Gift: Hidden Gifts

Mom walking with child

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

GIFT

I’m not gonna lie. It’s been a hard, hard week in the Takenaka household. Hubby had to be away for six weeks for work, and then go away again.

One boy is struggling with stuff that we can’t even put a name to. The other is trying to wrap his head around what his first year of junior high will look like.

For the boy trying to figure out where he fits in God’s plan and in this world, it’s been an emotional tight rope walk. Moods shifting minute to minute, toppling him and me. As he tries to figure out what it means to be adopted, he’s struggling with his identity and who he is.

Man child holding hands

I’m a worn out mama tonight. And if I’d seen the prompt thirty minutes before I did, I would have laughed in God’s face at the irony of it. This week has not felt like a gift. It’s felt more like a trial by word-daggers and struggle with my ability to mother these two precious, amazing boys.

But I realized something tonight. As I sat with Peter, our oldest, and he asked questions and really listened to the answers I shared. He sought my thoughts. I understood anew that this motherhood journey? It’s a huge gift.

Not just the cuddle-bug, happy memory moments, but the battles of the will, the walking alongside each other through life’s hard.

Mother with children

There is a gift for a child in knowing his mama loves him, even when he’s been ugly to her. There’s a gift for me in knowing that God uses me to speak love into a hurting heart. To share a bit of wisdom to a quickly growing-up boy. And have it be received.

So this week, though it’s been one tough struggle? I am proclaiming it a gift. The struggles won’t end tonight. In some ways they’re just beginning.

But God has given me the gift of walking with these two boys—who drain me dry some days—through the struggles, through the joys that will be theirs.

May I hold each day—struggle or easy—as the gift God intended it to be.

What about you? What struggle have you faced that you can now call a gift? What is the best gift you ever received?

Check out Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Gift

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30 thoughts on “Gift: Hidden Gifts

  1. What a lovely post! I hope you keep a copy accessible – your boys will treasure it in years to come.

    While I wouldn’t call be present situation a gift…as I write this I am trying not to pass out, lost a bit of blood earlier…I CAN make it something of a gift to others. I can witness to the fact that life can still contain joy amid sorrow, honor in physical humiliation (like, sorry, incontinence), and hope, even against a backdrop of doom.

    I can tell of a God that did not bring this on me, but is doing everything He can to hold me up…but I have to do my share, carry my end of the log.

    And I can talk about the love that’s in my life. My wife, my dogs, and my dear and wise friends who have carried me when it hurt too much to take another step, both literally and metaphorically.

    In passing these on as gifts, I can see that they are indeed gifts in my own arms, overflowing.

    And I am the luckiest man alive.

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    • I love your purposefulness in your situation, Andrew. You definitely ARE a gift to others. Your life-giving words speak hope and encouragement to many. You are a blessed man indeed to have a wife and friends who love you. Thank you for sharing your gifts. You are a gift.

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  2. ‘I am proclaiming it as a gift’. These are powerful words, and challenge me to speak life over some dead areas of my life where I still struggle to see the sense or rhyme or goodness of God there. I will proclaim it a gift, in all its sorrow and sadness and disappointment, and then trust the Lord to ‘make all things beautiful in their time.’ – and Andrew, again your comment inspires, ‘the luckiest man alive.’ This honest and transparent community is such a gift to us all.

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    • I love your perspective, Ruth. Looking for the goodness of God in the seeming dead areas of life is such a good thing to do. Choosing to see the hard things as a gift is hard, isn’t it? But as we choose this, I think sometimes God meets us in that place, and He gives us peace in the midst of them. And I agree, Ruth. This community IS a gift to us all.

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  3. One of my favorite things about FMF is this community that writes from where they are. No trying to dress up a hard week, hard day or hard life. If that’s what comes out we put words to it and hit “publish” and God uses it in ways we will never see fully. Our kids are all grown-up but a mama’s heart never forgets those times of growing pains. Thanks for reminding us these times too are a gift. They surely are. May God hold you and yours in the palm of his hands where you find wisdom, encouragement and peace.

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    • Debby, I think that’s part of the beauty of a five-minute free write. What comes out . . . is what comes out. 🙂 You’re right. A mama’s heart never forgets the growing pains. Now to continue to look at the struggles with my boy as a gift the next time something triggers him . . . that’s what I need to do. 🙂 Thank you for your encouraging words!

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  4. Oh friend, I have had days like this as well. Motherhood is definitely a journey and not a jaunt. And sometimes it is just wearisome and exhausting. It’s in days/weeks like this that I try and give myself grace and my kids grace with lots of hugs, snuggles and moments of rest! I’m glad you are able to do that as well! (stopping by from FMF)

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    • Rachel, I suspect all moms have had these kinds of days . . . and weeks . . . and months. It is a journey, to be sure. Giving myself and my boys grace is a good thing to remember. And I find both my boys like to snuggle, even at 10 and 12. I’ll take it, because I know the days are numbered. And rest? Yep, I need more of that. I appreciate you.

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  5. I can copy Ruth’s reply. It speaks the beautiful truth of friends sharing honest thoughts and being vulnerable. Our kids are grown, but still mama goes through days of insecurity and questions that my God needs to answer. The good thing is, He does answer and tells me He loves me. That’s my gift.

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    • So, those times of insecurity don’t disappear with age? Bummer! 😉 Thank goodness God does give us the answers we need, when we need them. And yes, I agree with you, Mom. Seeing and hearing all the ways God tells us He loves us is the best gift!

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  6. The hardest gifts have been cancer (my husband’s), mental illness (my daughter’s) and three very angst-filled teenage years (from my other daughter). A gift, you say? Absolutely! Each trial has shaped me, formed me and drawn me closer to the One who will never let me pass through something without him. This knowledge and assurance is a gift, indeed.

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    • Those are indeed hard gifts, Anita. But, I’m beginning to understand with my heart how life’s hard also contains gifts. I’m so thankful God never wastes a thing and He uses those difficult circumstances to shape us and to mold us more into Jesus’ image and He draws us closer to Himself. I’m definitely seeing that afresh. 🙂

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  7. Jeanne, thank you for your honesty. My eyes are blurry with empathy and with the reminder that I’m not alone. All moms have tough days. Tough weeks. And sometimes even tough years. I long to share about my own rough season I’m having with one of my own sons. One day I’ll be able to. But for now I can say doing the mama-walk one-day-at-a-time is manageable. God sprinkles in enough tender moments, grace, and hope to keep me going. We can do this—cause we’re never alone. You’re a good mom.
    Blessings & hugs ~ Wendy ❀

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    • Wendy, thank you for the reminder that we are not alone in the hard days (weeks? years?) of motherhood. One day I’ll look forward to hearing more the lessons you’re learning in the fires. And yes, the one-day-at-a-time is the only way to walk this journey. Thank goodness God’s mercies are new every single morning. And thank goodness we’re never alone. You are a good mom too, my friend.

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  8. The middle school years are just the worst, no matter who you are. I pray your son finds some peace in the middle of the wrestling.

    I also pray that God graces you with an extra measure of strength and joy today. Being a mama to boys is no joke, so my friends tell me. And being a mama to an adopted child? That must come with a whole different set of issues. Bless you for seeking the Lord’s perspective and seeing the good in a tough week!

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    • Thanks for those prayers, Marie. Strength and joy in each day are necessities on this journey. 🙂 Adoption does bring its own set of issues. But on those hardest of days, I have to remind myself that God didn’t make a mistake in giving me these boys to mother. They are gifts. Always. Thanks for your kind words. I hope your weekend holds rest and respite from pain.

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  9. I am still struggling to see my job loss as a gift but I so the the small gifts with in it. He has provided and taught me so much already.

    As a mom of 2 adult children I can say that the hard motherhood times are some of God’s biggest gifts. They are also the times your children will remember the most.

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    • Sometimes it’s in seeing the small gifts that we are able to see God. He does have a way of teaching us through life’s circumstances, doesn’t He, Amy? And thank you for the perspective that these hardest of times are the ones our children remember most. I’d better make them count, eh? 😉 Have a good weekend, my friend.

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  10. Jeanne, this is a perfect post after seeing a tiny bit into a stressful week. You are an amazing gift for your boys and I love how honestly you are leaning into that. Prayers for you & your family as you go into the weekend and a fresh new week! Hopefully all you learned this past week is a gift for the next…

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    • Thank you for those prayers, Annie. I’ll take them! I’m purposing to remember the lessons of this week as we head into the next. And for the weekend? Rest, for all of us. I hope your weekend holds good memories with your girl. And prayers for you as you get closer to adding one to your sweet family. 🙂

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  11. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. I remember those days. Three children…2 boys 13 months apart. I remember struggles. Teenagers…young adults…now my daughter is 50, my sons are 47 and 46. Remember the memories. love…Gloria

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    • Yes, Gloria. You know. 🙂 My boys are 17 months apart. I know every mother walks these hard moments. We see the joys and the struggles and we can’t help feeling through them. And yes, I need to remember the memories. Thank you for the reminder. You are a blessed woman. Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a beautiful weekend!

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  12. Beautifully written and heartfelt Jeanne. One thing that occurs to me is that your boys have the sweetest opportunity to understand – better than most – God’s loving adoption of us – that we have been adopted into His forever kingdom – to a forever relationship with our Savior, Best Friend, and Brother, Jesus Christ. We come from every walk of life. We come from varied circumstances and upbringing; yet He is our Constant, our Unchangeable, and Unshakeable. He is the One, able to knit our hearts together as family, though we did not know one another as family before. Much love to you, dear Sister!

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    • I love this, Mickey. Yes, we are all adopted into God’s family. We come from different physical families, but we all have Jesus in common. I don’t think they quite “get” this yet, but I pray they will come to understand the beauty of adoption. 🙂 So blessed by you!

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    • Thank you, Lisa. I treasure every one of your prayers. Loving our kiddos through the difficult times is wearying. But we share such a timeless message with our kiddos when we do this, don’t we? Here’s praying our kids understand the message of God’s unconditional, eternal love for them sooner rather than later. 🙂

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  13. I can’t speak from a mothers perspective but I remember back to a time many years ago when our children were small. There was no internet community, blogs, or any other type of outlet for my stay-at-home wife. She dedicated her days to raising our three young children. One day she asked if I would mind her enrolling in an evening tax class. I asked why in the world would she want to take a class on taxes of all things. She said, “Honey, I need some adult conversation, I don’t much care what the subject is.” I had no clue how stressful the role of loving mother could be…I had no idea what it was like to be around children all day…every day. God bless all of you dear moms out there!

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    • Gene, your wife is a wise woman to know what she needs and to find a way to get it. Yes, there are those days when adult conversation adds a dose of sanity to a mom’s outlook. 🙂 I’m thankful my husband is good about giving me time with girlfriends and/or writing. We moms are thankful for supportive husbands!

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