Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)
I don’t often wear pearls. But when I do, I remember the struggle.
My husband gave me a beautiful strand of pearls during a hard season of life. It was a lavish gift for a sweatpants-wearing mom who hadn’t left the house in weeks. Our third baby was born prematurely and spent the first months of life tethered to a heart monitor.
There was a new job, a new baby, a new set of challenges, a new season to navigate. And it all made me feel very old (and tired).
The day he brought the wrapped pearls home was the first day we attempted to get me out of the house. I laughed at the gift because they seemed so inappropriate for my dirty hair and weary body. But my sweet husband was determined to celebrate the new things in our lives, even though some of them were hard.
He carefully fastened the lustrous strand around my neck, and I traded my t-shirt for a dressy top. We loaded up the baby and her siblings, the medical gear, and the diaper bag, and drove the two short miles to our favorite restaurant.
Within a few minutes of sitting down, the waiter accidentally dumped the pitcher of sweet tea into my new diaper bag just as a terrible stomach bug was beginning in my preschool son. I carried him to the bathroom, where he got very sick. I propped open the door and tried to wave down a waiter to grab my husband, who was busy mopping up tea, jiggling a fussy baby, and regretting the whole idea.
We left the restaurant before we even ordered — a sad, soggy, stinky mess. We had a puker in the car and a fragile newborn. It was the car ride of nightmares.
I laughed and cried in my pearls the two miles back home.
Every time I see those pearls hanging in my jewelry box or around my neck, I remember that night. The irony of the pearls and the puke weren’t lost on me.
But it took a while for me to remember how pearls are formed.
Pearls are created in oysters due to an irritant, usually a grain of sand. Grit. Pearls are the outcome of struggle. They are rare and priceless, unique and treasured. They are a product of irritation and are created as a defense against something that is hard, something that doesn’t belong.
A pearl is a product of suffering. It is a healed wound.
And it takes perseverance and grit to produce anything. Life is filled with struggle. But the hardship and trials are not wasted. Our struggle is irritating and annoying. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking and horrible. But it’s producing something good within us.
I don’t know what your struggle is today or what it will be tomorrow.
Struggle is a part of living, but when we know we are producing something good, it helps us through it.
So put your pearls on, girl, and thank God in the midst of it. Something good is coming.
God, even when everything seems to be going awry, I see You. I see beauty right in the middle of the hard things, the messiness, the aching, and the fear. I am clinging to the hope that something good is coming, that something good will be produced from the grit and struggle, that there will be treasure to behold after this hardship. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Ruth Mills says
I too am not really a pearl wearing girl but I inherited a strand from my dear Godly grandma. She had repeated hardships of physical & financial disasters thru her life but her pearls remind me of the depth of beauty God worked in & thru her. Thanks for putting a finer point on the beauty of pearls!
Sandra P Duhart says
Amen Lord, help me to walk with You Lord no matter the cost! My all for Your Glory! Hallelujah!
Needed this today as we bury a family member today amid family strife.
Condolences to your family Kay. I pray God brings comfort to each of you today. God bless. ❤
Linda Wilson says
Just wanted to share that we has an incident happen in our family that caused family members to quit talking for 10 years! It drove me nuts and I tried everything to help them figure things out. Finally I prayed and just turned it over to God and it worked out! Even if it seems hopeless its not! Hang in there
Elaine Lucas says
I loved this article. My husband gave me a string of pearls just before our wedding day. Looking back, it was a sign of good things to come.
My husband and I were married almost 50 very happy years and we had 2 sons. Then my husband died of cancer and went to be w the Lord.
Someday I too will be w the Lord-and I will see my husband too.
My pearls were also a sign of the good to come.
Thank you for this article. It’s encouraging.
I LOVE my pearls!!! And during this awful past year, as I sat alone in my home wearing yoga pants and and a sweatshirt, I wore my pearls, too. They reminded me of special times. But I love how you remind us they come from grit, from being irritated. And has this ever been an irritating time. But like my pearls, I have something else that’s precious in my life- my faith, my family, my friends and so much more. I think I may just wear them today!
Sharon Sampson says
This is such a beautiful, encouraging message. I need to reflect on “Pearls” and the very significance of its meaning daily. Thank you Kristen for this today.
Beth Williams says
God promises that we will have struggles & trials down here. The good thing is that He is working in the trials. Like pearls it is the hardships of life that develop our true self. God used a trial with my dad’s dementia/psych issues to increase my trust & faith muscles. In the end I came out a much better Christian ready to trust God no matter what. Lose a job-heh God has something much better for me. Nothing done down here rattles me. I know God is in control of this spinning universe & He will take care of it all. Thanking God for the trials.
Ada Orie says
Thank you for such a compelling devotional. I appreciate your detailed and transparent honesty. We have the tendency to present the airbrushed version of our struggle. We can have moments mixed with tears and joy. I am in the moment right now. I need this encouragement. Thank you this beautiful reminder. God gave you a timely word to share. Thank you so much.
I love, love, love this! I immediately started thinking: “who do I know who needs this story and pearls that go with it?”. Bravo to your loving husband, who tried to bring you beauty in the ashes! Hold onto that fellow. He is a special one.
Kemi George says
Thank you for this message of courage, Kristen.
Things are somehow had. Challenges are raging especially in marriages. In all, God is Good, if we can trust and put our faith in Him. He will turn our sorrow to joy.
The Bibles says, in all things, we should give thanks. This is because God will turn it out for our good.
Karen Knowles says
Kristen, thank you for sharing this uplifting and encouraging post with us today. The struggles we go through produce good qualities in our lives and we can use them to encourage others as you have. God bless you! By the way, your husband sounds like a gem!
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Thank you, I really needed to read this message today. Truly a blessing.
Nancy Stahler says
This is beautiful and it has blessed me and brought me to tears. And the strength that is brought me I will go find my pearls and know that God delights in me and his plans are good for me…Thank you so much for this beautiful story.
Sharon Gakin says
Kristen, thank you for letting us see the puke and the pearls all in one day! I’ve had a lovely strand of pearls in a box for decades. I thought I’d hang them out to remind me. But then the Lord reminded me of a project waiting in the garage: a very plain mirror that needs to be enlivened to replace the mirror I lost. I’m not crafty but I remembered a huge string of pearls I decorate my Christmas tree with. I decided to glue those pearls to the rim as a start. Today I realize God wants me to look at those pearls and my reflection and consider what He has been forming the past nine awful years. Maybe my fragile faith held just enough grit in the devil’s oyster to make a pearl…
Carol Brown says
Life and faith are so full of surprises and grace. I’m glad the pearls bring you joy
Pearl Allard says
I just received a strand of pearls for my birthday from my husband’s grandma. Timely reminder!
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.
May you have Hope in Him. Amen
“So put your pearls on, girl! Something good is coming.” My life has many traumas and hurts and just plain hard in it. I’ve looked to Scripture to guide me to the attitude that something good is still coming. But to also put pearls on? How wonderfully symbolic to putting on His glory to sustain us!
Christine Salmon says
I have my Grandmother’s pearls given to me by my Mother. I remember what strong women they were, how deep their Faith in God was. I am of those women and God will show me ways to find joy in my day.