Dreams, Faith, Trusting God

Comparison: God’s Timing

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Today was gorgeous. The sun shone, creating all kinds of blue in the sky. Leaf buds and bare branches alike reflected it’s rays.

As I walked around our neighborhood, the trees captured my attention. Call me silly, but I got caught up in how bare some trees looked compared to others. 

Some trees bore branches with the nibs of buds on the very tips of them. Others were garbed in shimmers of green.

Continue reading “Comparison: God’s Timing”

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Expectations, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Stuck: When We’re Stuck

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—STUCK. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

STUCK

I was happy for her. Really, I was. When the latest friend eagerly told me of her pregnancy, I tried on a smile for her. I was thrilled for her. But that hole—the unmet desire in me—filled with a bit of sadness. When would it be my turn? 

When a friend who has been writing for less time than me announced her first book contract, I was happy for her. I rejoiced with her. But on the inside? I hurt a little too. 

Why was God choosing to let me stay stuck in the same place while others moved on to their next chapters? 

There can be such a dichotomy of emotion—of thoughts—when someone moves on and we stay where we’ve been for what seems like going on forever. 

I’m coming to see that what I called “Stuck” God called “Opportunity.” What I saw as being held back, He saw as refining.

God has lessons for each of us to learn in our stuck places. 

The question is, are we willing to look beyond what we want and what others have . . . can we have eyes that see past our perceived holding pattern to the Lord? 

When we see others getting what we thought we would also have—or what we want—it can be so hard. Jealousy moves in. Discontent. Dissatisfaction.

Stuck places stir up all the ugliness that God wants to scrape away in the refining process. 

We must come to the place where we acknowledge the envy, the ugly in ourselves, and bring it to the Lord. 

When we look beyond our stuck place and fix our gaze onto the Father? That’s when we can trust His plan and His timing for our lives. We can relinquish those things we think we need and realize the main thing keeping us stuck is our own expectations. 

When we can gaze beyond these and into the Father’s face? That’s when we begin to live beyond the stuck place and in the freedom of trusting Him. 

What about you? When have you felt stuck in your life? What helps you keep an accurate perspective when you feel stuck?

Click to Tweet: There can be such a dichotomy of emotion—of thoughts—when someone moves on and we stay where we’ve been

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Stuck

Community, Relationship, Trusting God

Community: When Community Scares Us

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I believe we women (and perhaps men too?) have a deep desire to be known, accepted. And just as deep is a fear of not being accepted. 

Most of my life, I’ve waited to be invited into community. As a girl in elementary school, sharp words slashed across my heart, ripping open the skin of who I thought I was. 

I entered school thinking I was enough. I was a nice girl, a girl others would want to befriend.

Continue reading “Community: When Community Scares Us”

Control, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Turn: Trusting God’s Timing

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TURN. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

TURN

A couple of months ago, I was rounding a clover leaf turn to enter the highway. I may have been taking it a little bit fast, but I’d done it at this speed many times before. 

All of a sudden, it was like the wheels were slipping . . . I braked and the vehicle began sliding toward the other side of the road, and moving toward tipping over the edge. 

I sent out one of those arrow prayers . . . and navigated as carefully as I could with no sudden movements of the steering wheel. I (being a vain thing) wondered what the driver behind me was thinking. 

Seriously though, every time I take that turn now? I am driving below the speed limit.

As I considered tonight’s word, I realized there are other life curves I take too fast. And when I do that, I begin to slip across the road and onto the edge. I don’t want to tip over. 

I push against God’s timing for my writing journey. I want my boys to be more mature than they actually are. 

They are boys, after all. TEEN boys.

I want things to happen at a certain speed. 

Basically? I want control. 

When I try to speed up God’s timing, I always end up disappointed. Sometimes I end up hurt as I drive myself off the turn lane and into the ditch.

I’m learning I need to be still before the Lord. To trust His timing.

He knows what my publishing journey needs to look like. 

He knows the lessons my boys are internalizing that will lead them toward a healthy adulthood. He knows the best timing for everything in my life. Every desire in my heart—if/when it should be fulfilled.

When I take life at God’s speed, I find it much more peaceful. Not always easy, but definitely less stress-filled.

Trusting the Lord to bring about things in my life has been one of the hardest, slowest, most-soul-filling life lessons. 

What about you? When have you found yourself taking life’s curves too quickly and what did God teach you? What helps you trust God’s timing in your life?

Click to Tweet: When I try to speed up God’s timing, I always end up disappointed.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Turn

Infertility, Trials, Trusting God

Distance: When We Feel Far From God

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I’ll never forget some life lessons. As we walked the path of infertility, I felt far from God. I couldn’t understand why He gave other people children, but not my husband and me.

In not understanding God’s intentions, I distanced myself from Him. It hurt too much to keep placing hope in a God who withheld a desire I believed He’d placed in my heart. I still had my quiet times, but that time was spent in rote activity rather than heart-renewal.

Continue reading “Distance: When We Feel Far From God”

Discouragement, Perspective

Creating: When Discouragement Hits

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

It hit me out of nowhere. I shouldn’t have been feeling it at all. I’d just come home from a writing weekend away from home. Gifted to me by my husband. I’d had fun with my characters, taking time to let my mind wander and really understand their story.

I came home to laughter . . . 

And piles.

Continue reading “Creating: When Discouragement Hits”

Author Interview, Faith

Interview: A Place to Land with Author Kate Motaung

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I first joined the Five Minute Friday (FMF) community, I had no idea about the depth of relationships that would be forged each week through Twitter chats and visiting blogs. I had the privilege of meeting Kate Motaung, FMF’s hostess, in person last summer at a Five Minute Friday weekend retreat. I so enjoyed seeing glimpses of her heart for the Lord, for her family, and for the FMF community.

Continue reading “Interview: A Place to Land with Author Kate Motaung”

Easter, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Settle: Settling the Bill

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SETTLE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

I could have gone so many ways with this word! But, here’s my slightly-over-five-minutes offering.

SETTLE

My grandfather was a hard man. He loved his family, but he was strict and tight with his finances when it came to certain aspects of spending money.

Shortly after hubs and I were married, we were stationed in Alabama. We would sometimes go to visit my grandfather and his wife. One Sunday they took us out for a nice brunch. My grandfather insisted on settling the bill.

The thing was, he was not a good tipper. I won’t tell you what he left, but it was insulting.

I’ve worked in the food industry. I know how hard servers work. So, I went in and left a generous tip for our server.

When I came back out, my grandfather asked, “Did you go back in and leave more of a tip?”

I stood straighter. Looked him in the eye, and with only the slightest quiver in my voice, I replied, “Yes, I did. She gave us good service, and she deserved it.” I was nervous about what his response might be, but he turned and headed to the car.

Jesus is so much richer than my grandfather. He’s good, sacrificing, and generous.

There’s no way for us to settle our debt with God. Jesus is the only One who can pay the bill our sin has incurred. 

And in the paying of that bill, He’s given us the gift of eternal life with Him. Even if salvation was the “only” benefit to come from believing the gospel, from accepting Jesus as Lord, it would be enough. 

Jesus gives so much more. He’s given us grace to walk through our days.

To make mistakes and to learn.

To grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.

Jesus has given us His acceptance and the benefits of being embraced in the family of God.

He’s given us the gift of faith, so we can know Him more.

And, He’s gifted us with His unconditional love. There’s nothing, no-thing, we can do that will make him stop loving us. His benefits are much better than the tips I left for servers over the years. Even the one that went to a certain server in Alabama.

As we enter into this weekend —as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection—may we remember that He has settled our bill. He has left the tip . . .with us. Grace, faith, and love.

What about you? When have you had the chance to be generous in giving to someone else? How have you seen Jesus lavish you with His love?

Click to Tweet: Jesus is the only One who can pay the bill our sin has incurred. 

Come read other great posts on Five Minute Friday—Settle

Faith, Revelation Series, Trusting God

Revelation (series): Needy—When We Have Much

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

~~~~~~~

My college years were my “Laodicea years.” I asked Jesus into my heart at age fourteen. Through high school, I did things that grounded me in my relationship with Jesus. I attended a good youth group, made friends. I went to church. I even read the Bible. No coercion from my family.

There was this seed, though . . . it germinated the lie in my heart that I needed things the world offered as well.

Continue reading “Revelation (series): Needy—When We Have Much”

Faith, Perseverance, Revelation Series

Revelation (series): Belief—When Living Our Beliefs Costs

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

~~~~~~~

Photograph used with permission by N Phillips

The Kleins

Elane Photography 

Crystal Dixon 

Country Mills Farms 

Each of these names are of people and businesses that have faced persecution in the United States. Who have been shoved out of business or forced to pay extreme fines.

Why?

Because they upheld their Christian beliefs in the marketplace. Photographers. Bakers. Wedding chapel owners. A university administrator. Normal people working to provide for their families. They’ve lived their faith out loud, so to speak.

Are things really so different today than they were in the time when the letter to the church of Philadelphia was written?

Continue reading “Revelation (series): Belief—When Living Our Beliefs Costs”