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Dear Moms: You’re Not the Only One

When You Feel Like You're the Only One

So it happened. I sat down last night after the kids had gone to bed and started to talk with my husband … and it happened. Tears. Wet trails ran down my cheeks as frustration and exhaustion came pouring out. Because it’s hard. This motherhood calling; this laying down of yourself to serve the needs of your kids and your family with nary a thanks. It’s throw-you-to-your-knees, pour-yourself-out hard.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s high and it’s holy, it’s brave and it’s beautiful, and I’m so thankful that God has gifted me with these beautiful kids and this privileged calling, but somedays it’s all I can do to simply make it through. I get tired of the mom bun, tees and shorts, sweeping dog hair, changing diapers, picking up toys, correcting behavior, making one more meal and then making another. Yes, even those of us who write poetic words about the proper perspective, the fleeting childhood years, or encouragement for the times we feel unseen … even we get discouraged. I.GET.DISCOURAGED.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that. It’s easy to forget that we ALL struggle at times. We look at curated Facebook posts and picture-perfect Instagram squares, and we overlook the fact that real life is occurring between those lines.

Real.Messy.Life. 

Pull back the curtain on those still-frames and you’ll find babies crying, kids arguing, dogs barking, laundry accumulating, hair graying, laugh lines creeping, waists shifting, hearts breaking. Because the glorious and the gritty occupy the same space, we just don’t always see it. 

When You Feel Like You're the Only One

Comparison is the thief of joy, and it’s easy to look at a watercolor beach vacation and then despise your kitchen with its fresh-from-breakfast mess still in the sink and a half-eaten peanut-butter-and-jelly on the cutting board. In those moments, in those times that I compare highlight reels to my mundane Thursday afternoon, I can feel the tears pooling. Maybe you can too. Maybe you have days where you want to cry, throw in the towel, give up on this motherhood thing.

You don’t feel good enough, smart enough, equipped enough. You don’t think you can hear “Mom” one more time, strip one more set of sheets, quell one more argument, negotiate one more nap time. No one could prepare you for this … the swelling of your heart with an uncontainable love that is grounded only by the intensity of the motherhood role. Everyone tells you that labor ends when the child is placed upon your chest, but you know better. You know that labor extends well past the birthing room.   

When You Feel Like You're the Only One

Oh friend … if this is you, please hear this. You are not alone. On these days, in these moments when you feel tired and worn-out, ill-equipped and unqualified … You.Are.Not.Alone. The same God who sees you when mothering is hard, He who promises to carry you through is the same God who created community to help you shoulder the burden.

So find community, and press into it. Share your struggles and lay bare your heart. Be vulnerable. Be honest. Be authentic. Be transparent. Tell your story. Take off the mask and break down the walls. Invite someone into the heart of your mess just as they are, and you’ll find a common grace.

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.”

Motherhood is hard. It’s hard for me. For you. For them. It’s hard and it’s holy, it’s gritty and it’s glorious, and it will bring you to your knees. But when motherhood merges with authentic community, you’ll find a friend to lift you from your knees and a voice of understanding to whisper you’re not 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. Now available on AmazonFor 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!

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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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!

 

13 Life Lessons from a Mother to Her Son

13 Life Lessons from a Mother to her Son | Faith and Composition

My oldest recently completed kindergarten, and I’ve been musing a bit on the rapid passage of time. Wise, white-haired, nostalgic grandmothers caution us that it all passes so quickly, but you don’t realize the startling truth of that honest reality until you watch your own little ones growing before your eyes. The days pass slowly at times, but the years … those years fly by.

If I teach my son how to read and write, that 1+1=2, that whites should be washed on hot, and how to function as a productive part of society, yet I fail to teach him the more important heart matters, then I have fallen short. Because my role as a mother to this little boy is to raise him to be a man who loves the Lord and to have a heart that blesses others out of the outpouring of that love. 

And so I’ve been thinking a bit on things I want my son to know, life lessons that I hope he learns through the beautiful process of growing up in this lovely, mess of a family. I pray that through the expression of love and the modeling of forgiveness, these are the lessons that root deep into his heart.

13 LIFE LESSONS I WANT MY SON TO KNOW

1) Bravery isn’t measured by brute strength, nor is it the absence of fear, for fear is a common human emotion. Bravery is a heart willing to step up and out in spite of that fear. Take heart, be brave.

2) Society will try to tame your God-given thirst for adventure, but the world needs men who will rise to the challenge and ride to the rescue; that just may be you! Don’t tame your adventurous spirit.

3) And yet don’t resist the quiet, and don’t shun the weak. For beauty is found in quiet, and God’s strength is revealed in weakness.

4) Respect nature, immerse yourself in it. For God’s creation is the best measuring stick used to reveal our smallness and His greatness.

5) You will have both successes and failures. Be humble in the former, graceful in the latter.

6) Practice forgiveness.

7) Model strength through service.

8) Listen attentively; speak carefully.

9) God has given you a tender, compassionate heart, but there will be circumstances that will threaten to harden it. Don’t let the world steal your joy. Choose instead to let those circumstances flood you with compassion to pour out to a hurting world.

10) See girls not for their charm and beauty, but for their heart. Treat them with the respect due a sister in Christ. As their brother in Christ, serve them humbly.

11) The world will compete fiercely for your attention, and endless attractions have the potential to capture your interest. Only one thing satisfies. Choose God first, the rest will fall into place.

12) Take pride in a job well done. There is honor in honest work. Work always as though you are working for the Lord, not man.

13) Know that I will always love you more than my meager words could ever express. No matter your age, no matter your size, wherever your life may lead, you will always be my little boy, and I will love you with the ceaseless endurance that defines a mother’s love for her son.

 

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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!

When Grace Trumps Guilt

When Grace Trumps Guilt | Faith and Composition

It had been a taxing evening. My husband was out of town, and the older kids had both decided to throw near-simultaneous tantrums. The baby was running a fever, and my throat was on fire. Everyone needed me to meet their needs, but I could hardly meet my own. I felt awful, and I desperately needed a hot cup of tea and a long night’s rest. Unfortunately, neither was going to happen anytime in the near future.

I finally got the baby to sleep and then walked out to the living room to find the boy and girl jumping up and down asking for a snack. Their recent tantrums a thing of the past, they were quite exuberant, and they were using none-too-soft voices. I knew they risked waking the little one. “Shh!” I pleaded. “Please don’t wake your sister!”

As if on cue, she cried out. In frustration and out of sheer exhaustion I turned to my son: “Why were you so loud?” I snapped. “Now I need to put her down again. I’d really like to spend some time with you, but I can’t because I need to tend her now.”

His face sank, hope deflated, tears spilled. “I’m sorry Mama,” he said. “I want you to spend time with me.”

As his words tumbled out, the reality of the situation and the sharp, reactionary nature of my response became painfully clear. Guilt and shame welled up through that sore throat of mine, and I struggled to push it down.

I leaned into him, bent down, cupped his face and said, “I am so sorry!”

He melted into me. Little boy arms that hang long and slim wrapped around my waist. He squeezed my neck tight, and instant forgiveness flooded over me. There was no condemnation, there weren’t any expectations; it was just pure grace poured out from a six-year-old boy to his tired mama.

When Grace Trumps Guilt | Faith and Composition
As moms, it’s easy to lose our cool and say words with a harsh tone. The days can drag on tedious and tiring, the kids’ needs seem relentless, our significance feels small. We pour ourselves out without a moment to fill up, and suddenly we find ourselves responding to something the kids said or did out of sheer exhaustion or frustration.

And then that guilt and shame … it rears it’s ugly head and whispers into our weakness: you’re not enough, you messed up again, you raised your voice, broke their heart, you’re failing at motherhood. The emotions are real, heavy, ugly.

Maybe you’ve been there; maybe you find yourself there today.

Because these kids … they bless us and stretch us in ways we couldn’t have ever imagined, and that stretching can pull us thin, wear us down threadbare. Limits are tested, words spoken, patience expired. And days like that can leave us with the weight of mom guilt hanging heavy around our shoulders.

Guilt that shames, condemns, enslaves.

That’s where I found myself that night, swimming in a big pool of Mama shame.

But then my boy. 

My boy accepted my apology with open arms, and then he took those arms and embraced me. Right there on the kitchen floor unbeknownst to him, he gave me a very tangible object lesson. And it’s this: Grace trumps guilt. It ALWAYS will if you let it.

I know that. I knew it then, but sometimes when guilt is thick, we need to be reminded of that beautiful truth. And there’s nothing better to serve as a reminder than the forgiving, all consuming hug of a six-year-old boy.

Because sometimes our children are the tangible expression of God’s grace to us at just the moment we need it most. Forgiveness, acceptance, open arms.

Here’s what I know … Grace will always trump guilt, if you let it. It will stamp out shame, and it will spring forth from the tiniest seed in the most remote and barren of places. But we must be willing to receive it. Had I turned away from my son’s expression of grace that evening, it would have fallen flat on the kitchen floor. Instead I received it, and hearts softened, a relationship strengthened, bitterness dissipated.

Grace trumped guilt. It did for me, and it will for you if you’ll simply receive it. If Mama guilt hangs heavy, if shame is pressing down, please know that the gift of grace waits for you from the stretched-wide arms of Jesus. Overwhelming grace, consuming grace, I-don’t-deserve-it grace … it’s yours for the taking. Receive it. Because grace always triumphs.

 

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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!

 

Why We Won’t be Giving Our Kids an Easter Basket

Why We Won't be Giving Our Kids an Easter Basket

This post originally appeared on March 29, 2013.

I originally began this post as a compilation of ideas for candy-alternative Easter baskets. We really try to avoid consuming too much sugar (especially the processed kind), so I had assembled a list of basket-filling options that included things like bubbles, flower seeds, gardening tools, JellyCat stuffed bunnies, stickers and more. I even ran into a few stores yesterday seeking some ideas. But as I began to think a little bit more about the trinkets with which I could fill my kiddos’ baskets, I balked. Not because they weren’t suitable ideas, but because I suddenly realized that my kids don’t need an Easter basket filled with stuff.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure and before you start thinking that I’ve deprived my little ones of some magical childhood experience that surrounds this particular holiday, let me just say that there is an Easter basket en route to each of them from my parents. And I’m pretty sure my husband’s parents have procured an assortment of Easter-related items for each kid. I have no doubt that those items will be met with much excitement, and we welcome those gifts. However, I’ve decided that my husband and I will not be giving our kids a filled-to-the-brim basket this year, and here’s why:

Easter celebrates the most important event in human history. It’s about the cross and the nail-scarred hands, the empty tomb and the words, “He is not here, He has risen.” I don’t want the commercialization of the holiday to overshadow its eternal significance.

With that being said, however, I know the focus can remain on Christ even in the midst of candy-filled eggs and stuffed bunnies. I’d like to think we’ve done it in the past, and I’m sure some of you manage it in quite admirable ways. But the second reason we’re not giving our kids an Easter basket this year is because my kids already have so much stuff. I don’t want a holiday to be the catalyst for bringing more unnecessary things into our lives and into our home … things that will be played with for a few minutes and then discarded later only to end up being shuffled from toy bin to toy bin before eventually landing in the garage sale pile.

We live in an overly commercialized society that heralds the accumulation of things. But with this accumulation comes the need to manage and maintain it all. And frankly, I’m tired of managing it all. I want to spend my time loving my children, enjoying companionship with my husband and sharing adventures with them all. I want to be attached to people, not things. And I want the same for my children. So while my decision to not give my kids an Easter basket this year may seem silly to some, I think it’s a small step in the right direction.

So on Easter Sunday, we’ll head off to church to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. And when we return home, we’ll feast in the dining room with cloth napkins and talk through the message of the cross and the empty tomb once again with our little ones. Then we’ll head outside and do a small egg hunt, where the kids will find hard-boiled eggs that we dyed using natural dyes and plastic eggs filled with coins for their banks or small notes tucked inside. We’ll focus on Christ, His sacrifice for us, and on one another. And after the kids go to bed and my husband and I are starting to wind down, I’ll be thankful that I won’t have to find a place to store all those stuffed bunnies and Easter-themed trinkets.

Now it’s your turn. How do you keep the focus on the message at Easter? And how do you manage the accumulation of things that seem to accompany each American holiday?

Faith and Composition

For a free Easter printable celebrating the resurrection, click here!

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