“Pieces. Pieces.

So many pieces to my life.

Scattered all around,

And some of them are gone,

And I know that I can’t ever

Put them back together again.


Pieces. Pieces.

So many pieces to my life.

A puzzle left unfinished,

Jumbled and unformed.

Who can really ever

Fit it all together again?” 1


These words are the opening verses of a song written in 1981 by Michael and Stormie Omartian. They speak of the brokenness, confusion, and distorted realities of an identity fractured by life experiences. It can feel as though some pieces of our identity get left behind; some we try to leave behind. For some of us, our narrative breaks away from God’s design by abuse or neglect by parents or others, or otherwise a  dysfunctional childhood. Many experience bullying. Some others experience tragic loss. Still for others, a gradual slide through behavioral choices chip away pieces of their true self. We can even get lost on otherwise innocent interactions that are misinterpreted. These can lead to impactful, defining moments in our development. These are only some of the ways we can feel that pieces of our life get “scattered all around,” leaving holes we seek to fill.

Often, the experiences of abuse, neglect, bullying, loss, behavioral choices, or misunderstood interactions happen when we are too young to know how to process on our own and do not have adequate guidance. And, at times, the pain and confusion is exacerbated by shaming responses or belittling from those in whom we do attempt to confide. This fracturing leads us to have low self-worth, make poor choices for ourselves (some manifesting through addiction), and not value our God given temperament and personalities. The God-given potential of gifts, talents, and dreams are dramatically reduced. We fail to see our true selves in the mirror.

I recently asked a client to stand and face a mirror. I then asked him to describe what he sees in the mirror. This was very difficult for the client, as expected. But the client pushed through to allow his negative self-image to be revealed. Initially, he wanted to respond by saying he sees a child of God. His confession is that he does not feel like a child of God. The client recognized that what he saw in the mirror does not match with who God says he is as a Christian. Now he knows he needs to trust in how his Creator sees him, even on his worse day.

I do not think we are equipped to do this kind of work alone. I think God made us to need Him and each other. But, this can make us feel very vulnerable, at risk for further shame. Brené Brown makes an interesting observation that might prove to be a hopeful encouragement. She states that for shame to thrive it needs three things: silence, secrecy, and judgment. When you throw vulnerability in the mix, shame dissipates.2 You might think of it in this way: someone tries to blackmail you by threatening to tell your wife of some sin after you have already confessed to her. They have nothing of which to blackmail you. Interestingly, research shows that shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, and eating disorders.2 These can be the sinful responses of guilt and hurt, according to the book entitled The Cure.Confession offers the hope that shame tries to steal through the lie that we are undeserving of grace.

Until we come to the point of opening up our heart to God, others, and ourselves, we will put on masks of varying kinds. We will return to our favorite mask when we lose the confidence of our new identity.3 However we can set the mask aside through courageous vulnerability. Then we can begin to make sense of the many pieces of the puzzle and see how they all come together into a beautiful reflection. This is part of the process of maturing into the identity given to us by God. One of my favorite analogies to illustrate this is the story of the caterpillar. If you do a DNA test of a caterpillar, the results tell it is a butterfly. But it does not look like a butterfly; it does not act like a butterfly; it does not fly like a butterfly. But, when it is allowed to fully mature into its identity, it blesses the world with its unique beauty and grace.

The chorus of the song “Pieces” is:

“He said, ‘Pieces. Pieces.

I’ve got all the pieces to your life.

A thousand tiny fragments of every single day,

I can put them all together,

And there’ll never be another one who can.

In My hands I hold the pieces of every single day.

I can put them all together, so they’ll never fall away.

I can put them all together,

And there’ll never be another one who can.'”


Take your pieces to Him and let him work through others to put them all together. And, trust in the unique value of every little piece.


1Pieces; Omartian, S and Omartian, M (1981)

2Listening to shame; TED Talk, Brown, B (2012) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0

3The Cure—What If God Isn’t Who You Think He Is And Neither Are You; Lynch J, McNicol B, Thrall B (2011)

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