Gail's Book Nook

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Welcome Staci Stallings

In her wonderful devotional Staci Stallings Shows Us How We Could
Be Like the Children in her Sunday School Class.

 Hiding the Obvious

Kids are fascinating. If you watch them, they will teach you very profound lessons about life and yourself.
A couple weeks ago in Sunday School, we did the infamous puzzle day. On that day we are talking about the Holy Spirit and how, if you let Him, the Holy Spirit can put your life together in such a way as to make it fit perfectly--not just for you but for everyone else too.
I have this puzzle that's the picture of Jesus hugging the person who's just come to Heaven. In the sky is a rainbow representing the Father. Also above Jesus' head is a dove. The puzzle is like 560 pieces. Since I'm not good with puzzles and we have to put the thing together with 40 different kids in about 30 minutes, I have put nine pieces in each of 63 bags and numbered them.
The idea is that each kid gets a "day's" worth of pieces--nine. They are to put those pieces together and then as I call out the number of their bag, they bring them up and I put them together. Then they go and get a new bag of pieces. Of course this is the ultimate lesson in working together because everyone is putting their own pieces together and then helping others who are trying to get theirs together as well. It's quite the class.
At the end of putting the puzzle together, there is a "trick." The Holy Spirit played it on me first, so I don't take credit for thinking it up. See, the first time we put the puzzle together, we got the whole thing done--and we were missing one piece (which we later found and put in a separate bag). That piece is right up in the sky, part of the Holy Spirit's wings, and it is really obvious when you get the thing together that one piece is missing. So, of course, one bag has only 8 pieces in it. But I don't tell them that. They expect the puzzle to be whole when it's finished.
Every year the kids freak out about the missing piece. Most of the time they all go on scouting duty around the tables trying to find it. This year, they took a different tack.
Now, I know there is one piece missing. They just don't know that I know.
Well, this year, that pesky bag with only eight could not be solved. The poor girl working on it was really good at puzzles but because of the missing piece, she was having a really hard time getting it together. Therefore, that section was the last one to be put in. In fact, several of the boys tried to "help" by putting it in piece-by-piece rather than as a completed section. That was interesting.
The thing is, everyone was around the table when the last piece went in, and guess what... it wasn't the last piece!
I'm not sure which student figured it out first, but as I was standing there talking, all of a sudden like 8 students had their hand on the puzzle. They were all trying to cover the missing piece, looking up at me as if nothing in the world were wrong with this picture. Like... "Maybe if we stand here and act natural she won't notice." What they didn't know is that they hadn't lost the piece at all. It was missing for a reason.
But isn't that just like all of us? We perceive that we have a "missing piece," and so we do everything in our power to cover that thing up so maybe no one will notice--especially God. What ends up happening is instead of making it less noticeable, we draw attention to it!
What pieces are you trying to cover up in your puzzle? Maybe, just maybe, there's a reason the Holy Spirit hasn't filled that piece in yet. One thing is for sure... He knows better than you that there's a missing piece. He knows where it is, and He knows where it goes. If you will trust Him and stop trying to hide the obvious, maybe together, you and He can fill it in. Otherwise, frankly, you just look a bit silly standing there with your hand over the puzzle like no one's going to notice you're trying to hide that missing piece.
(Copyright 2011)

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:
Books In Print, Kindle, & FREE on Spirit Light Works:
Spirit Light Books--The Blog:
And… Staci’s website
Come on over for a visit…
You’ll feel better for the experience!
Connect with her on Twitter: @StaciStallings


Miss Mae said...

Hi Staci,

It's nice to meet you. :)

What I found interesting about your post was not so much the missing piece to that puzzle, but how all the children tried to help. Wouldn't it be great if adults could be as cooperative and come to each other's aid like these children did?

P.S. I love jigsaw puzzles. The missing piece would have worried me to death! LOL

Anonymous said...

Miss Mae,

It did throw me when I first put it together and it was gone. I always tell my kids that's what happens when someone's piece isn't there. It's noticeable. Strangely, years later my brother passed away, and I gave my mom a puzzle of Christ hugging a ragged man just returned to Heaven. When she put it together, there was in fact, a missing piece--and she hung it like that with the momentos from my brother. The symbolism of that piece can really take my breath away sometimes.

Anne Patrick said...

Wow! Great post, Staci. It really is noticeable when a piece is missing. I realized this after returning to the Lord after a long absence. I ran into an old co-worker in the grocery store and she went on and on about how happy and content I seemed. And she was right. I’d tried many things to fill that void in my life but Jesus was the only piece that fit.

Finbar said...

We all have a "missing piece" every now and then. And as with your kid's puzzle it is part of a grand plan for greater success. Reality is to never stop looking for the missing piece, only then do you fail, as the piece will always appear if you look long enough. Great reading! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Missing pieces come in all shapes and sizes and for very diverse reasons. I like Anne's idea of filling all our missing pieces with Jesus. Love that!

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi there, Staci.

I love the way you use this puzzle to help children realize that something very important is missing...the Holy Spirit.

What better way to than visuals to get the point across. Yes, there is a big hole in our hearts without Jesus, a larger, glaring one without either The Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for this thought provoking post.

June Foster said...

Hi Staci, I've been trying since Monday to make a comment. Finally! That is an awesome activity. I love it. Something the kids will always remember. And yes, children are so wise. If I really have an urgent need, I always ask my little granddaughter to pray.