Puzzle Pieces of our Lives

Do you remember sitting around a table with all the pieces of a puzzle scattered and seeing the picture on the box and thinking – this will never come together like that.  Most of us start with the corner pieces because those are easy to know where to put them and then we go to the edge pieces.  Occasionally we will see some pieces that seem similar and we will start grouping them together but slow but surely that pattern on the box is starting to look like my puzzle that I am piecing together!

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Our life is so similar to a puzzle – there are those things that we know where to put them in our life – those corner pieces.  We slowly get brave and begin to put the edge pieces of our lives.  Little thought goes into the middle pieces – we haphazardly start doing things without much forethought or planning.  Wouldn’t it be great to have the picture on the box to be our life and we could see what our life is supposed to look like and what pieces goes next?  I wish that were the case – God knows what the picture looks like and guides us to the things that will allow us to be that picture. 

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On The MEssage Bible – 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.
 
God has a plan for us – we just need to have the courage to talk to him and follow his ways.  He knows what the picture looks like – he made the blueprint.  It is not always going to be easy to put the “middle” sections of the puzzle together in our lives but remember to turn to God.  I struggle daily with this…I try to do things my way so much more than turning to God first.  I even convince myself that what I do is what God wants.  I want to be better and turn to God first before I jump right in and begin.  I pray for patience and direction for us both!
 
Connecting with you!
Leigh
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Quilt Pieces of our lives

Have you ever really looked at a quilt and all the material used in each one?  I remember my granny had quilts and I remember some of the pieces were from her dresses, curtains, tablecloths in her house.  The quilt was pieces stitched together to keep someone warm, but a quilt is more than just a blanket – it is a hug of memories wrapped around you.  Growing up, my family was a quilting family – that means we had a room with a big quilting frame in it and we would all sit around and sew this bits of material together.  While we didn’t get together as often as we should have, we still did sit around the frame stitching each stitch with love but more importantly we were sharing family stories and spending time together. 

 

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Our lives are like quilt pieces put together.  Each thing that happens to us in that certain material that is included in our life quilt.  The pattern forms itself and God has stitched each one of us with love!  Psalm 139:14 reads; “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and my soul knows very well.” In the original Hebrew text, the word ‘fearfully’ means: with great reverence and heart-felt interest and respect. The word ‘wonderfully’ means: unique, set apart, uniquely marvelous. WOW!  No wonder David got so excited about the great love that God has for us. He realized the great love and concern that went into his unique and very individual creation. According to this Scripture, you truly are a Master Piece! After all, God don’t make any junk!  He takes carefully time and leads you down a path you might not have chosen to form your life quilt.  Each piece is put together to tell your story.

I have heard….”When Life throws you scraps…make a quilt”.  I love this phrase because it reminds me that we need to take what is given to us and make the best of it.  So often we like to complain and whine and take so much time worrying that someone else got better things than we do and we miss the opportunity to appreciate the things we have.  Image

So just think about the quilt pieces of your life and how they have been sewn together to make you – YOU!  God stitched you together perfectly.  No one else has the same pieces that you have….

 

Connecting with You,

Leigh

Shattered Pieces

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Shattered Pieces – Shattered means to cause to break or burst suddenly into pieces as with a violent blow.  Have you ever had something rock your world unexpectedly?  You found out your spouse was cheating or you have cancer or your teenager is pregnant or something that just really turned your world upside down?  You felt like your mind, heart, body and soul was shattered into little pieces.  I think we have all had that experience at some point in our life or we have known someone that had an issue that just crushed us.  I love this verse in Jeremiah that talks about putting a “Band-Aid” on it and say things are not so bad.    We all know that if something is shattered – there is always a sliver of glass that will just keep poking at you, sticking you where you hurt the most and we just can’t see it. 

Jeremiah 6:13-15 The Message Bible

“Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar, little people and big people alike. Prophets and priests and everyone in between twist words and doctor truth. My people are broken—shattered!— and they put on Band-Aids, Saying, ‘It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.’ But things are not ‘just fine’! Do you suppose they are embarrassed over this outrage? No, they have no shame. They don’t even know how to blush. There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom and there’s no getting up. As far as I’m concerned, they’re finished.” God has spoken.

 

I just want to remind you that when you are experiencing this in your life – just call out to God.  Just be honest and tell God every part of it.  Even if you made mistakes or created much of the issue yourself.  Listen as David cries out in Psalms 102. 

Psalm 102:1-2The Message Bible

[ A Prayer of One Whose Life Is Falling to Pieces, and Who Lets God Know Just How Bad It Is ] God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries. Don’t turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is a cry for help! And hurry—this can’t wait!

I have shared this verse with you recently but I just have grown so fond of it.  Here is Jeremiah’s prayer – he was so honest and so forthright to God.  Why can’t we talk to God like this? 

Jeremiah 17:14-18

God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise! Listen to how they talk about me: “So where’s this ‘Word of God’? We’d like to see something happen!” But it wasn’t my idea to call for Doomsday. I never wanted trouble. You know what I’ve said. It’s all out in the open before you. Don’t add to my troubles. Give me some relief! Let those who harass me be harassed, not me. Let them be disgraced, not me. Bring down upon them the day of doom. Lower the boom. Boom!

I want to caution you if you are helping someone else who’s life has been shattered into pieces – don’t let yourself be cut by a sliver of their problems.  It is so easy to get caught up into a child’s problem or with healthcare of someone that you neglect taking care of yourself.  Many times it is those hidden tiny things that can destroy you.  Watch out for those shattered pieces. 

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Connecting with you,

 

Leigh

Broken Pieces

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Deuteronomy 30:1-5  The Message Bible

Here’s what will happen. While you’re out among the nations where God has dispersed you and the blessings and curses come in just the way I have set them before you, and you and your children take them seriously and come back to God, your God, and obey him with your whole heart and soul according to everything that I command you today, God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back to the land your ancestors once possessed. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than your ancestors.

Wow – have you ever been told how special something is and to be very careful around it…well I have….nevertheless, I had to look at that special vase in my grandmother’s house.  It was her great grandma’s so it was older than two centuries…oops…it just slipped out of my hands – it didn’t fall far but it just broke into millions of pieces.  I tried to gather up all those broken pieces but it just was not going back together the same.  Grandma wasn’t even mad – she understood the temptation and she forgave me.  How cool is that?

So many times – we make mistakes and we do things that we shouldn’t or we allow criticism, conflict, comparisons into our lives and our heart breaks into millions of pieces.  It is hard to put the pieces back together but God does help us if we let him.  He makes us stronger, bolder and much wiser.  We need to make sure we turn to him in those times that we are down and out.  He can put the broken pieces together and be the glue that holds us together.  How awesome is that?  God glue….

God gave me the word while listening to the radio and I didn’t put the “pieces” together until I started looking it up in the Bible.  The next day God gave me the beautiful song by one of my favorites Mandisa – “Broken Hallelujah”.

A beautiful song by Mandisa
Worshiping God through the hard times
And then in doing so we find healing and we draw closer to God in these painful times. I pray this encourages you as it encouraged me.

Gods Broken Pieces

Connecting with you always…

Leigh

2 Samuel 22:21-25 The Message

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I cleaned up my act, he gave me a fresh start. Indeed, I’ve kept alert to God’s ways; I haven’t taken God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

Pieces

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 From The Message Bible – Psalm 18:20-24 & 2 Samuel 22:21-25 (Same word for word verses – did you know that?)  God must think it is important1

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

I love this Bible passage!  Yesterday I was stressing about life, work, home, health, time, traffic, dirty house, teenager, etc.  I was on my way to work and I just prayed for God to help me.  I wanted him to talk to me but he didn’t say a word.  I challenged him to play a song on the radio for me to cheer me up.  Then a song named, “Pieces” came on – I don’t know who sings it and am desperately trying to find it so I can hear it again. (Please let me know if you know who sings it….Sirius XM The Message – Christian music)  I laughed because I thought really…God!  How is this going to inspire and encourage me….then I thought about how the word PIECES had come into my life several times this week – seriously!  My daughter had to give a little treat to her cheer buddy and we gave Reese’s Pieces.  Then she got some too and I gave them to my mom for a snack and she loved them.  Then I went to the store and someone asked me to pick them up some Reese Pieces….so I saw this word several times.  Funny thing – I hadn’t tried them I don’t think before this week and I loved them…just had a taste of them but they were melted on the inside and were perfect!  I love how God has a sense of humor and gave me Pieces!

So I got so inspired by the word – PIECES – and started thinking about it and wondered if it was even in the Bible – I couldn’t believe how many times I found it!  I looked for inspirations, videos, sermons, posters, etc.  and have enough stuff to complete a book – oh well – there it is again – maybe I should write a book.  Getting the hint there God!

There are many pieces that I plan to talk about over the next few blogs.  There are Broken Pieces – we all have broken something and all the pieces are everywhere and it is often hard to put back together again.  Sometimes our life is like that – we have been broken and hurt and we need to put all the pieces back together. I felt like that many times.  When I pull myself back together, I am often stronger, and sometimes their might be a missing piece but I learn something and know that God is the only way to make me whole again.  Here is another passage in the Bible that just gave me goosebumps…

Jeremiah 17:14-18  The Message (MSG)

14-18 God, pick up the pieces.
    Put me back together again.
    You are my praise!
Listen to how they talk about me:
    “So where’s this ‘Word of God’?
    We’d like to see something happen!”
But it wasn’t my idea to call for Doomsday.
    I never wanted trouble.
You know what I’ve said.
    It’s all out in the open before you.
Don’t add to my troubles.
    Give me some relief!
Let those who harass me be harassed, not me.
    Let them be disgraced, not me.
Bring down upon them the day of doom.
    Lower the boom. Boom!

I plan to share about many other PIECES in our lives.  I love that so many of the mighty prophets felt like they were in many pieces and needed to repair themselves and they cried out to God – just like us.

Connecting with you,

Leigh

Everyone’s a Coach

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I have been reading the book, “Everyone’s a Coach” by Ken Blanchard and Don Shula.  I was given this book many years ago when I was a branch manager in banking.  You may think that was odd but as a manager we were all really “coaches” inspiring our employees to do better, sell more, provide better customer service, etc. I never really thought of myself as a coach but over the last few months, God has led me into that realization.  I love to inspire people, to help them see all the potential that they have and to help them better themselves.  I think everybody can do that.  Provide honest feedback, encourage or support someone, or just be the one that makes them do what they need to do!  We all need coaches in our lives…I need a trainer to encourage me and push me in working out; I need friends to provide support when I am having tough times; I need someone to make me practice and get better.  Who are your coaches?

Famous Coaches Quotes:

Paul Bear Bryant – “Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.”  “When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: 1.  Admit it.   2. Learn from it, and  3. Don’t repeat it.”

Nick Saban:  “As bad as you think you want to win it. I promise you the guys that go out there and work every day … they want to win it more than that. And I’m going to feel a hell of a lot worse for them than you if they don’t.”

Knute Rockne:  “Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points.”   “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

Don Shula:  “I don’t know any other way to lead but by example.”

ImageWhat does the Bible say about coaching? The following Bible verses provide principles for coaching or physical training. I hope you will use these passages to encourage and promote team work, strength and discipline.

1 Corinthians 9:24
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Timothy 4:8
8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Hebrews 12:11-13
11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Galatians 5:26
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27
2 5Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 2 7No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Philippians 4:13
13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Isaiah 40:29-31
29  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 41:10
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Colossians 3:23-24
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

1 Chronicles 16:11
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

James 1:12
12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Connecting in Christ,

Leigh

Mentoring

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In Proverbs 27:17 – it says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

A  knife is made so much sharper when you rub iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives more efficient to cut, slice and dice.

This verse also refers to how each of us are better when we talk to a friend, share with a mentor, or hold each other accountable.  We become sharper, more focused and just better!  I have always been such a fan of mentoring and have been in many mentoring relationships as both a protege and as a mentor.

As a protege that had a mentor in my career – I had someone to look up to, to learn from and to motivate me.  I learned my work ethic, and learned how to treat coworkers.  My first mentor was a very special lady and she worked so hard and had such a passion for her work.  I learned – it is important to love what you do and do your best.

I had many other mentors through the years and learned so many things and I wouldn’t ever change those experiences.  Each mentor taught me many lessons and loved that I asked questions and wanted to do more than expected.  They each one took great pride in my successes and are still very interested in me.

As a mentor – I always thought that I was mentoring so that I could share my wisdom and experiences, but funny thing is that I learned as much as I shared.  It always inspires me to mentor someone and I take great pride in their success.  God wants us to find mentors and friends to share with, to discuss issues with and to hold each other accountable.  In Matthew 18:20, The Bible states, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  God wants us to rely on others and to share with others.

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So find someone or a group that you can discuss your problems, pray with, study the Bible with and just encourage each other.   Meet regularly, do fun things together, pray for each other and grow in your relationship with God together.  After all, it will make you so much sharper!
Connecting with you….

Leigh