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

Fearless Flight

We live in a world of uncertainty. There is always something or someone knocking on our hearts telling us we are not enough, we are alone, we are forgotten. We are constantly sold the lie that we are replaceable and our imperfections could knock us out of God’s plan.

I am deathly afraid of heights; bring you to your knees afraid; your eyes pooling with glassy drops of water spilling over down your cheeks afraid. I struggle to hold back the panic of an outright full blown anxiety attack just thinking about getting on board a plane let alone flying high above the solid ground.

Sometimes God has a sense of humor and He calls us to face our fears because ultimately we need to see Him in a more intimate way. We need to lay ourselves down and allow a deep trust in Him to grow and thrive. A year ago the Holy Spirit showed my heart that She Speaks 2017 had a spot for We Three and that we were to go. In order to go, I had to get onto a plane, not just one plane but two planes just to get there.

That meant that I had to sit and grasp the arms of my plane seat and feel the pain of my body thrust into the sky and the tingle of my skin as we moved faster and faster; I had to feel my heart catch in my chest as we rose higher and higher not just once but twice before walking into the conference. I felt the Holy Spirit ask me to trust Him and to let go of this fear.

Fast forward a year later and here we were crawling on that first plane. God provided three of the kindest individuals who poured into our hearts through eyes of comfort on that first flight. The couple brought such a sense of peace along with them and the third was a passionate stewardess who spoke of angels and the presence of God as we soared through the clouds. The second plane was much easier after that and we cruised into North Carolina. We made it! We made it to She Speaks 2017 and we sat in the spot God had saved for us.

I learned three very important things:

  • Flying is okay! I actually kind of enjoy feeling completely out of control and allowing my trust in God to take over in a new and completely unexpected way. I’m 33 and my God is bigger than any plane on this earth and He is with me and He goes before me!

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

  • Women are absolutely amazing!  I am such an introvert and so different and one on one is hard for me and it can sometimes be paralyzing. At She Speaks something incredible happens when you get 800+ women whose hearts are in desperate crisis of chasing God that it fills the atmosphere with a pure excitement, worship, and love for God that is truly safe and completely contagious. You see His presence and unconditional heart in the face of each woman and you hear His whispers through their stories and encouragement that gives all glory to Him. It was something I have never experienced before and will not soon forget.

 

  • God has a plan for you and He is in control… He is in control… one more time… He is in control. We each have a story and a wiring unique for the story God is writing and using to spread His gospel. He has not forgotten you and you are not replaceable!

Psalm 139:1-18, “You have searched me, Lord,     and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;     you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;     you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue     you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before,     and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,     too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?     Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;     if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,     if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me,     your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me    and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;     the night will shine like the day,     for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;     you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;     your works are wonderful,     I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you     when I was made in the secret place,     when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;     all the days ordained for me were written in your book     before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!     How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them,    they would outnumber the grains of sand—     when I awake, I am still with you.

All of these were mind-blowing and eye-opening and sitting here looking back on the days passed I find myself wanting to encourage women to accept who they are in Him and to see Him in your wiring and His fingerprints on the story He has written that is unique to you.

I’m different and the truth is…

My wiring is okay. My need to see God in an intimate way through creativity and my camera lens is okay.

I had overlooked this photo. I think because God knew that after the amazing spiritual weekend at She Speaks I would be looking out into my great big world and the battle would grow stronger. I have a choice between confusion and fear or hope and trust. I am staring a new journey in the face and it can be overwhelming if I don’t choose to trust and believe God. My speaker wings are brand new much like this little guy and they need to be tested and tried without fear of the future.  My wings need to fly with the hope and truth of God all around them.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

Sitting in the trees that day watching this duckling look out into the great big world he was learning to navigate, I could see God everywhere. I could feel His heartbeat through the eyes of the camera lens. I always feel safe as I stand behind the camera because I see Him. I see His fingerprints. I long to capture a brief moment in time where His beauty and His glory shines. This duckling in his moment of stillness, I can’t help but think, he chose to trust and hope in the wings God gave Him as he learned to spread them wide and allow the goodness of our Father to surround and breathe new life into him.

The story He has written in your life is amazing! Every hurt and joy, pain and grace, every mountain and every valley all of them are unique to you and He will use it! I want to encourage you to raise your wings and fly into your wiring and trust that God did not make a mistake and then chase after Him listening for His voice and His prompting as you seek to further and glorify His Kingdom.

You are not an accident and you are not replaceable and your wings, new or old, still have a lot of flying left to do!

Spread your wings and let God breathe new life into them as you learn to fly!

Blessings,

Stacy