Aloha! A special day is occasion for a special story, right? Well, it’s my birthday! May I serve you a piece of one of my favorite memories? This is a memoir I wrote a few years back, on the day after it happened, simply entitled:
I asked Jesus on a date. I was going to be near our ‘special spot’ and I planned a day and time to meet Him there. Is that strange?
It isn’t to me. After all, I have specific places that hold unique significance to my husband and I and some with my friends as well. And in my special spot with Jesus, which happens to be a stretch of beach on Oahu, worship flows without coercion, conversation is easy, and my heart seems naturally primed for the Master’s touch.
However, as my date with Jesus approached, the weather report turned nasty. I have no qualms about walking with Jesus in the rain, but the expectation for our day was thunderstorms. I told Jesus it was ok if He needed to change our plans – that I would meet Him anywhere – and I waited to see what could be worked out. The rest of my family also needed to adjust their outdoor agenda for the day and it was all a bit unsettled.
Yesterday was the day. I woke up early and realized I did not hear rain. I drank my coffee hurriedly and put my shoes on, hoping to squeeze a quick walk around the neighborhood with Jesus before the storm arrived. As I walked, the sun came out!
It was as if Jesus said to me “Hey, we have a date today. Aren’t we meeting at the beach?” I went home and woke everybody up with the good news that our schedule was back on track. I dropped the family off at their planned activity and went where I had asked Jesus to meet me.
The tears started flowing as soon as my toes hit the sand. I felt so personally romanced by my Lord. He had held back the storm and told the sun to shine on our special day.
He showed up and was waiting there for me, not with flowers or chocolates, but with delights, created by Him, for all my senses. He provided the smell of sea air, the gentle grind of sand between my toes, the sound of crashing waves, the taste of salt spray, and my favorite view of all time.
At one especially difficult point in my life, I had lived near that beach. Back then, Jesus and I met there almost daily. That was where He taught me how to let go of the things that I esteemed in addition to Him. It was also where He consistently took the broken fragments of me and masterfully molded them into something new.
On that sand is where Jesus has taken what I’ve learned about Him in church and ministry and everywhere else and made it personal. He has altered me copiously on that stretch of beach. And yesterday was no different.
We walked and talked; I marveled and adored Him and thanked Him profusely again and again. And then it got real.
The focus shifted to the issues of my heart and my confessions poured out. Shortcomings are more difficult to discuss in person, and He was right there. My tears turned from amazement and joy to sorrow and grief.
And yet, Jesus, being the perfect example of confrontation in love, never stopped the perpetual crashing of cool waves over my toes or the consistent exposure of sea glass which I treasure and save. It was through this interest in sea glass that He would create the most poignant lesson of the day.
I noticed a rather large piece of blue sparkling in shallow water. As the sea ebbed and flowed, it covered and uncovered the fragment. I quickly grabbed it at an opportune moment and discovered it to be much more like a broken bottle than a piece of smooth sea glass.
I promptly threw it back in the water and said “It needs more time with You, Lord.”
Immediately I heard “As do you. You are still ‘slick’ and your edges are still sharp. You need more time with me. And just like that piece of glass, you must submit fully to the churning and pounding. If I allow you to be tossed against the rocks, it is out of necessity for your transformation.”
As I heard this, I pictured the hot and dry place where I live and thought, “Oh, that lucky piece of glass, it gets to undergo this daunting process in this most beautiful spot, in these refreshing waves.” And almost simultaneously I realized that I am privileged to experience this refinement in the sea of Jesus’ love – in the refreshment that covers my soul and never runs dry. He will be with me through every tumble I endure.
I will remember that blue chip of glass. As it is carried and bumped and scraped and broken, I will also be. And I will be grateful. Because just as one day someone will marvel at the exceptionality of that colored treasure on the beach, I will also be a more brilliant display of the wonder of my God.
I will be better able to exhibit the majesty and glory of the One who is molding and making me. When I am finally called to Heaven, I want to stand before Him as resplendent as a piece of sea glass, beautifully bearing the marks of complete surrender to His artistry.
I had a date with Jesus. He made it exceptional. I will never forget it and never be the same.
It’s my birthday! I’d love for you to celebrate with me by going on your own date with Jesus. Don’t forget to write about it! Thank you for stopping by the Back Porch and allowing me to serve you a piece of one of my favorite memories today. I deeply appreciate each of you!