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”

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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 . . . 

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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

 

Faith, Hope, Infertility, Trusting God

Hope: When Hard Feels Easier Than Hope

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Sometimes it’s easier to see the hard than the hope.

Have you ever been in a season where all you could see was the hard? When those seasons become prolonged, our energy is drained, our spirits deflate, and our bodies become weary. And our thoughts?

Our thoughts have the power to help us frame our experiences. We’ll see them through the lens of hard, or we’ll see them through eyes of hope.

Continue reading “Hope: When Hard Feels Easier Than Hope”

Control, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Infertility, Trusting God

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

Adoption, God, Infertility, Mothering

Miracles: When You’re Not Looking

black-and-mint-butterfly
+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I was sitting in my “creativity nook”, the junk room I repurposed this summer. Autumn breezes blew through the open window. I listened as it whispered through the tree, and rattled the boys’ art hanging on my “family” wall in this new, peaceful room.

My heart was heavy with all that is going on around us. And then, I read a post on those miracles you don’t pray for.

Continue reading “Miracles: When You’re Not Looking”

God, Identity, Infertility

Promise: When God Fulfills His Promise

barren hill

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

There’s something about Abraham’s and Sarah’s story that stirs my heart every time I read it. Especially the part of their lives as they walked through the disappointment of childlessness. As I read Genesis 17-18 recently, I was struck by a couple thoughts.

I wonder if Abraham had grown tired of hoping—of believing—that God would actually give him a child with his wife, Sarai. Waiting decades for a promise to be fulfilled is wearying on the soul and the hope.

Continue reading “Promise: When God Fulfills His Promise”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Infertility

Morning: When We Need Light

Autumn sunrise 2 copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

MORNING

Walking through our season of infertility felt like stumbling through a long night.

The despair I sometimes grappled with, the questions of if we would ever become parents.

The darkness of focusing on self rather than God took me to some scary places.

When He showed me that having a child had become my idol? Oh, that hurt. But that was also the first crack of dawn in the darkness of my soul. Whenever God shows us that our hearts are set on something else, it hurts.

Sometimes we need the hard words of His truth to help us return to His light. When we focus on other things, whether it is an unmet desire like mine, or anything else that takes our eyes off of Him, we begin to walk in shadows. If we continue on that path long enough, we wander into full night.

Fog lifting

Sometimes, God allows us to walk in those dark places for a little while. Sometimes it takes walking in darkness before we begin to see our need for Him. When our hearts are hurting, when our minds are confused . . . that’s when we need His light the most.

God is a compassionate God. His lovingkindnesses are new every morning. His compassions never fail. Even when we don’t understand why He’s allowed us into the place where we are, His faithfulness is great.

Sometimes, it takes walking in the dark of night before we can truly see the beauty of His morning light. Before we can experience those loving kindnesses He gives us each morning and through each day.

When He opened my eyes to see the idol I had made of motherhood, I could see the darkness I’d placed myself in. Then, I could choose to walk in His light. We can each do this, every day, when necessary. We can choose to walk in His light, rather than darkness.

Lam 3-22-23 copy

I had a hard time focusing for this word, for some reason. There’s so much that comes with morning, but I think the thing I like the best is that His light cracks the dark of night, instilling us with His hope, and giving us the courage to walk forward with Him.

What about you? How have you seen God shine His light in the middle of your darkness? What helps you to walk in His light?

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

Adoption, Hope, Infertility, Shelli Littleton

Life Lessons: An Embarrassing Display—Guest Post by Shelli Littleton

8. Bear (1)

 

I’m so excited to have Shelli Littleton guest posting today, as the second of a five part series on Life Lessons. I first “met” Shelli on a blog we both follow. Her thoughtful, encouraging comments—both in response to that blog, as well as to other commenters—revealed what a uplifting person she is. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the last couple years. Her love for Jesus and living her life for Him comes through her words.  

Please welcome Shelli!

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By Shelli Littleton

“Shelli, you have about a 50% chance of conception,” my doctor said, leaning over my hospital bed. I can’t begin to relay the pain I felt or the tears I cried. For you see, having a family had been my childhood dream.

Embarrassment … shame, and everything in between, covered me. All my friends were having babies … baby showers. I felt less than ….

Continue reading “Life Lessons: An Embarrassing Display—Guest Post by Shelli Littleton”

Confidence, God, Infertility, Life Lessons, Love

Life Lesson: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Footprint and wave

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’m beginning a five week Tuesday series. I’ve asked some friends to join me in sharing their answers to this question: What life lesson have you learned that has changed you the most? Please stayed tuned as Shelli Littleton, Michelle Lim, Tiffany Parry, and Jill Kemerer also share what life lesson changed them the most. And please join in the conversation each week!

I thought I’d begin by sharing my answer.

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“What’s love got to do with it?” Everything, it turns out. Sorry if I just put Tina Turner into your heads.

Continue reading “Life Lesson: What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

Calling, Infertility, Mothering, Relationship

Calling: Dwell Where God Calls You

E. Cartier Dwell where God calls you

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our pastor spoke these words on a recent Sunday, and they’ve stayed with me.

“Dwell where God calls you.”

God’s placed at least one calling on each of our lives. He has purposes that only we can fulfill. My friend might be able to fulfill my calling to a degree, but not to the the extent that God created me to do so.

But what about when I don’t like the calling, or when the calling is too hard, or when the calling is not the one I wanted?

Continue reading “Calling: Dwell Where God Calls You”