Community, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering

Support: When We Feel Alone


+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SUPPORT

The moment the boy entered the car he was all about telling me about this great speaker who said a lot of things that he loved, and I . . . didn’t. Not that her thoughts weren’t accurate. But it was probably that my boy heard what he wanted to hear.

And he proceeded to pick apart every aspect of parenting that Hubs and I employ.

I smirked at one point. And white knuckled the steering wheel really hard at another. And I may have been a little heavy on the gas pedal.

See, some of the thoughts he conveyed are things I’ve been struggling with as a mom.

Mothering teens feels so lonely sometimes. 

And when the kid comes at you with everything he perceives is wrong and why he should have more of this and less of that? It’s enough to deplete the joy right out of me.

When the garage door went down, he stormed to his room, and I strode quickly to mine. And I breathed.

And I prayed.

And I realized I really, really needed to talk this out with a friend who’s further along the mothering journey than I am.

As I talked with her, some of the doubt pinging in my mind—the anger churning in my spirit—dissipated.

God used her words to renew my perspective.

We all need the support of others in our lives. God has given us those who have gone before us to help us navigate the hard seasons, the tricky decisions.

And He’s gifted us with others coming up behind us on the journey.

Whether they are in the parenting road, the dream-chasing road, or the hard-knocks road.

We always have the support of others, if we’ll seek it out. We also have opportunities to be a support . . . if we’ll open our eyes to find them.

After time distanced us from the solar flare, the boy and I were able to move forward together. He knows he has Hubs’ and my support. Even though he may not always like some of what we say.

We’re family. We love each other through the struggles and the joys.

What about you? How do you support those around you? How have others supported you?

Click to Tweet: We all need the support of others in our lives.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Support

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Community, Five Minute Friday scribblings, God's Love

Neighbor: Crossing Borders

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NEIGHBOR

One of the downsides of living in a big city is that everyone is occupied in their own lives. We’ve all heard about the neighborhoods where people drive into their garages and close the doors. Setting up borders around themselves and their families.

I miss the small town feel of neighbors standing out by the mailbox and chatting for awhile. Getting the paper for each other when one neighbor is out of town. Of borrowing a cup of sugar.

When is the last time you asked your neighbor if you could borrow something because you were in a pinch for your evening meal?

Neighborhoods should be more than a place where a bunch of houses stand right next to each other.

Neighbors should be more than people who live adjacent to us.

Says the one who has—too many times—closed her garage door because she has too much to do to stop and talk.

What if we crossed each other’s borders every now and then?

What if we decided to be brave and talk with the person at the mailbox or the person out walking their dog?

What if we reached beyond our own border with kindness and with a desire to be Jesus-with-skin-on to those around us?

How many times have you been brave and reached out, and been surprised to find genuine connection with another?

It takes risking our comfort to love others as Jesus does. We must reach beyond ourselves and care for others more than for our own convenience.

Isn’t that what Jesus did? He got into peoples’ business and offered them hope.

The woman at the well received freedom the day Jesus reached out to his “neighbor.”

If we can set aside a few minutes in our schedule to at least open up the opportunity to say hello to a neighbor, I wonder what God could do? What He might reveal to those who people our lives and live close to our borders?

The only way we’ll know is to be brave and reach out.

What about you? What sort of neighborhood do you live in? What’s one way you have reached beyond your borders to those nearby?

Click to Tweet: It takes risking our comfort to love others as Jesus does.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Neighbor

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Guide: Which Voice Do You Listen To?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

**I have a very busy day tomorrow, but I will respond and visit over the weekend. Can’t wait to read your words!

GUIDE

There’s nothing quite so jarring as hearing your son’s voice on the other end of the phone and his first words are: “Mom, I’m not hurt.”

I was at a writer’s conference last year, listening to our keynote speaker, when my cell phone buzzed. Coming from hubs’ number, I had to answer. We’d been like ships crossing, and I longed to hear his voice.

When my boy responded to my, “Hello?” and said those four words, my heart ratcheted into high gear.

I asked what happened. He told me a story of how on a hike, he, Hubs, and another leader had gotten separated from the rest of the Boy Scout troop. The hike had gone, let us say, in unexpected directions.

My son and the two men with him, slid down a shale hill. Thankfully they only bore scratches from their “adventure.”

They had been following the voices of the rest of the troop, but said voices got further away. So, they just hiked in the direction they thought would be the fastest way back to camp.

After a long downhill slide over scratching, sharp-edged rocks, they eventually caught up with the troop.

It got me thinking. How often do I follow the world’s voices assuming they’re leading me in the right direction? They may offer good guidance sometimes. But other times?

I end up sliding down into a pile of discouragement and being scratched up by the lies.

I am learning that the world has its opinions, and wants to strip my of my identity.

And God has His truths and wants to affirm me in my identity as His girl.

The world will try to guide me away from the Father because it hates Him. God will always be there to guide me into truth.

The question is, which voice will I listen to? I get to choose. God’s way never leaves me with permanent scratches on my heart. That sounds much better to me.

What about you? What truths has God shared with you that have given you good guidance through a situation? How do you discern between the different voices in your life?

Click to Tweet: God will always guide me into truth

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Guide

 

Contentment, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Place: Finding Our Heart Place

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

PLACE

If only it was as easy to set up house for my insides as it is for my outside self.

I’ve moved a few times in my life. In each location, I’ve set up a place to live, a place that filled me in one way or another. That opened itself to a husband, and eventually two boys.

Marrying my husband provided a place for love. A place where I’m offered daily reminders and illustrations of God’s love for his children.

There’s still a place somewhere in me that is searching for home.

We are such complex, layered creatures. God didn’t make us one-dimensional. He’s created each of us uniquely. Which lends itself to each of us facing unique wounds.

I’ve sought to heal those restless places within me through seeking acceptance, approval, affirmation. At times, I’ve compromised who I really was in order to gain one of these things.

All the while, God had a special place for me to come and rest. He’s already given me (and each of his children) a place of acceptance. When our wandering hearts can settle into the truth of His word, into the reality of His love? That’s when our hearts find their place.

God is the One who fills us.

He is the One who loves us perfectly.

He is the One who heals those wounds within each of us.

When we accept His love, we begin to find our place in the reality of His eternity. We grow in contentment and confidence because we know to Whom we belong.

We know our place in His heart.

Cherished.

Loved.

Accepted.

When I live in this truth, my outside and my inside are filled.

What about you? When has your wandering heart found its home? Where has been your favorite place to live and why?

Click to Tweet: Where do wandering hearts find Place?

Today I’m linking up with the Five Minute Friday community—Place

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Relationship

Retreat: When Connection Happens

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous as July 21st arrived. I can admit that, as excited as I was, some of those ingrained insecurities tried to resurrect themselves in my thoughts. What would it be like spending the weekend with women I’d never met in person?

The locals said it was the hottest weekend yet this summer in Kansas City.

But oh, meeting so many amazing women was a cool drink of water to my thirsty spirit. From the moment I arrived until the final good-bye hug was given, my spirit was refreshed.

Continue reading “Retreat: When Connection Happens”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Focus, Perspective

Blessing: Looking for Blessings

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

Sometimes I look for blessings with the wrong perspective. I miss them for what they are. As I pondered at tonight’s word, the first things that came to mind were: the opposite of blessings, being rich in blessings, Isaac blessing Jacob instead of Esau. And then I thought about this…

BLESSING

Silly me.

I thought that summer meant a slowing down time. Sleeping in. Leisurely quiet times now that I didn’t have to take the boys to school every morning.

Silly me.

One boy is passionate about football. His schedule includes weight training four mornings a week, along with some evening practices. The other boy is in band. Which means practices in the evening. Throw in other appointments, friend get-togethers, an attempt at meeting my “Go Through Life” friends for Bible study . . . oh, and a husband who travels for work.

And this summer has been anything but rest.

I tend to be one who digs in and “gits ‘er done.” But It’s not even July and I am WEARY.

Tonight as I thought about our word, I realized I’m focused in the wrong places. My eyes have been on my filled-up calendar, on the lack of sleep. On the crazy boy-growing times (physically and in character, ahem).

 

Maybe, instead of focusing on all that I feel is being taken out of me, I need to shift my perspective.

For years—years—I prayed for children. And God gave them. I prayed for a closer walk with Him, and He’s working that out in my life.

Moment by moment.

Day by day.

Decision by decision.

I prayed for the braveness to write, and God gave me a story. And then friends who are writers. And an opportunity to begin blogging.

God often uses the mundane—the busy, the stressful—to open our eyes to His blessings. But we’ll only see them if we look beyond the chaos in life and fix our eyes on Him.

We can best see His blessings in our lives when we pause to think on what He’s doing in the midst of the hard seasons, the crazy seasons, the back-talking seasons, the wearying seasons.

 

He never promises the blessings will just come in and of themselves, gift wrapped and tied with a ribbon (though sometimes they do). I’m discovering blessings are often linked with growing times, stretching-beyond-the-comfort-zone times, and with humbling times.

What about you? What unexpected blessings has God given you? How do you define “blessing?”

 

Click to Tweet: We’ll see blessings when we look beyond the chaos in life

**********

After much prayer and talking with my husband, I have decided to take a blogging break for the month of July. We have a lot going on, and I need to focus on my three guys. I’ll be back in the swing of things in early August, and I’ll be so eager to catch up with you all!

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Blessing.

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Steady: Staying Steady

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

STEADY

During the Twitter chat, Kate asked how we got through writing rejections. I have had a little experience with these, and it got me thinking. Here are my musings:

Life keeps moving forward, steadily and constantly. We live through joys, sorrows, regrets, love. We experience the highs of success, the crushing lows of failure or disappointments.

And sometimes, though those letdowns aren’t earth-shattering, they are heart-battering. When I submitted a story to a publishing professional, I received kind words that told me my story wasn’t ready yet. After I’d spent hours on it. I was beyond disappointed. For a few moments, I considered giving up.

I had to process the emotions, the disappointment the sense of rejection. The fears of never being good enough.

Ultimately, though, I had to bring it all before God. To pray for His perspective. I had to ask Him if this was the road He wanted me to be on.

This writing road, it ain’t easy. Anyone who says it is is lying.

 

But when God says yes to the hard road, He also gives us what we need to walk steady on it.

In my case, I spent a lot of time with Him, in prayer, and in His word. I cried, spent all that emotion. I sought counsel from friends who are further along this journey than I am.

And I gave myself time. Time to process, to evaluate, and to seek God for a plan for moving forward.

He didn’t give me permission to quit walking this journey. And, in time, I was able to see the validity of the professional’s comments and the encouragement offered in the letter.

God gave me a mentor and a new story. He gave me hope and many reminders that He’s with me.

When I cling to the truth, to the indicators that I’m where He wants me? That’s what helps me to walk steady, rather than to fall off the path into the brambles of discouragement and the quicksand of “not-enough-ness” lies.

And there’s five minutes.

What about you: How do you stay steady when life hands you disappointments or worse? How do you get back up after you’ve been knocked down and keep moving forward?

Click to Tweet: When things don’t turn out the way we thought they would

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Steady. Come join the fun!

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Focus, Perspective

Worth: A Matter of Perspective

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

WORTH

Worth truly is a matter of perspective. If I place value on the gifts God has given me, the talents He allows me to exercise, the family and friendships He’s surrounded me with, these are all worth much to me, am I focused on the wrong things? don’t get me wrong, I LOVE those who people my life.

But, sometimes I am so about the things of this world, that I forget what’s really worth much more than even the relationships this side of heaven.

It’s all perspective.

We live a certain number of days on this globe, struggling, experiencing joy, love, hardship, pain and more. But, this isn’t the end.

This isn’t the end.

No matter what we value here on earth, it’s nothing compared to what it will be like when we get to heaven. The worth of things here will be the amount of a handful of dirt in the light of knowing Jesus. Jesus is worth so much more than anything on either side of the veil.

His love for us.

The gift He gave us in dying in our place on the cross.

These are worth so much more. Yes, we have value to our Father. But if we stop there, we miss so much.

 

Our eyes are focused on . . . ourselves.

When I can look on all the good the Lord has given me here, as much as I love it all? And I can place more worth in Jesus, knowing Him, and His love?

That is worth so much more.

The sufferings we face here are hard. No dismissing that. But, in the light of eternity, they are not worth comparing with the glory of what is coming. The glory of God when we meet Him face-to-face. That amazes me when I stop to think about it.

 

I need to get my eyes off my struggles, which are minor compared to so many on this earth. And I need to put them on Jesus.

He is the one who strengthens and equips us to walk the hard paths here. He is the one who gives us anticipation for the joy of meeting Him in person one day.

What about you? How do you keep an accurate perspective about what’s worth the most? What perspective helps you when the hard times stalk into your life?

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Worth. Come join the fun!

Click to Tweet: What’s most important in the light of eternity?

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering

Truth: The Destruction of Lies

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

TRUTH

As a mom, one of the hardest things I’ve encountered is watching my boys grapple with God’s truth. In a world that feeds them lies at the speed of light, they hear tons of different messages and come away confused. And sometimes hardened.

And honestly? Some of them sound pretty good. They hear messages that it’s not wrong to try drugs, or alcohol. It’s not wrong to have sex. It’s okay to bend the truth, just a little, to stay out of trouble. And if it feels good, it must be okay.

Yet, when we believe and act on lies, we end up maimed. When we live according to our own truth and disregard what God says is true? We end up stripped of value, of hope.

My boys will each have to come to their own conclusion that living their lives, making choices based on what God says is true is the best thing they can do. Hubs and I have told them. We’ve talked about it with them.

 

One of the hardest things (so far) about being the mom of teens is giving our boys the freedom to explore and come to the understanding that God’s truths are eternal. That God gave us His truth out of His great love for us. He knows what’s best for us.

We have to let our children discover the beauty of God’s truth. It’s in them working it out for themselves that they come to make His truth their own.

Our guys are going to make some poor choices along the way. I can still guide them. It’s scary to know I am not always the main person they listen to anymore.

I pray way more often and more fervently for my boys now that they’re in the teen years. I pray that they will understand that God truth sets them free. That His truth is what ultimately defines them.

 

God’s truth is the only truth worth listening to. As their mom, I will pray day in and day out. And I will be available to listen when they share their thoughts. And I will pray for God’s words and for their hearts to be open to hearing His truth.

What about you? Which of God’s truths have helped you in relationships in your life? Which of God’s truths has given you freedom?

Click to Tweet: God gave us His truth out of His great love for us.

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

Expectations, Five Minute Friday scribblings

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