Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Look Back, Plus the Top Posts of 2014

Top Six Posts of 2014 | Faith and Composition

I can hardly believe 2014 is coming to a close. The older I get, the more I understand how true it is that the days are long but the years are short. It is somewhat startling to reflect on this past year and realize just how quickly it has all passed by.

So in honor of this past year and in anticipation for what the new year holds, I wanted to take a moment to look back at some of the top moments right here on F&C. Although I launched this little blog in the spring of 2013, 2014 was the year that F&C really began to find its voice. This was the year that my focus centered and my heart rested on the content I longed to share … this was the year I gave voice to the words burning inside.

And this was the year you read them! You read my words, and then you kept coming back. In fact, throughout the year, this space was viewed more 660,000 times from across 190 countries! It is incredibly humbling and immensely encouraging to write that statistic. And it’s all because of you! So thank you! Thank you for stopping in, for taking a minute to browse, for absorbing what overflows from my heart. I write because of you … I write to encourage you, to inspire you, to remind you that you’re not alone in this incredible calling of motherhood. And I write because I feel a kinship with so many of you, even though many of us have never met. I feel the friendship in your comments, and I sense a bond despite the width and breadth that separates us. And so I hope and pray that in this coming year, you will return to this space time and again so we can walk alongside one another and find support and encouragement in the shared journey.

But for now, take a moment to look back at the top six most-viewed posts of 2014. I hope you’ll find immense encouragement bubbling up from these pages! (Clickable links for each article are below the image.)

Top Six F&C Posts of 2014 | Faith and Composition

  1. When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees (this is the most-viewed content on F&C to date)
  2. A Letter to My Husband on His Birthday
  3. When the Little Years are Fleeting and Their Needs Never-Ending
  4. 13 Life Lessons from a Mother to Her Son
  5. To Fellow Mamas of Multiple Little Ones
  6. How to Love a Husband When You Feel You’ve Nothing Left to Give

Happy new year, dear friends! I look forward to rejoining you right here in 2015!

For more content like this, hop over and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram!

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Now available on Amazon

For more content like this, connect with me on FacebookInstagramand Twitter! 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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O Come Let Us Adore Him, FREE iPhone Wallpaper

FREE O Come Let Us Adore HIm iPhone wallpaper | Faith and Composition

Christmas is nearly upon us, and I can hardly believe it. There’s still so much I have to do … remaining presents to buy, still more to wrap, cookies to bake, and meals to plan. And yet, in the hustle and bustle of these last few days before THE day, I really just want to slow down and savor HIM.

So come with me, take a deep breath, and still your heart for a minute. Rest in the incredible miracle that this season celebrates: the awaited birth of our Savior. He was born so that He might die for you and for me … my soul can’t begin to contain such hope, such grace, such beauty!

FREE O Come Let Us Adore HIm iPhone wallpaper | Faith and Composition

Let’s turn away from the chaos, if only for a moment, and choose to simply adore Him. If you’d like this reminder at your fingertips, I’ve created an iPhone lock screen and wallpaper to celebrate the season. You can download your own image here. (Image is optimized for iPhone, but I bet it will work with other phones as well!) Simply download the image, and then save it to your phone’s camera roll. When setting the image as your wallpaper, you’ll need to turn “perspective zoom” off, then pinch the picture to scale it down to fit the frame. Make sense? I hope you enjoy!

(Also, if you’ve yet to start an Advent reading, consider jumping into the SheReadsTruth Advent plan. Because although it may be mid-December, it’s never too late to let the word of truth penetrate your heart. I promise, it will bless your spirit! The girls over at SRT can really speak the word!) 

For more like this, hop over and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram!

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New here? Welcome! You might want to continue reading with this popular post. And if you want 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!

For When You Hurt at Christmas

For When You Hurt at Christmas | Faith and Composition

She walks into the store bravely, yet broken, bearing the fresh scars of a deep soul-pain that I can’t even begin to understand. I’d heard the news: four teens from my small hometown community killed in a wreck the day before Thanksgiving. Good kids. God-fearing kids. Kids gone much too early.

She should have been home with her son, relishing the moments of family gathered together on this holiday weekend. And yet, here she was, picking out clothes to wear to his funeral. I stood rooted to the spot when she broke down into sobs that defy description … the sound of a mother’s raw heart ripping wide open. A lump rose in my throat and tears streamed from my eyes, as I bore witness to her unbelievable pain and felt my own heart ripping in two.

Then a voice sounded from across the room: “Can I pray for you?” And suddenly my feet carried me to her side. I linked arms with a small group of women as we embraced this hurting mother and prayed for heaven to bend low and lift her in his arms, because only Jesus can answer a hurt like that.

Christmas is going to be unbearably painful for this mother; it’s going to be unbearably painful for a lot of people in my small Missouri hometown. In fact, Christmas is going to be hard for a lot of people across the world.

Perhaps Christmas is going to be hard for you. 

For When You Hurt at Christmas | Faith and Composition

From Connecticut to California, Ireland to Iraq, Africa to Afghanistan, as far as the east is from the west, people across this world are hurting. Parents are missing children, children are missing parents, death, divorce, sickness, suffering … A lot of people are in a lot of pain, and sometimes, the glad tidings of the Christmas season are just too much to bear. Because tree trimmings, sleigh bells ringing, and lights twinkling don’t answer the deep soul-ache of a heart in pain.

Broken hearts don’t need festive greenery, reindeer, or a man in a red suit; broken hearts need a savior to enter into their pain and bind up the brokenness. 

Two thousand years ago that savior arrived in the form of a boy born in a Bethlehem manger. Hope wrapped himself in flesh and interrupted the weary, despairing world with the life-giving news of a baby born to save the world.

Born to an unwed teenage mother in a dirty stable within an insignificant town; wrapped in rags and laid in a feed trough, the long-awaited rescuer arrived in a way no one anticipated. Jesus wasn’t born into privilege or welcomed into a royal court. He was born unto us … unto the common, the lonely, the heartbroken, the poor, the rejected, the forgotten, the overlooked, the discouraged. 

Immanuel–God with us–was born into the very midst of our mess.

For When You Hurt at Christmas | Faith and Composition

In a humble stable in the little town of Bethlehem, God drew near to the poor and the despairing. The light of the world shone into the darkness, and the hope of salvation eclipsed the pain and the despair of the human heart. Suddenly hope and healing, redemption and restoration had a name …

And He is Jesus.

This is the miracle of that first Christmas … that heaven unfurled itself, draped down low, and the majesty of God came to dwell among us. And this is the miracle of Christmas today … that God remains with us.

For When You Hurt at Christmas | Faith and Composition

So this holiday season, if Christmas carols ring hollow, twinkling lights have lost their luster, and you’re burdened by a pain too heavy to bear, there is this … Simply this: God is near. Bind these words upon your soul and carry them like a banner over your heart. Because Immanuel came near, and near to you He remains.   

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). – Matthew 1:23

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Now available on Amazon

For more content like this, connect with me on FacebookInstagramand Twitter! 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 Cure for Christmas

The Cure for Christmas | Faith and Composition
The youngest is sleeping, and the older two are resting when I pick up my phone to do a little browsing. Almost instantly I am overwhelmed by images of what-seem-to-be holiday perfection. Garland strewn across well-appointed mantles, Christmas cookies decorated with impeccable attention to detail, gifts wrapped with inventive materials, trees decked with enviable finery. I’m no stranger to all this; in fact I am drawn into the charm and whimsical beauty of it all.

The Cure for Christmas | Faith and CompositionThe Cure for Christmas | Faith and Composition

But then slowly, silently, I feel it. The pressure to create a perfect holiday wells up from the pit of my stomach and begins to tighten around my throat. The images can be overwhelming; the expectations stifling. I glance around my own house and see a half-finished handmade garland with pine needles littering the tabletop, remnants from lunch sitting on the counter, toys strewn about the living room, and opened boxes of Christmas decorations serving as a tripping hazard in the hall. In those moments, stylized images and my own unrealistic expectations collide with my current reality, and suddenly the holidays can feel like a high-stakes performance punctuated by the bitter taste of disappointment.

Since when did excessive commercialism subvert the birth of God-made-man in a lowly stable? What factors have worked to replace the gift of salvation with soon-to-be forgotten gifts that reek of materialism? When did cookie exchanges, visits to Santa, an elf on a shelf, coiffed trees and hot chocolate bars take precedence over the incredible miracle of God bending low and sending His son to take on flesh so that He might die on a cross and ransom us from the death we all deserve?

What has happened that we would rack up credit card charges to contribute to the accumulation of things, yet we wrap a tight fist around our cash when impoverished need stares us in the face? Why do we trample people on Black Friday yet tread on tiptoes when we speak His name? What has happened to Christmas?

The Cure for Christmas | Faith and Composition

The older I get, the more my heart is burdened by this over-commercialization of the holiday. For the past couple years, as this time has rolled around, I find myself longing for a pared-down simplicity. Yes I appreciate the beauty in a well-appointed mantel, I delight at lights glittering on a tree, I breathe in the scent of fresh pine, and I relish in the joy of friends and family gathering together, but I long for less Santa, less pomp, less fuss and more of the baby in a manger.

The Cure for Christmas | Faith and Composition

Because the only cure for the disappointment caused by the intersection of high expectations and our daily reality is to focus on the intersection of grace and sin through the person of a baby born in a Bethlehem stable.

So this year I’m trying to focus more on the heart of the matter and less on the materials. Yes, I have some holiday-inspired posts coming your way, but they’re meaningless if this heart attitude isn’t the priority.

The Cure for Christmas | Faith and Composition
If we get caught up in the striving to make CHRISTmas perfect, we’ll miss CHRIST. Because at its core, Christmas is really the antithesis of perfection. After all, a perfect world doesn’t need a Savior, a broken world does. Christmas is about God’s son taking on flesh to be born into a filthy stable. He was wrapped in dirty clothes and laid in an animal feed trough. The awaited Savior arrived in a package nobody expected, and salvation came to sinful people through a means no one could imagine. He is redemption for a broken world, grace for imperfect people. So this month, as we hurry through the hustle and bustle that defines this holiday season, I pray we will all slow down to reflect on the incredible miracle of Christ being born in a stable for you and for me. Because that, my friends, is worth celebrating, today, tomorrow, on December 25, and for a lifetime!

What do you think, friends? As the Christmas season kicks off, how are you keeping your focus on Christ during the holidays?

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Now available on Amazon

For more content like this, connect with me on FacebookInstagramand Twitter! 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!

This post originally appeared on F&C on December 4, 2013.