Puzzled

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Today’s blog idea comes from my 12-year-old. Have I mentioned that I just love her? I am continually amazed at her insight to the spiritual side of life. This aspect of her alone sometimes overwhelms me.

We recently brought home a 500 piece puzzle. Not one of great colored flowers, vast ocean scenery, but ducks! …”Mallards at Dusk” needless to say.. the colors are brown, black and greens. Not really my favorite for matching up pieces. As a matter of fact? I dreaded even starting the thing!

The box was opened and every piece spread out on our coffee table. She gets her camera and takes the first picture? “This is a good idea for one of your blogs” she said. I continued to listen to her explain what she meant. So, in good faith,  I simply couldn’t put off her idea any longer.

The pieces are scattered, unanchored and jumbled. An object without form, beauty or direction. We are similar to the jigsaw puzzle, knowing that there is beauty to behold, but not without the hard work that comes with putting the pieces together.

I start with the end pieces…you can’t go wrong with these. At least I know that there are only so many and they have to eventually make the outline. So I work. I finish and admire the progress. It looks great at a glance…but then I notice something is not right. It seems to fit, but one of the pieces are a little “off”

How many times do we appear to have everything in place? Everything seems to measure up on the outside? We have smooth edges and sharp corners that we allow to define us. “We have it all together” we like to say. Then I noticed that other than the piece that I had put in the wrong place, the inside frame is empty and void. I know that eventually it will not be, but not without the work that lies ahead. I like what 1 Peter 3:3-4 says -New Living Translation (NLT) “ Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”  I love the fact that regardless of what my outer appearance says, God knows what I am on the inside. He knows what pieces are missing and what it will take to shape them. Without Him, I remain just a pile of pieces, scattered with no purpose or direction.

I continually work on the inside of this puzzle. Quite frankly? I am overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s a little more than I bargained for. What am I missing? I give up. I just can’t seem to make them fit. In the meantime, one of our friends drop by for a visit and immediately eyes the puzzle. She is there for only ten minutes and starts to place one piece, then another, and another! Okay, so I’m intrigued watching her. She made it look so easy, and I found it difficult. I ended up having to step away momentarily. I just couldn’t find the missing pieces.

I went back to the puzzle on a different day, a fresh start. Amazingly, I found a piece, then another. I became enthused again about the progress of the puzzle. The same way that I get enthused when God works a piece of my puzzled life into place, I start to see something come together that actually “fits” or makes sense. In the beginning, I only saw frustration, and a jumbled mess. Just as my friend said, sometimes you just have to step away…there’s nothing more you can accomplish. Did I mention that I have some awesome friends? When I try to figure things out on my own, it seldom makes sense. My twelve-year-old told me at the beginning of this puzzle -“Without God, we are like these puzzle pieces, all mixed up.” Kudos to you my daughter..you are wise beyond your years.

As you can see, the puzzle is almost finished. I find that “Mallards at Dusk” are not so bad after all. Actually, it is turning out quite beautifully! I almost waited to blog when it was entirely complete. I realized that the puzzle speaks volume to me on the inside. I am not finished. I still have some pieces missing. I have not “arrived” by no means. I patiently wait for the master puzzler to place the pieces, making them fit perfectly as only He can do.

The puzzle will be finished this week, I am sure I will find the need to  step away a few more times..but it’s progress. Maybe I will save some for our friend to finish since we enjoy watching her work her magic!

Regardless, we are a great work in progress! Don’t give up on the things that puzzle you? Ask for God’s direction..give him control over your “pieces” It will be an awesome journey my friend!

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