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A Heaven-Sent Message in the Sand

I was feeling overwhelmed and overburdened.  I needed reassurance that God was with me.

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Usually I’m not an early riser, but on our beach vacation in Fort Lauderdale I was up with the sun. The flash of dawn on the water and peaceful rhythm of the waves against the shore always made me feel close to God. I pulled on my clothes, anxious to get outside and walk in the sand.

Life had seemed hard lately. My computer consulting business kept me more busy than I sometimes wanted to be, not to mention managing the office and doing all of the bookkeeping for my husband Chuck’s oil business.

And then there were our teenage sons,who needed my guidance more than ever these important years. With so many responsibilities I’d been feeling overburdened, and I wanted reassurance that God was nearby to help me carry the load.

Careful not to wake Chuck and the boys, I crept out of the hotel room and made my way to the empty beach. Breaking sunlight danced on the water. Majestic waves rolled up to kiss the shore, powerful and gentle all at once, just like God. But his closeness eluded me now. It seemed almost too much to ask for a sign. How could someone so awesome care about my small life?

I walked along the water line, where shells and tiny rocks tumbled over my toes. I kicked a lump of coral. A white shell stuck up out of the sand. It was somewhat heart-shaped with a smaller red heart seemingly painted in the center. I’ve never seen such a shell!

I bent over to pick it up. One touch and I was filled with the most wonderful reassurance, as if God himself had whispered, “I love you, Polly.”

I cupped my find in my hand and walked on. Shells of all kinds lie on the beach. What were the chances that this one was a message meant for me? Impossible. A Y-shaped piece of coral caught my eye. As I bent down to pick it up I saw another piece of coral, this one shaped like an L, with its twin lying close beside it. Y, L, L—and what was that just ahead? Coral, in a doughnut shape. “Or the letter O,” I said to myself, pondering the letters in the palm of my hand. If only I had a P! But there were no other coral pieces in my path. Except that one piece I kicked earlier.

I stopped short, turned around and retraced my steps. It had to be around somewhere. There, stuck in the sand. I pulled it out, brushed it off and turned it into position. A perfect letter P.

Someone more powerful and more beautiful than the ocean wanted me to know that He cared for me by name.

Excerpted from A Procession of Angels.

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