Labels: God’s View vs Man’s View

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We had a conversation around the breakfast table this morning, my boys and me. In response to reading a devotion together, one of the boys talked about how all the popular kids were having sex (this is junior high, mind you), and doing drugs, and drinking.

I asked him if he liked it when other kids made sweeping generalizations about him and his friends. If they slapped labels on him because he does this, or doesn’t do that. He stopped.

“No.”

“Then let’s be careful what labels we place on others.” I felt so right saying those words.

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Should: When We Have Expectations

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SHOULD

Heat rising from the bubbling stew steamed her almost as much as her sister’s lack of helping. Martha stirred the pot again.

Why wasn’t Mary in here helping her? They were supposed to prepare the meal so the men could listen to Jesus, right? So what right did her sister have to sit at the Master’s feet and leave Martha to do all the work?

She should be in here, helping with dishes, and chopping vegetables and helping with  . . . . anything would be nice.

“Master, my sister should be helping me with the food prep.”

She was a brazen one when expectations weren’t met.

“Martha,” His gentle voice chastened. “Your sister has chosen the better thing. It will not be denied her.”

 

How would you have felt hearing those words from the One you were trying to please?

Isn’t it interesting how often we can get some great idea in our head, and it really is a good idea. But when we twist it up into what we think it should look like? We choke the life out of the inspiration the Master gives.

I’ve been guilty of this many times. I begin some grand endeavor, and then I get upset when others don’t go along with my plan (I might be hanging my head at this admission).

God challenges me to give up my expectations of what others should be doing to come alongside me in the great plan. Instead, He’s teaching me to turn to Him.

God has this amazing way of re-aligning my perspective when I begin to get out of sync with His plan.

When I take over the good plans He has, I always, always end up frustrated, discouraged, defeated. And then, I have to come back before Him, after His gentle (usually) chastening, and confess that I took His plan and morphed it into my less-than-great plan.

 

Instead of being the striving “do-er,” I need to become more like Mary and just be.

Be at the feet of Jesus.

Be attentive to His words and promptings.

Be open to His working in my heart.

What about you? When has God had to redirect you as you carried out a plan? What is one thing God has taught you when you chose to sit at His feet?

Click to Tweet: When we’re trying to “do our plan”

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

 

Love: The Power of Three Words

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“You are loved”

The man stood at the roundabout as we headed into the school, holding a sign with these three words.

One boy’s first comment was, “Oh no. What happened now? They always have those signs out after something bad’s happened.”

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More: When God Says Enough

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

MORE

Before we had children, I begged God for one. In His timing He gave us our first son. Then I prayed for more. I was pushing thirty-eight when our second was born, and I wanted more.

It had taken years for God to open the door to parenthood, and I wanted as much—as many children—as He would give me.
My husband, on the other hand, said two was enough. We were asked to pray if we would take triplets. We prayed, and God showed me exactly what my husband would say, and how I should answer. His answer to me?

Trust Me to give you Enough.

So I did. And we have two amazing, fabulous boys. And they are enough. Perfect for our family.

How many other times have I asked God for more? Sometimes I ask out of fear because I don’t want to not have enough of something. Some material thing, or some credit gained, or some recognition of some sort.

Most times, God’s idea of “enough” and mine are different. Shocking, I know.

 

I’m discovering that God wants me to trust Him to know when I have enough. Whether it’s finances, and covering the increasing costs for boys in sports, band, and other activities. Or it’s the opportunities to write, or to mentor others. Or that desire for more time.

Isn’t that something we all want more of???

Instead of asking for more, I’m learning to trust God to give me enough. I pray my desire to Him, and I let it rest in His hands. He knows how much of everything I need.

What I want more of right now is Jesus. More time in His word.

Closer communication and intimacy with Him.

I want to walk more like Him through my days.

I want more of Him to reflect through me.

I want more of His wisdom to handle the daily decisions, confrontations with teens, and situations that come up.

 

I want to be more like Jesus in how I speak, how I act, in how I respond to those who are closest to me and those who people my world.

Somehow, it think that may be a prayer God will give me more of.

What about you? How do you handle the quest for more versus God’s saying “you have enough?” What do you want more of when it comes to your relationship with Jesus?

Click to Tweet: My idea of Enough and God’s can be different

Hop on over to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday offering—More

Wait: How to Thrive in Waiting Places

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I watched my Super Woman plans fly out the window without me as the locker stuck fast.

I had big plans to run about a million errands on this particular day, and the x-ray had to be first. I thanked God that there was no line. I’d be in and out.

Easy-peasy.

Except that, after the x-ray was over, when I went to press my code into the security lock on the locker, it didn’t work. I tried again. No luck.

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Sing: The Power of Song

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SING. 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!

***I confess, for as much as I thought I had to say about singing, I couldn’t get my thoughts down coherently. I hope you enjoy it anyway. :)***

SING

Today, I attended my youngest’s final elementary school concert. The bittersweet that welled up in me took my by surprise. We’re approaching the end of another life chapter. Next year, he’ll be in junior high, growing and changing.

I loved the concert today. The energy of those sweet young voices filled the cafetorium with a fun energy that left the audience smiling. These kids had a confidence as they sang their songs.

Some sang with smiles creasing their faces. Others sang so serious. Some heads bobbed in time to their music. Some kids shared dances, others played instruments that enhanced the accompaniment.

 

There’s something about singing that is powerful. Singing has the ability to lift spirits, to clarify confused feelings, to replace anxiety with peace.

Singing can unite people of different belief systems. When believers sing in worship those doctrinal differences seem to slip away, at least for a little while.

Song creates a depth of emotion that the spoken word never can. The music, the words set to tune, the harmonies . . . these all speak to the depths of our souls.

Singing transcends the human condition.

It’s going to be humbling and amazing to worship Jesus standing next to His angels. The purity of worship in heaven will be more than I can comprehend this side of the veil.

 

God talks a lot in the Bible about singing. And it has nothing to do with the quality of our voices. It’s all about the heart the song comes from.

My hope for my son, and his classmates, is that they will come to understand the beauty of singing together. Many voices singing one (or two or three) notes. And the beauty of heart-level living.

And for their mothers to watch in wonder as their children grow and mature.

What about you? Are you a shower singer or an in-front-of-people singer? What strikes you the most about singing?

Click to Tweet: What does singing do for us?

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

Impressed: What Impresses You?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As we recently studied Mark 13 at church, the very first verse of chapter thirteen caught me and stopped me. It talks about how impressed the disciples were with the temple’s stones.

Mark 13:1 ~ “As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!’”

A little history according to Josephus:

  • The temple renovation began in 19 BC and was completed in 64 AD.
  • The stones were 40 feet long and 20 feet thick. They were white and highly polished.

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Hope: What’s Your Version of Hope?

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“A violent hope broke through and shook the ground . . .” (from “For the Cross,” by Bethel Music)

We sang a new-to-me song during our church service this past Sunday.

There was this one line that challenged me to re-think my version of hope.

I never thought about hope being violent.

This word has always struck me as a gentle thing, like a quiet rain falling or a pastel sunrise.

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Enough: Hurrying Toward . . . What?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—ENOUGH. 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!

ENOUGH

I checked my watch as I buzzed past some woman on my way into the grocery store. If I hurried, I had just enough time to grab the few items for dinner before I rushed to the carpool lane to pick up a boy (where, incidentally, I would wait for fifteen or so minutes).

Funny how I rush around sometimes, trying to bleed every possible thing out of each moment.

To be productive.

To get that one more thing done before I rush off to do something else.

I end up dry.

Sad how I miss so much when I’m busy rushing from one thing to the next.

I miss those slow moments with boys.

I miss sunsets that color the sky in glory.

I miss glimpses of God’s fingerprints in my days.

 

What if enough looked more like me taking moments slower? What if I chose to live in one moment—each moment—rather than trying to cram a few moments into one? What if I stopped multi-tasking and began cherishing the now?

Funny how “enough time” might look more like less accomplished, but richer moments.

There are times—seasons—when I will have to rush. It’s my season of life with two boys in sports and school and concerts and the end of the academic year parading itself onto my calendar.

But not every day, not every moment has to be crammed chalk full of completing my to-do’s. I need times where just being in the moment is enough.

Somehow, I think those moments will be the most refreshing ones. The ones that strengthen me for the inevitably busy hours.

Some moments will be busy, but they don’t all have to be.

Some moments it’s enough to just sit with God, coffee in hand and Bible in lap. It’s enough to just watch the sunrise or the sunset and the splashes of brilliance God paints across the sky.

It’s enough to find joy in the way God shows His love through color and hugs and laughter and quiet.

Enough isn’t found in busy. It’s found in savoring.

What about you? Where do you find “enough” in your days? How do you make time for stillness in your busy seasons?

Click to Tweet: What if Enough looks more like taking moments slower?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung over at Heading Home. Five Minute Friday: Enough

Torn: When Life Tears Us Apart

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

There are those days—those seasons—when it feels like life tears me apart. Not in the big “I have cancer,” or “my husband’s leaving me,” kind of ways.

It’s more in those ways of the daily challenges, the struggles that rip away small pieces of me. Those days when a boy in-my-face defies me repeatedly.

And I react.

When those things that were supposed to work out a certain way go terribly wrong.

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