God has a way of communicating that is so distinct to each of his sons and daughters. Remember, He knows us because He made us. It truly is in the silence that you hear Him speak, at least I have learned that over time. I hear Abba’s messages all day through the Gospel, the homily, from others, via songs, the Bible, and in Adoration. We talk all day long. I am never alone; He is always there. Along with my posse of saints, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Our Lady, and of course my faithful Guardian Angel.
There is something about the quiet. It’s amazing what you can hear. I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to take a two-week, self-guided retreat to St. Augustine, Florida. My favorite spot to visit! My questions for Abba were prepared and off I went. Now before you say, ‘It must be nice’, my job is all by phone and online so I brought my work along with me, and I did work during the retreat. Yes, I can work anywhere, I just have to structure my day around Mass, Adoration, the nuns’ prayer groups, confession, and my walks with Abba. You might be asking what is an Abba walk? Abba and I share alone time, together, on the beach. I walk anywhere from one to two hours. It really goes by fast. No phone, no watch, nothing but water. And we chat! On this retreat, I had a few questions before me and I really needed them sorted out. But Abba had other lessons for me on this trip. And this is what I have come to call the sand dollar lesson.
My very first Abba walk on the beach, I asked for a sand dollar. Well I came upon half of a large one. I picked it up. At first I did not recognize it as a sand dollar, but as I looked at it and saw the beautiful markings, it was indeed half of a large sand dollar. What did I do next? I threw it back.
I walked on a bit more, still looking for my “perfect” sand dollar. On my way back to the house, chatting away to the Holy Trinity and my Guardian Angel, the Holy Spirit stopped me from talking to tell me I had thrown away God’s gift because it did not meet my expectations of what a gift was to look like. You see I envisioned a perfect sand dollar. I felt horrible! The reality of what I had done jolted me like I had just been hit. I was upset and the message was very clear.
Accept the gifts given even though they do not look like what you thought they should look like. God is God, and can work with anything. Accept the gift because it was given to you for a reason. The next day I went for my Abba walk and I promised Abba that if He gifted me a sand dollar, no matter what it looked like, I would accept it. Well, sure enough, the waves came in and deposited a piece of a sand dollar at my feet.
I was elated! You can be certain; I did not throw it away!
These past two weeks have gone by fast and my list of notes has turned into a small book. Abba is amazing. His love is indescribable. I come to the day before my last day, and I go on my Abba walk. I am now silent as I ask my questions. I wait for Abba to respond and as I walk, I come upon the perfect sand dollar. It washed right up to my feet.
When you accept and use what is given to you in the manner, I want you to accept and use it, more will be given. I keep walking and Abba sends me another piece of a sand dollar and He tells me that His gifts are endless! He is here for those who are hungry for His love. I say, “Abba, I am starving!”
Now I am all giddy and just head-over-heels in love and I start to veer off my course. I am following other shells that are catching my attention. When we go off the chosen path, we miss His gifts. I walk right back to the path I was set upon and right into my third sand dollar. Now, had I not heard the Holy Spirit, I would have walked right around it.
This was a huge lesson for me and was also a part of my original question. I learned I need more quiet time with Abba. Now, I come to the last day and I am very sad to leave my retreat and go back home. But I am gently reminded that I am to spend more time with Him and I will not miss a thing.
I asked for a final sand dollar but that was not the gift He chose to give me on this final walk. I walked three miles down the beach, turned around and walked half way back when I ran into a very large, fully intact shell.
Of course I know it is from Abba. I have walked this beach for two weeks, at all different times and sand dollars and large shells where not plentiful! My final gift from this retreat and the final message was, Abba’s gifts are endless for those who are hungry and starving people don’t refuse food!
So I had no idea why the sand dollar until I did some research online. You want goosebumps? Read on!
The Legend of the Sand Dollar
There’s a lovely little legend
that I would like to tell,
of the birth and death of Jesus,
found in this lowly shell.
If you examine closely,
you’ll see that you find here,
four nail holes and a fifth one,
made by a Roman’s spear.
On one side the Easter lily,
its center is the star,
that appeared unto the shepherds
and led them from afar.
The Christmas Poinsettia
etched on the other side,
reminds us of His birthday,
our happy Christmastide.
Now break the center open,
and here you will release,
the five white doves awaiting,
to spread Good Will and Peace.
This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me,
to help us spread His Gospel,
through all Eternity.