Don’t Tell Me, Show Me

by | Apr 16, 2012 | Uncategorized

Grace is born in furrowed brow and wondering hearts and show me signs of love. In the holes in His feet and palms outstretched so I can see them with Thomas. Scars revealed on his side when he pulls up his shirt  and says, “Put your finger here,” so we might believe. (John 20:27)

He rises from the dead and I need signs like Thomas, to believe He loves me this way of grace. Because you can’t know grace when she seals silent in a jar under the mattress of childhood, when love depends on how good you were that day and moods change like a cool breeze on a sticky day.

Tell me you love me and I hear it. Show me you love me and I understand it. And I was told, until the grafting of illustrated grace happened the day I said I do. I’m still trying to receive it.

“I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” Thomas and I, we say it together. (John 20:25)

I walk on shore of sandy beach under spring’s sunny canopy of surprise. Gritty toes around carnage of flattened jellyfish and wads of stringy lime seaweed, shells that sparkle golden, and birds scurrying stick footed along the lap of shallow roar.  Sitting down on splintered wood of time, I listen to the sea tell her story. Her crashing waves of life, a chorus of joy leaping high in frothy sea spray.

And I hear Him whisper, “I made this for you.”

It’s like someone told me I was walking around with my zipper undone, I can hardly look at the blue-green swells vacant of horizon. The foamy rolls of churning sea beat hard against rocks, push back into the deep and this endless beauty, it’s for me?

Thomas and I, we don’t need to put our finger in the hole in his side anymore. He shows us and we exclaim it together, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

Because sometimes understanding grace doesn’t require repentance for our unbelief, or letting go of the guilt about needing signs, we just accept it. Receive it looking at the vastness of the seas and the holes in his hands, knowing He did it all for the love of you and me.

When my mind wearies from the wondering about fine lines, the silence of parents, voices of the future  and the wrecklessness of others, his voice is silent. He stands beside me pointing to the sea and I breathe deep from the wind of understanding.

What is He showing you about grace?

Counting gifts with Ann today, because really, they’re endless joy aren’t they?

for my girl who does the dishes, just because.

making a new recipe together that she picked out.

a quiet walk on the beach with the wind and a camera.

meet-ups after work with friends at the place that makes us feel like we’re in Europe.

a good book and a cup of tea on a quiet porch.

digging in soil, planting new flowers.

the way he smiles after spending time with friends.

words of friend that speak His grace so eloquently.

a few days closer to our trip to England/Scotland for the 22nd year of illustrated grace.

And this, oh my this: Just as I finish this post inspired by my husband’s sermon, I learn that the devotion my daughter read today for her mission’s team meeting, the title is Show, Don’t Tell. Goose bumps here.

Linking with Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Playdates with God, Miscellany Monday, Just Write, Soli Deo Gloria, On Your Heart Tuesday.

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here:


  1. Sharon O

    This is beautifully written, so deep and so personal. Thank you for giving me something to think about.

  2. Amy

    Shelly, I love when God reinforces something he has been showing/teaching me. Last week I posted a review of a book ( that is very similar to this post’s theme: the importance of experience over informaiton (show, don’t tell). Thanks for the thoughts and pictures!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amy, I’ll pop over to check it out. Love those sacred echoes, the confirmation of His presence near us.

  3. kd sullivan

    He teaches families, together. I love the zipper down part. My pastor always says that sometimes the blessings of God can be embarrasing. Well shown, dear one.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yep, it feels that way often. An embarrassment of riches.

  4. Laura

    love the part about the zipper down. so true!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Laura, so nice to meet you and get a glimpse of your sweet family. Thanks for visiting.

  5. tereasamansfield

    Psalm 3:3, “Thou, O Lord, are a shield about me, you’re my glory and the lifter of my head.” He lifts our heads, hanging in shame and says, “See me.” He loves us and, yes, we are unworthy. He is our glory and our confidence. Thank you for your thoughtful words today. He does love us.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks for this verse Tereasa. I thought I understood grace but God is speaking to me, that perhaps there is more to learn. It’s my focus during Eastertide, asking Him to help me understand grace in a new way. He is faithful.

      • tereasamansfield

        Sometimes we learn grace gently, sometimes we learn on our knees, sometimes… on our face. I am learning, too.

  6. bluecottonmemory

    It is a beautiful thing when hearts work in tandem like yours and your daughter! Before I understood Unconditional Love – I was like a blind man. When I was shown unconditional love, those scales fell off and it was like Jesus healing the blind man. I saw it and grew into living it! I so understand your post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, what a great analogy. I get this, live it actually.

  7. Christina

    Oh, yes, just receive! And the beach is a great place to do that. His power is so evident there. BTW, I just bought the Manning book you wrote about:)
    Are you planning on going to Edinborough while you are in Scotland? There’s a John Knox museum there that we enjoyed. And searching for Nessie in Loch Ness is kind of fun too:) Blessings to you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, I know you will love that book Christina. We are staying three nights in Edinburgh, can’t wait. It really wasn’t even in our original plans until we realized that the castle of my ancestors, where we are visiting in the north of England, is so close to Ediburgh. So excited and thanks for the tips on places to visit.

  8. r.elliott

    I love this…I too am learning to see His love all around me…through all this images of love. blessings~

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think you and are in similar places on our life jourey Ro. So glad to be travelling with you.

  9. tara pohlkotte

    “I made this for you.”
    – – Yes! what a grace to wrap ourselves in. It’s scandalous, really. How he loves us…put mountains and the sea for us to know majesty, the crain and the deer for us to know peace. Love this, so glad you heard this message for you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Scandalous – perfect word Tara. So thankful He is showing me true meaning in words we use so commonly like grace.

  10. Jen Ferguson

    Just last year, I would try to approach God, climbing these white, cold marble steps. As soon as I saw His feet, I would back down, unable to muster the words to talk to Him on His throne. One night, I think all I could muster was His name and in that moment, He spoke: “What can I give to you, my daughter?” And this is the sound of grace to me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jen, thanks so much for sharing such an intimate moment with our Lord. Beautiful.

  11. susan2956

    Wow…this was just beautiful!!

    Blessings to you♥

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Susan, it’s really nice to meet you. Glad you stopped by.

  12. Michele-Lyn (@lifesurrendered)

    This is wonderful liberating truth… I am still learning about grace… and that I do not have to prove myself to God. I do not have to carry the heaviness of shame. I do not have to fix and change… it is God’s work to do in me… and I just rest in Him.

    Blessings to you… with love,


    • Redemption's Beauty

      We’ll learn together then Michele. And do we ever really become masters in knowledge of anything? His wisdom is infinite and beyond my comprehension. So glad there is always room to learn more and become more like Him.

  13. waterthecamels

    Wow, thank you for the beautiful image of grace and the power and cleansing it has in our lives. It is okay to need it, want it, ask for it, bask in it. The Master would never have allowed a need He did not intend or desire to meet. Thank you Lord for Grace!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My husband spoke about joy and celebration during Eastertide on Sunday and I thought the illustration of grace between Thomas and Jesus was really remarkable. It wasn’t until I took a walk later that afternoon that it all came together for me. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Michelle DeRusha

    You have no idea how much I can relate to this – I struggled so much to understand and accept grace. Still do sometimes.

    Grateful for this Monday morning beauty and truth, Shelly.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Sometimes I wonder if some of my lack of understanding about grace comes from the fact that it wasn’t modelled to me as a child. Most of my early life messages communicated doing, not being. Because the ones communicating it didn’t really understand grace either. An ugly generational cycle in our family tree. Glad you can relate Michelle. Well, glad selfishly I suppose.

  15. Nancy Franson (@nancyfranson)

    Here’s the thing: I understood the concept of grace, in my head, for many, many years. But accepting it, letting it wash over and soak into me, that continues to be a lifelong process–one that involves so much more than my head.

    When I saw you were heading to the beach with your camera over the weekend, I felt like inviting myself to join you. Love me some beach!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You said it, read my mind and said what I needed to say about grace. You can invite yourself anytime. Would love to take a walk with you on the beach any day Nancy.

  16. Lisa notes...

    I continue to learn about grace. It’s almost too good to be true, so I was blinded for too long. But the more I discover now, the more I want to discover.

    “Tell me you love me and I hear it. Show me you love me and I understand it.”
    I love being shown! Thanks for this beautiful post.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I am hearing the sacred echo, that really knowing and understanding grace is a lifelong process. We never fully arrive do we? Thanks for visiting Lisa. Still can’t leave comments for you. Love the petunias on your post today.

  17. Krissie Camealy (@AlwaysAlleluia)

    I love this reminder. I love how your daughters’ devotional confirmed the words you had written. Isn’t it always amazing when God does that?! When He seals the truth with the clear fingerprints of His hands, because we are frail and never seem to get enough encouragement from Him… Beautiful, Shelly.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, I wish He did it more often, but then I wouldn’t realize how awesome it is I suppose. It would be commonplace. And grace is such holy ground when we see it for what it is.

  18. Dea

    You know that I get this…And I love to think of you breathing deep grace and filling–to the full, where the silent voices, the guilt, the need to do it right gets overtaken by Love so very deep and so very wide. It washes over like a wave and the salt stings and we feel alive. Yes, all this for you!! For you…..and if there if there was nothing else, His grace is sufficient. And I say the words with you my friend, “My Lord, My God!!”

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I know you do Dea. Thought of you on my walk. What an adventure we take together friend.

  19. C.Allyn

    Hello Shelly, lovely post.
    I have read it twice, last night and again this morning.
    The countdown begins and we leave two weeks from Saturday. My nights are restless and I told Neil that I need to write lists to get the stuff out of my head.
    Grace is something I am counting on. These days I have witnessed God’s grace towards me through others. And, as mentioned before, I have had to extend grace when I really have felt like it. Such is the journey.
    Your pictures remind me of our living in Florida and I long for the sun. But gardens need the rain also. 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      so I have to admit it made me smile knowing you read it twice. You are truly a good friend. Thinking of you as you plan and prepare. And I wonder if you might ask yourself afterward, when he lives with you, why you worried and tossed and turned so much. He’s got this one.

      • C.Allyn

        Again your remind me of what truly is important. I am very glad we are friends.
        Good call.

  20. mamacravings

    This is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for posting this!

  21. Alecia

    Beautiful. I’ve always been ashamed of the fact that of all the disciples, Thomas is the one I associate with the most. I feel like I would be the one saying I won’t believe till I see Him with my own eyes. I hate this unbelief I carry around. But of course God being God, doesn’t get angry at me for asking the questions, He answers them, through His word and through other more mature loving Christians. Your writing here today blessed me more than you know, Thank You!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Alecia, I like that Thomas is a part of the bible so we can relate to him. It isn’t a surprise that his story is included so we know we aren’t alone or crazy or unbelieving. So glad you stopped by today.

  22. Sandra Heska King

    Grace is like those zippered-down naked moments. Exposed, yet still loved. I know this grace.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I used to have a lot of those dreams when I was little. Forgetting to get dressed for school and hiding under the desk so no one would see me. Dr. Phil would have a hay day with that one! Your comment reminded me that for some strange reason. 🙂

      • Sandra Heska King

        Oh my. I still have dreams sometimes of being half or fully naked in public. No do like.

  23. Tammy

    Such a lovely post. Very thought provoking and one to ponder on for a bit. Hopping over from ann’s today.

  24. Theresa

    I love how you wrote on Thomas this week. So fitting. I wanted to, but then it’s my daughter’s birthday and decided to go in that direction. Beautiful post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My husband spoke about him in part of his sermon. It was the part that I related to and it stuck with me for this post. That is what I love about the lectionary. How we hear the same scriptures, reading and pondering together no matter the distance that separates us. The communion of the saints in action.

  25. Rebecca

    Truly, I understand His grace toward me but it is only in the past five years that I have begun to understand the grace we are to give to one another. How can we not extend that grace when the cost of that grace to us was so very high? Thanks for a beautiful post! Counting my blessings along with you today.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Rebecca, for some reason it is easier to give it away than to accept it. Not always, but mostly. Thanks for stoppping by.

  26. Court

    So pretty, the beach shots. I loved the zipper bit. I too can’t get over how startlingly deep is his love for us.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Me either. I think it is incomprehensible. So nice to meet you today.

  27. Deidra Riggs

    Some days, I just hear the word grace and start to cry. Other days, I can’t even take it in. It just doesn’t make sense – not on the days it makes me cry, and not on the days I can’t wrap my head around it.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I know what you mean here Deidra. I think He is wanting me to see this differently during the season of Eastertide. It’s where my focus is and I hope I am hearing.

  28. ljbmom

    I preached on this scripture yesterday too, Shelly :). So much deep water there. I would have loved to sit with you in the pew and listen to where God took your husband with these words. He is always so faithful to lead. This is so beautiful.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh Laura, I would’ve loved to hear you speak about this portion of scripture. I just love the lectionary, the way it connects the body of Christ. My husband told lots of stories (the showing, not telling) that really spoke to celebrating the resurrection and living joy.

  29. Shanda

    I never fail to learn lessons when walking on the beach. I love the idea of how you have woven in the idea of God not just telling us but showing us his love. And He does so in so many ways. We just fail to notice them.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      There is something about that peaceful wide expanse of water that speaks to us, isn’t there? The theme of this post was stolen actually. From my husband’s sermon so I guess its okay to steal from your husband!:).

  30. Eileen Knowles (@cupojoegirl)

    “And I hear Him whisper, “I made this for you.”” Love when He whispers Truth like this to us. Beautiful post.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It feels a bit vunerable too. Because when He speaks I know it, and have to receive what He says. I can’t just shrug it off, thinking it is for someone else. So glad you came by Eileen.

  31. librajenn

    The ocean is a place for a lot of lessons. Feeling small, and so big – at the same time. Letting the power of nature wash over me. Thanks for a great thought provoking post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I like your words, feeling small and so big. So true. Nice to meet you and glad you stopped by.

  32. Denise

    Such lovely thoughts.

  33. simplystriving

    You speak my soul language, Shelly. I’m sharing it on facebook. I just have to.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Aww, glad we are soul sisters Nikki. Appreciate the share and your kindness as always in your words.

  34. Cora Eelman

    Grace! The word just swells over me like an ocean wave! It took me so long to learn that His love came to me with no strings attached, no listing of the cost to me, no rules defining my place — close or far from His heart. It took me even longer still to risk receiving that grace and stop striving like a panicky, drowning swimmer. There’s something about the shorelines that God has made. Something that draws us into His presence. You are right — He doesn’t even have to speak. This was so beautiful today. Thank you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Cora, finding such solace in your words to describe grace. What a gift to have you visit me today. Thank you for this inspired, thoughtful comment.

  35. carissa

    oh wow, such wonderful pictures and important truths. just lovely.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Carissa, you inspire me every week. So glad to find you.

  36. charinabrooks

    Absolutely beautiful Shelley. Blessings.

  37. Jhunnelle

    Ahh, Grace, what a sweet word, if i may define grace in 5 letters, it is JESUS!

  38. Denise J. Hughes

    “… until the grafting of illustrated grace happened the day I said I do.” The grafting of illustrated grace. I love this. You have such a beautiful way with words. It’s a gift. And it’s a blessing.

    The day I said “I do” was a new beginning for me too. A day of grace. A day of renewed hope.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      We are blessed, you and I, with the redemption that came in the men He gave us. So thankful.

  39. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    I can hear that fun old song from My Fair Lady ringing through this… Eliza Doolittle singing “Don’t talk of love… SHOW ME! So maybe this is one classic that sings in your heart… 🙂 Yes, that Jesus would have died just for you, or just for me… that God would have created beauty just for you, just for me (and DOES) is a wondrous, glorious gift. I’m glad He is whispering this beauty into your heart as His special gift made for you! He certainly is a magnificent show-er of His love!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m whispering here *I’ve never seen my fair lady*. Perhaps its time.

      • Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

        I think you may have heard the music without even knowing it… And it is amazing how much your words echo those song lyrics. I enjoyed the play more than the movie… the film is really long…but beautifully made and it has fun moments. For your first of classics, though, I think I might recommend a different one first…:) And… no need to whisper. Just some fun in catching up on beauty you may have missed in the past. I envy all your traveling through Britain and Scotland. Hoping those are in my future! 🙂

Pin It on Pinterest