Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Near: Drawing Near

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—NEAR. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

NEAR

The boy cuddled so close to my side I think he would have curled inside my skin, if it was possible. His warmth heated my arm, my waist. My arm swung around his small frame, scooting him in close. And my heart melted all over the place.

There is something about the nearness of a child that undoes me every single time. Knowing one of my guys, or even another child, wants to be that close to me.

For one person to stay that near someone there must be a level of trust. My boys considered me (probably still do, judging from the testiness some days) their safe place. Mama was the place you went when feelings got hurt. When you got scared. When you just needed the reminder that, yes, you are loved, no matter what you do.

That nearness is a trust-place.

I wonder if that’s how God feels about us? He longs for us to draw near to Him. To cuddle right up next to Him, knowing He will keep the world at bay for a little while.

I believe He longs to comfort us when life goes sideways. He longs for us to trust Him like a child trusts his parents. He yearns for the intimacy that only comes when we draw near.

He’ll never force Himself upon us. But He’s there the very second we want to draw close to Him.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I can’t hep but think of the way Mary’s heart must have dissolved into pure love as she held her swaddled son near her. As she cuddled him close to her, and planted soft kisses on His downy head.

Maybe we can draw close to Jesus even as we prepare to celebrate His birth, and hence the amazing work He did on the cross. Maybe we can remember how much He loves us and take moments to draw near to Him in the days leading up to Christmas.

What about you? What is your favorite memory of drawing near to someone you love(d)? How have you seen God draw near to you?

***I may not be able to comment and visit blogs tomorrow (Friday), but I am looking forward to visiting blogs over the weekend.***

Click to Tweet: He longs to comfort us when life goes sideways.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Near

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Christmas, Priorities

Christmas: Finding Peace in a Stressful Season

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Peace on Earth. Good will to men.”

How many of us crave peace? ’Tis the season when we hear about it. We sing about peace. We talk about the Prince of Peace who came from heaven to earth on our behalf.

Yet, in a season when this word—peace—is tossed around like a fix-all, it seems tiny compared to the stress that pervades every moment.

Continue reading “Christmas: Finding Peace in a Stressful Season”

Quotes, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: What We Celebrate

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

These weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (for those of us in the United States) are a great time to consider gratitude. In these shorter posts, let’s explore some quotes about gratitude and see how we can prepare our hearts for the coming holiday season.

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Times have changed since the day the Pilgrims stepped foot on unfamiliar soil. Many died on the journey from Europe to what would become America. Those who made it barely survived those first couple of winters. And yet, their hearts were set on something much greater than survival.

Their minds focused on sustaining their community, but they were not consumed by the thought of how much could they prosper here.

These men and women chose a dangerous voyage with one hope—freedom to worship God in honesty and without persecution.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving: What We Celebrate”

Authenticity, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Excuse: Why We Use Excuses

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—EXCUSE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!

EXCUSE

“Mom, I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to get ice-cream without permission.”

“I have to do this thing in my room (translate: goof off for awhile) before I do my homework.”

“I can’t help this behavior, it’s just the way I am.”

“Sorry, I’m having an off day. Normally, I keep all my appointments, and I’m five minutes early.”

Excuses.

We’ve all used them. I find we tend to fall back on them for various reasons. They cover over an aspect or a shortcoming within us that we don’t want exposed.

We may want to avoid trouble. Or avoid doing something unpleasant.

Or perhaps we’re trying to veneer a shortcoming. Or slip on a mask that make us look better to someone else.

As I thought about excuses, I realized that most of the reasons we use them is to cover or hide something that we consider inadequate about ourselves.

We don’t always want to own our mistakes. We’d rather hide them and justify why we did (or didn’t) do something.

Using excuses often reveals our struggle with insecurity. We don’t want people to see the real us. We are afraid people will find us lacking in some way.

Or am I the only one who deals with that?

When we try to justify something we did and make it sound okay?

The “I’m sorry I’m late. I’m usually five minutes early.”

We want to make ourselves look good to someone else.

The thing is? God knows our hearts. He knows the areas in our hearts where we’re afraid we fall short in the eyes of others.

God’s not asking us to wear a facade in front of those around us. He wants us to be authentic.

When we own our mistakes to others, we open the door to vulnerability.

When we admit our desire to get out of something, our real-ness provides a safe place for others to admit when they have felt or done something similar.

And, when we own the fact that we are less than perfect? Wow. That is a powerful testimony to others. Because it’s only when we’re willing to strip away the excuses and let God shine through the cracks in our lives that we can truly reflect Him to those around us.

What about you? How do you choose authenticity over excuses? What’s the funniest excuse you’ve ever heard (or used)?

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Excuse.

Expectations, Gratitude

Gratitude: When There Are Expectations

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

These weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (for those of us in the United States) are a great time to consider gratitude. In these shorter posts, let’s explore some different quotes about gratitude and see how we can prepare our hearts for the coming holiday season.

~~~~~

“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” ~Tony Robbins, Author

God has been talking with me about expectations. Honestly? He’s been talking to me for years, but it’s only as I age that I see the impact that holding tightly to expectations has on my heart.

Continue reading “Gratitude: When There Are Expectations”

Choices: What Will We Choose series, Discouragement, Hope, Trusting God

Choices (series): Where We Place Our Hope

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve spent the last few months reading through the book of Jeremiah. The thing that struck me was how many times God gave His people the choice of whether or not to forsake their idols and worship Him. As I read, I realized how many times we have choices to make. In our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and especially with God. This is the last of a 5-part series on choices (Read other posts here). I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what helps you make wise choices.

~~~~~

This writing journey leads us on rough paths. Upon rock-strewn trails that trip us up and flatten us to the ground. Those tree roots of rejection stick out above the ground and cause us to stumble in our belief that we are truly called to write.

How many times in our lives have we struggled with hope?

Continue reading “Choices (series): Where We Place Our Hope”