Christmas, Community, Trusting God

Provide: How God Provides

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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.

Continue reading “Provide: How God Provides”

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Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Near: Drawing Near

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

NEAR

The boy cuddled so close to my side I think he would have curled inside my skin, if it was possible. His warmth heated my arm, my waist. My arm swung around his small frame, scooting him in close. And my heart melted all over the place.

There is something about the nearness of a child that undoes me every single time. Knowing one of my guys, or even another child, wants to be that close to me.

For one person to stay that near someone there must be a level of trust. My boys considered me (probably still do, judging from the testiness some days) their safe place. Mama was the place you went when feelings got hurt. When you got scared. When you just needed the reminder that, yes, you are loved, no matter what you do.

That nearness is a trust-place.

I wonder if that’s how God feels about us? He longs for us to draw near to Him. To cuddle right up next to Him, knowing He will keep the world at bay for a little while.

I believe He longs to comfort us when life goes sideways. He longs for us to trust Him like a child trusts his parents. He yearns for the intimacy that only comes when we draw near.

He’ll never force Himself upon us. But He’s there the very second we want to draw close to Him.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I can’t hep but think of the way Mary’s heart must have dissolved into pure love as she held her swaddled son near her. As she cuddled him close to her, and planted soft kisses on His downy head.

Maybe we can draw close to Jesus even as we prepare to celebrate His birth, and hence the amazing work He did on the cross. Maybe we can remember how much He loves us and take moments to draw near to Him in the days leading up to Christmas.

What about you? What is your favorite memory of drawing near to someone you love(d)? How have you seen God draw near to you?

***I may not be able to comment and visit blogs tomorrow (Friday), but I am looking forward to visiting blogs over the weekend.***

Click to Tweet: He longs to comfort us when life goes sideways.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Near

Choices: What Will We Choose series, Trusting God

Choices (series): When Culture and God Collide

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve spent the last few months reading through the book of Jeremiah. The thing that struck me was how many times God gave His people the choice of whether or not to forsake their idols and worship Him. As I read, I realized how many times we have choices to make. In our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and especially with God. These next few weeks I will be sharing a 5-part series on choices (Read other posts here). I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what helps you make wise choices.

~~~~~

I don’t envy the prophet Jeremiah. At all.

He prophesied in a time when people didn’t want to hear his words. He was obedient to speak all that God gave him. And his was an unpopular message.

In Jeremiah 27, God gave Jeremiah a message for the new King Zedekiah. Words that grated against everything their culture believed. The culture told Zedekiah (and Judah’s inhabitants) that this land was theirs. They were to remain at any cost.

But Nebuchadnezzar.

Continue reading “Choices (series): When Culture and God Collide”

Dependence, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Depend: When We Think It’s All Up to Us

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DEPEND. 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 went a little over five minutes. Here’s my offering for the week.***

DEPEND

I sometimes live in an orphan mindset (check out what Allen Arnold says about this). I get into this thought process that it’s all up to me. To mother well. To make time to write. To force story from me. To complete everything on my to-do list.

I depend on myself.

If I could take a poll, I suspect many of us would raise our hands admitting that we struggle with this kind of mindset from time to time.

We depend on ourselves as if we alone are responsible for the outcome. Whether its in fulfilling a dream, or a calling. Or being the spouse/parent we are called to be. Or (as a friend reminded me) in waiting.

I hate that I forget to depend on God. He is the One who gives dreams. Who places callings on us, in our hearts.

He is the only One who can fulfill them through us. And that, only as we come to Him with our crazy-desperate need.

When we are waiting for things to happen,

for the next step of a dream . . .

the next direction in a calling . . .

the next step toward a change in life . . .

we need to turn to the One—the only One—who is truly, completely, lovingly dependable.

I’m learning to turn my heart over to Him more quickly when I begin to stress about something. When the kid has a stinky ‘tude.

When the hubs and I have an argument.

When the story just. Won’t. Come. Forth.

It’s not all up to me.

Sometimes God allows us into the hard places—those circumstances that are way bigger than we are—so we learn to depend on Him for the outcome.

He is the only One who can create something from nothing. Who can bring hope in times of discouragement. He wants to walk these times out with us.

Our Father is the One who can fulfill us and fill those gaping places within us.

We can’t give ourselves more than what we already are. Does that make sense?

We can’t fill the empty spaces within ourselves.

Or make things happen that are naturally beyond us.

Only God can.

When we trust Him . . .

When we choose to believe that He is with us in the hard, in the discouraging . . .

When we choose to hold to the truths in His word regardless of what life tells us?

When we choose to do life with Him, no matter what circumstances tell us?

That’s when we will see Him move. Maybe not in the ways we expected, but always in the ways that are best.

What about you? How do you foster a mindset of depending on God during uncertain times? When have you seen Him “show up” when you chose to depend on Him?

Click to Tweet: We depend on ourselves as if we’re responsible for the outcome

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Depend

Check out this song, “Take Courage, My Friend.” It’s been on my heart all day!

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

Being Still, Faith, Trusting God

Detours: When We Take Wrong Turns

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I saw the detour sign . . . and it told me to do the opposite of how SIRI directed me.

I’m not afraid of driving in places I’ve never been before. The upside of having GPS on my phone is that I can call on SIRI to get me directions to almost any place I want to go.

The downside of this is that, sometimes, SIRI is wrong.

Or, she’ll direct me on a longer route than necessary. I’m not sure why. It’s always a tricky decision when things seem contradictory. Follow the signs, or follow a satellite-directed app?

Continue reading “Detours: When We Take Wrong Turns”

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!

Faith, Hope, Infertility, Trusting God

Hope: When Hard Feels Easier Than Hope

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Sometimes it’s easier to see the hard than the hope.

Have you ever been in a season where all you could see was the hard? When those seasons become prolonged, our energy is drained, our spirits deflate, and our bodies become weary. And our thoughts?

Our thoughts have the power to help us frame our experiences. We’ll see them through the lens of hard, or we’ll see them through eyes of hope.

Continue reading “Hope: When Hard Feels Easier Than Hope”

Enough, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

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

Time, Trusting God, Waiting

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.

Continue reading “Wait: How to Thrive in Waiting Places”