Motherhood & the moment that found me on a Tuesday afternoon

I dropped him off last Tuesday for his first day of preschool. I’m still wrapping my mind around the reality that this is his last year before Kindergarten. My fourth child Will is losing his baby face and becoming a young boy.

After picking him up, we made macaroni and peaches for lunch. We looked out the window and noticed the grey storm clouds rolling in. Rain began to fall and sounded like marbles dropping on our roof. After it settled down, we went outside to explore puddles and find worms.

“Momma, look the baby one! Aww!” Will exclaimed.

He’s always had a passionate love for bugs, worms, rolly pollies, frogs, and anything crawling.

As Will splashed in the puddles – stomping his camouflage boots- I knew this was the real stuff of life right here. Nothing fancy. Nothing grand. Not a Disney World experience. Just a rainy, typical Tuesday afternoon with my brown-eyed boy. Some would call it mundane, but I found it magical. Heavenly, in fact.

A moment where there were no struggles with his strong will, but he was completely content as a friend to the worms. It was a moment where we were together, and the cool breeze and leaves falling on the ground gave us joy that fall was on its way.

Will bent down near one of the puddles looking for new wiggly creatures. He scooped them up and stretched them out with his fingers.

“Look?! I’m tearing them apart Mommy!” his hands were shaped like a spider-web.

The rain water revealed a reflection of his little hand and I thought back on his delivery day that summer in August when his tiny little fingers curled around my own and he was completely dependent on me for his life and sustenance. When I couldn’t stop smelling his newborn scent or kissing his cheeks.

Now, he no longer needs the comfort and nourishment from my breasts but walks and runs as he pleases- constantly on the go and seeking adventure. This unlatching has brought new milestones and growth that have made him more and more independent. Yet, he still needs Mommy just as much as he did on the day of his birth.

In it all, God has been growing him in each precious season of his life. He has sustained his very life and breath. In the day to day, typical moments. In his first steps, words, and solid foods. In potty training, naps, and discipline. In making friends, learning to share, and listening to daddy and mommy. In sleeping, eating, and drinking. In reading books, walking to the park, riding bikes, and much more.

I’ve been grateful to be by my son’s side in every single stage—the challenging and the joyful. The I-just-blew-it moments. The mundane and the magnificent. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I know these are the days I’ll look back on when I’m older and want again.

After playing in the puddles and awaiting his brother and sister’s arrival home, out of nowhere Will gave me a huge squeeze on my cheeks – to the point where it kind of hurt. I then realized where those fingers had just been- ripping apart those worm bodies!

“Eww, Will! You got worm juice all over my face!” I cringed and squirmed. “Gross!” I yelled.

We laughed together, and he ran to grab the bottle of soap.

 

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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The gift of a friend who tells you the truth (& when your boots need polishing…)

Last Sunday, a man in our church took me by the side after our communion meal and said:

“I’m going to tell you something that my dad always told me.”

“Oh really?” I asked, curious as to what he’d say.

“Always keep your boots polished,” he smiled.

I looked down at my brown cowgirl boots that I’ve had now for four years and haven’t polished even once.

“Oh yeah, they do need polishing, huh?” I said.

I looked at his black boots and they were in great shape.

That was all the conversation entailed. The funny thing is that I could’ve taken offense to his comment or been embarrassed but I knew better than that. He was telling me the truth as my elder and someone I admire and respect.

That encounter reminded me of the precious gift of truth-tellers in our lives. The book of Proverbs talks a lot about being cautious of the friend that only speaks flattery to you with their lips. That only tells you what you want to hear- not what you need to hear, sugarcoating reality.

A true friend will openly correct you from a genuine, caring heart (Proverbs 27:5-6). You can trust this kind of friend because ultimately, she cares for you and has your best interest at heart. She’s looking out for you and wants success and blessing in your life.

But, ouch, correction isn’t fun! It really stings initially. Our pride wants to protect the places we’d prefer to not let anyone know about. The places we’d rather not have a friend check in on. How we’re:

  • respecting and loving our husbands?
  • treating our children with kindness?
  • practicing self-control in eating, drinking, social media, Netflix, Instagram and more?
  • using our time, talents, and treasure for God’s kingdom and not the kingdom of self?
  • sharing the gospel and love of Christ with those God has put in our path?
  • controlling our tongue from gossip and listening to gossip?
  • using our words to build others up, and not tear down?
  • stewarding all the resources and gifts God has given?

I’m grateful for how God has used friends in my life over the years to sharpen and encourage me in my faith when I was teetering and open my eyes to behaviors and habits I didn’t see. I thank God for friends who’ve shown me scriptures about why I can’t put my hope in the things of this world, but I can in Christ alone. He’s used friends to help strengthen my marriage and my relationship with my kids and to remind me of his goodness when I was falling short on grace. He’s used friends to show me love and not condemnation (after already beating myself up a thousand times).

A friend that corrects you is one of the greatest gifts you could ever have in your life. Thank the Lord for her. Be that kind of friend in return – one who doesn’t simply hide what needs to be said but will tell the truth in love from a genuine and caring heart.

And by all means, if your boots need polishing too, go spoil yourself!

Blessings,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Why it’s actually okay to release control of your life

Ensenada, Mexico

Earlier this year my husband and I embarked on a 3-day cruise to celebrate our 12-year anniversary. On the first night in our cabin, intense fear woke me up in the middle of the night. As I looked out our window I could barely see the ocean waves. I was worried the ship would sink and rehearsed the emergency exit plan in my head.

The lack of control I felt from being on the open water paralyzed me and it didn’t help that I wasn’t fully awake. Were we crazy to take this vacation and entrust our very life to the captain in charge?

That experience got me thinking about faith and how often we can feel like we’re losing a sense of control when we place our trust in Jesus – who we can’t see on a daily basis.

When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to, “Follow me,” (Matt 4:19) Scripture says that immediatelythey left their nets and followed him. They left their comforts, all that was normal in their trade as fishermen, and what they could control.

I’m guessing they weren’t thinking: At this time and on this day, the Messiah will come out of nowhere and meet us where we’re at…They were not expecting that at all. But that is what happened. Jesus came out of nowhere into their lives and met them right where they were.

Peter and Andrew handed over their life to the One who was greater. They surrendered their life to become a learner of Jesus even when they didn’t exactly understand what that meant.

The truth is that releasing control of our life is the means by which we’re truly free and able to experience deeper intimacy with Jesus. Even as much as our hands want to hold tightly to what we think provides security, Jesus tells us where our ultimate hope is found:

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” – (Matt 10:39)

The truth is that I love holding on tightly to my life (my loves, wants, wishes, desires, needs) and thinking only about my inner circle. Yet Jesus calls me to something better. He calls me to seek His kingdom first and then all these things will be given. He calls me to step out of the boat and join him in his mission of winning broken and lost souls for eternity. He calls me to love, selflessness, and servanthood where he’s placed me. That can be both scary and inconvenient.

Placing our faith in Jesus can be terrifying because of the unknown. What will happen if I diligently follow Christ with my life? How will I learn to deal with stresses if I go to Jesus instead of my current coping mechanisms? Does this mean anything for my personal goals and career? What will people think and say when I try to engage them with the gospel? And the list goes on…

When you surrender, Jesus gives you new desires and tastes. What was once pleasing and attractive to your eyes will not be anymore. The intense desire to please others and find your identity in material things begins to lessen. Your mission is no longer self, but to serve your Savior. You become more concerned with living for eternity rather than how many “likes” you have in a day.

You’ll begin to find joy and excitement from continually asking the Lord, where can I serve you today? What can I give away for your kingdom? The unknown becomes an adventure.

He’ll also equip you for exactly what you need in the moment – whether that means reaching out to a stranger, seeking forgiveness, inviting a friend to church, giving up an addiction, seeking counsel, changing your circle of friends, opening up your home to your neighbors, seeking healing in your marriage, confessing sin, investing in an “unlovable” person, starting a ministry from scratch, using buried talents and gifts to build the body of Christ, and more.

On the cruise ship that night, I was stressed out. But before I knew it, it was 8:00 am, the sun was shining, and the boat was docking safely to the Baja shore. Even in my anxieties, the captain knew exactly what he was doing and the next night I slept peacefully.

When we release control and trust in God as our sovereign Creator and Father who loves and cares deeply for us, we can rest easy knowing that the plans he has for us are for our good even when we can’t see the future ahead.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 
You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Where to look when the grass is greener somewhere else

We moved to our small town three years ago this past summer and one of the features we noticed right away were the pristine lawns. Our neighbors take pride in a healthy and vibrant lawn. Every once in a while, I’m tempted to let the one brown spot that sneaks up in my lawn to drive me crazy, especially if no one else’s lawn is dried up near me. It sticks out! I’ll think:

Wow, their grass sure is greener. What’s wrong with ours?

How telling is this in our own lives when we just aren’t content with our current circumstances. The grass looks greener in someone else’s yard and we deceive ourselves into thinking God is neglecting us. Why do I have to struggle financially? Why won’t my children obey? Why does my friend’s husband know her needs better than mine? Why does everyone love their job but me?

Why do I have to wait so long for God’s will? Will he ever fulfill my personal goals and dreams? How come everyone’s social media feeds are blemish-free, when my real life is full of blots?

The list goes on, doesn’t it?

A longing for something better

Someone else’s grass often looks greener when we dwell on the ache in our own soul for something different… Better… Life-giving. And somehow their life has made our shortcomings more obvious! Envy is a sickness in the soul and God knows it robs us of joy, peace, satisfaction, and more.

When my son John was seven, we were playing one day and he told me: “Mom, everything you see is a memory.”

His words were so simple yet profound. If everything in front of us is eventually a memory, that prods me to truly savor it as best I can. If I don’t embrace the life God has given me I’ll miss out on so many blessings – yes even when they feel like heavy burdens. I’ll miss out on what the Lord longs to teach me through my current struggles. I’ll waste precious time and those minutes then transform into a mere memory – never to be experienced again in the flesh but only in my mind and heart.

Psalm 90:12 encourages us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. I’ve always loved this verse especially as I think about friends and loved ones who’ve gone to be with Jesus. Numbering our days means no day ever created by God is wasted. It’s always purposeful. No day, no matter how depressing or discouraging, is worthless in God’s sight. I think of a talk I listened to recently by Ann Voskamp and she said, “God takes our hideous ashes and makes holy art.”

Look at the days God has given you

Wisdom tells you not to covet the life and days of another person, but to treasure the days God has given you. No matter what your circumstances are right now, there’s a blessing to be found somewhere even if it’s just the breath in your lungs.

The truth is at some point, all of us long for something different and better. Our hearts aren’t at home here- they were made for heaven. We all experience the ache from time to time.

The truth is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Everyone gets brown spots and has bad days.

But when we trust in Jesus to give us the contentment that he alone can give, we embrace the life right in front of us. We trust him to do something beautiful and life-giving in our circumstances. Through a process, we learn to count our days and our blessings rather than another person’s. When our eyes are open and our hearts are listening, we’ll find miracles in the mess that we didn’t notice before.

Even when we’re tempted to think God didn’t get it right with us, we remember that He’s still good regardless of our fickle feelings. Step by step, we push back the lies that God doesn’t see us or hear our cries. We choose to believe the truth –  that Jesus cares, he knows, he’s working, he’s trustworthy and all our days are held in his nail-scarred hands.

Blessings to you and yours,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

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10 ways moms can pray for their children

A few days ago, my kids and I broke away from dinner time clean-up to take an evening walk. One of the most refreshing times for me as a mom is to head a couple blocks south of our home and watch the sun set in the wide-open fields. A dirt road leads to the land and as you come to the end of it a yellow traffic sign meets you with a bold black arrow pointing to the left and one to the right.

A crossroad.

As my kids made their way to the sign and the bursts of pink, orange, and blue colors in the sky hung in the backdrop, I thought about how much they’re growing up. Just the other night I began to share with my almost ten-year-old son how as he grows older he’ll begin to see more of the ugly that’s in our world – hatred and murder to name a few. We had a serious conversation and will continue that dialogue.

Since then, I’ve continued to think about the decisions my kids will face as they meet each new stage of development:

  • Choosing the right friends
  • Navigating challenges in school
  • Handling the good and bad of technology
  • Deciding their passions and educational pursuits
  • Giving into the flesh or the spirit
  • Finding their identity in Christ or in this culture
  • Believing who God says they are vs. lies of Satan

All of these are critical choices that can’t be diminished. It’s a matter of wisdom. The book of Proverbs is full of stark contrasts between the wise and the foolish person:

  • The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness (Ecclesiastes 2:14).
  • The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (Proverbs 12:15).
  • The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace (Proverbs 3: 35).
  • And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:26).
  • The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him (Ecclesiastes 10:12).

We want our kids to be wise and not foolish. No one wants to be a fool, yet many times the roads that we take are in fact that very nature as we can be easily deceived.

As moms we have the wonderful privilege and opportunity to pray for these crossroads in our children’s lives. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say it’s our joyful duty. If we don’t pray for the overall trajectory of their lives, who will?

Here are ten ways you can start now and begin praying for your child’s decisions and choices:

  1. Pray that God will soften your child’s heart toward his Word and commands.
  2. Pray that when your child is faced with temptation, that he/she will remember his word and act on it.
  3. Pray that your child will know and feel the love of Jesus, no matter how he/she behaves.
  4. Pray that in each new season of life, God will bring positive role models and friends to your child that will build him/her up to be a better person.
  5. Pray for your own relationship with your child to be one of unconditional love, acceptance, joy, selflessness, and trust.
  6. Pray that God will lead your family to a gospel-centered church where your child can grow in the love and nurture of the Lord around strong believers who love Jesus.
  7. Pray for discernment and wisdom in how to raise, discipline, and provide boundaries for your child.
  8. Pray that God would show you what your child needs in the appropriate situation and for His will to be done.
  9. Pray that your child will have a thirst and desire for the Lord – to walk in the Spirit and not the constant pull of the flesh.
  10. Pray for your child to have respect for their authority and to be a blessing to their classmates and teachers.

We can’t underestimate how powerful our prayers are. God desires that we come to his throne of grace as moms—all the time! The truth is we all need his grace in some way, shape, or form. We can’t undervalue the importance of being specific in our prayers and believing that God will answer them.

As your children continue to face new crossroads as they grow up, may they know and feel your love and care for them because you want the absolute best for them – not pain and harm – so they’ll live long, prosperous, and blessed lives in the love and fear of the Lord.

When they’re adults, may they rise up and call you blessed as their Mama (Prov. 31:28). May they know that your prayers were a huge reason why they chose the road of wisdom and not foolishness.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 
You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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If you’re experiencing a season of loneliness

Not long ago, my husband and I went through a wave of change in our network of friends. Five families we were close to have moved away all in the same time frame. It wasn’t long before we noticed that God was taking us through a season of having to depend solely on him.

There was another situation when I was uninvited from a get together. A friend felt I’d feel more comfortable not attending this particular event with her friends. I trusted she was right but was tempted to doubt God. He reminded me of his faithfulness and that I wasn’t alone even when it felt a little unwelcoming and awkward.

The truth is that God created us to know others and be known by others no matter our age. We also have a deep longing to be loved by others. Perhaps you know the feeling of:

  • sitting in a sterile room hearing only the hum of the air conditioner
  • attending an event with hundreds of people not knowing anyone
  • scrolling through your friends’ highlight reels of their Disneyworld vacation while you’re sitting on the couch.
  • reaching out to someone but there’s no reciprocation.
  • not being satisfied with the often shallowness of social media and needing face-to-face fellowship with a friend.
  • Requesting, “Table for one please,” at a restaurant you love.

In God’s word and prayer, I’ve found his comfort and I’m reminded that he is with me.

He’s my source of satisfaction and joy. He’s been teaching me truths about contentment that I would’ve never known otherwise. Not just with my circumstances, but contentment in my relationship with Him.

I’ve been asking myself these hard questions: Is he truly enough? At the end of my life, when I will meet Jesus face-to-face, is he all I need, and do I live like it here on earth?

I’m also learning what it means to be intentional and invite others instead of waiting to be invited. I’m able to teach these life lessons to my kids too. Jesus pursues us every day, am I pursuing others with his love and life-changing gospel?

I’m still waiting on prayers to be answered but I’ve found myself anticipating in this time to keep learning more about God, his character, and love for me. In the waiting, Jesus is showing me new depths of how he felt when he walked this earth among people who didn’t always understand, accept, or include Him. He experienced intense periods of loneliness too.

In her new song “You Say,” Lauren Daigle writes,

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe

I believe what God says of me. If I will only live it.

That I am His. And His love is enough in times of loneliness and in times of deep companionship and community.

Do you believe it too?

— I enjoyed talking recently with the editors at Kirk Cameron’s TheCourage and discussing this article. You can listen to a clip of the audio interview here. 

 

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 
You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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When God’s plans are far better than your own (even in the frustrations of waiting)

Almost five years ago, our son Will was born on a beautiful Monday morning in Dallas. Before Jeremiah and I learned we were pregnant with Will, I was on birth control and exclusively breastfeeding. I found out when my third child, Hannah, was only four months old.

And I cried, oh did I cry. I questioned. I even threw my pregnancy test. How in the world could I be ready for a 4th child – right after just having Hannah? I barely had time to recover from her birth. I was numb and in disbelief, more so thinking about how I would be able to carry the load I already couldn’t bare. Jeremiah and I desired to have four children, but had wanted to wait a few years.

I remember walking into Starbucks with my double stroller and my oldest son walking next to me, and getting all kinds of stares. “Wow, your hands are full!” are what the baristas would typically say. I’d smile and join in conversation yet deep down I was still thinking:

Oh man. My hands are full now and they don’t know that I’ve got another one growing inside me!

Trusting in God’s timing was a true test of my faith. Would I lean on the Lord to carry me through physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Would I trust that his ways are different and wiser than my own?

Perhaps you’re facing your own doubting in God’s timing for your life: an unfulfilled dream, unplanned move, career change, an unexpected diagnosis, a season of unwanted depression, a broken marriage, or more. Maybe you’ve had your life planned out exactly how you desired and something is really upsetting the apple cart.


You’ve found yourself saying, “Why now, God? What on earth are you doing with my life?”

You may be tempted to believe that God is not good, loving, or that His hands are in sovereign control of your life. As the serpent said to Eve in the garden, you find yourself doubting:

“Did God really say?…” (Genesis 3:1)

You know that God’s ways are not your own, but you’re tempted to let go of your faith because life’s not going how you planned.

Rest assured, there really is a better way than to doubt and question – even when God welcomes our weaknesses and understands our humanity.

Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Here’s the truth. The better way is to wait.

Even in the upsets of life’s timing and how unpredictable it is, God renews the strength of those who wait on him. Like an eagle who soars effortlessly as high as the heavens, you can soar above the trials and sufferings as you hope in the Lord for his answers and provision.

You’ll run and not be exhausted. You’ll walk and not pass out from the burdens weighing you down. You’ll be raised out of the valley and onto the mountaintop. God promises to uphold you when you’re waiting on Him.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace his hand, we must trust his heart.”

Will you trust God simply for who He is? Sovereign. Caring. Gracious. Merciful. All-loving. All-powerful. Perfect. Faithful. Just. Holy. Glorious. And so much more.

It’s hard to believe Will turns five on Sunday, August 5th. He isn’t so baby anymore. When I was pregnant with him, I still remember the feelings well. God was patient with me in my questions. He knew what I needed when Will was conceived – even when I couldn’t wrap my mind around the miracle.

I picked up my pregnancy test from the wooden floor and told Jeremiah, “Alright, this is it. This is God’s plan.” And we did the next thing in front of us – which translated to my husband remodeling our master bathroom!

Today, I can’t imagine our family without Will’s outgoing personality, loving spirit, and high-energy hugs on your legs that come at you like a bulldozer. I still give him as many kisses on his cheeks as I did when he was a newborn!

And you better believe that next year when he goes to Kindergarten I’ll be crying again.

Samantha

 


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

 

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Why Godliness is Worth Pursuing More than Body Image

Not long ago, my husband and I began a strict eating plan that has radically changed much of our lifestyle, eating habits, and various sugar addictions. With summer here we’ve also been exercising outdoors more often. Even though it’s painful at times, we’ve felt amazing on the plan and are learning a lot together.

In our home I made a comment the other day about still needing to get my baby weight off (from four years ago) and I could see my inquisitive nine-year-old John thinking in his head about my words. He looked in my eyes and said,

“Mom, but then if you do that, you won’t have anything left to remember us as babies.”

I laughed and told him how I appreciated his viewpoint and thoughtfulness.

A challenge for me right now in the midst of tackling my health and weight loss goals is focusing too much on the outward and physical part of my body. The Lord is constantly reminding me that one day this body will go to the grave. It will not last forever. And while I’m to be a good steward of it and offer it to God each and every day, my ultimate hope is not in my body image or the image I desire for it to be. Nor is my hope found in comparing myself to another person’s outward appearance.

1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Make no mistake. God desires for us to take good care of our bodies – the Holy Spirit resides in us. But Scripture says that bodily training has only some value in comparison to what growing and training in godliness offers. It reaps dividends not only in our life now, but in heaven when we’ll be given brand new bodies.

So what is the one place you can put your hope in? You better believe that it’s godliness in every way.

Growing in godliness through confessing sin, pursuing reconciliation with others, living out the gospel, loving one another, engaging in Bible studies, growing our prayer lives, knowing others beyond mere talk about the weather, practicing what we’re learning in God’s word, bearing one another’s burdens, and allowing Jesus to form and shape us into his image… These are all just a few ways we can begin stretching our spiritual muscles and focusing not on earthly things but on what will last forever.

If we spent more time focusing on the spiritual matters of our heart, can you imagine how strong spiritually we’d be? If we spent more time looking at the mirror to our soul – God’s precious Word – than we do looking at our body image each day, I’m convinced we’d see huge steps of growth in our walk with Christ. The peace, satisfaction, wholeness, love, and joy we’ve been longing for would be a reality. Our hearts and minds would be renewed.

Getting to what’s at the heart of your spiritual life is what the Lord ultimately desires for your life… As Jesus said to his disciples, so he says to you and me: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:22-23).  

“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:29-31).

Your heavenly father knows your needs (yes, even bodily), and will provide abundantly for you as you seek his Kingdom first in your life.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

 

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The Surprising Places Where Your Marriage Matures

We were young and barely knew each other but we took a road trip to Atlanta eight hours away for a leadership conference. Some people would call it crazy and I guess we were. In the big city, we visited one of my best friends from high school and went to Eatzi’s market and bakery to grab dinner – it was filled with gourmet cheeses, chocolates, fresh warm bread, samples, and more.

I walked passed the floral section and saw a bouquet of sunflowers with Jeremiah. “Oh I love these!” I said. “My favorite flower.”

After walking around the market, Jeremiah snuck back to the floral shop and scooped the sunflowers up in his arms and paid for them at the register. He handed them to me and my eyes lit up.

The Work of Marriage

That was 14 years ago. Fast forward to this past week. Recently, stopping at a sunflower field after picking my son up from camp, I was reminded of what God birthed in us in our early twenties. The memories of our young love flooded my soul with gratefulness and showed me the miracle of today.

Little did we know as two friends – soon to be lovers – that the winds, rain, and hail would one day attempt to destroy the garden of our marriage. Marriage faces the constant threats of unmet expectations, miscommunication, career changes, parenting hardships, financial pressure, personality differences, selfishness, and more. Little did we know the kind of labor required to cultivate the right conditions for a strong and healthy marriage.

In these moments, I’ve asked, “Lord, how can you make this work when all seems dark?”

How Light Shines In

Over the years I’ve learned that light shines in when I humble myself and let the Spirit work. When I bear all things, believe all things, hope in all things, and endure in all things (1 Cor 13:7).

Light shines in when:

  • I face the hard questions: Will I follow Jesus’ ways or my own selfish desires? Am I willing to take a hard look at where I might be missing the mark and causing pain in my marriage?
  • I let my husband lead, and not try to take control over him.
  • I’m quick to forgive and ask forgiveness for my wrongs.
  • I’m a diligent listener, and slow to speak.
  • I’m his biggest cheerleader, not his critic.
  • I confess, “God, I need your help right now!”
  • I’m willing to fight for our marriage and realize we’re on a battlefield everyday against Satan’s schemes.
  • I allow the gospel to penetrate my heart – that Jesus pursued and loved us in our ugly condition. He rescued us from our bondage to sin and is fully capable of restoring and transforming brokenness.

Seeds Grow in Darkness

If your marriage is suffering under the weight of life’s stresses, that is not the time to throw it out. Seeds germinate in the darkness of soil. They rest under the weight of the dirt pressed in, but despite the stress and pressures placed on them, they quickly take root and sprout. Darkness is where growth happens.

Give God room to work. Through the pain, wait on Him just a little longer and watch for his miracles. You just have to give it time and grow where you’ve been planted.

Sunflowers Mature In the Light

One of the things I love and recently learned about the sunflower is how it follows the movement of the sun across the sky from east to west. It does this for the entire cycle of its life as it matures and begins to produce seed that will create the next generation of life.

After time when our marriage has taken root and found strength from the harsh conditions of challenges and hardships, we need to continue to fix our eyes on Jesus – the Son – who brings life and hope to our relationship again. Marriages mature through strong devotion to Jesus.

Because You’ve Always Dreamed of A Beautiful Marriage

No matter what challenges you’re facing in your marriage, don’t forget how big God is and how abundant his grace is in your life. Remember the memories and joys in your relationship when it first began and how far you’ve come. Don’t uproot the seed that will soon produce fruit.

After difficult seasons, I have thanked the Lord for Jeremiah’s friendship and companionship. There’ve been deep valleys but also mountaintops filled with breathtaking sunsets. God has been faithful, and that bouquet of sunflowers was just the beginning of the abundant gifts God has bestowed on me through my husband’s love and service – even when I didn’t deserve it.

If you hang on, it might not be long before God uses your marriage as an inspiration for the next generation. On the outside, they will say, “Now that is a beautiful marriage.” On the inside, you will know that the surprising places where your marriage grew and matured were through the dark soils of life and strong devotion to the Son.

 

Blessings to you and yours,

Samantha


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 
You can follow along with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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The Secret to Raising Girls Who Live Out Kindness and Courage

This summer, my girls have enjoyed watching Cinderella (the 2015 film with Lily James). I’ve found myself quoting the movie to my girls a lot when they haven’t been getting along.

At the beginning of the film when Ella’s mother is on her deathbed, she says:

Ella, my darling. I want to tell you a secret, a great secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. You must always remember this: Have courage and be kind.”

Those last five words are what I’ve been saying a lot around my home.

Sinners Sin

Little did Ella know that her golden childhood would fade away as she grew older. She was banished to an attic and mistreated by her evil stepmother and stepsisters. But in spite of it all, she stood strong in the midst of adversity and clung to the words of her mother. We know how the rest of the story goes when she meets the handsome prince.

In real life, the truth is that we can all be like the angry stepmother when life tastes bitter. We were born sinners, therefore, we sin. We know very well that as moms, we ourselves aren’t always understanding and kind but we desire for our girls to be!

I was talking with my friend the other day who’s dealing with hitting, pinching, name-calling, and sassy attitudes. The attitudes can impact the entire household and make you fear how they’ll treat others who aren’t their siblings. I felt better that we weren’t the only ones dealing with non-princess-like behavior.

Seeking Jesus Alone

So often we try to find the next good parenting book, podcast, and inspirational quote. We seek counsel from all over, and more in how to raise godly girls. Many times, those are good things- don’t get me wrong as I’ve taken advantage of all those.

But how often do I first seek what Jesus has to say in his precious word about the attitudes and actions in our home? How often am I on my knees for my child’s wayward heart? And better yet, for my own heart that can be filled with pride?

In God’s Word, Jesus speaks to us. His word is alive and active—convicting us and revealing the depths of who we really are. It shows us how to live. In my own power, I don’t have the ability to change my child’s heart, but Jesus does. When I desire to see love in their hearts that I desperately desire, I must take them to the very source of kindness, love, peace, joy, gentleness, and self-control—Jesus alone. I must do the hard work of asking God to search my heart to see if there are any offensive ways in me. (Psalm 139:23-24).

A Work of God to Produce Kindness & Love

This cannot be done in my own strength or my girls’ unique abilities. It’s a work of God to transform their little hearts, making them moldable to his ways. But yes, let’s keep reinforcing the good truths even found in Cinderella.

Let’s keep encouraging our girls to do the right thing by including others, building each other up, speaking words that are sweet to the soul, not holding grudges, forgiving one another, making new friends feel welcome, choosing the narrow road, standing up for truth, being a friend to the lonely, and more. Let them see that we do these things in our lives, too.

Let’s not grow weary in teaching and modeling truth to them when it gets discouraging. Let’s be quick to ask forgiveness when we fail every day and lean on new mercies the next day.

Let’s remember that we’re sinners but we serve a great Savior who has washed our sins away, loved us in our mess, and saved us out of bondage. He is the King who has come to rescue us from our depravity.

Let’s keep reminding our girls that the greatest secret that will carry them through all of life’s trials is having an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ – the One who has the power to change the hardest heart.

Blessings to you,

Samantha

** This article was first published on TheCourage.com 


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

 

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