Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Still Small Voice

One of the most intriguing things about visiting the ocean, are the seashells you find when walking along the beach. Growing up in Michigan, rocks were always the gems of the lakes we went to and I have been collecting them since I was a little girl (much to my hubby’s chagrin as storage of a totally useless thing as a stone or rock always seems to be a concern to him). So to see a vast array of seashells in all sizes, shapes and colors when near the ocean has always been a delight to me.

On our recent trip to Virginia Beach and Myrtle Beach, we did a lot of beachcombing. Early in the morning or near sunset were our favorite times to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach in search of the perfect seashell.

For some reason though, maybe it was the time of year or just these particular beaches, there were very few intact shells to be found. In fact, we only found very small ones that were still whole. The rest were just broken pieces that were washed ashore.

For many days though, I searched for that perfect seashell. I kept my eyes peeled for a larger, beautiful shell that would be my special find and keepsake from this trip. But, after a while, I started to become somewhat disappointed as it didn’t seem that I would find any shells worth keeping.

For those of you who may not know me too well, you have to realize that my mind and heart are never far from God. I am continually aware of His presence and love surrounding me and as I walked along the ocean on any given day, I was often in prayer; prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving for all the blessings in my life, prayers of wonder and praise for His amazing creation that surrounded me, prayers for those I love.

On one particular day, as I walked along in prayer, I was aware of His still small voice speaking to me. I kept ‘hearing’ over and over, “There is beauty in the brokenness.” Just as the rhythm of the waves hitting the shore, His gentle voice washed over my heart again and again with these words.

So as I walked, I started to notice the gorgeous colors and shapes of the bits and pieces of shells that the tide had left behind. I started to truly see with different eyes what I had not seen before. The same shells suddenly seemed far more beautiful than I had noticed earlier.

I realized that it was because when a large, curled shell is broken, you can see the inside color of the shell, which is often more beautiful than the outside. The broken edges that had been smoothed over by the sand and water were a pleasure to touch and the odd shapes and sizes made each one unique. Interesting, beautiful colors and shapes suddenly surrounded me and I realized that not only did God want me to appreciate the broken shells but that He was also telling me something more.

“There is beauty in the brokenness” applies to each one of us as well.

We start out perfect, we live, we grow. There are many, many wonderful times in our lives, but there are also many trials and difficulties throughout life that chip away at us, batter us and break us. None of us are protected from the tide of everyday life that brings these challenges our way. Sometimes our breaks can be healed, but sometimes the brokenness that stays with us makes us even more beautiful.

As time passes, the edges of our pain are smoothed over into something desirable. We are more understanding, more sympathetic, more humble. We are more aware that it is not our outward appearance that makes each of us beautiful, but the soft colors of love, forgiveness and compassion that now fill our hearts.

It was an amazing revelation as I walked along the beach with Jesus at my side. He not only accompanied me, but he opened my eyes once again to a new understanding! I returned home with a bag full of bits and pieces of shells; wonderful treasures that will remind me of an important truth.

“There is beauty in the brokenness” - and for that, I am grateful.


  1. So nicely put Joanne, we can all benefit from remembering to find beauty in brokeness.

  2. This is beautiful!!! I so needed to read this. Thank you my friend :) {{{{{Hugs}}}}}

  3. Oh Joanne! That was an absolutely beautiful post. I can't wait to have my girls read it! It's so true - there is so much around us that we "miss" in our hurry of life, when if we stopped and took in God's creations we would we awed, and overwhelmed by the beauty. Thank you for the reminder, and sharing your inner thoughts.

  4. Thank you, Joanne... I needed to hear that today!

  5. Amen ... And thank you!
    Lori S.

  6. I was very touched by your words Joanne and wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for sharing.


  7. It doesn't matter how many times I read this post it continues to move me. Thank you for sharing the beauty within.


  8. Thank you for sharing this with me! It was beautiful to read and a reminder of who I am in Christ. I just returned from a missions trip to Chattanooga with my husband and many of our youth. The brokenness we saw there was almost overwhelming but no more than the brokenness in my own life at times. Our God is so good and there truly is "beauty in brokenness". Thank you again for sharing!


Thank you for your lovely comments!

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