Monday, March 19, 2012

Piece by Piece

My girls love them some puzzles. No matter the kind, theme, or variety. It doesn't matter to them. They love dumping out all of the pieces, turning them right side up, around, or this way and that. Shouts of joy ring out when two pieces fit together in just the right way! Then three pieces, then four. And as they work, they continuously look at the picture on the front of the box. Their guide, if you will. As any good puzzle worker knows, you always start with the outer edges first, and then work your way inward. My girls will spend hours working puzzles, fitting it all together just so, piece by piece.

I am fairly certain that puzzles are in their blood. They come by their puzzle love naturally. My mom, Grammy, loves puzzles, as did her mother. Growing up, my grandmother always had a puzzle table set up. Always. Perhaps she would ignore the table for a day or so, if life got in the way, but it was always there, waiting for someone to connect the pieces. Some days she might have time to put a bit of the picture together. Maybe one or two pieces, or maybe a dozen. And sometimes she would spend hours at the table. Not getting up until the picture was complete. Anyone was always welcome to help her as she worked her magic, creating one masterpiece out of sometimes thousands of different pieces. Separate the pieces were hard to understand. They did not make sense. But together? Together they created something beautiful. My grandmother's hands took tiny pieces and wove them together into beauty.

I believe greatly that the same is true for our lives. God is the Master of Puzzles. Each of our individual lives the piece of a much bigger picture. His picture (that currently only He can see), that He will one day put on display for the entire world to see. That thought gives me goose bumps. And hope! Lots and lots of hope. But we can break it down even more than that. Each of our lives is a puzzle. A mystery as to how all of our pieces will come together in the end. Some of the pieces we can't understand. We don't want to understand. Hurt, disappointment, confusion, pain. All pieces of our puzzle that separately, make no sense. Our lives are filled with little pieces that we don't like. Pieces that don't seem to connect to anything else. Oftentimes, we want to throw those pieces away. The ugly pieces surely aren't necessary. They can't be part of our masterpiece. Right? RIGHT?! But they are. And if we threw all of the pieces that we did not like away, in the end our masterpiece would be filled with tiny holes throughout. Pieces of our bigger picture would be missing. Instead, we must believe that somehow, some way, God will use those pieces that we don't like for good. Because He is good, and that is what He does.

And then there are the times in life where everything seems to just come together seamlessly! With ease our days flow, pieces connect, colors pop! And we can see it, that bigger picture. It is waiting there for us up ahead! And if we just keep plugging away at our puzzle, piece by piece, we will reach it! Our lives will be God's masterpiece! We will see that He has connected each one of our pieces together in just the right way. There might be strings of darker pieces, times when we thought we would never see those glorious pops of color again, but they always, always connect to joys. Sometimes entire rows of joys! And the beauty of the completed picture is always worth the work along the way. Always.

I know this to be true, because I have evidenced it in my own life. For the last several weeks the pieces have just not seemed to connect. At least not in the way that I wanted them to. But slowly, after time, I can see that they are attaching to pieces of joy once again. Joy in the sunshine. Joy in my daughter's laughter, and in my little boy's kisses. Joy found in friends. Joy found in my husband, in upcoming adventures together. Pieces of joy found in God's Word. Learning that it is His completed picture I am working towards, and not my own. Joy in contemplating trading my dreams for His. So I keep plugging away piece by piece, knowing He will work it all together for good. For His good, and for mine. Because God is the Master of puzzles, and I can trust Him with my pieces. Every single one of them.