What is it about the beach…

Hilton Head Island Mariott Surfwatch Resort Laurel Henson 2020

Why is it that at the beach I feel so connected to God. Forget the fact that we are in a global pandemic (that I am so sick of messing up everyones life), the most politicized Presidential election of all time, raising 5 teenagers, major surgery, and dealing with aging in laws who can no longer care for themselves. I can go to any beach, anywhere and immediately feel the presence of God. All my worries seem smaller and I am able to connect with God in a way that I can’t seem to do as well anywhere else.

It’s hard sometimes to find Him in the mundane everyday tasks that we all have to deal with. There are distractions at home, activities, things to do, always something to clean up, major and minor crisis’s that arise. It is so easy to push away what I need the most in order to accomplish the most basic day to day tasks. God!!

At the beach I see Him everywhere. I feel so small and insignificant up against the vast ocean. I know that I am no bigger than a grain of sand to Him, yet I know that He loves me more than anything else. It’s an amazing feeling. The moment I see the ocean, put my toes in that sand, hear the waves crash and feel the salty breeze, all the problems in my life seem so small. I know that God is in every single part of every single issue. I know that His hand is guiding everything. I don’t know why I doubt and hold on to the fears and anxieties of the unknown. I know I need to be present in the present. To be joyful in the moments I have. To look for joy in the impossible places. Mostly, I need to be seeking Him in every moment, every frustration, every fear and every joy. It is easy to find Him when life is good and much harder when we are going through difficult times.

As I look at my kids growing up and letting them expand their own wings, I admit, it is hard to let them grow. It is hard to watch them mess up. It hurts when they are hurt. Being persistent in our parenting is a challenge and sometimes I hate it! I hate having to discipline and hold them accountable, but I know that in life, we are all accountable for our actions and that our children must learn that there are always consequences to their actions, good and bad. When we meet God face to face, we too will be judged. But it is not our place here to judge others. We all have our faults, our failures and our weaknesses. We also all deserve to be loved and accepted regardless of those things. That is the best part about God’s love for us. He loves and accepts us regardless of all of that! He loves us unconditionally. He takes us for who we are in every moment of life, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. I wish as humans, we too could be like that in every stage of life. (Especially now!) Love people for who they are. Accept them for who they are. Don’t judge anyone else, you have no idea what their circumstances are. As christians we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves. Even when they are different, hateful, helpful, hurtful and lovable. No where in the Bible does it tell us only to love them if they are like us, believe what we believe, live like we live, look like us, dress like us, or worship like us. It simply says to LOVE! This world needs more love.

Today I challenge you to seek God wherever you are. It will be easy for some and hard for others. But I assure you, you will not be disappointed when you do see Him. I ask that you would pray for those that have hurt you. Pray for those that do not feel loved and accepted. Pray for those that need to see God in their toughest moments. Remember that you are loved and accepted right where you are. In the hardest of times He is walking with you. Even in the glorious days He is there too, in every little detail. Seek Him and find Him.

Leviticus 19:18 ,”Love your neighbor as yourself.” NIV

Luke 6:27-28, “But I tell you who hear me, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” NIV

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.” NIV

By Laurel Austin Henson

Laurel spent 8 months caring for her first husband after being diagnosed with cancer in 2010. He passed away at 33, leaving behind a daughter of 7 and 5 year old twin boys. After sowing millions of tears, Laurel sought out God daily and began to plan for a life of being a single mother, but ready to raise their children in faith, hope and love. God gave her more than she could have ever imagined when she brought Matt into her life, along with his 2 children. He was recently divorced and the providence of God had been leading up to this life for more than 20 years! Now Laurel is reaping joy with Matt and their 5 beautiful children. Thanks be to God for all the beauty created from the ashes of death and divorce.

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