Why Others Need You to Embrace Authenticity

Why Others Need You to Embrace Authenticity | Faith and Composition

Authenticity can be a frightening prospect. The very act of baring honest struggles and removing a mask for other to witness can be terrifying. Because we’re programmed to paint over our imperfections, even as moms … especially as moms.

It’s often easier to paint on a smile and feign perfect contentment. You and I could do that with our friends, our family, our church, our children, but perfection doesn’t foster intimacy; instead it builds walls. And I don’t know about you, but I’m more interested in tearing down walls. I long for transparency, for rich relationships, for the deeply rooted friendships built on the experience of sharing real struggles and shouldering burdens.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is always what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill

 

So I tell stories. I share the gritty and the glorious moments of my days. I take the risk, and I tap out the words because I think we all thirst for authenticity. And I think you should too. I think you should take the risk and tell YOUR story. Because there are women longing to hear your perspective; there are women who need the hope only your experiences can provide; there are women who need to see you made it through the messy and the mundane … and they will too!

So tell your motherhood story, your longing-for-motherhood story, your marriage-is-hard-work-but-it’s-worth-it story. Tell your faith story. Tell where you’ve been and where you’re going. How you have found God, and how you are still looking for him. Show authenticity. Take off the mask. Break down the walls.

People are hungry for truth and honesty, and they long to connect with authenticity. They want to know they’re not alone in their struggles and the pressures of their daily challenges. People need to grieve in your sadness and celebrate in your triumphs. Because when the forest is too thick or the light too dim, it may just be your truth-telling that pulls them through.

If it’s too hard to tell the whole story, tell part of it … just part of it. Tell it on a blog, in a Brave Collective, through a song, to a friend over coffee … however best suits your mode of expression. And if you don’t get the response you’d hoped for, keep trying. Swallow your fear, embrace bravery and tell your story again.

Because it matters.

Your story matters.

Your struggles assure others they’re not alone in their battles, your victories buoy hearts, and your faith walk testifies to the truth that so desperately needs to be heard.

Yes, it’s risky. Removing the mask and being authentic always carries some risk. But the risk? The risk is worth it. Because your storytelling might just be the impetus someone else needs to remove their own mask and embrace authenticity. 

So tell your story. Tell of the peaks and the valleys, the gritty and the glorious, the mundane and the majestic. Be a truth-teller: testify to grace, hope and redemption. And then after you’ve spoken … after you’ve said yes to bravery and tasted of transparency … listen. And it’s then you just may hear others finding the courage to do the same.

This is a reprint of a guest post I wrote for the MOPS International blog, “Hello, Darling“. You can find the original article here.

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All content on F&C is ©CFaith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. Images shown in this post were from our wedding, ©Perry Aslyn Photography. 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!

Friday Favorites | February 6, 2015

Friday Favorites, February 6, 2015 | Faith and Composition

Today I’m excited to start a new series on the blog, something a bit more lighthearted that will give me an opportunity to share some of the things I’m loving right now. I’m dubbing it Friday Favorites, and today is the first installment. Every other week (or each Friday, if I’m ambitious), I’ll pop in to feature some of the lovely things that have caught my attention. They may include products I’m smitten with, books I’m reading, songs I’m loving, foods I’m craving, and more. So check back each week for recommendations that I think you’ll love as well.

Now for today’s first Friday Favorites: 

1) I love Lauren Daigle’s heart-moving song, “Let it Be.” I’ve had her station playing without interruption on Pandora for a week now. Go ahead and queue it up. It will bless your heart, promise!

2) I recently discovered Haute Hope via the Grit & Grace Instagram feed, and I was instantly smitten. Founded by Jess Puccinelli (who is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside!), Haute Hope curates a collection of breathtakingly beautiful gift boxes that give a portion of proceeds back to charities. I mean it when I say I haven’t seen a prettier collection of gift boxes anywhere. The contents, the packaging, the attention to detail are all impeccable. If you’re seeking a gift for a birthday, Valentine’s day, bridal shower, anniversary, or any other special event, be sure to check out the stunning collection at Haute Hope. You can also follow all the loveliness on Instagram.

3) Our weather is still a bit cold, but warmer days are on the way, and nothing puts me in the mood for spring like tulips. I picked up several pots of tulips at my local Trader Joe’s last week for a mere $2.99! That’s less than a latte, and the joy they will bring will last so much longer. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, hop in and snag some!

4) This gorgeous print designed by Jenn Sprinkle features the theme verse for IF: Gathering 2015. At just $12, the gold-foil art piece is a lovely way to put scripture on your walls. And speaking of IF, are you going? I‘m so sad that I can’t attend the much-anticipated event this weekend (I mean … I’m really bummed). Some family circumstances have prevented that from happening. However, you can bet I’ll be following along on the Live Stream. You should too; With names like Jennie AllenLauren ChandlerJen HatmakerAnn Voskamp, and more, you know there’s going to be some anointed teaching! 

That’s all for this first installment of F&C’s Friday Favorites. Have a blessed weekend, friends! 

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For more content like this, hop over and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram! If you’re new here, welcome! To receive more encouraging content 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 and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content on F&C is ©CFaith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. Images shown in this post were from our wedding, ©Perry Aslyn Photography. 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!

Thoughts on Marriage – 9 Insights to Help Preserve What’s Sacred

Thoughts on Marriage, 9 Insights to Preserve What's Sacred | Faith and Composition

They’ll tell you marriage isn’t easy, that it’s like a mirror held up to reveal your finer moments and your less-than-fine faults. And you nod your head before saying “I do” simply to oblige.

But truth be told, you think it can’t be that hard. Not for you. You may have disagreements, but you’ll navigate troubled waters with ease. In the newness of the relationship, your heart pounds with excitement for this person, and the thought of having to work at the marriage seems a trivial over-exaggeration.

Or so it seemed then … years ago.

Thoughts on Marriage, 9 Lessons to Preserve What's Sacred | Faith and Composition

Today, my husband and I celebrate nine years of marriage, and in those nine years, we have discovered that marriage is indeed hard work. With three little ones six and under, a job that requires him to frequently travel, the stress of busy schedules, the rigor of homeschool days, outside-the-home commitments, sleep-deprived nights with sick kids, meal-planning, housekeeping, lawn work, and more, everyday demands can take their toll on a marriage.

And when you’re deep in the throes of real-life obligations, you realize they’re right: Marriage is indeed hard work. But nothing worth having ever came easy, and the same is true for marriage. Because when you nurture your relationship, the reward is rich. 

So today, as we celebrate a near decade of married life, I want to share nine insights I’ve come to realize in nine years of marriage to the man I call mine. It has been a beautiful adventure thus far, and there is no one I would rather share this journey with. May these insights encourage you too and hopefully provide some inspiration to help you preserve what’s sacred in your own marriage.

Thoughts on Marriage, 9 Insights to Preserve What's Sacred | Faith and Composition1) Understand that there is a battle raging, and you are in the cross hairs. Marriage is under fire, and there is an enemy that seeks nothing higher than to destroy the family, because if he can destroy the family, he can destroy that sacred institution God designed way back in the beginning of this humanity story. So if you want to stand your ground in your marriage, you must stand your ground against the enemy. Acknowledge that there is a battle raging and you and your spouse have a target on your back. If you have kids, it’s an even bigger bullseye. Yes, there will be difficult days, months, even years, but know with absolute clarity that when those days come, although your enemy is a formidable foe, our God is bigger, and He is the victor!

2) Pray. Once you understand that your marriage plays out on a battlefield, you realize the most important thing you can do for your spouse and yourself is to pray. Pray that The Lord would put a hedge of protection around you and your spouse. Pray that He would hem your marriage in. Pray that He would thwart the schemes of the enemy. Pray that He would help you to see how sacred the relationship is, and how to best serve and protect it. Pray individually and pray as a couple, because there is immense power in a husband and a wife joining together in prayer.

3) Resolve to persevere through the hard times and emerge victorious. The difficult, disenchanted times will come. The test of your marriage will not be whether or not they arrive, but how you handle those times when they show up. Do not sweep disenchantment, discontentment, or disengagement beneath the rug. Do not turn a blind eye to the tempering of emotions, the casual distance growing into a chasm. Resolve now to address those issues and to emerge on the other side victorious. Because trials can strengthen your marriage and unify you as a couple, or they can tear you apart. Commit now to working through the hard stuff, emerging stronger, and letting redemption be a part of your story.

4) Honor intimacy. For several years now, my husband and I have taught a class on intimacy to engaged couples. What we have learned in teaching that class has been so encouraging. For one, intimacy in marriage is a gift that binds you to your spouse in a way nothing else can. Physical intimacy is designed to unite you one to another in body and spirit. Nothing else can do that; no other act can seal you one to another. And in the beautiful, baffling way God designed men and women, physical intimacy serves as a gateway that allows men to connect emotionally with their wives. This emotional connection then gives the wife the desire to invite physical intimacy. Physical intimacy is a gateway to emotional connection and vice versa; the two are not mutually exclusive. When you honor physical intimacy you open up a gateway to deeper emotional intimacy that further binds you one to another. It is a sacred act. Honor it, and enjoy it.

5) Make your spouse a priority over your children. This is a hard one for me, I’ll admit. Because it’s easy to let the demands of a busy family supplant the importance of nurturing the marriage, especially when young kids are underfoot. But your marriage needs and deserves just as much attention as your children, and it’s this relationship that will remain even when the kids have left the nest. So hard as it may be, make your marriage a priority over the kids. It was there first, and it will be there when the kids are grown.

6) Invest in the relationship. Wherever your investments are, your heart will follow. So invest in each other. Invest your time and your resources, and your heart will follow suit. Make the effort to go on dates; turn off the TV and talk face to face when the kids are in bed; hold hands; write notes; sit on the back porch and have a glass of wine in the evening or coffee in the morning. Invest in each other with the same fervor you would invest in a job or a recreational pursuit, and the yields will be rich indeed.

7) Find like-minded couples to walk this journey alongside you. Having friends with whom you can be honest and transparent regarding trials and triumphs in your marriage is so important. These couples can provide accountability and counsel, as well as friendship and support. They can pray for you when you’re in need, and they can rejoice when your marriage is thriving. And as you get to know these couples, they will also serve as examples of God’s redemptive hand in marriage. Because we all have our own stories, and sometimes simply knowing a couple has been where you are and made it through is the hope you need. If you don’t have solid couples in your life, make it a priority to foster these relationships. Find a community group in your church, join a couple’s Bible study, reach out to a few couples whose relationships you respect and see if they’d want to do this thing called life alongside you and your spouse. The reward will be well worth the effort.

8) Discover and meet your spouse’s love language. If you haven’t yet read “The Five Love Languages,” do yourself a favor and download the book. It is exceptionally insightful in helping you to understand the unique ways you and your spouse give and receive love. For example, my husband’s number-one love language is acts of service; mine is quality time. Thus, it helps me to understand that my husband perceives love from me when I do something to serve him. Likewise, service is his natural inclination towards expressing love to me. I on the other hand, express and understand love through quality time. If my husband seeks to spend time with me, I feel loved. And when I give him my time, that is my way of communicating love to him.

These are two very different expressions of love, and if we didn’t understand each other’s love language, our natural inclinations could cause tension. But knowing that my husband’s love language is acts of service helps me to interpret his service as an expression of love. And when I try to order our weekends so we’re spending time together rather than pursuing our individual interests, my husband knows that this is one of the ways I express my love to him.

9) Lastly, do not compare your marriage to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, and it will steal the light and life right out of your marriage if you let it. Everyone has rough spots, every couple has to navigate disagreements and difficult times, the problems arise when we compare our difficult times with another couple’s apparent wedded bliss. Your marriage is your own. It is not your best friend’s, your parents’, your favorite blogger’s, or your has-it-all-together next-door neighbor. God has given you and your spouse a unique set of gifts and traits that combine to make for one unique, beautiful marriage. So take your eyes off what’s-his-and-her-name and direct your view to your own spouse. Look to see the beauty, the blessing and the redemption in your own marriage.

Thoughts on Marriage, 9 Lessons to Preserve What's Sacred | Faith and Composition

All in all, marriage is a picture of our eternal relationship with God; after all, he calls the church his bride. And the fact that we get to partake in a relationship that mirrors Christ and the church on a microscopic scale is an immense privilege and a profound mystery! Marriage is meant to reflect and reveal the goodness and grace of God to the world. It’s a relationship He has created for His glory, as well as our enjoyment and sanctification. 

As The Gospel Coalition put it: “Marriage is one of the means that God has ordained to sanctify us. God is not satisfied with us merely having a ‘good’ marriage. God wants to use our marriage to conform us more and more into the image of Christ. God has a rescue plan for your marriage. His goal is not simply to rescue your marriage. His goal is to use your marriage to rescue you.”

Although marriage is hard, the investment yields a ten-fold reward. Submit your relationship to The Lord and pursue him as a couple, and you will find your story to be one of adventure, rescue, and redemption.

What do you think? Have you had rough patches in your marriage? How have you navigated those and what have you learned about marriage in the process? Join the conversation in the comments or over on the F&C Facebook page.

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For more content like this, hop over and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram! If you’re new here, welcome! To receive more encouraging content 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 and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content on F&C is ©CFaith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. Images shown in this post were from our wedding, ©Perry Aslyn Photography. 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!

A Word for 2015

A word for 2015 | Faith and Composition

January brings with it the desire to reset, start afresh, wipe the slate clean. It’s an opportunity to sit down, review goals and aspirations, and map out some actionable steps. While I’m not a huge new year’s resolution fan, I do appreciate the invitation to dream big and look ahead with anticipation.

And while each of these things is good, healthy even, there’s a simple practice that has been more life-giving to me than resolution-keeping ever could be. It’s the act of choosing one word for the year, just a one-word theme to serve as a banner for the days and weeks that make up the messy, beautiful space of these 12 months. (See my word for 2014 here.) This one-word theme is simpler, gentler, than planning and goal-setting. Instead of checklists or strikethroughs on various actionable steps, it’s a continuous thread that runs through each day, binding the rising of the sun each morning to the setting of it each evening with a quiet, humble consistency.

For the past six to eight weeks as I’ve thought about this word, there has been one that has echoed softly, yet assertively through my mind. One word that wouldn’t let me go; one word that whispered in both the hushed moments and the busy hustle of going, doing, being.

Still.

Just be STILL …

A word for 2015 | Faith and Composition

 

 

Stillness in my schedule and stillness in my spirit. I’m not talking about a ceasing of activity or a complete putting-away of busyness. Rather, I long for a stillness that takes root in my heart and then overflows to transform and order the hours of my days.  

Because I’m tired of managing everything yet gaining nothing, tired of being here yet not being present. I want to quiet the noises in my head enough to hear the inquisitive questions of my kids; I want to put aside the tyranny of the urgent to make time for the more important; I want to still the chaos in my heart to rest in the peace of Him. Because when I rest in His peace, when I listen for His voice, certain things fall away and others come more fully into the light. Anxiety, fear, worry, hectic chaos, endless activity with little result … those things shrink when I’m simply still before Him. I find that my time expands, my spirit rests, my activities bear significance, and my conversations are rich with meaning.

So my word for 2015 is STILL. And although I don’t entirely know what that looks like from a practical standpoint, I’m excited to see and anxious to learn. In some ways, I think it may mean a paring down of certain things and a cleaning-up of others. I want stillness in my heart and stillness in my home, which may mean a move toward more simplicity, a weeding out of excess stuff. I also think it may necessitate a shift in my online habits, because when I’m tethered to my phone, constantly receiving messages, headlines, status updates, it all reverberates as loud, chaotic noise.

But more than anything, it means a commitment to spending some time still before the Lord. Whether that’s an early morning wake-up call, 20 minutes in the afternoon for a bit of scripture reading, or intentional worship played throughout the day, I just want more time with Him. 

I want to still my heart so I can let Him fill it.

I’ll likely be exploring more of this theme right here throughout the year, including ideas and insights on how to cultivate a heart of stillness in the midst of a busy family. What does it look like to be still when you’re a busy mom? I don’t know yet, but I’d love it if we discovered the keys to a soul stillness together! 

What about you? Do you have a word for 2015? Share your word in the comments, or over on the F&C Facebook page!

For a FREE Be Still printable, click here!

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For more content like this, hop over and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram! If you’re new here, welcome! To receive more encouraging content 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 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!

A Prayer for my Daughter, on Her Birthday

A Prayer for my Daughter, on her birthday | Faith and Composition

Dear sweet girl, you’re two today. Remnants of baby still cling to your frame, but you’re growing tall and your limbs stretch longer. How quickly these days pass! If only I could freeze this curious, energetic, passionate season with you.

Yet you change a little each day, growing, stretching, embracing, releasing; the days pass, and the years accumulate with startling speed. And so today, on the occasion of your birthday, there are a few thing I want you to know.

A Prayer for my Daughter, on her birthday | Faith and Composition

I want you to know that I pray for you with a fervency, a hope, and a heartache. It is the delicate balance of a tension that only a mother knows: that heart-full space in between grounding and giving wings.

Above all else, I pray you know that you are loved with a love that surpasses depth or height, a love that confounds knowledge or understanding. I pray dear girl, that your heart hears that truth and let’s it sink into your innermost core where it may root and flourish. For nothing else can replace the beautiful assurance that comes with knowing you are loved. You are loved by the God who knew you even be for He knit you together in my womb, and that same God sent His son to stretch his arms wide on a cross for you. He loves you! He loves you! He loves you! There are no sweeter words.

And I pray you know how much your dad and I, your brother and sister love you. We treasure and adore you, sweet girl! You have brought such light and life, love and laughter to our family! I pray you find your foundation within this family; I pray we are your safe place, always the home to which you can return. And yet I hope you have a God-given hunger to engage the world in a way that light engages the darkness.

I pray you choose mercy, pour out compassion, seek honesty, uphold integrity. I pray you live with passion and never forget the miraculous privilege of your calling … that you are a daughter of the king most high, and He calls you His beloved. There are rights and responsibilities associated with that calling, my dear. They are yours; live them out.

A Prayer for my Daughter, on her birthday | Faith and Composition

I pray you know that you are beautiful, not just because of your form or your frame but because of the light within. The Lord has created you, and He calls you the apple of his eye! He is enthralled with you, dear girl!

The world will tell you that your worth is wrapped up in your body, your beauty, or your brains, but you are worthy, not because of who you are but because of to whom you belong. You are HIS! And He has plans to give you a hope and a future that are beyond anything this world could ever offer you. When the voices of the world echo loud, when lies and half-truths threaten to steal your joy, remember this truth.

I pray you have dreams or desires that can’t be contained by logic or reason. I pray you aren’t afraid to fail, and when you make mistakes (as you certainly will) I pray you find grace and forgiveness in the process. If you shoot for the moon and land, not among the stars, but face first on the solid ground, it will hurt. The fall always hurts. When that happens, cry. Cry for the pain and the loss of it, but then reach out to find the everlasting arms outstretched and waiting to lift you up. 

A Prayer for my Daughter, on her birthday | Faith and Composition

I pray you never lose your sense of wonder, never cease to see the beauty unfolding around you. I pray the mountains steal your breath and the ocean fills your soul with the tangible awareness of God’s incredible goodness and His constant nearness. I pray you lose your toes in the sand and your voice upon the wind.

I pray you are undone by the incredible miracle of life itself. When you look at the wrinkled skin of a fresh-from-the-womb baby or gaze into the deeply lined faces of those who have lived so many years, I pray you are astounded by the gift of life and ever grateful to the giver.

So many pages lie before you unwritten, so many blank spaces and empty days yet to fill. They will come in a flash and a flurry, breathtaking and beautiful. For life is a gift, and you my dear, are the sweetest gift.

Never doubt it, darling. You are beautiful, you are treasured, you are loved!

Happy birthday, little one! We love you!

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For more content like this, hop over and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram! If you’re new here, welcome! To receive more encouraging content 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 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!