What a Sand Dollar Taught Me about God

This past week my friend Hyunjoo and I decided to go to Newport Beach here in southern California. For the first time we got to see the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, it was stunning in color as the pink sun dipped below the sea.

While we walked from pier to pier, my friend ended up finding a sand dollar.

I was overly excited and told her how rare it is to come across those intact.

Before my friend left, she gave me the shell and told me that it reminded her of me. I was so humbled that she even thought that, I think I cried at some point. Little does my friend know just how beautiful a soul she is, I was sure God had picked it out just for her; but, for her to give it to me was like God showing her character and His character all at once — and in some way, letting me know He hasn’t forgotten me.

According to a little legend, the sand dollar actually symbolizes Christ and in the most intricate of ways. The Legend of the Sand Dollar represents the story of His birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. When I found this out, I was struck by just how thoughtful God is.

Isn’t it something? To think that a God so vast and invisible — sees me and sees me in ways I could never even see myself. It’s humbling. I often wonder why in the world I spend so much time thinking I’m less worthy and beautiful and good, when God spends so much of His time assuring me that I am.

In a world where I feel more like I’m drowning and suffocating, God still strides in the most creative of ways to comfort and embrace me; I felt it. I felt it that day at Newport Beach every time a wave would come and soak my friend and I. God was rushing in to embrace us … to soak us in His love and grace … to wash away our worries and refresh us with the goodness and beauty of Christ. In fact, we had never seen such mighty waves in all our lives.

I told my friend that this season is my transition season.

I told her that something beautiful hung in the air to the point where I feel God is putting something new in me — something courageous and still. Something I know I will glorify Him for until the end of my days.

So, this season I stopped asking myself, what good am I? And instead, am finding content in who Christ has designed me to be and what he has set out for me to do. Now, I ask, what good can I do for others? I remember in the stillest part of my being, that what God is cradling close is not a work of art or a grand book — it’s delighting in the simplest of things.

It’s smiling at my neighbor. It’s relishing in the goodness of fellowship with my friends. It’s being grateful for family. It’s laughter. It’s lending a hand to others. It’s giving the first sand dollar you found to a friend, just to uplift her spirit. In fact, my friend Hyunjoo shook the sand dollar and we heard what sounded like sand being shaken, except after researching, we realized that every sand dollar withholds five “little white doves” when opened. Of course I refuse to break such a beautiful shell, but I did see a glimpse of one of these “doves” in the opening of the sand dollar.

This is much like God — there is a beauty and a mystery to Him until we open Him up and discover what rests inside.

As we know and hold fast to, the legend we leave behind should be less about ourselves and more about the legend of Christ within us. We need not forget just how much God delights in us and what beauty goes through His mind when He thinks of us.

“For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD.” —Habakkuk 2:14

About Samantha Hardcastle

Samantha desires for those who think they’re too unworthy to realize that God has a life — personally and lovingly — ordained for them. She paints by dawn and writes by dusk; her work has been published in The Good Women Project and literary art […]

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  1. Hey Samantha
    As I read your post I couldn't help but think about the awesomeness of God's love for us! He loves us and calls us "something"!
    His love for us is truly amazing.…
    Thank you for the reminder!

  2. Samantha Denise Hardcastle says:

    Amen! So very true Rolain..our God is truly amazing..and of course! Glad to be able to share. Blessings to you this day!:)

  3. Theresa Beswick McLeid says:

    Hello Samantha
    This was a beautiful story & it reminded me of a the time I found a perfectly intact sand dollar, which like you said is very rare because by the time you usually find them the birds have gotten to them & have broken them to pieces. I was so excited to find this sand dollar & I took such care to make sure it did not break even on our flight home & it made it. I now proudly displayed in my home. But I did not know the story of it & I am so glad you shared that. When I found it something drew me to it & to take special care of it & I had no idea what it was. Now I know it was God telling me the importance of it & even though I did not know he made sure I knew what to do with it. How awesome is he?? He loves us so much it is truly amazing.. I am feeling so blessed right now. God Bless You!

  4. this is amazing and touching god bless

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