Introducing the #ThanksIn30Challenge

ThanksIn30 Instagram Challenge | Faith and Composition
Today I’m excited to introduce an Instagram project for the month of November. The #ThanksIn30Challenge is a project I originally launched last year, and I’m re-introducing it for 2014! It’s an opportunity to cultivate a heart of thankfulness during the month of November, and I want YOU to join me! It’s simple; here’s how.

Each day, snap an image of something you’re thankful for. There are no rules or requirements. I may occasionally pop in and give a prompt to provide some inspiration, but you can post a pic of anything that causes gratefulness to well up. Then post it to Instagram with the hash tag #ThanksIn30Challenge. Be sure to include the hash tag so we can all find you and build a community of support and thankfulness during this month. Invite your friends and family, and let’s all share in the joy of cultivating a heart of thankfulness for 30 days! The challenge starts today, but you can join at any time. I’m so looking forward to seeing you there!

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Regret-Free Mothering

Regret-Free Mothering | Faith and Composition

Regrets can suffocate a mom, threaten to steal the joy right out from within her. A mother can tally up those things like she’s keeping score. She can string each one, a bead at a time and then wear them around her neck like an albatross. My oldest is six, so I haven’t logged even a decade of motherhood yet, but I have some regrets stacking up already.

Just the other night, my son walked with dog bowls in hand toward the pantry. His arms wavered slightly as he set the bowls on the counter, then he turned, and I caught his eye. As his lip trembled, and the tears spilled from his eyes, I felt overwhelming regret consume me. Just moments before I had barked orders at him. We were running late, the baby was crying, dinner needed to be on the table, and I was feeling the pressure. I let the stress fill me up, and then I poured it out on him.

My boy is tender hearted, gracious, compassionate. It cuts him to the core when I use a harsh tone. So why do I do it? Why do I let the stress of the day boil over and take it’s toll on the ones I love most? I wrapped my arms around him almost immediately; I got down on his level and asked for forgiveness. Our relationship was mended, but I went to bed that night with regret eating at me.

The apostle Peter had regrets too. Christ foretold Peter he would deny him. But Peter was adamant, not him. Never.

Matthew 26:33 | Faith and Composition

But just hours after confessing his devotion, Peter does the very thing he vowed he wouldn’t do. He denies Jesus in His deepest hour of need … not once, not twice, but three times. Then the rooster crows, searing regret into Peter’s core, and he weeps bitterly.

If Peter—the man in Jesus’ inner circle—had regrets, you and I are bound to have them too. Mistakes in life, missteps in work, wrongs in relationships, misgivings in mothering. The question then is what do we do when these regrets arise?

What do we do when harsh words are spoken, spirits deflated, hearts crushed, souls wounded? How do we respond when tears fall from little ones’ eyes or doors slam at the hands of a frustrated teen? How do we move beyond the all-consuming regret that results from those situations and into reconciliation and redemption?

Peter could have remained in his regrets. He could have wallowed in the sorrow of his denial of Jesus, and it could have rendered him useless for the Kingdom. This denial could have been the last we heard of Peter. His ministry could have ended here.

But it didn’t. Why? Because Jesus … 

After his resurrection, Jesus appears to the disciples and asks Peter a direct question. Not once, not twice, but three times. “Simon son of John, do you love me?” And three times Peter affirms Him, one answer of affirmation to redeem each denial.

Peter’s regret was one that only Christ could redeem. And Christ indeed did just that. Jesus sought Peter, He reconciled Peter to himself, and then He used Peter to influence the Kingdom for eternity. Peter knew what it meant to have regrets, and he knew what it meant to have those regrets redeemed. It was this experience that enabled Peter to became a conduit of grace to so many others.

You and I have that same opportunity. When mama guilt threatens to consume us, we can give in to the regret. We can let it eat away at us, gnawing into our heart, or we can give it to Jesus. If we give it to Jesus, we’ll find that He redeems our regret and transforms it into a tool of grace and redemption that we can’t help but spill out onto our own children and others. We can extend forgiveness, show mercy, pour out lovingkindness only because we have been recipients of it first. When face to face with Jesus, our regrets suddenly transform from marred mistakes into tools of His mercy. So whatever your regrets may be—even if they’re strung as beads upon a thread worn heavy around your neck—drop them at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to bring forth redemption.

Hinds Feet on High Places | Faith and Composition

This is Day 13 in 31 Days of Intentional Mothering. To start reading from Day 1, click here.

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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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Want to receive more encouraging posts like this and get a free printable? Simply enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C! Be sure to check your inbox for the confirmation e mail and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

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!