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  • Writer's pictureHope Stuart

HOPE in the Sand

I don’t know about you but I just LOVE the ocean! The fact that I’m usually on vacation when I am at the beach is a significant part of this ocean crush, however I believe it goes much deeper than that. I find when I am on the beach, admiring the rippling canvas God has painted before me, I experience an abundance of JOY. I enJOY the sand between my toes and the ocean waves that tickle my ear drums. I enJOY the fresh smell of salt air in my nose and the warm sunshine kisses. Yes, it’s apparently clear that I enJOY anything and all things… ocean… along with the HOPE it brings.

I enJOY the ocean so much that a birthday celebration combined with an ocean visit finds itself in the top 10 of HOPE birthdays. I know late March in the Northeast is pushing the beach season a bit; however, I have recently been blessed with several beach birthdays, specifically at the Jersey shore (shout out to my Jersey peeps!). To me, it doesn’t get much better than enjoying an amazing lunch with my boys while sneaking onto an empty beach, armed with a blanket and something bubbly… wink, wink.

This summer, we snuck away from the baseball fields and were blessed to discover an amazing beach spot within a half hour from our hotel. I felt home, at peace… like there was no place else I would rather be at that particular time. While “beaching it”, all my worries and stresses were washed away… with each passing wave. It was as if God whispered with each wave: I’ve got that worry, I’ve got that stress, I’ve got that care. It was like I had written my anxieties in the sand and watched God wash each one away with each rippling wave. Hmmmm… isn’t that what God encourages us to do in prayer? Give it ALL to God and He will handle it ALL. Yes, God… You can take that worry… this stress and… add one more care. I’ve got Your sand and Your water as my: “Calgon, take me away” remedy!

God is certainly EVERYWHERE and He makes that abundantly clear with ALL things ocean. Through the sights, smells, and sounds along with the power, providence and peace the ocean provides, God has His hand and HOPE in ALL of it. And while God can spiritually wash away our cares and worries, the ocean has physiological healing properties as well… properties covered in HOPE. The reduction in stress while relaxing at the ocean has been found to lower heart and breathing rates while boosting endorphins and releasing oxytocin. Yes, while God heals us spiritually, He also heals us physically when we are wrapped in all things ocean... oh snap!

The ocean provides so many healthy HOPE winks! While swimming in the ocean alone has obvious health benefits; it also helps relieve joint pain, improves muscular strength, and promotes longevity and endurance. Exposing your skin to sea water, which contains health-generating minerals, you will improve skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis. Just breathing in the salt air has been found to alleviate cystic fibrosis flare-ups. Lest I forget the fact that sand is a natural exfoliator for your skin! Ummm… more ocean please!

As if you weren’t impressed enough with the aforementioned oceanic-related, HOPE filled blessings, God provides yet another… the sand dollar. Yes, this little treasure… the one that makes shell collectors’ hearts skip a beat… is packed with a treasure trove of Godly symbols… all filled with HOPE. I will let the following poem written by an anonymous author do the talking… EnJOY a least one more ocean visit before the beach season ends … finding HOPE in the Sand!

The Legend of the Sand Dollar

There’s a lovely little legend that I would like to tell, of the birth and death of Jesus, found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely, you’ll see that you find here, four nail holes and a fifth one, made by a Roman’s spear.

On one side the Easter lily, its center is the star, that appeared unto the shepherds and led them from afar.

The Christmas Poinsettia etched on the other side, reminds us of His birthday, our happy Christmastide.

Now break the center open, and here you will release, the five white doves waiting, to spread Good Will and Peace.

This simple little symbol, Christ left for you and me, to help us spread His Gospel, through all Eternity.

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