Last year my husband made a special effort to buy me my very own pearl complete with oyster, it is a gift I treasure not because of it’s monetary value which is low but because of what it symbolises for me. You see for years I had believed that in order to create a pearl, an oyster had to die. So when people referred to grit in their lives and difficulties as creating a pearl of great price, I used to laugh inside thinking why would you want that when it is going to kill you. I had completely failed to realise what the process of creating a pearl looks like from the perspective of the oyster.
When an irritant tries to invade it, the oyster responds by producing nacre, the same substance that forms its shell to wrap around the irritant in layer upon layer of nacre, creating a beautiful pearl. Nacre acts as a soothing balm, bring healing instead of death, joy instead of pain, beauty instead of emptiness. Only one in two oysters are capable of producing nacre. If an oyster can not produce this healing balm, it will effectively be eaten away if an irritant pierces its outer shell. This will ultimately result in death with the leftover product being a cold, hard empty shell.
It was hearing Ariana Walker of Mercy Ministries UK, that gave me this revelation and I then applied it to myself. Traumatic things have happened to me and at times I have been in danger of becoming nothing more than a dead, dried up oyster with a cold, hard empty shell of my own and yet, something in me has always refused to die, refused to give in, refused to stay stuck. I have searched for a way to not just survive in life but to truly thrive. I refuse to be a victim, a case number, a forgotten one. Others may at times have given up on me, but somehow, somewhere inside me, by God’s grace, I have produced the equivalent of nacre, a healing balm so that I could produce a pearl from my pain.
My nacre is:
- My faith in God and my relationship with Him where I can be real and scream and shout if I have to or even just sob, secure in my Father’s love.
- Worship of God and prayer whether silent or loud, whether expressive or still.
- The love of my husband and children and others who care for me.
- Creative arts like music, dance, singing, poetry, writing. photography as well as making cards and hampers.
- Reaching out to others and saying, “You’re not alone,” and knowing I can play even a small part in breaking the cycle of pain.
- A sense of personal achievement, knowing I matter to God and to others, knowing I can make a difference even if it is only to one person at a time.
Nacre for me has also meant I have to forgive myself, forgive God and forgive others that I have held things against or who have wronged me in some way. Like Ariana, I have come to realise that,
“While I see God as the source of my problems, I am unable to see Him as a resource to solve my problems.”
One of my greatest challenges in life has been to let go of anger, bitterness, resentment, frustration, disappointment, unforgiveness, an unrelenting desire for human style justice, I have made a lot of progress but the job is not finished yet. My pearl is still only part formed. There are days when I am flooded by unforgiveness and fear there are others when I feel completely free. Thankfully freedom is becoming my experience more often than not. I suppose the question I had to ask myself was,
“Is the price of being right, of holding a grudge, of carrying this bitterness inside worth the little death it causes me daily?”
I decided, with great effort on my part to lay it all down at the foot of Christ’s cross and let it go. Since that point, my marriage and relationships have improved, I can hear God more clearly, my career is flourishing and my health is improving. When you consider your own life, is bitterness and unforgiveness (however justified) twisting you up and killing you off or have you somehow managed to produce nacre of your own? I would love to know.
If you want to find out more about Mercy Ministries UK and their role in helping women overcome life controlling issues, you can find out more here: http://www.mercyministries.co.uk/
Written in response to Tell the tale of your most prized possession: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-twenty/
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