Yippee! We’re going to the ocean! I don’t know how often we traveled there, but I do remember my excitement. My big brother took our inner tubes to the gas station to pump air into them, and I tagged along.
I don’t remember everything about it as I probably was younger than 5 since we moved from California to Iowa when I was 6. But I do remember the emotions I felt. I do remember making a sand castle when a wave came in and washed over me. It didn’t even scare me.
Even though I didn’t really know God then, there was something about the ocean that filled my heart with peace and awe. The memories of the sights and sounds still draw my soul.
I love all shells, but conch shells especially remind me of the ocean. Have you ever held one to your ear?
According to scientists, what we hear is just an amplification of the noises surrounding us. Air bounces around inside the shell and produces sound, the pitch depending on how big the conch shell is.
It will always have a deeper, spiritual meaning to me. A few years ago, as I cradled one to my ear, I closed my eyes and listened. Sweet melodies of God’s grace sang peace as they conveyed God’s power to create and preserve. The waves roared as they came in and slapped the shore, then sang a lullaby as they lapped the sand, leaving ripples of God’s voice.
“Are you listening, My child?” God asked.
“OK, Lord, I hear You, but I’m afraid of what You will ask me to do…” was my timid reply.
“You are a conch shell to My glory,” He gently reminded me. “Listen to My voice, follow Me, and make a sound for Me.”
Conch shells were among the first musical instruments and were often used to communicate in ancient cultures. They are still used today.
It is called the Pū in Hawaii and is used to say “goodbye” and “thanks” at sunset. When someone asked Rev. Alalani how she always blows the conch shell right and pure, she answered:
“Because I let God blow through me. I blow for the cause and to open the Heavens to come and Bless. I give thanks. I do not blow the Pū alone.”
Often I feel I can only produce off-tune static that doesn’t honor God. I am afraid, even when I write here, that I toot my own horn more than His. Or that His love for me isn’t pouring out to others. But I know Satan loves to bring all my shame and insecurities to the forefront and dissuade me from writing anything at all.
It is hard sometimes to tune in to God’s voice alone, isn’t it? And when we do, it’s sometimes easy to wonder if it’s actually filtering out of our own wants or if it’s really His voice. But at the name of Jesus, those negative, self-critical voices must stop. He has the power to calm every storm.
“You are from God, little children,
and you have conquered them,
because the One who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4 HCSB
Do you feel full of doubt, shame, and insecurities? You are not alone. Jesus knows and cares about our struggles, and He is available around the clock to give us what we need. Funneled through His cleansing blood, our faltering voices can and will produce wholesome heart melodies to His glory.
“May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to You,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14 NLT
“Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name
You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright
‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world…”