Tag Archives: anxiety

Hope Rising

Hope Rising | Faith and Composition

Sometimes, the days are hard. And occasionally those days can stretch into weeks, months, even years. There are seasons that can seem bleak and hopeless. I’ve been there … a season of anxiety that seemed to pull me deeper and deeper into darkness, and I feared I might not again see the light. Circumstances and emotional instabilities have a way of robbing us of our joy.

I have a feeling some of you might be in that place today; there’s a still small voice whispering that perhaps you’re in need of some hope. If you happen to find yourself in the midst of difficult times right now; if you’re heart is bleak; or if you simply find yourself discouraged, weighed down by present demands, then hear this, dear friend. These words are for you.

Hope Rising | Faith and Composition
Hope Rising


If you’re sinking in the waves of depression, hope is rising.
If you’re drowning beneath the weight of addiction, hope is rising.
If you’re swimming in a sea of shame, hope is rising.
If you’re burdened by the ache of a breaking heart, hope is rising.
If you’re crushed by the grip of shame, hope is rising.
If you’re shackled by the fears of anxiety, hope is rising.
If love feels lost, your dreams seem dead, and your heart is a hostage, hope is rising!

Because we have
A Rescuer
A Resurrector
A Redeemer
A Mighty Warrior
A Messiah
A Savior
We have Jesus!

And he binds up broken hearts and sets the captives free. He looses chains and breaks the shackles of bondage. He turns beauty into ashes, breathes life into dry bones, and brings the dead to life.

He makes all things new!

So yes … Hope is rising.

Do not be despaired. Lift up your eyes to the heavens from whence come your help, because
HOPE.IS.RISING.FOR.YOU on the name of Jesus Christ!

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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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Be Still and Know

Be still, words to encourage your heart and a free printable | Faith and Composition

I feel it creeping up, the familiar strangling sensation of anxiety: the tightness in the chest, the heart palpitations, the loud thoughts echoing in my head. News of another patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. broke today … and it’s in my own backyard again. I‘m one or two degrees separated from this terrible disease, and that reality is absolutely terrifying.

Despite the attempts to assure the public that an outbreak in this country is rare, today’s news is enough to make me want to take my family and retreat into some rural hideaway. Except that’s not a feasible option, and there is nowhere truly “safe” this side of heaven.

So I wander the house, trying to busy my head and occupy my hands with some other task to take my mind off the news and it’s closeness to home. And then softly He whispers into the midst of my pounding, anxious heart:

Be still. 

Just be still and know that He is God.

So I set it aside—the busyness, the what-ifs, the menial tasks—and I sit still before Him. I don’t ask, I don’t tell; I just wait. I wait for my heart to remember that He is God, and He is still on His throne in all of His sovereign glory.

He is God. And that is enough.

Today, if you’re suffering from fear, anxiety, unrest, uncertainty … stop what you’re doing and simply be still. Let your heart cry out to the Lord in utterances of which the mouth cannot speak. Look up and know that He is God. And then God will do the rest. He will flood your heart with a peace that passes understanding because He.is.God. Today, tomorrow, always.

To download the above artwork as an 8×10 printable, click here. (The hi-res version for print does not have the URL at the bottom.) 

This is Day 10 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!

How to Respond to Heartbreaking Headlines and a Hurting World

How to Respond to Heartbreaking Headlines and a Hurting World | Faith and Compsition

I turn on the news and the headlines hit me with a weight that is too heavy to bear: mass genocide, ethnic cleansing, gruesome murders, starvation, ghastly disease. There is Ebola in Africa, war in Israel, and heinous death, torture and persecution in Iraq. I read a headline, see a picture, glance at an image, and I am undone. A deep, tears- flowing, stomach-churning despair threatens to consume me.

The pain is so great and the burden so heavy … I want to turn away, close my eyes, cover my ears. There is a part of me that wants to simply pretend it’s not happening, because the burden of the truth is crushing.

Wanting to turn away from such unspeakable suffering is understandable; the pain is just too agonizing. But turning away isn’t an option for Christ followers. Jesus came to save the hurting, to redeem the oppressed, to free the captives. You and I are His hands and feet, and thus we are compelled to act in the face of suffering. 

The question then becomes “how?”. How do we—members of free nations, moms, dads, sons, daughters, those of us living in relative safety and contentment with ample provisions and far-reaching freedoms—how do we act in the face of such suffering?

I’ve been thinking about this question for several days now. I’ve read articles and researched relief organizations. I’ve lifted my eyes and cried out to God, asking why, asking how. And although the why answer has not necessarily come easily, the Lord’s response to how has been a quiet, simple answer: YOU through the power of ME.

As followers of Jesus Christ, you and I are empowered by the Holy Spirit, and we have an obligation to intercede for others in the name of Christ. We can’t simply defer to justice organizations, ministries or professional Bible teachers. We can’t leave those who are serving on the front lines with the lion’s share of work. You and I are members of the body of Christ, and we play an integral role. We can effect change, provide hope, extend grace when we become a conduit of God’s mercy and allow HIM to work through us.

So what does that look like from a practical standpoint? How do we engage a hurting world without becoming so despaired that the pain causes us to shut out current atrocities? Here are four ways I believe we can engage and assist suffering people without becoming disillusioned and destroyed by the weight of such pain.

 

How to Respond to Heartbreaking Headlines and a Hurting World | Faith and Compsition

Sometimes prayer can feel passive; when we see such desperation, we long to do something that will meet tangible needs. But the power of prayer must not be underestimated or over expressed. By the blood of Christ, you and I can approach the throne of God boldly.

Do you understand what that means, really? Do you grasp the weight and the power of it? You and I can come before the throne of He who created this world. We can lay our requests before Him, and He promises to listen and to act! That is a privilege not to be ignored! Prayer opens the floodgates of heaven and causes God to reach down and intercede. There is NOTHING that you and I can do that is more powerful than that. It is not trite to say that we must pray; rather it is the  one thing we must not be found lacking. For when God intercedes to answer a believer’s prayer, lives are changed, families saved, nations spared. 

So pray!

Pray fervently with your knees bent and your face to the floor. Pray for evil to be held at bay, pray for the gospel to be proclaimed, pray for hearts to be softened and eyes to be opened. Pray for lives to be spared, for rescue, for freedom. Pray for revival in your heart, your family, your neighborhood, your country. Pray that a sleeping church would awaken!

And pray for our enemies. Pray that scales would fall from eyes, that hearts would change, that the truth would be revealed. Pray that they would be overwhelmed by their sin and would realize their need for the one true Savior.

Prayer is the one thing we can all do, so let us pray in solidarity. Because although I may simply be a stay-at-home mom, I’m a stay-at-home mom who has access to the throne of grace. You do too. Let us not take that privilege lightly.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

How to Respond to Heartbreaking Headlines and a Hurting World | Faith and Compsition

Second to prayer, let us give. There are people working on the front lines, fighting in the trenches, and they need tangible support to continue their work, so let us give of our resources. You may not be able to go to the battle zones, but you can certainly help meet the needs of the people who are serving there by providing for their everyday necessities. If you truly want to engage, if you want to do something to make a measurable difference, don’t just change your Facebook profile picture … take action. Pray and give!

Do your own research and give to a reputable organization that you trust. There are myriad organizations serving in desperate situations, and they need your support. If you need a suggestion, consider giving to Voice of the Martyrs. They’re a highly respected ministry dedicated to assisting the persecuted church worldwide. Click here to specifically support Voice of the Martyr’s work in Iraq. Your donation will go directly to helping displaced Iraqi Christians.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

How to Respond to Heartbreaking Headlines and a Hurting World | Faith and Compsition

Thirdly, watch. Don’t let the despairing nature of the news cause you to disengage altogether. I know it can be tempting to turn a blind eye to current events because the weight of it all is too heavy, but I don’t believe we have that luxury. Yes, there needs to be some moderation; constantly consuming the news is neither healthy nor beneficial. But as Christ followers, we are compelled to be ambassadors of His mercy and grace. And if we are to reach a hurting world, we must be aware of that hurt. So watch the headlines; be informed so you know how to pray and engage.

But also watch for GOD’S GLORY! As the people pray, as Christians stand in solidarity, as believers refuse to refute their faith even in the face of horrendous atrocities, God will act. Watch for his hand of redemption and rescue; watch for unexplainable miracles; watch for the advance of his church despite efforts to snuff it out!

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.'” (Isaiah 56:1)

How to Respond to Heartbreaking Headlines and a Hurting World | Faith and Compsition

And lastly, let us hope, because our God is the great I AM. Our pastor recently gave a compelling sermon on Exodus 3 where God reveals his name to Moses. Although our English versions translate God’s name as I AM, there is not a true English equivalent for the original Hebrew. The Hebrew name is an ongoing action that indicates I WAS, I AM, and I WILL BE. God is eternal, unchanging.

This truth provides unspeakable hope and security to all believers everywhere. The God who parted the Red Sea, who rained manna down from heaven, who tumbled the walls of Jericho, who turned the hearts of ancient Ninevah (modern-day Mosul) to Him  … that God is the same God we serve. He was, He is, and He will be … never-changing, all-powerful God.

Isaiah 30:18 declares, “For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”

God is still a God of justice, and he will ultimately be the victor. Let your hope rest on that truth; cling to it! And when the headlines are haunting, your heart is breaking, and the world seems to be spinning out of control, remember that I AM is still on his throne.

Special thanks to my husband and pastor for reviewing this post; your input helped to strengthen the piece. 

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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 the Mess of Anxiety Takes Root in Your Heart

When the Mess of Anxiety Takes Root in Your Heart | Faith and Composition

It’s been two years now. Two years since I looked fear in the face and boarded a plane bound for the jungles of Belize. It was a rather innocuous week-long mission trip, but prior to our departure, I had been an anxious mess. I’d never been a worried traveler. My passport was marked with the stamps of England, Costa Rica, South Korea, Mexico, the Caribbean. But this time it was different. This time I was a mom.

Motherhood has a way of turning your heart inside out, your life upside down. My husband and I would be leaving our two children (I was pregnant with number three) with my own mom so we could serve for a week in Belize. And frankly, fear seized me at the very thought of the separation.

Anxiety and depression flooded my mind. A cacophony of what ifs echoed throughout my head. Darkness was my constant companion, peace was hopelessly elusive.

The journey leading up to our departure was a messy one. It was fraught with worry, punctuated by a few neurologist appointments, defined by two MRI scans. Because anxiety has a way of robbing peace from your soul and health from your body. You don’t merely hear worry reverberate through your thoughts, you feel it in your bones. 

When the Mess of Anxiety Takes Root in Your Heart | Faith and Composition

But God is the ultimate healer, and He promises a peace that passes understanding. In time, my spirit found rest in Him alone, and my physical symptoms slowly disappeared.

As my husband prepares to return to Belize this year, I’m thinking back on my journey through anxiety and the way The Lord led me through the battle. If you’ve ever struggled with anxiety yourself, or if you simply need to be reminded of the source of unsurpassing peace, you can read my six-part story, starting here.

And while we’re on the subject of anxiety, I’m excited to announce that I’ve just started working on a little e-book project, tentatively titled When Worries Cease. It’s in the beginning phases now, but I look forward to keeping you posted! And I sincerely hope and pray it will be a source of encouragement to all who read!

What’s your story? Have you struggled with anxiety more now that you’re a mom? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Linking today’s post up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five-Minute Friday.

Faith and Composition

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All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted.

 

The Stirrings of a Heart and an African Boy

The stirrings of a heart and an African boy
Halfway around the world, there’s a 15-year-old boy who traipses across red African dirt and calls Uganda home. When grinning, his white teeth contrast against his dark skin. I’ve sponsored Nangoli Cranimer through Compassion International for nearly a decade now. It’s been almost ten years since I first clicked on his profile; ten years since I said yes to the sending of funds and the growth of a relationship across the chasm of oceans and continents.

Through pictures and letters—scrawling handwriting that has turned from a young child’s rudimentary writing into more mature penmanship—I’ve watched this African boy grow up. My husband and I have prayed for him; we’ve talked with our children about him; we’ve sent letters, pictures, pages colored by our five-year-old’s hand. And though I’ve entertained fleeting thoughts of the blessing it would be to someday meet him, to clasp hands, to look into his eyes and see the mercy of Christ staring back, I’ve never had the desire to go. Not halfway across the world … not to Africa.

The stirrings of a heart and an African boy
You don’t have to go far to hear the continent spoken of. Relief workers, rock stars, politicians, pastors, students, moms, dads … they’re all going and doing. Bringing tangible expressions of goodwill, hope and grace to a post war-torn land and the people left in its wake. But not me. No, this girl who suffered severe anxiety over the leaving of my children for one week to serve on a mission trip to Belize hasn’t ever had a desire to travel to Africa.

But then the other day I stumbled across this page and paused, just for a minute. A brief “what if?” pause. And then I read this post by author Emily Freeman, and the tears fell. She’s currently in Africa, in Uganda to be exact, with a team of bloggers. She’s treading atop red dirt and putting skin on hope; she’s clasping dark-skinned hands and watching the beautiful mystery of deep soul joy welling up in the midst of impoverished circumstances.

I brushed the tears as I read her post … tears brought on by her storytelling of an African boy doing kingdom work and an American girl soaking it all in. A boy a lot like Cranimer; a girl a lot like me.

The stirrings of a heart and an African boy
God is stirring my heart a bit. Whether it’s a stirring for Africa or simply for the release of fear and the willingness to follow where He may lead, I don’t know. Not yet, anyway. But I do know this. There are thousands of children in desperate need of a sponsor through Compassion. You don’t have to go; you don’t have to board the plane, shield your eyes from the African sun, brush the red dirt from your feet … You just have to click. Thousands are waiting to be rescued from poverty. Who will you choose?