Independence Day

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Happy Independence Day!

My hope is that you are spending this day with your family and friends. As you take time to barbecue, laugh, and enjoy fireworks and sparklers, may you also think on the incredible gift of freedom we are celebrating!

I wanted to let you know I am taking a little break from blogging. Our family has a lot going on in July, and I need to be “all there” with them. I will look forward to being back here in August, and I’ll be refreshed and ready to reconnect with all of you!

Please know how much I appreciate you and look forward to our interactions.

 

Expect: When The Unexpected Happens

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

***I went a wee bit over five minutes this week. Just had to confess it.***

EXPECT

I headed into the week with a lot on our plate. The boys were done with school (already?!). One had two days of band camp. We had house guests arriving. And my three guys were getting ready to head to Boy Scout Camp in another state.

I knew I had a lot on my plate, but I knew what to expect. I also knew I’d be able to breathe at the end of all the chaos.

What I didn’t expect was for one of my boys to pass out. At the breakfast table. And tumble from his chair. I knew he couldn’t be joking around (he’s a jokester). He would have stopped himself from falling onto the floor.

I had nothing in my repertoire of experiences to tell me how to handle this. So, I got him to the couch.

And waited.

And prayed.

And texted wise friends.

And was pretty much a wreck for the next few hours.

I didn’t know what to expect. We got a doctor’s appointment later that day. I knew God was in control, but I didn’t know what that meant? Epilepsy? Something worse?

The kiddo was tired for a few hours after he came to. He rested and I paced. What did one do with a child who passed out?

I worked on breathing, trying not to expect the worst when we met with the doctor. They ran tests, asked questions, took my son’s side of the event and then mine.

Of all the things I had planned for that week, having a kid pass out wasn’t on the list.

I don’t like when these kinds of unexpected things happen. Surprise birthday parties? Okay. Surprise faintings? SO not okay.

 

I had to come to God with my fears, with my concerns, and my worry. He knew exactly what was going on with the boy. Even though I had to wait a few days to hear the results of the tests.

I couldn’t live each moment, hovering over my son, expecting him to pass out again. Though that was my inner prompting.

We followed up with the doctor, who said the tests came back normal. Good news, yes. I had to choose whether or not I was going to trust God or expect the worst. Living with the mindset that we expect the worst to happen only leads to a stressed out life.

 

Living out the choice to trust God when the unexpected happens? To choose to rest in Him and trust that He’s doing/allowing what’s best for accomplishing His will? This sometimes feels harder in the short term, but making this choice each day enables us to live in peace in the long-term.

What about you? When did something unexpected derail your “normal?” How do you respond when the unexpected happens?

I’m linking up over at the Five Minute Friday site. Come join the fun!

Click to Tweet: I had to come to God with my fears, with my concerns, and my worry.

Christmas: The Greater Gift

christmas-cross-1

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I think this is one of my favorite images of Christmas. We celebrate the amazing gift of Jesus in the manger. But the even greater gift came as Jesus offered Himself in our place on the cross. What kind of love is this?

It’s the kind of love that leaves me humbled and feeling small. And yet, knowing I’m loved with that kind of passion fills me with a deep-down joy. As Christmas draws nearer, I am taking a break to spend time with my family.

Know that you, my readers, are a great gift to me as well. I thank God for you. May your Christmas be one that holds much joy, leaves you with treasured memories, and confirms that truth that you are greatly loved by our heavenly Father.

I’ll see you back here on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 (can you believe it?!).

Merry Christmas!

Test: God Is With Us

Test

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Why does God test us?

As I was reading Judges 3, I made it to the second verse before the Lord stopped me.

“These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wards in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):…” (NIV)

And it goes on to list the nations.

The first time I read this, I thought about the Lord testing the Israelites, as in—did He want them to fail? What was He testing? Their abilities?

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Homeless: A Heart Like Jesus

Home doormat

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Can I be honest and say I am a cynic?

And I am convicted.

As I watched this video, I was challenged to think about what home is.

I’ve seen and given to people who were wearing new tennis shoes and decent-looking clothes, and I’ve questioned if they were really homeless, or if they were trying to turn a quick buck.

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Humility: Choosing to Live Real

Wearing masks

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I suspect I’m not the only one who’s done it.

Who’s donned a mask for one reason or another.

Sometimes I’ve done it to impress others.

More often though, I’ve placed that mask over the real me because it felt safer to have people look at the image they thought was me than the picture of the actual me. Living as the real me was too dangerous.

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Whole: When We Are Broken

Quiet dandelion splayed

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—WHOLE. 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!

WHOLE

As a little girl, I began my school years feeling whole. Confident that I was a nice person, worthy of having friends. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with me?

It only took a couple years of being picked on to see that I was not really all that “whole” anymore.

A couple more years, and the lies broke apart my self-concept, leaving me fractured.

As I’ve written before, I spent decades trying to work through the fractures in who I thought I was, and align it with who God says I am.

I’m watching my boys walk through some of those same childhood struggles. Kids picking on them. Friends turning on them. It breaks my heart.

Always it’s the words that inflict the most damage.
I’m not advocating fighting, but boys sometimes throw a couple punches, and then they’re done with it.

But when the words come in? Those are what devastate a spirit.

white flowers snowy backdrop

When we believe what people say over what God says about us, that’s when our whole spirit becomes a fracture, a broken reflection of who God intends us to be.

That’s when we refract a crooked sort of injured light to the world around us. It’s filtered through the pain of words that broke our spirits.

I pray for my boys that they won’t walk through the years and years of pain that I have. I pray they will begin early to see who they are in Jesus’ eyes, rather than who they are spoken to be through their peers’ mouths.

It’s when we can begin to see that Jesus has made us whole—that He is the One who offers healing, that He is the one who puts the broken pieces back together—that we can be whole again.

Wild flowers burgundy amid white

It’s when we come under the sometimes painful revelations about the lies we’ve believed, the coping mechanisms we’ve developed— and when we allow Him to strip them awaythat we can become the clearer reflection of who God created us to be.

What about you? How have you seen God making you whole in some of the broken areas in your life? How has God done some healing in your life, making you more whole?

2016: One Word

Hazy trees, sun behind

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It’s funny how some years, I know what my word is right away, and other years, I don’t know. I begin praying about my word around September of the preceding year.

This year . . . nothing came. I tried on a few words to see how they fit with my heart. One grated, another fit poorly. None resonated.

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Light: Light in the Darkness

Christmas Star

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As we head into the Christmas season, it’s so easy to see the darkness in our world . . . terrorists claiming the lives of hundreds of innocent people, like in Paris a few weeks ago . . . mass shootings here in the States, false religions drawing people into their belief systems. Commercialism claims the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

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Busy: 15 Tips For Managing Holiday Busyness

Christmas peace

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Two weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on the effects of busyness on the heart . When I’m too busy for my own good, everything—and those closest to me—suffers.

A too-busy heart—a too-busy life—has no room in it for connections . . . with Jesus, or with those around us. We respond to people and situations on a surface level, because there’s nothing in us that can dig any deeper.

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