It probably comes as no surprise to those that know me, that I love sea glass. When I find a piece along the beach, I can’t help but pick it up and wonder about the journey it’s taken in its lifetime. Edges worn smooth over decades of rolling through water and against rough sands, sea glass has a thing or two to teach us about our own journeys in life. I did some research about the process a piece of glass tossed in ocean waters goes through, and what I found actually shocked me.
As the glass is broken down by the salt water, it becomes more and more like a gem stone. In fact, the gemstone classifications that apply to diamonds, are also applied to pieces of sea glass- only in reverse. Sea glass is considered more beautiful if it contains impurities such as pitting and frosting.
The very things that cause damage are also the things that make it the most beautiful in time. The endless tossing in relentless waves creates a harsh environment to be immersed in, day in, day out. What was once a bottle, recognizable for its value to all who held it, is now broken and useless. Salt water erodes the glass pieces, creating smooth edges that replace the jagged and harmful. Pits are formed in the glass when the very ingredients used to make it are released from the glass, leaving shallow craters behind.
Isn’t it the same with us? We are thrown into situations that feel harsh and abrasive. Rough waters threaten to break us down completely, leaving their mark behind. We are forced to let go of what can feel like the very things that once made us complete, as we surrender to this new sense of normal. The salt of change can sting, and we wonder if we will ever reach shore- and if we do- what will we have to offer? Are we still valuable in this new form?
The answer of course, is YES. Our value to Christ is not dependent on our abilities, appearances, or perceptions- thank God. Our value in the storm, and after the storm, is the same as it was before the storm. The love of Jesus is unchanging, unwavering, and unshakeable.
What we have to offer this world is only increased by the rough waters of life. Our ability to minister to others is made beautiful by our own times of pain, wrestling through waves of change and grief- our moments of brushing against sand that chafes but also smoothes our jagged edges. We are made beautiful too, if we allow ourselves to be refined in rough seasons that threaten to break us down.
So friend, the next time you find yourself tossed about by a situation you didn’t ask for- consider the beauty that is created in the refining of rough waters. You may feel broken- but you still have value and purpose. He’s not going to leave you floating in the waves forever. You will reach the shore, and the beauty in your imperfections will be admired and used by the One that loves without condition.