Friday, June 30, 2017


There once was a little girl who became quite gifted at putting together puzzles. It didn't happen immediately, but, by and by, she grew to love puzzles and even discovered joy in the midst of them.

It was truly an extraordinary thing.

Piece by piece, day by day, she learned to persevere and do the task that was was set before her. Slowly and patiently, she plugged away. She worked so very diligently, although it was, most assuredly, a difficult feat.

She watched as things began to fall into place. Some days, waiting and wondering how it would come together. Sometimes, wrestling with a particular or peculiar piece. 

Puzzles are hard, she surely must have thought. But, somehow, she knew: just because it's hard doesn't mean it's wrong.

Can you remember that, dear wrestling and waiting heart?

It took time. So much time. So many minutes, so many hours. Sometimes, many days passed before the picture would even begin to take shape. 

This puzzle-loving little girl, she knew what it meant to persevere.

When it was hard. When it didn't make sense. When she couldn't see how it was all going to come together...

She simply kept at it.

Did you hear that, dear puzzled heart? She simply kept at it.

Y'all, this girl would put together puzzles without even looking at the finished picture on the box!!!

This is the truth!

She didn't need to see. Not with her eyes anyway. But with her mind and with her heart, she just believed that it would all come together. 

She just believed.

Just believed.


Listen well, questioning one. This is Truth:

Faith believes that the pieces will eventually fit, that it will all come together, and that in the end, there will be {always} a glorious masterpiece.

This girl, though held captive in so many ways in that broken body of hers, was captivated by her puzzles. She was gladdened by them. Now this was impressive. This is inspiring.

She loved seeing something unrecognizable become something unmistakable.

She loved witnessing something overwhelming transformed into something overcoming.

All the little pieces perfectly fitting together, connecting in a precise way, and, ultimately, creating such a beautiful picture. 

So fitting, isn't it? This child who loved puzzles was very much a puzzle herself. Her life was a puzzle, and her death, weeks later, is still a puzzle. 

We don't have all the answers. We don't know why, but we know Him. And without a doubt, we know Him even more deeply because of her.

Three years. Three years, to the very day, she was home with our family. During that time, this little girl and her puzzles taught us all so many, many things

She and her sister, both, imparted a life-time's worth of lessons on love and loss, suffering and joy, pain and perseverance, faith and failure, grace and mercy. 

These precious, puzzling two...

We learned through their adoption journeys and through their days as our daughters.

We learned through their coming home here into our family, and we are forever learning as one has gone away to her Forever Home and the other is preparing to go away to her new home.

Their time in our family and their time leaving our family and every moment in between puzzles me in a way that is beyond anything I could ever express with my words.

Yet even in my wrestling, this is what I know:

Faith Ana is finally free. She is restored and whole. Right now and forever. Her puzzle is perfectly put together, not a piece lost or missing. It's entirely complete as she is forever Home with her Forever Father. And I can praise Him for this. I will praise Him for this.

And, S, sweet S...

In spite of everything...
In light of everything...
In the midst of everything...

Her puzzle is taking shape in a way I never could have imagined. And, y'all, it truly takes my breath away. It's beautiful and perfectly planned in ways that could only be pieced together by the Father who has held her life in the very palm of His hands from the beginning. And I can praise Him for this. I will praise Him for this.

Yet, it, too, is very much a puzzle. It's one that is still being put together. Prayerfully and patiently.

Her story with it's many tiny little pieces. Crooked, crazy-shaped, confusing pieces...

How our story was connected to hers...

How her story is connected to theirs...

How in His mercy and through His sovereign plan and by His perfect provision, He is putting all the pieces together.

Listen well, dear wondering, wrestling heart. I want to say it again {and again}: 

HE is putting all the pieces together.

HE IS THE ONE putting all the pieces together.

Over the years, in all the many moments these girls have been mine, there have been so many miracles and so many mercies. Oh, so many, many mercies.

There have been so many pieces of their puzzles that have challenged me and changed me.

There have been many hard and costly pieces. But they've all been right pieces and all good pieces and, most importantly, they've all been God's pieces. This is His masterpiece. His glory on display.

There have been pieces that have broken my heart and pieces that have brought my broken heart closer to His.

And there's pieces that I just don't understand. And that's ok. 

It's ok.

Hear that, doubting heart, troubled spirit, and questioning mind? 

It's ok. Really, truly. It's ok.

I don't have to understand the puzzle to be able to praise Him for the picture that will one day be revealed. 

I can just praise Him.

I will just praise Him.

These girls and their puzzles...

They've pushed me, pulled me, pained me me, puzzled me, but more than anything, they've played a part in producing in me a heart so completely overwhelmed by my Father's faithfulness, His lavish love, and His unrelenting mercy.

My words fall flat, and all I can say, all I can do, is simply fall on His mercy.

Puzzled, yet praising Him and always proclaiming, for now and forever:

All is mercy.

For everything that happens in life
 there is a season, 
a right time for everything under heaven:

A time to be born, a time to die;
A time to plant, a time to collect the harvest...
A time to cry, a time to laugh,
A time to mourn, a time to dance.
A time to embrace, a time to part.
A time to hold on, a time to let go...
A time to be quiet, a time to speak up...

I have seen the kinds of tasks God has given to each of us to do to keep one busy, and I know God has made everything beautiful for its time.

God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity; we look back on the past and ponder over the future, yet we cannot understand the doings of a God...

We can only stand in awe of all God has done. 

What has been and what is to be - already is.

That's so we'll quit asking questions and simply worship.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
The Voice & The Message

God often seems to place His children in places of deep difficulty, leading them into a corner from which there is no escape. He creates situations that human judgement, even if consulted, would never allow. Yet the cloudiness of the circumstance itself is used by Him to guide us to the other side. Perhaps this is where you find yourself even now.

Your situation is filled with uncertainty and is very serious, but it is perfectly right. The reason behind it will more than justify Him who brought you here, for it is a platform from which God will display His almighty grace and power.

He will not only deliver you but in doing so will impart a lesson that you will never forget. And in days to come, you will return to the truth of it through signing. You will be unable to ever thank God enough for doing exactly what He has done.

We may wait till He explains,
Because we know that Jesus reigns.

It puzzles me; but, Lord, You understandest,
And will one day explain this crooked thing.
Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Your best -
Its very crookedness taught me to cling.

You have fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wand'ring eyes fixed on You,
To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to You.

So I will thank and praise You for this puzzle,
And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing You do hold me worth such testing,
I cling closer to Your guiding hand.

Streams in the Desert

"Remember, I told you that if you believe,
you will see the glory of God."

John 11:40

Perhaps there is also something in your life causing you to question God. Do you find yourself saying, "I do not understand why God allowed my loved one to be taken. I do not understand why affliction has been permitted to strike me. I do not understand why the Lord has led me down these twisting paths. I do not understand why my own plans, which seemed so good, have been so disappointing. I do not understand why the blessings I so desperately need are so long in coming."

Dear friend, you do not have to understand all God's ways of dealing with you. He does not expect you to understand them. You do not expect your children to understand everything you do - you simply want them to trust you. And someday you too will see the glory of God in the things you do not understand.

Streams in the Desert

Make us feel that mercy is our life.
Teach us deeply that freely we have received, and freely we must give.
Make us broken-hearted, happy, useful sojourners. 
In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen.

John Piper
Life as a Vapor

Though He slay me,
yet will I hope in Him.

Job 13:15

Job answered the Eternal One.

I know You can do everything;
nothing You do can be foiled or frustrated.

You asked, "Who is this that conceals counsel with empty words void of knowledge?"
And now I see that I spoke of - but did not comprehend - 
great wonders that are beyond me.

I didn't know...

Before I knew only what I had heard of You,
but now I have seen You.

Job 42:1-5


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