I’m sitting here at the beach enjoying the warm sun on my face, the smell of the salt air, the sound of the waves crashing on the surf, and the feel of the ocean breeze touching my skin while refreshing my soul.  I hear my children laughing excitedly as they build a sand castle.  The sound of their happy voices brings a smile to my face.

Being at the beach involves all the senses.  It is sensory rejuvenation.  This is why I love coming here.  When I first cross the dune and see the expanse of ivory sand touching the deep blue ocean while the bright blue sky comes down and greets the water, my spirit breathes a sigh of release.  I say release purposely.  I let go of any tensions and anxieties as I place my first step on the warm sand.

We drag our gear to the water’s edge.   I place my new-to-me-garage-sale beach chair on the sand, sit down, and breeeaaatthhee.  I’m here.  And there is nothing to do here but just “be”, drinking in with open heart, with open soul the beauty that surrounds me, God’s message of love through His amazingly breath-taking creation.

My favorite time of day at the beach is after most people leave to eat their dinners, when the sun starts its slow descent towards the western horizon, and when our shadows grow long upon the sand.  That’s when my younger kids get out of the water,  start building their massive sand castle, and my older girls fall asleep outstretched upon their towels.

I watch my 13 year old son stand by his creation-in-progress, as he concentrates on the next structure to build.  My nine year old daughter calls out to me to show me her handiwork; an expression of joy on her sweet face.

It’s in moments like these that I am happy and content.  For a few hours, I have not a care in the world.  Even when my 16 year old son gets sand all over his sleeping sister, it doesn’t bother me.  In fact I smile.

As I write this, I realize that I need to “store up” these happy moments.  Store them up in my heart and take them out when the darkness  of pain, worry, and suffering cloud my spirit.  The challenges and complexities of life as a wife and a mother of many (as well as being a daughter, sister, and friend)  can sometimes bury me with its weight.  When I feel lost in all my cares and concerns, I can take out this happy moment (one of thousands) and smile and let it lighten my load.

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”  Jeremiah 31:25

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