©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

The heart-shaped mass caused me to abruptly stop my brisk beach walk.  Earlier, God and I had been having a chat. Well, I was talking and confessing and asking for forgiveness for the way I’d handled a situation even though I’d felt hurt.  He was listening.

Up until now, our talk had been fairly one-sided – if I discounted the beautiful sunshine He soaked me in. Then I saw “the heart.”

Not lovely or colorful like some of the shells I’d choose to carry home. But, there was something about it.

As the waves lapped around it, I grabbed it lest it get sucked back into the ocean’s depth.  It fit right into my hand, that heart did.  I brought it closer for a better look.

Countless broken bits and pieces of shells filled the heart.

No perfect shells in there.  Yet, the heart firmly held those smashed and splintered fragments –  as if they belonged.

The message seeped into my soul.

I looked again.

An indention in the heart’s center reminded me of Jesus’ nail-scarred hands pierced for our transgressions.

When I turned that heart of brokenness over, I gasped.  From the heart’s tip to its top lay two perfectly vertical shell pieces.  Another reminder.

As Jesus hung on the cross, his body served as the perfect sacrifice so that we – if we believe – can live not only eternally forgiven in heaven with God, but also in peace on earth in relationship with Him.  With His head to the heavens and His feet facing downward, His sacrificial love provided the path for our forgiveness.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  1 John 4:10 NIV

Like the shells in that beach heart, we’re far from perfect. We are…Broken. Damaged. Chipped.  Tossed and tumbled by the storms of life through our choices, circumstances, or catastrophes.

Thankfully, God’s heart is big enough to cover all our brokenness – our sins, our wounds and our sorrows – as He wraps us firmly in His love.

  • What unusual item have you discovered at the beach or a lakeshore?
  • When have you felt God’s peace in your brokenness?
  • Are there words or thoughts you’ve had this week you’d like to ask God (and perhaps a friend or family member) to forgive?
  • Do you know you are firmly in God’s heart – and He is in yours? 

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:17 NIV


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™


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