Last weekend my family and I were on vacation in Destin, Florida. On our last full day there, we spent the entire day, with the exception of going in for lunch, on the beach. It was so perfect. The sun wasn't too hot; the water wasn't too cold; and the waves were just right for Callie to ride on her boogie board. We inhabited this wide open space, sharing it mainly with seagulls and pelicans. The occasional passers-by smiled sweetly at our children and laughed at them burying their father in the sand. They laughed harder when Kevin suddenly jumped up from the sandy grave and began chasing the little undertakers, who were running from him in their brightly colored swimsuits, cackling, and squealing "Daaaaaaddyyyyyy!"
The kids all took turns going out into the water with Kevin, each of them clinging to his neck as waves hit and fish nibbled and nudged (which is why I wasn't out there). Kevin soaked up the one-on-one time with each of our children, and I soaked up the memories we were creating. The girls and I walked a ways down the beach looking for interesting and unique seashells and talking about how awesome it is to know that the same God who created all this immense beauty is the same God who created us and loves us and wants to know us personally.
There were several minutes when Kevin and the kids were all doing different things, and I got to shuffle around at the edge of the water simply observing everything around me--a favorite pastime of mine. As I dug my toes in the thick, wet sand and witnessed the majesty of God's wonderful creativity, I couldn't help but sing.
I am nothing without You.
Each time I go to the beach, I am in awe--of the vastness of the ocean, the profusion of sand, the magnificence of all the living creatures (yes, even though I don't want them touching me), and the splendor of the boundless blue sky spotted with fluffy white clouds. And every time--every time--God blesses me with the same message, which is this:
My love for you is constant, just as these waves on the shore are constant. It never stops. And no matter how many footprints, drawings, or castles are made in this sand, the waves will always wash them away, leaving only a clean slate, just as My love and forgiveness for you unceasingly wash away your sins. It doesn't matter how deep or how ugly or how constant your mistakes are; I will always erase them with the blood of My Son, who died in your place.
When I was little I used to wonder if God turned the waves off at night, as if it were a water amusement park. As I got older and was able to take walks on the beach in the dark, I would smile to myself as I heard the crashing of the waves even before I could see them. Once again, I was reminded of God's faithful and continual love for me, a love that is much like breathing--vital and constant. Though I don't always pay attention to it, it fills my soul and keeps me alive.