As we drove down the sand edged road I recalled the years of growing up near the ocean, the freedom I felt to be a child once the courts took us from my dad’s house and we moved in with my mom & step-dad. The wide open ocean beckoned me to get lost in its waves. To tumble and not fear. To get back up on my feet and run. To laugh. To play.
But the laughter and play soon faded as if into the horizon. Again.
As my husband drove down the sand edged road toward our early spring beach destination recently I felt it. It washed over me like an overpowering wave. Not the one I mentioned earlier that invited me to trust it. It caught me off guard. Made me uneasy, off balance. I knew instinctively where I was. It surprised me – I had not been there since middle school. As looked to my left and read the letters plastered on the street sign it confirmed what my body was alerting me to. What had been buried for 40 plus years was welling up within my gut and moving upward to threaten choking out the natural rhythm of my heart.
“Do you want me to turn?” he asked. It will be different. I am with you.
As I felt my way through the twists and turns leading back to the neighborhood where so much happened so long ago, the scenes flashed like the click of an old fashioned Fischer Price Viewmaster set on automatic! Looking to the left and to the right, each memory found its home on land where trees had grown taller – aged and ragged. What happened along these streets and behind these doors brought trembling fear to a little girl who had known the brief freedom of being a child on that sandy beach. Terrified by the sounds of her step-father raging against her mother. Things she chose in order to escape the fear. Now all passing before her as if in a movie.
Sitting in front of the home where, more than once, we were awakened in the middle of the night and told to leave with only what we had on our backs, holding tightly to our mother, my brothers and I, my husband reassured me. As I inhaled deeply, I could hear my husband’s voice, “It’s ok, you already told me.” I was safe in his presence. No longer a terrified little girl. A lifetime away we left the home, the neighborhood, in the rear-view mirror. Driving away I wondered if perhaps God wanted to give me a new memory. Could that be why He allowed this to come up for me?
As the sun rose on the next few days spent with my husband on the sandy beaches I grew up on, God surprised us both.
In my whole life of growing up at the beach and returning yearly as an adult I always searched out beautiful shells. This time, though, as I began to walk along the beach in my restlessness my eyes were drawn not to shells, but to stones. As the water rushed over them and then back out to sea, they shimmered in the sunlight begging me to reach for them. For the next two days my husband and I walked along the sandy beach answering the nudge for each shimmering stone to be received into our collection.
A close friend shared once with me a story about sea glass. I remembered her story as we walked with heads down not wanting to miss one shimmering gift. Sea glass such as she has found is formed from discarded pieces of glass that are tossed to and fro in the salt water and ocean floor. Over time the rough and jagged edges are softened and somewhat dissolved until it develops a satin-like patina. Eventually finding its way from the water to the edge of the ocean.
As my husband and I walked along the beach our conversation turned to the transformation we have each experienced in our lives as a result of knowing God and being changed by Him over time. We talked about how, as we seek to know God, we are transformed into His image. These stones, whether some are simply stones and others are sea glass, for us became a symbol of the transformation we have experienced as our rough edges have been worked away and softened over time and with all we have experienced.
God did – in fact, desire to give me a new memory on this trip. He chose to reveal to me how he has made things new in my life, in me. In the midst of the emotions that had unexpectedly welled up within me, God knew what I needed and met me in a very personal way on that North Carolina stretch of sand. I am grateful beyond words.
He makes all things new.
How has He made things new in you? Please share.
Enjoy this beautiful worship from Elevation Church Worship Team
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here. NIV
Colossians 3:10 – …and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.