About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Thank you! Recovering from surgery and have been saying, ‘this is not the way it’s supposed to be’… But it is! God knows and it’s all part of his plan for my life… God is good… I just need to rest in Him…

  2. Enquiring minds need to know …………………….did she ever finish that puzzle ??

    • Ha! Good question. So part of the lesson (which was about purity and guarding your heart) had us then giving her another puzzle WITH the picture and she compared the difference between using God’s word and not using it for guidance. 🙂

  3. I have made missteps , they weigh me down. I know that God can fix all things. Thank you Father for holding me. I to need to rest in Him…..

  4. Dear Jen, I really love this analogy that you’ve made re: attempting to do a puzzle without the box top picture! Although it’s very much in the early stages, I feel I’m to write a book about my faith walk, and wondered whether I could have your permission to use this very graphic analogy???
    ( although I understand completely if you would prefer not!)
    Many thanks.

  5. Dear Jen, I really love this analogy you used about the puzzle without the picture on the top of the box! I feel there might be a book inside of me that I trust will materialise one day, (about my own complicated Faith Walk) and am wondering if you would give me your permission to quote this analogy?
    ( I understand completely if you would prefer that I did not do so)
    Many thanks.
    Blessings and best wishes
    Gay Mallam

    • Absolutely Gay. The idea originally came through a pre-teen program called, Passport to Purity that helps parents talk through God’s plan for their children’s lives in terms of relationships. It’s been an analogy we have used for years with many of our kids, as well as a continual reminder to myself.

  6. Jen,
    There are many pieces in my life that didn’t seem to “fit”…having an anxiety disorder that’s debilitating at times…but because of it I’ve learned compassion. Having been in an abusive marriage and having gone through divorce…I now know that God is faithful to see me through the darkest of times and I have empathy and can minister to others going through it. Having had two major surgeries that literally left me unable to walk for over a month…. in the days of wanting to climb the walls, my blog was born. From my blog I came to know a wonderful, Christ-like young man in the Middle East who had a dream of educating orphaned and impoverished children so that they could have a future. Fast forward 4 years and we now have 46 children in a Christian school which serves the poorest of the poor. I head up this 501c3 non-profit called Redeemer Christian Foundation and last week an 8 year old boy read for the first time from his notes while he presented a message to his classmates on the Love of Jesus. He had to stand on a stool to reach the podium. Truly, what others meant for harm….God indeed can use for good if we ask him to keep our hearts softened so that we don’t grow bitter. Amen to your post, Jen…beautiful!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev – your story is such a testimony to His faithfulness through all things, as well as you being so sensitive to the spirit’s leading in your own life. I can only imagine how you felt when that little boy read his notes. Just amazing! 🙂 xoxox

  7. This Sunday scripture has blessed my soul! Something I needed to hear & be reminded of. The assurance of having open communication with my Lord in Heaven is more prominent to me more and more because praying has become so vital to me. I realize I have to be more diligient in seeking God’s ways vs my own. The word does remind us that His thoughts are higher and His ways are higher than ours so we will never be able to imagine what He’s doing.

  8. This is timely! I am a puzzle freak, jigsaw, crossword, etc. I have been writing on it and you have said so much so beautifully. Just ready to walk away from everything, maybe a little further from the edge because of this. He does know and see my every detail. Thanks.

  9. Thank you for this reminder that God is in control and his plan is wondrous for my life.
    After betrayal and divorce by my ex, I struggle everyday wondering how am I going to put back the pieces of my life. This touched my heart this morning and renewed my faith
    God Bless

    • I am in the same boat, Deb.
      It is so painful to be betrayed by the one who should care for you the most. I am still kind of in shock that this is how my life turned out, but I also keep getting surprised by how God is caring for me each day of this crazy journey.
      Blessings and grace to you.

      • Thanks Ashley…
        Hang in there. I know our faith is stronger than what has wounded our hearts

        • Deb and Ashley,
          My heart hurts for both of you. Can only imagine your pain… Dear Jesus, please hold these precious women tenderly in your hand, sustain them, bring comfort in ways you alone can…please may nothing and no one ever take from them the truth of how precious and loved they are…even when all is crumbling around their feet. Please hug their hearts. Amen.

  10. Gen 50:20 is one of my very favourite verses and I really needed to read it this morning. Thank you.

  11. Thank you for the analogy! There are times when I want to help God with life challenges but I remember Joseph life. I struggle daily with son’s disobedience and poor life choices but God is a master builder. I realize that until my son reach out and reach up to ask for help with life puzzle(s)…I wait in prayer. Thank you so much

  12. Deb, such praise to the Lord for these beautiful and grace-filled words. Someone I know is fond of saying “Don’t get ahead of grace.” and its something that I have to practice everyday as I can be impatient, especially as I heal. The Lord knows the timetable of His healing, His plan for all the goodness He wants to make out of our lives. May we humbly ask to cooperate with His Spirit and work as He directs each baby step He asks us to take for His glory and the good of His people as we trust in Him 🙂

  13. I love puzzles, sometimes they only need that one missing piece. The one on the floor, or in the spiritual sense, Jesus. And there are some only He could put together, more like a shattered glass vase bein restored but He can do it. Puzzles and coloring at any age is relaxing and theraputic. Check out Bits and Pieces for puzzles.

  14. Great analogy. I love that verse. And it is important I remind myself of it when harm seems to be coming my way. God can turn it to good. Always.

  15. Jen,

    My puzzle didn’t turn out at all like I thought it would – graduate high school, land good job and work till retirement. There have been twists and turns in the plot. My puzzle is made up of many odd shaped pieces-parts that didn’t make sense…being born to older parents, both of them have gone through various stages of dementia & mental health issues. That gives me more compassion to push for mental health help for everyone. I have a greater empathy for families dealing with elderly parents and their many health issues. I can give advice on assisted living, hospice, etc. As an introverted shy person I would never have envisioned myself in front of a group/crowd of people. Due to my hearing loss and love of music I have learned to do simple sign language to music. There are many days I wonder “what if” and why things happen as they do. A preacher once said “God has put you right where He wants you”. He knows best because He is Good ALL the Time!

    Blessings 🙂

  16. Beautiful illustration through the puzzle without the picture. Simple enough that a child could understand yet still heavy enough for an adult to ponder upon. Christ truth can be preached in so many creative ways!

  17. Such a beautiful metaphor on how we need God’s guidance in every aspect of our lives. Thank you for the beautiful reminder. Think I’ll keep some puzzle pieces around as an additional reminder.

  18. This is so very good. I’ve been waiting on God to redeem, restore and move in my marriage, my husband’s heart, our devastated finances and my children’s emotional wounds/scars for over 11 years. We’ve gone through adultery, 7 years of separation, and financial chaos. And really so much more. BUT GOD….He promised me restoration over 11 years ago and He has been faithful. Over the past month I’ve been prompted to thank Him for the work He is doing when it appears nothing is happening. That verse you quoted has been one of my go to verses during this journey. Very encouraging words today. Thank you.

  19. A timely message; our pastor is starting a sermon series that focuses on Joseph. Love the puzzle analogy.

  20. What a great way to start meaningful conversation with your kids! Love the analogy. And thank you, Jen, for the last sentence, “Work one piece at a time, cling to His goodness and rest in His sovereignty.” Needed this.

  21. I love what you said: “God’s purpose and plan for us is good because God is good. All the time, God is good” even when we can’t see the end of the staircase many time, this really spoke to me, thanks for the timely reassurance.