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.

Continue reading

Good: What’s Good Enough?

Solitary at sunset

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

GOOD

Most of my life, I’ve struggled with not being “good enough.”

Good enough to be on a worship team.

Good enough to be accepted by others.

Good enough to be affirmed for anything about me or something I could do.

Good. Enough.

I still struggle, some days, with the fear that I’m not good enough.

A number of years ago, I poured out my angst-y heart to the Lord about my inadequacies, my desire to be significant to someone—anyone—in my world. I knew I was significant to my eleven-month old boy. To my husband. But to anyone else? My feelings convinced me I didn’t matter.

Solitary

Then God spoke to me. He told me I was significant to Him.

I justified why this wasn’t enough.

I know. Stupid idea. Arrogance and ignorance wrapped into one thought.

He asked me if He was enough for me. The question stopped me cold. If He allowed all my friendships to die, and all I had left was my relationship with Him, was that enough?

Conviction stabbed at me when my initial answer, honestly? was no.

Since that time, I’ve learned to lean on Jesus. to believe what He says about me. To let being His girl be enough for me. And finding incredible satisfaction and peace in this acceptance.

To know and embrace the truth that He loves me perfectly, passionately completely.

Crown Cross Stone

And as we head into Easter weekend, we remember the amazing Gift of love Jesus gave us as He hung on a bloody cross. As He took our beatings. As He felt the every thorn of the crown press into His scalp. Blood running down his face, His torso, down to His legs and His toes.

Is that enough for me? For us?

Yes.

So much more than I deserve. He. Loves. Me. He loves each of us.

And that is Good. And it’s way more than Enough.

We can take that truth, weave it into the fabric of who we are. If we let it, this truth can mend wounds in our hearts and make us clearer reflections of Him to the world around us.

What about you? How have you worked through the question of significance? How has the knowledge that God loves you completely changed you? 

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Good.

Easter: All For Love by Jeanne Takenaka

Image

What is Easter to you?

Do Easter egg hunts, brunch with the family, pretty dresses and Sunday service comprise your day? These are a part of our day as well.

The older I grow, the more I yearn to glimpse beyond the surface of the day, to Jesus. To what He did because He loves me, and all His creation. He purposely endured betrayal by one of His own.

Continue reading

The Hopeful Side of Easter

Image

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our two boys love Easter egg hunts. Since the time our oldest turned four, we’ve interspersed Resurrection Eggs* with the treat-filled eggs they search for.  Each boy hopes to find as many eggs as they can. They enjoy the tasty treats inside the regular eggs, but they also enjoy the contents of the Resurrection Eggs*. These special eggs  share the story of Holy Week through symbols that represent aspects of Jesus’ life, crucifixion and resurrection. The final egg is empty.

I love what this represents because it perfectly depicts what we celebrate on Easter morning. The tomb was empty. Because Jesus was made alive after dying. Because he lived a sin-less life, sin couldn’t keep him in a state of death. He was raised from the dead.

Why does this offer hope? For those who share a relationship with Jesus, it offers us the promise that death will not overcome us permanently either. No, dead people will not walk the earth like in the zombie movies that are becoming popular. But we have the hope that one day, our sin will no longer rule over us, and we will be made alive again. We have the privilege of spending our eternity in heaven with Jesus, who loves us. He died for us and was raised from the dead for us. We will walk in joy and love, and have a purpose we can’t fully know while we’re on the earth.

In the here and now, I am thankful for the hope that comes from having a relationship with Jesus. He gives me what I need to make it through the difficult times in this life. And, I have the hope that one day, these struggles will not be mine anymore.

This is why Easter is a hopeful celebration.

Your Turn: If you have children, how do you celebrate Easter with them? What gives you hope?

If you have a few minutes, enjoy this song.

The Darker Side of Easter

Image

Image courtesty of Patou at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My parents had a way of creating fun traditions for our family. Easter was no exception. My memories of this springtime holiday revolve around being together as a family, and the fun that came from believing in the Easter Bunny and hunting for those colored eggs. This was all good, and I love the memories and impressions from those years.

As I grew older, I learned the deeper aspects of Easter. In the early part of this Holy Week, I’m thinking about the darker side of the celebration. As a girl I remember celebrating the “after” without really thinking about came “before.” Before the resurrection came the crucifixion.

Image

Image courtesy of bela_kiefer at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My best friend, Jesus, hung on the cross in my place. The perfect sacrificed for the imperfect, the unstained for the sinner. Jesus’ love for me kept Him on the cross. He could have come down from it, or not allowed Himself to be nailed to it in the first place–He’s God. He chose to stay so that one day, I would have the chance to learn of Him and His amazing, covering love for me.

Each year, my husband and I watchThe Passion. I always cry when I watch what happened to Jesus, what He endured.

Why? Why would He take on the whippings, thorns pressed into his head, nails pounded through his wrists and feet, the hours of slow asphyxiation?

Love.

Why would someone love me that much? I don’t know. What I do know is that God’s love for me, and for every person, is that powerful, that passionate. He desires relationship, and the only way that could happen was for sin to be dealt with once and for all. Jesus’ death paid the price I could never, ever pay. Why?

Love.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end at the cross.

If you have a few moments, listen to the song below and share your thoughts with me.

Thanks for stopping by today!