7 Heart Lessons From ACFW 2014

ACFW Collage 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It always amazes me how much my inward thoughts shape the way I see events in my life. Attending ACFW this year was a very different experience than the previous two years. I believe this is due, in part, to the fact that I am more confident in who I am as God’s girl, and as a writer. I know more how things work, what’s expected (though pitching my books still makes me tremble), and I’m getting to know more people.

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Love: When Loving Is Hard

Storm moving in

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This mama job is hard some days.

The boys got to bed late last night….for a lot of reasons. One woke up tired. One woke up mean. It’s the mean that is hard for my heart to look beyond.

As he spewed his negative and his mean on the morning, I found myself reacting, distancing myself from the venom.

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Hold: Who Holds You?

 

Mom Son hands

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Hold. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

HOLD

“I need some cuddle time, Mom.” My ten year old told me just yesterday.

“Cuddle time” looks like a ten year old frame cuddling on my lap curled into a ball with my arms wrapped around him.

It’s one of my favorite things to do: to hold my boys. There’s something so intimate and vulnerable in those times. Of course, we usually end up in a tickle fest. But those brief moments, where they’re still…where we’re still.

The world swirls on, it’s busy frenzy all around us. But those few minutes…we’re still with each other.

I know these cuddle times are limited. My guys are ten and eleven after all.

And when they stop asking for cuddle time? I’ll have to hold them more loosely. As they head into the scary, uncharted waters of the teen years? Where temptations and peer pressure try to mold them into something they were never designed to be?

Then I’ll have to trust that my Father holds them, and knows them, and cuddles them in the perfect ways they need.

Backpacks

It about breaks my heat to think of a day when they no longer come rushing into the house after school, wrap their arms around me and say, “Mama, guess what?”

I like being held by them too. Those boy-arms, all spindly and skinny? They have strength to squeeze he breath right out of me and the love right into me.

When that day comes where they don’t run through the door anymore, I’ll trust that my Father-God holds these boys He gave my us to raise for a short time.

He’ll hold them when I’m too far away.

He’ll hold them when they get into trouble and see no way out of it.

Trusting God will hold me too. Each and every day.

What about you? What causes you to feel loved? What or who holds you?

Kate Motaung Five Minute Friday—Hold

Fear: Four Steps To Overcome Fear

3 Cheerleaders

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Last week, I shared about being tethered and walking on a ropes course at a ladies’ retreat. So many life lessons came from that afternoon.

On the ropes course, each woman was on equal ground. Sure, some came in having suffered the loss of marriages, or children, or the death of a loved one. We all came in with the lies we struggle to erase. We—each of us—had at least a small degree of fear.

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Ready: Who Makes Us Ready?

Baby toes 2 copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Ready. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

READY

I was ready.

I knew in the depths of my heart that I was ready to be a mother.

But my body contradicted my desires. Month after month yielded nothing in the way of family.

Sometimes what I think I’m ready for and what God knows I’m ready for are two different things. I may have thought I was ready for motherhood. And I may have been . . . on my terms.

As it turned out, the Lord had hubby and me wait for another five years before granting us the gift of parenthood—via adoption.

He knew when my husband was ready even to take that step. And it was years later than when I thought I was ready. When our hearts united in this desire, God gave it.

Sunny-shady path

And oh, it’s been such a different ride than I ever anticipated. I haven’t been ready to deal with some of the issues children who are adopted walk through.

But God . . .

God has to prepare us—to make us ready—to walk the paths He’s ordained for us.

And, I’ve not found this “ready-ing” to be an easy thing. I’ve had to die to myself—my desires, my agenda—to learn to live the way God knows I must. To be the mom He wants me to be for our amazing boys.

Sometimes being ready comes in stages and via walking through difficult seasons.

Sometimes, we’re never quite ready for what the Lord allows into our lives. But, when we lean into Him, He equips us to walk those paths, holding His hand. Or sometimes fighting Him all the way.

When I’m most ready to walk in His paths, I find joy in the heartache, and reassurance in the dark days. And I find He’s walking with me through it all, readying me for the next step of the journey.

What about you? When have you thought you were ready for something and God withheld it from you? When have you seen God readying you for a new chapter in your life?

Kate Motaung FMF: Ready

***I’m guest posting over at Let’s Talk today. I’d love it if you stopped by!***

Tethered: Clinging to Jesus

Phase 2 silhouette

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

A spirit of adventure claimed me on Saturday at our church’s women’s retreat.

I stepped into a blue harness, which was tightened around me almost to the point of pain. The guy working the ropes course handed me a yellow tether and told my friend and me to have fun.

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Whisper: The Power of a Whisper

Dandelion blowing

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Whisper. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

So much could be said about this word! Below is my five minute free-write on the word, “Whisper,” and some thoughts that came to mind. I could have taken it many directions. I hope you’ll share some thoughts about whispers in the comments below!

Whisper:

I raised my voice at my son—again—trying to get him on task with some activity or other. Got on him to try and get him to focus. I repeat myself in a normal tone of voice.

Again.

A wise woman encouraged me to whisper when I want to get a point across to my kids.

Whisper the words. Quiet enough where they have to stop and listen.

You know what? It worked. They focused in and listened. And did the thing I was asking of them. Without me repeating myself.

If only I remembered this more often.

It makes me wonder if God ever whispers to me. Sometimes I hear Him whisper my name in the night. When I’m about to drift off to sleep, or in a dream.

Sometimes I think He’s whispering encouragement to me when I’m having a dark day.

He spoke in a still small voice to people in the Bible. A quiet wind to Moses when he asked to see God.

There’s power in a whisper that cannot be gained by noisy voices or a noisy world.

Autumn grasses

When my ears are attuned, I hear the most amazing truths that come in a whisper.

Sometimes my husband whispers to me that he loves me. Or I whisper those three most magical words in his ear at the end of a long day.

A whisper offers power because it causes the listener to stop what they’re doing and just . . . listen. To focus attention on the speaker.

A whisper is powerful in its quietness.

Words spoken in a whisper are remembered in ways words yelled are missed.

There is power in a whisper. Do I use that power or do I forget it?

Do I listen when God—or my husband, or my kids—whisper something to me?  I need to learn to be still more so I can hear the whispers meant for my ears.

What about you? Have you ever heard God whisper something to your heart? When do you whisper?

Kate Motaung: Five Minute Friday—Whisper