Stories are everywhere if we just ask God to open our eyes.
Our family recently vacationed in the beautiful Pacific northwest. As our children flew colorful kites, waded through frigid waves and dug in white sand, I walked through the wide stretch of beach, enjoying the gritty feeling of sandy between my toes. Gulls squawked overhead and the scent of decaying sea life and salt water permeated the air as I strolled along, noting the various creatures and items washed up on the shore.
Small shelled sea creatures with tiny claws, white shells with striations of purple, orange backed crabs, twisted cords of driftwood, seaweed and round pebbles. It’s always interesting to see what the thundering waves spit out during high tide.
I had already found a particularly beautiful seashell. In just the right light, it shimmered like glitter. Its surface was like white, polished chalk, but it was broken. Beautiful but shattered. The turbulent waters had battered it beyond repair.
There was a large stone that had caught my attention, worn completely smooth by the pounding waves. The hard edges had been ground away leaving it easy to the touch, but the rock was also unremarkable. Dull of color with no interesting marks or features. The surf had beat it down until it resembled every other stone dotting the shoreline. Round, smooth, lackluster.
As the cold wind tugged my hair across my mouth, I knelt when my toe bumped a rock different from everything else I’d seen. This rock was not pretty as far as color goes, not smooth or glittery or worn smooth yet it intrigued me the most. Why? Because it bore the imprints of dozens of tiny sea creatures who had once burrowed in its depths, yet now it was washed clean.
It was scarred, but it told me a story. It drew me in and fanned my curiosity to life. This jagged rock made me want to know more. The indelible marks had forever branded it and its journey through the rough ocean waters. It had survived the mighty Pacific to find rest on the shore.
We all have wounds and scars. Some of us put on a show, slapping on our greasepaint and glittering makeup, praying no one will notice how broken we are, yet the world continues to break us until we feel we’re only shards of the person God intended us to be. Some of us have let our culture so beat us and mold us and play with our minds and hearts, we no longer have our own identity. We look like everybody else and wonder why we feel helplessly lost, unnoticed and unappreciated. We’ve become people pleasers without a voice, without color. We’ve thrown away our God-given destiny and are aching to reclaim it.
Some of us are visibly scarred. We may not be as pretty as the seashell or as smooth and acceptable as the round stones, but do not discount the sharp beauty of the imprinted rock, for it tells a story. People who are seeking will notice it. They will ask, for it has the fingerprints of redemption all over it. It’s a story of survival and victory in the hands of the Creator. Those scars may be the key to unlocking someone else’s prison. Wear the scars with humility but never hide them.
Stories are all around us if we’ll only open our eyes.