An Expectant Heart

God-made cross

God-made cross

We just got back from a vacation at the beach. We needed it. I needed it. I found myself getting off alone and talking with God. I got honest with him and spoke out loud. No one was around to hear except him and the birds. It was glorious.

I did wonder…did he hear me? Was God here with me on this little remote island? He assured me his Truth is truth no matter where we go on this earth. Nowhere is out of his realm. And then I spied this cross in a tree. Seeing it tuned my eyes to look for other traces of my Father in Heaven.

God-made heart

God-made heart

Slowly, I began to relax. On a walk on the beach, I looked down and saw this little heart. It made me smile. On the way home, I noticed this shadow created in the sand. I think the resemblance to a star is astounding.

Star shadow

Star shadow

That night, I posted this on my Facebook page: If you expect to find God wherever you go, you will find Him. These are some things I saw today. The post touched many right where they were, hoping to see God.

On one particular day, the heat index was 110 degrees, and I was out looking for God on the beach. I was about to turn around and join my family in the pool when I felt called to go “just around the bend”. Okay, I thought reluctantly. I was thirsty. Sunburned probably. But go around the bend? Hey, why not. As I arrived, I inhaled at the sight. It was an inlet coming from the ocean, and it was low tide. Minnows and fiddler crabs. A narrow bridge over a waterway. It was magical, and I knew the kids would love this discovery.

My driftwood cross

My driftwood cross

I saw some driftwood there and decided to add my own little something to the landscape. This is what I made:

The next day, I talked the kids into visiting the new inlet, and they saw a shark in there (no lie!) It was better than finding a shark’s tooth my son kept looking for. My daughter finally saw dolphins, too. Shark

Cove became our new hideout. We bought a crab net and decided to come back the next day.

God-made heart

God-made heart

The next morning, I saw this little leaf heart on the steps overlooking the ocean. Great way to start the day, I thought. Then my private walk on the beach produced this new cross (below). It wasn’t the one I had made. In fact, I had nothing to do with it. Some other humans, perhaps seeking and finding God on the beach themselves had made their own

Man-made cross

Man-made cross I found

cross for someone to find. I had found it. It blessed ME.

God-made question markLater that evening, my family and I returned to Shark Cove. On the way, we discovered this unusual question mark made by a tiny horseshoe crab in the sand. I assure you it was not man-made. A question mark. Why would we found a question mark? I wondered. And then it seemed to make sense. Because of what we found NEXT.

Folks, I am not lying when I say my

daughter found THIS stone at low tide on our way to Shark Cove. It was turned over and buried 80 percent in the sand. She dug it up and came running to me.

"prayer pebble"

“prayer pebble” my daughter found in the sand

“Do you know what this is?” I asked her. I was concerned my daughter had found someone else’s Guilt and picked it up!

“It’s a prayer pebble,” she said.

“I guess someone was trying to let go of their guilt and wrote it on this stone and threw it into the ocean,” I said. “Hmmm. I think I might have written it in washable marker instead of permanent ink :)” We decided to pray for whomever this person was who needed to let go of such a heavy burden as guilt. There is a Jewish custom of dropping little pieces of bread into the water to represent sins and letting the water and fish carry them away. But this person had written hers in stone. The water hadn’t washed away her “Guilt” and it couldn’t stay buried under the sand. Only one thing could make this person’s guilt go away. I had experience with this and knew what to do.

Laying Guilt at the cross

Laying Guilt at the cross

Micah 7:18-19

Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

The Bible says that God himself throws our sins into a sea of forgetfulness. So I took the person’s Guilt and found the driftwood cross I had made. I laid his/her sins on the cross and prayed that the guilt would be gone and the person might live in freedom. True freedom.

Several days into my vacation, I realized I had indeed found God on this island. I looked for him, asked for him, and found him. And when it appeared that someone else needed him, too, we stepped in on his or her behalf. Because that’s what this faith thing is all about. It’s not all about us. We are to work on our faith. We are to seek God with an expectant heart of finding him. Because often times, our task is to intervene on someone else’s behalf who may not have the faith or strength or expectant heart we have at this moment. Everything beautiful takes maintenance. Our bodies and health, our marriages and relationships, and yes, our faith.

So I found God on the island. Or rather, he gave me a heart transplant. He replaced my worn-out, tired one with a new, more expectant heart. Because that’s what we can do as believers. We can ask to be renewed and refreshed. No one ever said things would be easy as a believer or that we wouldn’t have problems. But we are promised that we now have a Father in heaven who will hear us if we call to him and earnestly seek to do his will.

This is the man-made heart I found at the end of the trip.

This is the man-made heart I found at the end of the trip.

If you’ve lost your expectation of seeing God do miraculous things in your life or even just seeing hints of him at all, please take it from me. You may just be tired. You may be overwhelmed with life. You may need a heart transplant or maybe just a little tune-up. Take a little bit of time to go off on your own and let God find you there, wherever you are, as you earnestly, expectantly, seek him. You might just find, like I did on my way back to the cottage, that someone, somewhere, is sending you their love and your refreshed, expectant heart is finally ready and willing to receive it and then… to pass it on.

 

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Nicole Seitz is the author of 6 novels and teaches art at a local school near Charleston, SC. Visit her website at www.nicoleseitz.com.

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Comments

  1. says

    What an inspirational story, Nicole; I love those little messages from heaven, which remind my heart that we indeed serve a personal God. So glad you’re refreshed. The beach always does that for me as well…or really just being outside in nature!

  2. Rachel Hauck says

    Nicole, how utterly beautiful. I’m teary-eyed. God is so amazing. My faith is exalted this morning to love Him and worship Him more!

    What a grand vacation!

    Rachel

  3. says

    I’m with Rach– teary-eyed, encouraged, and my faith is exalted to look for Father today anywhere and everywhere. YOU are such a blessing in our lives, Nicole. Thank you for sharing your great big heart!

  4. nicole seitz says

    Thank you all for your sweet comments. Love chatting on the porch with my coffee. My challenge will be to take this freshness into school next week. Yes, my summer is over!

  5. Lisa Wingate says

    Nicole, what a peaceful spot in the day. I feel like I’ve found my own little oasis on the beach. I love your expectant heart and your ability to seek the divine in all things.

    I’m so glad I came back to read this today!

  6. Julie Cantrell says

    Nicole, this is my favorite post ever on SBV. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I think of the person who left that prayer pebble and my heart aches. So much hurt in this world, everyone reaching out…hoping to be heard and healed. I’m glad your daughter found that stone, and that your eyes were open to see all the other messages being sent your way. Hugs, j

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