Finding Life’s Sand Dollars

So I spent the weekend at the beach.

Well…scratch that…I spent an hour at the beach, and the rest was at my cousin’s wedding.

But I’ll tell you what, an hour was all I needed.

And I’m not talking about getting sufficiently burnt to a crisp.

Because, you better believe that I’ve got a medical grade sunhat that I’m not ashamed to wear…in public.


I know you want one 🙂 haha

No, an hour was all I needed for my soul to be recharged.

My sister-in-law and I took a really long walk on the beach, and we talked about how there’s something powerful about the ocean. How it really allows you to encounter God in a tangible way. Nature does that to you.

The rhythmic crashing of the waves, the sun’s warmth on your shoulder, and the salty air kissing your cheek – it’s a total sensorial experience with God’s creation. A physical interaction with the majesty of God.


But seeing my mom walk up ahead, I couldn’t help but think about another thing.

It was low tide, and the water was drawn wayyyy back, revealing all of these shells and corals that were usually covered by the water. You could see sand dollars and the shore’s topography in its full glory and detail.

And in that moment, I realized…that is how God works too.

We all have seasons of high tide and low tide.

Sure, high tide is nice and comfortable and beautiful, but there are things that can only be seen during low tide.

I’ve seen my fair share of “low tide” seasons…from my anorexia, to the Ulcerative Colitis’ year-long-bedrest, to my mom’s stroke. And I’ve learned that it’s only when that water is drawn back that God reveals things to us that can only be seen in that lowness.

Things like trust.

Things like humility.

Things like, dependance on Him.

And I’m finding myself smack dab in the middle of another period of low tide, and I’m just waiting to stumble upon that sand dollar or beautiful shell that He has uncovered for me to find, pick up, and take with me.

The wedding this weekend…it definitely brought up some unexpected emotions.

I think for a mother and daughter, planning a wedding is one of the most special times in their relationship. It goes without saying that I’ve dreamt of planning mine forever.

(And shout out to all the eligible bachelors out there…) 😉

Juuuuust kidding 😉

But I got a tinge of sadness, thinking about how it’s going to be when that time comes for me. Ever since my mom had her stroke, her recovery has been going well, but I just don’t what the future is going to be like.

And that shatters my heart.

The stroke has definitely added a layer of complexity. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Flying home on the airplane tonight, for the first time since her stroke happened three months ago, I found myself getting angry. Becoming furious at God for allowing this to happen.

Questioning why. Shaking my fist at God, and catching my breath in fury, thinking about having to one day plan my own wedding and not have the full help and guidance of my mother.

We were supposed to sip champagne at a wedding dress boutique and cry together when we found “The Dress.” We were supposed to giggle about flower girls and bicker about seating arrangements. We were supposed to have long talks about marriage, love and parenting. This and that that I need my mom for

I was sitting in that little airline seat just getting more and more verklempt by the minute.


And I so I did what any millennial-stuck-in-“airplane mode” does, and started hate-swiping my photos on my phone.

And I came to a photo from our low tide walk on the beach that afternoon. And I realized that this feeling right now – of panic and anger, and hurt – was one of those sand dollars that was uncovered during the water’s recess.

God is working on me right now, in seat 16F, revealing something important.

Maybe it’s a need to relinquish control and let go of all my plans. Maybe it’s to not rely on my own understanding, and trust that God is greater than my fears.

Maybe it’s that I need to have a cocktail next time I get on an airplane. 

Or maaaybe it’s God just begging for me to let Him in. Maybe He’s saying, Come on, Caralyn. Shout at Me. Scream at Me how you’re scared and sad and angry. Let Me have it. I can take it. Just let Me in.

Because He wants to suffer with me.

Because He loves me.

And writing that out, I’m realizing that, wouldn’t you know…that’s what Lent is all about : Choosing to suffer with Jesus out of love for Him.

I think that’s been the one thing that’s been missing – inviting Him into my hurt. Because the truth is, I’m not alone in this. And the pain this wedding is drumming up is the access point for Jesus to zero in on my heart and draw me to Him.

He’s waving the flags saying, I’m here! I’m right here! Hello! Notice me! I’m with you! 


Maybe God is just desperately trying to get me to let Him in. Allow Him to love me, comfort me, strengthen me…after all, that’s what I was supposed to be doing all of Lent in the first place.

Perhaps this is just His last ditch effort on Palm Sunday. I mean, I always was good at procrastinating.

Jesus wants me to know I’m not alone.

I think I just found my sand dollar.

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292 thoughts on “Finding Life’s Sand Dollars

  1. As I was reading your post, this is what came to me…….Known as “FOOTPRINTS” One night I dreamed a dream.
    I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

    When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.

    “Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.”

    He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that poem. It is one of my favorites. I actually keep a little stone in my purse that has footprints engraved on it to remind me of this very poem. I love it so much. I haven’t read the entirety in a while so I really appreciate you sharing it here. It is a great reminder. Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I once thought that my low tides were God’s way of putting me down, now I understand they are special times that he wants to draw me close and become fully engaged in my life. Thanks for writing this.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Beautifully raw. You’re right…God’s a big boy, he can handle your anger. But you know what’s even more impressive than figuring this out? Look backwards for a moment and see what an expert craftsman He is. All of the mess and struggle is carefully and intentionally woven together with the most lovely of stitches and if you go back and scrutinize thse stitches, you will not find a single mistake. It’s all perfect and the finished product will be, too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “t it’s only when that water is drawn back that God reveals things to us that can only be seen in that lowness.” — so powerful!

    I’m praying that God leads you to your next sand dollar in His time ❤️ thanks for sharing your inspiration! I love it! And your pics are awesome!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Anytime! I love the blogging community 🙂 actually counting down for an exam! One more hour aha. Enjoy the rest of your day 🙂


  5. I have been beggin God (sometimes even in earnest) to draw back the waters and to show me the smelly low tide of my life/soul. I’ve noticed it’s been just a little at a time though… As I find the sand dollar of one event, I see the dead fish of the next…. I’m in the middle of reading “The Shack” right now and it is amazing how it shows us how to view pain in our lives (no spoilers!) Thanks for sharing this beautiful moment in your life!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m glad you [found?] your sand dollar… You have become such a rock for so many people. It would be such a travesty to see you lose your faith now, Ms. Caralyn. What would they do!? I’m just content to observe, though. I want to see where this adventure leads. I’m just waiting to see if you actually find this gold mine you’re looking for or just strike out. This is drawing heavily on my curiosity and penchant for Rome-Gladiator-Coliseum level entertainment. The highs and lows of your story are most certainly becoming more pronounced. The oscilloscope readings are off the charts. I can see why you get so many readers. Turn off the soap operas. I just want to tune into your channel and watch what happens next.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe your tears are coming from using too much soap. You know, that can get in your eyes and sting a bit, too.


      2. nice pic switch on your blog. You swapped out a hat for a face, but WHY? Your hat was so cute.


  7. Oh, lady…wow. This post is so good. I was just telling my mom last night that I don’t dare to dream because my dreams tend to be taken away. I’m not sure why…they just do. I’m not mad at God about it, I’m just hurt. I have always wanted to be a wife and have a family and to love well. I’ve been a wife twice {first one ended in divorce and the second one made me a widow} and I am afraid to dream about that again. I know that the Holy Spirit does not give me a spirit of fear, so I know this being afraid isn’t what God wants for me. I still have a family – my son – and I can still love well. I know God is up to something because He tends to shine the brightest in my low points. Thanks for the reminder to always be on the lookout for Him during low tide 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Calista, for sharing this. I’m so sorry that you can relate so personally. What a powerful perspective – that He shines brightest during those challenging seasons. I appreciate you sharing your story with me. You and yours are in my heart and prayers. Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I am absolutely humbled to follow someone who has made positive sparks in so many lives. I found you elsewhere and linked you to a thought I shared today on one of my other blogs! (yeah, I don’t have a life except online!). Thank you for these incredible inspiring words. You are a beautiful daughter. Give your mom a hug from me!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you just described the same thing as the “Desert Season,” which is what I call “Low tide.” The whole idea is that those who go through the desert will find it a place of springs. Like those sand dollars. (Man, I wish I could go to the beach now. I love the beach.) I heard a good teaching on the seasons of darkness (desert) a short time ago, and the pastor said that there are three things to know about it: 1. there is a trust that must be developed. (In God.) 2. There is a truth that must be sought. 3. There is a treasure of growth that is to be found in the darkness.
    I can personally vouch for how true this is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Desert season. That’s a powerful way to think about it. Thanks for sharing that. That’s were we find our hope – in that treasure of growth to come. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox


  10. Must admit, I am agnostic, or rather searching for what my beliefs are. However, the low and high tides of life is a very smart observation, as well as the unpredictability of the future. I wish your mother the best of health in the future.
    Also, as a lover of the ocean, loved this post even more 🙂


  11. Don’t you love days like this? On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 4:01 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “So I spent the weekend at the beach. > Well…scratch that…I spent an hour at the beach, and the rest was at my > cousin’s wedding. But I’ll tell you what, an hour was all I needed. And I’m > not talking about getting sufficiently burnt to a crisp. Becau” >

    Liked by 1 person

  12. God doesn’t give us more than we can handle . When it seems as though God has forgotten about us, no he hasn’t . He knows what we are going through . I pray for your mother and that the good Lord will give you the strength to get through it . I went through the same thing when my brother died last September of pancreatic cancer . He had it for 5 years . Most people don’t live that long. The doctors can tell us what may happen but God has other plans and HE IS IN CONTROL not man. Enjoy the time that you have with your mom . God is able . It will be all right .

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Caralyn — beautiful post that touched my heart at low tide. When things get tough, a favorite quote from a favorite author helps me: “Unite yourself with the Passion of Christ and KEEP ON GOING.” (Catherine Doherty) Holy Week blessings to you! grace, peace & low-tide encouragement — Virginia 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Virginia. I’m so glad this hit home with you. I’m sorry that you’re also in low tide. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there. I hope that whatever you’re going through gets better and brighter soon. I’m going into this HW remembering that come Sunday, we are given New Life!! 🙂 big hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

  14. First of all I love your writing style, and might I dare to say that I think you will become a great insperation for me. 😊
    On the other note I think you’re the first person here (on WordPress) that I found that speaks about their relationship with God. And as a quite a religious person myself, I really appreciate that. Because not only do you help me be open about my faith but I think that in some bizarre way you help me strengthen it. So thank you very much 😊. You’re doing a great job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh thank you!! Oh good! I’m so glad you enjoy my writing. I am seriously so touched by that 🙂 sending big big hugs to you friend. Hope you have a beautiful Easter weekend. Hugs and love xox


  15. I tend to think of the women standing with Jesus at the time of the cross. Now there’s a sermon, and with respect for the women there.
    Ha ha, a giant pizza. And food, hmm…

    Have a great weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a raw, beautiful post. I feel like you were speaking right to me. We are in a waiting phase in our life, not sure if we’re going to move cross country, when/if, what the future holds and the control freak in me is in major panic mode. Thanks for the reminder to rely on Jesus – He is there and wants to walk this road with us. Megan xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much megan. Oh I’m so glad it hit home with you. I’ll definitely keep you in my prayers as you navigate this next chapter. Hang in there. God will lead you right where you’re supposed to be. Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent illustration! A great reminder to find God in the things of this life, even when things do not look so great. God is always there to be found. He knows what is best for us. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Loss is a part of life my strong, brave friend and the grief that accompanies loss is the refiners fire that draws us closer to God. Give yourself permission to feel everything that comes your way. Christ suffered all of these things when during His life. We struggle, and that allows us to become His hands and His voice and His love.
    I’m so sorry for your pain. ❤️


  19. Love this. First thanks for following me at http://www.healingwriter. I’m honored. Second, as often as I’ve walked the beach, I never compared life to high & low tide moments. Perfect analogy. Third: your conclusion is spot on. Closeness w/Jesus is His aim in us. I’m so looking forward to reading more. 💕


  20. All I can say is wow! I needed this and am thankful for your blog. Thanks for supporting my blog through reading my poems. You definitely encourage me through how real you are but also how you see God working through tough times. Thanks!!!


  21. Reblogged this on Hope Lavender and commented:
    Realizing that despite the hardships I face: dad being in a nursing home, feeling overwhelmed or like I never have time to enjoy life, God uses lows in my life to show me how much he loves me and is with me. Thanks for this awesome blog!


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