Puzzles, Preschoolers and Me

IMG_3953A lot of people spent their quarantined time doing a lot of puzzles. I like puzzles. I have always liked puzzles and usually have one sitting out on the dining room table. Sometimes they take me months because I only do a piece or two a day while I’m waiting for the water to boil or toast to pop up.

I was working on my current puzzle and thinking about life. Life is kind of like a puzzle. We put it together one piece at a time and often don’t know how this group of pieces will fit into the big picture.

Pieces of our life puzzle.

Take Karen. We’ve known each other since fourth grade. We sat in class together. We served in the little kids’ department at church. Then we lost contact, but now we’re very much back in contact, often speaking at the same Children’s Ministry conferences. Who would’ve thought back then as we made our Friday night teenage excursions to the Red Balloon for strawberry short cake and onion rings (EVERY Friday the same thing) that all these years later we’d still be serving together in a different capacity.

Pieces of our life puzzle.

But what’s this have to do with preschoolers?

I co-directed our church preschool when my own kids were growing up. And we did a LOT of puzzles. That’s the first thing many of the kids would go to during free play.

And we had some super puzzle-putter-togetherers. I liked to watch them, to see the thoughts go around and around in their brains. Some would randomly pick up a piece and attempt to jam it in anywhere. When it didn’t work, they’d go back to block building. Others would at least pick up a red piece for a red section, and then twist and turn desperately looking for the right angle. Others would look where they wanted the piece and then study the pieces until they found it. They seldom missed.

Kind of like life. We have people who face a difficult situation. Quickly they attempt to fit the piece in the puzzle of their life without checking out God’s Word or caring about what He says. Frustrated when things don’t work out, they angrily walk away. Other people (and we’re probably all a little like this) have an idea of what would work. We mess around with it a little and apply a verse or two, but then get discouraged because things aren’t happening just the way we want.

But then there are times that we carefully think through the next piece. We pray about it, we read our Bibles, we desire God’s will to be done. We want a piece that makes a God-centered addition to our life. We want the pieces of our life to fit together.

Next time you’re doing a puzzle, think about your life. Are you a jammer? Are you semi-impatient? Or, do you think it through and make sure you are doing God’s will and putting the pieces of your life exactly where they should be?


One comment

  1. We had a puzzle going on our living room coffee table when my husband Jim was seriously I’ll. People who came to visit sometimes appreciated the distraction of working on it while also supporting us by their presence. Soon after Jim’s death, I started to scoop up the unfinished picture to tidy up the room. Not a ‘puzzle-er’ myself, I felt it was unlikely I’d tackle the job to its completion. Peering down at the puzzle, I stopped and took a step back as if the unfinished picture was speaking. Like the picture-perfect puzzle cover, life is a colorful, loving gift from God. However, our life-pictures still grieve with missing pieces, question-cracks, and distracting bumps. One day in Heaven, the missing pieces will be found, the questions silenced, and the finished panorama smooth and complete. But until then, the puzzle is never done.

    I left the unfinished puzzle on the table a while longer for that comforting message to sink in and to pass on clear hope to others.


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