Nothing beats a trip to the beach! It is absolutely, positively one of my most favorite places to visit with my family. Living in Virginia, we usually vacation on the beautiful coast of North Carolina. I love sheltering in for a week with my kids and having no commitments other than loving and taking care of them! Vacation allows me to rest and focus solely on being Cole and Jolie’s mom. Today I was scrolling through photos and videos of our trip this past summer to Emerald Isle and was reminiscing on what a great week we had. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! I don’t recall one single day of rain. We enjoyed all the usual beach activities together such as bike riding, shell hunting, boogie boarding, playing in the sand, hanging out by the pool, surf and pier fishing, eating delicious seafood and ice cream of course! We really had the best time. It was our best beach vacation yet! It pains me to think that we may not be able to go this summer due to possible lingering restrictions due to the COVID-19 virus. I am hopeful that will not be the case but time will tell.
Our journey to the beach is not terribly long but is long enough with two kids. We leave early in the morning and time the trip perfectly so that we can stop and enjoy lunch at our favorite family owned and operated N.C. bbq restaurant. We fill up on delicious homemade southern food then we grab our fishing licenses at the sports shop next door before setting off on the last leg of our trip. Traveling to our vacation destination always feels like work. I have to pay attention to directions and keep my children occupied and content in a confined space for hours. Trying to keep the peace can be challenging and exhausting at times. It can feel nothing like rest and relaxation that is promised on vacation. So for me in our travels, vacation starts the moment we hit the bridge leading us onto the island. At that moment, the radio goes off and the car windows go down. It is almost necessary that I immerse myself immediately in the fresh salty ocean air. The sense of joy and relaxation I experience in that moment alone erases the hardships of the journey and has me excited for the week to come!
I love the ocean. A beach is not a beach without an ocean in my opinion. I have sat on many imposter beaches besides lakes and rivers before and they don’t even begin to compare to the feeling I get when I am at the beach beside the ocean. It is the ocean alone that makes the beach worth the trip. While the experience on the bridge is good, it is still not enough to satisfy me for long. So as soon as we get to our rental home, one of the first things I like to do before unpacking the car is run to the beach and celebrate by putting my eyes on the ocean! I want to see it, I want to feel it and I want to hear it. I just love being beside the ocean. I could sit and watch the ocean all day long. I love the sound of the waves crashing against the shore and the feeling of the water lovingly rushing up the beach to catch my feet. I just absolutely love it. The power and beauty of the ocean captivates me and awakens all my senses. It amazes me how the same ocean can look and feel so different each and every day. It is incredible and I take in as much of it as I possibly can. I feel so carefree and so calm but at the same time I am full and overflowing with excitement and joy. I feel my very best beside the ocean and when I leave I feel so refreshed and restored. The only other thing I can begin to compare it to is the daily presence of God in my life. The best thing about God is that I don’t have to travel hours to experience those same feelings of freedom and peace. And I don’t have to wait a year to experience the joy and the excitement again. I can feel like I am beside the ocean every single day of my life when I am with God. God loves us and he wants us to feel our best every single day. In so many ways, the ocean is a beautiful representation of God and his character.
Standing on the beach, dazing out into the ocean you can not see the end of it. It goes on forever almost as if the ocean and sky become one. It’s width and depths greater than anything we could ever fully explore or understand in our lifetime. It reminds me of the Bible verse, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:18. God’s love is like the ocean in that it is beyond our understanding but it is present and it is never ending and it is deep and wide. There is no height nor depths that can separate you from God’s love. He is bigger than the ocean because he created the ocean. And beyond the serene surface,there is a rich abundance of life found in the depths that He created. There is an entire ecosystem completely independent and unlike any life found on land. Fish are painted the most beautiful vibrant colors and some actually that have electric powers! The life found in the ocean alone is amazing!
The ocean deserves enormous respect for its life and its power. It is strong and mighty and like God, the ocean water is always moving. It is always in motion, even the water you see at a distance that looks still is moving. There is never a moment when the water stops. The water never grows tired. You may grow tired swimming but even when you rest the water is still moving. We must learn that when we are tired, that we must rest on the shore and let God come to us and refresh us. If we are not careful, we can exhaust ourselves swimming and do more harm than good. You can drown in the water when you are tired. You need proper rest. There is a serious responsibility that comes with enjoying the ocean. You must heed its warnings and be aware of your own condition, or it could cost you your life or the lives of others. God is like the ocean in that it is serious and deserves your respect.
So while we respect and appreciate the ocean for its love, power and strength, we are also privileged to have the opportunity to stand in its presence and receive the peace and calmness that it offers. And it is the same with God. We head to the ocean for rest and restoration from our work. We can sit beside God like we can sit beside the ocean every single day. At the ocean you can sit and watch the waves repeatedly crash onto the shore and watch as the water rushes up to meet you where you are and gently attempts to pull you in. That is so much like God, he will meet you wherever you are and try to gently lure you into the water. Closer to him. And while the waves are beautiful, it is really the sound of the waves that calms our inner storms and soothes us. It is the rolling soft sound of the waves that we crave and love so much. The ocean provides a constant breeze that refreshes you from the heat of the sun. Just like you sit on the beach and enjoy the ocean, God wants you to sit and enjoy him. He wants you to sit quietly and enjoy all the great benefits of his love for your mind, body and your soul.
God is love and he created the ocean out of love. He created you out of love. His reach and depths is greater than our understanding. He is full of beauty and life. He is strong and powerful. He is worthy of our respect and admiration. He is peaceful and gentle. He loves you so much. He desires you. He wants you. He wants you to desire him and come sit with him every day and give him the opportunity to gently pull you closer to him. He wants to fill you with his joy and peace that will protect you and keep you safe throughout your day. Please let me encourage you to take a trip to the ocean every day and experience the fullness of life with God. “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that come from God.” Ephesians 3:19
For the One,