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  • Writer's pictureKatie McGuire


A story of hope; a story of surrender-

I sat on the shore watching the waves crash before me; my toes buried beneath the sand; the water lapping the edge of the shore.

This was home. I felt safe and warm. My heart so happy it could sing (and it definitely did).

A brand new sandcastle sat beside me.

I had seen many sandcastles before, but there was something special about this one.

This was the first real sandcastle that I had ever made (for a turned over bucket of sand isn't really a castle). That in itself made it my favorite.

The sound of the crashing waves soothed my soul as my friend and I sat back and marveled at our creation (of course I had help in making this. My friend was new to building sandcastles too, but we worked well in building one together).

This castle even had a moat. (This addition was a mutual decision).

It was so beautiful.

Imperfect, but beautiful.

Breathtaking, really.

I mean, I had the best helper, which made the castle even more wonderful to behold.

Two people, inexperienced, yet able to make something so wonderful from God's creation.

How neat is that?

I'm positive that even God was smiling down on it, as it was made to glorify Him.

And it brought a smile to my face as well.

As I looked up from my place on the sand, I noticed a change in the tide.

The tide grew stronger and stronger; the waves more fierce by the moment.


Before I knew it, I was no longer sitting next to my little castle.

I was being dragged out into the sea.

A whirlwind of a moment.

Then 10 seconds under water.

10 seconds.

I became frantic. Where was the surface of the water? Where was the bottom? Tossed and jumbled about beneath the waves, fear grabbed ahold of me and I thought to myself, "this is it."

This was it.

But then I surfaced...

I gasped for air, my lungs burning inside of me. Anxiety was still gripping me as I tried to keep my head above water. That's when another wave came crashing down on me.

I was under again.

Could I even swim? Did I even know how? I couldn't recall in the moment.

5 seconds this time.


Why couldn't I surface?


I was above the water again. I looked around, in fear of another wave...that's when I saw it coming: The biggest wave I had ever seen. Why was this happening to me? Why was I pulled out into the waves? Why were they unceasing?

I tried with every ounce left in me to kick and swim away from the approaching wave. The closer it got, the more I panicked. The harder I tried to paddle myself away, the more I was sucked back towards the wave. How? Why? Why was this happening? "God, why is this happening?"

I could see my castle sitting on the shore. Oh, how I longed to be back in safety; my home.

The moat around the castle had only helped some, as the sand walls were beginning to cave in.

My friend was nowhere to be seen. Where had they gone? My heart sank at the sight, and I began to cry. That's when the next wave took me out.

15 seconds under water, but it very well could have been an hour.

Had I just given up?

I wasn't thrashing around under the water this time.

This wave will be the end of me. How could I survive it?

I was beat.

That's when I hit the bottom.

Everything was s l o w - m o t i o n. . . . . .

A stream of light shone through the surface of the water, and, despite the chaos that had just ensued, I felt a peace.

Peace? How?

I was on the floor of the ocean, after being forced under, against my own will.


Yes. Peace.

But why?

The light that was streaming through brought with it a glimmer of hope. This wasn't the end.

I would surface.

I looked around me and saw life:

Swimming only a few feet away were fish: content and calm even when the waves were strong and violent above them.

And the plants: Beautiful in color, swaying so easily with the water's movement, like a dance.

Lining the bottom of the ocean were stones and seashells like I had never seen before. Because they had been tussled by the movement of the ocean, they were smooth to the touch and beautiful to the sight. I grabbed at a handful and held on tightly to this reminder.

Then, I looked up, and for the first time, saw beauty in the way the waves moved, even if they were the source of my weakness.

"Okay," I thought.

The source of my weakness was also what pushed me to become strong. But my strength was not my own. I had lost my strength in the midst of the uncontrollable tumbling; I was giving up against the weight of the waves. No, my strength was not my own. My strength came only from the One who shone His light through the chaos and gave me a glimpse of hope. Strength came when I fought against the sea, but strength also came when I let go and was free of it's power.

Yes, strength finally came when I hit the bottom.


Right here, under the waves, with life all around me, my perspective was changed. I wasn't pulled out into the ocean for me to just give up. But since being forced under the waves, I learned that my might alone would not be enough to deliver me. Letting go of control was not me quitting. It was me allowing the Orchestrator of the ocean to have His way and to use every circumstance to work for my good. Being forced down by the waves gave me the opportunity to trust the One who can calm the raging seas with the sound of His voice. Being under the waves tested my perseverance and character and instilled a greater hope in me.

No, I was not meant to give up. I was meant to hang on: To hang on to the One who is life Himself. His purpose still remains.

It was in that moment that I was pulled up out of the water.

When I caught my breath, my lungs sang.

The water was completely still. The ocean completely silent. For 15 seconds.....

I thought back to my sandcastle.

The walls may have crumbled some, but it wasn't far from mendable.

I looked up at the sky and all the words I could mutter were, "Thank you, Jesus."

A wave came up from behind, but this time I wasn't afraid. It carried me back to shore.

I walked back to my broken castle, and just as it was--walls coming down--I saw beauty. It didn't look like I had intended for it to originally look. God had taken it and transformed it into something I never would have imagined. And despite the destruction from the waves, it was more beautiful than ever.

Although my heart longed to rebuild the walls of my broken castle, that's when I opened my hands.

The stones and seashells from the bottom of the ocean lay flat on my palms. I looked up to the sky and smiled as the sun shone down on my face.

Instead of gathering up more sand to mend what was lost, I placed the stones and shells atop my broken sandcastle...

and I made an altar there.

A Note from Katie-

Sometimes life has moments that mirror the discombobulating feeling of being thrown underneath the ocean's waves. Have you ever experienced a season of life like this? Where you feel like you've been forced down underneath the weight of the waves and life's circumstances? Not knowing which way is up or down, or when you'll surface?

This story took me about a week to fully write because of how real it is for me. Every word, every line, holds so much meaning. Even between the lines, and in the pauses, I can feel the heartbeat of the story God is writing.

There are times when we face seasons like this, where wave after wave, we feel the weight of life crashing down on us. I'm not the only one that feels this way, right? When you're caught up in the chaos of your life's circumstance, it can be hard to see the bigger picture. Sometimes, it takes us hitting rock bottom in order to really have a change of perspective and to see that God's hand has never left the scene. I hope that in reading this story, you're able to see the beauty in the midst of your chaos, and the purpose in the midst of your pain. Though we may sometimes feel like we will never make it back to the surface of the water, there is always hope shining through. Hang on! Hang on to that hope! Trust in God! He's not finished with you yet.



Romans 5:3-5

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

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