“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the LORD has helped us.'” 1 Samuel 7:12
It’s been many years since I have traveled abroad. Growing up it was something I was fascinated with, traveling the Globe. My Dad fought in WWII and sailed around the world from California to Africa, India and all the way back home to West Virginia and I loved hearing his stories as a child. We had a large Globe that we mapped out his journey on and I always dreamed of visiting some far country. I had a hard time growing up and I suppose that the thought of escaping my problems was a way I dealt with trauma and pain. In my mind the further I traveled might bring me peace, when in fact I took that sin and turmoil with me wherever I went.
When I think about my life before I was saved I am amazed at the things God has brought me through, and the mercy He has shown me. I have indeed like the prodigal son in Luke 15:13 “Went off to a far country and and there wasted his substance with riotous living.”
God has been very patient and good to me. He showed such mercy in saving my soul, but He has been very real and very personal to me through the years as well. I have a little box I keep at the top of my closet. It’s my personal “Ebenezer” and when times are hard or my faith is tested I often get out that box and thank God for what He has done in my life. There are so many reminders in that box, scriptures, notes and various things that mean more to me than anything else I own. I know I find God in His word, but I need to remind myself that He’s still working in my life and the lives of others. He is still saving souls and I am so thankful today for that. Years ago I spent time in England. It’s a special place for me because it’s where I first felt the pull of the Holy Spirit calling me home to my Father’s house.
I have always prayed that someday God would send me back, either to meet Christian friends or to have some chance to spread the Gospel there and tell people of Jesus. I have had financial hardships since becoming a Christian, so it was always something I kept in the back of my mind, tucked away if God ever saw fit to send me there. I always had much more inportant things to pray about but one day I watched a television program about missionaries in England and I wanted so badly to go back. That same spring day I got ready for work like I always do and I grabbed a jacket I rarely wear. I had gained weight and like all women do I thought I might try to wear it anyway. It was snug and I was very uncomfortable, but I wore it to work anyway. As I reached my office I took the jacket off and noticed one of the pockets was unbuttoned. I reached down inside the tiny pocket and there, way down inside was a very small seashell, the size of a childs fingernail. I realized that it was from a beach I had been on 5 years previously, in Northumberland, England. I know it sounds goofy but that little seashell represented a tiny ray of hope to me. It was like God left that shell from England in my jacket all those years, just so I would find it the very day I prayed. That was 9 years ago. I held onto that shell for all these years knowing someday, God would get me back across that pond. I am so happy to say that this very week I bought my plane ticket.
Nine years later and He’s blessed me with wonderful friends to visit, in fact a precious Sister in Christ. I am amazed and blessed to know her and her family. I had to take the time today to set up another Ebenezer. God has done great things, He saved our souls by shedding the precious blood of His only son. That is more than enough for me! But He’s also real, personal and involved in our lives. I am so thankful.
As for the little shell, several months ago I misplaced it. It’s still around somewhere but I put it away for safe keeping, and being me I cannot find it. I looked for it the other day and was a little discouraged but realized it’s just as shell after all. Last night I was cleaning out my hall closet, getting ready for my trip and I came across a box full of hats and gloves. Buried down deep inside the box was a plastic ziplock bag full of seashells. From that very beach in England. Those shells are in the photo at the top of the post. I had to share and hopefully encourage anyone reading this that God is still the healer of hearts, He is still on His throne and saving souls. I am including a wonderful hymn that speaks the words of my heart , it’s my story and the story of all the Children of God. I hope it encourages someone today.
Be blessed dear reader!
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.