The ocean means so much to so many. For guest blog author Elaine Roberts, an Orange County resident and CCKA supporter, the beach is a form of spiritual connection. Her story is below.
If someone wants to know what I value and enjoy the most in life, they would be able to deduce it by my home decorations and social media accounts. Both places are filled with pictures of my family, the beach, and scripture.
From the time I was born, living in Florida, and now in California, the beach has been a place of happy memories, escape, and refreshment. Some of my earliest and fondest memories with my family as a little girl include collecting shells and having picnics at the beach. In my teenage years, it was an escape from my studies and work to unwind and walk. At the end of my college years it was fitting that on one of my walks on the beach I met the most important person in my life, my future husband! As we were dating, and later married, we went to the beach almost every weekend to unwind. It is great to share what is important to you with someone you love. I have been fortunate to be able to do that now for 38 years! When we moved from Florida to California 35 years ago, being close to the beach was high priority to us. To this day, we drive out frequently to enjoy a sunset together.
In 2000, I added the discipline of solitude to my life. Weekly I observe a Sabbath and go to the beach to reflect, renew, and connect with God. What better place to be still and know that He is God than the beach! When I look at creation, I can’t help but respond in worship to the creator of it all. The beach helps me experience God’s vastness, beauty, and power.
The beach has served as a special place of solace during difficult life experiences. Being out in the fresh air, hearing the waves, walking on the sand, laying out in the sun, does my soul good. It untangles my feelings and thoughts. At the end of my college years, I broke up with a longtime boyfriend. Where did I go to escape and process that pain? The beach. Parenting teenagers, praying for them, where did I go? The beach. After hearing my husband had prostate cancer, where did I go to pray, get a grip, and hope? The beach. While walking on the beach I felt like God told me to turn around, look down, and take a picture. When I looked at my camera roll it was my feet in the sand and it looked 3D. The poem Footprints in the Sand came to mind and I felt reassured that God would carry us through, and He did. To remember God’s faithfulness I have in our home a picture of that beach and picture of my feet with a plague that says “when you see only one set of footprints, it is then that I carried you.” As my life story is being written, I am grateful that the beach has been an important part of each season and pray it will be right up to the last chapter.