Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Why: When There Are No Answers

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

WHY

When I saw the word for tonight, an old Point of Grace song came to mind. 

I thought about the heartbreak in the news this week of the school shooting in Florida. I’m not sure I’m ready to write about this yet. As I prayed and pondered about what I would share, “Who Am I?” came to mind. It’s comforted me on the roads of heartache.

*****

There are so many questions in my mind, my heart, that begin with Why?

There are times when I wish I had the answers, the capability of understanding the workings and secrets of God.

I don’t understand the why’s of being rejected by my peers as a child and the heartache that season inflicted on me.

I don’t understand why God allowed my husband and me to be unable to bear biological children when teen moms could and aborted. I don’t understand why we walked for years on the infertility road.

This is what I know. There are going to be questions I will never see answered this side of heaven. Just because God may not choose to answer my Whys, doesn’t mean He doesn’t love me, or that He loves me less than others.

When my eyes are wrapped up in the whys of my own life, I am me-focused.

Maybe the better questions to ponder revolve around Him.

Why would He choose to love me, and all the people He’s ever created? Why would He pour out His grace on us, even when we sin against Him and each other? Even when we walk away from Him?

Why would He choose to strengthen His children to walk through this life’s hard with His light shining through us?

Why?

One word: LOVE

We may not understand why things happen in our world. They break our hearts. Hurt us to our cores.

We may feel oh, so alone sometimes. Lost.

We’re not.

In those seasons when we ask WHY . . .

. . . we are single

. . . Married to _____

. . . Unemployed

. . . Working in a difficult job

. . . Losing a loved one

. . . Dealing with cancer and illness

. . . Devastated by life’s heartbreaks

Those are the seasons we should be seeking God Himself rather than answers.

Sometimes the answers are beyond our understanding.

But our Father? He is intimately acquainted with us. He loves us. He walks with us in the midst of the hardest seasons. He knows the answers we’re ready for, and the ones we’re not ready for.

Maybe when we want to ask why, we can choose to trust instead, to rest in His love and care for us?

What about you? How do you respond when God offers silence in answer to your Why? When has God given you an answer to your why?

Click to Tweet: Why would He choose to love me, and all the people He’s ever created?

Linking up with Five Minute Friday—WHY

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Culture, Faith

Boundaries: When We Play God

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I’m sure our city officials had a good reason for changing the way red lights and turning arrows operate here. Where once yellow arrows for left-hand turns gave drivers extra time to turn, now arrows turn to red . . . and drivers know they’ll be waiting instead.

In a world where everyone is in a big, fat hurry, a red light can be a major frustration. I’ve watched cars fly through the intersection once that turn arrow flips to red. They don’t want to wait another two-three minutes for a chance to speed on their way.

Continue reading “Boundaries: When We Play God”

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

Dependence, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Depend: When We Think It’s All Up to Us

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DEPEND. 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 went a little over five minutes. Here’s my offering for the week.***

DEPEND

I sometimes live in an orphan mindset (check out what Allen Arnold says about this). I get into this thought process that it’s all up to me. To mother well. To make time to write. To force story from me. To complete everything on my to-do list.

I depend on myself.

If I could take a poll, I suspect many of us would raise our hands admitting that we struggle with this kind of mindset from time to time.

We depend on ourselves as if we alone are responsible for the outcome. Whether its in fulfilling a dream, or a calling. Or being the spouse/parent we are called to be. Or (as a friend reminded me) in waiting.

I hate that I forget to depend on God. He is the One who gives dreams. Who places callings on us, in our hearts.

He is the only One who can fulfill them through us. And that, only as we come to Him with our crazy-desperate need.

When we are waiting for things to happen,

for the next step of a dream . . .

the next direction in a calling . . .

the next step toward a change in life . . .

we need to turn to the One—the only One—who is truly, completely, lovingly dependable.

I’m learning to turn my heart over to Him more quickly when I begin to stress about something. When the kid has a stinky ‘tude.

When the hubs and I have an argument.

When the story just. Won’t. Come. Forth.

It’s not all up to me.

Sometimes God allows us into the hard places—those circumstances that are way bigger than we are—so we learn to depend on Him for the outcome.

He is the only One who can create something from nothing. Who can bring hope in times of discouragement. He wants to walk these times out with us.

Our Father is the One who can fulfill us and fill those gaping places within us.

We can’t give ourselves more than what we already are. Does that make sense?

We can’t fill the empty spaces within ourselves.

Or make things happen that are naturally beyond us.

Only God can.

When we trust Him . . .

When we choose to believe that He is with us in the hard, in the discouraging . . .

When we choose to hold to the truths in His word regardless of what life tells us?

When we choose to do life with Him, no matter what circumstances tell us?

That’s when we will see Him move. Maybe not in the ways we expected, but always in the ways that are best.

What about you? How do you foster a mindset of depending on God during uncertain times? When have you seen Him “show up” when you chose to depend on Him?

Click to Tweet: We depend on ourselves as if we’re responsible for the outcome

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Depend

Check out this song, “Take Courage, My Friend.” It’s been on my heart all day!

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Guide: Which Voice Do You Listen To?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—GUIDE. 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 have a very busy day tomorrow, but I will respond and visit over the weekend. Can’t wait to read your words!

GUIDE

There’s nothing quite so jarring as hearing your son’s voice on the other end of the phone and his first words are: “Mom, I’m not hurt.”

I was at a writer’s conference last year, listening to our keynote speaker, when my cell phone buzzed. Coming from hubs’ number, I had to answer. We’d been like ships crossing, and I longed to hear his voice.

When my boy responded to my, “Hello?” and said those four words, my heart ratcheted into high gear.

I asked what happened. He told me a story of how on a hike, he, Hubs, and another leader had gotten separated from the rest of the Boy Scout troop. The hike had gone, let us say, in unexpected directions.

My son and the two men with him, slid down a shale hill. Thankfully they only bore scratches from their “adventure.”

They had been following the voices of the rest of the troop, but said voices got further away. So, they just hiked in the direction they thought would be the fastest way back to camp.

After a long downhill slide over scratching, sharp-edged rocks, they eventually caught up with the troop.

It got me thinking. How often do I follow the world’s voices assuming they’re leading me in the right direction? They may offer good guidance sometimes. But other times?

I end up sliding down into a pile of discouragement and being scratched up by the lies.

I am learning that the world has its opinions, and wants to strip my of my identity.

And God has His truths and wants to affirm me in my identity as His girl.

The world will try to guide me away from the Father because it hates Him. God will always be there to guide me into truth.

The question is, which voice will I listen to? I get to choose. God’s way never leaves me with permanent scratches on my heart. That sounds much better to me.

What about you? What truths has God shared with you that have given you good guidance through a situation? How do you discern between the different voices in your life?

Click to Tweet: God will always guide me into truth

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Guide

 

Busy-ness, Faith, Mothering, Time With God

Busy: The Surprising Result of Being Too Busy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever read a passage in the Bible and though something like, “That’s not me.” Only to have God check you on that?

I recently read Isaiah 32. In the NIV it says this:

“You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say!  . . . Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure! Strip off your fine clothes and wrap yourselves in rags.”

~Isaiah 32:9,11

Continue reading “Busy: The Surprising Result of Being Too Busy”

Contentment, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Place: Finding Our Heart Place

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

PLACE

If only it was as easy to set up house for my insides as it is for my outside self.

I’ve moved a few times in my life. In each location, I’ve set up a place to live, a place that filled me in one way or another. That opened itself to a husband, and eventually two boys.

Marrying my husband provided a place for love. A place where I’m offered daily reminders and illustrations of God’s love for his children.

There’s still a place somewhere in me that is searching for home.

We are such complex, layered creatures. God didn’t make us one-dimensional. He’s created each of us uniquely. Which lends itself to each of us facing unique wounds.

I’ve sought to heal those restless places within me through seeking acceptance, approval, affirmation. At times, I’ve compromised who I really was in order to gain one of these things.

All the while, God had a special place for me to come and rest. He’s already given me (and each of his children) a place of acceptance. When our wandering hearts can settle into the truth of His word, into the reality of His love? That’s when our hearts find their place.

God is the One who fills us.

He is the One who loves us perfectly.

He is the One who heals those wounds within each of us.

When we accept His love, we begin to find our place in the reality of His eternity. We grow in contentment and confidence because we know to Whom we belong.

We know our place in His heart.

Cherished.

Loved.

Accepted.

When I live in this truth, my outside and my inside are filled.

What about you? When has your wandering heart found its home? Where has been your favorite place to live and why?

Click to Tweet: Where do wandering hearts find Place?

Today I’m linking up with the Five Minute Friday community—Place

Being Still, Faith, Trusting God

Detours: When We Take Wrong Turns

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I saw the detour sign . . . and it told me to do the opposite of how SIRI directed me.

I’m not afraid of driving in places I’ve never been before. The upside of having GPS on my phone is that I can call on SIRI to get me directions to almost any place I want to go.

The downside of this is that, sometimes, SIRI is wrong.

Or, she’ll direct me on a longer route than necessary. I’m not sure why. It’s always a tricky decision when things seem contradictory. Follow the signs, or follow a satellite-directed app?

Continue reading “Detours: When We Take Wrong Turns”

Faith, God, Identity

Lies: Hiding Behind Lies

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

For decades I believed a lie.

And though I’ve talked about it here before, I’m just now seeing how much I hid behind that lie. The lie that I am not enough. That I am less-than. That rejection defined me as a Loser with a capital L.

As I became friends with people, I waited for them to confirm that lie. For them to prove to me in some way that I was really and truly less than.

Looking back now, it’s amazing how easy it was to perceive actions in ways that was inaccurate. I saw everything through that lens of rejection.

Continue reading “Lies: Hiding Behind Lies”

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering

Truth: The Destruction of Lies

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

TRUTH

As a mom, one of the hardest things I’ve encountered is watching my boys grapple with God’s truth. In a world that feeds them lies at the speed of light, they hear tons of different messages and come away confused. And sometimes hardened.

And honestly? Some of them sound pretty good. They hear messages that it’s not wrong to try drugs, or alcohol. It’s not wrong to have sex. It’s okay to bend the truth, just a little, to stay out of trouble. And if it feels good, it must be okay.

Yet, when we believe and act on lies, we end up maimed. When we live according to our own truth and disregard what God says is true? We end up stripped of value, of hope.

My boys will each have to come to their own conclusion that living their lives, making choices based on what God says is true is the best thing they can do. Hubs and I have told them. We’ve talked about it with them.

 

One of the hardest things (so far) about being the mom of teens is giving our boys the freedom to explore and come to the understanding that God’s truths are eternal. That God gave us His truth out of His great love for us. He knows what’s best for us.

We have to let our children discover the beauty of God’s truth. It’s in them working it out for themselves that they come to make His truth their own.

Our guys are going to make some poor choices along the way. I can still guide them. It’s scary to know I am not always the main person they listen to anymore.

I pray way more often and more fervently for my boys now that they’re in the teen years. I pray that they will understand that God truth sets them free. That His truth is what ultimately defines them.

 

God’s truth is the only truth worth listening to. As their mom, I will pray day in and day out. And I will be available to listen when they share their thoughts. And I will pray for God’s words and for their hearts to be open to hearing His truth.

What about you? Which of God’s truths have helped you in relationships in your life? Which of God’s truths has given you freedom?

Click to Tweet: God gave us His truth out of His great love for us.

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