Faith, Perspective, Trusting God

Doubt: When We Have to See

@JeanneTakenaka

Confession time: I’ve always looked down on the disciple Thomas. 

The doubter.

The unbeliever.

But after reading through John 20 recently, my regard for him has changed.

When the other disciples saw Jesus, talked with Him, ate with Him . . . Thomas was missing in action.

Then, when the other disciples declared they’d seen Jesus—alive—he poo-poohed them, declaring he’d only believe if he could put his fingers in Jesus’ nail wounds, in the slice in His side.

Continue reading “Doubt: When We Have to See”
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Faith, Impact

Creating: Making a Lasting Impact

@JeanneTakenaka

I had no idea what to expect when I boarded a plane to Athens with Edmund in March. What transpired has left me thinking about how big this world is. 

How amazing people are. 

How often I sell people short in my thoughts. 

How creating the visions in a mind can impact the world.

After visiting ancient sites—the Acropolis, the Olympic stadium where Greek Olympians trained and competed, the meticulous artwork of St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, smaller churches, the Pantheon, and Flavius’ amphitheater (a,k.a. The Colosseum), I’m humbled.

Continue reading “Creating: Making a Lasting Impact”
Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Opportunity: When Opportunity Feels Inconvenient

@JeanneTakenaka

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

OPPORTUNITY

Have you ever heard about a hard situation and wanted to do something, but you didn’t know what to do?

Can I be honest and say that, sometimes, I am grateful all I’m called to do is pray? It’s easier to pray while I’m driving my boys somewhere, as I’m living daily life. It’s simpler to think on what others are doing in a hard situation.

Sometimes, I crave an opportunity to do something new or to venture into unknown pathways. 

Other times, opportunity feels ill-timed. I have so much that occupies my days right now. My boys’ schedules. Hubs’s travel. My own desire to finish my book. 

Opportunity’s knocking is sometimes inconvenient. 

What if God sends opportunities our way so that we can be stretched? So that we have to look to Him for His direction?

Often, opportunity takes us beyond ourselves and places us in a position where we have to choose to trust if we are to find our way forward. 

And sometimes, that opportunity has nothing to do with us, but everything to do on the behalf of another

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read about multi-published author, Rachel Held Evans. She’s a wife, a mama to young children, and she’s fighting for her very life. Her situation is dire. My heart has broken for her husband and her children, through they may be too young to really understand what’s going on with their mama.

My opportunity tonight is to step out of my own comfort zone and share with you about her. Will you please pray for her and her family? Will you please lift them up? 

I’m not good at issuing calls to action, but tonight, I’m taking an opportunity to step out, to invite you into this chance to minister. I’d love if you could pray for the Evans family. And, if God so leads you to follow through with more, there is a link at the bottom of this post where you can give financially to help the family with their staggering medical bills. 

***I just learned that Rachel went home to be with the Lord early this morning. Please continue to pray for her family.

What about you? What opportunities have scared you? When has God challenged you to step out of your comfort zone to follow Him on a new journey?

If you’re interested in learning more about Rachel Held Evans, how to pray for her family, or in helping out financially, here are some links that can help.

Her husband posts updates on her blog: Rachel Held Evans

And her friends have set up a GoFundMe – the costs are going to be devastating for them. Click here, if you feel prompted to donate: GoFundMe

Click to Tweet: What if God sends opportunities our way so that we can be stretched?

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday

Easter, Faith

Cross: The Reality of Persecution

By JeanneTakenaka

True Confession: I must have had a huge blonde moment (and, yes, I really am blonde in real life…mixed in with some grays) last week. I had it in my brain that there was one more week until Easter. And . . . I shared a different post than I’d intended. So, though Easter has already passed, I am posting this one for this week. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s done this sort of thing.  🙂

*******

During our time in Rome, Edmund and I toured the Colosseum, and my eyes caught on a cross. It brought to mind the reality that Christians were persecuted in this place.

Flavius’ Amphitheater was an extravagant undertaking for the men who visualized and built it. What stopped me hard was learning the reason it was built:

So Romans could watch people fight and spill blood. This was the sole reason.

Continue reading “Cross: The Reality of Persecution”
Adventure, Control, Faith

Adventure: When You Want to Go Home

By JeanneTakenaka

“I want to go home,” my son whispered in my ear as we stepped into baggage claim in Athens, Greece.

Home, for him, equaled comfortable. Safe. 

Athens was the equivalent of new. Unknown. Scary.

I yearned to make him feel comfortable. To help him to embrace the new adventure we’d just stepped into.

But I couldn’t.

All I could do was pray for his heart. And affirm that we were staying.

Continue reading “Adventure: When You Want to Go Home”
Faith, Trusting God, Waiting

Stuck: When We Deal With the Unexpected

By JeanneTakenaka

On the day we were supposed to fly home from Rome, the airline had an unexpected emergency. This delayed our flight for over two hours, causing many people to miss connections. 

We were stuck.

As soon as the airline announced the change, our leader began making phone calls to figure out how to get the nine of us home. 

I’ll be honest, my first response was fear. “What if . . .” niggled in my mind, stirring up uncertainty, and churning in my spirit.

Continue reading “Stuck: When We Deal With the Unexpected”
Adoption, Faith, Mothering

Mothering: When We Want to Be Angry

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

A few years ago, one of the boys was having a hard time with his homework. We sat together, him working it through, me explaining as I could. It just so happened on this day that the other boy needed extra help with his math. Dinner needed cooking. And Hubs was out of the country.

I can manage all these things simultaneously . . . as long as everyone works with my plan. 

On this particular day, the first boy went to his room for a break before he dug into more homework. I waited the ten minutes I gave him. And then fifteen.

Continue reading “Mothering: When We Want to Be Angry”
Faith, Trials, Trusting God

Question: Do You Want . . .

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Has God ever asked you a question so clearly that you squirmed with the discomfort of it?

A number of years back, I was sitting in church. That morning my rejection issues rose up and called me condemned.

Peoples’ words and compliments filtered through that rejection lens and came through as warped and untrue. I doubted any good thing said, and pain burrowed into my heart.

All of a sudden this question shouted in my mind:

Continue reading “Question: Do You Want . . .”
Faith, Hope

Hope: A Violent Hope

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

“Hallelujah it is finished . . . 

We thank You for the cross.”

“A violent hope shook the ground . . .”

I was standing with our church family, singing this song some weeks back. We’ve worshiped the Lord many times through this song. But on this particular morning, these phrases caught me. Turned my brain around a bit.

I never thought about hope being violent. The word “hope” has always struck me as a gentle thing, like a quiet, steady rain falling, or a pastel sunrise.

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Faith, Hope, Loss, Perspective

Gone: Death . . . and Life

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

A person never expects to hear about the death of a friend’s child. Especially when that child only spent twenty-one years this side of heaven.

Just over a week ago, I learned that a friend’s daughter died unexpectedly. Gone. How does one even grapple with that?

Even as my One Word for the year is Live (as in to live well), my friend and her husband were forced to deal with death.

Continue reading “Gone: Death . . . and Life”