Expectations, Faith

Expectations: When All Is Not Well

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

“Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You.”

This line comes from one of my most-favorite-est songs, “It is Well,” (click the link to listen) by Kristene DeMarco. But, this line challenges me. Do I really live it?

When we miscarried our only pregnancy, my heart shattered. The dream of being a mom to that baby . . .

. . . of carrying our child to term, feeling the kicks, 

. . . of one day meeting him or her . . . 

. . . of becoming a mom . . . 

It was gone. With the ceasing of a heartbeat.

My expectations of God—of Him bringing this dream to life—were also shattered.

Continue reading “Expectations: When All Is Not Well”

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Faith, Perspective

Perspective: When We Face the Unknown

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I read in the book of Numbers, chapters thirteen and fourteen, recently. You know, the story of how Moses sent in twelve men to spy out the land God promised them? He told them to bring back a report and fruit so they could see what they were going into.

I am always a little bit astounded at how these men gave their reports. Caleb shared of the good of the land. He accurately spoke about the size of the people and the cities, but he was ready to go in and kick butt.

Ten other men in the spy party agreed that yes, the fruit was good. But . . . 

Continue reading “Perspective: When We Face the Unknown”

Faith, Fear, Trials

Storms: When We Are Afraid

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Have I mentioned I’m not a fan of tornadoes? They scare me. They always have. From the time I rode in a car as a girl following a huge storm to hearing alerts recently? Yep. They strike that cord of fear in my heart. 

Clouds had filled and then darkened the sky for the past few hours one recent day. I had taken one of the boys to a doctor’s appointment. While there, my phone signaled that we were under a severe thunderstorm warning.

I live in Colorado. 

This is not uncommon.

Continue reading “Storms: When We Are Afraid”

Choices, Faith

Choices: Walking Through Hard Times

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Every time I read these words, they speak to my heart. I love the contrast of weeping and joy. 

Let’s face it. We all will walk through times of weeping. Of pain. Of hardship. We have a choice on how we walk through those difficult seasons of life.

When I read this psalm recently, something pinged that I had never seen before. We sow seeds, even in times of weeping. I usually view hard seasons as a time where I’m stuck. Not doing much beyond trying to get through a day without falling to pieces. 

Continue reading “Choices: Walking Through Hard Times”

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Woman: What Makes a Woman

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

WOMAN

A woman’s shoulders are stronger than they look. 

We bear the burdens of our families, our friends, our jobs. 

Our mouths, they speak. Usually words of life. But sometimes words we later regret. They offer words of life. Of empathy. Of wisdom and truth, as Jesus fills us. They learn when to stay silent. When it’s best not to speak the real thoughts that would hurt a listener. 

Our thoughts, they dwell. On those we love most in this world and on our Father. The Giver of all good things. 

Our hearts, they carry the weight and the secrets our husbands, our children, our families, our friends. We empathize. We cry. We hug. We laugh. We love. We ache. We leak happy tears . . . all because of how our hearts respond.

And we seek. Truth from our Father. The capacity to love as He does. We revere Him because, well, He made us.

Our hands, they serve. They prepare meals. They rub foreheads and scratch backs. They hold tight to steering wheels as we drive precious cargo from one place to another. 

And they clasp in prayer. 

And move with humility, doing the mundane, unseen, necessary things that help those we love.

Our feet, they walk. With children. With friends. On wooded paths. In grocery stores. They learn to walk with grace through life’s joys and disappointments as we learn to walk by Jesus’ side. Not racing in front of or lagging behind Him. 

A woman who walks with Jesus walks, talks, serves, feels as He does. 

When we walk with Him, we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. We learn how to live more like Him and reflect Him to those who people our world. 

God created us to reflect Him. He made us to be so much more than appears on the surface. He fills us and strengthens us to walk in the callings He gives us. 

What about you? What part of who you are best reflects God’s image in you? Who has been an impacting woman in your life?

Click to Tweet: Women are often more than what appears on the surface

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Woman. Come join the fun and read other great posts!

Dreams, Faith, Trusting God

Comparison: God’s Timing

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Today was gorgeous. The sun shone, creating all kinds of blue in the sky. Leaf buds and bare branches alike reflected it’s rays.

As I walked around our neighborhood, the trees captured my attention. Call me silly, but I got caught up in how bare some trees looked compared to others. 

Some trees bore branches with the nibs of buds on the very tips of them. Others were garbed in shimmers of green.

Continue reading “Comparison: God’s Timing”

Author Interview, Faith

Interview: A Place to Land with Author Kate Motaung

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I first joined the Five Minute Friday (FMF) community, I had no idea about the depth of relationships that would be forged each week through Twitter chats and visiting blogs. I had the privilege of meeting Kate Motaung, FMF’s hostess, in person last summer at a Five Minute Friday weekend retreat. I so enjoyed seeing glimpses of her heart for the Lord, for her family, and for the FMF community.

Continue reading “Interview: A Place to Land with Author Kate Motaung”

Easter, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Settle: Settling the Bill

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

I could have gone so many ways with this word! But, here’s my slightly-over-five-minutes offering.

SETTLE

My grandfather was a hard man. He loved his family, but he was strict and tight with his finances when it came to certain aspects of spending money.

Shortly after hubs and I were married, we were stationed in Alabama. We would sometimes go to visit my grandfather and his wife. One Sunday they took us out for a nice brunch. My grandfather insisted on settling the bill.

The thing was, he was not a good tipper. I won’t tell you what he left, but it was insulting.

I’ve worked in the food industry. I know how hard servers work. So, I went in and left a generous tip for our server.

When I came back out, my grandfather asked, “Did you go back in and leave more of a tip?”

I stood straighter. Looked him in the eye, and with only the slightest quiver in my voice, I replied, “Yes, I did. She gave us good service, and she deserved it.” I was nervous about what his response might be, but he turned and headed to the car.

Jesus is so much richer than my grandfather. He’s good, sacrificing, and generous.

There’s no way for us to settle our debt with God. Jesus is the only One who can pay the bill our sin has incurred. 

And in the paying of that bill, He’s given us the gift of eternal life with Him. Even if salvation was the “only” benefit to come from believing the gospel, from accepting Jesus as Lord, it would be enough. 

Jesus gives so much more. He’s given us grace to walk through our days.

To make mistakes and to learn.

To grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.

Jesus has given us His acceptance and the benefits of being embraced in the family of God.

He’s given us the gift of faith, so we can know Him more.

And, He’s gifted us with His unconditional love. There’s nothing, no-thing, we can do that will make him stop loving us. His benefits are much better than the tips I left for servers over the years. Even the one that went to a certain server in Alabama.

As we enter into this weekend —as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection—may we remember that He has settled our bill. He has left the tip . . .with us. Grace, faith, and love.

What about you? When have you had the chance to be generous in giving to someone else? How have you seen Jesus lavish you with His love?

Click to Tweet: Jesus is the only One who can pay the bill our sin has incurred. 

Come read other great posts on Five Minute Friday—Settle

Faith, Revelation Series, Trusting God

Revelation (series): Needy—When We Have Much

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

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My college years were my “Laodicea years.” I asked Jesus into my heart at age fourteen. Through high school, I did things that grounded me in my relationship with Jesus. I attended a good youth group, made friends. I went to church. I even read the Bible. No coercion from my family.

There was this seed, though . . . it germinated the lie in my heart that I needed things the world offered as well.

Continue reading “Revelation (series): Needy—When We Have Much”

Faith, Perseverance, Revelation Series

Revelation (series): Belief—When Living Our Beliefs Costs

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

~~~~~~~

Photograph used with permission by N Phillips

The Kleins

Elane Photography 

Crystal Dixon 

Country Mills Farms 

Each of these names are of people and businesses that have faced persecution in the United States. Who have been shoved out of business or forced to pay extreme fines.

Why?

Because they upheld their Christian beliefs in the marketplace. Photographers. Bakers. Wedding chapel owners. A university administrator. Normal people working to provide for their families. They’ve lived their faith out loud, so to speak.

Are things really so different today than they were in the time when the letter to the church of Philadelphia was written?

Continue reading “Revelation (series): Belief—When Living Our Beliefs Costs”