See: When We Need to Look Upward

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

He sat by the temple gate called Beautiful. He was lame in both legs. Couldn’t even walk to his begging post.

What must he have felt? He couldn’t limp, much less walk, to the temple gate. Someone had to carry him there. No doubt dust kicked up into his face as people passed his begging post.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

Stuff: When We Need White Space

snowy layered morning

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I can’t believe we’re two weeks into 2017! In the interest of starting things new, I’m sharing a three-part series about something that impacted me in a powerful way last year.

*****

I never knew a simple decision would lead to so much heart change.

A challenge to create more white space in my life, my home . . .

An author friend issued a challenge to a create white space in my home. Though I longed to do this, the only room that came to mind was my project/clutter/things-to-sell/stuff-I don’t-know-what-to-do-with room.

And I had no idea of how to begin.

Continue reading

Gift: What We Can Give To Others

Jesus ornament

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are officially in the holiday season. Though there’s not much snow and festive weather in my corner of the country, it doesn’t change the fact that the holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is in the past and Christmas looms large in my life’s windshield.

Hubs and I have completed most of our shopping. But there are parties to prepare for. Boys’ band concerts to attend. Activities to do so we can build memories with our quickly growing up boy-men. A house to decorate. Things to make. Gifts to wrap. Things to DO.

Continue reading

Gratitude: What Gratitude Does

gratitude-turns-m-beattie-copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We were tromping through a dump in Manila when I first understood how much abundance I possess.

I was on my first far-away missions trip, and that day was eye-opening. In groups of two-three, we visited with the residents who lived there.

Yes, people lived in the dump. Where rancid water puddled on the unpaved roads. Where young children dug in the high mounds of trash, searching for copper to sell. Where the danger of the methane gas and the instability of those mounds could lead to death with one misstep.

Continue reading

Gratitude: What We Have and Have Not

for-what-i-have-received-storm-jameson-copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve said before . . . it’s been a year. I’m choosing to focus on gratitude this month. As I’ve pondered what I want to share, the above quote stood out to me.

I have received much from the Lord this year:

When I tore my ACL, I had a great surgeon to help fix me up. And superb physical therapists to exercise me back to full mobility.

Continue reading

Journey: When We’re Weary

Red dirt path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—JOURNEY. 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!

JOURNEY

I’ve said it before. This year has turned out so differently than I anticipated.

It’s held many complications to “my” plans, my hopes. So many distractions.

Hubs traveling. Boys bickering. Injuries thrown in. Disappointments along the way.

Right now, my journey—my path— feels overrun with vines.

And I am . . . weary.

I shouldn’t be irritated by the small things, I know I shouldn’t. But when I am weary, irritation is one of the first indicators. My poor family.

God never promises us an easy journey. Whether we’re on the marriage journey, the parenting journey, the infertility journey, the dream-seeking journey, or the illness journey.

Zion narrow trail

He never promises us a smooth and rock-free path.

He never declares it will be a hill-less hike.

Instead, it’s a journey where we sometimes get tripped up. The path turns in unexpected directions. Sometimes we trip on the rocks in the path. At times, the path is so narrow we barely fit on it without plummeting from the drop off a few inches away.

There are seasons where the path is even. Times when things go fairly smoothly.

And there are times when the path I’m walking feels steep, defeating, and discouraging.

One thing I’ve learned is that, no matter where I’m at in my journey, I need to trust my Father. He knows each step coming up for me.

Quiet Path

 

When my eyes are fixed on Him, though I may trip, the recovery won’t be as difficult, because God is there. Though I may stumble or get caught up in the vines of unmet expectations (with people or circumstances), God’s grace will catch me. He will untangle me. He will set me aright again.

He will always be with me. With us on every step of our journey.

What about you? When your journey has been hard or discouraging, how did you work through it? What’s your favorite verse for those times when the journey feels overwhelming?

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

Click to Tweet: He knows each step coming up for me. 

Hope: In the Hard Times

romans-5-5-copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—FIVE. 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!

When Kate gave us our prompt for tonight, I about choked. Number posts are hard. Then, God  brought to mind a verse that has flittered on the edges of my thoughts for a couple weeks now. This verse is Romans 5:5.

And, here we go:

FIVE

There’s been a whole lot of hard going on in life. I feel stretched by the days, by the boys’ schedules, by stresses going on in hubby’s work. I feel worn down at times by the struggles friends are facing.

By the challenges that come at us through others’ choices.

I mentioned in my Tuesday post that a boy in our community chose suicide over life, and my heart grieves for his family. I can’t help but think of his mama, of the final words spoken, the fears she may have had as she watched her son.

Life is hard.

It’s so easy to place our hope in things, in circumstances, in people. And these may help us . . . for awhile.

But sooner or later, we’ll be disappointed, because all of these are less than perfection. They’re less than God.

wild-flower-and-shadow

When we place our hope in God, then we will not be disappointed. This doesn’t mean our circumstances will change. Chances are good they may not.

But when we place our hope in God, our perspective changes. When we trust Him to walk with us through the hard—when we invite him into the struggle—we can walk with a rest in our spirits. Sometimes with peace.

God’s love has been poured out in our hearts. It is overflowing into our beings. He loves every part of who we are with every part of who He is. Knowing we are loved can shift our perspectives in amazing ways.

Knowing we don’t have to perform in a certain way in a trial? That gives peace and freedom to walk through it. To grapple with the hard, and to come out victorious.

sunlight-and-flowers

When we embrace the truth that God loves us, that His love is all we need? That’s when the overwhelming parts of life can be conquered. Circumstances may appear to win in the short term. But in the picture of eternity? We’ve already overcome.

What about you? When you’ve been overwhelmed, what has helped you overcome? How do you find hope in the hard times?

Click to Tweet: When we place our hope in God, our perspective changes.

I’m linking up with Kate at Five Minute Friday—Five

By the way, Susan Shipe has coordinated a great book with a number of Five Minute Friday posts in it. It releases Monday! If you choose to purchase one, all the funds go to support two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe. Please consider helping these ministries and being blessed by the words of many wonderful writers!

its-a-five-minute-fridaybook-2

Hope: When Our Days Are Dark

darkness-and-moon

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Many people around me are walking through dark days right now. One friend’s marriage is dying at the grip of infidelity. Betrayal has broken her spirit and her heart. She’s left reeling, trying to figure out what her next step needs to be.

A friend’s son has turned away from all the values he was raised with. He’s walking in his own will, oblivious to the coming consequences for his choices. His mama’s heart is broken.

Continue reading

Scars: Why We Don’t Need to Hide Them

Broken leaves+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

When summer arrived, my “silly-girl” question was, “Do I wear capris, shorts, above-the-knee skirts that show my ACL surgery scars?” How closely would people look at my knees? Yes, I know, it’s kind of ridiculous to worry about this. But, the scars from my surgery were still definitely visible.

In our society that smiles on perfection, it’s tempting to hide my scars.

Continue reading