Hidden: When It’s Time To Stop Hiding

Autumn sunrise 2 copyFive Minute Friday prompt this week is—HIDDEN. 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!

HIDDEN

I never really understood it until this year.

This crazy desire to keep the essence of who I am hidden behind the image I thought others wanted to see. Anyone who’s read my blog for long knows that I have struggled with finding my identity in Jesus.

The rejection that happens to a child stays with her for a lifetime.

It takes that long for some of us to erase those horrible words and messages and allow God’s truth to be written over the walls of our mind.

This year, as God teaches me about my word AUTHENTIC, He’s showing me I don’t have to stay hidden.

I don’t have to present the “got-it-all-together” face to the women in my life.

I don’t have to show only a fraction of the real me . . . the part I think others will find acceptable.

Do I show all of myself to everyone? No.

There are times when too much information is simply that: Too Much Information.

But, there are times when God is calling me—each of us, really—to reflect the whole of who we are. Authenticity begins copy

Authenticity begins when we trust Jesus with our inner stories. It begins when we choose to talk with Him about those wounds we all carry.

He’s showing me I need to choose to trust Him when He puts me with others. I need to trust Him enough to share His light—as only I can shine it—with others.

I need to trust Him enough to live as the person He created me to be. We’re each unique. There’s no one else like us in the whole world or its history. God created each of us for a purpose.

When we hide the essence of who we are behind a facade, we aren’t trusting Him, and we’re dimming His light within us.

We need to trust enough to share our stories with others. Because when we share, who knows? Maybe others will be encouraged. Light behind clouds

Maybe they will find glimmers of hope for their own lives.

Maybe they will even want to know Jesus . . . all because we opened ourselves up to trust Him to shine through us. As we are.

What about you? When you’re nervous about being your authentic self, what do you do? What helps you to live authentic? 

Click to tweet: Authenticity begins when we trust Jesus with our inner stories

Linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday—Hidden

Test: God Is With Us

Test

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Why does God test us?

As I was reading Judges 3, I made it to the second verse before the Lord stopped me.

“These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wards in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):…” (NIV)

And it goes on to list the nations.

The first time I read this, I thought about the Lord testing the Israelites, as in—did He want them to fail? What was He testing? Their abilities?

Continue reading

Help: When We Say, “Yes.”

 

Peter with some helpMy Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—HELP. 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, I could have gone so  many different directions, and gone deeper, but five minutes is five minutes (or maybe 5:30 this time 😉 ).

HELP

My youngest had just turned one when he made up his mind he would not accept help when it came to eating. He pushed our hands away and gave us the stink eye on more than one occasion when we tried to help him.

This strong-willed, amazing boy has continued to have this trait of not accepting help from anyone if there’s even a remote a chance he can do “it” by himself.

I’m embarrassed to admit, I’ve had those same tendencies. That desire to do things on my own runs D-E-E-P.

I want to claim the applause of the accomplishment.

I don’t have to admit my need.

Man, we are prideful creatures, aren’t we?

Even though God tells us He is our help, I still want to have control over the things I’m trying to do. I want to do it in my timing, in  my way.

Whether it’s mothering, writing, or some other task, I’d simply rather do it on my own.

It’s so much easier that way.

Or is it?

Psalm 146-5 copy

Over the last number of years, God has allowed me into situations that are far bigger than myself.

Teaching elementary school for a few years before getting married.

Moving three times in two-and-a-half years. Yeah, that was kind of big too.

And mothering? This is a huge “bigger-than-me” thing.

God is showing me that there is a beauty in being able to ask for help. Being able to admit that yeah, I’m needy. Such a humiliating thing to confess in our culture.

But God never looks down on our neediness. (Click to Tweet)

He wants to help us. He’s told us He would, but He’s a gentleman. He’ll not push His way into our lives. More often than not, He will wait until we ask.

When we choose dependence on Him, and on others? That’s when relationships deepen. When we can share those vulnerabilities with others, that’s when we grow in depth as people.

Women Praying copy

When we refuse the help others offer, we can steal blessings from them.

Which way would God prefer we interact with others and with Him? As though we are part of a community of people who care about each other, or as though we’ve got it all figured out, but are dying on the inside?

What about you? When has someone’s offer to help you proven to be a blessing in disguise? When have you seen God’s help in your life? 

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

Homeless: A Heart Like Jesus

Home doormat

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I be honest and say I am a cynic?

And I am convicted.

As I watched this video, I was challenged to think about what home is.

I’ve seen and given to people who were wearing new tennis shoes and decent-looking clothes, and I’ve questioned if they were really homeless, or if they were trying to turn a quick buck.

Continue reading

Create: Made to Create

Colorful wildflowers

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

CREATE

It’s been one of “those” days at the end of a busy, unexpected-happenings sort of week. And our word is CREATE. I love God’s sense of humor. So, with a slightly weary heart, here goes . . .

*****

Isn’t it an amazing thing to stop and realize that we were created in God’s image? He made us uniquely, but with facets of Himself intertwined within each and every one of us.

God is a Creator. Because we are made in His image, He’s given a bit of that aspect to each of us. Some of us create through words. Others through paints and oils. Still others through photography. We share pieces of ourselves in the ways He’s created us to reflect Him. (Click to tweet)

When we create, we share in His beauty. We share in the joyful art of bringing something from nothing.

No, we don’t create trees with our breaths, our words . . . unless perhaps we’re describing it on paper.

View from half mile point K-trail

We create more than just artistically. Hubby and I aim to create memories with our boys. Things they can hold onto that knit them into the fabric of our family.

Those memories we’ve lived, we’ve shared? They are part of what bind us together.

No one has walked through the joys of body surfing in Hawaii in the way we did. The heartache of working through various emotions. The love of mountains. The laughter that surrounds our table on family game nights.

We create memories with those around us. When we invest in others, we are creating bonds that strengthen us as people. Bonds that encourage us in the low times. Opportunities to speak truth and love into others’ lives.

When I stop to think about it, I’m amazed that God imparted this aspect of Himself into the essence of our DNA. He’s given us opportunities to reflect Him to the world around us.

To be that grace,

To offer the mercy that He gives us.

To be the words that can share Him with those who don’t know him yet.

Reflecting pond

In creating a message with our words and actions, we shine His light to those around us. We create an image for them to see Him more clearly.

What about you? How do you create in the world around you? Which of God’s aspects astounds you the most?

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

Growing Up: Who’s Responsible?

Big foot little foot+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

UPDATE: I’m so sorry I forgot to mention the winner of my giveaway from last week! Michaela Weidinger, you won! I’ll contact you to get information to send you your prize. Thanks for entering, everyone. 

How is it they grow so quickly?

I remember holding our first son in the hospital—twenty minutes old—gazing into his dark blue eyes, feeling my heart twist and turn to mush. Counting each finger. Each toe.

I remember tickling the palm of his tiny hand and his fingers instinctively wrapping their sweetness around mine.

Continue reading

Build: One Choice At a Time

Wedding pic

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

BUILD

When Kate posted the word for this week, my mind went crazy with ideas to write on.

Build a wall?

Build a bridge?

The thing that kept coming to mind with these ideas is the thought of building a relationship. Some of you know my sisters and I are throwing a party for my parents this weekend. They’re celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

No doubt, there were days and seasons when they didn’t feel like working at this thing called marriage anymore. Times when they were raising three close-in-age girls when they had no time for them…dealing with 3 chicken pox laden toddlers, girls in various activities, sibling rivalry, etc.

Yet, they continued to stay with their relationship. They built their marriage, one decision at a time.

They made time when they went out for coffee (or something) just to have a little “them” time.

There were times when they stuck with each other when one or the other of them made painful choices, choices that impacted the other.

They learned to laugh together. To cry together. To bear with each other in love (Click to tweet).

They’ve been through health scares, joyful times, the death of parents.

They’ve survived willful teenager daughter years when we did things that brought them embarrassment, and probably grief.

They chose to grow with each other.Relationships-one choice copy

I’m learning that marriages are built. Yes, they’re established with those first “I do’s,” but the building of the relationship comes after the first time they say those two little words.

The building of an enduring relationship happens one single choice at a time. A choice to say, “I do” when life happens. When life’s hard hits the core of the relationship.

They chose to stick together. They chose to turn to God, to look to Him to help them in those places where their relationship was weary.Dancing together

They have chosen to stay with each other. To encourage each other and to build each other up, every step of their fifty-year journey.

I’m so thankful for the legacy they have left my sisters and me. The reminders that marriages thrive one choice at a time.

What about you? What helps you choose to stay in a relationship when the hard times come? If you’re brave, how did you meet your spouse? (Because I LOVE these stories)

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday—BUILD

PS—I’m running a giveaway for Beth K Vogt’s latest novel and an Amazon gift card. I’d love it if you’d enter. The link is here.

Approval: The Facade + Giveaway

Broken windmill

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve mentioned before how people-pleasing tendencies have burrowed like weeds in my life. Though most of the time, I keep them tamed, that desire for approval still pops its head into the surface of my heart more often than I’d like to admit.

The rejection I dealt with in elementary school became a huge motivator for gaining peoples’ approval. Through my teen years—and into my twenties—I sought to become whatever I needed to in order to be accepted, to be approved of.

Continue reading