Sometimes I can’t wait to get to the other side of eternity so that I can look back on this jigsaw puzzle that we call “life” and see how all of the pieces are really supposed to fit.

Several years ago, I worked as an at home caregiver for a young Asian girl. She was hearing impaired, nonverbal, and profoundly autistic. But each afternoon when we would sit down to play, she would take a puzzle, flip it over and with only the brownish grayish cardboard side facing her, she would put that puzzle together more quickly than I could have done by looking at the picture. I was awed by her.

I feel that same awe about God.

Trudging through my daily routine is a little bit like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle while blindfolded. I can’t see the picture. I can’t even tell the shapes. The only way I can get the pieces right is to let God be my eyes and guide my hands.

There are currently sixteen days until Christmas and I have to admit that it’s not my favorite holiday. As much as Hollywood plays up the fact that the holidays can bring out the best in people (e.g. the vast array of movies about Ebenezer Scrooge) I’ve lived in the real world long enough to see that it also can bring out the worst in people. And for many people, this time of year is a dredge that digs up the deepest, darkest emotions that we manage to bury during the rest of the year, but can’t quite bury during Christmas.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there are more suicides during the holidays than any other time of year. I’m a blessed and highly favored woman of God, but I know that my sadness seems to amplify over the holidays. The gray clouds seem blacker. The mountains seem more insurmountable. The quiet waters that I walk beside throughout the year suddenly flood their banks and threaten to pull me under. And not only me, but the people around me. But because God has called me to be a light of the world (Matthew 5:14), I can’t let the flood extinguish me. I have to find a way grab a branch and keep my torch above the water so that those around me will have hope, too.

In the spirit of holding up my torch, I want to turn over a few of the puzzle pieces that people have tossed at me lately…

This week, I’ve had two puzzles thrown at me by hurting women in my life. One was broken up over a child abuse situation near her and wanted to know how God could allow a child to be hurt. Another was herself abused as a child and wanted to know how she can trust a God that could allow her to be hurt—and how she can trust people not to hurt her any longer.

I feel so unequipped to answer these types of questions. I don’t have all of the answers. But I do know the One Who IS the Answer. And because I’ve been hurt, I feel an urgency to give the answers I have.

The first answer I have is that God never wants children to be abused. He loves us and His love for us is perfect. But because of the problem of sin, our free will is corrupted and sometimes, people who are lost in sin choose to hurt others. It makes God weep.

And the second answer I have is that one day, there will be a judgment. Those who have abused will have to stand before God and account for their actions.

My friend Bonnie shared a truth with me that turned over some puzzle pieces for me and set me free: I do not have to be angry for my abuse; God is angry for me. And I don’t have to defend myself; God is my defender.

And so while I still can’t see the whole picture, I can see enough to trust God that He sees the rest and that when I stand beside Him in eternity, the picture will be worth waiting for.

What puzzles you? What puzzle pieces has God shown you to help sustain you until you can see the whole picture? Do you have any puzzle pieces you’d like to share with me or others that read this blog?

About Sarah Salter


  1. Great post! I have to say I’m amazed by the little girl who could put a puzzle together upside-down.

    I’ve got a few puzzles I’m trying to assemble here, and I definitely feel blindfolded. Your post is a good reminder that God will guide my hands.

  2. You’re so right about God being angry about the things done to us. In a sense, it’s comforting to know that our Dad loves us that much.

    I know what you mean about the depression during the holidays. I fight it year in and year out. This is not “the most wonderful time of the year” for me. However, I’m working on focusing on the reason for all of this and not the season anymore…it’s not turning it all around yet but it’s helping.

  3. I think it would be easier to define what’s not a puzzle right now. 🙂 Praise God for the constants and praise Him for always leading me as I trust Him in the dark, confusing places.

    Great post, Sarah.

  4. The autistic brain holds so many mysteries and miracles! Yet another puzzle that God can see but we can’t figure out.

    And yes, I’m looking forward to seeing the completed puzzle, too. And to finding out where all the missing pieces were hiding.

  5. If it helps, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year for me either. It never really has been. It’s always riddled with family drama and I’m so beat down by it. I’m sorry it isn’t a wonderful time for you either.

    This was a great post. I loved the story about the little autistic girl you cared for. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Steph, Jason, Jason S, Wendy, & Marni – Thanks for your comments and encouragement! It’s nice to have folks to make the journey with and I’ll blessed to have y’all to make it with! And I’m determined that THIS is going to be the best Christmas EVER! 🙂

  7. Several months ago I woke up in the middle of the night and began making a list of things I am puzzled by. It’s way too long to share but your post brings comfort reminding me that we all have a puzzle with a missing piece of two or three that we want to solve.

    This is an excellent post, Sarah. Sometimes it is hard to shine bright when darkness seems to be closing in around us. It is happening to me a bit more during this holiday due to sickness and a brother being critically ill.

    Yet when I get down on myself (yes I do that quite often) I am reminded in the Word that Jesus in me is the source of the light, along with the Holy Spirit, and that kind of changes my perspective. It’s really not about me—it’s about Him. What I need during the dark times is more of Him.

    I’m not sure I’m making sense but thank you for sending me to read your blog tonight. It has ministered to my heart.

  8. Neal Salter (Papa Bear) says:

    This indeed was an excellent post. Melinda said, “it is hard to shine bright when darkness seems to be closing in around us.” This is what the enemy is always doing. My brother, John Hobbs, has said, “the devil wants to put your light out.” The truth is he can’t do it. Jesus is the Light of the World and when we have Him we have light. The Apostle John said it best, “Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them(the evil spirits that would attack you); for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NRSV) While the devil wants to put our light out and cover us with darkness, he cannot do it unless we allow him. He has no control over us unless we give it to him. Thus, sin and the evil that so surrounds us cause these things (abuse and all the other evil that has been described above) to attack us. So we must pray for one another, encourage one another and remind each other–WE BELONG TO GOD! This season is about the coming of HIS SON, so the evil one will use every tool at his disposal to defeat us and cause us to be depressed and discouraged. As always, I am eternal optimist, because I know who holds eternity and–HIS NAME IS JESUS! Thanks, for letting me preach a little. I trust it will be received as an encouragement to have JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME!

  9. ” I don’t have all of the answers. But I do know the One Who IS the Answer” …and That is The Answer.

    At times I feel inadequate to have the right words. Recently a man I had just met poured out his heart to me. At first I thought it strange, but then I sensed it was a God moment. I attempted to speak but my words felt hollow, weak.

    Later praying for the man I asked about why He’d stir up that man’s heart to share so openly and then not give me a message filled with profound words of wisdom. (I suppose to make me look all smart and stupid stuff like that.) At that moment I remembered a place in the bible that answered the question “Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD. 14 So the LORD stirred up…” (Haggai 1)

    It’s not the perfect words but the Perfect God behind the words who stirs and heals the heart. Even now I feel like these words aren’t saying what I want, but please know your torch is shining bright helping to put the puzzle together.

    Thank you & Merry Christmas.

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