Puzzle Peace

Earlier this year, the Lord was teaching me about relationships, specifically family and what it looks like. God taught me He is Lord over my family–blood and church. He is the creator of family and His family includes everyone that belongs to Him even when it’s not an earthly blood line. Sometimes He calls people to give up different things for His name sake or for the gospel. This can be challenging because we want support when following after the Lord. BUT Christ gives us a promise in the last portion of these verses:

Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sister or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time”   Mark 10:29-30

I know the Lord has, is, and will always fulfill what He says, but to see this verse become so apparent over the Christmas season was a beautiful picture in my life.

I spent some time staying with a family in Bowling Green. We laughed. We ate. We enjoyed each other’s company. We played a really long game of Monopoly (I lost to a 4th grader and every body else). We had gospel-centered conversations. We drank coffee. We went shopping. We did my hair. We encouraged. We did puzzles. It was is a family. It was is my “hundredfold now in this time” family.

When Christ says to leave your family in these scriptures, He’s also saying, “I will give you more than you already have if you just follow me with an open heart–clinging to nothing but ME.” Isn’t it beautiful? Christ is promising right now, in this life, a hundredfold of what you already have.

It gets better.

I went to Bowling Green with the intention of rejuvenating my heart for the Lord. It’s all throughout scripture to go to the place you encountered God, so I did. I had just finished the fall semester of teaching to some pretty amazing 8th graders, but I was tired. I was spiritually dry with confusion about what God was doing in desperate need of the Living Water. I went with seeking eyes, looking for answers to my confusion.

I didn’t get answers. I did get a puzzle.

All week at my family’s house, we worked on puzzles. We completed a 550-piece puzzle and we started (they finished later after I left) a 1000-piece puzzle. I had never really sat down to do puzzles, but I found it really relaxing. I remember talking to Amie one night looking for guidance and help trying to find these answers in my life, but what I didn’t know is she gave me the puzzle. God was using this puzzle to give me the answers to my confusion–in other words, the piece I was looking for was actually PEACE.

Earlier in the week, we started with the edges, separated out different colors in the center to work on, and completed large chunks of the puzzle. There was a very blue sky with a lot of trees and branches, a beautiful chapel, some animals, and other things to cause so much confusion when looking for the one piece you needed.

I remember getting so frustrated because I had the majority of the sky completed and was looking for literally the last couple of blue pieces there were in the box. I would find a piece, get really excited that it was the perfect fit, and then I tried it. It didn’t fit. They rarely fit. So I started looking again and the process repeated. Over and over again. Occasionally, I would get lucky and find the piece I was looking for and felt so accomplished because I had finished the one little section of this big picture. I could see it all coming together–slowly. I knew it wasn’t going to be done before I left.

I laid in bed my last night, and couldn’t stop thinking about the puzzle and my confusion. It was almost time for me to go,  and I had great fellowship and worship with the Lord, but still no answers–but I had this puzzle. That’s when the Lord started whispering into my heart, during the stillness of the night, just me and God.

So sweetly he spoke, “Look at the picture on the puzzle box. Do you see it? It’s beautiful. No cracks. No confusion. Just the way I created the world. But sin got in the way. Sin took that picture on the box and made into a jigsaw–made your life into a jigsaw. Made your life have confusion. That puzzle you’ve been working on all week, desperately trying to get the piece to fit, I created the picture. I created YOU. I know where all the pieces fit together. I am restoring you to your original picture. Stop trying to find the piece because I am PEACE. I am what you are looking for. I can see the whole picture. I need you to trust me.”

It was right after that, I felt this wave of peace come over me. Here I am a puzzle. This broken, jigsaw puzzle trying to put the pieces back to together (or looking for answers). BUT God reminded me that He created the picture. My sin is what made my picture a puzzle. But because of His Son’s death and resurrection, I don’t have to put the pieces of my puzzle together on my own. I don’t even know where the pieces go, but God knows the picture I was created to be. Right now He is at work on my puzzle-picture. He is working to restore my heart for what it was created to be. He is working on making me complete. Finishing a puzzle takes time. Making my heart what God wants it to be, ALSO takes time.

He is my PEACE. He sees the picture. He knows where the pieces go. He knows. God is my answer to my confusion. He knows what the final picture will look like, I don’t need to worry about anything else because He painted the picture.

“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord”   Isaiah 66:2

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