Saturday, March 14, 2015


The kids in our kindergarten class really seem to enjoy puzzles. I enjoy watching them and talking with them about what they are doing.

Over the years, I've noticed that they all do the same thing. A kid will try a puzzle piece in a particular place. He (or she) will think the shape or the color is right and will try it. It won't fit. He will try it in another place or lay it aside. Then, a mere minute or so later, he will try to place the same piece in the same wrong place. This can happen several times as he is working on his puzzle.

As I watched this phenomenon play out again recently, something popped into my mind. A few lines from a poem I wrote ages ago:
My life is like a jigsaw puzzle and the pieces don't seem to fit.
The more I look at each and every piece, the more confused I get.
And then I thought about our lives at this particular point. I keep looking at individual pieces. I keep trying to place those pieces in the same places that didn't work the first (or second or one-hundredth) time.

God has given us all these different pieces, leading us through all these different experiences to get us to the place we are now. We are trying to wedge those pieces into the place we think they fit. But they don't.

God sees the bigger picture. He knows how all these pieces fit together to fulfill His will. We need to keep collecting pieces and following when we see where He is placing them.

Maybe that teaching or writing or editing or other experience doesn't fit in that "logical to us" place. Maybe it fits into a greater place that we don't even know yet.

A particular phrase from Ephesians 3:20 keeps coming to mind: [He] who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us. More than we can ask or think. Some translations say "ask or imagine."

I don't know about you...but I can think and imagine all kinds of things. And God is able to do above and beyond anything I can think of, as His power is at work.

I'm not sure how all these puzzle pieces will fit together. But God's big picture is glorious. We must trust, wait, and stop focusing on all those little pieces.

More than we can ask or think. I'm so excited.

Friday, March 6, 2015

What Are You Gonna Do Now?

The other day I was going to observe in a kindergarten classroom. This year has been the year of observations. I've had to do several for my university classes. This particular day, I had to be at the school by 8:00 am. And Cindy needed to go into the office to work. We left the house early (at least much earlier than we usually do). We stopped for breakfast at a convenience store; that means I got coffee in a cup with one of those plastic lids.

I dropped Cindy off and sat in the parking lot for a while to drink my coffee...before going on to the school. Something happened. I'm still not sure what. I bumped/jostled the cup; it tipped; I tried to steady it; the lid flew off; the coffee poured down my leg and into the floor of my truck. At least a third of a large cup of coffee. Hot coffee.

I didn't know what to do. I had a wet pants leg and a soggy floorboard. And I was due at the school in about 45 minutes. I could not go home to change and get back to the school in time.

I yelled a little. I panicked a little. I took a deep breath. Then I made a plan. I drove to a store to get paper towels. I sopped up as much as I could from the floor. By then my leg began to dry. And my pants were dark so the spill didn't really show much.

Why this story? Well, I've been experiencing a lot of these types of things lately.

Programs that won't work. Lost things that I just had a couple of minutes before. A frozen computer that means I just lost unsaved work. Over and over I keep having these things.

I think God's been trying to teach me something. These things happen. They are usually small. They are always frustrating. They often make me angry.

These things happen. And I must deal with them.

God's showing me that, no matter what, I'll face these ongoing frustrations that challenge my patience and my calm. I cannot avoid them or stop them. What I can do is deal with them in a better way.

I may grimace or grunt. I may punch the air (but not anyone or anything). But I still must deal with them.

So now I'm learning to take a deep breath. Walk away for a minute. Pray for patience and guidance. (That's usually the last thing I try. Maybe it should be the first.) And then I deal with it. Calmly and thoughtfully. As best as I can in the circumstances. And learn from it.

It's not the big things that get me. It's those small frustrations that trigger doubts in my competence (or sometimes sanity).

Stuff happens. How can I deal with it that honors God?