karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

How do you change your world? One word at a time, one heart at a time

Of Shells and Sheep

OK. I have a story to tell. About a great big God and an incredibly foolish thing. A redhead who loses shells and loses sleep.

It begins with a certain gift I was given at birth. Been using it since the age of 8. I even “auditioned” one time. I often find there are people in my face doing what I can do, sometimes yearn to do, but for some reason God alone knows am not doing. I kept telling myself go get over my sweet self, since I know if it’s from God it’s gonna prosper in my life and if it ain’t, I don’t want it. Only, sometimes I do…

All that changed three weekends ago. At the most amazing Church women’s advance ever. But I’ll let you in on a secret. I had a few things going on inside of me the second day I’m man enough to ‘fess up to. Starting with the shells. I love shells. The first day I’d gotten up at like pre-dawn early and gone shell-hunting; found quite a few, in fact. Some of them were really unique. I was one happy woman. Then they disappeared. Yep. The whole bag. And I’m mad. We’re now on the second day. Dawn, in fact. I’d just survived a night from hell, so I’m upset from sleep deprivation. Irritated about lost shells. In the same place same time as before, when I found oodles of shells but could I find even one? I rest my case.

Still frustrated but now hungry I go to breakfast, since coffee is always a good thing to calm the nerves. Now I’m telling myself I really need to grow up and get over it ‘cos we’ve had such a mind-blowing visitation from God in the meetings that these petty things should be easy to let go of. Not. Theory’s good; practice? Not so much. Pitiful, I know. I’ve got to love on my Father, do Zumba on the beach, meet some really cool Alabama girls, even watch the sun rise over the ocean… I should be having a blast, but I’m sulking. Pray for me.

As I leave the breakfast room I see my buds all smiling and talking and having a grand old time, which made me happy. They’re totally unaware of last night’s drama. I’ve got to be a love that covers a multitude of sins and believe me, I’m no saint but there were a multitude of sins going on in that room that night!!!! I had help! I did walk in love, tho, and that’s growth for me. Cos i’m wanting to slap somebody, major! So. Now there are three things going on in this redhead’s head. One, someone’s doing what I can do, in my face, every single meeting, and she has no clue. Two, no sleep. And three, no shells. Like i said, pray for me. I ain’t there yet.

Back to the story. I’m still obsessed, back on the beach – again – shell-seeking – again – when I see a bff from church, Robin. I ask her if there’s anything on her heart, and if I can pray for her. (I’m trying, ok?!!!.) She mentions a few things and I continue on, walking in the sea. I’m starting to find shells. A few. So I’m calming down. Kind of. And I’m praying for the conference. Kind of. Like I have been for over three months. Of course, I’m supposed to be in the conference room, but I’m at the BEACH for crying out loud… and the sea’s calling my name…

Then I hear Robin calling my name. I look up and she’s waving for me to come over. (I repented to God then and her later but I didn’t respond right away…) – it’s not that i was ignoring her, more a case of, “hold on… just one more shell… be right there…”. When I arrived she was talking with a stranger who was also knee-deep in waves. The yellow bucket in his hand had caught her eye, and she’d had struck up a conversation. Turns out he was struggling with mental strongholds, trying to talk to God, thinking there just might BE a God, wanting to meet Him… such a directed paths moment. Oh yeah. Even a redhead can’t miss this!!! So we both started sharing a few things and I get the strong feeling to tell him we never know what’s gonna happen in life, and since he’s open to knowing the God that we love and live for, this would be a really great moment to become His child too. Well, he had reservations, said he was scared. I told him my pastor had often said that God is not a child-abuser, and that everything He IS and DOES is for our good. So Robin asks me if I want to lead him in a prayer but since I’m coming in on the tail end of this – yeah, my slightly rebellious self will admit she has issues – I tell her to do the prayin’. Such an amazingly awesome moment on the beach in the sea, watching one more soul come to know a loving, giving, wonderful heavenly Father. OH YEAH! I know. I’m verbose. Wordy. But I’m almost done.

We tell him it’s real important he finds a good church where he can learn and grow and discover things he’ll need to make it through this life. We encourage him to spend time with God since he just became His child, and that he needs to get to know the One he just gave his life to. We tried hard not to overwhelm him. Off he goes, and I’m dancing a jig on the beach. Then I start thinking, “Wow… it’s a lot harder to rejoice on sand…”. Just sayin.

At this point my joy is off the charts. Uncontainable. After all I’d been thru the night before it was totally exhilarating. So completely wall-to-wall God. I’m busy dancing and praising and having a good time that she got to pray for him when robin exclaims, “you prayed.” “Nope,” I say, “I was just the backup!!!” Then I look at her and say, “What time is it?” She slowly replies, “Why…?” To which i respond, “You KNOW why…”. She looks at me sheepishly, pauses, and says, “10……07…”

“Oh shoot!”I say. “Well, I’m ecstatic about Dustin but I’ve gotta go… and you do too…”. I sprint all the way to the conference room (-yes, I had quite a few workouts that weekend. spirit, soul and body), where praise and worship is in full swing. I feel kinda bad for being late but I’m still on a high. Still see someone doing what I can do and sometimes want to. But now I don’t care. Creflo Dollar says there ain’t no high like the MOST High. And I’m in that place.

Now I get to the point of the story. You’ve probably already guessed it, but I wasn’t that quick. Right in the middle of the most awesome and magnificent worship, God speaks to me. Yep. Me. The redhead who loses shells and loses sleep. What He said was simply this:

If you’d been doing what you sometimes think you want to do, you’d have been here. (so I’m thinking, ok….)

If you’d been here, you wouldn’t have been on the beach. (again, I’m tracking with Him)

If you hadn’t lost your shells, you wouldn’t have been in the sea. (same train of thought)

If you hadn’t been in the sea on the beach you wouldn’t have met Robin. (are you getting the picture yet? I was still clueless. I blame it on lack of sleep)

If you hadn’t connected with Robin, when she connected with a total stranger just ready to give his heart and life to Me, she wouldn’t have had backup…(and I finally got it) omygosh. After a night I never want as groundhog day I got to be a part of that. Such a precious moment. So now, if I ever see anyone else using a gift I have and sometimes long to use, I pray I’ll never forget the lesson learned that day. He that winneth souls is wise. And in the infinite goodness of a loving and patient Father, He decided I could be a part of it. How cool is that? Our God truly is not dead, He’s surely alive, and fer sure fer sure He’s living on the inside… of me. A redhead who loses shells and loses sleep. OUR GOD ROCKS!!!!!!!

Kari, the sleepless in Seattle… well, OK, Myrtle Beach

copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

December 6, 2012 *Disclaimer* – I found out a week ago that there’s another ironic twist to the tale. The yellow bucket didn’t belong to Dustin, the guy on the beach. Nor did it belong to Robin. Nope, that bucket was floating out there in the sea, coming in with the tide. And it was moving. Yep. Moving. That’s what caught Robin’s attention. So when it washed up at her feet, Dustin was the only person close at hand. That’s how she got into a conversation with him. By asking if it was his bucket. Which it wasn’t. So she asked if they should open it, to which he replied, “I don’t know.” Well, being a curious gal like myself, Robin did. And guess what was IN the bucket? Come on! Guess! omygosh you’re soooo boring! Fish. For real. It must have fallen off a ship way out to see and washed up right in front of her. As she’s telling the story my mind is saying, “Oh wow! God was telling you to be a fisher of men!” I kept silent till she finished her side of the story – not easy, but I was determined – and wouldn’t you know it? God had showed her the same thing! Like I said, our God ROCKS!

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