Waves crashing on the oceanside, the sun coming up over the hayfield, the mountains stand tall and majestic, the sun setting over the swampy greens at a local seafood restaurant.
There are so many spots all over the world that are naturally beautiful. They don't seek attention, they're just there where God created them, raw and unfiltered. They don't try to impress, they are just simply there.
I spent many hours on our recent vacation looking out at the ocean. Some might think I'm crazy or wonder how in the world I can just sit there and look at the waves hour after hour, but I'd counter with how can you not?
One night I stood in the sand by the water for probably 45 minutes and looked out and up at the stars and moon because it was such a clear, gorgeous night. Our hotel had a fire pit lit every night, so after I was done there, I went to sit by the fire for a little bit.
A retired man came and sat down a few minutes later and he must've seen me out by the water. "I saw you there for quite awhile and then I went in to get a cup of coffee and came back out and you were gone. I thought you walked straight out into the ocean because it sure looked like you were going to." Nosiree, I didn't walk out, but it was so peaceful there and the night was so calm, why would I want to spend it anywhere else but right there?
The waves over those few days stirred feelings in my heart that needed stirring, that continue to crash over me wave after wave after being back home.
It was a time to again be reminded and come face-to-face with the reality of how much God loves each and every one of us. Not because of what we can bring to the table or the things we can try to prove or the way we can try to present a certain image-- He doesn't care about any of that. To Him, we're loved, regardless. To Him, we're how I view nature-- beautiful, breathtaking, and perfect in every sense, every moment, of every day.
He doesn't care if our hair is crazy in the morning, that we can't talk to anyone until we've had our cup of coffee in the morning, that we get super insecure as a result of a bad series of events in a relationship. He doesn't find us more appealing if we have a face full of makeup or a face full of zits.
He sees more than the superficial layer of who we appear to be that society sees. He doesn't think more of us if we're willing to step on a few people to get what we want, He doesn't want us to lie to make something sound better.
He not only sees our hearts, He knows our souls and He knows every single thought that crosses our mind. And you know what, He sees us at our weakest, He knows the "flaws" we deem ourselves with, He knows our strengths and our struggles, but yet, His love is relentless and He wants us to realize how valuable we are, how treasured we are, and how loved we are.
We don't have to impress others or strive for their attention. He created each of us as a unique person, with our own set of quirky characteristics and personalities. We all differ, but the one thing that remains the same is His love for us, regardless of who we are or who we think we are. He loves us in the raw, vulnerable moments, and in the moments when we try to play it cool in front of others like we have it all figured out.
There's a song called Fierce that I probably listened to on repeat a majority of the time I was there-- I went back and forth with that and Oceans because they were so fitting and they're two of my favorite songs. Anyways, the chorus goes like this:
Like a tidal wave
Crashing over me
Rushing in to meet me here
Your love is fierce
Like a hurricane
That I can't escape
Tearing through the atmosphere
Your love is fierce
The waves don't just come in every now and then calmly. They come in, wave after wave, moment after moment. They ain't just some sissy waves either-- they're strong. Yeah, okay, I'm kinda a little person so yeah, some of the waves were taller than me, but some were not. Some of them nearly knocked me down when I was standing in the ocean, in water that was only hip deep.
His love for us is like that-- so fierce, relentless, and He wants to meet us wherever we are. He comes crashing over us, filling in the broken pieces of our hearts, the lost motivation, the feelings of doubt, our insecurities and our faults. He is there, time after time, to replace the negative perceptions and feelings we have with feelings of hope, love, joy, goodness, kindness, peace, and forgiveness.
Whether we feel lovable or the complete opposite, He wants to meet us in our brokenness, in our fullness, in whatever state we are, and to ensure that we know we are loved by a God that sent His Son to die for our sins.
I've become a huge fan of traveling and seeing the country, mostly because there are so many beautiful places out there, each of which brings me a new sense of perspective and reminder that each new place was still and always will be created by the same God as you and I.
Even the most breathtaking place you can imagine was created by the same Creator. If He can do that, He can do big things in your life. He knows every grain of sand, every tree on a mountain, every minuscule detail of every thing, big and small. He's a big God, who has an even bigger heart for you.