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Patience through Puzzles

I am jumping in on the One Word at a Time Carnival Today's theme is "patience" and is definitely something I struggle with often. I decided to re-post one of the first posts I made back in Nov '08 when I had about 3 readers, one being Josh, so hopefully it's a new read for you. It's a little bit on the long side and very scattered as usual......but if you are patient, I do bring a message. :)

Make sure you head on over to Bridget Chumbley's place to enjoy other great thoughts on patience.

Patience is not one of my strongest attributes.....but I am working on it ;)

Well, I am pretty patient in day to day stuff... such as

  • allowing kids to cook/bake in the kitchen, no matter how much flour is getting under the stove's heating elements. I even exercise more patience when the spilled milk makes it seep into places I will never reach to clean.
  • getting up over a dozen times during one TV show to wiggle the cable connection back in place.
  • asking H, over the course of a week (or two), when his bedroom will finally not look like a bomb went off in it.....only to hear each time, "I'm working on it, Mom".
  • waiting for this 100 pound "puppy" to stop chewing anything and everything that isn't moving (unless he catches it)
  • waiting for the house-cleaning fairy to make her appearance at our house....along with the Publishers Clearing House people ;)
  • this list could go on forever, but I'll stop here

But one thing I really need help is in patience to know where God wants me.....It's hard to explain, but I just feel that I am supposed to be doing "more" or going in a different direction for a purpose. It's so frustrating because on top of juggling family life, homeschooling, working p/t and tending to my two small online businesses....I also have a waiting list for "the back burner".

  • I have a children's book in draft form, that has been staring at me for over three years. I did get a good portion of the illustrations done this year, but now.....those paintings are sitting on top of the dusty pages of the story.
  • I have a project that I would love to start that has to do with sending (or better yet....hand delivering) boxes of my tie dye tees to Malawi or another less fortunate nation. I just think that tie dye can brighten anyone's day. :)
  • Josh and I would love to start a venue for youth to enjoy live Christian music and preaching and incorporate it with skateboarding, bmx and other sporting events in our area.
  • another list that can go on.....and on......and it does.... in my brain.

I know that these ideas are doable and can happen in time. But it's so frustrating to have your brain and heart wanting to invest time/energy and go in a certain direction, but waiting and needing some word of advice from God. Waiting on the confirmation that it is where He wants me to go. I am not one of those people who are fortunate enough to clearly hear God talking to them. I wish I was, because it would make this so much easier for me.
But, I do know that God puts desires and dreams in our heart. So I need to rely on Him to bring them to fruition if it is His will.....I have to trust in His perfect plan and perfect timing

....but sometimes, I feel like a kid stamping my feet and whining "I just want it NOW!!"

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT)

So I did a search at Blue Letter Bible for patience and came across that passage.......and just by re-reading it, I am finding some answers right now. As I pour out these thoughts, I need to have patience like Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Joseph and the many great heroes in the Bible. Time after time their stories show us that patience is a virtue and is rewarded.

So yes, I need to work harder on patience. I decided to buy myself a puzzle. I often give N a 100 piece puzzle as part of her homeschooling downtime. It helps her with problem solving and gives her a great sense of accomplishment when she sits back and sees the completed puzzle. It also has a calming effect on her, as she sits quietly and just focuses on "finding a match".

So I thought it would be a great way for me to wind down, work on my patience and hope to find a peaceful quiet time in the day. I hoped it would even get quiet enough in my head so I could hear God's soft sweet whisper that I have been longing to hear.

So I broke out that puzzle last night.........Life has been so busy for me this week, that I decided that we were all going to hang in on a Friday night for once. Josh was working so it was just me and the kids. I opened the puzzle box and dumped the pieces on the table......At first I had to talk myself out of just walking away/giving up as I felt overwhelmed just flipping over every piece.....750 of them. Starting to feel anxious, I regrouped and started working on the "flat edges" (because that is how you are supposed to, right?). After about an hour, I finished one whole side! (I know that doesn't seem like such a feat, but for me to sit still for an hour in itself is a victory)......so completing just one side of a puzzle felt so gratifying. I was brought back to the image of N's face when she proudly finishes her puzzles.....and it felt so good!

So then, it hit me.......I didn't necessarily hear God "talk" to me, but He revealed to me something I have been searching for, while I working on the puzzle. I thought about how sometimes life seems so disorganized and overwhelming in the rush of it all, but if we just take our time, relax and go with it.....after a few different attempts....the pieces will soon fit together.

One thing I did hear during my quest in Puzzle-Land......was all four of my healthy children talking in our living room. And then, one by one......they joined in on working on it with me. For that short time, there was no background buzz of the TV, there was no screaming music coming from the computer speakers (but it's hardcore Christian, mom!) and no bickering. It was almost a Beaver Cleaver moment, HA!

And it was then that it hit me.....again ( a double dose of enlightenment).....*this* is where God wants me right now....home with my kids enjoying the moment. He reminded me that there are many women who would love to be doing puzzles with their children in their home, rather than in the hospital. Many women would love to have the luxury of doing a puzzle, rather than working 12-14 hours a day trying to pay the rent.....many women would rather be doing a puzzle rather than making funeral arrangements for a loved one.

Point being......my life is truly blessed and fulfilling just the way it is, and sometimes I just need to be reminded of with the simplicity of doing a puzzle. (I have to mention that the word simple and a 750 piece puzzle should NOT be used in the same reference)

.....so, maybe God wants me to be right where I am, right now. Maybe he is pleased with me just trying to be the best wife and mom that I can be, trying to raise up my children to be Followers of His word, and hopefully letting His Glory shine through me whenever possible. Maybe I am not ready to take on the bigger projects I have planned........yet ;)

So I pray...... There is a purpose for my life, Lord. I will trust that you will help me to discover it, embrace it, and fulfill it for Your glory....in Your perfect timing. In Jesus Name~Amen.

OH, and lastly......speaking of patience......I will leave you with this amazing story of patience. It's almost borderline ridiculous that it is real....check it out.

Art in the Eye of a Needle



Christy said...

What a good reminder. Thank you for reposting this, otherwise I might not have had the blessing of reading it.

Corinne said...

He is so good, and He knows what we need.
Loved reading this... as I'm struggling in similar ways w/ the whole patience ordeal ;)

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Michelle: Good thoughts! if you were to look at my About page on my blog you would see that I love working puzzles- 1000 pieces or more. It is downtime for me, especially in the winter when I can't go out to ride my bike. One thing I learned and have to keep telling myself: no matter how touch the puzzle looks take one piece at a time. it may take awhile to find that one piece but when I do it is worth it. More often than not it opens up more pieces. I also find that if I get stuck or tired of one section of the puzzle I go to another. Plenty of life lessons in both of those.

Puzzle making hints: instead of dumping all the pieces out, take a small bunch-maybe 5 or 6- and separate them. Put the edge pieces in the middle of the table and then color code or item code them in piles. For example, I like to do trains and western ones. If a piece in the edge I put it in the middle and then if one is for a horse or a train or a certain color put them in their own pile or put them in the box (separated). Takes a little more time doing it that way but gives some direction and "hope" when building it. Have fun!!

Denise said...

Wow, such a great post, bless you.

Russell Holloway said...

Our lives ... meaningful ... just the way they are ... Nice.

Andrea said...

My husband was just saying to me last night: "you are NOT patient in what GOD wants from you." He is sooo right.
Blessings, andrea

Shirl said...

This is good, good stuff, Sweetie!

I believe it is our overall purpose to add value to the lives of those God places in our path...whether it is family or a stranger. That in some way, another's life is made better because we were in it. It may be small. It may be big. It may be doing puzzles with our children. It may be doing a ministry with others. The difficult part for us is to accept that THIS is what we are to be doing at the moment. We want to see what lies in the path ahead. If it is to be, we WILL arrive at that spot on God's mapped out path for our lives...not a moment too soon or too late!


nAncY said...

good thoughts.
it makes me realize that maybe Loving God and Loving others is what we all were made for.

RCUBEs said...

It seems like there is always "waiting" time for anything we do here. But I feel also that it's sort of like a practice for us to really learn "patience" as God prepares us to a much longer duration of time: eternity...

Thanks for reminding me to learn this and truly know what He willed for me...To be patient and at the same time, to try to dig deeper and be rooted in His love. Blessings to you friend and have an awesome day!

Joyce said...

I loved this. I'm feeling so much of what you said at the moment in trying to figure out what to do next. Thanks for this encouraging word today.

Bina said...

A great reminder for a heart that is about as patient as a potty-training 3 year old when the bladder is full :)

Hugs to you today, my friend,

katdish said...

Just being grateful for the here and now -- I was just talking to a friend about this very concept. It does bring peace. Thanks, Michelle.

Bridget Chumbley said...

Oh... Michelle! We were definitely separated at birth.

So many pieces of this post are precisely things that have been said... and/or happened in my home... and what you shared here could be my own words.

I loved this. Thanks for sharing, sistah! ;)

Glynn said...

And this may be exactly where He wants you now, because it's some of the hardest and most incredibly important work anyone ever has to do, and its effects are meant to last for generations. Great post.

Beth E. said...

Your post makes me think of Isaiah 40:31...

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

I've been looking for PCH, too! When they come here, I'll be sure to send them your way! ;-)

Deborah Ann said...

That was a great message! In wanting to hear God's voice, you began a project that entailed some down time and patience, and He did indeed speak to you! Yes, you are blessed beyond measure to have a beautiful family, and right now that's at the top of the list of things to do - just be there for them!

Tracy said...

Adore that Habakkuk verse!

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Great post my friend! Too often we overlook our first mission field. The fact that it is at home does not diminish it's importance. It makes it all the more valuable. Thanks for this great reminder!

And yes, the quest for patience is a life-long struggle for me ;)

Kim said...

Loved it the first time, loved it this time too!

Ike said...

When you would run out of patience, God does not. When you look at something and think that the patience of God must be exhausted because my patience would have been long ago exhausted, God’s is not.

And the answer is, God is far beyond us, infinitely beyond us in how He thinks and how He acts. The uniqueness of God is this, that when He is massively offended and when He is relentlessly offended, He still comes to the offenders and warning them of the judgment to come offers them forgiveness and mercy and grace and compassion and makes them His children and takes them to His holy heaven forever. It is that God who hung on the cross. That God whose patience is far beyond ours because His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts.

christy rose said...

What a great post Michelle! I am so glad that you reposted it. I believe that God desires for us to just learn to be. Let Him love us and transform us so that we can experience Him more fully every day. And in that wonderful life that He has for us, we will learn to respond to our loved ones in the same way.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Love what you say about being right where you're meant to be.

I too have yearnings -- yet the place I am is where I'm meant to be when I stop yearning and fall into the here and now.

thanks for this post -- it was great!


Just Breathe said...

That was a wonderful lesson you received from God. Sometimes He places the answer right in front of us. Seeing it sometimes takes time. Beautiful.

wife.mom.nurse said...

I just love the way you share how God works in the little ways in your life.

It encourages me.

patience...good Lord. Please give us patience. Amen.

Faith Imagined said...

I can so relate to this post Michelle! I have this huge list of goals that I want to have completed NOW. I am realizing God wants me to spend time with my family and just work on 1 or 2 of the goals over a longer period of time. I am definitely learning patience but enjoying my life also!

amanda said...

awww i can see you all working on that puzzle together!! i love your family!!! and as a former 'h' (but really an 'a') myself...he probably IS working on it!! :0)

Wylie @ Shout A Joyful Noise! said...

I am so blessed to find your blog this morning & have really enjoyed my visit! I am following & look forward to coming back & getting to know you better! Blessings...


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