by Christina Stolaas

This week I got an opportunity to spend some time in one of my favorite places for spring break: the beach. No scene in my mind is as peaceful as blue skies, the glorious warmth of sun rays, sparkling soft white sand and bluish -green waves rhymetically hitting the shore. I love to run, so the opportunity to get away from the crowds to my own secluded area of sand and water was absolutely divine!

As I ran along the sand, I was mesmerized with the way the gentle low tide crept upon the shore. What caught my eye was the process of footprints being washed away from the sand. The gentle whites of the ocean’s water is an amazing illustration of how God’s mercy washes over each of our lives.

I stopped a few miles in and watched my fresh set of prints be wiped away by the water. As the first sweep of water hit, you could see the print begin to fade—though it was still clear someone had walked on the sand. The second covering of water spilled onto the sand and the footprints became less apparent as the water stripped some of the surrounding sand back into the vast ocean with the tide. By the time the prints were blanketed a third, and then subsequent fourth time, the sand was completely smooth—like no one had ever walked on it!

As I thought about my life, I was reminded that God in His extravagant mercy not only washes my sin and makes it disappear as far as the East is from the West (see Psalms 103:11) but He also makes all things NEW!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Most Christians are familiar with this verse, in fact many of us have it memorized. But when you think of it in terms of smoothing sand—as though Jesus is literally stripping away the old sand, the “footprints” of your past, and exchanging it with flawless, perfectly smooth sand—doesn’t that make it come alive? I ran back jamming Hillsong music and singing praises to my Heavenly Father for His waves of Mercy.

I’ve made mistakes. I’ve hurt others. I’ve hurt myself. People have hurt me. I have secret pain and heartache. I’ve rebelled. I’ve walked away from things that are right and tried to live life in my own power. All of these occurrences, all of these scenes that shame my memories and frame my past are like footprints. Jesus is willing and capable of covering ANY footprint. His waves of mercy can cleanse any past or present pain if I am willing to allow the gentle tide of His mercy wash me, and make me new!

The next morning during my beach run God gave me a way to illustrate this truth in a way that would tend to some of the wounds of my soul. I grabbed a stick and wrote in the sand some of the labels that have preceded over my life and robbed me of my identity in Him. Some of these labels are of my own creating, others are past occurrences that have inadventaly shaped how I view my self.

Dirty. Worthless. Abused. Unable. Damaged. Trashed.

I stood there with my feet in the sand next to my scribble and waited a few minutes. Patiently I watched as the water crept up with each new wave getting a few inches closer to my words. The slow and gentle tide covered the firt word and then the water retreated back into the ocean. Successively each new wave crept further up the shore until all of the words I’d written were washed away. My feet were glistening with the refreshing salty ocean water and the sand adjacent to me was perfectly smooth. New! As though the writing was never there.

We all have words that have been etched onto our heart and being. I know Jesus can restore the sand that represents your life. I’ve seen the waves of His mercy! They are gentle. Cleansing. Refreshing. Graceful. As you watch the transformation caused by such a gentle flow of water, you will stand in awe at both the simplicity and beauty of such a thing.

What words are written in your sand? How has he washed away the dirt in your past and made you brand new?

Christina is an energetic mom to four adorable young kids. In her free time she enjoys writing, training for roads races, and passionately pursuing a deeper walk with Jesus. Through a rough childhood she has learned to earnestly trust in the Sovereignty of God and seek to be “fruitful in suffering” as God continues to mold her to His likeness and bring beauty for ashes! (Isaiah 61:3)

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