Once there was a little girl named Ally, she was 6 years old and LOVED playing dress up.  When Ally had the opportunity to go to the mall with her mommy, she would get overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation for what she might see as she passed by the windows.  Ally was fascinated by all the colors and textures found in the shoes and clothing, so much so that she made her mom take her into every store so she could gaze at all the “piddy” things.  Of all the trips to the mall with her mommy, there was one that she would never forget …

They had taken their usual route around the local mall, when they approached a new little stand in the midst of a cluster of free standing kiosk.  This particular stand was dripping in shiny and bedazzled accessories.  The top of the kiosk read “The Princess’ Jewelry box”.  Ally stared at the costume jewelry in disbelief as if she had never laid eyes on a more beautiful sight.  When she finally peeled her eyes away, she looked at her mom who was smiling at the sight of her child’s appreciation for “Bling” and she said “Mommy, I want to be a princess.” Ally’s mom gave a slight giggle and she said “Well, Ally you are my princess, isn’t that enough?”  Ally pointed to the kiosk bursting with jewels and with a perplexed look on her face she replied ,”I want to be a princess who wears “piddy” things like that!”  In a vast attempt to teach her daughter patience and the value of a dollar, her mom said softly “Ok sweetheart, why don’t you pick out your favorite thing and I will buy it for you, but you will have to earn it by doing chores around the house, deal?”  Ally quickly blurted out with excitement “DEAL!!!” 

Ally she began the quest to find the perfect thing to make her feel like a princess.  After what seemed like an eternity, Ally had carefully chosen her precious treasure.  It was a strand of perfectly round, off white pearls.  As the sales clerk packaged up the necklace, Ally begged her mom to bypass the chores so that she could have it RIGHT THEN!  Mom wasn’t wavering though, she assured her daughter that the pearls would be on her neck soon enough. 

 When they got home from the mall, Ally couldn’t wait to start her chores so she could go to bed with her new necklace.  After a half hour of helping mom put away laundry and brushing the dog, the time had come for her to finally put on her new pearl necklace. 

She swept up the back of her hair so her mom could fasten the necklace around her neck.  She then ran to the closest mirror so she could admire her most valuable possession.  At last… Ally was a princess.  When Ally’s dad got home, she jumped into his arms talking so fast he could hardly keep up.  She was telling him all about “The Princess’ Jewelry box”.  She explained how she picked out the necklace and worked really hard to earn it.  He lovingly affirmed his baby girl that she looked lovely in her new jewels.  Ally bathed and slept in her pearls that night. 

The next day, she showed off her pearls to everyone she encountered.  At bedtime the following night, Ally’s dad came into her bedroom and sat on the edge of her bed to kiss her goodnight.  Still beaming with joy she said, “I love my pearls daddy!”  Ally wasn’t prepared for what her dad said next. 

 Ally’s daddy softly said to his daughter, ” Baby, would you take your pearls off and give them to me?”  Ally squealed with disbelief clinching on to her necklace for dear life.  She said  “No Daddy, why would you want to take my pearls?  They are my most favorite thing I have ever had!”  Her dad lovingly said,  “Ally, do you trust me?”  Ally replied ” yes daddy, but I can’t give you my pearls!  I will give you anything else I have, but not my pearls.”  Her dad smiled and said  “Ok sweet girl, I love you, goodnight”.  The next day came and went and before she knew it, Ally was sitting up in bed again waiting on her dad to come kiss her goodnight.  Her dad followed the usual ritual of sitting on the side of the bed and tucking his daughter in.  Before he gave her a good night kiss, he said to her “Ally, will you give me your pearls tonight? Less shocked, Ally replied ” Dad, you can have my barbie dream house or even my favorite baby doll, but I am sorry you can’t have my pearls.”  Her father looked into her desperate eyes and he said “Ally, do you trust me?”  She looked into his eyes and answered, ” Yes, Daddy I trust you.  But I  still can’t give you my pearls. I just love them too much.  I need them.”  He smiled and kissed her goodnight. 

 After a few more nights of resisting her dads’ plea for her pearls, Ally had made a decision.  It was a Friday night, and her Dad came in to kiss her goodnight.  This night was very different than all the rest. She was sitting up in bed with a serious look on her face when he walked in.  As he sat on the side of her bed, Ally grabbed for his hand, opening each finger until his palm was exposed.  And without a word, she opened her clinched fist, and her precious pearl necklace slid into his hand.  She peered in his eyes and with tears rolling down her rosy cheeks, she said  “I trust you daddy, and I love you more than my pearls”. 

Her father had never been more overwhelmed with love for his daughter.  It was this moment that he had awaited since the day he held his baby girl in his arms for the 1st time. It was the memory she would take with her forever, that would change everything.  He basked in this moment with pride and awe of his brave and selfless little girl.

 When he could gather himself together, he scooted closer to Ally, and from behind his back he pulled out a royal blue velvet box.  He opened the box, and inside was a real, authentic, expensive pearl necklace.  He said to his daughter “Ally, I wanted you to trust me to take your fake pearl necklace and replace it with a real pearl necklace”.  Ally was overwhelmed with joy, not fully understanding the trade she had made, she said to her daddy “Oh Daddy, thank you, thank you! I get to be a REAL Princess!”  Her father replied “yes, my sweet daughter, you are a real princess. And you’re worth far surpasses any amount of jewels”!!! 

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” ~

Mt 7:6

 Pearls have been dear to my heart for years, all the way back to when I was in my early 20′s.  I was just pulling myself out of a deeply dark and destructive season of life.  I had moved back in with my parents, to remove myself from a home and marriage that was literally destroying me.  Over Easter weekend  2006, I had a love encounter with Jesus, and I had just begun a new life pursuing the peace and joy I had longed for.  After a few weeks of spending hours in the word and on my knees begging God for the grace that He had already given me, I came to a cross road.  I decided that maybe I should let God have the opportunity to restore my marriage.  I brought this desire of mine to my parents and asked that they would support me in moving back in with my  then husband.  My dad was willing to see my point of view, he agreed that maybe the best way to work thru it was for us to be together again.  My mom however, well… she wasn’t having it at all.  She began to grieve at the mere thought of her baby girl being trapped inside that place of death again.  She agreed to see our family counselor with my dad to seek advice on this huge decision I was about to make.  In the meantime, my sister, who has a ministry for girls called PINC (Purity and Identity in Christ) had a speaking engagement where she would be giving a message to a group of young ladies about “Pearls.” This is where it all began…

As she told the above story about the little girl, my mom wept with a heavy heart for me as she knew I was clinging on to the fake and disposable pearls.  At the end of the story my sister quoted the scripture “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces” Matthew 7:6. 

As my mom sat in the chair that night she felt the Holy Spirit confirm in her that allowing me to walk back into the situation she had desperately prayed me out of, would be throwing me into a pig pin to be trampled on.  She gathered herself after the meeting to go affirm my sister in her beautiful message.  She brought with her a gift to give her that would represent this message, not even knowing the impact it would have on her.  She pulled out a velvet box, and inside was a real pearl necklace that belonged to my grandmother “Big Mama”.  My sister was elated to be entrusted with this gift!

On her way home, my dad called and said he had spoke to the counselor and he had squeezed them in that evening, so she headed that direction.  All the way to his office, my mom wept with sorrow for me.  She knew God could restore our marriage, because he is a big God.  She had seen this act of healing first hand in her marriage to my daddy years ago.  She wasn’t de-validating God’s ability, she just had a mothers heart… and it was broken for me.  She talked with God the whole way to the appointment, telling Him that He had used scripture to perfectly put into words what she was feeling.  She knew in her spirit as my mother and as my covering at the time, releasing me to the dogs was absolutely not the answer.  She however knew that God was going to have to make this known to my father and I.

After my dad explained to the counselor that he thought maybe letting us have the freedom to try and put things back together could be the answer, the counselor took a long pause and then said “Well Bob, I am reminded of the verse in Matthew 7:6…” and proceeded to quote the scripture that had already become dear to my moms hurting heart.  She closed her eyes and sobbed, knowing that her answer had just been confirmed.

On the way home that night, she was sad that she didn’t have another set of pearls to give to me to represent the value she wanted me to see in myself.  After getting ready for bed, she went to go put away something and pulled out a drawer she had opened many times.  Inside laid a royal blue velvet box.  She had never seen this box before, so confused and curious she pulled it out and opened it up.  Inside was a strand of real, Mikey Moto pearls.  How could this be? She only could remember her mom owning one pearl necklace.  Where did this box come from?  It couldn’t possibly be a coincidence that she would find this box today of all days?  My mom was more convinced than ever that it was time to present to me an opportunity to trade in my cheap pearls for the real thing.  I made the trade, and almost 10 years later I am living a full life of peace and joy with an amazing husband and a precious baby boy.

As you can see, I have much invested in the value of a pearl.  My testimony is truly one that aligns with the very intricate way that a pearl is created.  My sister just recently went to Hawaii and while she was there, she found a place where you could hand pick an oyster shell, crack it open and purchase the real pearl inside.  When beginning the search for her pearl, the sales lady said,  “Make sure you look for the most beaten up shell, that is where you will find the most beautiful pearl”.  She found an ugly, scratched up shell and inside was a stunning pink pearl.  Pink… just for her.  The lady told my sister that pink pearls are so very rare, and she couldn’t believe that she found one.  My sister then decided that she wanted to pick a shell for me as a gift to represent the road we have traveled in our relationship as sisters.  So she looked thru the shells again, searching for the ugliest one she could find.  She described the shell she chose as “deformed in it’s shape with a large crack through the center”.  They cracked it open and you will never believe what was inside.  ANOTHER pink pearl.  This pink pearl has an iridescent sheen to it, almost a vintage peachy pink.  It was perfect for me, absolutely perfect.

Once again, God used a pearl to speak to my spirit, to breathe life into me and to remind me of my value.  You see, it isn’t the most beautiful, put together shell that holds the most value.  It is the most abused, beat up and broken shell that holds the treasure. The shell that has been through the most turbulence, the biggest storms and the strongest winds, that is the shell that holds the most value and worth inside.  In my life I have endured the wrath of many storms and often I have bought into the lie that it is those very mistakes or ugly moments that take away my God given beauty.  When I look at the pearl ring on my finger that my sister gave me or the strand of my grandmothers pearls, I am reminded that I have traded in my impostor pearls for the real thing.  And it is those deep, dark and ugly places I have been that have shaped and formed me into the person I am today.

When your Father asks you, “Do you trust me?”  I hope you will make the trade.

Broken, to the point where it would crumble in your hands.  It had no purpose, no destiny and no worth. It was ugly and dirty.  After all, it was only a grain of sand.  As it lay trapped and confined inside an oyster shell, it began to endure the wrath of the waves.  For years and years the turbulence of the sea swept over it and under it, tossing it around as if it didn’t even exist.  It was beaten, suffocated and yet still forming and growing to be something beautiful.  It’s purpose becoming more evident as the waves crashed down around it.  Inside is a mystery.  The color, shape or size is still unknown. Even through the trials it faced, God had plans for this treasure in the making. This vandalized oyster shell has been sustained through the storms and is ready to be revealed.  As the shell is opened, the most beautiful, stunning pearl drops out.  The perfect shape, rounder than the last.  The best size, bigger than the rest.  The most beautiful color, brighter than the next. It was perfectly imperfect.  No two pearls are just alike, each one has endured its own struggles to be shaped into God’s perfect design.  Just the same, we as Gods children have a purpose filled destiny.  We will endure our own storms that will shape us into the beautiful treasure God has called us to be.  And it is the variation of struggles we have overcome that will be used to encourage someone to persevere through their own personal beating.  When we can recognize that the waves and the winds are what makes us so valuable, we will be able to proudly speak out and spread this message.  God allows us to endure pain, but He surely makes something beautiful from our mess.  As we search for what is inside of our shell, let us remember that no matter what the shape or size, it is real.  It is priceless.  It is God’s perfect design.  Let’s embrace the challenges we face, allowing God to use them to bring Him glory.  Some of us have thrown our pearls to the pigs, it is never too late to crawl in that pin and take back what is rightfully ours.  No matter how deep we have to dig, or how dirty we get digging… the value of our pearls, the value in us, is worth the fight to let God redeem the treasure in us. 

Written by Alyse Krause