By Melissa McLaughlin
There we were on our mini getaway. The ocean waves rolling in thunderous glory. The sunlight sparkling on the waves. The salty air wisping around us in playful windy puffs.
It was our long awaited fall visit to the beach. Well after the seasonal vacation crowds were gone, but while the warmth of the water lingered with summertime memories and the air still wafted with scents of boardwalk favorites. Popcorn, pizza and fresh baked cinnamon donuts.
We walked along the edge of the shore, amazed at God’s grandeur, in awe of His majestic beauty as we viewed the vastness of the ocean, stretching farther than the eye could see. Such sovereign power and strength on full display. We marveled at God’s greatness.
Like so many others, we love to collect shells and small stones as a remembrance of our annual beach visit. But unlike other trips, this time we could only find broken shells. Almost whole. Almost lovely. Almost perfect. But not quite.
This morning as we strolled along, our eyes scanning the wet sand, we noticed a family with two young children on a passionate shell hunt. Their two little voices called out over and over that there were no shells to be found.
My husband moved on ahead while I paused to let the ocean waves splash onto my feet. A gentle, refreshing treat. As I caught up to him, he reached out his hand with a wonderful surprise… a shell! A whole, unbroken shell in mint condition! I couldn’t believe my eyes! For days now, all we had seen was shattered shell remnants. But here was the sunken treasure we had searched for, an intact, undamaged, flawless shell!
I cheered with glee and we smiled together, overjoyed at this little blessing. In all honesty, my first thought was to bring this rare prize home to add to our collection. So my heart took a soft turn when my husband mentioned, “I was just praying that I could find another unbroken shell, so I could give one to each of the children we just passed.”
My heart melted for him. Such a small kindness. Such a tiny act of thoughtfulness. Such a gesture of gentle grace. An adult, completely unknown to these children, saw them. And wanted to give them a blessing.
I whispered a prayer along with him and at that very moment I immediately spotted a whole shell. We shouted together with excitement! A second unbroken seashell! Though we had walked miles through scattered pieces of tattered shells, God directed our gaze to a second gift.
We both thanked God. He saw us. He saw the children. And He allowed us to be part of His blessing for them.
My husband walked back to the area where the family was playing. He set the two shells in the sand near them while they were looking off in another direction. He called to them to come and see. The oldest child ran over and picked up the two shells my husband had just placed there. He shouted in triumphant joy as he handed one to his younger sister!
We smiled from the inside out. For we knew… that God knew… my husband had prayed to be a blessing. God answered that prayer and used my husband to bring a simple delight to two children on the beach that day. Two children he never met before and will never see again.
But now, I carry a memory that is far more beautiful than any perfectly formed seashell. Instead, I brought home a precious memory of my husband, asking God to use him in a small way, so that two small children could carry home a memory of our big God’s lovely world.
I believe with all my heart, that God led us to walk past the family with two small children. God heard the two small prayers of our hearts and God led us to two small shells.
Sometimes we pray for the big things. For loved ones to give their lives to Christ. For family members to be healed. For world leaders to seek the wisdom of God for their decisions. For healing of deep wounds of the past. God indeed answers these big prayers, for surely someone prayed for each one of us, bringing us to this very moment in time.
But sometimes we pray for the little things. No sin is too great, no problem is too small. God cares for the little things, because in some ways, all things are little things to God.
May we pray to be used by God. Whether it’s for the big things or the little things. For God sees the little things, too.
Matthew 19:13-14 – Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
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Such a sweet touching post! It made my day!💖💖💖💖
It made my day, too, when my husband prayed such a kind thing! And God answered his prayer! Blessings to you, Valerie!
What a guy!!!!
What a wonderful memory for you and for those children. This is one small example of God’s love in action. Thanks for sharing Melissa as it brought a smile.
Yes, it was such a wonderful memory. Yes, God’s hand is always moving in ways big and small. May we not miss the small things!
Amen. God sees the little things. God sees the big things. He is with us always. 🙂
Yes, our Heavenly Father is a good, good Father and the indwelling Spirit of our risen Savior is always with us, leading and guiding. May you see His miracles in the little things this week!
What a beautiful story! Your husband has a kind heart, and I know you have more affirmations of that than just this one event, but each kindness knits your heart even more entirely to his. This story is delightful! I think of the BIG prayers we’ve been praying, for this pandemic started out with two devastating tragedies in our family, which we still seek the Lord to repair, to mend, and to resolve. It’s been so difficult since March, and yet the kindness my husband has shown during this time has likewise knit my heart evermore to his. Protecting me from the virus, since I have underlying conditions, he flew alone toward our beloved ones who were in need of him, even flying right toward the epicenter of the pandemic as it first broke out. He expended himself in caring for our dearly loved ones. And, how much more did I love him for the “little” but not so little things he did.
What a blessing, Melinda! Yes, you are right, the little things are not so little in God’s eyes or in ours. What a wonderful gift to have a kind husband. I appreciate hearing about your husband’s TLC and selflessness in the face of such difficulties on every side. May God give us eyes to see these precious blessings, touching our lives through the hands of one another. Oh Lord Jesus, use us today to be that small blessing that someone else may need. Lifting you and your family in prayer, dear Melinda. May God work out the tiny details to bring relief, help and encouragement.
I love this, Melissa! Children are precious! Your story of blessing then and the search for shells, shows how intimately God cares for us. As you said there is nothing too small for God. He does indeed care for the little things, little pleasures, all things for us. Very humbling!
Thank you, Marcie! All glory to God, the Giver of gifts great and small! You are right, children are such a wonderful blessing. And God does take the time to see us and send His touches of love, even in the little things. Yes, His gracious kindness is humbling and beautiful.
I think your husband should have prayed for shark teeth and pirate treasure! Just kidding.
Oh Tom, you’re cracking me up!
My husband has a sense of humor, too! Love you!
Such a beautiful story of the beach, seashells, and God’s provision for a gesture of human kindness. And His creation took center stage. That’s so like the Lord to showcase His glory in one of His image-bearers.
It was a beautiful story and so thankful God allowed me to witness the beauty of His creation and His beautiful provisions for a “gesture of human kindness”. But a small reflection of His amazing love! Praying we have eyes to see His hand at work in the little details of our lives.
Indeed it is a wonderful article! Most of the time we remember only the big things but we forget the little things! thank you for reminding us that not we must not concern only for the bg things but even to a small things we need to take it seriously! May the Lord continue to bless you and use you for His Kingdom.
Thank you for reading and sharing your insights, Micky! You are right, how easily we overlook the little things, but the Lord has such a gracious and giving heart, then we overlook an opportunity to see Him answer prayer. This world and everything in it belongs to Him. May we run back to Him like a child with all our joys and sorrows, big and little, for He desires to be involved in every part of our lives. The Lord bless you and your work for His kingdom, Micky!
Such a beautiful post! I feel like I was walking there on the beach with you. This is such a great reminder of how God cares about our big worries and concerns, but also the little everyday things as well. I will remember this story each time I hold a shell in my hands. I will remember that your husband has a beautiful heart, full of God’s love, and that he is a great witness for Christ on this earth. And it will remind me that no gift is ever too small…and every gift from the heart is a thing of beauty. (You know I love your posts, but this one is really extra special.)
Thank you, dear Linda! I love your words, “no gift is ever too small and every gift from the heart is a thing of beauty.” May God open our eyes this day to see the ways we can offer a small gift to the people around us. Through us, God shows that they are seen and known and loved. God bless you, dear friend!
What a beautiful story. It’s so wonderful when God makes Himself present in such a tangible way. God bless!
I agree, Nancy! We often pray for God to move in the spiritual realms and we should, according to Ephesians 6:10-18. And yet, God shows us his beautiful Presence in the earthly things. May we have bigger eyes to see!