I've been thinking a lot about this puzzle we call life. When you are a kid, the puzzle has big chunky pieces that you can easily fit together. That makes sense; you are young with not a lot of history to look at yet.
Then we start adult puzzles (not porn, just more pieces), and they are tiny!
The most difficult 5000 piece puzzle I can think of is a fingerprint. A close up actually. You start with the outer edges that are a little easier, and then you have to stare at it and walk away often to get another look at it to see where it's going. The middle is hard! So you have to come back often with a different perspective, and every now and then, you can fit in another piece. Victory for a moment, but still so much more to work on.
A few weekends ago, I was able to add another piece to my fingerprint puzzle.
I was at the Maranatha Christian Writers Conference (MCWC) last weekend. Here in this place, I started to see some more of the pieces of my puzzling life begin to fit together. I shared a few pieces in my closing words with the attendees of this conference.
I went to this conference for the first time in 2015. I was two years sober and thought maybe I could write about sober life or something. I honestly did not have a clue. I knew God had put this idea on my heart, but I had no idea where to go with it.
I went to a pre-conference class (a three-hour class before the conference officially started). There were four of us quietly waiting for it to begin when this beautiful, full-of-life, redhead woman came whirling in and pointed at me and said, "You! What do you write about?!" In a tiny squeaky voice, I didn't even know I had I said;
"I'm an alcoholic. I drank too much, and God helped... "That was all I could manage because it was the very first time I had said, "I am an alcoholic" to anyone outside my trusted circle of friends and family.
Three hours later, I was feeling much more confident about owning my story. I was inspired and excited for the rest of the conference. Looking back, I could have added a few puzzle pieces after that weekend.
The best way to show you how fast God can do a puzzle is to put it in a timeline. Remember, there is already so much mystery completed before I even started with these pieces I'm sharing with you. So many things happened before
2013 that were pieces of my life. If you want to know more, I recommend you read the book, Sober Cycle.
2013 we got the keys to our new cottage at Maranatha; that same week, I quit drinking for good
2014 I learned of the writer's conference and decided to check into the details
2015 I attended MCWC
2016 I attended MCWC
2018- I became the Executive Director of this conference and signed a contract with an agent
2019 I signed a book contract with Iron Stream Media for Sober Cycle
2020 no conference -(thank you covid) and I held my breath the whole time hoping my October 2020 book release would still happen
2021 In April, my book was released, and with an enormous amount of pride and gratitude, it was in the bookstore at Maranatha throughout the summer and then at this conference
You might think that when things go wrong, it is because you lost a few pieces. That couldn't be further from the truth! They needed to fit together for reasons we do not get to see. One of the biggest mistakes we make is trying to force pieces together that don't fit anywhere, yet we try. That's when you have to hand the work over to God. He knows where it fits when he puts together our puzzling lives.
The cardboard puzzle box you start with is full of chaos until it all fits together. However, unlike us, God doesn't walk away from a puzzle because he's frustrated or needs a break.
When the puzzle of your life is too challenging, call on the One who know
s what the cover of the puzzle box looks like. We don't get to see it until it's all put together. But I promise you it's beautiful.
I am in awe of what God is doing with my puzzled life. Even when it's hard, I am still amazed. In soon to be eight years, I have gone from a drinking life to a whole new life. Even though it can be difficult at times, and it hurt to go through it, I wouldn't change anything.
And the beautiful redhead who inspired me? I have Carol Kent to thank for inspiring me to write my story.
"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:6).
Peace on your weekend,