Do you see the pieces or the puzzle?

A one thousand piece Yoda jigsaw puzzle sits unfinished on a table in the corner of my bedroom. The kids and their father are huge Star Wars fans, and it was a gift for Father’s Day last year.

Yes, last year, and we’re still working on it one year later. We are getting closer to completing it, though. It’s just a tough puzzle. It’s not only 1000 pieces, but each piece is a picture within a picture, a “photomosaic” it’s called.

As I sat working on it one evening last week, my oldest daughter came and sat beside me. She said “Oh, I see what that red is. It’s the other guy’s light saber.” I had no idea what she was talking about.

She explained how Yoda was holding his light saber and the red in the corner was his opponent’s light saber. I told her I was so busy looking at the pieces and the tiny pictures that I had forgotten that Yoda was even holding a light saber.

She said, “You see the pieces. I see the puzzle.”

She was right, of course. 

It’s really easy to focus so much on one tiny piece, on where it fits or doesn’t fit, that we lose sight of the big picture. We forget the overall picture that all these tiny pieces create.

We lose sight of their purpose.

Seeing the Puzzle

In my life, there are some pieces that I’m not sure what to do with. There are also those pieces I try to force into a place they’re just not meant to be. Sometimes I need to step back and look at the big picture to understand how they all fit together.

When I focus on only one tiny piece at a time, I can still fit the puzzle together, but I don’t fully appreciate it.

It helps to step back and look at the whole puzzle. When I do, I remember the purpose of those tiny pictures.

I remember that while I may not understand where each piece fits in, each piece does have a purpose in the bigger puzzle. Each piece is necessary.

Lord, help me to See

My life is my own “photomosaic” created by God. He has designed my life in such a way that each tiny piece is a necessary part of the complete picture.

I pray for eyes to see each piece in my life in the context of that bigger puzzle.

While I may not understand right now where each piece fits, I trust in the One who created the puzzle.

I pray for eyes that will be enlightened to focus not just on the pieces, but on the puzzle He created.

In doing so, I may just find a light saber I had forgotten was there.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18


That’s a Dad Question

It would be interesting to keep up with exactly how many questions my children ask in a day. The question can be as simple as What’s for dinner? or What time do we need to leave? I can handle those. However, the question is more often along the lines of How exactly does a digital scale work? Why can’t you put metal in the microwave? or Why are magnets north-south instead of east-west? When it comes to the latter type of question my typical response is Hmm…that sounds like a Dad question.

How do you play the guitar? – Also a Dad question.

With children as inquisitive as mine are, it comes in handy to be married to a science teacher. I could try to give them an answer on my own. I might get some of it right. However, when they go to their dad, they are assured of getting an answer that is 100% correct. And he is always willing and ready to teach.

But what do you do when the questions are even tougher? Where do you go when late at night one of your children comes to you struggling with the concepts of eternity and death? What do I do with a question such as What is my purpose? What happens when I die? Why is there war?

And, yes, I have dealt with all of those questions and more in the past week alone.

 A Question for the Father

As thankful as I am to be able to direct my children’s science questions to their earthly father, I am even more thankful to be able to direct my children’s tougher questions to their heavenly Father.

I honestly don’t know how I could possibly raise my children without the Bible to guide me. I can not imagine dealing with their fears and questions without the Bible to turn to.

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

It’s one thing to walk through this life stumbling and groping for answers on your own, answers that may or may not be correct. It’s an entirely different thing to take your children on that path with you.

A Question of Truth

The first one of those tough questions came to me when my oldest child was six years old. She asked where her grandfather would be when he died. While I had the correct answer –  He’ll be in heaven with God – I realized with that question that my role as a mother includes more than loving my children and providing for their physical needs. My role requires answering the tough questions that are sure to arise.

In the face of those questions, I need to be able to answer my children with certainty. It is not enough to just give my best shot at the answers and hope they are correct. I need somewhere to go where I am assured of getting answers that are 100% correct. I need a source of truth.

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17

These are times when the correct answer to the question comes only from the heavenly Father.

Be Prepared

The tough questions don’t come up on a daily basis. Most days are too busy for constant deep questions of eternity and purpose. However, the questions will come. They will come late at night or in the face of tragedy. We will at times be shaken from our daily thoughts into questions that are deeper. I need to be prepared to answer those questions.

Thankfully, I am not alone.

I don’t have to come up with an answer that I hope is correct. Instead, I can take my children to the Bible and let the heavenly Father answer those questions for us. He is always willing and ready to teach, and in His words are life and peace and truth. I can not imagine answering any one of those questions without Him.

Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” John 6:68


Personality Types

My oldest daughter is currently obsessed with the Myers-Briggs personality test. If you’re not familiar with this test, you can take an online version of the test here. There are four different areas in which you are categorized: Introvert/Extrovert, Intuitive/Sensing, Feeling/Thinking, and Judging/Perceiving, giving a total of 16 possible personality types. Last week my daughter requested that I take the test, and soon all five of us in the family had taken it. Here were our results:

  • Dad – ENTP
  • Mom – ISFJ
  • Laura Anne – INTP
  • Logan – INFP
  • Autumn – ESFJ

There really were no surprises. Laura Anne is most like her father. Autumn is most like me, and Logan is about half and half. I think that Laura Anne likes this test because it somehow quantifies what she often feels – that she and her sister are exact opposites (as are my husband and myself!).

So how does this group of people with such different personalities manage to still be a happy family?

The answer is that what we have in common is far greater than our personality differences.

We have a common love for each other, a common goal of desiring a happy family, and a common focus on walking through this life in a way that pleases the Lord.

We are of one mind.

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”  Philippians 2:1-2

 We build each other up.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Our words should ONLY be used to build each other up.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

We practice kindness and forgiveness.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:32

We are not allowed to say bad things about each other nor intentionally cause strife.

“To malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men”. Titus 3:2

We treat each other the way we desire to be treated.

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31

Now do we practice all these concepts perfectly? Of course not. If you have siblings, children, a spouse, you know that is impossible. There are times I complain outwardly about my husband. There are times when one kid swipes at another in frustration. It’s summer. We’re together a lot, and there will be plenty of times that our personalities clash. However, we don’t let our differences serve as an excuse to ignore the principles that God has given us. He tells us how to treat each other – how He wants us to treat each other. To be pleasing to Him, we can not intentionally ignore what He says.

From personal experience, life is much more peaceful when we apply these principles. In the home, in the church, in life – God’s wisdom always wins.

He created each of us just as He desired us to be. Our differences are not an excuse to not get along. They are not an excuse to tear someone else down with our words. Our differences are necessary to glorify our heavenly Father as one complete body.

INTP? ESFJ? It doesn’t matter. You still have to be nice to your sister.

“But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be?” 1 Corinthians 12:18-19