The Hope of Hospitality

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“How does hospitality affect justice?” His question echoed across the quiet living room, swelling and then settling among our friends seated there. I looked at my husband quizzically as my own thoughts began to take shape. 

Hospitality + Justice. I’d never considered them equal parts of a pair.

Then a voice broke through the quiet. “I need your prayers,” she implored us. “I want to show hospitality, especially with the holidays coming, but I’m stressed about all the work and the preparations … how do you show hospitality without stressing about it?”

And that’s when it hit me … we have replaced hospitality with entertaining, and I’m not sure we even see it.

I love the idea and the execution of hospitality … open arms and flung-wide doors inviting people to take a seat at the table. I enjoy the preparation and the presentation. But what if there’s more to it? What if hospitality is more about healing hearts and less about entertaining events?

Hospitality. It’s a funny word, really. Five syllables and nearly as many vowels. It has both weight and depth, and it rings with meaning. The original Latin word—hospitalitem—translates as “friendliness to guests”. Later it appears in Old French as “ospitalité” and is interpreted to mean the intentional act of hospitality and a physical hospital. 

It’s a word that conjures up images of open homes, flung-wide doors, welcoming arms, nourishing meals, and a healing refuge. Hospitality is especially poignant this time of year, as the darkness lingers a little longer and we welcome the arrival of the holiday season and all that it entails.

During this season especially, we long to give and receive hospitality, to create an environment conducive to the expression of it. And often in doing so we fret and fuss in an effort to get it right—the food, the house, the table, the gifts.

But what if in all our fretting we’re getting it wrong? What if our experience of hospitality isn’t hospitality at all? What if hospitality is less about hosting and more about our hearts, less about a tablescape and more about an actual place of escape … from fear, sickness, loneliness, homelessness, poverty. 

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What if hospitality is the vehicle through which justice is served? What if it’s a tangible picture of rescue and redemption? What if hospitality is the means through which the heart of the Gospel grows hands and feet?  

Jesus exemplified true hospitality when he healed the sick, fed the hungry, wept with the mourners, ate with the sinners, loved the unlovable. His hospitality wasn’t a method of entertaining, rather it was the means through which he gifted grace. THIS is the hope of hospitality.  

How would our expression of hospitality change if we ascribed to this THIS definition? And how would it affect our families, our neighborhoods, our communities? I challenge us to find out. So this holiday season—and always—let’s be a people who seek not to set a perfect place setting, but to leave space for the sick, the lonely, the outcast, the poor. And when the pressure, the stress, the expectations of the holiday season become heavy, may we remember that true hospitality is shown not in how we host, but in how we seek to gift grace.

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Available on Amazon! For more content like this, connect with me on Facebook or Instagram! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, 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 and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content 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. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!

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The First Year with You

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One year ago … one year ago I awoke early in the inky black, pre-dawn hours with a sharp labor pain. I urged my husband awake, thankful that my mom was visiting to keep the four older kids, and we quickly got into the car. The clock read 1:19 am. At 1:52, we arrived at the hospital, grateful that midnight labor made for little traffic. Just one hour later, our fifth child made her debut. At 9 pounds, 9 ounces she was my biggest baby, my strongest little warrior … 

And yet her lungs were weak.

Shortly after her birth, they whisked her off to NICU, and my heart followed right along after her. What I thought would be a few hours for observation turned into a three-day NICU stay. Our daughter had a pneumothorax, a condition where a lung sac bursts, causing air to get trapped between the inner and outer walls of the lung, making it difficult to breathe. Her little body labored for each breath.

I can still picture the scene as my husband first wheeled me into the NICU. He pushed me towards her bassinet; she was swaddled and sleeping soundly with a mess of wires and tubes attached to her little body. 

It wasn’t the scene we’d hoped for. No parent does. But it was our reality. And in the midst of it all and the fog of postpartum pain and exhaustion, there was miraculous peace. We prayed and prayed that her lung would heal on its own, and praise God … it eventually did! 

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But it took three days … three days that felt very much like three long, heavy weeks. When the pediatrician told me I would likely be discharged before her, I broke. I’d held it together until that moment, but every tenuous thread of strength came crashing down when I realized I might leave the hospital with empty arms while my daughter remained in NICU.

By the grace of God, that didn’t happen. Our NICU nurse advocated for us to to stay in the Special Care unit. This was a private room that allowed my husband and I to room-in with our daughter the night after I’d been discharged. This act of provision alone was such a gift to us. I pulled her into my bed that night, wires and all and didn’t let her go. She was healing, and she was finally nestled right where she should be. I was so immensely grateful! 

She was discharged the next day, and her much-anticipated homecoming was met with great fanfare. Our fourth-born, who hadn’t yet had a chance to see her baby sister due to age restrictions in the NICU, was the first to hold her when we arrived home. They have been nearly inseparable ever since.

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Now, one year later, we are eternally grateful for the gift of Lily … the surprise of the pregnancy, the experience of her birth, the healing of her lung, and the immense joy that she brings to all of us! 

I never fathomed I would be a mom to five kids, and yet every single one of these children were written into the fabric of my heart before they even came to be. And now, one year later, we simply can’t imagine our family without her. Her presence gifts us with light and laughter, goodness and grace, beauty and blessing … every single day! 

Happy birthday, sweet girl! May you always know how loved and cherished you truly are.  

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Available on Amazon! For more content like this, connect with me on Facebook or Instagram! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, 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 and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content 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. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!

The Tapestry Unfolds: How a Little Business is Making a Big Impact

It was two and a half years ago when I decided to take a leap of faith and start my “little” Young Living wellness business. Shortly afterward, I had a conversation with my friend and business partner, Christie, in which I told her that I felt at my core that this business was going to be about so much more than oils. She enthusiastically agreed and validated all that my spirit was sensing. I can still see that night. I sat curled on my floor while we chatted via the phone for well over an hour about what we felt like God might be doing now and into the future.

Just a few weeks ago, Christie and her husband packed up their family and their Colorado home and moved to Dubai to realize a dream that was planted years ago. And today, Christie’s YL business is supporting that dream.

Another precious leader of mine has been working with a woman in South Eastern Europe who runs a safe house for girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking. This woman is using essential oils like SARA and RELEASE to help these girls begin the process of recovering from the emotional trauma of their captivity and abuse. These girls, some as young as 12 or 13 years old, are also beginning to learn the essential oils business so they can cultivate an independent income and begin to sustain themselves. This is eternal HOPE and REDEMPTION and RESCUE happening right here within my little essential oils team.

Then there’s another precious leader who just a year ago escaped a violent domestic abuse situation of which we can hardly fathom. She and her children got out with nothing more than the clothes on her back. Her oils business, which worked even when she was incapable of doing the work herself, provided her with the means to crawl out of a pit and begin to rebuild her life.

And still there’s my beautiful Aussie friend, who for years was content to be just a mom. Now she’s traveling the world and building an empire that is empowering other women Down Under and helping them choose natural wellness for their families. She’s “just a mama who got seriously blessed with some of the best things on this side of eternity: incredible friendships and a community that lifts all boats with its tide; abundance in new health; more family time; and, provision beyond belief.”

These are just SOME of the stories of the people on my beautiful team … a tapestry of different personalities and experiences and geographical locations … all woven into the fabric of this Young Living business. This IS about so much more than oils! THIS is literally a PICTURE of that conversation I had two years ago now coming to fruition.

And this is JUST THE START! I cannot wait to see how this tapestry continues to unfold! If you long to be a part of something bigger. If you’re desperate for community, a place to belong. If you’ve been wanting to try essential oils and a natural-health lifestyle but don’t know where to start … then this team of doers and dreamers and life-changers would love to have you! Get started by learning more or grabbing a starter kit here. If you have questions or you’d like to be added to our Facebook group for more information, feel free to leave me a comment.

The tapestry is still being woven, and there’s plenty of room for you.

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Available on Amazon! For more content like this, connect with me on Facebook or Instagram! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, 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 and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content 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. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!

ROOTS AND WINGS – How to Let Go on the First Day of Kindergarten

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Yesterday. You started kindergarten yesterday. You walked into those doors a baby, your hand clinging to mine, my heart clinging to the knowledge that this is the first step in a long process of letting go. Letting you go. Giving you wings and space and freedom. And I pray I’m also giving you roots. 

I look at you, and I wonder if I’ve done enough, said enough, prayed enough, loved enough. It’s only kinder, they say. But I know better; these last five years … they were just a blink. The next will be too. Then you’re 10, then onto 15, and before I know it … you’re 20. All of this unfolds before me in an instant as I prepare to walk you inside. 

You cleave to my hand and whisper that you’re nervous. My heart lurches too, but I don’t tell you. For in that moment you need to muster bravery, and I’ve promised to be brave for the both of us. For when your courage falters, you can borrow mine. You can always borrow mine; because what you don’t know is that you’ve been inspiring courage in me since before you were born. 

So although I don’t tell you I’m nervous, what I do tell you is this.

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You were created for a purpose by a purposeful God, and though my mama heart wants to cloister you away, the world needs you … your creativity, your heart, your light, your goodness.

There may be moments in your day when you feel lonely or sad, a bit lost or scared. Don’t sink into those feelings; instead, allow them to remind you that others are feeling the same. Then go … go to the lonely, the sad, the lost or the scared and befriend them. Muster your courage … the bit you’ve borrowed from me if you feel you’ve misplaced your own … and welcome them into your fold. 

I can’t utter these words as I drop you off, but I whisper them in a prayer. And then I leave … and it feels a bit like parting with my heart.

The hours creep by …

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And then it’s 3; and your blonde braids come streaming down the stairs, your face lit by a smile and the faintest hint of newfound strength. You did it. I did it.

I enfold you in a hug; your small frame melting into mine. This is kindergarten … these roots, those wings and the beautifully brave tension of clinging tight while letting go. You unfold yourself from my grasp and clasp your hand to mine. We did it! And those roots sink a bit deeper as your wings stretch a bit wider. 

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Available on Amazon! For more content like this, connect with me on Facebook or Instagram! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, 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 and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content 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. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!

 

The Fellowship of Mama Friendships

She came over the other day for a cup of coffee. Just an average Friday. Two kids in tow, workout clothes and not a stitch of make-up. No mask. No pretense. Real. Authentic. Honest. Her.

We stepped onto the patio where a much-needed cleansing rain was washing away the heat and the grime of 100-degree Texas summers … a tangible expression of what would happen in our hearts. Refreshment, rest, rejuvenation.

The conversation flowed and time slowed while the babies crawled at our feet and the older kids tumbled in and out. Crazy, chaotic, abundant life happening around and below and above while life-giving words hung in the midst of it all.

Our coffee grew cold and our hearts warm as we shared our dreams and our struggles, our victories and our failures. Truth poured forth and bravery broke free on that back patio.

Just two moms, authentic friendship, and a God who whispers “I’m not finished with you yet.” And suddenly, the desert dissipates. The parched heart finds water. The sand-starved eyes glimpse the promised land.

Motherhood can feel isolating. The poured-out moments and the constant demands of little hands can leave a mama’s heart starving and empty.

But there is a feast to be found in the fellowship of a friend. For a burden shared is a burden halved and a lonely heart finds joy in the journey when another joins.

This is the blessing, the beauty, and the necessity of authentic friendship. It is an emotional filling up for an empty spirit, a drenching rain for a drought-tired heart.

C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’”

Sometimes we think we’re the only one … tired, discouraged, poured-out and parched dry. Until an unmasked friend in all her authenticity shares a cup of coffee and says, “you too?”. And suddenly those words are like a cleansing rain to your drought-drained heart.

So put on a pot of coffee and call a friend. Be honest about your struggles and transparent about your dreams. Real. Authentic. Honest. You.

Let the babies crawl and the tots tumble. Let your kids see you doing life within the fellowship of friendship, and let your desert-dry heart soak up the cleansing rain. And suddenly, I think you’ll find that your spirit sighs. “You too?,” it says. “I thought I was the only one.”

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Available on Amazon! For more content like this, connect with me on Facebook or Instagram! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, 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 and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content 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. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!