Give: Giving On Empty

Big hands little hands 2

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

GIVE

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind where you pour out and give of yourself and serve and  . . . the list goes on. You come to the end of the day exhausted, weary. And just plain DONE.

As a mom and as a wife, as a friend and as a daughter of God, sometimes I feel as though I have nothing left to give. The kid comes to me for the third time that day asking for forgiveness for mean words spoken.

The green beans burn on the stove top as I help with homework.

Snow falls and needs shoveling and the husband is out of town.

A friend calls with the worst kind of news to be shared.

I am empty.

Bread Dough Overflow

It’s when I come to the end of myself—of my reserves—that I see how much I need God. I need Him to fill me with Himself so I can continue to give to those He places in my daily path. I need to lean hard into Him, asking for His help.
I can’t do life on my own.

We’re heading into what could become a chaotic season, a time of celebrating Jesus’ birth and all He’s given to us. It’s imperative that I—that we—spend quiet time with him daily. It’s only after coming into His presence that we can offer the gift of ourselves to others.

My desire is to be His light, speak His encouraging words, be His hug to someone hurting. I want to be a gift to those around me. To give of myself to help them feel better.

WillowTree Creché

To give beyond my resources, I must ask the Lord to fill me with Himself. I can only give of Jesus when I’ve been with Him.

As we step into Christmas busy-ness, let’s purpose to give our time, our worship to the One who’s given everything to us.

What about you? How do you give of yourself to others? What do you do when you feel empty?

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Give

Gratitude: Makes Life Rich

 

D Bonhoeffer gratitude makes life rich1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

With this being the week we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, I thought it fitting to keep the post a little shorter and to meditate on gratitude.

Many thoughts filter around the internet about being thankful. This one from Dietrich Bonhoeffer stirs my spirit.

We have been given much. How often do we take time to 1) think about the many small gifts that enter into our day and 2) take time to acknowledge them with a thankful heart?

Whether the gratitude is for . . .

—each breath we take

—a car that runs

—a person who truly loves us—even when we’re unlovely

—a blue sky after a storm

—the beauty left behind after snow falls

—pets that are unfailingly loyal

—the hug of a child, or spouse, or friend

—food on the table

—a roof over our heads

—unseen protection

—God’s grace strengthening us

. . . we should be purposeful in acknowledging each gift.

We give of ourselves to those around us. This is good. But, let’s also take time to thank our Father for the many, many gifts He gives each day.

Whether we have a lot or we have little in terms of material goods, we have been given much by our Father. When we take time to thank Him for what He’s given, our lives become rich.

When we choose gratitude, I believe peace is a byproduct of this practice.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, my hope is that you can truly enter into a place of giving thanks for what you have been given.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What about you? What is one gift—big or small—you are thankful for? Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions you care to share?

Notice: Seeing Deeper Layers

11-18 Sunset 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NOTICE

I took a deep breath before I opened the door to his room. The words his brother passed along to me convinced me I’d done something to make this beloved child of mine AN-GRY.

When I asked him what I’d done, it took only a second to notice his words had nothing to do with me . . . and everything to do with the hurts inflicted on his sweet spirit during the school day.

If I had gone into his room with guns blazing and anger spewing, we would have shot our way through a mini-version of WW3, with both of us nursing word wounds.

Multi-colored tree

Instead, the Lord prompted me to notice the hurt in his words. First He calmed me, then He used me to calm my boy through just listening. No accusations, only a few probing questions. And a lot of listening.

It took time but God brought out the what was at the heart of his hurt. We talked, God gave me truth-words for him and we hugged and prayed. Then sunshine beamed on his face once more.

How often do I see only the surface of a situation—of words spoken—and miss the deeper layers? Too often, I’ll admit. When I am hurrying through a moment, I seldom take the time to notice what lies below the surface of my children, my husband or the current situation.

Sun highlights on bush

It’s important to take time to listen, to probe and to glean the root cause of words, of actions. When I notice my children, my friends, my family, then I can minister to them with Jesus’ love.

When I am still in the listening, then He can show me my role in the moment. God is ever faithful to minister to me and the other person.

If I will only notice.

What about you? How do you notice what’s going on in the hearts around you? When has someone noticed you?

***Visit Kate Motaung’s post—NOTICE.***

Discontentment: Watch Those Foxes

Red Foxes 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

One Friday afternoon, as the boys and I arrived home from school, I peeked into our backyard. My heart lurched when I spied two red foxes lounging in the grass as if they owned the place. They looked so cute as they soaked in the winter sunlight. When I opened the kitchen window to snap a picture, they stared back at me without a trace of  fear in their eyes.

They’d found their home.

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Still: When Stillness Comes

Dance of the leaves copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

STILL

Life has been so busy this fall. With the start of school and boys involved in different activities, this mom-of-two keeps on top of homework, meals on the table, food in the fridge, laundry relatively clean, piles . . . well, let’s not talk about the piles in this house. They’re um, scary right now.

I try to spend time with Jesus daily. I do have time with Him, but the challenge is to be still before Him. To be focused solely on Him rather than on making a cup of coffee, setting worship music on, having enough light filtering through the drapes. Hearing my computer chime saying I have emails? Oh, that chime is such a lure.

It’s the learning to be still before Him that stretches me. It’s such a noisy world I live in.

One thing God’s allowing in my life that drives me close to Him is trials with the boys, and other family heartaches. I find myself pouring out my heart to Him on their behalf.

On mine.

Yellow leaves in sunlight

I’m still when I’m praying earnestly for others. Focused on lifting them to the throne of Grace. It’s in times of struggle that I find myself still before HIm. Because it’s in those times when I need Him most. 

I’m more willing to listen to Him, to beseech Jesus for wisdom and to ask for His grace to strengthen me.

When life flows along just fine, it’s harder for me to be still before Him, because those needs I can meet? Well, I know I’ll take care of them. I don’t need Him.

Oh, that I can come the place where I see my need for Jesus in the difficult times and in the joyful times of life.

What about you? What helps you to still your heart before the Lord? How do you keep the world from filling your mind with noise?

***Visit Kate Motaung’s post: Still

Grace: Choosing to Accept Grace

Spilled cereal

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It was one of those mornings . . .

It seems we’ve had a lot of them lately. I’ve gone from being mad mama, to hurt mama, to  . . . this morning seeing the hurt in one of my boys and my heart aching for him.

He’s in a place I can’t touch. Change has always been difficult for this one. He resists it with temper tantrums and angry outbursts, leveling all hearts in his path when he’s on a rampage. When his sanity returns, we talk through what happened amid lots of cuddles.

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Turn: Lead Or Follow?

 

 

Couple Dancing Together by photostock copy

Photo courtesy of photostock at freedigitalphotos.net

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

 

 

 

TURN

I stood face to face with him. My dancing partner. He was to be my partner—the leader—as I learned the waltz. It was all for research, but I learned important life lessons along the way.

Like, when the man leads, the woman must follow. When he directs the turn, the woman must step a certain way.

This helps avoid stepping on toes. When he signals with his movements, she needs to follow.

Oh, how hard it is to turn from the natural leader I am into the follower I must be if I am to join in the dance. And actually enjoy it! (I had no idea what a crummy follower I was until he mentioned it.)

Following his lead by looking into his eyes rather than at my clumsy feet. (which only makes me clumsier, by the way).

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Turn.

One turn. Done in precise steps according to the beat.

Isn’t that how our walks are with Jesus, to a degree? He leads and we should follow. 

Some days I’m better at that than others. I sense His promptings in the words He speaks during my quiet time.

I hear his quiet words in my heart when I’m in a “situation” with one of the boys, or my husband, or a friend.

Will I turn my head and listen to Jesus’ leading in what to say, or not to say?

Or will I insist on my own way and end up flat on my face?
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Relationships are a dance. With certain steps that must be taken. Certain turns done in a specific timed beat. When I accept Jesus’ lead, and I follow him? That’s when the dance is beautiful. Even amid the ugly this life sometimes throws my way.

I can turn and follow Jesus’ leading and trust that He will bring me through the ugly times, with beautiful steps, strengthening steps. Following His lead. Turning the way He directs—my head my heart, my will. 

What about you? Have you ever tried ballroom dancing? When have you turned your will to the side to follow Jesus’ leading? What happened?

***Kate Motaung’s FMF—Turn

Change: The Good in Change

Sun in leaves

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Everything is changing. Okay, maybe not everything. And certainly not everything all at once.

The leaves have almost spent all their color and  are falling to the ground for another Colorado winter. The temperatures are changing. In Colorado, that looks like 70 degrees one day and 42 degrees the next. We’re definitely moving deep into autumn.

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