The more I help her the more I realized that she is teaching me.
Being Fully Present
In the moment, helping her piece the puzzle together, I am not thinking about the challenges or frustrations I had that day. I am not worried about tomorrow. I am not looking at my phone. I am zoned in with being with AJ, listening to her, guiding her, and helping her. By doing that she knows that she is important to me. Spend more time with those you love most and be fully present.
You Can't Force the Pieces to Fit
AJ will try to push hard on pieces that do not fit together to force them to fit together. Just as in life, too many times we find ourselves trying to force it and do too many things on our own. God has a providential plan for our lives and through His forgiveness, grace, and mercy; one at a time, the pieces will fit if we allow Him. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
The Big Picture
When first teaching AJ how to put the puzzle together I wanted her to reference the “big picture” on the box to help give her a visual aid of what the end result should be. Well, she could not have cared less about that picture as she was locked in on figuring out how the pieces go together. Isn’t that true in our lives? Although we may not fully understand all the pieces that make up our life puzzle, we do have faith and hope that our creator does. Ephesians 3:18-20 encourages us with these words,
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Perseverance Pays Off
AJ never gives up on the puzzle. She may get a little frustrated when the pieces are not fitting just right, she may get a little impatient and ask for help, she will take a quick break if she feels she needs to. But one thing she doesn’t do is give up. The easy thing to do is give up. As in life, when we go through difficult situations, how we respond shows our true character. The difficult situations are when we can learn and grow the most. It defines and sharpens our character and even more important, our influence. You have people watching you every day, whether you realize it or not, to see how you are going to respond to challenging and difficult situations. Take a lesson from AJ and don’t give up. This gives you the opportunity to learn and grow while setting a great example for others.
Practice Makes Perfect
To my dismay, as proud as she is to finish putting the puzzle together, she has just as much fun tearing it back apart. My nature when I complete something is to want to keep it that way and not have to do it again. We should never get tired of learning and always strive to get a little bit better every day so we can make an impact on our family and the world around us. Sometimes it does take resetting our priorities, starting over, and getting more practice.
AJ has now put this puzzle together at least a hundred times. She can do it by herself and she can probably do it in her sleep.
Regardless, I am going to keep “helping” her because I am much better for it.
Feel free to share this. I hope it will have an impact on your life as it has mine. Our little AJ has shown courage and resilience through her heart surgery and now she is showing us how to live.
( Editor's note: Our guest writer is Casey Smith, son of AFA Senior VP Buddy Smith. Casey is General Manager of Reunion Golf and Country Club located in Madison, Mississippi, where he and his wife, Mandy, reside with their three daughters Addie Grace. Lexie Rose, and Ava Jane; AJ)