She Sells Seashells

“She has trouble acting normal when she’s nervous.”

I grew up in Florida and hurricanes didn’t bother me when I was young. They always seemed to hit in the middle of the night, so my parents just put us to bed. I might wake up a time or two to the sound of rain hitting our taped windows, which always made me think large volumes of people were clapping in our yard. Now that I’m older, I’m far less comfortable. Call it age or just plain reality, but I don’t like feeling vulnerable. Hurricane Matthew wasn’t going to change that.

This is a great drawing (credit unknown) that circulated on Facebook on how God extended his hand of protection.

This is a great drawing (credit unknown) that circulated on Facebook on how God extended his hand of protection.

Yes, Hurricane Matthew. The one that recently devastated Haiti and the Bahamas to then skirt the coast of Florida and flood places like St. Augustine, Jacksonville Beach, parts of the North and South Carolina coastlines. That one. The one many of are still grappling to clean-up and recover from.

In our neck of the woods, we’ve gone ten years since any kind of significant storm hit our area. In that time, I’ve purchased a home that came with more landscaping, trees and a pool with a fairly new enclosure. I also own a retail business with 34 feet of window store frontage that couldn’t be boarded up (Yeah that pretty much threw me over the edge.) Needless to say, I was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers in the days leading up to and through the storm. This was exacerbated by our directive to evacuate the area.

The first leg of our ‘forced’ vacation landed us in Apalachicola, Florida on Thursday. It was beautiful with its balmy breezes, touristy restaurants and shops. It was too bad I couldn’t enjoy myself knowing that Matthew was due to hit home around 1 a.m. the next morning. My family was having a jolly good time, while it was my job to sulk and fret as I walked the pristine powdery beach praying, pleading with God, contemplating how to handle things once we got home…the full bag of self-absorption and woe is me.

My personal treasure trove of Apalachicola shells.

My personal treasure trove of Apalachicola shells.

As I walked in solitude along that windy, but quiet beach I noticed how the surf had dotted the shore with varying sizes and colors of shells,which I proceeded to pick up as they caught my eye. It was then that I heard His voice. God spoke to my heart saying, “See how I have crowned this beach with precious jewels? They are mine to do as I wish. I have also crowned you with many gifts and treasures which you cling to. Your life is full of many jewels. Enjoy what I have given you this moment in time.” As He spoke, I bent down and picked up a beautiful multi-colored gem and walked to the crashing surf to wash the sand from it so I could put it in my pocket. As I did, the inevitable happened. The waves knocked it out of my hand and back into the tumbling surf. God spoke to my heart again reminding me, “I have the ability to give and the ability to take away. Why do you concern yourself with those things you cannot control? What you have is not yours but mine to do as I please. I control the waves of sea and so I control your circumstances.”

Peace began to envelop me, yet as a self-proclaimed control freak, I did keep checking the weather app on my phone, which by the way, God put us in a place where cell signal was virtually nonexistent. The TV was silently left on The Weather Channel while we slept in case we wanted to check the latest update. By mid-morning Friday, I checked in with one of my staff members and dear friend who had already been scouting the area at both home and work. To God be the glory, the storm took what we now call “The Wobble” about 20 miles to the east and missed us as a direct landfall. Both locations were fine with some minor water intrusion at the store front due to the sandbags being stolen the day before, and a few large shrubs at home uprooted and plenty of tree limbs a skewed. We survived.

God honored our prayers even further. Once we arrived home on Sunday, we were able to see what exactly transpired. All of our tree debris had landed more than 6 ft. from the house exterior and pool fencing as opposed to each of our side neighbors. They both sustained pool screen tears and damage. They told us they think we have ‘a gold key’. Nope just Jesus. A God who honors the prayers of his people and gives them the wisdom to recognize that He alone owns what we have and can do what He wants with it. We just have to recognize those jewels as His and be good stewards of them.

We are blessed and it is our family’s continual prayer for those who’ve lost much more by the impact of Hurricane Matthew. May God give you strength, peace and abundance as you work to recover and restore what was destroyed. Amen.

Until next time, stay chic

Vicki

Psalm 107:28-31 Yet when they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, the Lord brought them out of their distress. He calmed the storm and its waves quieted down. So they rejoiced that the waves became quiet, and he led them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his gracious love and for his awesome deeds on behalf of mankind.

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

Matthew 8:26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

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