’re like that sandpiper, He says, doing what I have designed you to do in this world that is not your home. You like to stick your head in the sand, but the waves are lapping at your feet. I always provide for you just as I do for him, even though you don’t like it when the world gets too close. And so it should be, for you are in the world yet not of it, and I want you to be separated and holy. (1 Peter 1:15)

If I provide for each and every creature you see flourishing around you, will I not so much more abundantly provide for you? (Matthew 6:25-33; 10:29-31). But like the sandpiper, you are not to sit idly by, but to work diligently for your food and to carry out My purpose for you.( 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

The tide is moving out now, as we see from the lighter bands streaking the sand along the shore as the waves recede. Be still, for I am the One who hung the stars and moon in their place (Psalm 8:3), Who suspended the earth perfectly to create the tides, so that the waves would come only so close to shore and no further. (Job 38:8-11).

A few stones lie close together, perfectly polished by countless years of churning in the surf. One is round with a white cross etched on its black surface, and another is in the shape of a heart.

I love you so much that I sent My Son to die on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for your sins, to reconcile you to Myself (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Will you surrender your heart to Me? Will you take up your cross and follow Him? (Mark 10:21; Luke 9:23).

As we head back to the house I cast a parting glance to the horizon, and I can almost imagine Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:25), calming the seas with His Word (Matthew 8:26-27). Two dolphins skim along the waves as a squadron of pelicans patrols the sky, now turning rose and mauve as the fiery sun begins its descent.

Just ahead on the path to the house I spot the last love note for today’s journey – a pearly white, round, gleaming, iridescent jingle shell, reflecting the last rays of the sun. It reminds me of the pearl of great price, like Jesus Christ Himself, like the Kingdom of Heaven, worth relinquishing all earthly treasures to possess it (Matthew 13:45-46).

Thank You, Lord, for these beautiful reminders of Your love, amazing not only because it is infinite but because the Creator of all loves a wretched sinner like me. May we always keep our hearts open to read His love letters on the beach, and wherever and whenever He sends them.


© 2013 Laurie Collett
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44 comments:

  1. Dear Laurie,
    Is Paradise Island one of the Florida Keys?
    (I only went as far south as Miami Beach, and that was in 1978)
    How you've paralleled the beach's wildlife to God's revelation has made this an excellent blog.
    I hope you enjoy a relaxing holiday (vacation)
    God bless.

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    1. Dear Frank,
      "Island Paradise" is what we affectionately call this getaway home. The actual name of the island is Don Pedro Island, which is a barrier island off Englewood, on the west coast of Florida, about 90 miles south of Tampa.
      Thanks as always for your kind words of encouragement!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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    1. Thanks, Denise! Blessings to you.
      Laurie

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  3. Hi Laurie, This is not only a beautiful post but a beautiful blog that honors our LORD! That shell is gorgeous! Orange is my favorite color and wow...if only it wasn't inhabited! I love the way you have matched up the scriptures! God's blessings on you! ♥♥♥

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    1. Thanks so much, Cathy, for your sweet comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! May you have a blessed Memorial Day weekend,
      Laurie

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  4. What a lovely escape from the everyday routine sights and smells that we become so familiar to (and often take for granted!) :) A get away always reminds us of God's beauty and amazing grace. doesn't it?

    Lovely words, pictures, and verses Laurie!
    Have a blessed holiday weekend!
    Denise

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    1. Amen, Denise -- may we always keep our hearts and our senses open to appreciate His love surrounding us. Thanks for your encouraging words, and may you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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  5. Hi Laurie,
    After reading your lovely post I feel like I have been in a beautiful place and on a lovely spiritual journey. That is what God's creation and His wonderful Word does for us isn't it. To top it all there was the beautiful happy ending for the lightening whelk, thank you. Enjoy your rest in your lovely island Paradise. God bless you.

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    1. Thank you, Brenda, for your lovely comment and good wishes. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. God bless!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  6. Lovely images and word pictures, Laurie. I'm with you...there is something about the beach that can be spiritual.

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    1. Thanks, Gail, for your kind words and for following! The beach calls to my mind God's creation of water and earth, Jesus walking on the water, Jesus as the Living Water, and so many other spiritual references.
      May you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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  7. Hubby often says that we are closest to god when we are in nature. We visited the Keys in January and it was the most beautiful place we have ever been in. We took walks and laid in the ocean with our snorkel masks on and just marveled.
    We just felt God's love for us so much, and were in awe of how he took created such marvels for his children to enjoy.

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    1. The Keys are beautiful indeed! I love how God speaks to us through the beauty of His creation. Thanks for your lovely comment, and God bless!
      Laurie

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  8. Oh that looks so inviting. We must travel some more next year. We use up all of our US time in Arizona. And the US only lets us in for 180 days. no more. Otherwise we might pop down to other places in the US.
    Love the piper.
    Blessings,
    Janis www.janiscox.com
    And thanks for linking to Can I Joy Dare You?

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    1. Hi Janis! Arizona is magnificent also -- my husband and I visited the Grand Canyon many years ago, before we were saved, and thought it was amazing then. We'd love to go back and take it all in with a new perspective as God's children. Thanks for your comment and for hosting, and God bless!
      Laurie

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    2. You are most welcome to come and visit us if you decide to visit Arizona. I am following you from Ann's blog but the link didn't go through. But I knew how to get you.
      Many blessings to you,
      Janis www.janiscox.com

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    3. Thanks for the kind invitation, Janis! And likewise if you're in the Tampa area!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  9. It's nice that you take the time out to really enjoy and appreciate the little things all around you. Happy Vacay Time to you!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Rosey, for tke kind words & good wishes! God bless,
      Laurie

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  10. Thanks for this wonderful post Laurie! I like how you use a shell, birds and other aspects of nature to bring out your positive message. God Bless and have a wonderful week.

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    1. Thanks, Judy, for your sweet comment! May you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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  11. Thank you for sharing your lovely day at the beach with "Tell Me a Story." It is wonderful when we find a prize, but even more exciting that it is still alive and you can save it to live another day! This one not for your desk as a keep sake but one of God's creatures in its own particular dwelling.

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    1. Thanks, Hazel! We were blessed to be able to view this masterpiece and then to throw it back to its environment. Love to you,
      Laurie

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  12. I'm a beach girl and was truly blessed by the words you wrote here. I'm going to have to get to the Keys, but my husband just informed me this past weekend that since it involved a drive over a long bridge he wouldn't be going. ;)

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    1. Hi Southern Gal! Thanks so much for your visit & lovely comment. Don Pedro (home of our Island Paradise) is reachable only by ferry boat (a 5 minute ride) or private boat.
      Blessings to you!
      Laurie

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  13. Great post, Laurie.

    Isn't it wonderful how god shares his love with us?

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    1. Thanks, Donald! Amen -- each day He showers us with His amazing grace.
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  14. What great beach moments you have captured, they are so neat! I am having a WW click here to share your blog
    Wordless Wednesday Reflecting Our Weekend #12

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    1. Hi Karren,
      Thanks so much for your sweet comment & the invite! I tried to find your blog hop but the link doesn't seem to be working. :-(
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  15. My mother always says her favorite love letters -even though my father wrote some amazing ones- are those from God.

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    1. I love this, Fawn! Beautiful thought. Thanks so much for your visit & comment!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  16. Lovely pictures and you had me wishing I could be there as well. Have a nice week and if there is time Please stop by and check out my ww at http://mommiespov.com/charlie-wordless-wednesday-fun-linky/

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    1. Thanks, Glenda! Hopping over to your blog now!
      May you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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  17. Laurie, thank you so much for taking us with you on this sweet island getaway. I can feel your love for Papa God strong in your words. Enjoy your time and as your feet sink in the sand, sink deeper into Him!

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    1. Thank you Laura, for your lovely comment and good wishes! Sinking deeper into Him is such a blessed peace!
      May you have a refreshing weekend in Him,
      Laurie

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  18. I loved the pictures and loved the verse references. Thank you for immersing me in the word today. I glad I found your site on the Friday Friendship Hop. Hope you will come visit me if you get a chance.

    http://mary-anderingcreatively.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I'm so glad you visited, enjoyed the post and left such a sweet comment! Looking forward to visiting your blog!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  19. Thanks for sharing these beautiful gifts! It's almost as good as being there.

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    1. Thanks so much. Janet, for your visit and lovely comment! I'm blessed to hear that you enjoyed the post.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  20. What a beautiful description of God's goodness. You are a talented writer! It made me want to worship God for who He is!

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    1. Thanks so much, Amy, for your sweet words of encouragement! You are a blessing!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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