Imagine sitting at a table covered with colorful puzzle pieces; it is your task for the hour ---- a puzzle with a 1000 pieces. The task would be daunting if we did not have the picture of the finished product on the box top; with the picture we feel more at ease, we know what it is suppose to look like -- so we feel more equipped to accomplish it. "Knowing" what the finished product will look like makes the work of the puzzle seem much more "doable".
Life's a puzzle --- with lots of pieces --- some of life's puzzle pieces seem to appear unexpectedly or maybe fall off the table and add confusion with their absence. Just when we think we've got one corner of the puzzle all in place, one piece shifts and the whole picture we had begun to form is thrown off course. The work begins again, we are frustrated; the picture we had imagined is no longer a possibility.
Last Saturday night our family was blessed by a night of worship and praise under the stars in the crisp Autumn air. For an hour, we sang at the top of our lungs to the One, the Puzzle Maker, the Master Designer who gives us the puzzle pieces we diligently work to sort and place. It was a moving night for us ---- it was a soul deep worship --- as it flowed out i sensed Heaven hearing and puzzle pieces shifting. Friends and family encircled our family as we took the picture we had envisioned and laid it down. They helped us realign ourselves with the newness of the puzzle pieces. They smiled with nods of approval at the new "look" of our altered puzzle and they even began to add some of their puzzle pieces to ours. It looks so much more beautiful than we had imagined. The colors and lines are more vibrant and defining. It's becoming a puzzle that no one family could possibly put together all by themselves. It's so much better --- yet very much different than what it was before the Call. We liked our "old" puzzle pieces just fine ---- but we are stunned at the new pieces on our board and humbled. We were blessed. We feel weak. We know He is strong.
|Mark and Clarissa Gibson and their amazing worship team|
"donna - i'm most pleased when you praise me with the pieces.
it's easier to praise Me over the finished work -- i understand that --- and so therefore it's when you can and will praise me over the 'pieces' -- that i feel the great depth of your worship."
In His goodness and because He knew of my need --- He continued...
"I, Abba, will give you all the pieces you will need--- none will be lost or forgotten, I will show myself as your Provider. I'll love you through those I place around you and I'll walk the distance of the path I've designed for you ---- but I want you --- to praise me. Period. I will do the work, I will move the hearts, I will show myself, I will make myself known, I will never leave you and I'll never leave the ones I've given you to love -- they will not find themselves lacking -- they are Mine. I will be at the center and you'll also find me at the edges when they feel all frayed and frazzled. It's all Mine, It's all about Me. I'm the Map Maker and the Master puzzle Creator. All the pieces are mine, all the shifting is in MY mighty hand. And donna --- don't forget --- I AM SOVEREIGN. I hear your prayers and my heart is stirred, i have tears that mix with yours. But my tears are not tears laced with fear or timidity or longing or confusion. My tears are tears of joy over your offering, your surrender, your willingness to put your hands to the ominous puzzle pieces I have chosen to place before you. Hold the pieces in your hands donna, but keep your eyes on ME. You have three assignments ----
1) Focus on me --- focus on what I'm doing, give yourself over to it completely, see Me, I'm going before you and preparing the way of My choosing for you ----
2) Talk with Me-- i already know what is happening around you, i know all that concerns you -- but i want to see you bring it to me -- lift it up to me and i will be attentive to your words ---
3) Praise Me, no matter what you feel, think, want, or need --- praise Me. No matter how things look, praise Me. I'm not concerned so much with how you feel about it --- i'm centered on whether you will or will not PRAISE ME in the midst of it. I demand it, I deserve it, I am worthy, I will meet you there in it --- Praise ME."
Another dear friend is wounded deeply over too many harsh words that have seeped into her soul and broken her heart. Words have been used to break her. Puzzle pieces she had not expected to find on her table. The best way she can respond is to focus on what GOD is saying to her, focus on God, pray to Him, and praise Him. Not praise Him for what is happening around her, but praise Him because He is faithful and true and loving and upright ----- and because HE will be her Comforter and can be the Healer of her home.
Today as i type this --- you may have puzzle pieces in front of you --- that confound or confuse or frustrate or wound you. I do --- is it wrong for me to say that out loud. But i'm finally understanding ---- dare i say it ---- there is a "Holiness" that can be found in the confusing puzzle pieces.
When we, at those moments of complete inability to put the puzzle pieces in their designated places ---- run to the One who can --- talk with Him about it --- and thank Him for His willingness put them in their right spaces ---- we will find His Holiness is present, His joy can flow onto us. If we do not --- we find ourselves in the loneliest hole of desperation. There's a darkness that goes deeper than the night ---
-------it is known by those who do not run to the Light.
When we pray and when we praise ---- let's imagine we're holding those puzzle shaped pieces that confound and concern us the most in our hands --- and we're holding them up high -- to the ONE who has the box top and knows what the finished work will look like. He knows what to do with the piece that's laying there on our table --- He knows exactly where it goes and how it will fit into the greatness of the finished work of our life.
We can never change our life by trying to throw away the pieces we can't make fit. Those pieces linger, and haunt, and hover -- they will not be ignored.
But we can pick them up off the table in front of us ---- and hold them up to the One who knows exactly what to do with them.
May our life-puzzles be complete ---- with all the pieces in place --- the good ones that fit in easily and the not so good ones that are painful to place. But in the end --- may all our pieces be in place, according to the box top in God's hands.
No stray, ugly, harmful pieces left laying around ----- for someone else to have to deal with.
Leaving a legacy of goodness and grace to our children and those around us means ---- we will look at the hard puzzle pieces ---- focus on God and His ways --- pray over the pieces --- and lift them up to God in praise ---- it's the only way --- some pieces will ever fit.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6
"Come, let's shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! Let's march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns!" Psalm 95:2 (The Message)
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." Psalm 100:4
"Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!" Psalm 66:20
"Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise." James 5:13
Paintings by Maggie, our daughter, were silent auctioned at the Kweli Moyo Event last Saturday night. Photos taken by Jana and Kevin Jackson at the Event.