Faith, Trials, Trusting God

Map: How is Your Spiritual GPS?

Hey everyone, I have a little news . . . I’m working on building a website. In a few weeks my blog will be moving over there. I’m so excited for you to visit my new little home! I’ll keep you filled in as the project wraps up. My blog will still be filled with encouraging posts, uplifting truths, and pretty pictures, it’ll just have a new home. 🙂

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Picture of a map, the visual for the theme of this post

By Lisa Jordan

I turned on the Maps feature on my phone and looked at the GPS. The robotic voice commanded me to go southwest then turn right. Okay, but I wasn’t sure if southwest was right or left. 

My mom thought we needed to turn right, so we did. 

And my GPS rerouted us around the block—or so I thought—to get back onto the road we needed to head out of the busy city.

However, instead of connecting us back to the route I was familiar with, the GPS guided us a different way. And honestly, that way had less traffic, less congestion, and less roadwork. 

Continue reading “Map: How is Your Spiritual GPS?”
Lisa Jordan, Mothering, Trials

Storm: Hearing God’s Whisper Through the Rain

Dark clouds hovering over a city, dropping rain over mountains

Guest Post by Lisa Jordan

Intro: I had no idea, on the day I met her, the gifts God had in store for me. My friend and award-winning author, Lisa Jordan, has been a confidante, an encourager, and a speaker of deep wisdom. She’s helped me on my writing journey, been a support and a listening ear when my kids have me pulling my hair out, and most of all, she points me to Jesus when I begin to think everything is up to me. I’m thrilled to begin sharing her quiet wisdom and encouraging words with you all on the last Tuesday of each month. Please help me welcome Lisa Jordan.

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At the end of March, I spent two days with friends, who lived ninety minutes from my house. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a social visit but one of necessity—at least to this aching mama. 

Earlier that day, I had taken my youngest son to the walk-in clinic in our community and then the emergency department at our local hospital. His jaw and neck were swelling quickly despite the prescribed antibiotics his doctor had given him the day before. After waiting nearly three hours, the ER physicians decided my son needed to be taken by ambulance to a hospital in a larger city to treat the infection more aggressively so it wouldn’t affect his breathing by closing off his windpipe.

Continue reading “Storm: Hearing God’s Whisper Through the Rain”
Faith, Joy, Trusting God

Joy: 7 Thoughts for Cultivating Joy in Hard Seasons

Two teen boys climbing up boulders and scoping out the view beyond

@JeanneTakenaka

This picture brings me great joy. A few weeks ago, I insisted my two boy-men go walk/hiking with me. Getting our teen boys outside rarely meets with whoops of excitement.

When we arrived, my two guys trudged ahead on a dirt trail. There must have been magic in the air that day because, all of a sudden, they were running. With smiles on their faces. 

And the coup de grace came when they discovered large boulders to explore and to test their bravery.

Eighteen months ago, each of our sons were dealt life-altering events. 

Continue reading “Joy: 7 Thoughts for Cultivating Joy in Hard Seasons”
Infertility, Surrender, Trusting God

Heart: 4 Steps for Dealing With Idols

Picture of a valley leading down to the ocean with high mountainous walls on each side

@JeanneTakenaka

I slumped on our bed and cried. 

Every month, I careened on an emotional roller coaster. Every month, I prayed, begging God for a baby. Every month, when my cycle came on time, my heart plummeted.

I don’t remember the exact day or event when God confronted me. But He showed me where my heart was set.

…on a pregnancy

…on filling my arms with a squirming newborn

…on having my heart craving satisfied.

And that was the problem.

Continue reading “Heart: 4 Steps for Dealing With Idols”
Contentment, Expectations, Mothering

Satisfy: Where Does Contentment Begin?

A young man sitting on a stump facing the ocean

@JeanneTakenaka

“I’m never content, Mom.”

These words slipped from my son’s mouth some months back. Probably after I’d gone to great lengths to get him something he wanted, or to do something he desired. 

And then I’d probably made the mistake of asking how he liked it.

I don’t ask that question anymore.

First, I found it revelatory that this boy of mine knew he would never be satisfied. Second, a piece of my heart cracked because all that I had done to bless him—to make him happy—hadn’t been enough.

Continue reading “Satisfy: Where Does Contentment Begin?”
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?”
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