This truth came to me while shelling on Sanibel Island a few weeks ago. Some shells are meant just for me.
I was walking right at the edge of the waves. A couple was walking toward me, also looking at the sand for treasures. As soon as they passed me, a wave rolled in and deposited a perfect juvenile Florida fighting conch, intact and perfect, JUST FOR ME. No doubt about it.
It occurred to me that much in my life has been arranged JUST FOR ME, also intact and perfect. My parents and siblings, my opportunity to learn to play the piano, my beloved Steve, and our amazing children and grandchildren are some prime examples. But there have been other "shells" that have rolled in damaged and broken, which remind me that certain life challenges and hurdles have come along just for me, too -- health crises, painful relationships, and the sudden death of my mother, for instance. Everything has been designed and purposed to shape me into who I am today.
Recently I've suffered a very unexpected blow. A phone call brought about an opportunity that appeared to be God-ordained and tailor-made for me. BUT it turned out that I wasn't the right person for that job after all. So far, I haven't been able to see the big picture and figure out all of the whys, but one day I will. And I'll understand how this disappointment, too, was meant just for me, and that I am the one with the lesson to learn from it.
It does no good to ask, "Why did that shell appear in front of me and not in front of the couple on the beach the same morning?" Or, "Why did God give me the ability to play the piano and use my talents for a season but not for now?" The better questions are: 1) How does God want me to use the blessings and challenges that have come specifically to ME? 2) Who can I bless or minister to as a result of the ways my life has been molded? 3) How can I make this season of my life all that it is supposed to be?
Today I acknowledge that Job 1:21 is true --
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Matthew 10:29-31 is also true --
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
The Father cares. The Father knows everything about me, even the number of hairs on my head. The Father says I'm valuable.
What is on your list? What blessings, talents, struggles, disappointments, and challenges do you believe have had your name specifically engraved on them to make you who you are today?