Sunrise Walks, Broken Shells, and Snooze Buttons

At the beginning of the year, Kent and I decided to wake up earlier a few times a week in order to pursue Jesus first thing and be more intentional with each other. So we set our alarm for 5:45am (eek!) with the goal to get out the door by 6am for a sunrise walk. As you can probably guess, this only lasted for a few weeks, but we learned a valuable lesson: it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as it is purposeful.

We might wake up early one morning, make coffee, and sit bundled on the couch with our journals and Bibles. The next morning we might throw on walking shoes and head out the door. And some mornings, more than anything, what we need is to hit snooze and enjoy those extra minutes of rest. But no matter what we do, it is intentional, quiet, life-giving.

It’s been a particularly packed couple of months – for me at work and with Kent accepting and starting a new job. We also celebrated his birthday and Easter in the same week! So this morning, it was way past time to get back into it. We got ready quickly and stopped by Starbucks to get breakfast on our way to the beach. We arrived to find an empty, freshly groomed coastline. I took off my shoes, wiggled my feet into the cold sand and watched Harvey run up and down the shore with his nose to the ground, chasing seagulls and avoiding the waves. The water was glassy and calm and foamy waves rustled the piles of broken shells in the sand.

One of my favorite things about visiting the beach in the morning is the shells left by high tide the night before. As Kent throws a tennis ball for Harvey, I wander up and down the shoreline, sorting through the piles, looking for little treasures and tucking them into my purse. They don’t have to be perfect, in fact, most of them are cracked and broken, but all of their pieces together are beautiful. I pick up chalky green sea glass, shells with bright orange stripes and deep black grooves, and chipped angel wings. Somehow those broken shells help put me back together. I walk through the waves that wash them and the sand that wears them smooth and I breathe a little easier. And then Kent calls my name, we clip Harvey’s leash back on and head up the beach to the car.

Sometimes I feel like a broken shell, pulled in and out with the tide, pounded into the sand and then swept back into the sea. I have deep grooves and chips, but God is wearing me smooth and cleansing me with water. And despite my brokenness, He walks along the shore of my life and sees treasure there.

With these mornings, whether we are up early or sleeping a little longer, God is tucking us away for a while. That’s what these times are for us. And oh how good it feels to be pulled out of the pile by His mighty hand.