June 11, 2020

Puzzle Piece Themes by Carol Harrison

What do I write about? What themes emerge as I reflect on past pieces written? Is there a theme that weaves through all of them or most of them, or does it vary with each individual piece? This month's prompt allowed a time to review words already written, some published and others for family or still sitting in limbo on my computer. I searched for common pieces that form the overall theme, the picture of what I write and why?

No one theme emerged but several showed up repeatedly, drawing attention to themselves with their frequency. Stories and illustrations filled with life experiences interwoven with biblical truths. Some of those things included struggles of various kinds, some of which I would rather left hidden away. I wanted to throw away the mess of dark, blurry puzzle pieces and not use them in the picture I wanted to present to others. We all have stories with pieces we might not want to include, yet there is no way to complete the picture without all the pieces.

Those pieces with the ragged edges beg for pieces marked hope, courage, faith, help, strength, and joy to be attached and brighten to overall effect. Many times I write about finding those little glimmers of hope and glimpses of joy during difficult or tough circumstances.

Writing about those tough times produces the conflict for the story, the illustrations, and in life. But it
needs the resolution- the hope to round out the scenarios. This main theme of hope in the tough times of life shows up often beginning with my first foray back into writing after stuffing the desire to write so deep I thought it had been forgotten.

Communicating skills, the learning how to share your story and why to share it, also occupies some of the theme pieces in my writing and speaking. It adds that piece marked encouragement on to the jagged pieces of tough times. When we share the good, the bad, and the ugly along with the ways hope showed up, we encourage others and ourselves. I love to share how the hopeless times dimmed as hopefulness appeared; the mess provided the beginning of a message when I gave it all to God; and looking back to see how the trials became triumphs. Even writing these difficult pieces of life's puzzle in my journal and honestly talking to God about them begins the journey to find those pieces of hope, encouragement, and joy.

Experiences in my own life like chronic health conditions, our youngest having a stroke at birth, my
husband's cancer diagnosis, and many other small yet painful events have influenced my writing and speaking. In fact writing the memoir, Amee's Story, began my journey back into writing.

But the telling never ends with the hard times for it's only part of the story, only one of the pieces of our puzzle and only part of the themes that show up in my writing. God steps in when we invite Him but the answers to our prayers do not always look like we expect them to. God touches our lives, offers help, comfort, and hope. This must be included in the puzzle pieces, the themes in my writing. A huge piece of the puzzle involving themes in my writing and that flows into my writing is that I want to let people know through stories, experiences, devotionals, and blogposts is that the God of the Bible is still God today. 

Finding lessons and joy in the ordinary happenings of life occupy a few more theme pieces of the puzzle. Experiences of all kinds  can and often do bring Scripture to mind. The stories combine with Bible verses and show up when I write devotionals as well as serve as illustrations for other pieces of work or when I have opportunity to speak.

I listed the main themes I see reflected in my writing. finding glimmers of hope in the tough times; recognizing we are all people of influence; encouraging others to share their stories; finding glimpses of joy in the ordinary; and most importantly to tell others that the God of the Bible is still God today.
They are all true to me using the gift of storytelling God has given me. Whether I share family memories, my own life experiences, or write a devotional style piece these puzzle pieces will be evident for they are the message I long to convey to others as God puts together the puzzle picture of my life.

Each piece of a puzzle is important to complete the entire picture. Everything I write whether fun, tough, hope, or family memories is part of the whole, a picture continually being worked on by a gracious Heavenly Father.

 Photos of puzzle and pieces are by Carol Harrison

Carol Harrison loves to tell stories and often uses them to answer questions as well as sharing memories. She lives in Saskatoon with her husband Brian and appreciates the encouragement to continue telling stories in various forms which she receives from her children and grandchildren.


  1. "the God of the Bible is still God " Amen to this Carol!!

  2. Thanks for sharing the pieces of your puzzle, Carol, and how they emerged. As we mature, we often find we have more and more pieces. Thanks for bringing us to the key piece, "the God of the Bible is still God."

  3. Thanks, Carol, for sharing your experiences, honestly and without holding back. Thanks for writing about tough times and then showing how God came into the the big picture and helped the pieces work together. I’m glad you didn’t give up on your writing those years ago. Blessings in your life and in your ministry of writing and speaking, as you are able.

  4. Thanks, Carol. Inspiring as always.


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