Every. Single. Piece.

every single piece.

I don’t particularly care for puzzles. I get impatient trying to figure out how the pieces fit together, and the process feels painstakingly slow. By the time I’ve found the key edge pieces which provide the framework, I’m ready to see how it all fits together. But at that point, the project has only just begun.

To be honest, I’m pretty sure I have never actually completed an entire puzzle. But I have seen the finished products of other (more longsuffering) people, and every time, I am in awe! Whether it’s a beautiful landscape or wild animals running or an intricate design of some sort – a completed puzzle always amazes me.

How could each of those individual misshapen pieces come together to make something so incredible? How could someone have the patience and vision to see it to completion?

It reminds me of my own life. Each experience, each season is a unique piece of my puzzle. When I pick up an individual piece and examine it, it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t seem to fit. The edges are crooked and the picture is indiscernible. I have no idea how anything beautiful could come from it.

In fact, there are certain seasons of my life that I have wanted to omit altogether. They include painful experiences and traumatic events. I have wished that my story didn’t include those pieces, and I have even resented their presence in my puzzle.

But the years have provided some perspective about this journey called life. If I were to remove any piece of my story, there would be something else missing, a void. There would be an incompleteness about the story, beyond the discarded piece… The lessons I’ve learned. The comfort of God. Redemption. Healing. Overcoming.

Every single piece of my puzzle has contributed to making me into the woman I am today…and the woman I am becoming.

I may not have chosen this particular path for my story. I would not have agreed to the inclusion of each individual piece (had I been given an option). But now – as the big picture is starting to take shape – I am beginning to see how it all fits together. There is beauty in the broken pieces coming together….lovingly placed by the One who has the patience and vision to see it through to completion.

What about you? When you reflect on the various seasons of your own life, would you like to remove a few pieces? Perhaps you wish you could fling all the pieces to the ground and start over with a brand, new puzzle?! If so, I get it. Truly, I do.

But I wonder what beauty – what growth – what intimacy with Christ would also be discarded? Although those experiences were undoubtedly painful, I imagine they also contributed to your story of redemption. Because the One who puts all our pieces together doesn’t let our pain go to waste. He will use it. He can even turn it into something beautiful.

Every. Single. Piece.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a)