Piece by Piece

In my newest story, the hero loves puzzles. It’s why he became a detective. He’s patient. Observant. And doesn’t seem to get in much of a hurry…for anything (including the heroine). As I was thinking about him, watching him sit at his table spreading out all the pieces, propping the puzzle box in front of him to help guide his actions, grazing his fingers along all the pieces, examining each one with care, I thought how opposite we are.

Me and Christian (Not Gray).

I’ve never been one to sit still long enough to put a puzzle together. I’ve tried. Small puzzles are easy. I’ve helped my kids with them. But the 1000 piece puzzles, uh, not so much. I get frustrated. I think it should be easier. 

And you know what I end up doing? 

Forcing pieces that really aren’t meant to be together, together. 

Wrecking the whole thing.

Because each piece has a fit. And when one piece gets jammed somewhere it shouldn’t, the rest of the puzzle suffers.

My husband is similiar to my book hero. Loves puzzles. Good at them. Patient with them. We bought one once, a lion in Africa. I bowed out early, also his barbs at my pitiful lack of puzzle playing encouraged me to quit sooner. Even if they were in flirty fun gests.

When it was all done, after a week of working. A gorgeous, powerful lion graced our kitchen table. Thank Heaven we ate off TV trays, right?

It was such a beautiful sight to see.

Does your life ever feel like a big 1000 piece puzzle? Jumbled. Messy. Out of order. Are you ready to give up? Put pieces where they don’t belong? 

I think God is very much like my hero in the book, as He is observant, patient and careful about fitting the right pieces in the right place. He gives us a picture of what He wants our lives to look like and then guides each one of us. Each step of our day, events in our lives…are one piece of the puzzle. 

When we’re obeying and trusting, the pieces fit. They lock one into another and yes, it takes time, patience and observance to fit them in place. 

If we get in a hurry, make a mistake, try to fit things where they don’t belong, we slow it down. As if it weren’t already slow.

But after a time, a long time we’ll see ourselves and our lives in His image on the puzzle box! A beautiful sight to behold!

“But we all, with
unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being
transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of
the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

Do you like puzzles? Why or why not?

*I’m still holding the name-that-dog contest on my facebook page! If you’d like to participate, “Like” my page and give me a unique name for a Saint Bernard for the new story I’m writing. No limit to the names! Winner gets a $10 Amazon/Starbucks card (your choice). If I pick a name many have shared, I’ll pick the first one who said it. Share with others! Tweet! Facebook! Thanks! Contest ends Friday at midnight.

*photo credit: freedigitalphotos
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16 thoughts on “Piece by Piece

  1. Sometimes I'm totally in the mood for puzzles–something I can do without thinking too hard or being in a hurry. 🙂 Other times, they make me want to rip my hair out.

    But I love your comparison to life. I can think of times when I've tried to make the pieces fit…and it didn't go so well. 🙂

  2. Love puzzles. On vacation with my husband's family all the guys are sitting around working on a jigsaw puzzle–all the guys + me.
    ~ Wendy

  3. I like puzzles, but haven't done one in a long time.

    And I love what you said about trying to force together pieces that don't fit. In life, it's all about trusting God and waiting for Him to come along. Sometimes, He has to show us what fits where. Other times, He lets us figure it out, always keeping a watchful eye and encouraging us when we become discouraged.

  4. Amazing! I wrote something similar today on my blog – about the pieces of the puzzle fitting together and how impatient we become as we wait – but God sees the big picture and He knows where the pieces belong and He can't fit the wrong piece in at the wrong time. It's all about His timing.

    I love puzzles – and I don't know if it's a family DNA thing or what because my dad loves puzzles, his mom loves them and her mom loved them. My great grandmother's claim to fame was putting together a three foot wide, red circle. That's it! No corners, no other colors. Could you imagine? That's not my type of fun!

  5. I like puzzles in the middle of winter, when we're stuck inside. Loved the analogy, and yes, I try to force things together sometimes. Never does work, does it? I've gotten much, much better with my patience because God's given me soooo many chances to practice it:)

  6. I'm not much of a puzzle person, but I love the analogy. Yes, life in this world is much like a puzzle — things don't make sense and some of our efforts seem like a waste. We won't see the big picture, the finished product of our labor until we arrive in eternity. What an exciting day that will be. 🙂

  7. I was never one for puzzles because I get impatient and want to move on to something else. Ha!

    I am one of those who tries to force the pieces to fit together. Oh my. What a mess that has caused me in life.

    Great post. It's good to be reminded to let God fit the pieces together. Sometimes I step back and think, "Huh? What's He doing now?"

    But I have learned to wait until the Master artist is finished with His work. I am NEVER disappointed.


  8. My second son likes puzzles. I've enjoyed doing them with him, especially if it's one we've done before. 🙂 What a fun trait to give your hero!

  9. Every Christmas holiday season, we put together a puzzle. It sits on a table in the family room and everyone takes a turn whenever they feel like it. Sometimes a few of us will just stand around and talk while we're searching puzzle pieces. It's a great place for conversations and catching up. I have got up at 3 am and found hubby and son-in-law at the table, or my two daughters. Great therapy for families!

    Loved your thoughts on trusting and patience that the pieces will fit. Great post!

  10. I definitely don't like to have messiness in my life. Relaxation, flexibility, yes. Chaos, no way. lol
    Your hero sounds very sweet.

  11. Jessica – I'm a puzzler but in a not-so-healthy way. I get sucked into the vortex and can't rest until it's done. I force myself to only pull out the puzzle table at Christmas time (family tradition since I was a little girl – didn't have TV so the fam did things like puzzles together, sang at the piano or read a book together) because otherwise, I'd get no sleep, no one would eat anything but processed and packaged food, and my writing would fizzle out.

    I don't think that's the kind of puzzle person your Christian is… or Jesus, for that matter. I'm like a greedy little dog with a bone…. HA!

    But your analogy is spot on – My dad was just like this and he was a great role model of the patient puzzle-solver. I loved sitting across the card table from him as a little girl and watching his beefy mechanic hands placing tiny delicate puzzle pieces precisely where they belong. You stirred up a wonderful memory for me today, Jessica. Thank you.

  12. Jess, I just love the vivid imagery and symbolism throughout this post. GREAT thoughts to ponder, my Friend. I love puzzles, but only when I feel "caught up." Know what I mean? If there are 5 things up against a deadline, they come first. The puzzle lingers. But I always go back to it. The cool thing about puzzles? I always put the edges together first. That way, the boundaries are clear. When we put Jesus as our edge hedge, He guides the entire puzzle.

  13. Thanks for reminding me of the good times my hubby and I have had putting puzzles together. We've been married almost 50 years, and had some lean times when working on a puzzle, side by side, was our entertainment. Thanks bringing those good times to mind.

  14. Love this! I enjoy building jigsaw puzzles, especially with the family.

    And such a good reminder. Sometimes I want to try to force the pieces of my life to fit where I want them to, but God's got a different idea. And He's got the puzzle box with the complete picture on it. Guess I should let Him do the assembling, huh?

  15. So funny! I have a huge puzzle spread out on our dining room table right now. My son and I've been working on it, but it's so hard!! I've been forcing pieces together, too. It never works in the end.

  16. Oh this is good, Jess! I'm guilty of jamming those puzzle pieces in places they don't belong. Patient to a degree – but not THAT patient. Thanks for the reminder that our Heavenly Father is patiently at work in our lives, transforming us into His image. God bless, my friend!


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