Control, Fear, Perspective

Control: 4 Truths to Hold Onto in Uncertain Times

@JeanneTakenaka

Who knew a headline would set my heart to racing? “California Orders Lockdown for State’s 40 Million Residents.”

How long before other states follow California’s example?

I’m not a woman normally given to fear. And yet, with all the talk of the high toll on human life this virus has the potential to steal, my heart is on edge. With all the uncertainty of this time, my mind has trouble shutting off. I’m trying not to fear, and to trust the Lord. And the smallest happenings seem to amplify my feelings, unsettling my thoughts.

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Faith, Fear, Perspective

Fear: We Always Have a Choice

Photo of an empty thoroughfare on a hoarfrost morning, emphasizes the emptiness

@JeanneTakenaka

First of all, I am so, so excited to share a free ebook I’ve created for newsletter subscribers. Want to learn more? Click this link.

*****

Have I mentioned that I. Don’t. Like. Change?

Life as we know it . . . 

Choir concerts

Church activities and services

Writing conferences

Work trips

Youth retreats

School (my kids’ spring break was extended to two weeks due to the virus)

And many other activities . . . 

Have come to a jarring halt. 

With the concerns about the latest virus, I’ve vacillated between fear, frustration, and resignation. I know there are fewer cases and deaths from the coronavirus than we normally see from Influenza. But, this virus has made national headlines for weeks. The numbers sound so ominous.

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Contentment, Fear, Perspective

Settle: 4 Thoughts for When We Want More

Picture of snow-covered mountains with rooftops in the foreground, settling for what we can get

@JeanneTakenaka

We’d no sooner lugged all our stuff into the hotel room and the boys were plugged into their devices. Hubs made some coffee, but I . . . I yearned to grab my camera and snap some pictures of the amazing mountain views across the highway. 

I walked up the road, my eyes riveted by the snow-covered peaks. I kept searching for the perfect angle, but always there were wires or buildings or cars making the scene less than what I wanted to convey. 

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Faith, Fear, Perspective

Perspective: Six Thoughts for Overcoming Perfectionism

A yellow leaf, curled and spotted, showing imperfection amid a pile of brown leaves

@JeanneTakenaka

I have a love-hate relationship with perfectionism. I want to do things perfectly. I feel good when I do things perfectly, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to.

Too often, that fear has dictated how I do—or don’t do—important things. Too often, I’ve stuffed my brave into a small closet as fear declared I couldn’t do it.

Recently, I was trying to write my first email for a newsletter. The words wouldn’t come together. So, I organized electronic files. I watched snow drift outside my window. 

And I ignored the blank screen on my laptop.

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Focus, Perspective, Relationship

Focus: Where are We Living?

Focus-living a bee focused on pollinated a snowball flower

@JeanneTakenaka

Does a song ever speak to you? We’ve been singing, “You Reign Above It All” for the past few weeks at church. This song speaks so vibrantly of how big, how powerful our Father is. It brought to mind an event where God began showing me the truth in this song.

Years ago, I walked into my women’s ministry office one Sunday morning after service. My heart pounded in indignation when I saw one of our volunteers sitting at my desk and rifling through some files for an outreach she and I were coordinating. 

What was she doing in my office? 

Without even asking?

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Perspective, Suffering, Uncategorized

Perspective: When We Walk Through Suffering

Small flowers with rain droplets on them

@JeanneTakenaka

“We recommend further testing.”

A number of years ago, these words accompanied the news that I had an ovarian cyst that looked “suspicious.” As I grappled with the waiting for the doctor’s appointments to be scheduled, for the tests to be run and translated, my thoughts were never far from “the C word.”

Cancer? Me? But I was a mother of very young children. I couldn’t have cancer. I feared walking through the suffering of the disease. The not-knowing, the waiting clawed at me, shortened my breaths, made my heart pound hard.

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Marriage, Relationship, Valentine's Day

Love: Eleven Practices for Growing Love

Man and woman from the back, holding hands

@JeanneTakenaka

Twenty-five years.

Twenty-five years ago this month I met my husband. I hated Valentine’s Day. Not the day itself, but how it made me feel.

Isolated.

Alone.

Not wanted.

I’d accepted the fact that I wanted only God’s best when it came to a potential husband, but this day . . . when romantic love is most celebrated . . . was painful.

I suspect most people who are single-wanting-to-be-married have felt the same way at some point.

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Life, Mothering, One Word

Present: When We Want to Run Away

@JeanneTakenaka

Can I just tell you that last week was one of the most difficult I’ve walked out in a long time?

A close friend had a health crisis that only God could avert, and He did. I had the privilege of walking out some of that with her, her family, and our other friends. 

There were issues with the boys. And with their school. And with the boys. Yes, I meant to say that twice.

As I put out fires and sent messages to people who needed to know some of what was going on, I struggled against the urge to escape. 

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Infertility, Surrender, Trusting God

Heart: 4 Steps for Dealing With Idols

Picture of a valley leading down to the ocean with high mountainous walls on each side

@JeanneTakenaka

I slumped on our bed and cried. 

Every month, I careened on an emotional roller coaster. Every month, I prayed, begging God for a baby. Every month, when my cycle came on time, my heart plummeted.

I don’t remember the exact day or event when God confronted me. But He showed me where my heart was set.

…on a pregnancy

…on filling my arms with a squirming newborn

…on having my heart craving satisfied.

And that was the problem.

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God's Love, Infertility, Trials

Love: When We Question God’s Love

A woman standing with two young children near a pond

@JeanneTakenaka

Many years ago, as Hubs and I stumbled through the valley of infertility, I struggled a lot with the Lord. I faced well-intentioned loved ones who told me I just needed more faith, and then we’d get pregnant. 

But more, I questioned that God loved me as much as He loved other people. 

If He loved me, why did He withhold this heart desire? Why did he not fulfill the innate yearning to carry a pregnancy to term and to nurture a child? 

I still remember the day. 

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