The gentle waves guided the boat toward the sandy coast line of the Gulf of Mexico. Sandpipers shuffled along the shore, scurrying in small groups to nibble upon nourishment found in the sand, wave-tossed seaweed, and shoreline plants. The shallows warmed by the sunshine welcomed my toes as I surrendered my body to the salty waters.
Ahhhh! It seemed as though I entered a giant warm bath.
Armed with a shell catcher called The Claw, which closely resembled a lacrosse stick, I moved toward the shoreline where the waves tapped the earth with rhythmic succession. Dipping the scoop into the water, the shelling began. Heavy sand and warm water dripped through the plastic catcher as shells emerged, caught by the plastic plastic net. These once inhabited homes for marine life littered the coast reflecting the great creativity of God.
Shells of all sizes, colors, and shapes remained within the clutches of The Claw to be examined. Upon inspection, I tossed some shells back into the awaiting waters and others into the satchel hanging over my shoulder.
Shelling – the activity of collecting seashells from the water coastline. A practice the encourages slowing with and delight in God.
Shelling offered space to be with God and His creation. As I collected seashells, the activity morphed into peaceful reflection with the Lover of my Soul. He met me as the sun warmed my back and the water cooled my legs. I listened to the sounds of the water crashing upon the earth, the birds making squeaks and sounds, the rustling of the breeze through the waving grasses, and most of all the stirrings within my soul.
How do you enjoy God and His creation? Do you notice His creativity and handiwork?
No matter where we live; urban or suburban living, north, south, east or west, lowland or highland – God and His creation surrounds us. Nevertheless, often the rigors of life steal our attention causing us to be blind to God and His presence encircling us.
Shelling reminded me of the gift and grace of living more slowly; conducting myself in such a way as to savor my Savior, soak in His created order, and seek deeper communion with the God of the universe.
What causes you to slow down and enjoy God?
Do you wait for an illness, tragedy, or another anomaly, like COVID to teach you to moderate your pace? Or do you intentionally practice a deliberate unhurried way of living?
After I returned home, slowing continued and delight ensued as I washed and sorted the collected seashells. I marveled at the uniqueness of each shell. No two were the same. Wow.
I wondered, if just like each human being is unique – no two people the same – if each shell is unique as well – no two seashells completely the same? What do you think? It is fun to ponder! God is amazing!
My collection includes a wide variety: angelwings, olives, scallops, clams, cones, conches, calico scallops, coquina, mussels, turkey wings, shell colonies, and even sand dollars. My favorite shell resembles mermaid toes. It is called a Jingle. The color of these tiny mollusk shells shimmers with translucent iridescence. Funny fact, I discovered that the Jingle is actually Gary’s “birthshell” – no wonder I liked it so much. Multiple colors of white, purple, red, pink and dark blue adorn my coastal conglomeration from the gulf coast. Each shell distinctly reveales the stunning handiwork of their Creator.
How will you slow and delight with Jesus today? Are you willing to purposefully pause just 5 or 10 minutes?
I find myself reminded of the times Jesus spent by the Sea of Galilee. According to the internet, tiny shells sprinkle the shores of this sea. Imagine for a moment, Jesus and his disciples stooping to pick up some seashells and marveling at the intricate design, color, and the vast imagination of God. I picture Jesus slowing and delighting with the Father at the assortment of shells along the sea. Amongst Jesus’ many practices, I wonder if “shelling” might have been one of them? Did Jesus connect with the Father as His feet walked along the shell-filled shore?
What might be your “shelling” practice? Bike riding, walking, cooking, watching the sunset, fishing, coloring, hiking, camping, watching the night sky, painting, gardening, listening to music, playing with your pet, spending time with grandchildren, etc.
You might be surprised how this simple practice offers God-inspired and life-giving adjustments to your day. Set aside designated space and time to be with Jesus. Try it for the next week and see for yourself.
Whatever your “shelling” practice – slow with and delight in God.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Brother Lawrence. Practicing the Presence of God. New Kensington, PA. 1982.
Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. Being Still With God Every Day. Nashville, TN. 2014.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Tasha Layton. Into the Sea, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HznXBBCdBE
Hope Darst.. Peace Be Still. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsIpGiz3SfQ
Puddles for Prayer: Please pray for these upcoming speaking engagements.
August 12 – Littleton, CO. Front Range Christian School. Soulcare for the School Year.