Faith, Forgiveness, Relationship

Wounds: 5 Thoughts For Letting Go of Offenses

Image of a country road lined by trees heading into a sunset

@JeanneTakenaka

We all have wounds. 

Not long ago, my wound got stomped on by people close to me. Things were said. The message conveyed felt like a snub, and it stung. My first response was to leave the situation. 

I moved on from the incident, but that re-opened wound festered, leaving me stinking on the inside, insecure in my thinking, and holding onto a grudge. My first thought was to ignore the pain caused by words.

But, ignoring rarely heals.

Continue reading “Wounds: 5 Thoughts For Letting Go of Offenses”
Identity, Mothering, Relationship

Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?

A bridge leading to a pathway with a mountain in the background

@JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever lain in bed at night and found yourself praying for your children or another loved one in your life? 

After a day filled with teen ‘tude from one boy and some extreme emotion that morphed into choices that left the other boy regretting how he’d handled himself, I felt unsettled. Part of me questioned when we would move beyond this stage of angst and grappling to our sons being at peace with who they are.

I suspect many of us wrestle with being at peace with who we are. Even in my fifties, I have days . . . But God. 

Continue reading “Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?”
Contentment, Relationship

Belonging: Understanding Where We Belong

Two girls holding hands

@JeanneTakenaka

For much of my life, I’ve tried to belong . . . somewhere. There was this deeper fear, that when it came down to it, I wouldn’t belong anywhere. So, I attempted to fit in everywhere . . . the popular group in high school, the swim team, various clubs, the “little sisters” of a fraternity in college, the choir for Sunday services. The singer-types on the worship team as a new wife.

But I couldn’t find my fit. I would reach out, but others wouldn’t reach back. And it only stepped on my childhood rejection wound.

Continue reading “Belonging: Understanding Where We Belong”
Faith, Relationship

Regret: After We’ve Failed

Photo of trees on each side of a pathway making an overhang above it

@JeanneTakenaka

One sure thing about life is that we will face opposition. We’ll be confronted with our own failings and shortcomings. We’ll be forced to decide how to respond to our regrets.

I love how, each time I read through the Bible, God brings different things alive in my heart. As I read through 2 Samuel, I gleaned insights about David. After his mistake with Bathsheba, God brought many consequences into his life. I was reading 2 Samuel 15 about how David’s son, Absalom, attempted to overtake the kingdom. Animosity toward his father had built in his heart for years (read 2 Samuel 13-16). Some would say he was justified in his anger toward David.

Continue reading “Regret: After We’ve Failed”
Faith, Relationship

Reader: 4 Thoughts for Reading People

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

Some of my earliest memories of my mom involve her curled up on our sofa lost in a book. When she read, it sometimes took WW3 in miniature form to bring her back to the world of three young, quarreling daughters. 

She was the first one who taught me to love reading. Even when I had to have eye therapy at five years old, I loved the feel of a book in my hands, the images from the story coming to life in my imagination.

As an adult, I’ve discovered there are many kinds of reading. We read not only the written word, we also read people and life situations. 

Continue reading “Reader: 4 Thoughts for Reading People”
Mothering, Relationship, Trusting God

Mothering: What’s Most Important

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Mothering teens requires so much emotional, physical, mental, spiritual energy. Some days I’m wrung out. It’s in those days when I must remember the most important things.

We’re walking through an issue with one of our boys. It’s been hard. 

Draining. 

Hit-my-head-against-the-wall frustrating, at times. 

And yet, I love this boy with all my heart.

This is a challenging time in history to be raising up young men and women to follow God. Watching our kids leap into pitfalls can be absolutely heart-breaking. 

Continue reading “Mothering: What’s Most Important”

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”

Choices: What Will We Choose series, Relationship, Series

Choices (series): When Our Hearts Must Choose

+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.

~~~~~

We always have a choice.

We are children of a God who always loves.

The thing is, God doesn’t manipulate us to love Him. We have to choose Him.

In Jeremiah’s day, the people knew God had brought them into the Promised Land. But in the hundreds of years since that epic event, their hearts had grown cold. They’d turned to other gods.

Other lifestyles.

They called God the Lord Almighty, yet they didn’t live as if He was truly Lord in their lives.

God sent His messengers to His people. He spoke of His love through the prophets. He also spoke of what would happen if the people continued to betray the covenant between Him and them.

They didn’t listen. Their hearts grew colder and more wicked.

And yet, God waited.

His first choice was not to pour out judgment and wrath on them. God’s first desire was to have intimate fellowship with His people.

When the judgment began, God’s discipline was gradual. He didn’t just declare He was done with them and abandon them. He did, however, allow His people to lose those things that were precious to them.

When Nebuchadnezzar took the first wave of people from Jerusalem, he also took all the tools of the temple. Those valuable, precious vessels that were supposed to be used by the people in their worship of God.

They weren’t worshiping. So, God allowed the vessels to go into the hands of a foreign king.

As soon as items used for worship were gone, the people wanted them. “Prophets”  declared God would bring them back.

Only, God had never said this.

How easy is it for us to take for granted the gift of relationship with God? We become busy with many other things. And often, these tasks are necessary.

But we relegate our relationship with God to that back corner of our hearts. Knowing He’s there, if we really need HIm.

And we forget Him.

We make our own choices, snap decisions, and move on in our days, our lives.

We forget God.

We forget how sweet our fellowship with Him was. How He filled us with His peace, with depth, with wisdom.

Relationships need nurturing. Whether it’s with a spouse, or our children, or friends. No nurturing—no time spent together—equals drying distance between hearts.

God won’t force Himself on us. He wants us to choose Him.

If we ignore God long enough, we lose our connection with Him. And when we need Him in a hard moment, He may not answer.

In Psalm 107, there’s a verse that talks about how people had gone their own way. They were living their lives, doing what needed to be done.

And then the storms came. It was only when they cried out to God—when they humbled their hearts before Him—that’s when He stilled that storm.

And, He guided them to their desired safe haven.

When we cry out to God in humility . . . .

When we acknowledge in our hearts how desperately we need Him . . . 

He meets us in our place of need. 

Let’s not become like the people of Jeremiah’s time who went into captivity before seeing how much God loved them. How much they needed Him.

Let’s be the people who nurture relationship with our Father on a daily basis—seeking Him, hearing His words, and obeying them.

What about you? When have you been in a place of need and seen God’s provision? How do you nurture your relationship with God and others?

Click to Tweet: No nurturing—no time spent together—equals drying distance between hearts.

Today I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering, Relationship

Discover: When They Talk

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

DISCOVER

His eyes had held the look all night. That expression saying something was on his mind, but he wasn’t sure if he should talk about it. Maybe all teens wear that expression. I know mine do.

Whenever I’m invited into the inner sanctum (a.k.a. his room), I try to say yes. That night, he asked me to walk to his room with him before he went to bed. What followed was an amazing conversation of questions, reassurances, honest sharing. I closed his door over an hour later, my heart full.

I’ve prayed for years that during these most trying years we would still connect with our sons. 

But friends.

Friends are so important to both of our boys.

Hanging out.

Being accepted by their peers. All of these things often seem to take priority in our boys’ hearts.

That night, though, I discovered something. My boys? They still want me in their inner circle.

I think this is true with most—if not all—teens, even when they seem to push us away.

No, we don’t talk as much as we used to. But the beauty is, when I take time to just listen as they express their fears, their thoughts, their joys, their secret desires? 

That’s a gift.

 

Nothing can replace knowing that they will share their confidences with me.

I know I’m just their mom. But, . . . I’m their mom.

Our boys don’t want to push us into the backseat on their life-car-ride. Well, not always anyway. They want us riding in the front seat with them. They don’t always want to hear our words, but they want our companionship. To be told we love them.

No matter what.

They want to know that we will always accept them. Be in their corner. 

And we will.

The discovering comes when we are intentional and take time to listen. Not always to give them advice (and man, is this on hard sometimes!)

Often, they just want to know they are being heard.

I’m discovering the beauty God’s planted in each of them as I listen to their words.

So, the next time one of our boys invites me into his room? I’ll say yes. In a heartbeat. There’s nothing so precious as being a part of their inner circle.

What about you? What encourages you to invite someone into your inner circle? How do you foster relationship with those around you that goes below skin-deep?

Click to Tweet: We can learn the most interesting things 

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Discover

Hope, Love, Relationship

Choice: When Love Is Hard

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

The boy’s attitude ballooned up bigger than our doorway as we rushed out for school this morning.

Teenage troubles, loss of a cell phone, Homecoming drama and hard decisions? They all coalesced to create a simmering heat beneath his normally unfettered surface.

I couldn’t wait for the boy to exit the car in the carpool line. Loving him was not the first thing on my mind.

I had my own bubbling mess of irritation threatening to destroy the quiet I envisioned for this day.

Continue reading “Choice: When Love Is Hard”