Puzzle Date

Faith isn't about having everything figured out. Faith is about following the quiet voice of God without having everything figured out ahead of time.
-Rachel Held Evans

It has been a particularly hard season for us, the last few months. We've both experienced loss professionally and personally, still navigating the foster/adoption system, and both of us working almost non-stop. We had become ships passing in the night; disconnected, weary, strangers. I walked through Wal-mart as I waited for an oil change, and wondered how to re-connect, thinking about the next few months and how busy they'd be, especially if kids were placed with us. I walked in and out of the aisles aimlessly, hoping to hear my name called so that I could get my car, when I saw them. 


I hate puzzles. I always have. I've never understood why someone would willingly take a beautifully completed picture and break it down into tiny odd shaped pieces, only to try and put it back together again. It's like humpty dumpty but with less purpose. At least he had a fall that broke him. 

That's what I was thinking this morning when God reminded me about our fall. Three years ago our world broke apart and that "perfect" completed picture I'd held onto for so long shattered. I didn't know if I could pick up the pieces again. When I'd cry out, He'd remind me that He knew where we were going, that I just needed to trust Him--piece by piece. And so I did, begrudgingly. One by one my husband and I put the pieces back together again-- slowly, carefully, kindly. We found our way back to oneness. 

To some extent humpty dumpty is all of us. We've all had a fall and needed to be put back together again. The perfectly completed picture on the puzzle box is usually one of our own making, one we've tried to hold onto...hold it all together alone and in our own strength. I hated puzzles because I wanted to keep that picture perfect and complete. I wanted to know the answers and skip the hard part.

But sometimes we need to be broken.

Sometimes that perfect picture has to be shattered, and put together again one tiny piece at a time. Ann Voskamp says that brokenness always leads to abundance. The wheat has to be planted to sprout seed, the seed has to be crushed to make flour, the bread has to be broken to be shared. Jesus fed the five thousand by breaking loaves of bread, and then He'd break Himself so that we could be eternally fed.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

I browse the puzzles and pick out a Christmas scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It has a street lined with sparkly trees, small corner stores, a girl on a sled, and an old red pick up truck with a plump Christmas tree in the back. It looks like the perfect American scene in the perfect American town. 

But I know better now.

I pour the contents out on the table to my husbands glee (because he loves puzzles), and we set to work together, picking up the pieces. One by one it's slow going, but not so very different from the pieces we had to pick up a few years ago.

I smile as we talk over the odd shaped pieces. Our hands work together as our hearts connect, and I think on all I'm thankful for. Brokenness, God's gentle leading, and yes, maybe even puzzles. 

I think I might like puzzles after all. 


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