Dirty Feet at the Beach

The worst part about going to the beach is the sand – it gets everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling of warm sand on my bare feet. I crave it, actually. But, I can’t count the times I’ve wished I could just sit at the beach, enjoying the wind and the waves, without sand getting between my toes and taking up residence there.

Blankets. Sand.
Food. Sand.
Bottom of my bag. Sand.
In my shoes. Sand.
In my hair. Sand.

This problem only grows with kids. They have no concept of the invasion of sand upon them when they are at the beach. It is all waves and crabs and shells and knee deep in sand pits . . .

While walking along Cannon Beach in Oregon near Haystack Rock yesterday, I wanted to feel the cold, salty waters – to take it all in. I took my shoes off and made my way down to the place the waves lapped up on the shore. There is something so incredible about touching the ocean – the connectedness and my smallness hit me at once.

Turning back from the water, I realized in a split second my predicament: now that my feet were wet . . . the sand will stick. All the sand. And it will stick everywhere . . .

As I walked resignedly back to the place I would set up blanket camp for the afternoon, I thought about how annoying it is that sand is so persistent.

For days, I’ll find the evidence of my trip to the beach in the most bizarre and infuriating places.

The rest of my time on the beach was just what I hoped for. I spent special moments connecting with God and receiving more of his love than I usually allow myself on a given day.

Then, it hit me.


The sand that refuses to be shaken from my blanket is what I want from God. I don’t want this truth and love of God to be shaken from me – not ever.

I want to experience pieces of my moments alone with him, receiving all throughout my days and weeks. I want to find pieces of Him everywhere I look. No part of me wants to be rid of him. I want to find the evidence for days and weeks to come of having been with Jesus.

Sand is lasting proof of having been at the ocean. It’s residue.

It’s not so much that I am afraid of forgetting God or him forgetting me. It’s more that the reminders of him give me hope in times when he seems harder to see. When I forget the smell and the sound of God’s love lapping at the shores of my heart, I need the sand in the bottom of my bag to remind me of his never-ending intention toward me. I need the small words whispered to my heart to remind me of the goodness and broadness and nearness of my God.

I need the sand to stick.

I’ll never look at dirty feet at the beach the same again.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! – Psalm 139:17-18

P.S. It is still the worst to get sand in your eye . . .

4 thoughts on “Dirty Feet at the Beach

  1. Your best writing, yet. Or maybe most memorable. Or maybe the most poignant. I’m not the writer, so I can’t describe inb words how this piece resounded with me. So I will leave it at the “best” and say thank you, Jenni.


  2. Love how you were able to shift an annoyance into a spiritual awareness! What great wisdom.

    Recently I bought a small clock for my office but was frustrated when I got home to find that it is a noisy clock. I was almost about to return it when I realized that instead of being annoyed at the clicking I can use the sound to remind me of God’s presence – a practice I was embarking upon to keep me more grounded. And voila! I love my noisy clock now.


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