Miracles: When You’re Not Looking

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I was sitting in my “creativity nook”, the junk room I repurposed this summer. Autumn breezes blew through the open window. I listened as it whispered through the tree, and rattled the boys’ art hanging on my “family” wall in this new, peaceful room.

My heart was heavy with all that is going on around us. And then, I read a post on those miracles you don’t pray for.

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Hope: In the Hard Times

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—FIVE. 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!

When Kate gave us our prompt for tonight, I about choked. Number posts are hard. Then, God  brought to mind a verse that has flittered on the edges of my thoughts for a couple weeks now. This verse is Romans 5:5.

And, here we go:

FIVE

There’s been a whole lot of hard going on in life. I feel stretched by the days, by the boys’ schedules, by stresses going on in hubby’s work. I feel worn down at times by the struggles friends are facing.

By the challenges that come at us through others’ choices.

I mentioned in my Tuesday post that a boy in our community chose suicide over life, and my heart grieves for his family. I can’t help but think of his mama, of the final words spoken, the fears she may have had as she watched her son.

Life is hard.

It’s so easy to place our hope in things, in circumstances, in people. And these may help us . . . for awhile.

But sooner or later, we’ll be disappointed, because all of these are less than perfection. They’re less than God.

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When we place our hope in God, then we will not be disappointed. This doesn’t mean our circumstances will change. Chances are good they may not.

But when we place our hope in God, our perspective changes. When we trust Him to walk with us through the hard—when we invite him into the struggle—we can walk with a rest in our spirits. Sometimes with peace.

God’s love has been poured out in our hearts. It is overflowing into our beings. He loves every part of who we are with every part of who He is. Knowing we are loved can shift our perspectives in amazing ways.

Knowing we don’t have to perform in a certain way in a trial? That gives peace and freedom to walk through it. To grapple with the hard, and to come out victorious.

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When we embrace the truth that God loves us, that His love is all we need? That’s when the overwhelming parts of life can be conquered. Circumstances may appear to win in the short term. But in the picture of eternity? We’ve already overcome.

What about you? When you’ve been overwhelmed, what has helped you overcome? How do you find hope in the hard times?

Click to Tweet: When we place our hope in God, our perspective changes.

I’m linking up with Kate at Five Minute Friday—Five

By the way, Susan Shipe has coordinated a great book with a number of Five Minute Friday posts in it. It releases Monday! If you choose to purchase one, all the funds go to support two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe. Please consider helping these ministries and being blessed by the words of many wonderful writers!

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Hope: When Our Days Are Dark

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Many people around me are walking through dark days right now. One friend’s marriage is dying at the grip of infidelity. Betrayal has broken her spirit and her heart. She’s left reeling, trying to figure out what her next step needs to be.

A friend’s son has turned away from all the values he was raised with. He’s walking in his own will, oblivious to the coming consequences for his choices. His mama’s heart is broken.

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Listen: When We’re Busy

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—LISTEN. 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!

LISTEN

When the end of May hit, I had this crazy notion that life would slow down. That our family would have time to hang out, talk, play games. Relax.

Well . . . not so much.

We raced through a lot in a couple months. I felt like I was constantly on the go.

I got to August and realized I had not spent the time with our boys that I had wanted to. I had been busy . . .

. . . planning for our road trip

. . . planning my parents’ anniversary party

. . . planning as my husband prepared to leave town for a few weeks

. . . planning for the start of school (August 18th).

I hadn’t taken time to slow down and listen to them.

And, as August marched on, I hadn’t even had much time to listen to my Father. To be still before Him and hear His words for me.

He has ways of speaking anyway.

There was a niggling in my spirit. Some things I sensed He wanted to address with me.

But when was there time??

Nashville bridge at sunrise

When I went to the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference (ACFW) in August, He spoke.

And I listened.

God shared some truths that I needed to hear.

As I came home from the conference and hit life full force again, I spent time journaling with the Lord, every chance I could.

I find that when I journal, I can listen to His words to me. I can begin to process them. Apply them.

I can begin to hear His voice more clearly.

So, that niggling is gradually becoming definite messages from my Father to me.

I’m so glad He always listens to me. He hears my heart’s cries and answers them. In His way. In His time.

When I listen to Him when I’m still before Him, I hear much more clearly.

But even when I’m not, He’s still hearing my heart, my thoughts.

He’s still working in my life. Reminding me just how much He loves me.

jer-29-12-copyIt’s always worthwhile to be still enough to hear His voice. His words. To experience His love poured out in His perfect way.

And as for my boys? I’m becoming intentional (again) to be available to just listen to them.

Just like my Father does for me.

What about you? When you’re racing in life, what do you do to listen to our Father? When has the Lord spoken to you in the midst of your busy-ness?

Click to tweet: He hears my heart’s cries and answers them.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Listen

Mothering: When Our Kids Are In Training

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I be mama-level honest for a moment?

With a pre-teen and a teen boy living under our roof, consuming more and more food, our days with them are passing lightning-strike fast. Soon, one will be in high school. Just after that, we will celebrate a couple of graduations, and our boy-men will launch into the world.

Hubby and I have worked to instill godly values into them. We strive to live out our faith and share with them the things Jesus is teaching us.

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Scars: Why We Don’t Need to Hide Them

Broken leaves+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

When summer arrived, my “silly-girl” question was, “Do I wear capris, shorts, above-the-knee skirts that show my ACL surgery scars?” How closely would people look at my knees? Yes, I know, it’s kind of ridiculous to worry about this. But, the scars from my surgery were still definitely visible.

In our society that smiles on perfection, it’s tempting to hide my scars.

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Path: Changing Our Path

Walking Path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PATH. 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!

PATH

Last week, I had the privilege of hearing Ted Dekker speak. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a man who writes stories in ways I’ve never conceived, and some I can’t read (and others I have). But, I’m telling ya, his words were transformational.

For a girl who’s spent most of her life dealing with the fallout of childhood rejection, my path was set on people-pleasing. Getting approval at almost any cost.

My beliefs were focused on doing whatever was necessary to fill that void the rejection carved out in my heart. Even in the fabric of how I perceived myself.

Ted shared about something I’ve begun witnessing in my own, life, but I’m still learning how to live out.

When we change the way we view things—when our old beliefs are shaken—new beliefs can be planted in our hearts. Our paths can change.

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As I learn to view myself through God’s lens and not the lens that has filtered my view of myself for decades, I begin to see circumstances in with new eyes.

As I have a changed perspective, I’ll respond differently to the things that happen in my life. As I respond differently, my path is going to change.

I think it is so amazing how God does this. He’s given us His word. It guides us on His path. But we get waylaid by life, by things people say to or about us. We change the way we see God’s path, His word. We alter how we react to the things that happen.

When we view ourselves through God’s filter, when we believe what He says about us? Things change. Period.

Hazy morning

We begin to live with a renewed spirit. With a refreshed vigor. We begin to respond to people differently. Even to those who have hurt us. We can view them through God’s lens and maybe (in time) show them His love.

When we change our beliefs about ourselves, our past, our path changes. When we align them with God’s truth, those changes are often for the better.

What about you? When has your perspective been shifted and how did you respond? What do you think about this changing your beliefs?

Click to Tweet: When we change our beliefs about ourselves, our past, our path changes.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—PATH

Comparison: When Others Move Ahead

Nashville bridge at sunrise

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

There’s something special about gathering with a big group of people who share a common dream. Attending the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) national conference in Nashville this year was such a refreshing, uplifting experience (just don’t ask how much sleep I got).

Talking writing with others who “get me,”

who understand the joys of a story coming together,

the uncertainties of where our dreams might be leading us,

the disappointments of a “No” when we pitch our book ideas . . .

there’s a sort of reassurance in this community.

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Affirmation: Looking For Five Stars

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I am at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference this week. I had intended to put up a fresh blog, but I ran out of time. I hope you will enjoy a little post I wrote a few years back. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I’m going to do my best to respond to comment and comment on your blogs. Please have patience with me.🙂

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I recently visited a friend’s blog. She had wonderful news to share, and I eagerly celebrated with her. I happened to notice at the bottom of her post that people had given that post a five-star rating.

Hmmm. I wondered if anyone had given me a five star rating? Or less? Here’s where it gets sad (in that I did this to begin with). I checked my recent blog posts, and sighed.

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Community: Live in Community

Morning light on flowers

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I sat at my kitchen table, golden light filtering in. My back door slid open to let in the cool of the morning. As I closed my eyes I heard chickadees singing, dogs barking and a baby crying. Soft sunlight glittered on the puddles of last night’s rain storm. Piano music played from my computer.

As I listened to the noises all around, felt included in our community.  Continue reading