I had a conversation today with a couple of my young friends and their mom. I asked them what grit was. Two 14 year olds and a 10 year old said they had no idea. The youngest picked up her phone and asked it “What’s a grit?” The phone showed her a box of ground hominy corn cereal common with breakfast here in the South, known as “grits”. It was a good laugh, but then I asked their mom if she had grit, and she said yes! The girls looked pretty surprised, until their mom explained it meant hard work and determination to get through difficult things. Then they all agreed that they had grit too. Everyone has challenging things to get through, whether it’s a math or science test, a term paper, or something long term like family or health issues. What you do with it is up to you.

An oyster takes a piece of “grit” like sand or shell, and turns it over and over and coats it with layers and layers of aragonite and conchiolin. That is the stuff that makes up its shell. Oysters don’t have the most lovely of outer shells, but by producing the shiny mother-of-pearl substance called nacre around that irritating grit, a pearl is grown. Pearls are exceptionally created by God through nature, requiring no polishing or cutting, complete and lustrous just as they are.

Have you ever tried to open an oyster? They are rough and dirty, they clamp together so strongly a special knife and strong hands are required to pry it open to get the pearl inside. This is so much like many of us, a tough outer shell, clamped down hard, trying to make the best of a situation, gritting it out and hoping that through inner strength and determination that the outcome will be okay.

Proverbs 31:10-31 talks of the value of capable, intelligent, and virtuous women having value far about rubies and pearls. When we are faced with hard times and feel the strength well up, we gain grace and wisdom, and we need to realize that we are perfectly created and suited to handle whatever comes our way. Like the oyster that creates the pearl, we can all succeed though faith, grit and time.