Last weekend I went on a quick overnight trip with the fam to an indoor water park in Southern California. It was so much fun. My kiddos are six and three, so it was literally a dream come true for them! We played in wave pools, went down slides galore, ate ridiculously over-priced food and never had to apply sunscreen even once! Aww, the perks of an indoor water park. We did venture once to the outside pool though. It was about 7pm and we figured since the sun wouldn’t scorch us, we wanted to take it all in, so we headed outside to wrap up our splash-packed day of awesomeness. I’m so glad we went outside, but truly wished we wouldn’t have. I am torn. The moment with my kids and husband was great. Freedom. Fun. Laughter. Huge smiles and water logged tired eyes. The pool was about to close for the night so we headed to our towels to begin drying off. That’s when it happened. Or at least- when I noticed. I was drying my arm when my wedding ring snagged harshly onto the cotton fabric. I looked down to immediately realize the center diamond in my engagement ring was gone. You know, the family heirloom diamond that had been passed down multiple generations to my husband. Ya- that one. Gone.
I began to look around- the space I was standing in, the towel I was holding, the top part of my swim suit. Nothing. The “calm looking around” only lasted about a New York minute till things quickly escalated to – Oh my word- I LOST MY DIAMOND!!! This is when I felt my blood pressure raise, the hair on my arm begin to stand up, and the slow ache in my heart became apparent. I started looking everywhere, at first frantically, then meticulously. For well over an hour I was looking in every nook and cranny within a 20 foot radius of where I had been standing. About 20 minutes into the search my husband and I decided it would be best for him to take the kids up to the room, get them changed and get some food in their bellies- after all it was already 8pm. Late dinners and even later bedtimes apply when you are on vacay!
So then it was just me. The pool had been cleared of all guests and I stood there with just two lifeguards and a security guard as we began intently looking at the twilight sparkling water in hopes my diamond would miraculously just float up to the surface. Literally as I was fine combing every inch of that pool, sidewalk and seating area- it hit me like a ton of bricks and I started weeping. I am the woman searching for the lost coin. There is a parable in Scripture Jesus shares with his listeners likening the Kingdom of God to a woman who has ten coins and suddenly realizes one is missing. It reads in Luke chapter 15 like this:
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?”
I did just this. Everything else in that moment became irrelevant (unfortunately even the needs of my hungry and tired family). My one and only priority was to drop everything and find. that. diamond. I looked for almost two hours. (I even went back in the middle of the night with the lead security guard because I swore I saw something at the bottom of the pool reflecting light from my 5th story window that overlooked the pool). But alas, I sit here several days later without my ring on my finger. The ring is at home, missing its central most prominent piece of beauty. The creator of this one of a kind ring made the entire thing to feature this diamond to be placed directly in the center. Now the diamond, the most prized part of this creation is not where it belongs. It is lost.
WOAH- this is EXACTLY what we are. To the Lord that is! We are his CENTRAL masterpiece. Everything else was designed in creation to come around us to show US as HIS prized possession. He is in pursuit of us, searching intently until every lost one of us is returned to its rightful place, with him- at the center of his artwork!
As I sit here completing this blog I am actually at Woodleaf, a Young Life Camp in Northern California. I brought a group of teenagers here this week (to join up with several hundred others) to hear the beautiful gospel message unfold. They are learning that they are lost. That I, and so many others, have been a part of a massive search party that was put together, directed by their Creator, to search high and low until they have been found.
I have never related so much to the parable of the Lost Coin as this week. I see the desperate need to find what is lost and restore it to the center of what it was intended for. I may never find my diamond, and my wedding ring may have to be replaced, altered…or most likely just tattooed! But one thing I know for sure- I’m grateful for a Savior who is on a relentless search for me, and you. That unlike me- there is not a limit to his looking for what is lost. He will search, and pursue, and find, till the end of time. And oh how amazing it feels to be found.
Heather Sanford is freaking phenomenal! ….because she was hand-made by THE Creator! She is not shy. She is confident, beautiful, funny and likes herself and her journey a whole lot (in the most humble way possible of course).
Heather is outgoing, witty, sassy, wise and generous. She once was fired from a Christian School for being too “raw, authentic, and vulnerable”!! Gotta love that. Heather has been on the Young Life Staff for over 15 years, entering into the crazy third world country of “teenager” to meet and love kids on their turf.
She has a heart for the lost, a passion to bring freedom to those who are bound (especially in religiosity), and a zeal for living life to the fullest! She is a wife to Joshua, Mom to Bayli and Obadiah (Obi), friend to many, mentor to the lucky ones, child of the King!
You can often find her singing karaoke, laughing with friends over a good glass of wine, traveling the world, living on the edge, pushing the envelope and inadvertently offending many….but always at the center of the grace and goodness of Jesus. Learning to love Him most while loving others!
Heather Sanford is a real breath of fresh air in pursuit of living her best life now! And I should know….since as awkward as writing your own bio is…I’m Heather Sanford and I approve this message! Much love – Peace Out!