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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 

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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. I used to try to avoid being angry with God, but now I recognize that in a sinful world, no matter what relationship you are in, you are going to get angry occasionally. I figure God would rather me talk to him and be honest than pretend to be able to ignore him or passive aggressively refuse to communicate.

    I love this post, I’ve always wanted to go to the beach and get a sand dollar. I’ve never seen the ocean, but my parents have a sand dollar that they kept in the house from before my sister and I and I always thought it was the coolest thing.

    1. Thanks for this awesome perspective, Rebecca. You’re right – every relationship includes anger at one point or another. That’s so true – God wants to “talk it out.” That really struck a chord with me too about being passive aggressive, because there have definitely been seasons where I haven’t prayed out of anger, and I’m realizing now how that is a really Passive aggressive move! yikes! thanks for the encouragement. Get to that beach, girl!! Sending big big hugs xox

      1. Oh Teri, I’m sending you so much love right now. I’m sorry you’re experiencing the low tide. One sentence that didn’t make it into my post is this, and I’ll paste it here….”The thing about low tide is that it doesn’t last forever.” Hang in there friend. praying for you. hugs xox

    1. Thanks Jonathan, that’s so true! We have an incredibly loving God who wants to be with us in the storm. That’s so important to remember. Thanks for stopping by and for the support. big hugs xox

  2. Those Divine nudges 🙂 I wonder why sometimes we are so hard headed, hard of hearing, or hard hearted (if that’s even a thing) when God is trying to tell/teach/show us something?

    1. Yes! Gotta love those divide nudges of love. I think you’re so right, we look for what we see — and the truth is that they’re all around us! thanks for the encouragement. big hugs xox

      1. Yes His glory is all around, aaaaand I’m pretty sure I’m hard headed 😉 LOL I told my mom, I don’t know why God hasn’t headed me like a shrimp by now 🙂 He has to think I am the most hard headed creature He ever created Big hugs and blessings xoxox

    1. hhaahhah thanks Simon 🙂 Yeah, it’s a bit of a funny hat, isn’t it! keeps those UV rays out though! SPF 50! 🙂 heheheh best purchase of my life and i’m not even kidding 🙂 thanks for stopping by! big hugs xox

  3. I get the same kind of “recharge” when I walk through my local forest. The majesty of the trees, ferns, flowers, and fruits. Watching the animals scurry, the birds flying, and the vistas when the tree line opens out to a beautiful horizon.

    One of the best relationships we can have with God is to feel free to become angry at him. I have had my occasions where we had a go-round over things I felt were unfair. Jesus tells us that God is our Father, children do get angry with their parents, it’s natural because children don’t see/understand things they way their parents do. It’s the same with God, it’s okay to get angry with him because we are unable to see our lives as He does. After my anger I frequently (not always) start to see it from His point of view, and then I realize why and ask forgiveness.

    1. There really is something about nature, isn’t there? It’s just about as close as we can get to our Creator here on earth. I’m so glad you feel that too! And i think you’re right about that – being angry with God shows that we care. And that’s such a great way to think about it – we can only see a snapshot – God sees the whole thing. thanks for the encouragement. big hugs xox

    1. oh my gosh Rick, this just brought a huge smile to my face. truly. thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your friendship. big hugs to you xox

  4. Yeah. I’m looking for my sand dollar event. My Dad is slowly dying of cancer and I was laid off my job on Friday. The knot of tension seizing my back is amazing.

    I guess we all go through one thing or another, but really, being laid off on top of everything else was a real gut punch.

    Right now, everything is high tide for me. I’m counting on you being right and there being a low tide, too.

    1. Hi James, thank you so much for sharing your story. Gosh, I am so sorry that you’re walking that difficult road with your dad, and that that happened to you on Friday. I will definitely keep you and your dad and your family in my prayers. Yeah, I can only imagine how that was the final straw. Hang in there friends. Sending you such big hugs xoxoxo

  5. Very powerful and moving, and so very appropriate for this holy week in Lent. I’m so very glad you found your sand dollar… I believe I’m finding a few sand dollars myself! Thank you for this shared experience!

    1. Thank you so much, friend. I’m glad this resonated with you. Yeah, I found God’s timing impeccable that this literally lined up with Palm Sunday, reading Jesus’ Passion. God really knows how to deliver! 🙂 Hang in there. know that you are in my heart and prayers 🙂 big hugs xox

  6. The ocean, waves, being able to look far out on the horizion knowing Jesus gave us such beauty. I too have those seasons that I wonder why He is making me go through and struggle, but knowing that He knew before I was born gives me comfort. He is loving, comforting and we serve a mighty God. He loves us all.

    Love the hat!

    1. Thank you so much! You’re right – Jesus gave us that beauty. And wow, He did such an amazing job! And that’s such a powerful perspective to have – that He knew it all before we were born. Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. big hugs to you xo

  7. So beautifully said. Going a physically painful time right now, and have been searching for the lesson in it. I KNOW it’s there. Your words really hit home-and were so beautifully relayed. As God would have it-I read very similar words this morning on Soul Scripts instagram page. “Maybe we find meaning and purpose in the pain when we let it wash over us like a tidal wave.” Thank you for writing this. ❤️

    1. Oh Laura, thank you so much. What a kind response. I’m so sorry you can relate so personally. I’ll definitely keep you in my thoughts and prayers. And WOW what an awesome quote. I’ve never heard of soul scripts before, but i’ll definitely have to check them out. big hugs to you xox

  8. Wrote this on January 8th, the day after my wife die. Hope it helps somebody else experiencing loss and grief.
    Cribbing from my priest on my seeing Pat after I die: Pat is at peace, that same love and peace of God also surround and uphold all of us, her family, and all who mourn. Neither death nor any created thing is able to separate us from the divine love we share in a Holy Communion that continues beyond death. Now we see through a glass dimly, but then we shall see clearly face to face. I compare the mystery of death to the mystery and wonder of life itself. Once, we were within the security of the womb and faced the trauma of birth not knowing the awesome wonders nor the love that awaited us in dimensions yet to be experienced. So, shall it be in death. ‘Death is not the extinguishing of the light. It is but the putting out of the lamp, for the dawn has come.’ and now from E. B. Browning: Patricia, I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. I’ll love thee forever.

    1. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for sharing this with me. This got me all choked up. Wow. What powerful and beautiful words. Friend, I am so sorry for your loss. you’re right – she is at perfect peace with Jesus. And you’re right, it brings so much comfort to know that we will all be reunited one day in Paradise. I know that doesn’t dull the pain now, but you’re right, I don’t think we can even imagine in our wildest dreams the incredible life that is to come in Heaven. This touched my heart so much. Thank you again for sharing it. You are a blessing to me. Know that you and yours are in my heart and prayers during this difficult season. sending all my love xox

  9. Yes! You and I seem to be sharing thoughts recently :). I am at the same point, wondering why God won’t just let me know the next step. Maybe He just wants me to trust that He is here, and He has control of the situation!

    1. Thanks Kat 🙂 I’m so glad this resonated with you. Yes! He is with us and has got us in His hands!! 🙂 Thats the best place to be. thanks for the encouragement. big hugs xo

  10. Caralyn, you are an amazing woman. Each time you write there are pearls of wisdom being harvested as you share your life, always returning to a lesson from Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord.
    And, as you know, if we are mad at God, we may as well tell Him, He knows anyway. If we hold onto that emotion of being mad, it will boil over, and we will take it out on others. Our God can handle whatever we throw at Him, and still love us. He then will direct us, teach us, and bless us.
    When we seek Jesus in all things, the good, bad, and ugly, our focus will change, and we realize He knows what we are going through, and knows the results. We need to surrender, and follow Him.
    Thank you Caralyn.
    Super sized hugs, as fast food places always ask if the customer wished to supersize their order. ❤🌹😀

    1. Hey George, you are so kind. thank you so much. Gosh, I am so touched by your generous words. You’re right – He already knows we’re upset. So so true – He can handle it, and WANTS to handle it so we don’t have to carry it around. Seek Jesus in all things. Definitely going to carry that little nugget with me. Thanks again, George. Loving the super sized hugs!! 🙂 Sending one right back atcha!! xox

  11. Hi Caralyn, I Finally caught your name. Does God ever leave you or forsake you once you have invited him in? This is not an area of your choice however, it belongs to the one who made the promise.

    Then in our loneliness who was really choosing to be lonely? Do we turn our back on fellowship with God? But hold on just a second, God as you said waving flags is always there. God looks for many ways to mend our broken fellowship.

    When I learned it was my choice of broken fellowship not God’s. I stopped and went to the table with the humble pie and began to dine. Suddenly I realized I was not dining alone but with the King of kings.

    I did not get indigestion from this dining experience. I did learn that dining with the King is a truly marvelous experience and humbling to my core. It was a serendipitous moment for me, I hope this story only Harmonizes with the wonderful story that you have told.

    Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God

    Continue to be a blessing Caralyn,

    Denny

    1. Thanks for this awesome reflection, Denny. YOu’re so right, He was not the one that “disappeared,” but rather my doing. thats important to remember. I really appreciate you sharing that. To walk humbly with God – sounds like something i need to do. 🙂 hugs xo

  12. It’s often through our questions, anger and doubt that we build a closer more personal faith. All the stronger for such deep reflection.

  13. That sounds like a beautiful time!! You were definitely the beauty of that beach. God finds all kinds of ways to see if we can let Him in. The beach is a good place to search those feelings. I did it many a time when we went to one, in the days we were closer to one. The beach seems always a good place to see God’s wonders in action. Not that you can’t other places, but its so inspiring with all that goes on with the water itself, and the little things you can see or find near or in the water. I’m glad you had time to walk on a beach during this wedding and I’m glad you were there to shine your lovely, loving light on others in your family. Your light shines daily on your mom and all you encounter you. xoxoxo

    1. Thanks again MiguelTio. hahaha oh gosh you’re funny to say that. I don’t know about that, but I was just so moved by His majesty on the ocean. It was such a powerful experience. Seeing His wonders in action is precisely how I would put it. Thanks for your kind words. You are always so generous with your comments. I hope you know how much I truly appreciate it. sending hugs and love xox

  14. I’m an English girl and I now live in London but part of my childhood was spent living in Washington dc. summers were spent on an island in Maine called swanns island … my first sand dollar and my first dribble castle.

    Don’t be cross with God… He lives in your heart filled with love – you can’t let Him in … He is already there. You just have to open your heart… and feel Him. my Sunday school children ask how they can talk to God… my response is … do you talk to yourself… and always the answer is yes… well then, comes my reply… you are already talking to God. He never condemns only loves.

    you always write so beautifully x

    1. That’s such a powerful thought – I can’t let Him in because He is already there. Gosh, that is such a comforting thought. I am seriously so touched by this. Thanks so much for sharing your heart. Cheerio 🙂 haha hugs to you xo

      1. you are very welcome x it is something I truly believe. when I have a bad thought . .. the first thing I do is to apologise to God… or when the sun shines and I’m happy .. I just say a little thank you … good or bad .. it has helped me keep on the relatively straight and narrow …

      2. God is in the little insignificant things… a smile from a stranger, an old grandpa and His grandson crossing the road together… a weed growing in a busy pavement. we forget the little things as we rush about our lives…

        He lives in our hearts to guide us and keep us strong through the hard times and is there when laughter and love finds us.

        He lives in our hearts to remind us to be gentle with ourselves x be well sweet girl x

      3. all the words in the bible… all the words from priests and holy men … all that really matters is to treasure yourself as then you can treasure God. this is all He wants.

        God not responsible for wars or cancer or disease or anything . .. this is what man is responsible for … God is pure goodness and complete love x

        I shall send you a photograph I took of our equivalent… they are very rare and only found on one beach in all of England. it is called a cowry shell … I should… if ever the opportunity arose, love to send you one . I have spent hundred of hours quietly searching for them over the years …

  15. Wonderful…and insightful as usual, Caralyn. I can relate.

    “Letting go and letting God” as the cliché goes, is difficult. In my much younger days ( read high school,) I tried to have all the answers to pain and suffering and had the notion that to try and question or grapple with God or allow myself to be upset was a bad thing.

    Well, then I went to college, and a private Christian one at that. In three years alone, I had a freshman year crush date my best friend and neither of them tell me, suffer a pneumothorax ( you can read about it here: https://jonathondsvendsen.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/collapse/ if you’re interested.) , and have to change my major when I was rejected from the education department forcing me to readjust my four year plan. More painful moments would come later in life, but the end result was the same. Each time, I found myself crying out to God, begging for guidance. I didn’t get it. Why was this happening?

    Now, in hindsight that those waves have receded, I can see the sand dollars He provided of which you speak. The heartbreak of the crush guided me to a group of friends who became like family. The pneumothorax forced me to take stock of my mortality and caused me to move past the pain of that heartbreak with the crush open myself up and consider the legacy I’d leave behind. The broken dream helped me find my way back to the path I was supposed to be on, and to a mentor who’d guide me through the remaining years of college, and even spared me from being tied down to a career that based on what I’ve read, would have only led me to being burnt out, depressed, frustrated and quitting the job. In fact, it was that mentor who urged me to start my blog, and who knows…with out this blog I’d probably not be interacting with you now. 😉

    I’ve also come to see, that these moments are key to helping me make my faith my own, and not just allowing it to remain the faith of my parents. It has to be my faith and relationship in God through His Son, not through my mom and dad.

    In closing, I’d like to share with you a link to a song that has really spoken to me,given me encouragement, and has become my prayer in those times. https://open.spotify.com/track/4T9ohPhyjEcQLiG1dQUCRR

    1. Oh gosh, Jonathon, what a road you’ve walked. thank you so much for sharing that journey with me. There is so much wisdom here. Those moments really do make you own your faith. It strengthens the relationship. And that is so vitally important. thanks for sharing that song too. i can’t wait to listen! big hugs xox

  16. Have another song for you lol. What you said reminds me of the band, Disciple, and their song Dive. Opens like this:

    “Sometimes it gets hard upon this beaten road
    Sometimes I am tempted just to walk alone
    I hear your words out of my mouth
    Wanting, expecting that
    The seeds that I’ve sown this time
    I’ll reap in a short while

    I’ll run and not grow weak
    Walk and will not faint
    Climb the highest mountain to dive off
    And I’ll fly high on
    I’ll fly high on broken wings”

    We all come to points in our lives where we’re angry with God. In my experience, it’s because we’re spiritually drained and something triggers our realization of this, and we’re angry at God. Now, his response is usually “Hey I’ve been here the whole time, you just never took notice.” But he lets us go through those times because it gives us an opportunity to see God at work when we turn to him. He can take the anger because he understands it and has something to tell us that will turn our hate to love, isn’t easy but it’s amazing!

    Just remember Isaiah 40:31! 😉

    1. Oh awesome! Thank you! I can’t wait to look it up and take a listen. those lyrics are so powerful. fly high on broken wings. wow. that’s awesome. You’re right – it gives us an opportunity to see Him work. Thanks for the kind words. hugs xox

      1. Awesome! Glad I could offer encouragement to you and her! I hope you enjoyed Disciple! They really are a powerful group of people and have been spreading God’s Word through music for over 20 years!

        God is doing great things through you Caralyn 🙂 and don’t worry–the right guy for you will come along!

  17. Thank You, Caralyn. Nature gives so generously and asks nothing in return. The moon, tides and tidal rhythms can teach us so much of God’s plan for us and how He would have us be.

    1. Thank you so much for this beautiful response. You’re so right – it all is so beautiful and powerful and points back to the Maker. So so true. God is good! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks friend. You’re right- let go and let God. That’s how the saying goes i guess 🙂 and it’s so true – trusting Him is the only way to make it through this life, honestly! Thanks for your constant encouragement and positivity. It means a lot! Hugs and love xox

  18. Your posts often remind me of the well known poem “Footprints in the Sand” (and this post more than any other!). I’m sure you are familiar with it but, if not, just search online for “Footprints in the Sand Poem” – Always worth a read.

    1. Thanks Ally! Oh that one is one of my all time favorites. I actually have a little stone that I keep in my purse that has footprints on it to remind me of it 🙂 thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  19. As a parent, I can tell you that you are important to your heavenly father as much as you are to your earthly one. If He seems farther away then He used to be it isn’t He who has moved. If you had a child wouldn’t you want that child to bring you the sand dollars the child found in his/her life? Yes, you would. I know this because I’m a parent. Your heavenly parent wants you to bring everything to Him. But I think you know this already, you just did what we humans often do when we try to make our bodies a living sacrifice. It is terribly difficult to keep a living sacrifice on the altar.

    1. Oh friend, thank you so much for this beautiful encouragement. You’re right-He never moves. And I am to hand everything over to Him. He wants it. And He can handle it. What a comforting truth. Thanks again. Hugs and love xox

  20. I hope you enjoyed the wedding and the time in Florida. Smart play on the sun protection! She must always be ready for her close-up!

    I’ve shaken my fist at God a time or two. A few years ago I stood in the driveway after the ambulance took Hillary to the ER and yelled at Him. I shook my fist and told Him to come get me, if someone needs to suffer. Just leave my daughter alone!!

    I was, of course, yelling at the wrong Being. This is Satan’s world, his calls, his plays. I should’ve been screaming at him instead. But no, in my fury, I let him egg me on.

    “That’s right, King! Tell that SOB what’s what! How dare he go after your daughter. Say it again! Louder!!”

    And, like a moron, I did.

    “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.”

    My God, Caralyn! I lost my breath when I read those lines. “Just let me in!” Something about how you put all this, what a blessing! How do you do it? I had my yelling jag with God, but never got where you did. I know you appreciate my support, but my cup remains full. God keeps it full through you in large part.

    All I know is that this is why I enjoy your friendship so much. You have so much to say, to give.

    Like tonight? 24,000+ sand dollars.

    1. Oh gosh, Jeff. You are too good. Thank you. Thank you for always being an encourager and a Truth speaker. Honestly, I walk away from every interaction moved and with a brand new perspective. I think you’re right – the thief does like to egg us on. My mom once told me the he finds a foothold and then invites seven of his friends. And anger and bottling up emotion is definitely a place in my life where a foothold could be. bringing Hillary to the ER must have been so scary as a father. I would have done the same. But you’re so right, it’s in those moments that He wants us to yell to Him instead. Thank as always for your generous kindness my friend. The Patreon podcast will be up later tonight – I’m at church with my mom so I haven’t been able to steal away and record. But it will be later! Big hugs to you and your family 🙂 xox

  21. (1) Good perspective. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been angry with God more often lately than I have at any other point in my life, and it’s a new and strange experience to me that I still need to learn how to deal with.

    (2) Where was this beach, if I may ask? Just curious.

    1. Thank you so much for this. Yeah, being angry with God is hard to make heads or tails of. I think at the end of the day, He just wants us to throw Him our junk so that He can handle it. Hang in there friend. Praying for you. And it’s in Sarasota Florida!! 🙂 thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      1. Amen. 🙂 Thank you for your prayers… I really appreciate it. And I haven’t been to Sarasota; the farthest south I made it on the Atlantic Coast during my travels of 2005 was St. Augustine. The beaches out here are so different from East Coast beaches… my first time setting foot in a non-Pacific ocean (Gulf Shores, Alabama, also during my 2005 travels) it was so weird that the water was warm, let alone that the water was warm at night.

  22. Go to the psalms. No religious pretense, no veneer or forced smiley face. “I’m pissed off and here’s why” – though it was Hebrew and the word pictures are 3000 years old. Did you know there are swear words in the Bible? Several of them.

    You’re exceptional at being real; you can be like that with God. It’s not like He hasn’t heard it before. Except from you, it will be a special opportunity for healing and warm love.

    And from that will come

    Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    which has 2 prongs – 1) new desires may come into your heart and 2) God will fulfill those desires.

    You are so loved.

    1. Wow, thank you so much for this. You know, I love the psalms. i was actually going through my inpatient journal the other day, and it filled with verses from the psalms, of crying out to God and calling Him into our anger. I really appreciate you sharing that. You’re right – I’ve got to be real with God. thanks for the encouragement. hugs xo

  23. The tides are so amazing aren’t they? I love the beach too, and the comparison of the tides to the cycle of our own lives is perfect. It was a year ago this month that my own Mom was recovering from her brain “issue”. I say issue because it was a medical complication caused by surgery. You must have been so thankful to see your Mom actually walking on the beach ahead of you and your sister-in-law. That must have been an emotional moment. Glad to hear she is up and about. I love how we all have a perfect picture in our minds of what our lives are “supposed” to look like. What our relationships are “supposed” to be. Somehow we compare our own lives to lives that aren’t truly “normal” at all, but instead ones that you would usually see depicted on a hallmark card, or lifetime Movie where everyone lives happily ever after. God (the universe) always has his own plan for our journey, and it’s almost never what we expect it to be. If we never experienced adversity in our lives, how would we ever grow as spiritual beings? How would we ever be interesting or have wisdom to offer this world? Here’s to awesome daughters who love their Moms. Here’s to you for sharing your journey!

    1. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this. I’m so sorry that you walked a similar path. Gosh, that’s so tough. You’re right though – those pressures and expectations of “supposed to’s” and “should’s” do nothing bring us down. Yes, those moments of adversity allow us a chance to grow. thanks for stopping by! big hugs to you xox

  24. Beautifully written and I am happy to hear you found your ‘sand dollar’. I am not a deeply religious person, rather spiritual than religious but having gone through some of the toughest periods in my life the past 4 years, I have found my inner peace. Mind you, it took me a long time lol I cannot change what has happened (incurable illness, mental illness & domestic violence) but I have chosen not to let it beat me. I could be angry at the world, at God, at the Universe or even at those who have harmed me, but I choose not to be. It won’t change anything. It is what it is! When something goes wrong, we naturally want to blame someone, but I love the way you described how you got through that moment. I loved this post because I find solace in nature also, whether it be just sitting at our local beach with my husband reflecting on life, or taking in the beautiful sites of the mountains from my kitchen sink. Life is there for us to enjoy it! Wishing you all the best xx Tina ps thank you for popping by my revamped blog 🙂

    1. Hi Tina, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been walking a challenging path here recently. I’ll definitely keep you in my heart and prayers. I’m glad you’ve found that peace. That is such a gift to yourself. You should celebrate that victory 🙂 Thanks for your kind words. Lucky you to have such an amazing view from the kitchen ! 😉 Sending big big hugs ox

      1. Thank you, I appreciate that! I live in a beautiful part of Australia (east coast of New South Wales – approx. 5 hours drive north of Sydney) so I have the best of all of natures wonders – mountain views, and both the beach and river within 5 minutes each from my home! Definitely loving life these days xx

  25. I’ve been absent for a while, but it’s great to catch up on your journey. I don’t know that this will mean anything, but if distance was no issue (and God gave me permission) you would definitely have to either allow me to take you out or hurt my feelings. (Hope that comes across sweet and not creepy).

    P.S. I remember the days before you ever showed the full smile on here, and this is way better! Best wishes 🙂

    1. Thanks Katharina, I really appreciate that. Yes, I do believe that. I believe that He is good and wants to be near His children. thanks for the kind words. big hugs xx

  26. So interesting to read this … I had a similar experience this weekend. I’m involved in dog rescue, and on Saturday I got to drive a little cutie clear across our state to her new home. I asked the people who gave her up for adoption to help out with gas money – I needed $50 – and to my delight they gave me $100. Maybe it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but money is really tight for us at the moment … and I’d arranged to meet a good friend for lunch after I’d delivered the pup. So it was good to know that was covered, plus something extra.

    Well, I lost the $100. I’d pushed it into my pocket instead of putting it into my wallet, and it must have fallen out during one of our pee stops along the way. I was just so MAD, at myself for being stupid, but also at God for not taking better care of me. Well, I took a deep breath and decided to just give it over to him (not that I had a lot of choice, mind you!) I prayed that he would give it to someone who really needed it, more than I did – maybe a homeless person or just someone going through hard times.

    When I got to the restaurant where I’d arranged to meet my friend, I dug through my wallet and handbag again, just in case, and I unearthed $13. Ok, nice, so I wasn’t totally without cash! I went inside and had a delicious lunch and lovely visit, and when the bill came my share was $13. Later, on the three hour drive back home, I got to thinking about this. I think God showed me that he will provide for my needs – even trivial needs like lunch dates. The gas money wasn’t a big deal – I’ll just stay home a bit more this month; I have plenty to do without gallivanting all over town. I had enough for my meal. It was okay.

    Sometimes I think the most extraordinary thing about living in Christ is how it constantly changes you.

    1. Wow, what a rollercoaster of emotions in this post. First I was elated for you, and then devastated and then filled with peace by the end. gosh, I’m so sorry that you lost it, but you’re so right – God does provide for His children. I’m glad you had your lunch date covered! And also – PS, I think it is amazing that you work with rescuing dogs. thats amazing. Praying for you that that 100 turns up!! big hugs to you, and thanks for reading! xox

      1. Thank you! It’s weird, but the $100 doesn’t matter. It was an ouch, but having let it go it’s really been let go. Although I really DO hope it’s picked up by someone who needs it!

  27. Amazing, graceful, loving, poignant. You will definitely be blessed with a man that will love you, love your Faith, share in it with you and many other things.
    You seem to grow every day, you are a blessing, a living testimony that is conveys God’s love, Grace and mercy.

  28. We are created with three responses built in for when words fail us: the scream, the sob, and the laugh. These are very closely related, and sometimes two, or all three, can occur simultaneously. This seems like a clue about the nature of God and, by extension, our own natures. This post has struck a chord. Sometimes we’re not dealing with a tide. Sometimes we’re dealing with a pool which has simply dried up. What do we do? Wait for rain? Dig a well? Walk on in search of water? The answer is: We don’t know. We can try one or the other and see if it helps. Some solutions are more active than others, but they risk draining our energy. Some solutions are more passive, but they risk squandering our time. Do we scream, sob, or laugh? Is there really a difference? God always hears, but does He always respond? Sometimes the response is — or can sound like — silence. What then?

    Once we accept who God is, there is simply no turning away from that. No denying it. So we keep seeking the living water, even if sometimes hope feels more like torment than promise.

    All I can say with certainty is that we don’t give up. We’re not here for that. I wish I could say more than that with certainty, but I’m merely human. Sometimes it does help to read a good book… or The Good Book… or maybe even a well-written, insightful blog posting.

    1. Thanks so much John. I’m so glad this hit home with you. The scream, the sob and the laugh. Wow that is so true. And I love that truth – there really is no denying it when we accept who God is. Thanks for this awesome response. big hugs xox

  29. So true. We truly grow during the “rough times” (your low tides). Life would be boring if everything was perfect all of the time wouldn’t it? I think the greatest lesson one can learn is detachment. As soon as we are attached to a thought, feeling, person, place, thing, etc., we are stuck and sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, this attachment can really hurt us, because it causes us to fight change. This is problematic because our human mind does not grasp what God’s plan for us is. Many times God shows us the way and we ignore it or fail to catch on because we are so attached to what we think God wants for us.

    Everything is in its rightful place in the worlds of God.

    God never gives us a problem we cannot solve.

    I live by these last two sentences. They never fail me.

    Great posting, as always.

    1. Thanks so much, David. You’re right – it’s during the trials that we grow and strengthen our relationship with Him. Yes! It would be boring! Gosh- detachment. that’s definitely an important lesson to learn — i definitely still need to learn it. And it’s true – we can only see, (and are able to comprehend) a snapshot. God sees the whole picture. Those are great sentences to live by. thanks for sharing the with me 🙂 big hugs xox

  30. YAS girl! There is nothing like stepping away from life circumstance and just choosing to enjoy some natural life! Reflecting on God’s physical creation can be so freeing and full of revelation. I am so happy that no matter how long, you got that time to just think and feel.

    So good.

    -JV

    1. Hey JV! Thanks so much!! You’re so right, when we interact with nature, it’s a personal encounter with God. It so cool to think that He created all the majestic scenes in nature that we’re walking and hiking and swimming in! He really loves to delight us. Yeah, it was definitely a good weekend for that. thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement. hope your week is off to a great start! hugs xo

      1. Amen to all that! Yes, in this current world of technology and synthetic material, nature is even more important to recognize! It is so overlooked. My week is starting off on a good foot! There is nothing like Easter season. I sense revival! Amen? 😉

        -JV

  31. I love the phrase verklempt! I am at the ocean today and did a walk as well. You are correct kid, the waves, the wind, the sounds and smells recharge us all!

    Somewhere out there is one VERY lucky man who will fall into your heart, and you into his, and you will be the happiest people on earth. You deserve it.

    And if mom is half as tough as her daughter (and I know she is) She will be there and giggling and bickering just as you expect! Take care lady 🙂 Hugs to ya!

    1. Thanks Tony! Haha yeah it’s a fun word. And gosh, thanks for that encouragement. Seriously, it means the world. I know she will. I have faith in that. She is one tough cookie. 🙂 hope your week is off to a great start! Hugs and love xox

  32. Hello my friend, I have taken sometime to read this compelling post. I have a few thoughts and I will list them.
    1. Learning to Let God Work can sometimes be a challenge because as humans we want to have control of certain situations if we can.
    Let God Work. However we must also understand that just because we have let God Work it does not mean to become slothful. It means give him the burdens that are too heavy for us to carry. That is why an angel came to Jesus to strengthen him in the wilderness and in the garden the night of his arrest. Proverbs 3:5-6. Small verse yes, but big impact.
    2. I think the buckeye state is doing you some good. I can see it in your writing. God will never leave you nor forsake you. Learn to be content in whatever state you are in because you know the Lord is in control.
    3. Thanks for the shout out. (Flowers, or Chocolate)
    4. Trust , Humility and Faith in God is great. Contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.
    5. I challenge you the next time you open your Bible to be unconventional. What I mean be that is perhaps not hearing the sound of NYC traffic jams right now is a good thing. It could teach you that stillness is needed and in that you can gain patience because you living out Proverbs 3:5-6 Study his words. Think on them.. This is a high tide for you right now. The reason why is because your closeness with the Lord is wonderful. Some people that learned divine patience in low tide situations include the names of but are not limited to Paul, Jonah, Joseph, John, Daniel, The Hebrew Boys, Job, Esther Gideon,Joshua, David,Nehemiah Elijah and yes even Jesus himself. Dear woman, incompus your mind around their live events and let their triumphs give you the courage to face the trials ahead by simply speaking to your heart.
    6. Everything with your mother will be well in God’s timing. I know sometimes as humans we are never the patient generation but this is where love, tenderness and care is required. God has a very special plan for your life…. Don’t run from it, embrace. Say within yourself OR out loud whichever you prefer “Have thine own way Lord”
    7. I will pray for you at the altar when I arrive tomorrow night.
    8. I think you really should answer number three. Hahahaha!

    1. That’s really great advice. I do have this time of stillness. I should be taking advantage of that in full. Thanks for this awesome reflection and encouragement. I appreciate your prayers. Hugs and love xox

      1. You’re welcome what else can I do I’m Canadian being kind is what I’m all about. Offering encouragement is what myself as a Christian is all about because I’m a happy Christian. You show me an unhappy Christian and I Will Show You Dead Man’s Bones.

  33. Reblogged this on WildTangents and commented:
    Many times our “low-tide” seasons are God’s way of drawing our attention to the little but hugely significant things we miss as we are racing our way through life.

  34. We often forget don’t we, about the bigger picture, becoming so consumed with all our worries and struggles. I’m so glad you got sone perspective. There’s no where better to find it either than at the sea. Hugs xo 💕

    1. Thanks Miriam. So true. I know I forget! We only see what’s through the peep hole – God knows what’s truly on the other side of the door and we can rest assured that it is good:) Hugs and love xox

  35. It’s amazing how God reveals different layers of struggle, as well as the beautiful, all at the precise moment they need to be revealed… I can sleep a little easier tonight knowing and believing He is here, and I’m not alone in my darkest hour….
    Thank you for sharing and may God forever bless your unique spirit ………

    1. Thank you so much friend. You’re right- He does reveal different layers to us during challenging season. Amen to that – we are never alone. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  36. 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.”

    GOD BLESS YOU <3

    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

  37. 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.

  38. Thank you for posting this. I am reposting it in mine for it matches what I just prayed and received this morning. I just included your post link. I hope that’s okay.

    1. Thanks so much Melissa. Oh good! I’m so glad that it resonated with you. That’s absolutely okay. I’m honored. Sending up my prayers with yours 🙂 big hugs xox

  39. 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! 🙂

  40. “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!

  41. 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!

    1. Thanks for this. Oh really! How’s the book? I’ve wanted to check out the movie! And you’re right-it’s a little at a time sort of thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts:) big hugs xox

  42. 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.

  43. 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 🙂 <3

    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

  44. 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!!!!

    1. Oh my gosh Kris. Wow. Thank you so much! What an incredibly kind note. I am seriously so touched. I will definitely give her a big hug! Sending a big hug right back at’cha 🙂 Much love xox

  45. Thank you for this article – it is so refreshing to see that Gods Will be done. Look into the heart of God through all of His creations, accept him and you will see your destiny.

  46. 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.

    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

  47. 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 🙂

  48. I wanna say thankyou for checking out my post! I think you are so brave and i will be posting a blog update soon telling people to check out your blog! Keep being you! xxx

  49. 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” >

  50. 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 .

  51. 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 🙂

    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

  52. 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.

    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

  53. 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

  54. 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

    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

  55. Even a low-tide the ocean/beach are beautiful, if we look around.
    (P.S. I forgot to congratulate you on your SAG status in my prior comment)
    Oscar

  56. I sure needed to hear this again. I’ve had some rough, painful weeks (physically) and questioning what God is doing, what’s his purpose in this….all over again. (And getting angry again ) Thanks for sharing.

      1. Thanks. If you get around to stopping my by page, feel free to comment and let me know what you think. Thoughts and or recommendations will be appreciated.

  57. 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.

  58. 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. ❤️

    1. Thank you so much Nicole. You’re so right – that allows us to be His hands and love. That’s a really powerful and beautiful perspective. thanks for sharing it with me. big hugs xox

  59. 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. 💕

  60. 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!!!

  61. 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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