30 September 2006

Women of Faith

This summer, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the Women of Faith conference here in Atlanta. I lucked into going at the last minute, thanks to Velvet's misfortune (thanks again, Velvet!!) and I was so appreciative of the experience. These women are amazing. Like nothing I've ever attended in my life. And, ever since then, I have read just about every book by a number of them that I have been able to get my hands on. My favorite has been Sheila Walsh though. I related to her writing even before the conference, but was especially drawn to her in person, and now cannot get enough of her writing.
In checking in on her website: www.sheilawalsh.com, I read her latest journal entry she shares with us, from on the road and related to her once again...

"Chonda Pierce was with us on Saturday. It's been some time since she was our guest, and we've missed her. She was as funny as always but it was her message that touched me deeply. She described her family's style when they are working on a puzzle together. She likes to do all the edges first. Her husband David works with all the blue and white pieces for the sky or all the green pieces for the grass. But it's her son Zach's participation that infuriates her. When she's not looking, he'll take a piece and slip it into his pocket. When Chonda gets to the end of the puzzle and discovers that there's a piece missing it drives her crazy! In this simple family project, she sees the hand of God who works the edges of the puzzle of our lives. He gives us boundaries to live within for our safety and protection but loves us whether we live inside or outside of the lines. Chonda said that every now and then it seems to her that God slips a piece of our puzzle in his pocket and asks us to trust Him with it. Perhaps you find yourself in a place like that at the moment. I know I do. I never have all my ducks in a row. When it seems as if one area of my life has fallen into place a piece goes missing from another. I am learning, however, to not only trust God in this but grasp hold of it as a gift."

(Sheila Walsh and pal, Bono, May 11, 2006) (She had many photos to choose from on her website, but I knew Victoria would especially appreciate this one.) :)

We grew up working puzzles all the time. Mom grew up working puzzles with her dad and she has since passed the tradition down to us. It's a time when everyone just relaxes around the table together, sometimes talking, sometimes not, but just coming together in the same sweet challenge... TO BE THE ONE WHO GETS THE LAST PIECE IN!!! :)
But, it is funny, how we all do have our own 'methods' or techniques, unique to our personalities. Dad, can just pass through, throw in a piece, and call it a day. I'm the edger. I must finish the edge before starting on anything else. Mom loves more of a challenge. She just divides and conquers, I suppose. Finds an interesting part, tackles it, and moves on (of course, annoyingly TAPPING each one in three times to be sure each accomplishment doesn't go unnoticed). :) You can learn a lot from those you puzzle with, but also quite a bit from the puzzles themselves. Just like life, it can look like just a bunch of meaningless pieces all thrown in together with no purpose let alone any semblance of rhyme and reason. But, you start looking back at the progress you make and it all starts taking shape. Then, much like Chonda states, sometimes you just can't seem to find that piece you're looking for. And, much like I'VE experienced, in a mad 'rush' to get things figured out and to the final outcome... many times, we find a piece that promises all the right qualities... the colors are right, the shape looks dead-on, you just KNOW you found the perfect one... but then it just doesn't seem to cooperate with our plans of placement and so we plow ahead, VERY determined, (tempted to call in the scissors or hammer for reinforcement) FORCING the certain piece where it doesn't belong, wasting time on the frustration of the stubborn piece, comprimising the entire outcome, and ultimately throwing everything else out of whack down the line. All the while (unless the dog happened by and thought it rather tasty) the perfect piece awaits you, lost in all the remaining, unnoticed pieces outside of your quickly shaping-up picture.
We may not know how our 'puzzles' will look in the end, but thankfully God knows how it should all go and leads us by our trial and error. And, I think all He asks of us, is to keep at it, seeking His hand in our lives, and don't get so stuck in the frustrating moments that you miss all the fun!

ps... Don't miss the Women of Faith on Dr. Phil this week: Tuesday, Oct. 3rd!!


Mom said...

And just remember all those who are helping you work your puzzle. I bought a new one just for the trip in November, and I'm sharpening my "tapping" finger. :)

jodi said...

WOW, what a great entry. And so, so true! I'll never look at puzzles the same again! :)

Victoria said...

Love the picture! Thanks for throwing in something especially for me!