Decide: The First Step

Sunny-shady path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

DECIDE

Have you ever made one simple decision and discovered it was only the first step in an unexpected journey?

Six years ago, when I decided to begin trying to write a novel, I had no idea where it would lead me. I wrote the first words of my first book, and edited. I had a friend who helped me learn craft and jargon and how to plot out a book.

In my naiveté, I was certain I would have it written and be represented by an agent within a year.

Yes, you can stop laughing now.

I’m six years in, three books written, and still figuring things out.

Sometimes when we decide, God is giving us the first step of an adventure, a journey. Just like what it says in Psalm 119:105.

Psalm 119-105 copy

God’s word is a lamp to our paths and a light to our feet. A lamp’s light doesn’t show us the entire path, only a few feet ahead.

We have to take each step in trust with the Lord.

Sometimes our decisions lead to wonderful fun places, dreams fulfilled, and joys refreshing.

Other times, our decisions lead us into hard, humbling, dying-to-self places. It’s in these places where we need God’s light the most. 

These are the places where we may question our decision. But ultimately, if we followed God in saying that first yes, we’re on the path we should be on.

Sometimes we say yes when we shouldn’t, but our God is a redeemer. He redeems our mistakes, gives us grace to walk through them, and still brings glory out of them.

Autumn Leafy Pathway

Making a decision for (or against) something never guarantees the outcome we expect. But, it can lead us into the deeper places with God as we learn to trust Him and to walk closely with Him.

What about you? When have you made a decision that started you on an unexpected journey? What’s one big lesson you’ve learned through deciding yes to something?

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

Recovery: Prayer and Pride

walking a path solo

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My name is Jeanne, and I’m a very independent woman.”

If I was standing in front of a “recovery” group right now, this would be my confession. Because when I had surgery on my ACL five weeks ago, I had the mistaken impression that, sure, life would slow down for a little while. But I would saddle up and “git ‘er done,” and life would eventually begin to look normal again.

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Easter: How Deep the Father’s Love

Light behind clouds 2

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As I listened to a song during worship last Sunday, I was struck by the intimacy of the words . . . of the act of Jesus going to the cross, and His Father’s plan to save all humans from a fate worse than death.

I was struck anew at the depth of God’s deep love for us. That He crafted a plan at the beginning of human ages to offer an amazing gift to all people throughout time.

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Surprise: Surprised By Grace

Butterfly on flowers

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SURPRISE

For years I lived with the false belief that I needed to do things on my own. People would disappoint me. I got that.

What I didn’t understand was that this truth isn’t always . . . true. I’ve been surprised by grace from people so many times, especially in the past few years.

As I have learned how to share parts of myself with safe people, I’ve been surprised by their grace and acceptance. People who have circled around me after a surgery. Or a disappointment.

And even more, I’ve been blessed by God’s showing up in those painful moments of life—whether its a mama-fail or a disappointment with writing-life, or an argument with my hubby and best friend, in which I knew I was wrong.

Grace.

Grace has been the surprise gift given when I least deserved it. When I didn’t know that I needed it. Until I blew it, that is.

God’s been the best at surprising me. As He proves I’m stuck with Him. I’m His girl, His child. And there’s nothing I can do that will cause God to turn away from me. To stop loving me. This is true for all of us.

Nothing I can do

When I was younger, I lived with the mistaken belief that I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t deserve acceptance by others. I didn’t deserve the love that others received.

But God.

He doesn’t operate on man’s belief systems. He loves unconditionally, and He teaches His children to do the same.

When others have reached out to me in love, they’ve taught me what it looks like to offer the surprise of grace to another after they’ve hurt or let me down.

Red tulips

We get to offer the grace surprise when we want to. And when we don’t.

When we offer others the gift of grace, God has a way of blessing us in surprising ways. Of letting us know His pleasure as we emulate Jesus.

What about you? When have you offered grace when it was hard? WHat’s been one big grace God has offered you?

I’m linking up with Kate Moutaung’s Five Minute Friday—Surprise

Promise: When We Fear

pine needle path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Last week I shared about promises delayed. I’m reading in Exodus, and I’ve never noticed before how much we can learn from the Israelites’ journey from captivity to the Promised Land.

Receiving the promises God’s given us often comes step by step on a journey. His promises fulfilled is more about the process than the result. Sure, the result—the promise in our hands—is often pretty amazing. But the process that got us to that point? That’s where the real joy, growth, and deepening occurs.

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Share: When We Share

Ladies sharing

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SHARE

God has a way of crafting our dreams into reality.

I’ve walked through a few disappointments lately. Who hasn’t, right?

I had one prayer, a very secret prayer, that I haven’t shared with anyone. And through my current disappointment, God is bringing that prayer to fruition. I have a need, and I don’t know how to meet it on my own. I needed someone to come and help me out a little.

We chatted a bit this morning—my answer-to-prayer and I. And God showed up. He spoke to me through her words. She shared what He put on her heart. For me to hear. And God opened a door for me to see how He wants to begin healing a very old wound.

When we can share honestly, vulnerably with one another, God shows up. He ministers to those areas in our lives—those secret hurts in our hearts—and He begins to brush healing across them.

Sharing involves risk. if we open up to another, we’re risking a piece of ourselves. We’re choosing to trust another with what’s going on in our lives, our hearts, our thoughts.

When we choose to share, we choose to let someone into our lives in a new, deeper, more intimate way.

Women Praying copy

And the good that can come from that fills us. With joy. With hope. God has a way of joining us right where we are when we’re willing to share with others, and with Him.

When we share what’s really on our minds with Him, we offer Him permission to carve out some of the lies we have believed, and replace those spaces with His truth. We open ourselves up to the healing work He wants to do.

If we choose not to share those things on our hearts with Him, He already knows them anyway. God often waits for us to come to the point of trusting Him. Of realizing we can’t go any deeper in our relationships, with Him or with others, until He does that work he wants to do in us.

share prayer

Sometimes the work hurts. But always, it heals. And sometimes when we share, God begins to work those dreams in our hearts as part of our reality.

What about you? When have you received the blessing from sharing? What happened one time when you risked and shared something?

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

Promise: When God Delays

Clouds and silhouette

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How many times has God spoken to us, given us a reassurance—even a promise—and then seemed to renege on it? We hear His words to us, get excited, and immediately envision what that promise fulfilled will look like.

Then, when that first trial comes along, we question God. “Why didn’t You________?” or “Why did You allow __________?” We lose heart because things aren’t going the way we expected them to.

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News: Sharing Good News

baby-peter-and-me copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NEWS

I couldn’t wait to hear my parents’ response the night we called to share that we were going to be parents. Years of waiting would finally result in them becoming grandparents. Finding that creative way to share our news made me giddy with joy—both for hubby and me—but also for my parents.

And for the sheer joy God had finally offered to us in the giving of good tidings for our family.

As I expected, they were thrilled. Happy tears spilled on my mom’s and my cheeks.

As we called other loved ones, our good news wasn’t always received with as much joy and excitement. Some cast doubt on our joy.

Meeting Edmund copy 3

I wonder how God felt when the time finally came for Him to offer Jesus for mankind? When the angel said, “Behold I bring glad tidings of great joy!” was that angel giddy with the news of redemption for a hurting world?

And how was it received? We know the answer to that.

The shepherds who heard those words that night? They received it with great joy, and probably a large dose of humility.

 

Others? Did they question or doubt? Surely, some people went on with daily living, unbelieving.

And yet God . . . He had such great news to share with His creation! How special that He found that unique, stand-out way to share HIs good news, His great love for this world. Who but He would have a glorious angel get peoples’ attention?

I love sharing good news, but I can’t control how others will receive it. Will this stop me from sharing it?

It shouldn’t.

Silhouette sunset

Just like when we shared about the coming birth of our first son, I should be that excited to share the amazing gift of God’ salvation with those around me.

There is no shame in sharing good news. We get to be the bearers of it, and we should be joy-filled with the gift we offer.

We can’t control how it’s received. We can only control if we will share.

What about you? What was the best news you got to share with others? How do you share God’s gift of salvation with those in your world?

I’m linked up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—News