Intentional Living, Mothering

Time: When the Years Fly By

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Only three more slots.

I admit it. I’ve been terrible about keeping baby books for the boys. Or even those cute little books that highlight their elementary years. Yeah, I think they’re more empty than full.

But, this weekend, I determined to catch up their kindergarten through twelfth grade photo frames. And it hit me so hard I had to swallow back tears.

I only have three more slots to fill with pictures of my oldest. When he noticed it, he got a little sad.

How is it the years have flown so quickly?

Continue reading “Time: When the Years Fly By”

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Five Minute Friday scribblings, Infertility, Trusting God

Surrender: Making the Choice

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know part of my story is a walk through the valley of infertility. As I thought about this word, God brought to mind a lesson from those years . . .

And I’m sorry, I went a few minutes over five tonight . . . 

~~~~~~~

SURRENDER

Was it too much to ask? Really?

All I wanted was the gift of being able to bear a child. To carry one within, go through the blessed pain of birth, of sustaining from my own body . . . God created women’s bodies to do this.

So why couldn’t mine? Why wouldn’t mine?

This desire to bear children is God-given. It wasn’t too much to ask.

Yet every month, my body betrayed me by acting normal, as it always had.

I begged God. Begged friends to pray. Did research on how to get pregnant.

But God.

I wept. I got angry. I felt despair at times. Deep despair.

And still, no baby.

I spent hours in God’s word. Tried to serve. Tried to ignore the fact that teenage mothers were having babies they didn’t want. And I (and Hubs) who wanted a baby couldn’t have one.

I fisted this desire and held it tight in my heart. So tight I thought my heart would crack.

God finally challenged me. He showed me how I had made this baby-thing an idol. It had become more important to me than an authentic relationship with Him.

He challenged me to surrender this craving for motherhood. To lay it in His hands, with no promises.

And it was one of the hardest things I’d done up to that point in my life.

As I searched verses for this post I saw a common thread in surrender. When we surrender something, or ourselves, we have to choose to do so. We have to choose to give up . . .

Give up ourselves, our hearts, our desires. We have to Let. Go.

When we are obedient in the surrender, God honors that. He spares things. He blesses His people. He handles us with love. No matter what we’ve done. How willful we’ve been.

When we refuse? When His people won’t surrender? Things inevitably become more difficult.

When we cling to our own way over God’s way? He can’t make anything good come of that. He will wait and let us wear ourselves out. He doesn’t love us less. But He won’t usually wait too long for us to make a different choice.

When we choose to walk in disobedience, we walk outside the umbrella of His protection. And the consequences will come.

When we choose to walk in the center of God’s will, He affirms us in that choice. He doesn’t always make it easier. Sometimes it feels harder.

But when we surrender our will to walk in His? That’s when we walk with assurance.

Surrendering this deep-hearted desire for motherhood brought me to a place of humility. It also renewed my love for God.

And in time—His time—He gave us the gift of our two boys. I’m not sure if I’d ever have  had the privilege of being their mom if I hadn’t first chosen to trust God when He told me to let go.

What about you? What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to surrender? What is the most impacting lesson you’ve seen come out of surrendering?

I love this song by Lincoln Brewster and it fits with this week’s post. I hope you enjoy it!

Click to Tweet: When we choose to walk in the center of God’s will, He affirms us in that choice

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Surrender

 

Identity, Priorities

Identity: The Greatest Showman

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

We just got home from watching The Greatest Showman (Click title to see trailer). I’m just going to say it. I loved the movie. So many life-infusing themes woven into one story . . . besides the fact that they made my writer’s heart happy, they uplifted me at the deepest levels.

There are so many different themes that resonated with me, but the one that hummed the deepest parts of me was P. T. Barnum’s journey to understand the essence of his identity.

I’ll begin by saying this is Hollywood’s rendition of P. T. Barnum’s rise to fame. That said . . .

Phineas T. Barnum comes from a poor background. He holds certain beliefs based on things that happened when he was a boy.

Continue reading “Identity: The Greatest Showman”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Intentional Living

Intentional: Living With Intention

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

As I learned what our word is for this week, I had to smile. I spent last year focusing on this word: Intentional. As I prayed tonight, I got excited about what I might share. So…here goes…

INTENTIONAL

One year ago, I had some understanding of what it means to live intentional. Walking through 2017 focusing on this One Word was transformational for me. God taught me how to be more intentional in my relationships with my family, with friends, with Him, and in writing.

I learned a lot about what it means to live intentional.

I got lots of practice on relating with our boys as they mature and walk out the teen years. I became intentional in the words I did—and didn’t—share.

God still has much to teach me about living every area of my life with intentionality.

The biggest thing He’s speaking to me about right now is to do life WITH Him.

To parent with Him.

To “wife” with Him.

To write with Him.

God wants me to do things with Him. He doesn’t want me to do everything on my own and then ask/expect Him to bless the work of my hands. Done in my own strength.

By myself.

When I commit my ways to the Lord, when I trust in Him? That’s when he goes to work in my life.

But more than that, He wants me (us) to remember that I’m not “doing life” alone. He is always with us. He yearns for intimacy with me and each of us. He wants us to remember we are not orphans. We are loved. Deeply. By a caring Father.

When we walk through life we can intentionally draw near to Him. Commit our thoughts, desires, fears, frustrations, those deep yearnings of our hearts to Him. 

We all have things we’re called to do. Whether it’s caring for others, for animals, vocations, nurturing relationships . .. He wants us to do these things with Him.

More important than the things we do, we are the main thing with God. Not our dreams, responsibilities . . . not our jobs, our callings.

Intimacy with God . . .

When I’m intentional about spending time with Him, seeking Him out each day, He renews my perspective. And God aligns the other things in my life. That is the best way to live intentional.

What about you? What helps you to be intentional in how you live out each day? How do you define “Intentional?”

Click to Tweet: God wants us to remember we’re not “doing life” alone

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Intentional

Control, Trusting God

Control: When We Choose to Trust

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I strolled along the beach just after the sun came up, staying to the “combed” part of the sand. I didn’t want the inconvenience of getting my feet crusted with wet sand and then having to rinse them off before I wandered inside the hotel.

As sand crumbled beneath my toes, I was stuck by the way the waves smoothed part of the sand as they washed upon the shore. How they recorded their mark of how far they rolled up and then crept back to where they began.

The contrast intrigued me.

Continue reading “Control: When We Choose to Trust”

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Simplify

Simplify: Good For the Heart

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SIMPLIFY

Simplify is one of my favorite words. There’s something about it that feels so freeing.

One thing I’ve discovered is that if I want an unfettered spirit, it often begins with an uncluttered space. A year and a half ago, I became very intentional about decluttering, first one room, and then the entire house. Man, it felt good to get rid of things that we no longer used or needed. Things that no longer brought joy.

But, here I am 18 months down the road, and the clutter is creeping in again. Life got busy.

I left things undone. Because other things needed attention. And sooner or later, the “undone” piles up in my spirit. When my spirit is burdened, I’m more subject to discouragement and a skewed perspective.

I’ve been staring down all the piles that crept into our kitchen, our family room. My “pretty” room.

There’s something about getting things back in order in my home that prepares my heart for deeper intimacy with Jesus. When I have a clear space, I can unburden my heart to the Lord more easily. My ears seem more open to the promptings of my Father.

When I declutter my heart, I find a certain freedom to worship the Lord without worry. I discover a stillness that I can’t know when I’m holding onto the clutter of unforgiveness, out-of-order priorities. Of discouragement.

So as I continue into this year—as the boxes that mark my days begin to fill—I aim to find those uncluttered spaces in my home and my heart and dwell there. I want to be near Jesus. To hear his truths spoken to my heart.

When I simplify that which I can in my life and I simplify what my heart carries around, I discover the beauty of simply being in God’s presence.

What about you? How do you manage the clutter and the crazy that daily living brings? How do you keep an uncluttered heart with Jesus?

Click to Tweet: Sooner or later, the “undone” piles up in my spirit.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Simplify

Hope, One Word, Trusting God

Hope: Worry and Hope

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

The urge to cough tickled my throat . . . and kept tickling. And forced me into hacking.

This wouldn’t have been a big deal, except that I had a minor procedure scheduled where I would be under anesthesia. And I needed to be able to breathe without difficulty.

Coughing makes this a bit tricky.

Continue reading “Hope: Worry and Hope”

Hope, One Word

2018: One Word

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I just say it?

How can it already be 2018? I’m still trying to catch my breath after all that 2017 held. I don’t know about you, but last year was kind of a crazy year for our family. I can look back now and better see why God had me focus on the word Intentional.

Here, at what is probably the quietest time of my year, I am preparing for the unknowns the coming days will hold. I love the early days of January where I can be still. Where there aren’t a lot of demands on me.

Continue reading “2018: One Word”