Eternity: Making An Impact

7-4 Dandelion

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I only met her once in person.

Yet, she had a life-changing impact on me. Her gracious words, her honesty in her blog  and her love for her God, her family and those who crossed her path shone through her words and actions.

A friend first introduced me to the writings of Kara Tippetts when a loved one in my life was diagnosed with cancer. I began reading the words of this thirty-eight-year old mother of four and I was challenged, and convicted to look beyond the now.

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Real: The Journey to Real

Interrupted Reflection

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

REAL

I grew up in a world where people made fun of me. Mocked me. Spit upon me.

I learned pretty early on that being real got a girl ostracized. At school anyway. My family loved me, and that brought comfort.

Growing up, I determined to do whatever it took to fit in, to be accepted. Even if that meant not being the entire “real” me. It was safer for my heart to be accepted than it was to step out in brave-ness and be who I really was. And part of my heart— the essence of me—was lost.

Choppy Waters

It wasn’t until my thirties that I realized I was trying to live life around a gaping wound in my heart. It hurt to look back on choices made because of my fear of rejection.

Was it safe to be who I really am? Would people condemn me for being . . . me?

God took me through a journey I don’t have time to go into now. It’s been painful. He’s shown me I don’t have to look like I have it all together. People may not always accept me. And that’s okay.

Because my Abba does. He created me. He knows the real me. He knows the wounds of my past and has the salve for my present.

God’s showing me that the real me is enough. Because of Him.

And I’m learning that as I am real with other people? They are drawn to Jesus in me. And they accept me as . . . me.

It’s only Jesus in me that can bring beauty from the wounds. Healing from the hurts. And reveal truth to transform the lies.

Blue Mesa Reflections

He is the One who is real. And He’s teaching me how to be a real reflection of Him—reflecting His love to those around me.

Being real is scary. But this step-by-step journey of trusting God to create in me all that He intended for me to be? The messiest, most difficult, most freeing journey I’ve ever walked.

What about you? Do you struggle with being real with those around you? How do you live real in your life?

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Real

Jury Duty: Lessons Learned in Court

Jury Summons

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

The day the pink and blue summons arrived, I cringed. What would I have to reschedule? I admit it. I was not excited about exercising this privilege we have as a result of living in the United States. I tempered my reaction because my boys were watching. Those boys of mine . . . they saw right through my, “It’s okay. It’s what we all get to do sometimes.”

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Plan: When Plans Change

Sunrise 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

PLAN:

I’m a girl who makes her plan and sticks to it. To the bloody death, no matter how hard it is.

But what is a planner-girl to do when life refuses to cooperate with her plan? When it takes unexpected turns?

When we tried to have a baby, I had my timeline, my plan, of when to start, when we’d get pregnant and that I’d have my first baby by the time I turned thirty-one.

God had other plans.

Sunrise 2

What is a mom to do when she has a plan of teaching her children responsibility? She trains them, encourages them, gives them opportunities to show they can be trusted. . .

. . . and they fall far short of the expectations.

Yes, this is my question now. Today has been a rough day in the Takenaka household. Both boys fell down badly in things I trusted them with. My plans for giving them more independence?

Just went out the window. At least for a little while.

When God allows plans to be thwarted, what is a planner-girl to do?

I’m learning that I need to work through my disappointment. Which sometimes looks a wee-bit like frustration and a short temper. Sorry, weak mom on board here.

But then, I’m learning to let go of my plan. Forgive these precious boys of mine. Forgive the people in my life whose plans contradicted mine, and were victorious.

I’m learning to look to the Lord once again, and relinquish my plans, and ask for His. When I’m still enough before Him, I can see that His plans really are the best plans. For me and for everyone.

If I surrender my will to His? That’s when the best plans can take place in my life and the lives of those around me. 

Sunrise 3

When I’m surrendered to His plans, beauty, rather than bitterness, emerges from the disappointment. And I want others to see Jesus’ beauty in me. Not my bitter flesh. It’s an ugly sight.

What about you? How do you react when your plans go awry? How do you bend to manage the change in plans? 

Check out Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post on Plans.

Expectations: Looking To God

Lilacs almost blooming

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How often does Jesus say to us, “Look at Me?” When we look, do we gaze at Him with specific expectations?

“If I look to You, Jesus, You’re going to make everything okay, right?”

“You’re going to help me get better at this skill, or solve that problem, or give me this thing I really want . . . right?”

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Gather: What Determines Identity?

Gathered Bricks copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

GATHER

What have you gathered in your life? Has it been cars or clothes or a collection of one thing or another?

I’ve gathered different things throughout my life.

When I was a girl, I swam competitively, and I loved it. Competing in meets gathered me ribbons when I placed in a race. Those were a visible reminder that I had achieved something.

Swimming Ribbons

I gathered good grades through school, finding affirmation in the fact that I was a good learner, smart even.

In college, I gathered some rather bad memories as I made poor choices. I gathered embarrassing tidbits of regret that sometimes still sting.

But I also gathered true friendships. We grew together toward adulthood and learning how to live life well, in spite of our mistakes.

I gathered aspects of life to form my identity. A job as a teacher. Then later working in women’s ministry at our church. I gathered accolades of things done well. I let them form my identity.

Then when God began to give us children, I gathered beauty from the isolation of new motherhood. I learned the lessons that can only be learned as you walk out daily service to a helpless infant. Those things that I used to declare my identity were gone. I was Jeanne—on the shelf—no longer in the middle of everything.

Daisies in bloom FB copy

I had to learn that my identity didn’t come from things I’d done or accomplished. My identity didn’t come from the things I could gather. It came from understanding who I am in Jesus. I am God’s girl . . . loved perfectly, completely and passionately . . . by the One True Gathering God. Who gathers His children to Himself to love them well, and to call them His own.

What about you? What have you gathered in your life? What has helped form your identity?

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Gather

Priorities: What’s Most Important?

hands wedding photo 001 copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

What am I married to?

I mean, yeah, I’m very happily  married to my husband of nineteen years. No regrets there.

But, if an outsider were to peek in on my daily living, what might they see as my groom? What do I devote time, attention and emotion to?

Is it busy-ness? That hurry-up, hectic pace that kids and family schedules keep me on?

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