Impressed: What Impresses You?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As we recently studied Mark 13 at church, the very first verse of chapter thirteen caught me and stopped me. It talks about how impressed the disciples were with the temple’s stones.

Mark 13:1 ~ “As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!’”

A little history according to Josephus:

  • The temple renovation began in 19 BC and was completed in 64 AD.
  • The stones were 40 feet long and 20 feet thick. They were white and highly polished.

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Enough: Hurrying Toward . . . What?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—ENOUGH. 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!

ENOUGH

I checked my watch as I buzzed past some woman on my way into the grocery store. If I hurried, I had just enough time to grab the few items for dinner before I rushed to the carpool lane to pick up a boy (where, incidentally, I would wait for fifteen or so minutes).

Funny how I rush around sometimes, trying to bleed every possible thing out of each moment.

To be productive.

To get that one more thing done before I rush off to do something else.

I end up dry.

Sad how I miss so much when I’m busy rushing from one thing to the next.

I miss those slow moments with boys.

I miss sunsets that color the sky in glory.

I miss glimpses of God’s fingerprints in my days.

 

What if enough looked more like me taking moments slower? What if I chose to live in one moment—each moment—rather than trying to cram a few moments into one? What if I stopped multi-tasking and began cherishing the now?

Funny how “enough time” might look more like less accomplished, but richer moments.

There are times—seasons—when I will have to rush. It’s my season of life with two boys in sports and school and concerts and the end of the academic year parading itself onto my calendar.

But not every day, not every moment has to be crammed chalk full of completing my to-do’s. I need times where just being in the moment is enough.

Somehow, I think those moments will be the most refreshing ones. The ones that strengthen me for the inevitably busy hours.

Some moments will be busy, but they don’t all have to be.

Some moments it’s enough to just sit with God, coffee in hand and Bible in lap. It’s enough to just watch the sunrise or the sunset and the splashes of brilliance God paints across the sky.

It’s enough to find joy in the way God shows His love through color and hugs and laughter and quiet.

Enough isn’t found in busy. It’s found in savoring.

What about you? Where do you find “enough” in your days? How do you make time for stillness in your busy seasons?

Click to Tweet: What if Enough looks more like taking moments slower?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung over at Heading Home. Five Minute Friday: Enough

Embrace: The Power of an Embrace

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—EMBRACE. 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!

EMBRACE

There’s something indescribable that happens in my heart when one of my boys slings an arm around my waist or my neck. From the time they were infants, there was something so . . . accepting in the simplicity of them wrapping their arms around my neck and squeezing.

Something so beyond satisfying as I held them close to my body.

Nowadays, those embraces come less often, but the sense of love—of safety—that comes for each of us is almost palpable.

There’s something that conveys safety in the wrapping of an embrace.

It’s true with physical embraces. What about those intangible embraces?

 

When we walk through a difficult season and God shows up? When He reveals himself in a way only God could? That’s like an embrace. It’s a tangible reminder that He loves us.

When He brings me face-to-face with something in my heart that needs change? That’s a hard embrace. But the hopeful thing is, He doesn’t just show me, He helps implement the change in the perfect way only He can.

Only a loving Father embraces the hard places in us and loves us enough to bring about change. Because it’s often in those hard lessons learned that we are gifted with freedom.

When we walk through seasons when that desire we’ve longed for, maybe even pinned hopes on, doesn’t come? We have to learn to trust. To wrap our arms around our Father’s neck and cry into his shoulder.

He holds us close and whispers words of love and truth as we pour out our hearts to Him.

 

God’s embraces may look a little different than we expect. But we can be assured that His safety is always there for us.

He’s not a predictable God, or a “safe lion,” as C. S. Lewis wrote, but He is always a good God, a loving Father, and a safe haven for us.

What about you? When have you experienced God’s embrace in your life? What’s one way God has taught you to trust Him?

Click to Tweet: What is in an embrace?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Heading Home Five Minute Friday—Embrace

See: When We Need to Look Upward

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

He sat by the temple gate called Beautiful. He was lame in both legs. Couldn’t even walk to his begging post.

What must he have felt? He couldn’t limp, much less walk, to the temple gate. Someone had to carry him there. No doubt dust kicked up into his face as people passed his begging post.

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Broken: When We Let Jesus In

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

She entered the city leader’s home. Quiet, probably unobtrusive, carrying an alabaster vial of something.

As Jesus and His disciples sat at the table of the leader, she broke her vial over His feet. No doubt the aroma permeated the home, filling it with the heady scent of the costly perfume.

I wonder what everyone thought. No one said a word to her, at first. The men talked around her as if she couldn’t hear them. As if she was invisible.

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Stuff: Renewing Our Hearts and Minds

Rocky doorway

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is the final installment of a three-part series about creating white space in our homes and our lives. You can find the other posts here.

*****

Purging a closet, much less a room, can feel overwhelming. When we do the work, a room is opened up . . . and so is something inside of us.

But what things do we need to purge from our internal closets? Last week, I shared a few thoughts on our schedules and fear. What else sits on the shelves of our closets? Here are a couple I’ve worked on purging from my heart.

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Stuff: What We Hold In Our Hearts

early-morning-reflection

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is part two of a three-part series about creating white space in our homes and our lives. You can find the first post here.

*****

Last week, I shared a bit about how I repurposed my “junk/project” room into a creativity space.

Purging stuff from our homes can become addictive. At least for me. As I worked through the things in my “creativity nook,” joy infiltrated my spirit. There is something about opening up space that opens up breathing room in my spirit.  Continue reading

2017: One Word

 

wave-rolling+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How can it be 2017 already? Though we’re in the middle of winter, what some may consider a drab season, a new year has begun, full of hope. Promise. Uncertainty.

There’s something within me that does little leaps when the calendar turns to January first. Call me crazy, but there’s always a sense of anticipation to see what God is going to do in the next 365 days.

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Chosen and Approved: You Are—Your Identity in Christ

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are in part five of  the series, Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities from People and Perfection. Emily Conrad, Mary Geisen, and I are still works-in-progress, learning to find our identities and value in Jesus alone. We’d love for you to join us each Tuesday through November 8th and share your journey with us.

This week, Mary Geisen writes:

“the world paints lies with just enough detail to resemble your outline and you visibly shrink against the portrait wishing for so much more.”

 

These words caught me, because I’ve been the girl she describes. I look at the outline of the world’s lies, or incomplete truths, and I take that as gospel. And I wish for so much more than the picture painted.

So many voices vie for our attention, don’t they? The world, shouting its messages of what we should look like, what we should do, who we should be . . .

There are those messages in our own minds . . . the ones that tell us how we have failed, not lived up to others’ expectations (or our own).

If you’re at all like me, it gets kind of noisy inside our heads sometimes. All those words, spoken in condemning, demanding tones of voice (that sound suspiciously like our own).

How do we filter out the messages? How do we know what we should be listening to? How do we know which of the voices trying to define our identities is accurate?

As Mary says, the world and our own voices often paint an incomplete silhouette of all God has created us to be. We can be discouraged with the often skewed incomplete picture, or we can learn truth that helps us to know which voice we need to listen to.

This week, Mary’s post speaks firm yet gentle truth to a spirit that is weary of trying to figure out what—or who—defines our identity. Join me as I click over to her site to read the rest of her encouraging, uplifting words.

Today, I’m linking up with Katie Reid for #RaRaLinkup

Mail: Receiving Heart Mail

junk-mail

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—MAIL. 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!

MAIL

When I was a girl, I waited for the clack of the lid of our mailbox (attached to our house). I would watch the postman from our front window, walking away in his blue uniform, and I’d eagerly check the mail.

I rarely received any mail with my name on it, but a girl could always hope, right? There was something about holding a letter, a card, from someone that made my heart leap in warmth. To know someone thought enough of me to write a letter (remember those?), stick it in the mailbox and send it my way.

It just touched my heart in deep places.

These days, I almost dread getting the mail. Most of what comes in is junk mail. There’s general mail I don’t have time to read, and almost nothing personal. I miss those days of finding more personal mail than junk mail in the mailbox.

good-mail

 

It got me thinking about the mail my heart receives. We do receive mail, you  know. Those messages that speak to our heart one way or another.

Those messages that discourage us, that leave us feeling like we’re lacking in some way? That’s junk mail filling up the spaces in our hearts with nothing of value. Just papers that should be thrown away.

We have to be diligent to check our heart-mail. To see what we’re believing and holding onto as truth. We need to throw away those emotional, mental fliers that hold no value.

Those messages that come in and affirm who we are as people? As children of God? Those are the letters we need to cling to . . . to re-read when we need the reminders of who God created us to be.

Heart in Pages

 

And God’s word is the best mail we can deliver to our heart. His life-giving words, the messages of affirmation, the love letters He sends just to us . . . those things we should clutch in our fists, spreading them out to re-read whenever our hearts need a boost.

What mail has been delivered to your heart lately?

What about you? What are your memories of mail from your growing up years? What mail has your heart received lately?

Click to Tweet: We have to be diligent to check our heart-mail.

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