pieces of the puzzle

I’m not sure what we were doing in this moment or what made us smile so much, but I’m thankful for whatever it was and whoever captured this moment.  I spend so much time behind my own camera that I am rarely the subject of a candid photograph.

Sometimes when I see myself in a photograph like this, I am momentarily taken aback.  I have this image in my head of what I look like and who I am, but that rarely matches up with what I see when I look in a mirror or at myself in a photo.  In my mind’s eye, my self image is composed of my personal experiences that have made me into the person I am today.  It’s not so much a single image as it is a collage of all the different versions of myself that I have grown through in my lifetime.  I always find it really hard to describe to others, but I still see myself as the four-year-old who sucked her thumb and the ten-year-old with the goofy glasses and the awkward middle-schooler with braces and colored contact lenses.  I see myself as the high school cheerleader who dated a football/baseball player yet was not at all in the popular crowed.  I am still that freshman in college who cringed at the thought of being surrounded by people at a frat party.  I have spent more time with myself than anyone else has, and I know myself better than anyone else.

Yet, I still have this realization that perhaps my view of myself is skewed from how others see me.  Perhaps that’s because most people seem to come and go so frequently that they only catch a relatively small glimpse of the person I am in this very moment.  It’s not everyday that you find a friend who seeks to understand the person you were 5, 10, or 15 years ago.  It is always easier to assume that who someone is on the outside is a direct reflection of the person they are on the inside–the cumulation of years of life.   Most people are content with the pieces of the puzzle that are most appealing to them–typically the corner & edge pieces.  What’s on the outside.  What’s easiest to get to.  Nobody has all of the pieces to the puzzle.

Sometimes though, I realize that not even I have all the pieces. God has this wonderful master plan where he knows the future and the woman that I will become.  I can take comfort and find peace in that, knowing that no matter who I’ve been or who I will become, God has all of the pieces, and he is working all things together for my good (Rom. 8:28).