In an instant, I went from totally relaxed, sunning on the beach, to paralyzed by pain.  All it took was a gust of wind and a few children running past to kick up and spray the powdered glass that is sand into my face. One tiny speck (that felt like a shard) landed in my eye.

Time stopped. The beach disappeared and I was momentarily paralyzed by pain.  My eyes slammed shut like an oyster shell. I blinked. I blinked again. It scraped the grain across my eye. I clamped my eyes shut. Next came a flood of tears.  The tears washed the sand  away. I sighed  with relief.  (Funny how pain takes us INTO ourselves and stretches out time like a rubber-band- isn’t it?)

It’s strange that the same grain of sand that caused so much pain in my eye, can get into an oyster and become a pearl.  Of course, oysters are created with the ability to coat (with shimmering layer after layer of nacre) the irritating invader, creating a pearl. and  my eye  is not.

I’m learning that my heart, is.

Over the years, I’ve experienced plenty of oyster moments.  Things that had temporarily paralyzed me with pain and left me blinded, tears flooding my eyes, pain threatening to burst my heart, have, over time, with grief and healing and God, and most importantly with grace- both given and received, have been turned into pearls. To be honest,  I am amazed.

I can’t do a tutorial explaining HOW it happened. And  I know that it doesn’t ALWAYS happen… But for me, it has. I’ve learned to string the pearls and wear them for others to see. In writing, in speaking, in truth telling and in living with love and authenticity. For one purpose: to share hope.

I don’t know what today is like for you. Today may be the day the sand has hit your eye.  The pain may be paralyzing.  You may be blinking away tears while you try to read these words.  You may wonder if it will ever subside and whether you will ever be able to see past your pain.

The answer is YES. It can.  If you let grace and grief do it’s work.  I’m praying that it does.

Or- maybe, you have a box of your own pearls.  But are afraid to let them be seen by others– You won’t wear them… you worry about them..I pray you have courage to share them- they are beautiful and hope shared is an amazing thing.

You’re not alone. You’re not forgotten.  Don’t give up. I’m praying that God provides the grace, the healing, the time and the peace that you need. I pray that the tears help wash away the pain, and that when you can see again.. you find a pearl, of hope.

Dear Lord- I don’t know how you do it, but I know that you can bring hope to the most hope-less situations and peace and healing tot he most painful ones. I pray today that you would apply the nacre of your love and grace to the hurts of those who come here… and that someday they would find a pearl formed from their pain. I love you lord- and thank you for the string of pearls I can wear and share.. I pray we all can find that courage that comes from you-amen

One of my most treasured passages –