As you explore the California coast on Highway 101, there is a little community just south of Santa Barbara. With hillside cliffs on the inland side, and the sandy shoreline on the other, Summerland is as charming as it sounds. Drive just a bit further south and you will find yourself in the seaside town of Carpinteria.

We have friends there with the cutest beach cottage, just steps from the sand. As you turn off the highway and drive south on Santa Claus Lane (yes, that’s really the name) all you can see from the tree-lined street is a series of high block walls and wooden gates that shield the homes from view. But once inside the gate, there sits the white cottage with a gravel driveway and a big American flag by the front door—which was unlocked because they were expecting us!

A few steps away, I spotted a sidewalk bordered by Black-Eyed Susan vines and Rosemary bushes. Venturing down two flights of steps brought me to another gate with a security code that guards access to the beach.

Sheltered between steep cliffs and bordered by towering cypress trees is this gem of a beach. The sand is soft and powdery underfoot and littered with turban-shaped shells the size of your open palm. Each shell resembles a spiral staircase rising to a pointed tip, the edges bordered with calcified “ruffles” that add a delicate touch. Christian Dior could only dream of putting ruffles like these on one of his exquisite gowns!

This beach is a secret paradise, with no one in sight but sandpipers and seagulls. All we need bring to this peaceful spot is a towel and a good book—nature provides the rest.

We’ve been thrilled to enjoy this spot a few times, and finding adequate words to express heartfelt thanks to our gracious hosts is always a challenge. But it is only for those with access granted.

This got me thinking of the passage in Ephesians 3:12, where Paul tells his readers that in Christ, “we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him.”

Again, in Hebrews 10:19 it says that “we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.”

Think of it.

We aren’t treated like trespassers—in Christ the gate is open and we are granted full access! We are welcomed into the closest fellowship possible because of Jesus.

When Greg and I have been privileged to visit, we arrive and type in the gate code to our friend’s lovely property. Through the speaker, this recorded voice with a very posh British accent declares, “Access granted.” The gate automatically opens and we can just drive in like we own the place!

What an illustration this is for us. As believers, we carry the Holy Spirit’s “access granteddeclaration in our heart! We are welcomed into the very presence of God Himself. Into His throne room of grace where we find rest, joy, peace.

Rest. Joy. Peace

So I ask, what is keeping you from slowing the busy pace of your day to come away and be with Jesus? God’s invitation is extended and He bids us to come anytime, into His presence.


Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28