Words: Speaking Words of Affirmation

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I am beginning a five week series on the power of words. We have all been impacted by the words of another. Some words have imbued us with confidence, while others have deflated us. We are created to be communicators. So, when there are words, how do we use them well? 

Let’s explore this over the next few weeks. I hope you’ll join me and add your thoughts to the conversation!

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My husband knows me well. He knows my love language. He knows what fills me. He knows I love words.

I may have had a significant birthday over the weekend.

Yes, I turned fifty. I realized I can’t call myself a girl anymore. And yes, I have done that on occasion. But, I digress . . .

My husband. He talked to me in April and said, “I have been thinking for the last year about how to celebrate your fiftieth. I thought about a party. What do you think?”

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Truth: The Destruction of Lies

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TRUTH. 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!

TRUTH

As a mom, one of the hardest things I’ve encountered is watching my boys grapple with God’s truth. In a world that feeds them lies at the speed of light, they hear tons of different messages and come away confused. And sometimes hardened.

And honestly? Some of them sound pretty good. They hear messages that it’s not wrong to try drugs, or alcohol. It’s not wrong to have sex. It’s okay to bend the truth, just a little, to stay out of trouble. And if it feels good, it must be okay.

Yet, when we believe and act on lies, we end up maimed. When we live according to our own truth and disregard what God says is true? We end up stripped of value, of hope.

My boys will each have to come to their own conclusion that living their lives, making choices based on what God says is true is the best thing they can do. Hubs and I have told them. We’ve talked about it with them.

 

One of the hardest things (so far) about being the mom of teens is giving our boys the freedom to explore and come to the understanding that God’s truths are eternal. That God gave us His truth out of His great love for us. He knows what’s best for us.

We have to let our children discover the beauty of God’s truth. It’s in them working it out for themselves that they come to make His truth their own.

Our guys are going to make some poor choices along the way. I can still guide them. It’s scary to know I am not always the main person they listen to anymore.

I pray way more often and more fervently for my boys now that they’re in the teen years. I pray that they will understand that God truth sets them free. That His truth is what ultimately defines them.

 

God’s truth is the only truth worth listening to. As their mom, I will pray day in and day out. And I will be available to listen when they share their thoughts. And I will pray for God’s words and for their hearts to be open to hearing His truth.

What about you? Which of God’s truths have helped you in relationships in your life? Which of God’s truths has given you freedom?

Click to Tweet: God gave us His truth out of His great love for us.

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

Hope: When Hard Feels Easier Than Hope

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Sometimes it’s easier to see the hard than the hope.

Have you ever been in a season where all you could see was the hard? When those seasons become prolonged, our energy is drained, our spirits deflate, and our bodies become weary. And our thoughts?

Our thoughts have the power to help us frame our experiences. We’ll see them through the lens of hard, or we’ll see them through eyes of hope.

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Labels: God’s View vs Man’s View

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We had a conversation around the breakfast table this morning, my boys and me. In response to reading a devotion together, one of the boys talked about how all the popular kids were having sex (this is junior high, mind you), and doing drugs, and drinking.

I asked him if he liked it when other kids made sweeping generalizations about him and his friends. If they slapped labels on him because he does this, or doesn’t do that. He stopped.

“No.”

“Then let’s be careful what labels we place on others.” I felt so right saying those words.

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Should: When We Have Expectations

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SHOULD. 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!

SHOULD

Heat rising from the bubbling stew steamed her almost as much as her sister’s lack of helping. Martha stirred the pot again.

Why wasn’t Mary in here helping her? They were supposed to prepare the meal so the men could listen to Jesus, right? So what right did her sister have to sit at the Master’s feet and leave Martha to do all the work?

She should be in here, helping with dishes, and chopping vegetables and helping with  . . . . anything would be nice.

“Master, my sister should be helping me with the food prep.”

She was a brazen one when expectations weren’t met.

“Martha,” His gentle voice chastened. “Your sister has chosen the better thing. It will not be denied her.”

 

How would you have felt hearing those words from the One you were trying to please?

Isn’t it interesting how often we can get some great idea in our head, and it really is a good idea. But when we twist it up into what we think it should look like? We choke the life out of the inspiration the Master gives.

I’ve been guilty of this many times. I begin some grand endeavor, and then I get upset when others don’t go along with my plan (I might be hanging my head at this admission).

God challenges me to give up my expectations of what others should be doing to come alongside me in the great plan. Instead, He’s teaching me to turn to Him.

God has this amazing way of re-aligning my perspective when I begin to get out of sync with His plan.

When I take over the good plans He has, I always, always end up frustrated, discouraged, defeated. And then, I have to come back before Him, after His gentle (usually) chastening, and confess that I took His plan and morphed it into my less-than-great plan.

 

Instead of being the striving “do-er,” I need to become more like Mary and just be.

Be at the feet of Jesus.

Be attentive to His words and promptings.

Be open to His working in my heart.

What about you? When has God had to redirect you as you carried out a plan? What is one thing God has taught you when you chose to sit at His feet?

Click to Tweet: When we’re trying to “do our plan”

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

 

Love: The Power of Three Words

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“You are loved”

The man stood at the roundabout as we headed into the school, holding a sign with these three words.

One boy’s first comment was, “Oh no. What happened now? They always have those signs out after something bad’s happened.”

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More: When God Says Enough

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—MORE. 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!

MORE

Before we had children, I begged God for one. In His timing He gave us our first son. Then I prayed for more. I was pushing thirty-eight when our second was born, and I wanted more.

It had taken years for God to open the door to parenthood, and I wanted as much—as many children—as He would give me.
My husband, on the other hand, said two was enough. We were asked to pray if we would take triplets. We prayed, and God showed me exactly what my husband would say, and how I should answer. His answer to me?

Trust Me to give you Enough.

So I did. And we have two amazing, fabulous boys. And they are enough. Perfect for our family.

How many other times have I asked God for more? Sometimes I ask out of fear because I don’t want to not have enough of something. Some material thing, or some credit gained, or some recognition of some sort.

Most times, God’s idea of “enough” and mine are different. Shocking, I know.

 

I’m discovering that God wants me to trust Him to know when I have enough. Whether it’s finances, and covering the increasing costs for boys in sports, band, and other activities. Or it’s the opportunities to write, or to mentor others. Or that desire for more time.

Isn’t that something we all want more of???

Instead of asking for more, I’m learning to trust God to give me enough. I pray my desire to Him, and I let it rest in His hands. He knows how much of everything I need.

What I want more of right now is Jesus. More time in His word.

Closer communication and intimacy with Him.

I want to walk more like Him through my days.

I want more of Him to reflect through me.

I want more of His wisdom to handle the daily decisions, confrontations with teens, and situations that come up.

 

I want to be more like Jesus in how I speak, how I act, in how I respond to those who are closest to me and those who people my world.

Somehow, it think that may be a prayer God will give me more of.

What about you? How do you handle the quest for more versus God’s saying “you have enough?” What do you want more of when it comes to your relationship with Jesus?

Click to Tweet: My idea of Enough and God’s can be different

Hop on over to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday offering—More

Wait: How to Thrive in Waiting Places

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I watched my Super Woman plans fly out the window without me as the locker stuck fast.

I had big plans to run about a million errands on this particular day, and the x-ray had to be first. I thanked God that there was no line. I’d be in and out.

Easy-peasy.

Except that, after the x-ray was over, when I went to press my code into the security lock on the locker, it didn’t work. I tried again. No luck.

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Sing: The Power of Song

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SING. 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!

***I confess, for as much as I thought I had to say about singing, I couldn’t get my thoughts down coherently. I hope you enjoy it anyway. :)***

SING

Today, I attended my youngest’s final elementary school concert. The bittersweet that welled up in me took my by surprise. We’re approaching the end of another life chapter. Next year, he’ll be in junior high, growing and changing.

I loved the concert today. The energy of those sweet young voices filled the cafetorium with a fun energy that left the audience smiling. These kids had a confidence as they sang their songs.

Some sang with smiles creasing their faces. Others sang so serious. Some heads bobbed in time to their music. Some kids shared dances, others played instruments that enhanced the accompaniment.

 

There’s something about singing that is powerful. Singing has the ability to lift spirits, to clarify confused feelings, to replace anxiety with peace.

Singing can unite people of different belief systems. When believers sing in worship those doctrinal differences seem to slip away, at least for a little while.

Song creates a depth of emotion that the spoken word never can. The music, the words set to tune, the harmonies . . . these all speak to the depths of our souls.

Singing transcends the human condition.

It’s going to be humbling and amazing to worship Jesus standing next to His angels. The purity of worship in heaven will be more than I can comprehend this side of the veil.

 

God talks a lot in the Bible about singing. And it has nothing to do with the quality of our voices. It’s all about the heart the song comes from.

My hope for my son, and his classmates, is that they will come to understand the beauty of singing together. Many voices singing one (or two or three) notes. And the beauty of heart-level living.

And for their mothers to watch in wonder as their children grow and mature.

What about you? Are you a shower singer or an in-front-of-people singer? What strikes you the most about singing?

Click to Tweet: What does singing do for us?

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

Impressed: What Impresses You?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As we recently studied Mark 13 at church, the very first verse of chapter thirteen caught me and stopped me. It talks about how impressed the disciples were with the temple’s stones.

Mark 13:1 ~ “As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!’”

A little history according to Josephus:

  • The temple renovation began in 19 BC and was completed in 64 AD.
  • The stones were 40 feet long and 20 feet thick. They were white and highly polished.

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