The Butterfly Lesson

The Butterfly Lesson, 31 Days of Intentional Mothering | Faith and Composition

As I dropped the oldest off at his classroom the other day, there was a flurry of excited activity. A monarch caterpillar had fully emerged from its chrysalis, and the butterfly fluttered around. A second monarch caterpillar was in the process of emerging, and an animated group of six-year-old kids hovered around, watching the incredible miracle of transformation take place.

Just ten minutes later, as I stood talking to a fellow mom, the class emerged outside to give the monarch its freedom and watch it take flight. It lighted upon a tree branch and then flitted away.

Hours later, as I sat at home with all three kids sans the hubbie who was away on a business trip, I’d all but forgotten about the butterfly. The night was stretching long, and my patience was wearing thin. It was just past 9, and the kids had yet to be drifting off to dreamland. Sleeping bags were scattered on the floor, and no less than five books, a baby doll, one stuffed horse, and three kids were piled in our bed. I was tired, and they were pressing my limits.

As I began to reach my breaking point, I felt my blood pressure rising. Irritated and exhausted, I began barking orders at the kids: lay down, no talking, close your eyes, go to sleep. Not exactly the picture of an intentional mom who desires to let grace be the banner over her home.

When their breathing fell into a rhythmic cadence and arms draped heavy, I slipped out of the room. And as I reflected on the last few moments before they’d fallen asleep, I felt the ugly feeling of defeat and failure thick around my shoulders. Because sometimes I parent with such lovingkindness, but then other times

I sulked into the office and sat down at the computer, but nothing came. There were no words of encouragement for intentional moms bubbling out of my spirit. Because let’s be honest, I felt like the least intentional mom of all. I crawled back into bed, and then suddenly, in His lovingkindness, God brought the butterfly to mind.

The Butterfly Lesson, 31 Days of Intentional Mothering | Faith and Composition

The butterfly is an object lesson in the unspeakable goodness of God’s grace. For it is God who causes the monarch caterpillar to undergo the miraculous process of metamorphosis that then transforms it from a ground-crawling creature into a winged butterfly of striking beauty.

And He does the same for you and I. He did it once at the cross, and He continues to do it every moment of every day. He takes the bruised, broken, messy parts of our hearts, and He transforms those ugly places into things of unspeakable beauty. He takes the old, and He makes all things new.

If God does it for the butterfly; if He cares about the transformation of a lowly caterpillar into a winged creature of intricate detail, how much more does He care about our own transformation? How much more does He long to transform our own motherhood story, to bring beauty and restoration to our relationship with our own children?

Beautiful_Things by Gungor | Faith and Composition

It’s this power, this all-consuming, can’t-wrap-my-mind-around-His-goodness that gives you and I the strength to get up in the morning and start all over with our kids. We can’t do this on our own. Left to our devices, we will fail to love without restraint, fail to let forgiveness cover grievances, fail to parent with patience and compassion. But when we allow God to enter into the heart of our mothering, He causes life and grace to spring forth from otherwise dead and dusty places.

I don’t know where you may be in your motherhood journey. I don’t know if guilt hangs thick around your shoulders, or if the regret of past mistakes weighs heavy, but I know this … the God who causes the butterfly to emerge from the depths of a suffocating, dark cocoon does the same for us. When all hope seems lost for the caterpillar, when logic would cause us to see nothing but death and decay in the caterpillar’s tomb-like cocoon, God is working to bring forth a miracle of life and transformation.

So dear momma, when your patience wears thin, when regret is a constant friend, when you long to mother with intentionality but fear you are failing miserably … simply remember the butterfly.

This is Day 12 in 31 Days of Intentional Mothering. To start reading from Day 1, click here.

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Finding Rest

Finding Rest, 31 Days of Intentional Mothering | Faith and Composition

I’m tired. I bet you are too. If you’re a mom to one, two, three, four or  more … I bet you’re tired. Because the world pulls at you: the kids have needs, the committee has demands, your job has requirements, the house needs tending, the bills need settled, meals need to be made … And there’s no rest for the weary.

Or so it seems.

You just want a few moments of peace, some time to rest and re-emerge renewed, but rest is often elusive for moms, and it’s not just moms of the wake-in-the-night newborn set. Any mother who’s stripped a toddler’s wet sheets, wiped a child’s feverish brow, quieted a broken-hearted adolescent, or waited up until a teenager returns home knows that reality. It sometimes seems that under-eye concealer and a pot of coffee are the tools of the trade.

And then there are the voices: grave headlines declaring destruction, loud opinions spewed across social media, instructions to do this and avoid that. It’s enough to make anyone go a bit crazy. And it all echoes around in your head, noisy, and there’s an absence of rest … true rest.

But finding rest is important for anyone, and it’s especially imperative for the intentional mom. The question then becomes how? How do we drown out the noise and set aside the busyness? The answer isn’t a tool, a habit or an approach.

The answer is Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Did you hear that? He will give us rest. 

Rest isn’t something to be sought; it’s a gift to be received. 

Because rest isn’t found in an afternoon nap, eight hours of sleep or a release from life’s busyness. Rest, a deep soul rest, can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ. And that’s what we want, right? You, me … we all long for a deep soul rest that’s felt in our bones and into the very depths of our soul.

In Matthew 11:29, Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Rest for your souls … it’s found in Him, and Him alone.

Finding Rest, 31 Days of Intentional Mothering | Faith and Composition

If you’re tired today. If the news of the world is wearing you thin. If the voices of opinion are echoing loudly, and thoughts are swirling relentlessly. If rest seems elusive. Then press into Him. For the author and creator of rest longs to give it to us in abundant measure. Because rest isn’t a tool, a habit, a place or an approach. Rest is a person. And He is Jesus.

Selah. 

This is Day 11 in 31 Days of Intentional Mothering. To start reading from Day 1, click here.

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share it. Just please include a link back to the original post. Thank you!

 

Praying for Nina Pham

NinaPham

Yesterday, I diverged a bit from the 31 Days of Intentional Mothering series to share how some anxiety was creeping in as news of another Dallas Ebola patient broke. Then last night, I discovered that the patient is a graduate of TCU …  my alma mater. And suddenly the news of this terrible disease was hitting closer to home than I ever imagined.

So today, I’m interrupting the Intentional Mothering Series again to ask you to join me in praying for Nina Pham. This 26-year-old nurse is now fighting for her life in an isolation ward, battling a vicious disease that she contracted only because she was rendering care to another. I cannot imagine the fear that is consuming Nina, her friends, and her family right now.

So today I’m asking you to please join me in praying. Pray for Nina by name, and pray for those closest to her, as they wait to see what each day will bring. 

Pray that fear would be replaced with a peace that passes understanding. Pray that Nina would be healed completely from this terrible disease. Pray that God would give the doctors and the nurses wisdom as they treat her. Pray that the caregivers themselves would be protected from contracting Ebola. Pray that Nina’s heart and hope would be buoyed by the encouragement of others. Pray that her name and her plight would reach the ears of countless praying people, so we can storm the gates of heaven on her behalf. Pray that her family would be surrounded by a supportive group of individuals who can help to shoulder their burdens as they walk this frightening path. And pray that God’s name would be glorified through all of this. Like in the case of Dr. Kent Brantley, pray that God would heal Nina and would allow this situation to bring glory to His name.

To show your support for Nina and her family and friends, you can download the “Praying for Nina Pham” image above by clicking here. Then click “Save As” to save the jpeg to your computer. You can then upload it to Facebook, Instagram and across other social media channels. If you would like to change your Facebook profile picture to the image, click here for a button sized at 180×180 pixels. Please share the image in whatever capacity you think may help to garner prayer support. Let’s rally for this girl and my fellow Horned Frog. She desperately needs our prayers, friends.

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share it. Just please include a link back to the original post. Thank you!

Be Still and Know

Be still, words to encourage your heart and a free printable | Faith and Composition

I feel it creeping up, the familiar strangling sensation of anxiety: the tightness in the chest, the heart palpitations, the loud thoughts echoing in my head. News of another patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. broke today … and it’s in my own backyard again. I‘m one or two degrees separated from this terrible disease, and that reality is absolutely terrifying.

Despite the attempts to assure the public that an outbreak in this country is rare, today’s news is enough to make me want to take my family and retreat into some rural hideaway. Except that’s not a feasible option, and there is nowhere truly “safe” this side of heaven.

So I wander the house, trying to busy my head and occupy my hands with some other task to take my mind off the news and it’s closeness to home. And then softly He whispers into the midst of my pounding, anxious heart:

Be still. 

Just be still and know that He is God.

So I set it aside—the busyness, the what-ifs, the menial tasks—and I sit still before Him. I don’t ask, I don’t tell; I just wait. I wait for my heart to remember that He is God, and He is still on His throne in all of His sovereign glory.

He is God. And that is enough.

Today, if you’re suffering from fear, anxiety, unrest, uncertainty … stop what you’re doing and simply be still. Let your heart cry out to the Lord in utterances of which the mouth cannot speak. Look up and know that He is God. And then God will do the rest. He will flood your heart with a peace that passes understanding because He.is.God. Today, tomorrow, always.

To download the above artwork as an 8×10 printable, click here. (The hi-res version for print does not have the URL at the bottom.) 

This is Day 10 in 31 Days of Intentional Mothering. To start reading from Day 1, click here.

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share it. Just please include a link back to the original post. Thank you!

Dear Intentional Mom: Just Look Up

31 Days of Intentional Mothering | Faith and Composition

It’s incredible how inadequate I feel as a mother at times, how unintentionally I sometimes spend my days. I’ve previously confessed that I feel unqualified to talk to you on this subject of intentional mothering, and it’s true.

On the one hand, it’s a struggle every time I sit down to write about this topic, but on the other hand, I think that can be good. I’m not an expert on this, so I come to this space with emptiness and honesty. That’s humbling, but I also think that’s right where God wants us. I think He wants us to engage with transparency and authenticity. I think he wants us to be vulnerable about our struggles, because it’s in the middle of the messy and the gritty moments of real life that the Gospel becomes real. After all, you can only hear chains dropping off if they first enslaved. And that’s why Jesus came, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1).

I want you and I to experience that freedom from captivity, that release from darkness. I want us to embrace the gift of rescue and redemption, and I want us to live that out in our daily lives and our motherhood relationship. Oh how I pray that we can be a conduit of that message of hope to our own children and to others!

In order to pursue that kind of intentionality with our families, there must be brokenness, grace, and faithfulness. As previously discussed, those three elements are foundational to intentional mothering. They must be the heart attitude upon which we can begin to establish some transformative habits.

And today … today I want to talk about one such habit.

31 Days of Intentional Mothering | Faith and Composition

Aside from being faithful, the single most important thing you can do to cultivate a heart of intentionality is to look up … just look up.

Stop what you’re doing, put down the phone, step away from the computer, peel your eyes from the task at hand, remove yourself from the must-do lists and the can’t-miss tasks, go outside and simply look up. Pull your eyes away from the urgent and set them on that which is eternal, even if just for a moment. Because when we step away from the urgencies of our day and take time to breathe in the vastness and the majesty of God, it resets our perspective. When we lift our eyes, we suddenly realize that our problems pale in comparison to the awesome might of our great God.

Friends, we have a God who spoke the earth into existence! With a word he hung the stars in their place, and He knows each one of them by name. Our God is big. So big that our own galaxy can’t even begin to contain a fraction of His majesty! He lifted the mountains out of the earth’s crust and plunged the valleys below their peaks. He dug out the deep recesses for the depths of the ocean, and He knows the number of the grains of sand.

Do you want to be an intentional mom? Then practice the art of looking up. Because when we take our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances and place them firmly on Him, miraculous things occur: weights lift, burdens cease, troubles shrink, peace prevails.  

So next time you feel you’re failing at motherhood, next time you think you’re forfeiting intentionality, next time your heart needs a little encouragement to welcome brokenness, extend grace and remain faithful, step outside and simply look up.

This is Day 9 in 31 Days of Intentional Mothering. To start reading from Day 1, click here.

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share it. Just please include a linkback to the original post. Thank you!