Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We're All Puzzled

We are having a garage sale.

This is the first one I have attempted in a while. I'm talking about 9 years. I think we did one with the church right after we got married to fund a youth group mission trip. Pretty sure that was the last time.

It's just a daunting task.

So these past years I've collected our treasures and given them away or donated them somewhere. Simply because I don't want to do the pricing thing., and because other people need those things.

My husband came in the door as I was purging toys the other day. "You ready to get rid of that stuff?"


"Good. What do you think about having a garage sale?" I gave him a You're kidding, right? look.

He wasn't kidding. The concept was simple. No pricing. We set up in the basement of the church. Freewill donation (maybe a section for things that need a bit bigger of a donation, we'll see). Every penny goes to fund my husband's and his friend's trip to Kenya in a few months to share Jesus.

I could do that. He put it on the calendar before I could back out.

Yesterday, I figured I better get to work with the organizing and boxing and whatnot. What better place to start than the puzzle closet? I opened the closet and perused the shelves for the puzzles we have neglected lately. Those would be the first to go.

There was just one problem. We have dozens of puzzles, and I guarantee you half of them don't have all their pieces.

New plan. I picked out the puzzles with the fewest pieces and counted the pieces in each. The complete ones were the first to go. The larger puzzles, we'd have to tackle those another way.

Another plan! (And I thought I wasn't a planner!) I'd wait until school was out, then have the kids grab some puzzles and we'd have some family puzzle time. Genius!

In case you are wondering how that went over, I've transcribed some of our wholesome and fun conversations below. I was going to put my words in red. Like Jesus. Jesus always spoke in red. But red doesn't show up very well round here, so we'll go with blue.

Ok, guys! Grab a couple puzzles and we'll work on them together.

Do we have to?

Yes, you have to. But I'll help you! It'll be fun.

(Eye rolls from the boy. He grabs a puzzle. The girls are a little more accommodating. They grab several and even manage to spill one 6 inches from the closet. )

Mom, this is hard.

I'll help you. Just let me help your little sister here first. No, get away from that! Can someone please get the baby away from the table?

Mom, this is hard.

Yeah, I know. I'll help you- I just have to clean these up first.

I don't like doing this.

Yes you do. Stop whining and finish it.

No I don't, it's too hard.

You've done that puzzle a hundred times. It's not too hard.

Can I be done?

Really? You can't just help me out on this one?

No. Can I please be done and go play?



It's too bad you won't get any ice cream, though.


Your sisters get ice cream after supper because they are helping me. 

That's not fair! I want ice cream too!

It is too fair. I want to get these puzzles done. Anyone who helps gets ice cream after supper. If you choose not to help, that's your own choice.

He huffed and sat back down. His sister finished the puzzle with him as he provided some comic relief that had me wanting to beg him to go. Go play. It's fine, really.

It didn't go quite as I envisioned, but some progress was made. Some of the puzzles had all the pieces. Some didn't. I decided to finish some more after the kids were in bed.

One puzzle had given the 8 year old a tough time. 150 pieces, it should have been a cinch. The kids went to bed and I sat in front of the sparkly princess puzzle, ready to knock it out.

I despise that puzzle. I probably shouldn't admit this, but that sucker was hard. I'll blame the long day. And the fact that most of the pieces were identical in shape. I'd get to where I thought I was on a roll, then I'd pick up a piece, put it in its place, and realize I had to change about 3 other pieces around it because they were wrong.

"This is hard," I told my husband. He just laughed.

I say that to God a lot. Sometimes it seems that as soon as I get a piece in place, I have to reorganize everything else. And sometimes that is hard. Not to mention, I know I don't have all my pieces.

When we do puzzles, I tell the kids they have to wait to add the piece in their hand. "Another piece has to go there first. Then you'll be able to connect that one." The waiting for the right pieces can be hard too. I just want to get it all in there as soon as possible, and when it gets too hard, I just want to say, "Can I be done now?"

Of course, God is more gracious and wise than I am. His not yet isn't said in exasperation, but understanding. He is waiting too. And He loves me way too much to let me just give up and "go play."

He loves you that much too. We all have our own puzzles to work on. And everyone is missing pieces, at least for now. Sometimes we see things that fit, that should work, but we don't see the whole picture. We don't realize that those things that should work in our own mind don't actually belong there at all. Even the edge pieces can be tricky.

But there is a wonderful promise that I sing to myself, when things get tricky, or confusing, or frustrating:

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 

It's not my job to see the whole picture. It's not my job to see how everything is supposed to go. I only need to trust, place my pieces where He leads, and praise Him for the good things He is working in me. And they are all good things.

Linking up with my buddy Simply Beth for Three Word Wednesday today!