+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka
My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SURPRISE. 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!
For years I lived with the false belief that I needed to do things on my own. People would disappoint me. I got that.
What I didn’t understand was that this truth isn’t always . . . true. I’ve been surprised by grace from people so many times, especially in the past few years.
As I have learned how to share parts of myself with safe people, I’ve been surprised by their grace and acceptance. People who have circled around me after a surgery. Or a disappointment.
And even more, I’ve been blessed by God’s showing up in those painful moments of life—whether its a mama-fail or a disappointment with writing-life, or an argument with my hubby and best friend, in which I knew I was wrong.
Grace has been the surprise gift given when I least deserved it. When I didn’t know that I needed it. Until I blew it, that is.
God’s been the best at surprising me. As He proves I’m stuck with Him. I’m His girl, His child. And there’s nothing I can do that will cause God to turn away from me. To stop loving me. This is true for all of us.
When I was younger, I lived with the mistaken belief that I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t deserve acceptance by others. I didn’t deserve the love that others received.
He doesn’t operate on man’s belief systems. He loves unconditionally, and He teaches His children to do the same.
When others have reached out to me in love, they’ve taught me what it looks like to offer the surprise of grace to another after they’ve hurt or let me down.
We get to offer the grace surprise when we want to. And when we don’t.
When we offer others the gift of grace, God has a way of blessing us in surprising ways. Of letting us know His pleasure as we emulate Jesus.
What about you? When have you offered grace when it was hard? WHat’s been one big grace God has offered you?
I’m linking up with Kate Moutaung’s Five Minute Friday—Surprise
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Lovely pictures and words, Jeanne. I could relate to so much of what you said. Thank you for the reminder of God’s unconditional love. He’s one awesome Abba Father.
Blessings to you & your family ~ Wendy
Thank you so much, Wendy. I can’t imagine walking through this life without knowing the perfect, unconditional love God pours out on His children. 🙂 He IS an awesome Abba Father. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Jeanne, I know what you mean. I can’t imagine how people stand to walk through this life without Him. Way too hard. 🙂
“Grace has been the surprise gift given when I least deserved it.” Jeanne, this is lovely. Through your words I’m thanking God for His amazing grace today. His forgiveness is priceless to me. I am so undeserving, yet am so thankful. Bless you, friend. Continuing to pray for your healing!
I completely agree, Julie. God’s forgiveness is priceless!! I’m humbled and thankful for it. Knowing how many times I’ve fallen short and He’s forgiven and showered grace on me.
Thank you so much for your prayers! My knee is getting stronger. I see the surgeon tomorrow, so I’ll know more how well (or not) the knee is healing. 🙂
Dearest Jeanne! I’m so glad to have a chance to come here and read your words today. (Love your new banner! So pretty!)
It’s difficult for me to imagine people exhibiting grace. I’m sure they do. I’m sure they extend that grace to me all the time. I have let past troublesome relationships create an expectation within my mind that all people will not only be disappointing, they will be out-and-out mean. My eyes are often looking for the flaw so I can wall myself away instead of looking for the love.
God has been speaking to me about this a lot recently. It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy; I expect the nasty and so choose those who are nasty, while good relationships languish on the side. It’s…well, it’s plain stupid. I’m thankful for His grace in opening my eyes to this reality and for the grace of others, those good friends who hand in there with me.
Marie, I’m so happy to see you again! I’ve dealt with similar thoughts and struggles. Those darn expectations. I’m sure, as you continue to work through this with the Lord, God will give you eyes to see the grace given and be able to view people through a filter of His grace. It’s a process, and I’m so grateful that He renews our minds and thoughts, that His loving kindnesses are new every morning.
Thank you for sharing so transparently. I so appreciate you, friend!
You moved me. Truly you brought tears to my eyes starting with that first picture. Just that same experience of not thinking I’m good enough for God…and learning that I’m His and always that’s enough.
Thank you for ministering through your fingertips. I’m so blessed and encouraged by you.
(#76 this time)
Oh Tammy, I’ve been there too. God just keeps unwrapping the truth that I (we) am enough simply because of Jesus. He created us, and He takes delight in us. He gives us grace because He loves us, not because we have to be enough to earn it. Isn’t that amazing?!
Thank you so much for being such an encouragement.
I think it was Greer who wrote something similar. He also added that there’s nothing I CAN do to make God love me more.
Nothing to love me less… nothing to love me more… that is the essence of God’s gracious love and mercy.
Richelle, isn’t that an amazing truth about God’s love?! When I began to understand this, it left me in such humbled awe. He loves us because we are His. Nothing more is needed. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Awesome post, Jeanne! So glad we have the wonderful gift of His grace. I’m thankful my children extend grace so freely, especially when I’m the one who messed up.
Heidi, I’m so glad for the gift of God’s grace too! I’m so with you! My boys extend grace freely, and forgive so quickly, after I’ve spewed verbal yuck on them or treated them unfairly. They are great examples for showing grace. Thanks so much for commenting!!
I probably don’t do enough of ‘offering grace when it’s hard’–it’s an area of my life I really need to work on. I’d much rather avoid people. Thank you for reminding me that grace is the reward of ofering grace. Grace to stay in contact with those who annoy me, grace to learn about them and grace to forgive them. I needed this!
Anita, I smile. We all have those areas of hard God is working on in us. Sometimes, avoidance is my go-to as well. I guess as we learn to trust God more, we get better at choosing to show grace rather than hide. 🙂 May we both walk in grace more each day, friend.
jeanne, i love your post and photo today:) parts of what you said are on a similar wave length to mine…then we moved in different directions:)
i agree with you, it often helps to offer grace at times I need it. of course, it doesn’t make sense. so many things don’t in GOD’s economy. But it frequently helps. i suspect b/c it helps us take the emphasis off ourselves and think about the other person.
Martha, I’m looking forward to reading your post a little later on. 🙂 So true, so many things about God and that are of God don’t make sense from a human perspective. Thank goodness His ways are far above man’s ways! Have a great weekend!
Isn’t funny that God’s grace continues to be a surprise? In some ways I wonder why I can’t just remember that God loves me and extends that grace! But, when you put it like that… I love the renewed surprise that God is taking care of me. Thanks for reframing that.
I know, Annie. I still forget that God gives His grace to me, just because He can. I am in awe of Him and the fact that He could love sin-ridden, prideful me. And yet He does. And He gives us His grace so we can learn to love Him too. He cares for us because of His love for us. SO glad you shared your heart here. 🙂
Grace is this beautiful undeserved unmerited gift, given freely to us. So much THIS: “God’s been the best at surprising me. As He proves I’m stuck with Him. I’m His girl, His child. And there’s nothing I can do that will cause God to turn away from me. To stop loving me. This is true for all of us.” I’m in the #43 spot this week.
Isn’t that an amazing concept, Tara? When I realized that there’s nothing I can do to make God stop loving me? It revolutionized my relationship with Him. Have a wonderful weekend, friend!
Finding grace when I needed it most is definitely one of the many great things about grace. And it meets us exactly when we need it! What a gift! (stopping by from FMF)
I agree, Rachel. Grace meets us exactly where we need it. 🙂 Such an amazing gift. 🙂 I’m so glad you stopped by!
What a beautifully written post, Jeanne. God’s grace is something I’ve only just been able to give a name to (whilst having identified/recognised instances of it all my life). I’m so thankful for this grace, for this presence in my life. Hoping you’re feeling a little better…..thinking of you, Helen xx
Helen, to recognize grace is a good thing. When we can understand it by its name? Wonderful. Like you, I’m forever grateful for God’s grace showing up in my life each day.
I am healing. It’s a slower process than I imagined, but I’m progressing. Which is good. 🙂
Have a beautiful weekend!
Jeanne, I thought I’d replied but WP is telling me I didn’t (must have lost the WiFi connection)…..hoping you’re still healing well….and, yep, recognising grace is life-changing. Helen xxx
Every time I come onto your blog, I love your tag line under your title of your blog! It catches my eye! I also love the picture that you painted of grace in this post. I never really connected all those small times when someone did something for me during a hard time as God’s grace. But it totally makes sense.
When I have showed grace to someone was when my husband and I were going through a hard transition time and he did something that really hurt me. He realized he did and made the change but I felt like he still blamed me for having to make the change. It was really hard to show him the grace and love I needed to as a wife but God gave me the grace to do so.
At time that God showed me grace through people did recognize was when I worked at a group home with teens sent to our home by the courts either for bad behavior or because of parental rights taken away. I found out I was an angry person where I had some moment I was not proud of. And instead of them firing me or letting me go, they told I need to find someone to talk to. They also were always there for me to talk and communicate with them when something was going on in the home. They always had my back. Such amazing grace from God.
I think marriage can be the growing ground for grace. I’ve had to show grace to my husband during the hard seasons too. And, he’s shown me grace when I was being obstinate or selfish. I’m glad God gave you the grace to give to him.
Thank you for your honesty in sharing what you learned working in the group home. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’ve had to deal with anger too. It’s humbling when others show grace when they could show justice, isn’t it? I love that God gave you gracious people to work with.
Thanks so much for sharing your heart today!
Jeanne I always enjoy your posts. I love His grace because I need it every day because I know that no matter how hard I try I am going to mess up someway every single day. Grace that is greater than all my daily sins.
Thanks so much for your kind words. I am right there with you, desperately in need of God’s grace. Every single day. 🙂 Yes, God’s grace is greater than all our sins. Now there’s a truth to comfort us. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here.
Jeanne, I’ve been ruminating so much lately on the fact that God “doesn’t operate on man’s belief systems”. He’s not like anything we know. In fact, He’s described Himself to us on human terms, which are really nothing close to anything like Him! And grace from others – why do we think everyone else is different from us and better and without the struggles we have? I don’t know, but I do know that when grace is given, we give better grace too.
Enjoying connecting with all my FMF pals this week – surprise! It’s been a while. And probably will be a while again. Enjoy connecting with you on Instagram!
Ruthie! I’ve missed you! It was such a treat to see you at FMF today. 🙂
I’m so glad God isn’t confined to our belief systems. He’s so much . . . MORE. And I agree with you. When we are given grace, we become better grace-givers. Thank you so, so much for visiting!
What a beautiful post and such amazing photos that illustrate it so well: especially that last one. “And there’s nothing I can do that will cause God to turn away from me. To stop loving me.” What a beautiful truth that is (love the meme you created). God’s grace is unbelievable, so incredible and so overwhelming.
I recently offered grace to my big wee girl when it was really hard. I sat down on her bed to hug her and listen to her many stories after a very difficult time with her. God showed me in doing so what a precious gift He’s given me with her: I just needed to follow His leading to slow and offer her His grace to see it.
One big grace God has offered me is meeting my confession of distrust with huge encouragements to trust Him more and more each day: with each day being filled with fresh revelations of His Presence and Love. Lately those revelations have been friends, who’ve shown up in amazing ways to walk next to me.
Anna, I too have found that sometimes the best thing we can do to unlock our kids is to simply listen to them as they share stories, which often leads to them sharing some of their struggles. And they give us glimpses into their hearts. And when we can see our children through God’s eyes? Oh man, how that helps in our interactions with them (especially when they’re pushing back at us 😉 ).
I love that God isn’t afraid of our distrust. He helps us to learn to trust Him by being constantly present and loving us in the way we need to be loved. Through His word and through people He places in our lives. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of you here today. 🙂
I’m not saying that I always wanted people to do things my way…just most of the time 😉
Finding the grace to allow others to make decisions and take charge was hard, but it turned out to be very freeing for me. I guess grace given often results in grace received.
You and me both, Gene. I LIKE it when people do things my way. It’s so much less stressful! 😉 My boys are teaching me how to find the grace to let others make decisions. It’s hard to let them do that, but necessary. It’s how they will come into manhood. I agree. Letting others take charge does gift us with surprising freedom. And yes, grace given does often result in grace received.
Thank you for adding to this conversation!
Great post, and lovely pictures, Jeanne.
By far the biggest sources of grace in my life are FMF, and my dogs. The FMF family – and I consider them such, as MY family, for I have no other – have been, to by intense surprise, both interested in what I have to say about this sometimes dark passage, and consistently supportive. I can no longer speak at length, and it’s only by writing that I still really have a voice.
The dogs…they are my companions through all the hours of life; I sleep in the kennel area to be attentive to their needs (some, like me, have PTSD). But they are also attentive to mine, and will monitor and sometimes dictate my activities when I don’t know how bad things are about to get. When Ladron pounds on the floor and says, “Dad, SIT!” I do so…because she can sense an impending collapse. (And she picks out DVDs to watch…today she chose “The Kingdom”. I think she identifies with Jennifer Garner’s character.)
#3 at FMF this week.
Andrew, your voice is thought-provoking and your words are life-giving. That’s what family does for each other—supports and encourages and lifts each other up. The FMF family is pretty amazing!
I think it’s pretty amazing that God knows our needs so perfectly. He knew you needed these dogs—and they needed you in this season of life. How cool that Ladron (and your other four-legged kids) can sense your needs and help you.
I haven’t seen, The Kingdom. I’ll have to see if I can rent it. So thankful for you, friend!
Surprised by grace. So grateful we get to claim that story!
So am I, Kristin. I can’t imagine walking through this life without God’s surprising, amazing grace. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!
Wonderful post! I love it. The photos are beautiful!
Thanks so much, Gayl! I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂
We’re on a similar wavelength once again this week, Jeanne! 😉 Always encouraged by your reflections. Thanks for writing and linking up! Your presence is a highlight in the FMF community.
I LOVE it when that happens, Kate. 🙂 I always come away from your posts uplifted, as well. Thanks so much for visiting. I hope you have a great weekend.