Blessing: Looking for Blessings

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

Sometimes I look for blessings with the wrong perspective. I miss them for what they are. As I pondered at tonight’s word, the first things that came to mind were: the opposite of blessings, being rich in blessings, Isaac blessing Jacob instead of Esau. And then I thought about this…

BLESSING

Silly me.

I thought that summer meant a slowing down time. Sleeping in. Leisurely quiet times now that I didn’t have to take the boys to school every morning.

Silly me.

One boy is passionate about football. His schedule includes weight training four mornings a week, along with some evening practices. The other boy is in band. Which means practices in the evening. Throw in other appointments, friend get-togethers, an attempt at meeting my “Go Through Life” friends for Bible study . . . oh, and a husband who travels for work.

And this summer has been anything but rest.

I tend to be one who digs in and “gits ‘er done.” But It’s not even July and I am WEARY.

Tonight as I thought about our word, I realized I’m focused in the wrong places. My eyes have been on my filled-up calendar, on the lack of sleep. On the crazy boy-growing times (physically and in character, ahem).

 

Maybe, instead of focusing on all that I feel is being taken out of me, I need to shift my perspective.

For years—years—I prayed for children. And God gave them. I prayed for a closer walk with Him, and He’s working that out in my life.

Moment by moment.

Day by day.

Decision by decision.

I prayed for the braveness to write, and God gave me a story. And then friends who are writers. And an opportunity to begin blogging.

God often uses the mundane—the busy, the stressful—to open our eyes to His blessings. But we’ll only see them if we look beyond the chaos in life and fix our eyes on Him.

We can best see His blessings in our lives when we pause to think on what He’s doing in the midst of the hard seasons, the crazy seasons, the back-talking seasons, the wearying seasons.

 

He never promises the blessings will just come in and of themselves, gift wrapped and tied with a ribbon (though sometimes they do). I’m discovering blessings are often linked with growing times, stretching-beyond-the-comfort-zone times, and with humbling times.

What about you? What unexpected blessings has God given you? How do you define “blessing?”

 

Click to Tweet: We’ll see blessings when we look beyond the chaos in life

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After much prayer and talking with my husband, I have decided to take a blogging break for the month of July. We have a lot going on, and I need to focus on my three guys. I’ll be back in the swing of things in early August, and I’ll be so eager to catch up with you all!

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Blessing.

Worth: A Matter of Perspective

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

WORTH

Worth truly is a matter of perspective. If I place value on the gifts God has given me, the talents He allows me to exercise, the family and friendships He’s surrounded me with, these are all worth much to me, am I focused on the wrong things? don’t get me wrong, I LOVE those who people my life.

But, sometimes I am so about the things of this world, that I forget what’s really worth much more than even the relationships this side of heaven.

It’s all perspective.

We live a certain number of days on this globe, struggling, experiencing joy, love, hardship, pain and more. But, this isn’t the end.

This isn’t the end.

No matter what we value here on earth, it’s nothing compared to what it will be like when we get to heaven. The worth of things here will be the amount of a handful of dirt in the light of knowing Jesus. Jesus is worth so much more than anything on either side of the veil.

His love for us.

The gift He gave us in dying in our place on the cross.

These are worth so much more. Yes, we have value to our Father. But if we stop there, we miss so much.

 

Our eyes are focused on . . . ourselves.

When I can look on all the good the Lord has given me here, as much as I love it all? And I can place more worth in Jesus, knowing Him, and His love?

That is worth so much more.

The sufferings we face here are hard. No dismissing that. But, in the light of eternity, they are not worth comparing with the glory of what is coming. The glory of God when we meet Him face-to-face. That amazes me when I stop to think about it.

 

I need to get my eyes off my struggles, which are minor compared to so many on this earth. And I need to put them on Jesus.

He is the one who strengthens and equips us to walk the hard paths here. He is the one who gives us anticipation for the joy of meeting Him in person one day.

What about you? How do you keep an accurate perspective about what’s worth the most? What perspective helps you when the hard times stalk into your life?

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Worth. Come join the fun!

Click to Tweet: What’s most important in the light of eternity?

Breathe: When We Can’t Breathe Deeply

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—BREATHE. 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!

BREATHE

When I saw tonight’s word, it just opened up a space in my heart. After a busy, busy month, I am having to remember how to breathe. So, here’s tonight’s offering:

I’ve been breathing in short shallow breaths as if my soul has forgotten how to inhale deeply.

After two very busy, totally nonstop months, my lungs are trying to remember what it’s like to just breathe deep.

It’s easy to settle for the shallow when that’s all I can focus on. Hubs’ travels, a little bit of sickness. A few minor health procedures coming up.

Some days I can’t even poke my head above the ocean of the to-do list and look around at the beauty in my world. Too many appointments to get to.

Boys assignments to check up on.

House things to take care of.

God wants us to breathe deep.

I’m trying to be intentional about breathing. This is the only way the deep breaths will come.

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I can rush through my day, focused on the urgent . . .

or I can slow down even if just for a few minutes and focus on the necessary.

The urgent…it will always be there.

The housework.

The homework.

The phone calls.

Emails.

The necessary? This is the better thing. 

My spirit craves those still moments with Jesus.

Sometimes I can’t stop the busyness that finds its way into my days.

But I can control how I respond to it. 

Do all things have to be done today?

Maybe not.

At the beginning of each day, I need to be breathing in God’s living Word. I need to be breathing out praise to Him.

I may not get an hour with Him. I may not even get thirty minutes with Him.

But, I need to BE with Him. Daily. No interruptions.

It’s only as I spend time with Jesus that I am able to do more than suck in the shallow.

It’s only when my heart is still before Him that I can soak in the necessary.

That I can embrace and cling to His presence with me in my days.

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It’s when I take time to breathe in His truth, His encouragement, His love that I am able to choose deep breaths during the rest of my day.

What about you? How do you slow down to breathe during the busy days? What reminds you to slow down long enough to breathe deeply?

Click to Tweet: I need to be breathing in God’s living Word.

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

Forget: God Always Remembers

Foggy road

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

FORGET

A few times in my life, I suspected that God may have forgotten me. When I searched for two years for a teaching job, I was so ready to begin really l living my life!

When I attended ten weddings in one year, and was in two of them. When would my prince charming come and help me begin really living my life?

When so many friends had babies in a short span of time . . .

When hubby and I attended a new church on Mother’s Day and three times carnations were offered, and then rescinded when I admitted I was not a mother—physically—though I was in my heart. I was so ready to begin really living my life.

How many times did I secretly accuse God of forgetting me?

It wasn’t until I really and truly understood how amazing His love is for me—and each of His children—that I began to see that He hadn’t ever forgotten me.

Is 49-15

When my eyes focused on unmet desires, I forgot Him, for the sake of what I was certain would fulfill my heart and make me happy.

I was stuck in those times of forgetfulness.

But—our God—His love for us is perfect, complete and passionate. He never forgets us. Mothers never forget their children. They may go a little crazy sometimes, and even mamas who have not been able to raise their own children, they never forget.

And our God? His love is even stronger, his memory never fades. He knows us from the inside out, and He still loves us.

He knows our needs before we do. And He has His ways of fulfilling those needs. We don’t always understand, but we can be assured He never forgets us. It’s one of His promises.

Morning sunrise glory

May we grow in not forgetting His faithfulness to us, especially in those hardest of times. May we always remember Him and His love for us.

What about you? When have you forgotten something? How has God shown you He remembers and loves you?

Today, I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Forget

Focus: Peace in Hard Seasons

Winter leaves on snow

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

FOCUS

There’s something so precious about a baby gazing into it’s mama’s eyes. The complete trust, adoration, and love that jumps from tiny eyes to grown-wise eyes that melts my heart.

When I think about Isaiah 26:3, this is what comes to mind. That baby may live in a tumultuous situation, but if it has its mama (and its papa), nothing else really matters. Babies trust their parents to take care of them, to protect them, to provide for them, to love them.

I believe this is how God wants us to look at him.

Life has been challenging these past couple weeks. Disappointments, injuries, and a fair amount of chaos have torn my eyes away from the Lord.

And, unfortunately, I somehow slipped from that place of trusting the Lord to walk with me, to thinking I need to “handle life” on my own. I have struggled with keeping my heart focused on Jesus.

But, when I can look into His eyes—when my mind remembers Who He is—I can rest in Him.

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How do we truly get to know God’s perfect peace?

First by keeping our minds stayed on Jesus. Keeping our thoughts focused on the truth of who He is.

Second, when we trust Him. With everything. The disappointments, the struggles, the hard that joins us on our path.

It’s when we remember who God is in the midst of life’s hard that we can know God’s perfect peace. It’s when we trust Him with all of who we are, when we choose to believe He is who He says He is . . . this is when we can know his peace.

Sun's rays

I want to be like that baby, looking into Jesus’ eyes and not worrying about my present circumstances. I want to see Him through eyes of adoration, complete trust, and deepening love.

And this happens when I’m focused on Him rather than my circumstances.

This song is really speaking to my spirit right now. I hope it doe to yours as well.

What about you? What are you walking through right now that’s causing a lack of peace in your heart? How do you focus your eyes on Jesus when circumstances press in close to you?

 

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

Eternity: Making An Impact

7-4 Dandelion

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I only met her once in person.

Yet, she had a life-changing impact on me. Her gracious words, her honesty in her blog  and her love for her God, her family and those who crossed her path shone through her words and actions.

A friend first introduced me to the writings of Kara Tippetts when a loved one in my life was diagnosed with cancer. I began reading the words of this thirty-eight-year old mother of four and I was challenged, and convicted to look beyond the now.

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Perspective: Focusing Beyond Frustration

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We spent Christmas in a locale on many people’s “hope to visit someday” list. Hubby’s family lives in . . .

Hawaii.

The land of beautiful sunsets, crashing waves, gentle breezes, and . . . frustration.

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New Year’s Resolutions Or One Word?

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Are you a Resolutions person or a One Word person?

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Affirmation: Looking For Five Stars

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Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I recently visited a friend’s blog. She had wonderful news to share, and I eagerly celebrated with her. I happened to notice at the bottom of her post that people had given that post a five-star rating.

Hmmm. Had anyone given me a five-star rating? Or a four-star rating? Here’s where it gets sad (in that I did this to begin with). I checked my recent blog posts, and sighed. There were no stars at all. Then, I stopped.

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