My children recently went to my nieces’ birthday party. Zeke won a prize at one of the games. He was so happy. It was a 500 piece puzzle. He has autism and wanted to open it on the way home! YIKES! I told Zeke that we all would help him put it together the next day. So he set it on his desk with the picture of what puzzle was in the box facing out so everyone who walked by could see it.
The next day, just as I had promised we all decided to have the first ever puzzle day for home schooling. The rule was you either help Zeke with his puzzle or you had to work at your school work. The kids were exuberantly excited. I thought, 500 pieces, five excited and motivated kids and an adult, I pray we can get this done before Tim gets home.
Puzzles are not my favorite thing to do. I never choose to just pull out a large puzzle and do it ever in my life. I haven’t liked doing them my whole life but when the kids need help with one, I will sit and help them when they ask. So we all sat down and spent some time opening the box, placing the box top so we could all see it, flipping all the pieces “face up”, putting all the edge pieces to the side and went to work on the border. All I kept thinking was 500 pieces is going to take a long time even with this huge team helping.
Within thirty minutes Elizabeth was thru. She didn’t say a thing. I just noticed she was working at her desk at her school work. O.k? That was fine. A child choosing school work over a puzzle?
Then after an hour. Carolyn went over and started her school work. Humpf…. Well…there was still William, Zeke and I and William is pretty good at puzzles.
The next one to quietly slip away was Zeke. He would sneak up and check on William and I every once in a while. But just had given up, it was too much for him. Yes, he keeps a messy desk and lives in his clothing inside out when at home. The seems and tags just bother him so much he can't concentrate. We are working on it.
Well, you guessed it. By lunch time I was on my own. William bowed out with a headache from working so long at it. Bless his heart. After that I just had an occasional child come up and try to put a piece in here or there. Or say wow, it looks great keep going. Sigh.
I was going to finish this puzzle because I don’t like to stop something once started. I also wanted to finish it for Zeke's sake because I said I would help him put it together. Together it was going to be. I was going to get this puzzle done and take a picture of it for him so he could know it was together at one time. So I worked and worked at this challenging puzzle. I don’t sit still well at all. I always have to be doing something. But I resolved to stay planted and thought a lot while I worked.
Doing the puzzle was really interesting. I had not done one in years. These had pretty smallish pieces and since it was a beautiful underwater scene there was every shade of blue you could imagine. Some of the pieces looked like they were the one I wanted and I thought was the right piece for a certain place but when putting it in it was not. Some that I thought would never fit in a certain place did indeed go right there. Hmmmm. Sometimes I was looking for a certain shape piece that was what I thought should be a particular color but the piece that went there was not the color I thought should be there at all. Every time a piece fit or I got a big area finished I had a huge sense of accomplishment. Time went by and I had to stop and finish it in the morning. As I had worked on it all day except for meals and barn chores and things that needed to be done. I was beat. Who knew doing a puzzle for a day could be so exhausting!
In the morning I felt refreshed and finished it up in less than an hour. The kids were so happy. I stood back to look at it and took a picture. Wow, finished, done. Now I can get back to life and parent children and clean the house???? I guess doing the puzzle was a nice diversion.
Putting together that big puzzle was a lot like life for me. Really it was. Some pieces fit, some pieces don’t. Some pieces you just have to put in a different way. Never give up and keep going if you want it finished. Sometimes it is frustrating or exhausting and sometimes we need a break from something just to go back at it the next day to finish it easily. But as we go thru life many times we go thru things that we don’t understand at all. We don't see why God is having us go thru something or learn something. Those are the times we ask why or wonder what the Lord is doing. Very often for me later down the road I see what He was doing and it was a bigger picture than I ever could have imagined.
I mean when Tim and I got married we never planned on or even talked about doing foster care. When going into foster care we had never planned on or thought about adopting. We sure never talked about or thought about adopting special needs or medically fragile children. But looking back at my childhood, young adult life, and early marriage many puzzle pieces were given to me that didn’t make sense but laid the ground work for the family and life we actually have right now. All the pieces just fit. God had a much bigger picture in mind than I ever had. A much better more perfect life than I could have ever planned.
I don’t know about you though. It seems every time I feel like I have my puzzle of my life together and I start to feel a little content, the Lord expands the boarders and gives me more pieces and I have to go thru something again. Learn again. Grow again. I know this is pretty wimpy of me but now when I pray I pray for the Lord to be gentle with me. As I have been thru so much in my life. God is so very good. He knows.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
May the Lord give you a glimpse of the bigger picture in your lives today and give you the strength and faith to achieve His will for your life.