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!

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.

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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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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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Embrace: The Power of an Embrace

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—EMBRACE. 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!

EMBRACE

There’s something indescribable that happens in my heart when one of my boys slings an arm around my waist or my neck. From the time they were infants, there was something so . . . accepting in the simplicity of them wrapping their arms around my neck and squeezing.

Something so beyond satisfying as I held them close to my body.

Nowadays, those embraces come less often, but the sense of love—of safety—that comes for each of us is almost palpable.

There’s something that conveys safety in the wrapping of an embrace.

It’s true with physical embraces. What about those intangible embraces?

 

When we walk through a difficult season and God shows up? When He reveals himself in a way only God could? That’s like an embrace. It’s a tangible reminder that He loves us.

When He brings me face-to-face with something in my heart that needs change? That’s a hard embrace. But the hopeful thing is, He doesn’t just show me, He helps implement the change in the perfect way only He can.

Only a loving Father embraces the hard places in us and loves us enough to bring about change. Because it’s often in those hard lessons learned that we are gifted with freedom.

When we walk through seasons when that desire we’ve longed for, maybe even pinned hopes on, doesn’t come? We have to learn to trust. To wrap our arms around our Father’s neck and cry into his shoulder.

He holds us close and whispers words of love and truth as we pour out our hearts to Him.

 

God’s embraces may look a little different than we expect. But we can be assured that His safety is always there for us.

He’s not a predictable God, or a “safe lion,” as C. S. Lewis wrote, but He is always a good God, a loving Father, and a safe haven for us.

What about you? When have you experienced God’s embrace in your life? What’s one way God has taught you to trust Him?

Click to Tweet: What is in an embrace?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Heading Home Five Minute Friday—Embrace

Abandon: Living Abandoned or With Abandon

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—ABANDON. 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!

ABANDON

I’ll never forget the expression on our two-year old’s face when he thought we’d abandoned him. The terror, the people circling around him as his frantic eyes searched for us. I scooped him in my arms and tried to comfort him, but it took a long time.

How many times have I walked into a situation where I felt like an orphan abandoned?

Feeling that sense of abandonment does wretched things to a spirit. We feel the need to control everything. We’ll do anything to not feel abandoned.

The hard thing is when we grow up, and we’re still trying to control everything, we end up sacrificing intimacy with others—and with God—in our attempt to feel safe.

That’s the tricky thing about God. He is not one we can control. When we come into a relationship with Him, we have to choose.

We can only go as deep in intimacy with Him as we are willing to relinquish our perceived control.

When we let go of a little control, God moves into the space we have left open to Him.

But we have to trust Him. We have to believe that He loves us and that He only allows those things into our lives that will benefit us . . . sooner or later.

 

As we release the grip we’ve had on our lives,

. . . as we choose to trust Him,

. . . we begin to live life with a beloved child’s mindset. Not in an orphan’s mindset.

When we trust our Father to do what’s good in our lives, we can go from living abandoned to living with abandon.

When we allow God into all the areas of our lives, He transforms us. Sometimes it’s immediate, but more often transformation is a work in progress.

 

Instead of frantically looking around—like my son—we can look with confidence or at least peace.

Even when the hard comes.

Even when we have no control.

Because when we know and trust the One . . . when we look to Him we are never abandoned. We’re never invisible.

What about you? When have you chosen to live with abandon? What lessons have you learned by living knowing you are loved by God?

Click to Tweet: When we allow God in He transforms

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Heading Home Five Minute Friday—Abandon

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

Stress: When We Need to Trust

black-and-white-winter-road

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My life’s been humming with a constant undercurrent of stress. I’ve said before that these past few months have had a lot going on in them. Lots of unexpected things to handle. Many moments of drama to work through with the boys, neighbors, and others.

And they’ve left me in this state where there’s no stillness. As I spent some time with the Lord last week, Psalm 125 stopped me. Verse one says:

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

    which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (NIV)

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Weak: When We Are Weak

qt-in-the-morning

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—WEAK. 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!

WEAK

It’s been coming on for the past few months. Weeks of unending demands on my energy, my time, and my spirit have sapped strength right out of me.

Traveling, two surgeries (one for a son and one for me) two days apart, and life still doesn’t stop for recovery. Though my hubs has been wonderful.

I feel weak. I’m doing my best to do the important things . . .

Spending time with God.

Praying.

Exercising (kind of).

Eating right.

Trying (and I emphasize trying) to get enough sleep.

Things keep sabotaging  my best-laid plans to do it all right.

I am so very weak.

2-cor-12-10-copy

 

God seems to be using this season in my life to draw me closer to Himself. We can do our best to take care of ourselves—all of ourselves—but that doesn’t guarantee we’ll walk through every season strong.

Some seasons are too demanding. We can’t face them in our own strength. Only with the help of Jesus.

When we can admit our weakness to the Lord, then He can strengthen us with His power, His love, His energy.

These are a few things I’m learning in my season of weakness:

  1. Bring our need before the Lord. Confessing honestly how desperately I need Him
  2. Do our best to take care of ourselves, but don’t rely solely on ourselves to get through these seasons. Only God can bring us through them well.
  3. Share our needs with friends who will pray for us. Some will help in other ways. One friend has sent an encouraging meme daily to lift my eyes to Jesus
  4. Being honest with others about our need gives them a chance to serve us, to bless us, and to remind of of God’s goodness. hoarfrost-pine-needles

 

It is true. When we are weak, and we walk with Jesus, then we are truly strong.

What about you? What has helped you through seasons of weakness? When has God met you in that weak place in a very real way?

Click to Tweet: Some seasons we’re just not strong enough to walk through on our own

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Heading Home Five Minute Friday—WEAK