Piece by piece

I sat down at a table with two of my favorite people, both of which seemed to genuinely want to joy in the process of putting together a puzzle. I really could not wrap my brain around a puzzle being quote unquote “FUN”. I finally understood why when I say, “Let’s go for a RUN! It will be so much fun!” Bernie gives me such a grave look of disapproval followed by a big, “NO!!!!!”

This puzzle came in a zip lock baggie with no picture or indication of how many pieces it contained; this puzzle looked to be older than the millennials and they were enthusiastic to take the puzzle on. They both were patient in separating the pieces, pulling the edges aside and finding their connecting pieces. They made piles of like pieces and then began to twist and turn each piece to see if they could find its connection to the bigger picture.

I sat and tried to muster the joy up to participate but all I saw was pure unharnessed chaos. There were no rules except that each piece had its own place, and the more you tried to make them fit the more they rebelled and did not join the one you held. The more I watched, the more I saw this incredible metaphor for life and I learned some amazing lessons that night sitting watching them put together a puzzle with no direction.

I love competition and as we sat placing pieces into piles we began to each have our own calling that sprung from our lips with each victory that pursued from the connection of two pieces. “WHEEEEE” I yelped as I got one to connect to another. “Whoop” she sang as they clicked into the picture, another “Whoop” as she found another and yet another “Whoop” as the pieces seemed to easily find their place. Bernie’s ability to piece together the pieces with their rightful place was really irritating but also intriguing. I watched as her and my mom took each piece and looked for its rightful place. I questioned them, “What happens when you guys spend all this time, hours, only to finish with one or two pieces missing?” They both laughed at me, “You don’t focus on that one missing piece.”

“Whoop whoop,” rang from my mom’s lips, a long pause, “Whoop!” came from Bernie’s tongue. I watched, “This puzzle is a lot like how I feel about life!” They both laughed at me. The more I watched the more I came to understand the proverb that says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Along with the proverb that says, “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” (Proverbs 20:24)

The more I watched, the more the puzzle felt like life, we try and try to force pieces to fit. We cram our way through doors that really are not open or find a window we can jump through only to find it is a piece of our puzzle we twisted and turned only to realize that it really did not match the picture we are trying to paint.  I watched as they found pieces that clicked into place and as they found their match words of praise flowed from their mouths, “Whoop whoop!” “Weeee!” and “Whoop!” How amazing those words could ring from the lips of the flesh and how much more do they ring as we step into the places where our pieces click and our Father in Heaven yells words of joy as we fit into the places He has created specifically for us! “WHOOP WHOOP!” He sings as we step into His purpose and His calling. “Weeeee!” as we love on those that desperately long to see His face. “Whoop!” as we simply fall to our knees and pour praise from out of our hearts and into His ears.

That night I had to drag my mom to bed, “Mom, let’s go to bed,” I paused, “I don’t think a puzzle, just like life, was meant to be figured out in one night!” I laughed as I finished the thought. The truth is though, that God doesn’t give us the whole picture; that would be too easy; no He give us breath and then allows us the grace to begin to put the pieces together as He leads us. It takes more than one night, it takes more than two nights, and no matter how much my future oriented heart longs to know 10 or 20 years into the future He simply reaches out His hand and asks me to trust Him to click the pieces into place. As He connects us to the next piece we will hear a “Whoop and Wee” that will create excitement to keep trusting Him for the entire puzzle.

We finished that puzzle and wouldn’t you know there was a piece missing and I was the only one who seemed to have a problem with the fact that puzzle was lacking.  In life we need to surround ourselves with individuals that see us for the whole picture and don’t need our lives or our puzzle to be perfect. All those that worked on that puzzle all week only saw the complete picture, that puzzle wasn’t lacking, there is beauty in the imperfect.  Imperfection only allows room for God’s glory to show even more! Let Him have control of your entire picture and focus on stepping into the piece you are on.  Don’t force it to fit, let Him turn the pieces. He will piece it together into the bigger picture and one day you will see how all those little pieces were masterfully created and painted by the Master Artist Himself!

Blessings for an incredible God filled Week!

Stacy

Confidence through His eyes

Sometimes I feel broken, you know that feeling where because your life doesn’t quite look like the picturesque dream the world says it should be so therefore you must not be enough feeling; yeah, that feeling.  That picture is not my life and I feel like my brokenness makes me less than whole.  I worry that we failed  and we are too broken to even be acknowledged, to even be taken seriously, to truly make a difference.  The struggle with imperfection and failing is a constant battle.

But then sometimes God whispers a sweet nudge reminding me that just because my reality is not what the world says is enough, that reality is not His reality and it does not make me less than.  Sometimes God’s plans look very different from we want or expect. His plans may not be what the world says is enough, but they are so very good and when we step into His plans we see how He sees us and the wholeness He provides!

I woke up to the sound of the text dinging my phone, “Who in the world could be texting me as the sun comes up?” I thought to myself.  I ignored the ding for a time, but ultimately my curiosity got the best of me and I rolled over. It was someone who holds my heart in a special way that I can’t find the right words to describe how amazing she is;  she had been talking with God and in the middle of her quiet time He placed me on her heart. The simple fact that on this particular day God tugged at her to reach out showed me how deeply He cares for the small things, how deeply he cares for each of us.

See, I was incredibly nervous, the kind of nervous where your heart seems to jump out of your chest while your lungs hold a breath in the deepest part and your body seems to bounce around uncontrollably while your brain scrambles in hopes of not blowing the entire thing!  Yeah, that is exactly where I was, crawling out of my skin scared. Fear had taken over and I desperately pleaded that I would not disappoint or fail my friend that entrusted October 6th in my hands.  In the grand scheme of things this day was small but I felt the weight of coaching well heavy on my shoulders.  For weeks I had been bending God’s ear about doing this day well; I did not want to fail.  This day felt as though I would find my coaching voice or I was never going to amount to anything as a coach.  It felt as though there was no in between.

Her text demanded a trust that I tell her what was going on and I couldn’t help but oblige.  She knows me well and her heart for God only draws me into a deep trust where I can’t tell her no.  I told her how I was fearful of disappointing my friend along with the failure that could occur on the field.  She gently poured words of wisdom and advice into me all while pointing me back to Jesus.

The funniest thing happened as we talked, I began to visualize Jesus standing with me on the sidelines that my feet would soon fill.  He had on our team shirt along with His face painted to support me. His face held a pure smile that His eyes could barely contain and He had a bright yellow foam finger with my name printed in black written LARGE across it all while His fist pumped through the air, yelling every exciting encouraging word His mouth could contain as He watched me coach from the sidelines.  A crazy picture, I know, but for the first time I saw Jesus as my cheerleader! A huge fan that when His eyes looked at me He saw someone who He absolutely adores. This idea, where the most important man who has EVER walked on this earth, looks at me and all He sees is, someone He truly loves and adores overwhelmed my heart in such a way that I could not hold it in, my eyes filled with blue waves that overflowed running quickly down my cheeks.  Her text, a moment my heart truly needed, opened a door in my heart where for a moment I could see myself through Jesus’ eyes.

It’s hard for me to think I deserve that type of adoration, that type of unconditional insane crazy  love. I typically only see my failings, my flaws, my shortcomings, but for a moment that morning I saw something a little bit different.  I saw a moment where Jesus sees me for who I am in Him and ultimately for who He is making me to be.  I was filled with a deep confidence that no matter if I failed or found my wings I had the best fan and cheerleader standing beside me longing to simply cheer me on and for me to keep my eyes focused on Him!  He was the one I was coaching for and His approval was the only one I wanted or needed.

He stands with each of us, t-shirt on along with a bright foam finger with our name on it, cheering for us!  He is your ABSOLUTE BIGGEST cheerleader and fan! When He looks at you all He sees is this beautiful soul that is made in His image and He LOVES you!  His eyes soften at the simple mention of your name and His heart jumps for joy as He thinks about your sweet face. He can’t help but smile when you focus on Him.  It’s hard to think that someone could love you with a grace that is so deep and true, but He does and He is always in your corner.

I pray you see yourself through His eyes, through His love for you, through the adoration His heart holds for you.  The view is absolutely incredible and if we find ourselves on that mountain top and trust Him for our true identity we might just find Him in a new profound way that will ultimately lead us deeper in relationship with Him!!!!

Imagine seeing yourself through His eyes and how that will change everything you do and say.  Imagine how you will approach things with a new-found unbridled confidence that will give you the courage to dream His dreams and chase His heart!  Imagine only living for Him!  I pray you see Him with His fist pumping through the air cheering you on today!

Blessings,

Stacy

Mountain Pauses

“I lift my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

 

We headed for a weekend filled with soccer and relaxing in the big city when suddenly plans changed. As we turned the car back towards home we found ourselves facing a completely different weekend;  I could feel God whisper, “pause” deep into my heart. I sat still not sure what He meant but whole heartily refusing to think about the weekend that could mean disappointment, a weekend that might not allow me to recharge or be an introvert, until a few minutes later when she half-jokingly says, “Part of me could just keep driving on into Red River.”

And PLAY

Sometimes I am not the best influence, or maybe I am, “Really? I know someone who has said I can use their cabin.”

Our minds playing with the idea of doing something so out of character, so adventurous, so brave.

To live in the moment, to stop the ache of future planning and the sting of the past hurts for a moment, a brief moment, to jump in without a plan and dare to simply follow God as He hits play;  there is the temptation of a possible freedom that my heart has never known. I trust her, so I jump in and dare to live outside my introverted, safe, strategic box.

PLAY…all the way to the mountains.

The air stung our lungs with the best kind of hurt. Our eyes surveyed the beauty as the racing river swept down the bank. The running water sweeping over the rocks. My mind connects to a memory, a moment frozen in time as our two boys held me close while at the same time trying to push me away as they courageously stood in the running water all those years ago. I could see his wet faded jeans and white sunglasses propped atop his head as his smile danced from the coldness of the river. His brother, a little more cautious, watching me and following my cue as I found solid footing in the river. A picture, a sweet work of art, rushed through my mind as we stood on the bridge watching the river rush by.

She indulged me as we walked the trail coming to a clearing that promised snow just yards away. Yards that just happened to be at a rough incline. She humored me as we climbed higher and higher daring our lungs to hunger for more oxygen. God’s fingerprints stained the mountain side with deep greens and pale yellows. My eyes, in desperation, could not take in enough of the view.

A lively declaration sternly pointed straight at me as she gasp for air. Immediately, healing filled my lungs as an enduring laugh escaped my lips. The words she said flooded my ears as my feet gripped the side of the mountain and my eyes couldn’t help but laugh along with my lips. It took me a few minutes to control the fun that escaped my serious side. Suddenly, I was at ease and immersed in the moment full of memories and somehow a promise of a future hope as God intertwined the present with the past.

We wandered down that trail as the sunlight danced through the aspens. Our feet sloshed through mud and strolled across the man-made snow that had escaped the heat that promised the end of a season.

My mind falling deep into another memory; one I had never spoken; one I held close, protecting it as though it were fragile. Somehow my heart dared to express the sweetness and sorrow that wrapped up a moment that feels like yesterday. She listened as my heart seemed to grasp a moment of clarity, a moment of healing. She simply listened and let my eyes flood with emotion. That mountainside offered more than was expected that morning.

PAUSE

Breathe in healing, laugh out joy, speak the truth and treasure the memories. The mountains have always seemed to be the place I run to see Him a little more clearly. A moment of peace as only His artistry could showcase. A moment painted with His paintbrush providing a new set of memories showcasing His incredible glory.

PLAY

Driving down an old dirt road squeezing time for every second it’s worth, begging the road to last just a mile longer, pleading with the mountain air to blow through the windows just a little bit more, and singing that song one more time in hopes that it won’t end.

Running away for an instant in time where you find yourself truly living in that moment begging the future to fade away.

Living in a moment, truly living in a moment with no agenda. She taught me that this weekend. To be spontaneous and dare to live in spite of the pain, longing for the healing, and daring to temp peace and joy to overtake and soothe the soul.

When we lift our eyes up to the mountain, when we seek His face with all our might, when we long to be in His presence worshipping Him, adoring Him we will find that He is our help and He is our refuge.

God has a plan, a good good plan! We have to trust Him for those times He tells us to PAUSE and follow Him when He says PLAY. We have to allow Him the freedom to grow us and love us and sometimes that means we have to take a chance. Sometimes that means we have to trust Him as He moves us to spontaneity. Sometimes He gives you an amazing gift by giving you a friend that reminds you to not be so serious, encourages you to step out of your box, and allows you the freedom to be who He made you to be.

So lift your eyes up to the mountains. He is there and He is so very good. He is our rock and our salvation. He will cover us with His feathers. He will fill us with peace and provide healing. He will provide you with moments to see Him more clearly and to simply relax and joy in Him. Listen and breathe in the PAUSE because the moment He hits PLAY you will be blown away!

Blessings,

Ferg