Stress: When We Need to Trust

black-and-white-winter-road

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My life’s been humming with a constant undercurrent of stress. I’ve said before that these past few months have had a lot going on in them. Lots of unexpected things to handle. Many moments of drama to work through with the boys, neighbors, and others.

And they’ve left me in this state where there’s no stillness. As I spent some time with the Lord last week, Psalm 125 stopped me. Verse one says:

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

    which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (NIV)

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Complain: When Provision Looks Different Than We Expected

River rocks K-trail

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

The other day, I was reading in Numbers 11 . You may know the story . . . the one about how the Israelites were tired of manna. They wanted meat, doggone it. And why couldn’t they just be in Egypt, where the food was free, and there was variety?

Never mind the fact that they were slaves, treated cruelly by the Egyptians. But they had good food!

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Intentional: Accepting What God Offers

autumn-pathway

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ll never forget the day.

I was sitting with a friend at a Quizno’s. She always had a way of speaking truth, even hard truth, with gentleness. And she had the gift of prophecy.

“You have a gaping wound in your heart, Jeanne.”

Nine eye-opening words.

With those words, God opened my spiritual eyes to see the wound and its cause.

Rejection.

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Control: Who’s In Control?

footprints-near-waves

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—CONTROL. 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!

CONTROL

Have I ever mentioned that I might have an issue with control? And the funny thing is, a lot of times, I think God is letting me have control in my daily decisions about how I live life. Yes, you can laugh.

When I was newly married and we’d been “trying” to have a baby, we conceived . . . and lost the child within eleven weeks. I was devastated but convinced if we tried a little longer it would happen.

That was the beginning of my journey into learning how little control I really have.

I prayed, begged, got on my face and cried to God asking for a baby. He wasn’t being capricious or mean by saying, “Not yet.”

He was drawing me closer to Himself.

In that time period, God taught me so much about His sovereignty.

And in His sovereignty, I came to see God’s love for me.

he-had-plans-copy

 

He had plans for conforming me into the image of Jesus that could only be completed as I learned to walk more closely with Him.

As I learned how to trust Him.

And He’s continued with the trust lessons. On this writing journey, I’ve had to drop a lot of my self-sufficiency and my timelines and plans and learn to embrace His.

No, I haven’t always done it gracefully.

As I have learned to relinquish control over things I thought I controlled, I’m learning to walk in a greater peace.

Learning to trust Him with all things—big and small—is one of my life-long lessons. 

I am still not perfect in the trust department, but I am slowly learning to turn things over to him more quickly.

As I have struggled with watching friends progress in their writing journeys, and I’ve seemingly stayed in the same place, God’s teaching me how to give each aspect of “my” writing over to Him.

silhouetted-sunrise

He’s also freeing me from lies I’ve believed all my life. God is helping me to be more real—more authentic—in my writing and in my daily living.

I never would have learned these lessons had He not begun to teach me about Who’s really in control of “my” life.

What about you? What lessons has God taught you about control? How have you come to see His love for you in your life?

Click to Tweet: Can we have control and still trust God?

I forgot to mention…I had the privilege of visiting with my online friend, Holly Barrett and recording a podcast with her. If you want to hear our conversation, check it out at Living a Redeemed Life.

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

Refine: Giving Up Control

docked-sailboats

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—REFINE. 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!

REFINE

True confession: I like control. Not controlling others, but being able to have some control of my life.

And God probably looks down at me some days, and says, “Silly, silly girl.”

Most of the time, I know how my days are going to flow. I’ve got a good feel of what’s coming.

And I like it that way.

The thing is? This way of living requires very little trust on my end.

Recently, God has placed our family in a situation where I have. No. Control.

Something is happening, and it’s way out of my time parameters.

God’s plans and mine have collided, and my heart hasn’t been a pretty place.

The things is: I know God is good. I know He’s in control.

And I have to trust Him with this situation. It involves people I really care about, and it’s hard not being able to do anything for them.

Sometimes, refining comes in the form of heart work. I talk about trusting God. And I do trust Him. I do.

romans-8-29-copy

 

But sometimes God refines me by placing me in a situation where I have to choose trust. I have to choose to walk out this situation in His timing. His parameters. And this is hard for a girl who likes a little control.

God’s refining often smooths away the rough edges the world’s chipped off around my heart.  His refining touch brings smoothness to the rough places. It begins a work of beauty in a place of ugliness.

When God refines us, it’s always done with the utmost of His love. He never hurts, jars, or challenges us for the sake of just doing these. He is very intentional in the work He does.

His end goal is to help us to look a little more like Jesus.

If we didn’t face those hard places in life . . .

. . . if we weren’t put in positions where we had to stretch and choose . . .

. . . we would remain stilted. Half-finished. Incomplete.

hawaii-sunset

 

As painful as it can be to walk through the refining God has for us, we can look to the beauty of Him, and we can keep our hope in Him. Knowing that HIs plans for us may not always be easy, but they are always good.

What about you? When has God done some refining in you? How do you keep a good perspective when life throws you curveballs?

Click to Tweet: Sometimes, refining comes in the form of heart work.

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

Christmas: God’s Provision in Difficult Times

Mary Manger copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

**I first posted these words a few years ago, but I believe they bear repeating. May you be encouraged as you read today. :)**

*****

It has been said there’s nothing new under the sun. Things people dream up, actions carried out, sins committed, heroics undertaken—all have been done before

In all of history, one person faced something no one else would ever experience . . . Mary. She alone was gifted with the privilege and the heartache of being mother to the Son of God. And with unique opportunities to see God’s provision.

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Hope: When We Can Say It Is Well

sunrise-through-trees

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

A little over a year ago, when I first heard Bethel Music’s, “It Is Well,” things in my life were going well. It seemed I was close to fulfilling a long-held dream. My health was good. I was surrounded by people who “got” me. They understood what made me tick. The song resonated. Of course it was well with my soul. I could hum it and sing it and believe it with all my heart.

It’s easy to say, “It is well with my soul” when we’re in the good times.

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Park: When Our Dreams Are Parked

waiting-for-a-catch

 

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PARK. 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!

PARK

I pictured 2016 going in a very different direction than it has. I envisioned myself finally moving forward in my dream of being published. Or at least being agented. I had sugar plum visions of that happening early this year and then working with said agent on my book. Readying it for the world.

Silly me. I guess I forgot to consult God’s plans and timing in my dreams.

Instead of moving forward, I’m still parked where I’ve been for the last few years. Unagented. Struggling at times to do the writing. Disillusioned at times.

The thing is? I may not be moving forward externally toward my dream. But God’s been moving in me.

From the torn ACL in January to today, He’s been teaching me a ton.

He’s moved me into a deeper place with Him. I’m not parked in the same spiritual spot I was last year.

He’s teaching me to be honest with Him. To express those ugly emotions that He can handle hearing. And He won’t strike me down for feeling and expressing them.

Sometimes it’s in choosing to be honest with Him that I am freed from chains that have bound me since childhood.

its-in-the-waiting-when-copy

He’s teaching me to wait on Him. Waiting chafes at my spirit some days. I just want it now. (Do you hear the inner toddler in me screaming to get out?)

But it’s in the waiting when I can become still enough to draw near to Him. To hear His whispers of love over me. 

He’s teaching me to listen to Him. I’m learning to hear His voice in my days. No, it’s not audible, but I’m learning to hear what it sounds like. Yes, I ignore it sometimes. And then I regret it.

He’s teaching me to trust Him. With my dreams and with every area of my life. His timing is always, always perfect. Even when that means my dream doesn’t move forward in my time frame.

running-at-sunset

So yes, in some ways I have been parked in the same place. But in the most important ways, I’m moving right into the plans He has for me.

What about you? When have you felt parked in a  situation and how did you handle it? What lessons have you learned in the waiting times?

Click to tweet: His timing is always, always perfect.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung Five Minute Friday—Park.

Lift: Who Lifts You?

Holding Hands

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—LIFT. 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!

LIFT

Did you ever have one of those days where you just have to keep pressing on? You’re weary. The kids are pulling at every strand of who you are. But you cannot quit. You can’t run away to Australia (though I threaten to sometimes).

Or, maybe the job is demanding every part of you. A rough boss. Taxing schedule.

We all become weary.

I love the picture of Aaron and Hur lifting Moses’ arms during the battle. They strengthened him to do what he had to do.

To lower his arms meant death for the Israelites.

They were an interdependent community. Moses knew he needed help. Aaron and Hur were available to help him.

Why is it, we think we have to go through life strong . . . alone?

Why do we fall for the lie that everything must be carried on our shoulders?

God has given us friends, He’s placed people in our lives for a reason. He created us with a deep need for fellowship.

Can we do life alone? Maybe. For awhile.

But we’re going to fall to pieces. We’re going to be defeated by the enemy when we try to do life in our own strength, isolated.

Dad-son arm in arm

He created us to benefit from being helped by others. I believe God may even place us in situations where the only way to get through is to reach out for help.

When we ask for help, when we let others lift our arms? That’s when we are strengthened. When we let others help us, we are given hope . . . and so are they.

There are blessings to be given when we allow others to come alongside us in lifting our arms, our spirits, our eyes to Jesus.

It’s only when we invite others to lift us up in prayer that we can thrive. It’s when others lift us up physically—spiritually—that we grow.

Three friends silhouette

And we also gain a better view of who God is, and who He is in us and others.

Don’t be afraid to let others in. Don’t fear trusting others to lift your arms.

What about you? What’s the hardest thing about asking for help? What’s been the greatest benefit of letting others help you?

Click to Tweet: When we let others help us, we are given hope . . . and so are they.

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

Worry: Living Out Today

Father-son kayaking

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I be honest and say that I was naive about the teen years? I had this idea that, sure, the boys would grow bigger, hormones would pulse, change their voices, add odors, and transform them from children into men.

I had the idea that, though there would be disagreements, we’d be able to work through them the way we always have: talking about them.

What I didn’t anticipate was the changes in personality. The sneakiness as their thought processes develop. I didn’t expect the volatile emotions. I know, I know. I should have.

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