“Nah, I don’t really like the broken ones.”

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Sunset Beach, California has some stellar sea shells. So that’s where we went hunting. We all woke up ready to hit the beach for a morning walk and search for shells. Dad, Mom, Brian, and I trekked across the parking lot, through the sand, onto the beach to begin our pursuit of unique shells worthy of placing into our shell bags to take home.

We found white shells and grey shells. Shells with striped patterns. Tiny shells and big shells. Oyster shells and clam shells. Twisty shells and flat shells. Each one had endured the journey from the ocean floor, being tossed and turned beneath the waves, until they reached the shore and were scooped up into our hands, rinsed one last time in the salty seas, and gently stored away for safe keeping.

As I was walking along the beach, listening to the crashing waves, hearing the caws of the seagulls above, watching the sand pipers’ quick legs propel them away from the crashing water, and darting my eyes up, down, and side to side searching for shells, Brian ran up to me. He had a big clam shell in his palm and I noticed it had a big chunk missing; it hadn’t reached the surface unharmed. “Look at this one, Megan!” Brian exclaimed. “Oh wow, that’s cool,” I replied. “Why don’t you keep it for your bag?” he said. “Nah, I don’t really like the broken ones,” I replied.

He tossed it aside and continued his search. As I looked back down at the sandy beach, scoping out various shells, I couldn’t shake a thought. I kept hearing myself over and over saying, “Nah, I don’t really like the broken ones.” I mean just because a shell is broken, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. There is beauty in brokenness. But I still didn’t want it.

Then I had another thought. What if God spoke those words? What if every time we lifted our aching hearts to Him, he said, “Nah, I don’t really like the broken ones.” Then we were tossed aside, abandoned, forgotten.

In that moment on the beach, feeling the sand between my toes, my heart was filled with thankfulness and praise. I became so grateful for the reminder that He does not treat us as our sins deserve. That in our brokenness, He doesn’t toss us aside. No, instead He holds us in His mighty hands and says “My child, bring me your brokenness, for I will make you whole.”

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