Connect: How Connecting Happens

two-friends

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—CONNECT. 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!

CONNECT

When I saw our word for tonight, I smiled. I kept thinking about the ugly green phone I used to have to pick up and listen to—the dial tone and the number tones, or clicks buzzing in my ear as I dialed each number. Then listening to the phone as it rang on the other end.

When I would call a friend to get together, I was so glad the telephone could connect us so we could talk.

In a way, that kind of connecting hasn’t changed. I still pick up the phone to talk with some people. I have a friend who I’ve talked with almost every week for the last twenty or so years. So hard to imagine. She lives in another state. I anticipate our conversations.

In our phone calls, we’ve chatted about child rearing, recipes, heart issues, the joys, struggles, disappointments, stretching, and rewards this life has offered us.

We’ve connected on deep levels. There’s no pretense between us.

Connecting is like that. We have to choose to reach out. It takes time to grow a relationship—a connection—to the point of depth.

older-couple

When we share pieces of ourselves, when we offer wisdom or vulnerability to another, connecting happens. A weaving of two spirits grows.

God created us to be interdependent. He gives us opportunities to weave our lives and experiences together with others.

But we have to be intentional in the weaving. We must be willing to reach out—through a phone call, a text, an email, or snail mail (does anyone besides me still hand write letters?).

It’s in the intentional effort of sharing ourselves, giving of our time that connecting happens.

intentional-effort-of-sharing-copy

 

That’s when there’s a foundation of trust that depth grows and fulfills.

I never mind picking up the phone to call someone I care about. More often than not, I come from the conversation away fulfilled. Sounds selfish, I know. But I hope the person on the other end of the line also has a sense of connection. That deep down satiation of spirit and soul. Because that’s what connection is about.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to connect with others? What’s one way you’re intentional about connecting with those around you?

Click to Tweet: God created us to be interdependent.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Heading Home site: Five Minute Friday—Connect

Unite: When Women Unite

Snowy path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—UNITE. 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!

UNITE

If you’ve read my blogs for very long, you know some of my struggles with rejection and the impact it’s had on my perspective . . . for most of my life.

I can look back now and see that those mean girls in my past were just trying to figure out who they were. Unfortunately they found me, a sensitive girl, to pick on and to take out their own struggles on.

As women, we grow up with these images that our bodies should look a certain way.

We should be doing life a certain way.

Our lives should follow some sort of invisible timeline and we should be at this point by this age.

But what the world also encourages with these messages is isolation.

We are afraid to be real, to share the struggles we’re having, the discontent with life, the vulnerabilities we try to hide each and every day.

The world tells us anything less than perfect is simply unacceptable. But what if . . .

we united as women,

we determined we will not let the world try to define us?

What if we looked for the essence God has placed in each of us, and we encouraged each other to live in this?

 

Women huggingWhat would happen?

What if, instead of isolation, we choose to embrace each other?

Those who are married reaching out to those who are single?

Those who have children sharing compassion with those who yearn for babies?

Those who seem to have it all reaching out to those who obviously don’t?

Because, really, everyone can put on a mask to make their lives look a certain way.

But when each of us can admit we really don’t have it all figured out . . .

. . . that we are barely holding onto our mess with a fingertip, then we can do something amazing.

We can pray earnestly for each other.

We can encourage each other and remind each other that we can make it through this particular mess. We can come alongside each other and hold each other up.

We will cling to God, and sometimes we’ll help our friends cling to God.

When we unite with the determination to be there for the women in our lives . . .

. . . when we step out with compassion rather than hiding behind insecurity, that’s when God’s power can really bring about change in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Women Praying copy

When we unite with a common purpose—to point each other to Jesus, to be a safe place—that’s when we are drawn closer to the Lord and grow stronger  . . . together.

***

For the men reading this, please forgive the blatant “woman-focus” of this post. I know men have their own set of struggles they deal with. How do men unite?

What about you? When have you united with someone or a group of people for a common purpose? What has someone done to point you toward Jesus during a difficult time?

Click to tweet:

Everyone can put on a mask to make their lives look a certain way. (Click to tweet)

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday—Unite

Visit: What Comes In a Visit

Birds visiting

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—VISIT. 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!

VISIT

Life can keep us so busy we forget the art of reminding people how important they are. I’ve been thinking about how busy life can get, and wondering. Is this how God intended us to pass our days?

I find myself caught up in getting my house organized, loving my boys well, cleaning, running errands, cooking meals, and writing as time allows. But with all this structure and focus on my to-dos, am I missing out on opportunities to spend time with the important people in my life?

I have a sweet friend who drops by, unannounced on some days. She doesn’t usually stay long, but we always enjoy catching up on each other’s lives and laughing together. Sharing a hug. And you know what? I always feel better after she’s filled some space in my day. Because that is what she’s done. She’s filled me. She’s let me know that I matter to her by giving me some of her time.

I’m blessed by her visits.

Friends visiting

I’ve tried to have that kind of visiting time with the Lord too. Not just sitting, reading the Bible, saying an obligatory prayer and reading a devotion or working on a Bible study and marking it off my list.

Sometimes, I picture Him sitting across from me, sharing a cup of coffee. He does drink coffee, doesn’t He? And Him listening as I pour my thoughts on paper. As I pray for the people He’s placed on my heart. Listening to my struggles, my joys, my heartaches, my laughter.

I love the thought of visiting with Jesus.

Florida sunset 1

On those days when my heart is fully focused on Him, I’m the one who comes away with joy, with a sense of full-ness, knowing that He came to spend time with me. Because I matter to him.  He cherishes me—and each of His children—in ways we can’t understand.

Jesus is always ready for a visit. Have you shared a cuppa joe with Him today?

What about you? How do you show others they matter to you? What do you do to feed your relationship with Jesus?

Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post: Visit

Care: Reaching Out to Others

Grandfather clock face

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—Care. 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!

CARE

I’ve been pondering this word, CARE, since I saw it as the word prompt for today. What can I write about this word that people don’t already know?

I’m learning that to care for someone is more than simply saying “I care for you. I’m here for you.” It’s follow through, action, prayer, words.

Sometimes my kids need to know I care for them. After a fight, after mom or child fail, care needs to show itself in words and action.

In a broader scope, we show care for each other by caring enough to ask how another person is doing, and really listening to the answer. To look for ways to come alongside, encourage. We show care by bringing their needs before Our Father in Heaven. But care shows itself when we take time out of our own busy days to reach out to someone else.

Cross doors

When I had surgery a few years ago, friends cared enough to stop by and visit during my recovery. They brought meals for my family. They took my kids so my husband could be with me.

These actions of caring spoke deeply to my soul, to the inner fabric of who I am.

Care is more than words—it’s heart action. Reaching out to someone else to make their load easier. To encourage and strengthen with words. It’s being in community (physical or virtual) and reaching beyond our own comfort zones, and extending concern to others.

Caring happens when we look beyond ourselves and see the hearts of others, the wounds, the needs, and we do what we’re able to do to help them.

Praying…words of life…actions.

Reaching out to others in the ways we’re gifted to do so.

What about you? What has someone done that showed care to you? How do you show care to others?

Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Care

7 Heart Lessons From ACFW 2014

ACFW Collage 1

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It always amazes me how much my inward thoughts shape the way I see events in my life. Attending ACFW this year was a very different experience than the previous two years. I believe this is due, in part, to the fact that I am more confident in who I am as God’s girl, and as a writer. I know more how things work, what’s expected (though pitching my books still makes me tremble), and I’m getting to know more people.

Continue reading

Musings on Friendship

ImagePIctures of little girls holding hands, swinging them as they stroll down a grass-bordered path, always revives that “Awww” factor in me. There is something about having girlfriends that deepens women’s lives. I’ve been blessed over the years to have at least one friend walk beside me during a trial in my life. From the time I was a young girl until now.

I’ve had friends for a season and friends who have become life-long confidantes. God uses each kind of friendship in my life. These women have taught me something. They’ve had a hand in molding me into the woman I am today, the woman I am still becoming.

Some have helped me to laugh at myself rather than take life so seriously. Others have taught me to live with more spontaneity. Most have shown me how to live out grace in sticky situations. They’ve taught me how to listen with empathy and quiet. They’ve given me a kick in the pants when I needed it. They’ve drawn me up out of my pity-party and back into an accurate perspective. They’ve spoken truth to me when I couldn’t see it myself. They accept me for who I am, rather than trying to change me into who they think I should be. I hope I’ve given back as much as they’ve gifted to me.

I love how God created us to be interdependent. We can try to do life alone. But it’s so much more enriching to walk through the good times and the struggles with someone at our side, holding our hands, literally or figuratively.

Your Turn: What qualities do some of your closest friends have?  What is important to you in a friend?