Purpose: When We Don’t Understand

foggy-morning-trees

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PURPOSE. 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!

***Confession: I took a couple more minutes than five to write this.***

PURPOSE

Last year, I shared a little bit about how I put my brave on and sent in a manuscript to an agent. I had done my very best to it. Had people read it and give me their insights. I thought it was ready.

Turns out, it wasn’t.

I was beyond discouraged. A small part of me briefly (very briefly) considered ending my writing journey.

What was God’s purpose in helping me put on my brave only to be rejected? 

I had to take some time to work through the discouragement.

The agent didn’t send a blanket “thanks-but-no-thanks” letter. She gave me feedback on how to improve my manuscript.

fog-in-the-grasses

 

Can you say G-I-F-T?

As God helped me work through this, He gave me the opportunity to work with a very godly woman who challenged and stretched me. The first time we talked, I was crying within two minutes because God showed her things she couldn’t have known about me.

He decided it was time to do some healing in my heart.

This purpose could never have been accomplished if my manuscript had been accepted by that agent. God used much of last year to unlock emotions within me that I had pushed down since girlhood.

He used those months and the insights from my mentor to teach me the beauty of trusting Him and close friends with my honest thoughts and feelings. For some people, this is basic stuff.

For me, who was shaped by the lie that certain emotions were not acceptable? And that to gain acceptance (and avoid rejection) I had to only show the acceptable feelings . . . this has been a scary and incredibly freeing journey.

God always has a purpose in allowing us to go through the hard.

Often we don’t understand the fullness of it until after the fact. When we’re in the moment—in the strong emotional season—we can’t always see the work He is doing behind the screen of our life.

god-always-has-a-purpose-copy

 

We have to come to a place of being able to view our circumstances through God’s lens.

Then, He might give us a glimpse of His purposes for allowing us to walk through hard times.

Often, those hard seasons bring us to the end of ourselves. They strip us of self-centeredness. And, when we let Him, God sands off a little bit more of us so a little bit more of Him shines through.

What about you? When has God shown His purpose to you? What have you learned during the hard seasons of your life?

Click to Tweet: God always has a purpose in allowing us to go through the hard

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung, where many other wonderful writers also link up. Five Minute Friday—Purpose

Complain: When Provision Looks Different Than We Expected

River rocks K-trail

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

The other day, I was reading in Numbers 11 . You may know the story . . . the one about how the Israelites were tired of manna. They wanted meat, doggone it. And why couldn’t they just be in Egypt, where the food was free, and there was variety?

Never mind the fact that they were slaves, treated cruelly by the Egyptians. But they had good food!

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Christmas: God’s Provision in Difficult Times

Mary Manger copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

**I first posted these words a few years ago, but I believe they bear repeating. May you be encouraged as you read today. :)**

*****

It has been said there’s nothing new under the sun. Things people dream up, actions carried out, sins committed, heroics undertaken—all have been done before

In all of history, one person faced something no one else would ever experience . . . Mary. She alone was gifted with the privilege and the heartache of being mother to the Son of God. And with unique opportunities to see God’s provision.

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Hope: When We Can Say It Is Well

sunrise-through-trees

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

A little over a year ago, when I first heard Bethel Music’s, “It Is Well,” things in my life were going well. It seemed I was close to fulfilling a long-held dream. My health was good. I was surrounded by people who “got” me. They understood what made me tick. The song resonated. Of course it was well with my soul. I could hum it and sing it and believe it with all my heart.

It’s easy to say, “It is well with my soul” when we’re in the good times.

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Gift: What We Can Give To Others

Jesus ornament

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are officially in the holiday season. Though there’s not much snow and festive weather in my corner of the country, it doesn’t change the fact that the holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is in the past and Christmas looms large in my life’s windshield.

Hubs and I have completed most of our shopping. But there are parties to prepare for. Boys’ band concerts to attend. Activities to do so we can build memories with our quickly growing up boy-men. A house to decorate. Things to make. Gifts to wrap. Things to DO.

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Journey: When We’re Weary

Red dirt path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—JOURNEY. 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!

JOURNEY

I’ve said it before. This year has turned out so differently than I anticipated.

It’s held many complications to “my” plans, my hopes. So many distractions.

Hubs traveling. Boys bickering. Injuries thrown in. Disappointments along the way.

Right now, my journey—my path— feels overrun with vines.

And I am . . . weary.

I shouldn’t be irritated by the small things, I know I shouldn’t. But when I am weary, irritation is one of the first indicators. My poor family.

God never promises us an easy journey. Whether we’re on the marriage journey, the parenting journey, the infertility journey, the dream-seeking journey, or the illness journey.

Zion narrow trail

He never promises us a smooth and rock-free path.

He never declares it will be a hill-less hike.

Instead, it’s a journey where we sometimes get tripped up. The path turns in unexpected directions. Sometimes we trip on the rocks in the path. At times, the path is so narrow we barely fit on it without plummeting from the drop off a few inches away.

There are seasons where the path is even. Times when things go fairly smoothly.

And there are times when the path I’m walking feels steep, defeating, and discouraging.

One thing I’ve learned is that, no matter where I’m at in my journey, I need to trust my Father. He knows each step coming up for me.

Quiet Path

 

When my eyes are fixed on Him, though I may trip, the recovery won’t be as difficult, because God is there. Though I may stumble or get caught up in the vines of unmet expectations (with people or circumstances), God’s grace will catch me. He will untangle me. He will set me aright again.

He will always be with me. With us on every step of our journey.

What about you? When your journey has been hard or discouraging, how did you work through it? What’s your favorite verse for those times when the journey feels overwhelming?

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

Click to Tweet: He knows each step coming up for me. 

Hope: In the Hard Times

romans-5-5-copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—FIVE. 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!

When Kate gave us our prompt for tonight, I about choked. Number posts are hard. Then, God  brought to mind a verse that has flittered on the edges of my thoughts for a couple weeks now. This verse is Romans 5:5.

And, here we go:

FIVE

There’s been a whole lot of hard going on in life. I feel stretched by the days, by the boys’ schedules, by stresses going on in hubby’s work. I feel worn down at times by the struggles friends are facing.

By the challenges that come at us through others’ choices.

I mentioned in my Tuesday post that a boy in our community chose suicide over life, and my heart grieves for his family. I can’t help but think of his mama, of the final words spoken, the fears she may have had as she watched her son.

Life is hard.

It’s so easy to place our hope in things, in circumstances, in people. And these may help us . . . for awhile.

But sooner or later, we’ll be disappointed, because all of these are less than perfection. They’re less than God.

wild-flower-and-shadow

When we place our hope in God, then we will not be disappointed. This doesn’t mean our circumstances will change. Chances are good they may not.

But when we place our hope in God, our perspective changes. When we trust Him to walk with us through the hard—when we invite him into the struggle—we can walk with a rest in our spirits. Sometimes with peace.

God’s love has been poured out in our hearts. It is overflowing into our beings. He loves every part of who we are with every part of who He is. Knowing we are loved can shift our perspectives in amazing ways.

Knowing we don’t have to perform in a certain way in a trial? That gives peace and freedom to walk through it. To grapple with the hard, and to come out victorious.

sunlight-and-flowers

When we embrace the truth that God loves us, that His love is all we need? That’s when the overwhelming parts of life can be conquered. Circumstances may appear to win in the short term. But in the picture of eternity? We’ve already overcome.

What about you? When you’ve been overwhelmed, what has helped you overcome? How do you find hope in the hard times?

Click to Tweet: When we place our hope in God, our perspective changes.

I’m linking up with Kate at Five Minute Friday—Five

By the way, Susan Shipe has coordinated a great book with a number of Five Minute Friday posts in it. It releases Monday! If you choose to purchase one, all the funds go to support two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe. Please consider helping these ministries and being blessed by the words of many wonderful writers!

its-a-five-minute-fridaybook-2

Hope: When Our Days Are Dark

darkness-and-moon

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Many people around me are walking through dark days right now. One friend’s marriage is dying at the grip of infidelity. Betrayal has broken her spirit and her heart. She’s left reeling, trying to figure out what her next step needs to be.

A friend’s son has turned away from all the values he was raised with. He’s walking in his own will, oblivious to the coming consequences for his choices. His mama’s heart is broken.

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Scars: Why We Don’t Need to Hide Them

Broken leaves+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

When summer arrived, my “silly-girl” question was, “Do I wear capris, shorts, above-the-knee skirts that show my ACL surgery scars?” How closely would people look at my knees? Yes, I know, it’s kind of ridiculous to worry about this. But, the scars from my surgery were still definitely visible.

In our society that smiles on perfection, it’s tempting to hide my scars.

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Path: Changing Our Path

Walking Path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PATH. 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!

PATH

Last week, I had the privilege of hearing Ted Dekker speak. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a man who writes stories in ways I’ve never conceived, and some I can’t read (and others I have). But, I’m telling ya, his words were transformational.

For a girl who’s spent most of her life dealing with the fallout of childhood rejection, my path was set on people-pleasing. Getting approval at almost any cost.

My beliefs were focused on doing whatever was necessary to fill that void the rejection carved out in my heart. Even in the fabric of how I perceived myself.

Ted shared about something I’ve begun witnessing in my own, life, but I’m still learning how to live out.

When we change the way we view things—when our old beliefs are shaken—new beliefs can be planted in our hearts. Our paths can change.

Viewing with God's lens copy

As I learn to view myself through God’s lens and not the lens that has filtered my view of myself for decades, I begin to see circumstances in with new eyes.

As I have a changed perspective, I’ll respond differently to the things that happen in my life. As I respond differently, my path is going to change.

I think it is so amazing how God does this. He’s given us His word. It guides us on His path. But we get waylaid by life, by things people say to or about us. We change the way we see God’s path, His word. We alter how we react to the things that happen.

When we view ourselves through God’s filter, when we believe what He says about us? Things change. Period.

Hazy morning

We begin to live with a renewed spirit. With a refreshed vigor. We begin to respond to people differently. Even to those who have hurt us. We can view them through God’s lens and maybe (in time) show them His love.

When we change our beliefs about ourselves, our past, our path changes. When we align them with God’s truth, those changes are often for the better.

What about you? When has your perspective been shifted and how did you respond? What do you think about this changing your beliefs?

Click to Tweet: When we change our beliefs about ourselves, our past, our path changes.

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