Faith, Trusting God

Unexpected: How Do We Handle Change?

Meme that says Plot Twist super-imposed over a pic of a snow-covered tree

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

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I might take ridiculous pleasure in creating plot twists for my stories. Maybe I’m a little mischievous because I enjoy watching my characters struggle. Mostly I enjoy it because I know they’re going to learn and grow through the challenge.

Can I just be honest and say that I’m not fond of real-life plot twists? Torn ACL’s, snow days in May (yes, we had a snow day on May 21st this year, with three days left in the school year), and other challenges that force a change to the rhythms of my days? 

Continue reading “Unexpected: How Do We Handle Change?”
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Faith, Trusting God

Mantra: What Guides You?

Meme that says "Mantra" on a backdrop of a pond

@JeanneTakenaka

Last month, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both challenging and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I wanted to share some of those posts with you all, and I’d love your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

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I know. This word kind of sounds hoo-doo, voo-doo. When I first saw this word as part of the writing challenge, I cringed. The images that came to mind were of monks on their knees, incense puffing through the air as they chanted the same thing over and over again.

But, as I considered this word—mantra—I realized I have a mantra that guides my choices in real life and writing life. 

Continue reading “Mantra: What Guides You?”
Living with Intention, Trusting God, Worry

Start: When We Face a Different Path

A meme with the word, Start in it

@JeanneTakenaka

Last month, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both challenging and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I wanted to share some of those posts with you all, and I’d love your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*******

A bridge on a tropical path, the other side of which leads to a darker part of the path

How often does this happen in real life? We think we’re walking on one path and something changes our course. We find ourselves on a rock-strewn trail that forces us to slow down and to approach each step with care. 

Or, sometimes, we must stop to navigate around a boulder, or figure out how to climb over it. We may want to walk one path, but God’s started us on a different route. 

What do we do with that?

We always have a choice . . . We can chafe with the change in direction. 

We can try to forge our own trail through the weeds.

Continue reading “Start: When We Face a Different Path”
Faith, Perspective, Trusting God

Doubt: When We Have to See

@JeanneTakenaka

Confession time: I’ve always looked down on the disciple Thomas. 

The doubter.

The unbeliever.

But after reading through John 20 recently, my regard for him has changed.

When the other disciples saw Jesus, talked with Him, ate with Him . . . Thomas was missing in action.

Then, when the other disciples declared they’d seen Jesus—alive—he poo-poohed them, declaring he’d only believe if he could put his fingers in Jesus’ nail wounds, in the slice in His side.

Continue reading “Doubt: When We Have to See”
Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Opportunity: When Opportunity Feels Inconvenient

@JeanneTakenaka

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

OPPORTUNITY

Have you ever heard about a hard situation and wanted to do something, but you didn’t know what to do?

Can I be honest and say that, sometimes, I am grateful all I’m called to do is pray? It’s easier to pray while I’m driving my boys somewhere, as I’m living daily life. It’s simpler to think on what others are doing in a hard situation.

Sometimes, I crave an opportunity to do something new or to venture into unknown pathways. 

Other times, opportunity feels ill-timed. I have so much that occupies my days right now. My boys’ schedules. Hubs’s travel. My own desire to finish my book. 

Opportunity’s knocking is sometimes inconvenient. 

What if God sends opportunities our way so that we can be stretched? So that we have to look to Him for His direction?

Often, opportunity takes us beyond ourselves and places us in a position where we have to choose to trust if we are to find our way forward. 

And sometimes, that opportunity has nothing to do with us, but everything to do on the behalf of another

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read about multi-published author, Rachel Held Evans. She’s a wife, a mama to young children, and she’s fighting for her very life. Her situation is dire. My heart has broken for her husband and her children, through they may be too young to really understand what’s going on with their mama.

My opportunity tonight is to step out of my own comfort zone and share with you about her. Will you please pray for her and her family? Will you please lift them up? 

I’m not good at issuing calls to action, but tonight, I’m taking an opportunity to step out, to invite you into this chance to minister. I’d love if you could pray for the Evans family. And, if God so leads you to follow through with more, there is a link at the bottom of this post where you can give financially to help the family with their staggering medical bills. 

***I just learned that Rachel went home to be with the Lord early this morning. Please continue to pray for her family.

What about you? What opportunities have scared you? When has God challenged you to step out of your comfort zone to follow Him on a new journey?

If you’re interested in learning more about Rachel Held Evans, how to pray for her family, or in helping out financially, here are some links that can help.

Her husband posts updates on her blog: Rachel Held Evans

And her friends have set up a GoFundMe – the costs are going to be devastating for them. Click here, if you feel prompted to donate: GoFundMe

Click to Tweet: What if God sends opportunities our way so that we can be stretched?

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday

Faith, Trusting God, Waiting

Stuck: When We Deal With the Unexpected

By JeanneTakenaka

On the day we were supposed to fly home from Rome, the airline had an unexpected emergency. This delayed our flight for over two hours, causing many people to miss connections. 

We were stuck.

As soon as the airline announced the change, our leader began making phone calls to figure out how to get the nine of us home. 

I’ll be honest, my first response was fear. “What if . . .” niggled in my mind, stirring up uncertainty, and churning in my spirit.

Continue reading “Stuck: When We Deal With the Unexpected”
Fear, Mothering, Trusting God, When Fear Tests Our Faith series

Fear (series): When We Have an Agenda

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Have you ever read a passage in the bible—one you’ve read many times before—and God just speaks to you? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read about Saul’s and David’s lives. But this time? The Lord has shown me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations in our lives.

Maybe the stories of these two men spoke so deeply to my heart because I, too, have dealt with fear. I discovered some valuable, timeless lessons to take away from their examples.

This is the fourth and final post in this series. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey to better understanding fear and how deal with it when it tests our faith.

*****

A few years back, one of the boys and I went through a difficult season. The hard-heartedness, back-talk, stubbornness, unwillingness to yield . . . had me on my knees in prayer and praying throughout each day.

The “rebellious force” was strong with this one. He had his agenda, and it didn’t match mine. One morning, I was driving somewhere talking with the Lord about this child. Fear had dug in, sprinkling in doubt and worry about the upcoming teen years. I couldn’t even handle him at nine.

Continue reading “Fear (series): When We Have an Agenda”
Fear, Trusting God, When Fear Tests Our Faith series

Fear (Series): When We Don’t Trust

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Have you ever read a passage in the bible—one you’ve read many times before—and God just speaks to you? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read about Saul’s and David’s lives. But this time? The Lord has shown me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations in our lives.

Maybe the stories of these two men spoke so deeply to my heart because I, too, have dealt with fear. I discovered some valuable, timeless lessons to take away from their examples.

Over the next few weeks, I’m sharing some insights God has given me. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. I hope you’ll share your thoughts, struggles, and victories here so we can all encourage each other, and maybe even pray for each other.

*****

About a year after Hubs and I married, he attended a three-month school on the other side of the country. 

I never considered myself a fearful person . . . until I met and fell in love with my Mr Perfect-For-Me.

Those three months were some of the longest in my life. Because all of a sudden, I feared that God would take him.  

Continue reading “Fear (Series): When We Don’t Trust”
Calling, Fear, Trusting God, When Fear Tests Our Faith series

Fear (Series): When Life Changes Course

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Have you ever read a passage in the bible—one you’ve read many times before—and God just speaks to you? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read about Saul’s and David’s lives over the years. But this time? The Lord showed me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations.

Maybe the stories of these two men spoke so deeply to my heart because I, too, have dealt with fear. I discovered valuable, timeless lessons to take away from their examples.

Over the next few weeks, I’m sharing some insights God has given me. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. I hope you’ll share your thoughts, struggles, and victories here so we can all encourage each other, and maybe even pray for each other.

*******

Many years ago, when Peter was still a tiny baby, I already struggled with the fear of him rejecting me as he grew older. That rejection wound carved crevasses in my heart, hollowing me out and filling those spaces with the poison called fear. 

I was determined to love my little guy, but I was scared there would come a day that my love wouldn’t be enough for him.

Living in the shadow of fear is a no-win situation. It skews our thoughts, our hearts, our intentions. It slants the way we love and interact with others.

Continue reading “Fear (Series): When Life Changes Course”
Choosing Gratitude series, Gratitude, Guest Posts

Choosing Gratitude (series): The Choice of Saying Yes

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

When I come to November in a year, something happens in my spirit. I’m ready to cozy down into warm sweaters and soft blankets. I love scented candles burning and soups simmering on the stovetop. It’s a time to slow  down and reflect over the year. When my spirit is in a good place, my heart finds much to be grateful for. One thing that fills me with gratitude is the gift of friends—real life and blogging friends. 

For the next few weeks, I have invited five friends I respect deeply to share stories and thoughts on gratitude in their lives. I hope you will join with me for all five weeks and share your responses to their words. If you miss a week, you can click Choosing Gratitude series to catch up with the other posts in this series. Will you settle in with me, with a mug of something warm in your hands and think on those things and happenings in the year for which you are grateful? 

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I met Lisa Jordan early in my writing journey. She has great wisdom and an encouraging spirit. She’s been my cheerleader, the one who listens when I’m grappling with something in my story. And she has a heart for people. She’s a multi-published author with Love Inspired, and her stories have depth and wonderful characters. Please help me welcome Lisa to this little corner of the blog-o-sphere today!

*****

Everyday we are faced with making choices. Wake up or hit snooze. Eggs or oatmeal. Coffee or tea. Love or hate. Grace or judgment.

What about the choice of saying yes? Especially if it means experiencing pain and overcoming challenges? Choosing to say yes can come at a time when we are at our weakest and crying out to God.

Continue reading “Choosing Gratitude (series): The Choice of Saying Yes”