Top Summer Survival Tips for Moms with Kids at Home

It was only a matter of minutes of school being out for summer that my kids began fighting. One declared, “Stop looking at me!” to the other across the kitchen table. I knew it was going to be a long summer, so I began planning in my mind what we’d stay busy with for sanity’s sake. 

Two weeks in, I can say we’re surviving even though mornings are challenging with their fighting and name-calling. I’ve already implemented several of the suggestions below and they’ve brought more joy to our summer. I hope these can spark ideas and provide encouragement for your family’s summer break too!

Top Summer Survival Tips for Moms with Kids at Home:

1. Give yourself loads of grace and patience. This is at the top for a reason. Moms don’t just carry a lot of laundry in the summer, but guilt too. Be sure to extend grace to yourself every day.

2.  Plan one outing a day. Sometimes you just need to get out of the house and then everyone is in a better mood when you return. 

3.  Utilize paper plates and cups. Sure, it costs extra and creates more trash, but this will help you tremendously when you’re making breakfast, lunch, and dinner all summer long. 

4.  When it’s possible, separate yourself from the noise and chaos. Because if you don’t, you’ll be drowning in it. Allow yourself space each day from your kids and from one another. 

5.  Treat yourself to self-care. Schedule a massage or manicure, go for a walk, go to the chiropractor- whatever it is that you enjoy, take care of yourself and don’t feel guilty. 

6.  Don’t reward your kids with TV shows or electronics until they’ve cleaned their rooms and picked up after themselves. Then let screen time be their reward.

7.  Have a family movie night. Choose one child a week to pick that night’s movie. Pop popcorn and enjoy resting on the couch together out of the hot sun.

8.  Make root beer floats or ice cream sundaes. Sometimes a “hey kids, let’s get in the car and go get some ice-cream” really lightens the mood and helps them savor summer. Don’t be afraid to finish their cones either! 

9.  Allow yourself to adjust physically and emotionally. Don’t forget that a new schedule takes adjusting especially to the longer days. Let your body get adjusted physically, but especially emotionally. 

10.  Invite friends over for backyard water play. It’s easy to become isolated from others, but what makes summer the most fun is being with friends. Set up the sprinkler, pool, or slip-n-slide and cut up a watermelon.

11.  Text the babysitter and prioritize date night. All the more as you’re with your kids 24/7 make the time to be with your husband and enjoy the warmer evenings out together.

12.  Host a garage sale for extra cash. We did this last weekend and it was a blast meeting neighbors and bringing in extra cash. We made money off baking cookies too.

13.  Attend a friend’s swim meet or a baseball game. Encourage your kids’ friends who are in sports by attending their events and cheering them on. 

14. Put your exercise routine first. Summer doesn’t always provide a strict, set routine so be sure to put your exercise routine as a priority. You’ll feel better when you sweat and release endorphins. 

15.  Remember your girlfriends. Your friends are most likely going through much of what you are and need encouragement too. Grab coffee together, plan a girls night out, and treasure your friendship.

16.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some days, you’re just going to need a helping hand. Ask friends or family for help so you can run an errand or have some quiet time. 

17.  Host a lawn party with your neighbors. Print out invitations and invite everyone on your block to bring a chair, side dish, and gather around your lawn.

18.  Sign up your kids for Vacation Bible School (VBS) or local camps. I know moms that sign their kids up for multiple VBS programs at churches in their town. There’s no shame in that! Let them have fun, learn about Jesus, and get their energy out. 

19. Schedule a professional photo session. Summer is the perfect time for family photos shoots. No one is shivering from the cold in the photos, you’ll have your summer tan, and evening golden hour is just breathtaking. 

20.  Put your kids in a sports activity. Our kids have loved the Holyoke Summer Swim Club. They practice for one hour a day with meets on the weekends and it’s been a lifesaver. Sign your kids up for a sport they enjoy and watch them grow.

21.  Create a family photo book of your favorite summer memories. I love using Blurb.com, Shutterfly.com, or Walgreens one-hour photo for reasonably priced books. Apps like Chatbooks will even sync your Facebook and Instagram photos and send you a book automatically in the mail. My kids love flipping through the books and seeing themselves.

22. Write cards of encouragement. What child doesn’t love to draw and color? Have your kids sit at the table and write notes to loved ones and friends. Have them label and stamp the cards themselves to put in the mail. They can anticipate a letter in return.

23.  Focus on training your children in conflict resolution. Summer is a great time for training as you have more time together, thus more conflict. Look for teachable moments in times of frustration, fighting, and anger. 

24.  Give your children more responsibility. Can they feed someone’s cat or dog? Mow the lawn? Make cookies? Ride their bikes in the neighborhood? Help an elderly person with chores? Give them opportunities to take ownership and feel useful.

25.  Give them the freedom to use their imagination in nature. Hit nature trails together, swim in the lake, have them play on dirt piles, build forts, collect bugs, climb trees, or play flashlight tag in the dark.

26. Don’t guilt yourself about screen time. The reality is that sometimes mama just needs a break and pressing play to a movie is a sweet relief to all. 

27.  Go to a craft store and let your kids pick out a project. They can paint a wooden birdhouse or jewelry box, paint a canvas, bead jewelry, create a wreath, and more. 

28.  Sell cold lemonade with friends. On a hot summer day, people will stop for an ice cold cup of lemonade. It allows your kids to serve and make some cash. Don’t forget umbrellas for shade! 

29.  Roast marshmallows and make S’mores in the backyard. Walmart has even done the work for you. Yesterday I passed a whole aisle dedicated to graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate bars, and lighters. 

30.  Go out to eat one night a week. This will get you out of the house with no kitchen clean up.

Embrace the time with your kids as much as you can in this special season. The days at home are long but summer is short and before you know it, you’ll be school supply shopping again (how many of you moms are saying, Hallelujah?!). 

 

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. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Consumed by People Pleasing? Live for This “Yes” Instead

Recently, a friend who I admire, and respect asked about my interest in helping with a project. After we talked a bit, I knew in my heart I wasn’t comfortable with it. I needed to be honest about how I felt, so I said:

“No, I’m sorry. I don’t think I’m the best person for that. Do you think someone else may be interested?”

My friend said it was fine and she’d ask another, but after we got off the phone, I replayed our conversation in my mind. I worried about what she thought of me. Was I not being a good sister in Christ? Did I hurt her feelings? Should I have told her yes?

I replayed our conversation over and over to the point of getting a headache. Yet I knew I didn’t feel comfortable with the request. I’d already said no, but I was still caving toward people pleasing.

A futile attempt

It’s amazing the tendency to people please or say “yes” to something we don’t really feel led to do. People pleasing has been a sin struggle I’ve dealt with most of my life. It shows itself in different forms: a constant need for approval, acceptance, a desire to be well-liked, and obsession over what people think.

In the past few years, I’ve been more awakened by my sin and have asked the Lord to change me in the process. I’ve learned that I can say “no” kindly and not have to give an excuse. I can say no to good things in order to say yes to the most important: my relationship with Jesus, husband, and children. I can be confident in how God has uniquely made me. And much more.

The truth is that it’s futile to seek out glory, honor, or approval from others instead of the Lord. It’s quite exhausting and leaves you feeling emptier. No number of likes, followers, or “you’re doing a great job!” can replace what our hearts ultimately need in Christ.

Winning the approval of God

The Apostle Paul knew that pleasing men and pleasing God was impossible. He could not do both and be a servant of Christ. To be a servant of Christ meant that his one mission in life was to live for God’s will and glory alone, as he says:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

If others were not handling the gospel properly or living according to God’s ways, Paul couldn’t flip flop his position based on their opinions or feelings. He had to remain steadfast on the word of God.

Crazy Calling?

Now if we’re honest, we know this isn’t always easy. Family, friendships, parenting, work relationships and more can make this tendency towards wanting to please others really sticky. Our dear friends Jay and Julia recently left for the mission field thousands of miles away with their six kids and we saw the tension it created in their family at the beginning. God’s calling on them was to serve an unreached people group where only 1% call themselves Christian.

Their news was difficult for her parents and sister to swallow- not being able to see their grandkids and worrying about their safety were just a few concerns. It’s been hard for them. Sacrifices have been made and many tears shed.

But while some might call this “yes” crazy, I’ve seen Jay and Julia walk in radical obedience to the Lord (even when it doesn’t always feel good) and it’s been such an encouragement to my faith. They live their life to please Jesus alone. He’s the one getting them through the adjustments and enormous culture and lifestyle changes. He’s taking care of them. God has also given their family in the states greater peace.

You can’t please everyone, and that’s OK

Whether it’s a simple no to a request as mentioned at the beginning of this article or a real gospel issue, the Lord will take care of us. He will see us through. We are his servants. We worship him and submit our lives under his reign and authority – not ourselves or other people. We must be willing to say yes to whatever he’s calling us to do.

You and I can’t please everyone, and that’s ok. It was never intended to be that way. But to be a servant of Christ, we’re called to please him alone.

God desires to give us his joy, peace, satisfaction, and an abundant life when we repent of this constant need to live for the approval of others. He wants us to be free to worship him and live in the calling he has placed on our lives. And make no mistake—it’s a special and unique calling, and it requires a daily effort of realigning our hearts to his.

Is your heart fully devoted to Him?

 

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on Kirk Cameron’s 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. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Trusting God when you can’t always be there for your kids

Last night as I was putting my girls down to bed, my oldest daughter Rebekah wanted to talk. She brought up memories from the accident Jeremiah was in 3 years ago. I knew her little mind was still processing the traumatic event. My husband was accidentally shot in the arm at our local rifle range by a neighboring shooter who misfired his gun.

All my kids were with me when I first got the phone call. They saw my fear, tears, and panic. They were upset and wondering if he was going to die. I had to pack our bags fast to get to the hospital 2.5 hours away to meet my husband traveling by ambulance.

“Mommy, I was so scared for dad,” Rebekah said. “I still have bad dreams that you both are going to die.”

My heart ached for her as she poured out her words. “But when you had to leave that day, I remember Susan giving me a warm washcloth and putting it on my neck. I remember Jill taking care of us overnight at her house. I didn’t really sleep.”

Susan is a dear friend and member in our church who helped take over the day of the accident, and Jill is a precious friend and neighbor across the street. There were many others who came to our rescue.

I’d no idea about the washcloth and it made me tear up. I wasn’t surprised Susan would do such a thing, but it really hit me how God was tenderly taking care of my kids through other people.

“Why didn’t you come back to get us?” Rebekah asked. I explained to her how daddy was in a lot of pain and we had to stay at the hospital for surgeries.

I affirmed her feelings and assured her that the most important thing we can remember from that day, no matter how scary it was, is that God protected daddy from life-threatening injuries. His angels were present. I told her how much we missed her and her siblings while we were away.

Our conversation got me thinking of how as a mom, I can’t always be present with my kids. There are just times in life where we have to entrust them to Someone greater. I had to be with my husband and be present with him in his deepest pain. It was a very desperate and delicate time.

Many of us experience entrusting our children to the Lord on a daily basis. And it’s not easy at all especially when we’re so used to having them under our fingertips as toddlers. As they grow older, you realize how much more you have to release control when:

  • dropping your child off to VBS or camp for the first time
  • letting your kids ride their bikes freely around the neighborhood
  • entrusting another person’s care for your child while you’re at work
  • allowing them to fail at something and learn from their mistakes
  • helping them work through crazy conflicts with others or being left out
  • needing a date night and leaving them with the babysitter
  • hoping they won’t be scarred from their siblings’ hurtful words at times
  • releasing them to Kindergarten, middle school, or high school in the fall and More

We have natural concerns and fears for their safety, protection, and well-being. But when we allow the Lord to take care of what we cannot, it grows our faith and trust in Him on a deeper level. We remember that God is their Father and Provider. He is the One we desire for them to turn to for all their needs as they continue to grow.

We trust Him to work out the details that seem insurmountable as parents. We know our strength is limited and by night time, we’re ready to throw in the towel and sit on the couch.

Your heart may feel frantic right now as you think about entrusting your children to God’s care. You may be consumed by fear and the “what if’s.” You’re not alone one bit! But never forget that God loves your children more than you do. His love is perfect and His ways are perfect. He uses pain and conflict in their life to stretch and grow them.

After our talk, I walked upstairs with tears in my eyes wishing I could’ve been there for her those first few days of my husband’s accident. But, I’m so thankful she shared with me her fears so now we can talk more about them. I’m thankful she shared details with me I didn’t know before. She’s still processing and I am too.

God shows up through warm washcloths and wipes away our tears when we need Him most.

 

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. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Mom, you do it all and it’s amazing

It’s 6:30 a.m. and your feet hit the floor. You grab your favorite teal Yeti cup and hit the button on your Keurig. As the coffee pours out, you’re praying for extra grace and strength to face the day.

Meanwhile, one child has lost their socks and the other is screaming and yelling at her brother for touching her.

You sign school planners and field trip permission slips while pouring bowls of sugary cereal you didn’t want your husband to buy.

Finally, you pour that cream in your coffee and take a bite of the over-cooked eggs you were trying to make for yourself.

Next, you nurse the baby while simultaneously telling everyone what to do including your husband about his board meeting in 30 minutes.

You return back to your coffee and now it’s lukewarm so you heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds. You kiss your husband goodbye and wish him a better day than how yours is starting out.

While your coffee’s heating up, one child’s begging to wear her favorite rainbow unicorn outfit but it’s stinky and dirty so you throw it in the washer on Quick Wash cycle (best mom hack ever) hoping it will be dried in time for school.

Time keeps slipping away and it’s now 7:55 a.m. Your kids can’t be tardy. You juggle everyone out the door regardless of mismatched socks and uncombed hair – praying no one’s missing anything and they’re on time.

You help them work through their emotions and feelings of, “Mom, I don’t want to go to school!” And remind them, “Not going to school is not an option. Stop whining and complaining.”

You’re at the carpool drop-off line. Your kids are moving like snails out of the van. You tell them goodbye with a quick hug and kiss and a huge sigh of Thank you, Lord Jesus.

You drive home, pull in the driveway, and your phone rings. The kids’ elementary school pops up on caller ID. You roll your eyes.

“Mom, I forgot my lunch,” are the words on the other end of the line. You’re annoyed.

You walk in the door and sure enough, it’s sitting on the cluttered countertop. So you get back in the van and drive it to him reluctantly wondering if you’re spoiling him too much.

The van is finally quiet. The baby’s asleep in the car seat. No little voices are saying, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” It’s a taste of heaven.

Since your coffee’s still sitting in the microwave at home, you dart for the coffee shop drive-thru and order a VENTI iced white chocolate mocha (since you’re hot and sweaty) and an apple cinnamon scone – hoping your husband doesn’t text that you’re overspending the budget.

You pull in the driveway for the second time, but you stay put so you don’t wake up the baby. You sip your coffee and scroll social media newsfeeds in delightful solitude. You text your husband a few emoji kisses and how much you appreciate his hard work, too.

Oh, Momma, you really do it all, and it’s amazing. I know some days you think you don’t do anything (especially when people ask you all the time what you do all day?), but in reality, you’re doing everything.

You’re putting your family’s needs above your own. You’re sacrificing big time. Why?

Because of love. 

Sure, you’re not perfect. You yell sometimes, you’re impatient, you fall short, you struggle with control, you have wavering emotions and hormones, you’re majorly sleep deprived and sometimes crazy, you need mom friends who get you, and more…

But you’re still amazing.

I know tomorrow, you’ll be doing the same thing all over again when your feet hit the floor and you’ll most likely face more unexpected challenges. So, please, please, don’t forget:

You are seen. 

You are known. 

You are valued. 

You are loved. 

You are MOM.

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. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Dear Seasoned Mama, Thank You For Loving My Children and Me Unconditionally

Not too long ago my four-year-old son walked into the Sunday School class you faithfully teach every Sunday with a pouty face, chin tucked into his chest, and unhappy to be at church. Yet, you scooped him up in your arms and said,

“Come on, Will. We’re going to have fun.”

You loved him in spite of his struggles and took the load off my shoulders. You could see the anxiety and concern on my face, too. This happened for weeks on end and you never gave up on him.

You’ve not only loved him, but you’ve loved my three other kids with your hugs and genuine affection. You’ve taught them the Bible, fed their bellies, and helped them grow.

You’ve sent me encouraging Facebook posts telling me I would get through the hard times. You’ve never judged me as a mom based on my kids’ unpredictable behavior or my own struggles with control and anxiety.

You’ve reassured me when you said, “Oh I remember those days like they were yesterday.” Your personal stories have given me hope and inspiration.

Seasoned Mama, thank you for loving mamas with young children like me by just being there as a support and listening ear. Thank you for treating my children the same when they’re obedient and when they’re unlovely.

You’ve shown me…

CONTINUE READING on Her View From Home

 

{Run wild, live free, love strong, You and Me}

This morning I got on the treadmill for a 30-minute run. But what you might not realize is how I’ve just recently got back into running- like as in two weeks ago. It was a love and passion of mine in college and as a newlywed (I even successfully ran a marathon!), but after having kids, my love for running kind of came to a stop. My friend Katie gave us her treadmill before moving and I finally dusted it off.

I’d made excuse after excuse to not get back into it:

  • I’m more overweight now from having four kids
  • It’s going to require a lot of work to get where I want to be
  • I don’t want to reinjure my knee
  • The first step is always the hardest. Ugh.

Not only that, I’ve feared failing, so I haven’t done anything except walk and exercise videos.

But you know what? All these excuses have done nothing but keep joy away from me. When I run, I feel the stress melting off me. I love running in warm weather and feeling the sun on my skin and sweat releasing. The release of endorphins puts me in a better mood. I love worshipping Jesus when I’m running and I always feel like I’m going somewhere. God gives me new ideas for writing and I love being in nature on the warmer days.

So why haven’t I been “all in”? It’s my fears. And that fear is paralyzing if I let it. It’s taken an opening of my eyes to see where I’ve been deceived. It’s taken just a few runs these last few weeks to remind me how much I love it. To remind me of what I’ve really been missing out on.

I really can move forward in faith. It’s possible. But I have to do my part.

Whether you love to run, sing, write, perform, teach, paint, lead, run a business- whatever it is that you love to do, you were created to find freedom and joy in those very things.

God is all for your joy, too. I hope you know that he loves when you take great delight in something that He’s given to steward. He is for your freedom.

As I was about 20 minutes into my run this morning, the song “Run Wild” by King & Country played on Amazon Music. The words “Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong, You and Me” rang in my heart and mind as I put one foot forward in front of the other. After all, I was running! God was assuring me of his desire for me to live and run in freedom.

In the beautiful freedom of his love and grace. In the freedom of giving my body to him as an act of worship- scars, hurts, imperfections and all.

To run wild because he’s given me the body to do so. But not only that, to love strong in the process. To love my family well, my friends, those he desires for me to reach for his kingdom, those who aren’t easy to love, and more. To run the race of faith well and not give up.

I know I’m not alone in this journey of faith and life even if it feels that way sometimes. You aren’t either. I’m grateful we’re running this race of life together, aren’t you?

To every soul locked in a cage
In the prison of your past mistakes
No, there’s no time left to waste
Yeah, you can make your great escape
We’re made to run wild, run wild, run wild
We’re made to run wild, run wild, run wild
– King & Country

 

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. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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When the dreams for your life don’t happen

This particular summer after my senior year of college, I interned in Nashville at a highly respected publishing company. I was also enjoying the amenities and excitement of music city and meeting famous musicians. God was giving me more opportunities as a Christian writer and I was making plans to settle in and stay a while.

During the last two weeks of my internship, the word seminary and getting my master’s degree kept coming to mind. I told my sister, brother-in-law, and parents about the idea and received nothing but affirmation to pursue further education. It began making sense.

Immediately, I applied and even received a scholarship. All the necessary details came together and before I knew it, I was driving back to the rolling hills of Virginia awaiting a new apartment and roommate, approaching my first week of seminary classes.

God had completely altered my perfectly laid out plans. He intervened at a critical part of my life and career as a single woman and unbeknownst to me, he had even more in mind than simply a master’s degree.

Taking a Risk of Faith?

It’s often in these crossroads in our lives that we want to wrestle with God and test him even more, isn’t it? It’s like we know he’s up to something but we’re just not sure we want to believe. We think:

Do you really know what you’re doing Lord? Are you serious? You want me to do what? Ugh. This is not what I had in mind. I’m a little scared. Will you really walk with me through this?

Often, these landmarks come when we’re comfortable too. We’d rather stay complacent and not step out in faith. It feels good to not have to risk anything or rely on anyone greater than ourselves. It’s easier to dig our heels in the ground and ignore those constant nudges in our heart.

But when God changes our course, it teaches us invaluable lessons and experiences:

–    To trust the One who knows us best down to the very strands of hair on our head

–    That we’re not in control of our lives even when we think so

–    To remember there’s a bigger story going on- bigger than ourselves

–    To anticipate the good gifts He desires to give us

–    That it’s okay to pursue something different if it makes us grow and change for the better

–    To depend and lean on the Lord for each step of the way

–    To position us in the best place possible for his glory and the good of others

–    To bring new people and circumstances into our lives to mold us more like Christ

Within weeks of arriving on campus, my good friend Bonnie kept telling me I needed to meet her friend and neighbor Jeremiah who was also in seminary and happened to be in two of my classes. What’s funny is I did not(I repeat not) want to meet or date any guys in seminary. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was just there to find a husband and receive my “MRS” degree. There were very few women in seminary then.

A God who is in all your details

I brushed Bonnie off multiple times until one day, Jeremiah and I bumped into each other after class. He invited me to lunch and from that point on, we were inseparable. One year later, we married in the town we met and made a promise before God to love one another for life among all our family and friends.

I’m so thankful the Lord intervened in those post-college days. If I didn’t leave Nashville, my life would’ve looked completely different. I would’ve missed the blessing of studying more about God, making new friends, serving in a new ministry to college women, and meeting the man who is now my husband of 13 years.

If you’re in a season of “redirection,” I know it’s tempting to doubt, question, and sense a loss of control. As a toddler, I know the feeling of wanting God’s answers “now!” But remember that your Savior is in all the details still. He is sovereign over your life decisions and cares about the concerns on your heart right now. He has something good in mind when plans don’t go your way.

Trust his hand even when you can’t see the road ahead.

 

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;

    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;

    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all.

    Run to God! Run from evil!

Your body will glow with health,

    your very bones will vibrate with life!

Honor God with everything you own;

    give him the first and the best.

Your barns will burst,

    your wine vats will brim over.

But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;

    don’t sulk under his loving correction.

It’s the child he loves that God corrects;

    a father’s delight is behind all this.

–    Proverbs 3:5-12, MSG

 

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com 

Dear Son: Will You Please Stay 5 Forever?

Last night, we cuddled under your dream tent and read Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. As I read you squeezed my arm and said, “I love you, Mama” with your double-dimpled smile.

“I love you, too, Will. I want you to stay this age forever.”

“But I won’t,” you said so matter-of-factly.

And my heart ached a bit—tracing back to when your big brother was five and he’s now 10 years old strutting double digits, glasses, and a shoe size the same as mine. My eyes grew watery thinking about how fast time has gone with you and your siblings. And how you only have a few months left of morning preschool with Mrs. Brenda and Mrs. Ashley. In the fall, you’ll be heading out the door with a backpack and lunch sack just like your brother and sisters…

 

** Continue Reading my article this month over on Her View From Home.

 

Mama, this one powerful gift is already yours to give away

A few days ago, I was making pancakes and signing school planners. When I snuck away to put my makeup on, I overheard my eight-year-old daughter say to my husband, “Dad, where’s mom?”

Rebekah left the kitchen and searched the halls. Eventually, she found me in the bathroom.

“I just needed to know where you were,” she said.

And that’s when it hit me. She really does care even when we clash as mother and daughter, when we have our share of debates, and when I sometimes feel like I’m not doing motherhood right.

Truth is, she has mommy radar. She’s fully aware of how engaged I am and if I’m attentive to her needs. She knows when I’m fully present or partly present on my phone. She knows more than I often give her credit for. She just wants to know I’m near her when she’s working on a project, playing horses, or watching her favorite show.

I sometimes forget that my presence with my children is one of the greatest gifts I can give them.  Maybe that’s why the relationship experts say love is spelled T-I-M-E.

Social media might tell you otherwise, though. That you need to plan this certain vacation, do this awesome craft, sign up for this sport, buy that coveted L.O.L. doll, host the best birthday party for your child known to woman, and be everywhere to everyone at all times because you are, in fact, supermom. 

There’s a lot of talk about doing, but not much about just being. You and I were never called to be supermoms, but instead faithful in our calling.

Have we forgotten that being with our children in their most formative years is building their self-worth, security, relationships, and trust in their Heavenly father who loves and cares for them more than we do?

Our presence, love, care, and concern shows them a tangible example of how Jesus loves and provides for us unconditionally and wholeheartedly- in our deepest struggles, tears, tantrums, questions, fears, hurts, and brokenness. Our nearness to them communicates that we’re here no matter what and welcome all of who they are as children- that we care about the matters of their heart. 

Maybe we’ve forgotten the basics as moms? That the simple things in life are often the most precious and memorable to our children, and even to us. It doesn’t have to be complicated as we often make it.

When that day comes and they’re packing their life up and moving out of our house, may they know in their hearts,

My mom was present with me. I knew that without a doubt. Her love and investment have shaped me into who I am today.

Mama, you don’t have to do everything or be everything to everyone. You have permission to say “no” for the sake of your family. Maybe for just one day, you need to forget the to-do lists, the expectations, the newsfeeds, the perfect Pinterest pictures, being hard on yourself, and the “if only’s” and just be present with your children. I’ll try to do the same.

They need you more than anyone or anything else. Don’t underestimate the gift of your presence as Mommy to your children. It’s more powerful than you’ll ever know.

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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Your marriage isn’t ‘sparking joy’? Here are the five next steps you should take

Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing consultant and author who’s inspiring millions through her books to tidy up their homes and find joy in their living environments, is changing lives. Her principles have helped my own cleaning habits. In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she writes, 

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”  (Marie Kondo)

This applies well to the four corners of my home, but can you imagine if we practiced this principle to the marriage relationship? Oh my! When my husband isn’t speaking my language or sparking joy in my heart by leaving his beard trimmings in the sink or not doing what I want in that exact moment, I can’t just throw him out or chuck my marriage away because it’s not bringing me personal fulfillment and happiness.

We made a commitment to one another—a face to face, hand holding, eyes locking, from the depths of our heart promise on the altar before God, family, and friends to sacrificially love one another until death we do part. We swore to love one another no matter what—even if a day would come where we didn’t feel the joy inside. 

Many of us know, years pass on, and you can lose the “feelings” of joy especially with the ever-changing seasons in a relationship. Perhaps you’ve been there or are there right now. The elation and thrill in your marriage has been stolen. Your home might be clean—but your relationship is suffering. This is normal, but what do you do next? Here are five steps:

** CONTINUE READING over on TheCourage.com