Piece by Piece

I picture my life as a puzzle. You know, one of those 10,000-piece puzzles for those who are REALLY into puzzles, have a lot of time on their hands, the patience of Job, and dogged determination to figure it all out… What’s more, with my particular puzzle, all the pieces are the same shape and the same color, and nothing fits. Oh, and it has to be put together upside down. And blind-folded. With one hand tied behind your back.

It’s a good thing the One who is putting my puzzle together is the One who created it. He actually is really into puzzles, has a lot of time on His hands (after all, He made Time itself), has more patience than Job, and a determination to see His plan accomplished on earth as it already is in Heaven…which includes my life.

I have so many pieces with broken edges, so many where the original design has faded or has been washed away completely. So many that seem to fit here or there, but don’t. I’ve wadded up several, lost some in the wash, buried some in the back yard. Torn some in half, or ripped them to make them fit where I thought they should be. In general, I’ve made a massive mess of things.

I finally realized what a rotten job I was doing of putting my puzzle together on August 17, 2020. It was about 6:30 in the morning on a Monday morning, after a Sunday where my world had come completely unraveled. Lots and lots and lots had lead up to that previous day (the “really bad day” I call it now). I’m one of those weird people who can go through Hell with a smile and fall apart on the other side. This was the other side for me. I’d already been through Hell. Had the scars and the lingering stench of smoke to prove it. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of putting my life together the way I wanted it. Had it all handled. What I was really doing was putting band-aids on arterial bleeds.

It all became too much for me one particular day that had two insignificant triggers. I couldn’t find my cat and my washer stopped working. Those two incidents, piled on top of the rickety scaffolding that was holding up my life, are what brought the whole thing down. And I lost it. Lost my composure, my grip on reality, my ability to hold it all together. Everything slipped away. I’m embarrassed now when I think about that day. I mean I really lost it.

I didn’t want to do this any more. “This” being life itself. I was done. I was tired. I was incapable of handling it. It never worked anyway, and it never would. I scared a lot of people that day. I scared me.

But I had an appointment the next morning that I knew nothing about. I had to come to that day to get to the next. I had to reach that point, that give-it-all-up point, that I-can’t-do-this-anymore point. The rock-bottom point. My rock bottom may be different from yours, may be worse or it may be better. It may be wilder or it may be milder. I don’t know. I know that we ALL have that point…the mid-point of our journeys. We all have an appointment. You can dismiss yours, though I pray you won’t. But the appointment is set on the Kingdom Calendar. He knows the day, the hour, the second, and He will be there, even if you aren’t.

I got up the next morning after the “really bad day”, sat down in my chair in my living room, and thought to myself “I can’t do this anymore.” And I looked up. I prayed, for the first time in years, a genuine, heart-felt, honest prayer. “I’ve tried everything else, and nothing works. You are my only hope. You’re the only thing left.”

I wish I could say that I came back to Jesus because I recognized how much He loves me, how wonderful He is. That is not the case for me. I came back to Jesus because He was the only option left. Everything else had been knocked out from under me. Luke 15:17 says “But when he came to his senses”, speaking of the Prodigal Son. That was me. I tried absolutely everything else under the sun to make my life work. I praise God that I can say “I came to my senses.”

That morning I sat there with Jesus and handed Him the puzzle pieces. I was honest, I told Him point blank that I didn’t know if this was going to work, if I would be able to make a commitment to Him. I wasn’t going to get my hopes up, and I didn’t want Him to either. I told Him I was only going to give Him today, that I couldn’t think about next week, or next month. I couldn’t see myself going “whole-hog” into this Christian life. But I would give Him today.

“Today” was all He needed. That’s all He was asking for. Because “today” turned into “tomorrow” and the next day and the next…and then a month, then two. And each day He took a piece of my puzzle, lovingly and carefully restored it, and set it into its rightful place.

Piece by piece He is restoring my puzzle.

Layers of dirt and grime and oily, sticky sin, has been washed whiter than snow, then restored with the “peace that passes all understanding”. My piece is restored by His peace.

Friend, He can do the same for you. More than that, He longs to do the same for you. It’s what He came for. It’s what He died for. It’s what He rose for. My theme verse is John 8:36…If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. Not kinda free, not somewhat free, free INDEED. Totally free. Free to discover who you are in Him. Free to love Him. Free to love others. Free to experience joy, true and lasting joy.

I’ve grown up in church and heard all the “church-ese”, know all the phrases, the lingo. But I can tell you that it’s true. It’s real. It’s attainable. It’s just out there waiting for you. Today may be your appointment day. Give Him today. Just today. See what He does with it. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6:34 says “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Today you can experience His peace. Your mind may be saying “what about…”, “what if…”, “but I can’t…”

Sister, none of that matters. He is a GREAT BIG GOD who loves you GREAT BIG. Just give Him today. All my what-about’s and what-if’s turned into “so-whats”. All trepidation, my fears, my stinginess has been turned into Glory in His hands.

I’ll leave you with this verse, and I pray you will know in your bones that I can say this is true from my very own personal experience. Philippians 4:7 says “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” His peace truly does surpass all comprehension. It’s bigger, better, broader than what you can imagine. I wanted another band-aid, something to get me through. God had more in mind for me. God gave me His peace.

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