Lessons from the Beach – Broken but Beautiful

(1st in the 4 part series)

Saturday Morning Devotional

broken but beautiful seashells

Lessons From the Beach – Broken but Beautiful

I love walking on the beach in the early morning while most people are still sleeping. The Lord really speaks in those moments. A couple of years ago, the Lord spoke to me about the students I would meet the next year at school, and He used broken but beautiful seashells to get His message to me. I shared it with the staff that year, and I am sharing it now with you. Broken but beautiful – it doesn’t just apply to seashells or students, but to all of us. As you read this, put the people in your life in place of the students mentioned.

The Seashell Challenge

One of my favorite things to do at the beach is to search for seashells.  It is something that I always do.  It is always a challenge to find shells that are beautiful and perfect. 

A little tidbit about me is that my mind is always going!  So a few years ago while I was in this non-thinking task of finding perfect sea shells, my mind was going strong. I kept thinking that the seashells were kind of like us.  We are all unique and have a purpose.  Then I started thinking about the students – they are the same way.  

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Broken Seashells

As I walked along the beach that year, I started picking up the ones that were not so perfect and thought about people in general.  Instead of throwing them back like normal, these broken seashells became my focus.  A few times I found some that I thought were “too broken.”  I was actually convicted about this – who was I to judge which ones were too broken?

As the week went by, things kept coming to my mind about shells and people being broken but beautiful and the fact that they still had a purpose. I decided that I needed to share the message with the staff at school.  I collected enough non-perfect shells for everyone to have one; I thought the visual might be helpful.

Broken but Beautiful Seashells

The non-perfect shells came in such a variety.

Some of the seashells were:

  • Broken
  • Chipped
  • Different Colors & Shades – Even some purple ones!
  • Fragile
  • Hardy
  • Small
  • Large
  • Swirly

There were so many shapes and sizes, and all were unique – Broken but Beautiful!

A few of the shells appeared to have it all together, but they were empty inside. These shells may not have been broken on the outside because they had such a hard outer shell, but the inside was still empty.

A Message to the Staff – Broken but Beautiful

Although the seashells are broken, they still serve a purpose. Today these shells are still being used as an example and a lesson for us.  In the weeks to come, I hope they will still be used as a reminder of the hurting people across the hall from you and in the seats in front of you.  They also still have a purpose.

I don’t know what some of the students (and staff) have been through in their lives.  I know that several of our students have had some pretty significant losses recently, and I am sure some of the staff have as well.

Please keep all of this in mind as you form relationships with the students and staff this year.  You never know what someone is going through or where they have been.  Remember that they may be broken at times but beautiful and they each have a purpose!

My Seashell Challenge

That day as the staff left the auditorium, I encouraged them to pick up a broken seashell to leave on their desk. My hope was that it would serve as a reminder that each student and staff member they came in contact with was broken but beautiful, and they still had a purpose.   

empty seashell beautiful on my desk

This is the seashell I chose. It is beautiful and looks perfect on the outside. I needed this reminder for myself. As I counsel students, it is easy to see the ones who come and share their problems or who have obvious wounds. I needed this shell to be a reminder to me of the student with the hard outer shell who appears to have it all together. This shell is still on my desk today, serving it’s purpose!

If you are planning a beach vacation this year, I challenge you to come back with a broken but beautiful seashell for your collection. Let it serve as a reminder of the people around you. Everyone may have a chip here or there or be completely broken, but they are all beautiful and have a great purpose.


seashell quote

Related Posts

Tips and Ideas for a Great Beach Vacation

17 Brilliant Beach Hacks

If you have enjoyed this post, I would love to have you join us. Subscribe below to receive posts and updates.

Until next week…

Have a Grace & Joy-Filled day!



Most Recent Posts

disclosure: affiliate links are used on this page. Thank you for supporting Home with Grace and Joy. When you purchase an item, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

“When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” Psalms 94:19

Similar Posts


  1. Oh my gosh I love this. You are so right. This warmed my heart and I can’t find my words to express this. Bookmarking.
    Thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful message with Sweet Tea & Friends this month dear friend.

  2. Love this! Such an important thing for us to remember as we build relationships and interact with people kindly. Visiting from Sweet Tea & Friends today

  3. Beautiful post Susan. It is so true, we are all broken in one way or another and never know what others are going through. Next time I visit the beach, I will be sure to pick up a few broken shells. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. This is beautiful! I love collecting seashells, and even though I usually look for big, unusual ones, I agree with you that you can still see the beauty in the small ones and the broken ones. You are so right that we’re just like that, and there is beauty and value in everyone. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Sweet Tea & Friends.

  5. Such an important message, Susan! I think it’s so easy to get caught up in what society says is beautiful but as you say, broken can be beautiful because it teaches us so many things from grace to inclusion. Can’t wait to find some shells of my own this season too. Hugs, CoCo

  6. This is just beautiful! We so need reminders of this too. We are all broken in some way and the Lord truly does give us purpose in spite of ourselves. I also loved that you pointed out that there are shells which appear to have it all together but are empty inside. Thank you for the reminder there is more to every person than meets the eye.

  7. Thank you for this blog post. I also always collect shells when I’m at the North Sea beach. But after reading your blog, I will take an extra look at broken shells.

  8. This is such a lovely message. I think about how I have looked for only the perfect shells at the beach. But I’ve been missing out on this lesson! Thanks for this beautiful reminder of seeing beauty in the brokenness.

    1. Thank you so much! It was a lesson for me too! I love the way the Lord shows us things using little items like broken seashells! Have a blessed day!

  9. wow, Susan, i love this post! i walk on the beach all the time, always with my eyes peeled for the elusive sea glass or rare perfect shells. the broken shells are everywhere. and i’ve never noticed much about them ’cause i’m always looking for the almost unattainable.

    so many lessons here. i’m never going to forget this post. seriously. and thank you.

    1. Thank you so much! I was the same way until that year. Speaking of the sea glass, I have never seen any except in stores. I may have to make that my next mission. 😃 Have a blessed weekend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.