Choices: What Will We Choose series, Trusting God

Choices (series): When Culture and God Collide

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve spent the last few months reading through the book of Jeremiah. The thing that struck me was how many times God gave His people the choice of whether or not to forsake their idols and worship Him. As I read, I realized how many times we have choices to make. In our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and especially with God. These next few weeks I will be sharing a 5-part series on choices (Read other posts here). I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what helps you make wise choices.

~~~~~

I don’t envy the prophet Jeremiah. At all.

He prophesied in a time when people didn’t want to hear his words. He was obedient to speak all that God gave him. And his was an unpopular message.

In Jeremiah 27, God gave Jeremiah a message for the new King Zedekiah. Words that grated against everything their culture believed. The culture told Zedekiah (and Judah’s inhabitants) that this land was theirs. They were to remain at any cost.

But Nebuchadnezzar.

Continue reading “Choices (series): When Culture and God Collide”

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Choices, God

Orphaned: When Love Has to Choose

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Tears welled in my eyes and my nose filled as I read the story.

Of a father in China whose 6-day old baby was in dire need of heart surgery. But he had no money to pay for the procedure that would save his baby boy’s life.

What’s a parent to do in the midst of such terrible choices? Bring the child home to die, or abandon them in the hopes that someone would take and care for them? Continue reading “Orphaned: When Love Has to Choose”

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!

ACFW, Expectations, Trusting God

Expectations: Reflections From ACFW 2017

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever entered an experience with a certain sort of expectation? I’ve done this. Many times. Sometimes those expectations are satisfied. More often, though, mine have been disappointed.

I just arrived home from my sixth ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. It’s hard to believe I’ve gone to so many. Most of those years, I’ve tucked hopes and dreams along with clothes into my luggage.

Each year, those hopes and dreams have shifted.

Continue reading “Expectations: Reflections From ACFW 2017”

God's Love, Identity, Perspective

Beauty: When the World Has Its Say

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Watching children grow up is both sweet and bittersweet. On the first day of junior high, as Edmund and I stood in line to check in, I watched former sixth grade girls—fellow classmates of my son—step into the line.

Many of them wore makeup, covering their natural beauty, their natural features. Brushing color onto their cheeks and nuancing their eyes to look more grown up, to appear more beautiful.

Continue reading “Beauty: When the World Has Its Say”

Perspective, Trials, Trusting God

Trust: Looking to God

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I was reading Psalm 37 the other day. I have always loved the first verses of this chapter. This time when I read it, verse three jumped out at me. In the ESV, it says,

“Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.”

We all hear about trusting in the Lord. We all know we should do it. And, many of us say we do this.

And, we probably do most of the time.

Continue reading “Trust: Looking to God”

Community, Five Minute Friday scribblings, God's Love

Neighbor: Crossing Borders

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NEIGHBOR

One of the downsides of living in a big city is that everyone is occupied in their own lives. We’ve all heard about the neighborhoods where people drive into their garages and close the doors. Setting up borders around themselves and their families.

I miss the small town feel of neighbors standing out by the mailbox and chatting for awhile. Getting the paper for each other when one neighbor is out of town. Of borrowing a cup of sugar.

When is the last time you asked your neighbor if you could borrow something because you were in a pinch for your evening meal?

Neighborhoods should be more than a place where a bunch of houses stand right next to each other.

Neighbors should be more than people who live adjacent to us.

Says the one who has—too many times—closed her garage door because she has too much to do to stop and talk.

What if we crossed each other’s borders every now and then?

What if we decided to be brave and talk with the person at the mailbox or the person out walking their dog?

What if we reached beyond our own border with kindness and with a desire to be Jesus-with-skin-on to those around us?

How many times have you been brave and reached out, and been surprised to find genuine connection with another?

It takes risking our comfort to love others as Jesus does. We must reach beyond ourselves and care for others more than for our own convenience.

Isn’t that what Jesus did? He got into peoples’ business and offered them hope.

The woman at the well received freedom the day Jesus reached out to his “neighbor.”

If we can set aside a few minutes in our schedule to at least open up the opportunity to say hello to a neighbor, I wonder what God could do? What He might reveal to those who people our lives and live close to our borders?

The only way we’ll know is to be brave and reach out.

What about you? What sort of neighborhood do you live in? What’s one way you have reached beyond your borders to those nearby?

Click to Tweet: It takes risking our comfort to love others as Jesus does.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Neighbor

God's Love, Identity, Perspective

Beauty: How Do You Define Beauty?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I have five decades of life under my proverbial belt. And still, there are days when I let the mirror try to tell me truth as it sees it.

The bad hair days . . .

The days when my face bears pimples (yes, at fifty, I still get these) . . .

The ever-enlarging pores on my face . . .

The rounding middle, flabby thighs . . .

The thinning hair that sports more gray as the boys grow older and try new things . . .

Continue reading “Beauty: How Do You Define Beauty?”

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”