by Diane Cretin
I recently had the opportunity to go to Santa Cruz for several days with my husband. We stayed in an Airbnb that followed Covid protocols and we socially distanced. It was a lovely, relaxing time.
My granddaughter Olivia asked if I could find her a shell while we were gone. That is all she wanted – a shell (which was good since we did not go to stores). I looked up information on my phone about which beach was supposed to be the best to find shells. On our second full day there I set out to enjoy the beach and hopefully find a shell.
For the first few minutes I just enjoyed looking around at the scenery and smelling the ocean. I love the beach! The negative ions definitely make me feel good and I love watching birds, the waves, and other people enjoying themselves.
This is my philosophy about prayer:
So I barely started my walk on the beach when I stopped to pray. “God, the only thing Olivia asked for is a shell. Will you help me find one? But not the black ones like we have in our area.” Then I added, “God, I wouldn’t mind finding a shell for me either.” Then I immediately apologized, saying that I did not want to be greedy so forget my request for a shell for me. I kid you not – I walked three feet and there was a perfect little shell to my left. This was the only shell I saw on that hour morning walk.
This emphasized to me how much God knows our heart and delights in answering our prayers. I could even imagine God saying to an angel – watch this; she just asked for a shell. Olivia should like this one.
The next day I walked on the next beach over (Seabright Beach) and talked to God, saying that I would love to find a shell for me if that was OK. Shortly thereafter I found a big shell. I also found several other shells during the next two hours.
The smallest shell in this picture was the first shell I found for Olivia. The top biggest shell was the shell I found for me. I gave all but the top shell to Olivia. I think the smaller two shells on the right have more interesting ridges on them than my shell.
I do pray to God for many things other than finding shells. But I do believe nothing is too small to take to God in prayer. Back when I was still driving Olivia to school pre-Covid, we would pray as we drove to school. It was our habit to thank God for our many blessings during that driving time. I pray for my family, both those living with me and others who live further away. When I am in my garden or other spots in nature, I thank God for the beauty of his creation and the miracle (to me) of how he created seeds to give us food. I pray about our upcoming election and for God to fill me with peace as I get anxious. I pray for God's will to be fulfilled. I pray for church and other friends. One reason I check Facebook more in these times of Covid is to try to keep track of how people are doing and see who needs prayer. As the weather turns cooler, I like to lay under the covers and pray after I first wake up. One of my most frequent prayers is for discernment as I want to make wise decisions that are pleasing to God.
There are so many examples of answered prayer in the Bible.
Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.
David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him.
I felt like God so blessed the time Lee and I had together. We talked, got coffee and a bagel and watched the ocean, sat silently and read, and in general relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company. Lee was able to go on a bike ride each morning. God really nourished my soul during my times at the beach.
Here are a few pictures I hope you enjoy. I could watch the birds for hours. I saw pelicans diving for food and other birds going after the buried food as the waves rolled in and out. Sometimes it was overcast and other times we had sun.
Natural Bridges State Park Walton Lighthouse
We were able to watch the sunset one night as we ate.
The sun sank behind a fog bank.
I pray that you can find time to refresh your soul and that you do not hesitate to talk to God about the desires of your heart.