Wednesday, August 28, 2013


It was our last night of vacation.
I asked the Hubs if we could go to the beach one last time and stay long enough to catch the sunset.
When the Hubs got settled in his beach chair and engrossed in a book,
 I decided to walk down the beach to the jetty.
It was on my way back to where the Hubs was sitting that I saw a pelican standing there on the sand.
I walked right up to snap his picture.
He didn't fly away.
He didn't run into the sea.
It was then that I suspected something was wrong with it.
I stayed awhile trying to shoo him, to see if I could tell what was wrong.
He waddled closer to the water.
Suddenly, a wave came in and knocked the pelican onto it's back.
It flailed there in the surf, it's neck stretched out, it's wings flailing in the water, 
fighting but not able to turn upright.
My stomach felt nauseous watching it.
I thought it was going to drown right before my eyes.
When the waves subsided it managed to get upright and to get back onto the sand.
It just stood there, immobile.
I finished walking to the Hubs and told him about the pelican, told him what I had seen.
He went to look for himself and came back reporting that he could see a fish hook in the pelican's head.
I felt helpless, not knowing the 911 to call for birds that need emergency assistance.
We watched the sunset and left the beach, left the pelican there in the sand.
The next day we flew home.

On Sunday morning, during a time of worship at our church, 
the whole memory of the pelican came back.
The Lord used the vivid picture of the struggling pelican to speak to my heart about hooks.
Hooks in our lives can be any number of things such as
unhealed hurts,
unmet needs,
unresolved issues.
If they aren't dealt with, removed, allowed to heal up, the storms in life that come our way,
even the smaller waves that we should normally be able to sail through, bowl us over, knock us down.
We feel we will surely drown if we get hit by one more wave.
We flail and we fight, but we just can't seem to get on our feet, and we surely can't fly.
We need Someone to help us.
We need Someone who knows how to remove hooks.
We need someone we can trust enough to surrender ourselves to while He removes the hooks.

First, we have to acknowledge that the hook is there.
It could be the unhealed hurt of a betrayal, a cruel or thoughtless word, abandonment, abuse.
The hook got in and has festered and become infected.
Perhaps there's unforgiveness, bitterness.
Or it could be the hook of an unmet need, 
a mama who never held or hugged you,
a daddy who never spoke the words, "I love you", 
 a spouse who is cold or uncaring,
a feeling of overwhelming loneliness.
The gaping hole in your soul is a hook.
Maybe it's the hook of unresolved issues, 
closure that never came as someone you cared about just walked out of your life,
a family member that you had a disagreement with and you haven't talked to in years,
a child that left your home and hasn't looked back.
Whatever the source of the hook is, whatever the cause,
Jesus already knows it's there.
It's you, it's me, that needs to admit it.
If I'm not able to cope with life's wind and waves,
if I can't remember the last time I soared,
that's a good indicator that there could be a hook.

Jesus is a specialist at hook removal.
He will lovingly and gently remove the hook and apply healing balm to the wound if you'll let Him.
Our part is being willing to let Him,
trusting Him,
surrendering to His healing processes.

I find that it takes time in His presence for this to happen,
time in His Word,
time in worship,
and maybe even some time with a trustworthy sister or brother in Christ.

One thing I'm sure of,
we're meant to be able to weather storms
and we're meant to soar.
Every last one of us.

still following,




  1. Elizabeth,
    So happy I linked up behind you at JDL's blog so I could say "Amen" and read your beautiful and truth-filled post...I think sometimes the hardest thing to do is to be honest, and not minimize, the hook that is there...blessings to you :)

    1. Dolly, you are so right. I love the part of Psalm 51 that talks about truth in the inward part. This is so vital to walking in healing and freedom.

  2. This is SO beautiful. Wonderful writing and I do feel bad for that poor pelican... that is sad.

    1. I felt bad for him too, but I'm so thankful for the lesson God taught me through seeing him.

  3. It's amazing how much garbage there is in the world that we can get hooked into. And it will kill us. Thank God we have a savior and a way of escape. Poignant writing here. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much, friend. I won't soon forget this God lesson.

  4. Elizabeth,

    What a beautiful devotion. It's just like God to put you on the beach that day to witness this poor pelican's struggle so you could write it. Thank you for sharing this experience and using it for His glory.


    1. Debby, I really do believe God had me right there at that time for His purposes. Thanks for being such an encouragement.

  5. Wow, Elizabeth. This is beautiful and so sad. Thank you for that visual. I will not forget it. Bless you, friend.

    1. Thanks so much, Ashley. God used that poor bird's suffering to really imprint this lesson on my mind and heart.

  6. Dear Elizabeth,
    Thank you for sharing this Heart aching experience with the pelican, and what God spoke to your Heart - we need to hear His tender voice ... about the hooks in our lives . and also to be available as His ears, hands and feet, whenever and wherever needed.
    Blessings to your week,

    1. Thank you so much, Nina. God really did download this lesson to me, so the credit goes to Him.

  7. Elizabeth,
    Thank you for sharing your experience and how God used it to speak to you. I've been realizing how true it is that time in His word and worship is needed daily. I've joined in for the Hello Mornings challenge and it has been such a blessing.
    Thank you for how you always share your heart so beautifully.

    1. Tell me more about what Hello Mornings is. I want to thank you for being such an encouragement to me, Beth.

  8. God speaks to us in various ways. How wonderful to be tuned in no matter where you are.

    1. He gave me a very graphic lesson this time, that I won't soon forget.

  9. So powerful, Elizabeth!

    Love how He pierced your heart to pierce ours. Keep listening and writing!

    1. Thank you so much, Julie. You are such an encouragement to me.

  10. oh i love this elizabeth... my heart aches for that poor pelican but thank you for using it to teach and challenge us.

    1. My heart ached for the pelican, too! I think that's what made what God showed me hit home so hard.

  11. tears. leaning in {hard} to His embrace. this spoke - perfectly - to my heart. selah...


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