The setting was out of a travel brochure, with waves rolling onto the sun-drenched sand, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and seagulls piercing the air with their shrill cries. It was the annual retreat of the women's ministry at Sundial Resort on Sanibel Island. One hundred women from First Assembly of God, Fort Myers gathered last weekend to reflect, refresh, and connect with God..
The theme this year was "Seaside Surrender" and Pastor Connie had prepared a series of teachings that brought us quickly into the center of what God wanted to do in our lives. She used the amazing chambered nautilus shell to demonstrate what God wanted from us this year. First, she showed us the outside of one of these exquisite shells. Then she held up a cross section of the chambered nautilus, which, true to its name, was divided into many compartments, each progressing in a circle towards the outer opening of the shell.
Pastor Connie explained how the inhabitant of the shell begins as a microscopic sea creature. As it grows, a larger chamber is created to accomodate its size. By the time it outgrows one compartment, a larger one has formed and it moves in. This process continues until it is mature.
A unique characteristic of the chambered nautilus is that each time it moves into a new chamber, the previous one is emptied and sealed shut.That means that it cannot move back into its old residence. It must continue to move forward in its spiraling journey toward completion and freedom.
The chambered nautilus holds a valuable lesson. If we stay mired in regret for the mistakes and pain of the past, we cannot experience living fully and successfully in the present. We are prevented from moving on to the next step in our journey to fulfill the call of God on our life.
Isaiah 43:18, 19 says, "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth..." NKJV. Only when we willingly and intentionally surrender the baggage from the past can the Holy Spirit heal our wounded spirits and open up the next "chamber" of our life. Then we are free to move unencumbered toward our destiny in Christ.
As we surrendered our hearts to be cleansed, healed and renewed, God gently moved us to a new place in our walk with Him and we were set free to become the godly handmaidens He desires us to be.
© Laura Allen Nonemaker