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Puzzle Pieces

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-10-25-45-pmWhether it be scrolling on social media or reading the bumper sticker in front of you as you wait for the stoplight, it seems like a day doesn’t go by when there isn’t a phrase shouting at us, reminding us that our time here on earth is special and limited. Phrases like: Life is short, eat dessert first. This is your one chance at life. This is not a dress rehearsal. Make it count. Every day matters. Seize the day. Find your destiny. Don’t waste time. Stop and smell the roses.

Because we live in this modern age where laundry isn’t washed down by the stream and beaten on rocks and firewood isn’t being chopped for warmth, there seems to be even more time to ponder the use of our time and whether or not we are spending our days on the planet wisely. I know there are diapers to be changed and paychecks to be earned, but I’m talking about when we get quiet enough to assess our life and evaluate. Am I in the right career? Is this the one I’m supposed to marry? Do I make the decision to invest my life into homeschooling my kids? These bigger life decisions cause us to stop and contemplate our lives and the hours that we have.

Our lives are like a multi-piece puzzle. (Did you think I was going to say a box of chocolates?) I’m talking about one of those puzzles that people spread out on the dining room table and sit and work on it, go wash the dishes, pass back through, and stop and work on it some more. All of the pieces represent the different aspects of our lives—our families, our talents, our dreams, personalities, relationships, and struggles. I picture us dumping the pieces in front of our Creator and allowing Him to put this puzzle together in the way that He saw “fit” when He created us. His loving, huge, Fatherly hand carefully constructing our life’s picture one piece at a time. Timing and placement . . . timing and placement . . . as we follow His direction. One divine connection at a time, we will watch Him orchestrate and reveal the fabulous picture.

A beautiful, surrendered life done and then we go to heaven, right? As I pray about this, I am realizing that we will not see how complete our picture is in our lifetime because our puzzles—our lives’ pictures and purposes—will carry on in the generations that follow us. Even in the generations that are not in our family but in the families of the people whose puzzles we help Him touch by letting Him use us.

He is a generational God, and He is orchestrating a magnificent plan and picture that includes us all.

In our selfie culture, we like to think a lot about “me.” Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think about me? That is what is so incredible about God. He cares about every detail in our lives and wants to walk with us, and at the same time He cares about every detail in the guy’s life next to us. The stranger at the grocery store was knit together in his mother’s womb and given his specific eye color by his DNA Designer. God wants to love people through us and to help bring clarity to all their wonderfully jumbled puzzle pieces.

When we walk with Him, He is using us to bring clarity and joy and to unify all our puzzle pieces. How about the ICU nurse today who is caring for her patient and their family, forever changing their puzzle.  The small, kind gesture of babysitting a coworker’s kids so she can work an extra shift to pay for her kids’ shoes. The check being written to the homeless shelter or the loving home offered to a foster child.  From leaves being raked in the widow’s yard to encouraging texts arriving at the perfect time, these are just a few of the ways that we bring the pieces together.

We really are part of a much bigger picture. This is not just our puzzle; it is an ongoing fulfillment of God’s amazing plan. We can relax and enjoy this walk with Him, and He will direct us to help others.  Let’s get out there today, love on people, and eat dessert first!

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