Of Puzzle Pieces and Memories

A few weeks before Keith died, our preacher, Mike, preached a sermon involving puzzle pieces and wholeness in the body of Christ.  It touched Keith deeply.  He set his puzzle piece on the makeshift desk he had on the main floor.  It was constantly in view during the last weeks of his life.

We buried that puzzle piece in the time capsule we created for him.

I have thought of that puzzle piece often over the past 4 1/2 years, nearly every time I find a stray piece around the house.  Keith still thought of himself as a viable piece of the body, even as an ill man, weak and at home.  And he was.

Even in death, my faithful husband was, and is, a piece of the puzzle.  There are still the fingerprints of his work at our church, and at his office.  And definitely here at home, in us.  I am a better mother, daughter, and child of God from having been married to this Godly man.

Since Keith’s passing I have often thought of my own contribution as a puzzle piece.  How do I “fit” now that he is not here?  My puzzle is jumbled and I can’t seem to find where the edges meet.

I don’t fit as a wife any more.
Yet I am an important part of the puzzle.
I don’t fit in the couples’ gatherings any more.
Yet I am an important piece in the puzzle.
I don’t fit with the women talking about the husbands (or complaining about them).
Yet I am an important part of the puzzle.
I don’t fit in at boy scout meetings or with the soccer coaches.
Yet I am an important part of the puzzle.

When doing a large puzzle, if I have trouble finding where a piece goes, I try turning it, looking in a new section of the puzzle.  That is what I need to do with this new life.  I may not fit in the old places where the puzzle piece went, but I need to find new ones.

And the cool thing is that the Master of the Puzzle will give me insight as to where that is.

Here is the lesson I take from Keith’s life:  puzzle pieces have a purpose, they complete things.  If I neglect to add my piece to the puzzle, it is incomplete, not what it was intended to be.

I can’t help but think of my own contribution as a puzzle piece.  Can God’s fingerprints be seen as clearly on me?  I pray so!

I also think about the Puzzle Piece of Eternity, our Risen Lord.

By His death, we are healed.  By His stripes, we can forgo ours.  By His love, we have eternity waiting.  Praise Him for His indescribable gift!

Flowers and Candy

For those of you who saw my last post, I had been more distant from the Lover of my soul than I had wanted.

I had the opportunity on Sunday to tell some people how much they have meant to me and my family, something as a people I don’t think we do enough of.  I shared how they had blessed us and I think that blessed them as well.

Then my Lover sent flowers and candy to my soul.  My connection with Him deepened in just that moment.  I felt His presence to the point of tears.

Funny how often the fix for me is to look outside myself and do something for someone else!

Here is the prayer that winged its way from my heart onto the page at that moment:

Gracious and awesome Lord – I am humbled by Your love and care for me and my byos.  It brings me to my knees emotionally to think of what good care You take of us.  Even though today, especially, I miss Keith more than ever, I wouldn’t change my life, where we have gone, where we are going, for amything because You are there, there, there!  I can’t imgine my life not being as it is now.  I glory in serving You, in being Your instrument to allow others to step up and help us and therefore bless us and further Your kingdom.  Help me to never, never forget that — or my boys to forget that.  I love You!  Help me to live for You always, always, always! 

My Prodigal Heart and Bubble Wrap

A couple months ago, something in the sermon at church had me praying for prodigal children.  As I was praying, I realized that I, too, was a prodigal of sorts.  I have a prodigal heart.

Let me paint the picture.  I have a great life.  Surrounding me I have four wonderful, loving, compassionate, smart sons; gobs of friends who love and care for me emotionally and physically; a great family who has my best interests at heart; a warm and beautiful home filled with plenty of food and clothing for all of us.  I have a relationship with God that continues to grow as He teaches me and prunes me and prepares me.

Yet, I want to wander.  I want to take my inheritance and go, instead of waiting for the right time, God’s time, instead of completing the learning and training necessary to be a child of the Master.  I want what I want, not just physically but emotionally, and I am willing to forsake the Plan for that.  I am drawn by the open road, and want to do things the easy way, instead of the right way, God’s way.  I am led astray by the foolishness of my own wayward, impatient heart that wants things that are not mine to have now, maybe not ever again…like a husband.

This is what I need:  bubble wrap.  I need to have bubble wrap around my heart, insulating it against the lures of the world, against the lures from within.  Lures that draw me away from God’s plan will only cause heartbreak.  Sometimes I need bubble wrap around my whole body.

I want the package of “me” to arrive safely at the Master’s feet, unharmed and untainted.  I want to always want what He wants for me in my life.  I want my life to be so wrapped up in becoming the Bride of Christ that everything else pales in comparison.  No pun intended.  This is the real deal, what I want, what I need, to strive for daily.

Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.  -Psalm 25:4-5