Look for the Pearls - Girlfriends in God - May 11, 2016

May 11, 2016
Look for the Pearls
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the LORD, your God (Isaiah 45:3, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Life can be so irritating. It’s usually the little things that annoy me the most. The lost set of keys or the misplaced cell phone. The icemaker that quits working before a party … the little things.

But then there are times when people are the problem. They show up without an invitation or call when I am running out the door, late for an appointment. Been there?

I am convinced that these tiny irritations are a tool in the hand of a loving Father who uses them as "heavenly sandpaper" to rub off our rough edges.

I was invited to speak for a women's conference based on the theme, "Pearls of Wisdom." When I arrived at the conference center, every woman was wearing pearl necklaces, bracelets, or pins. Each table was beautifully decorated with treasure chests overflowing with strands of pearls. Oyster shells held candy mints that looked like pearls and each nametag was decorated with a single pearl. It was amazing!

I was warmly welcomed and then introduced to the event director and leadership team. Everyone was excited and ready to go - except for one problem. I was "pearl-less" and the speaker had to wear pearls of some kind. I did not have any pearls, but this creative group of ladies was not easily deterred and before I knew it, I was wearing a stunning pearl necklace - and the pearls were the real deal. I could just see that necklace breaking while I was speaking, but before I could utter one word of protest, the owner of the necklace said, "Don't worry! You can just give it back to me at the end of the conference." And off we went!

I am what you might call an "active" speaker. I cannot stand still and talk at the same time. I get excited, pace the stage and can literally work up quite a sweat. The "Pearls of Wisdom" conference was no exception. In fact, it was a blistering summer day and the air conditioning was having trouble keeping up with the size of the crowd. By the time I finished speaking, I was indeed "glowing."

When we were dismissed for the day, women waited in line to talk, ask for prayer or share a new truth God had given them. I forgot all about the pearl necklace until its owner quietly slipped up beside me and said, "I have to leave and need to retrieve my necklace." As she began to undo the necklace clasp, I apologized for perspiring all over her beautiful pearls. She laughed and said, "Actually, it’s good for them. Human perspiration helps the pearls keep their luster." 

I am constantly amazed at the profound truths God has tucked into the simple things of life.

Pearls are formed when a piece of grit, sand or shell is trapped inside an oyster. The oyster protects itself from irritation by secreting a nacreous liquid that surrounds the irritant until it eventually becomes a pearl. In other words, that which begins as an annoying irritant eventually becomes a valuable treasure. The same is true in life.

The greatest treasures in my life are products of the darkest times of my life.

A battle with clinical depression stripped away years of fear and doubt, leaving me with a new identity in Christ and a ministry I never thought possible.

The inability to have biological children made it possible to adopt our son and daughter, Jered and Danna, giving my husband and me a gift beyond measure.

Over the years, weaknesses have given way to strengths and failures have led to successes.

God has used it all for His glory and my good. 

In God's economy, a mess is the perfect setting for a miracle, girlfriend. A sliver of hope and a seed of victory are buried at the center of every problem. God has gone before you. He has already been where He is asking you to go and made a way.

There’s more. In every trial or difficult moment of life, God has buried a treasure. To find the treasure, we must go through the trial. So when the tough times come, just look for the pearls.

Let's Pray

Father, I am so sorry for the way I complain about my circumstances. Please forgive me for my bad attitude when things don't go my way. I want to see Your hand in every part of every day - good or bad. Help me learn how to face every storm with confidence, knowing that You really are in control even though I cannot hear Your voice or see Your hand at work.

In Jesus' Name,


Now It's Your Turn

Read James 1:2-4 and answer the following questions:

  • What does the word "consider" suggest as a response to difficult circumstances?
  • What should our first response be to trials?
  • What does the testing of our faith produce in us?
  • What promise does James give us when we are faithful and choose to stand strong when life is hard?

More from the Girlfriends

We live in uncertain times that demand a certain hope that can only be found in God. Need help dealing with fear? Check out Mary’s E-Bible Study, Getting a Grip on Fear. "Getting a Grip on Fear" uncovers God's plan for peace and identifies five ways to deal with and be free from fear. (Bonus Articles – Included)

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070



Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.

Originally published Wednesday, 11 May 2016.