The splendor of the ocean

More powerful than the roar of many waters, more powerful than the breakers of the sea, powerful in the heavens is the LORD. (Psalm 93:4)

My first glimpse of the ocean was at crowded Mission Beach in San Diego as a young bride. Once I saw the breathtaking splendor and power of God’s creation where waves meet sky, I was hooked. Now I look for every possible opportunity to relax on any beach, anywhere. In Maui, the most gorgeous native natural habitat surrounds the almost endless beaches. I have even seen this panorama from a parasail 500 feet above Kauai, Maui and Molokai.

In Hawaii or Texas, I enjoy the waves pounding the sand and the circling gulls awaiting my every crumb. Walking on the beaches from Coronado Island to Cape Cod thrills me. Even January in Oregon, the foggy skies overhead, gusty wind on my face and freezing water lapping on my timid toes, bring me incredible joy.

A recent day on familiar Vanderbilt Beach on the Florida Gulf Coast recalled many exciting experiences in our sunshine times playing with our children and young grandchildren. I can’t forget those winter times of consolation and comfort when we came here to soften our heartbreak and find acceptance of our tragedies.

No matter the season, the ocean’s ebb and flow upon the shore is steadfast yet always changing like God’s faithful love for us. It edges closer and closer to us with every moment of our lives. Then it retreats a little so as not to overwhelm us before approaching us again in the rhythm of his creation.

God beckons us to wade into the depths of his life, his ocean of mercy and love. His joy alive in our hearts is as constant as the waves rising ever higher and higher as they approach closer and closer. Don’t be afraid to wallow there with complete abandon!

Lord, your mercy reaches to heaven; your fidelity, to the clouds. Your justice is like the highest mountains; your judgments, like the mighty deep. (Psalm 36:6-7)

In the off-season when the sunshine feelings are hard to find, keep looking for him anyway in the unmarred sand and sacred solitude of the shore. A winter heart doesn’t naturally welcome the cold wind and waves of life. Trust that he awaits you there, deep in your soul to warm you with his embrace. He longs for you to experience his faithfulness in every season and on every shore.

Where do you find joy hiding beneath your difficulties?

(© 2014 Nancy H C Ward)

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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8 Responses to The splendor of the ocean

  1. Tony Agnesi says:

    Nancy, great post! Vanderbilt Beach is one of my favorite places. I walk the beach every morning and the beauty of God’s wonderful creation stays with me all day. I do some of my best writing every March on Vanderbilt Beach, inspired by God’s beautiful creation.

    • Nancy Ward says:

      Wow! I’ve probably passed you on the beach. My daughter Ivy is Faith Formation Director at St. Agnes in Naples, so we visit her family frequently. I was there for the Easter Triduum, also in June and returning in September. God’s big world sometimes seems small.

      • Tony Agnesi says:

        Have been to St. Agnes many times, but usually attend St. John, the Evangelist. Closer to the beach! If you are in Florida next March, Diane and if would love to meet you for lunch. Small world, indeed.

        • Nancy Ward says:

          I’ve been to St. John’s many times, as they were there first before St. Agnes spun off. My recent blog on Proud to be a Roman Catholic was written about St. John’s. Btw I read your blog and enjoy your wisdom and insight.

  2. Nancy,
    A beautiful reflection on joy found his beautiful creation. Living in Montana all my life I was blessed to experience the ocean a few times on vacations. It is awesome! In Montana I enjoy the majestic mountains and our beautiful sunsets. I love watching the sun set in the evenings outside in my yard during the cool summer evenings. Winter time has its own unique beauty as well. I love seeing the newly blanketed snow that has yet been touched by God’s critters and his people. Where ever God has planted us, we can choose to see the hand of God walking with us. Thanks for the inspiring reflection.

    • Nancy Ward says:

      I would say that where God plants, and then replants us.  Living from California to Texas to Massachusetts, I find, as you write, 
      “the  hand of God walking with us.” His presence takes many forms, with his creation often breathtaking. How can anyone deny his existence?

  3. Cheryl Wills says:

    You painted a BEAUTIFUL picture of our walk with Him. Thank you! I find my solitude in the mountains – most particularly the Rockies.

    • Nancy Ward says:

      Cheryl, the mountains have a special beauty all their own, as does the desert. Living in the southwest, especially my years in El Paso, gave me an appreciation for the mountains towering over the desert. God displays his majesty wherever we look for it. And he is there in our solitude.

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