Dreams, Faith, Trusting God

Comparison: God’s Timing

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Today was gorgeous. The sun shone, creating all kinds of blue in the sky. Leaf buds and bare branches alike reflected it’s rays.

As I walked around our neighborhood, the trees captured my attention. Call me silly, but I got caught up in how bare some trees looked compared to others. 

Some trees bore branches with the nibs of buds on the very tips of them. Others were garbed in shimmers of green.

Continue reading “Comparison: God’s Timing”

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Expectations, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Stuck: When We’re Stuck

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

STUCK

I was happy for her. Really, I was. When the latest friend eagerly told me of her pregnancy, I tried on a smile for her. I was thrilled for her. But that hole—the unmet desire in me—filled with a bit of sadness. When would it be my turn? 

When a friend who has been writing for less time than me announced her first book contract, I was happy for her. I rejoiced with her. But on the inside? I hurt a little too. 

Why was God choosing to let me stay stuck in the same place while others moved on to their next chapters? 

There can be such a dichotomy of emotion—of thoughts—when someone moves on and we stay where we’ve been for what seems like going on forever. 

I’m coming to see that what I called “Stuck” God called “Opportunity.” What I saw as being held back, He saw as refining.

God has lessons for each of us to learn in our stuck places. 

The question is, are we willing to look beyond what we want and what others have . . . can we have eyes that see past our perceived holding pattern to the Lord? 

When we see others getting what we thought we would also have—or what we want—it can be so hard. Jealousy moves in. Discontent. Dissatisfaction.

Stuck places stir up all the ugliness that God wants to scrape away in the refining process. 

We must come to the place where we acknowledge the envy, the ugly in ourselves, and bring it to the Lord. 

When we look beyond our stuck place and fix our gaze onto the Father? That’s when we can trust His plan and His timing for our lives. We can relinquish those things we think we need and realize the main thing keeping us stuck is our own expectations. 

When we can gaze beyond these and into the Father’s face? That’s when we begin to live beyond the stuck place and in the freedom of trusting Him. 

What about you? When have you felt stuck in your life? What helps you keep an accurate perspective when you feel stuck?

Click to Tweet: There can be such a dichotomy of emotion—of thoughts—when someone moves on and we stay where we’ve been

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Stuck

Community, Relationship, Trusting God

Community: When Community Scares Us

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I believe we women (and perhaps men too?) have a deep desire to be known, accepted. And just as deep is a fear of not being accepted. 

Most of my life, I’ve waited to be invited into community. As a girl in elementary school, sharp words slashed across my heart, ripping open the skin of who I thought I was. 

I entered school thinking I was enough. I was a nice girl, a girl others would want to befriend.

Continue reading “Community: When Community Scares Us”

Control, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Turn: Trusting God’s Timing

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

TURN

A couple of months ago, I was rounding a clover leaf turn to enter the highway. I may have been taking it a little bit fast, but I’d done it at this speed many times before. 

All of a sudden, it was like the wheels were slipping . . . I braked and the vehicle began sliding toward the other side of the road, and moving toward tipping over the edge. 

I sent out one of those arrow prayers . . . and navigated as carefully as I could with no sudden movements of the steering wheel. I (being a vain thing) wondered what the driver behind me was thinking. 

Seriously though, every time I take that turn now? I am driving below the speed limit.

As I considered tonight’s word, I realized there are other life curves I take too fast. And when I do that, I begin to slip across the road and onto the edge. I don’t want to tip over. 

I push against God’s timing for my writing journey. I want my boys to be more mature than they actually are. 

They are boys, after all. TEEN boys.

I want things to happen at a certain speed. 

Basically? I want control. 

When I try to speed up God’s timing, I always end up disappointed. Sometimes I end up hurt as I drive myself off the turn lane and into the ditch.

I’m learning I need to be still before the Lord. To trust His timing.

He knows what my publishing journey needs to look like. 

He knows the lessons my boys are internalizing that will lead them toward a healthy adulthood. He knows the best timing for everything in my life. Every desire in my heart—if/when it should be fulfilled.

When I take life at God’s speed, I find it much more peaceful. Not always easy, but definitely less stress-filled.

Trusting the Lord to bring about things in my life has been one of the hardest, slowest, most-soul-filling life lessons. 

What about you? When have you found yourself taking life’s curves too quickly and what did God teach you? What helps you trust God’s timing in your life?

Click to Tweet: When I try to speed up God’s timing, I always end up disappointed.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Turn

Infertility, Trials, Trusting God

Distance: When We Feel Far From God

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I’ll never forget some life lessons. As we walked the path of infertility, I felt far from God. I couldn’t understand why He gave other people children, but not my husband and me.

In not understanding God’s intentions, I distanced myself from Him. It hurt too much to keep placing hope in a God who withheld a desire I believed He’d placed in my heart. I still had my quiet times, but that time was spent in rote activity rather than heart-renewal.

Continue reading “Distance: When We Feel Far From God”

Faith, Revelation Series, Trusting God

Revelation (series): Needy—When We Have Much

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

~~~~~~~

My college years were my “Laodicea years.” I asked Jesus into my heart at age fourteen. Through high school, I did things that grounded me in my relationship with Jesus. I attended a good youth group, made friends. I went to church. I even read the Bible. No coercion from my family.

There was this seed, though . . . it germinated the lie in my heart that I needed things the world offered as well.

Continue reading “Revelation (series): Needy—When We Have Much”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Provide: What God Provides

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

PROVIDE

Each day, as I drive the boys to school, we pass this pond. I love it. It reflects the mountains when its surface is glassy. It provides food for geese and ducks and other birds.

It’s just pretty to me. Snapping pictures of it makes my spirit happy.

I’m sure as some people drive by and watch me walk to the pond to snap photos some mornings, they may think I’m just this side of crazy.

It’s a pond.

In the middle of a city.

Right next to a development of apartments.

Big deal.

But, God brings beauty from it. Through it. He offers food for the water fowl. And glimpses of His glorious color for those who take a second to glimpse that way when they drive past.

How much more does God provide for us? His provision may not look like we’d expect. Sometimes He doesn’t provide what we think we need.

But God.

He knows exactly what we need.

As the geese need a place to land, rest, and feed, so we need places in our days—our lives—to land and be filled. Physically Spiritually. Soul-fully.

And He gives this. In Psalm 23, the first verse is meaningful to me. “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

He knows what I need. If He’s provided something—whatever that is—He knows I needed it.

And, if He doesn’t give me something I think I need . . . did I really need it?

I have seen Him provide for many of our family’s needs, and a number of our wants.

But those things He hasn’t given . . .

sometimes He’s saying, “Wait.”

Other times He’s saying, “This isn’t My best for you, Daughter.”

Like those geese, I need to trust that He knows. And if He hasn’t given it, then I must not need it.

He has a better plan for me. For my life.

As I walk through my days, I want to see His beauty. His provision. I want to be on the lookout for His presence in my days.

What about you? How have you seen God provide in your life? When has he not given you something you thought you needed and offered you something better instead?

Click to Tweet: He knows what I need. If He’s provided something—whatever that is—He knows I needed it.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Provide

Faith, Revelation Series, Trusting God

Revelation (Series): Compromise—Answering God’s Prompting

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.

The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we. 

We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.

This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series 

~~~~~~~

As the grocery clerk rang up my purchases, she shared about how a loved one had recently died from something she too should have died from. As I listened to her words, I heard the pain, the guilt, the confusion of why she was left to live while her loved one died.

The Spirit pressed hard on my heart, encouraging me to share about Jesus with her. I had prayed for this gift of opportunity . . . and I faltered.

Continue reading “Revelation (Series): Compromise—Answering God’s Prompting”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Infertility, Trusting God

Surrender: Making the Choice

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

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

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know part of my story is a walk through the valley of infertility. As I thought about this word, God brought to mind a lesson from those years . . .

And I’m sorry, I went a few minutes over five tonight . . . 

~~~~~~~

SURRENDER

Was it too much to ask? Really?

All I wanted was the gift of being able to bear a child. To carry one within, go through the blessed pain of birth, of sustaining from my own body . . . God created women’s bodies to do this.

So why couldn’t mine? Why wouldn’t mine?

This desire to bear children is God-given. It wasn’t too much to ask.

Yet every month, my body betrayed me by acting normal, as it always had.

I begged God. Begged friends to pray. Did research on how to get pregnant.

But God.

I wept. I got angry. I felt despair at times. Deep despair.

And still, no baby.

I spent hours in God’s word. Tried to serve. Tried to ignore the fact that teenage mothers were having babies they didn’t want. And I (and Hubs) who wanted a baby couldn’t have one.

I fisted this desire and held it tight in my heart. So tight I thought my heart would crack.

God finally challenged me. He showed me how I had made this baby-thing an idol. It had become more important to me than an authentic relationship with Him.

He challenged me to surrender this craving for motherhood. To lay it in His hands, with no promises.

And it was one of the hardest things I’d done up to that point in my life.

As I searched verses for this post I saw a common thread in surrender. When we surrender something, or ourselves, we have to choose to do so. We have to choose to give up . . .

Give up ourselves, our hearts, our desires. We have to Let. Go.

When we are obedient in the surrender, God honors that. He spares things. He blesses His people. He handles us with love. No matter what we’ve done. How willful we’ve been.

When we refuse? When His people won’t surrender? Things inevitably become more difficult.

When we cling to our own way over God’s way? He can’t make anything good come of that. He will wait and let us wear ourselves out. He doesn’t love us less. But He won’t usually wait too long for us to make a different choice.

When we choose to walk in disobedience, we walk outside the umbrella of His protection. And the consequences will come.

When we choose to walk in the center of God’s will, He affirms us in that choice. He doesn’t always make it easier. Sometimes it feels harder.

But when we surrender our will to walk in His? That’s when we walk with assurance.

Surrendering this deep-hearted desire for motherhood brought me to a place of humility. It also renewed my love for God.

And in time—His time—He gave us the gift of our two boys. I’m not sure if I’d ever have  had the privilege of being their mom if I hadn’t first chosen to trust God when He told me to let go.

What about you? What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to surrender? What is the most impacting lesson you’ve seen come out of surrendering?

I love this song by Lincoln Brewster and it fits with this week’s post. I hope you enjoy it!

Click to Tweet: When we choose to walk in the center of God’s will, He affirms us in that choice

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Surrender

 

Control, Trusting God

Control: When We Choose to Trust

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I strolled along the beach just after the sun came up, staying to the “combed” part of the sand. I didn’t want the inconvenience of getting my feet crusted with wet sand and then having to rinse them off before I wandered inside the hotel.

As sand crumbled beneath my toes, I was stuck by the way the waves smoothed part of the sand as they washed upon the shore. How they recorded their mark of how far they rolled up and then crept back to where they began.

The contrast intrigued me.

Continue reading “Control: When We Choose to Trust”