My parents gave me this strand of cultured pearls when I was in high school.   I wore them in my senior picture.   I wore them when I got married.  I was wearing them once when my son was a baby and he pulled them with his precious chubby little hand.  They broke and scattered, and I crawled around on the floor until I found each one, placing them in an envelope and putting them away for safekeeping until years later when I finally took them to a jeweler to be restrung.  I have other pearls, but this strand is the most loved and valued by me.  They represent years of memories, both good and bad.

Pearls, both natural and cultured, are formed when an irritant such as a grain of sand makes its way or is placed inside the oyster shell.   The oyster secretes a liquid called nacre (mother-of-pearl) to coat the irritant and protect the oyster.   Layer upon layer is added until a beautiful pearl is formed.

Throughout life, we all have irritants that invade our lives and our space.  People who rub us the wrong way.  Fears and frustrations. Experiences, that if allowed, would destroy us. Addictions that drain us of purpose. Events and actions that cause incredible pain leaving us feeling broken and scattered.

BUT, wrapped in the Father’s love and grace, redeemed by the death of His Son, and filled with the Holy Spirit, we overcome.  We learn from each experience. We gain strength. We gain wisdom.   We become beautiful pearls.  Pearls of …love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 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.  Romans 5:1-5

Darlene Shelton 8/26/22

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