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

Garden: Growing Through Trials

Heirloom tomato

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It’s hard to believe that three months ago, I began the “great adventure” of container gardening. Okay, maybe it’s not a great adventure, but it has been a new adventure.

Okay, maybe it’s not an adventure. But, it is an experience.

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Reach: Reaching Beyond Myself

Bright Zinnia

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Reach. 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!

REACH

Reach is such a challenging word. It can mean stretching beyond myself, my comfort zone and extend life, words of encouragement, actions to another. Sometimes reaching involves risk. Reaching for a dream a goal to satisfy a deep desire.

When I reach for something I’m stretching myself. Whether it’s a physical stretching of my hand to touch another in comfort, to stroke a blonde head, combing fingers through a child’s hair.

Or perhaps it’s reaching an arm around the shoulders of one sobbing or hurting. Reaching can involve the risk of rejection.

Is it worth it to reach out? To reach in the hopes of ministering to another?
Stepping Up

Is it worth it to dream and reach for said dream?

Yes. It is.

We may or may not achieve the dream, but we learn in the process. We can aspire again and reach forward with more wisdom, and perhaps achieve the dream in the future.

Even more importantly is reaching out to people. People are eternal. When we reach out to another, offer comfort, pour on love, we are being a glimpse of Jesus to them. When we reach out with words that speak life and truth—even the difficult truths—we are giving a taste of eternity.

Does this involve risk? Yes. We could be rejected. Does this mean it’s not worth it to reach?

What if Jesus hadn’t reached both arms, spanning the width of the cross?

We’d be lost now.

So, yes, I believe its’ worth it to reach beyond ourselves, to touch another skin-to-skin or heart-to-heart. Reaching out with Jesus’ love to be a salve and to be truth spoken at a proper time.

What about you? When have you risked to reach out to another? What dreams have you reached for?

Kate Motaung’s FMF: Reach

Plans: My Plans and Jesus’ Plans

Lighted Star

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

**Confession: I wrote this piece about a year ago, but I still find myself thinking about the truths I learned. So, I’m sharing it with you. :)

So, I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself today. As I push forward hard to get things done before my favorite writing conference of the year—American Christian Fiction Writers conference—nothing is going as I planned.

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