It’s festival season for many of the communities in southeastern North Carolina.  There is the Spot Festival, the Oyster Festival, the Festival by the Sea, and even the Poultry Jubilee.

Last weekend was the Autumn with Topsail Festival in Topsail Beach (pronounced Topsul by locals around here.)  Autumn with Topsail means two days of good beach music, anything you can imagine fried, and lots and lots of artisan booths. 

One of my favorite booths featured jewelry and pieces of art made from sea glass.  If you are not familiar with sea glass, it is glass that washes up on the beach.  It comes in all kinds of colors and shapes and makes beautiful artwork and jewelry.

Sea glass begins as garbage.  Someone discards a 7-Up bottle or a beer bottle or a piece of glassware.  The discarded glassware gets broken and tumbled by the sea. Over months or years – who knows how long – the sharp edges are worn off and the shine is replaced by a matte finish.  

The artist who made the sea glass jewelry in the photo above described to us how her creations come into being.  She searches the beach every morning – falling tide is best.  When she spots a piece of glass, she carefully places it in her basket, takes it home, cleans it up and prays over what each piece should become before setting it in place.  “Every piece of glass has a story of what it should be,” she said.

Sea glass art seems like such a beautiful metaphor for the Christian life.  Often, we go through life broken and discarded by others.  At times we are tossed and tumbled by forces outside of our control.  Even through our struggles, however, God is softening our edges and humbling our spirits.  He searches for us, lifts us up, cleanses us and makes something beautiful of our lives.  Paul said, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” (Ephesians 2:10) 

The process of becoming God’s handiwork may be painful and may take a lot of time.  Just remember, you are God’s masterpiece, and you can trust God’s loving hands.

By Dr. Jim Baldwin

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