Dads and Moms: Five Reasons Why You Should Be Spoiling Your Kids Spiritually

What parent doesn’t love to spoil their kids – when they’re behaving of course?! I absolutely love rewarding my children when their behavior is exceptional – a date with mom, an ice-cream cone, a toy from the dollar aisle, or a fun getaway in nature. I also love spoiling my kids through the privilege of playing a sport they love or honing their musical skills.

Lately I’ve been challenged by the idea as to whether I’m spoiling them enough spiritually. Meaning, am I prioritizing their spiritual life above all the good things God gives us like sports, friends, social life, games, technology, and more? Am I lavish towards them in what will impact them for eternity – teaching them God’s word, spending time in devotions and prayer, memorizing Scripture, worshipping through our praise and thankfulness, making sure our home is one that reveals God’s love and acceptance?

Growing up, my dad and mom were intentional in how they raised my sister and me. Our spiritual lives were priority to them even as we were busy athletes. In fact, they chose our church primarily because it had a strong youth group. They also knew how important it was to set a foundation early so they encouraged us to take mission’s trips, attend Bible studies and Wednesday night Bible study, participate in church-wide evangelism, serve others through hospitality, engage in discipleship groups, read our Bibles and devotionals, and more.

I remember thinking one day, I can’t believe my parents are letting me do this, when traveling to Puerto Rico with my youth group to share the gospel and restore homes for others. I can’t recall a time when they said “no” to opportunities that would grow and stretch my faith and belief in Christ.

Rebekah began learning piano this month

Even at a time when my heart drifted towards rebellion from the Lord, his Word was always sown in my heart because of their faithfulness to focus on me spiritually. I still knew God’s love for me even when I wasn’t living like it.

I’m convinced today that as parents you can never out due your children in giving them opportunities to experience God’s love and faithfulness in their life. Sports, trophies, and medals won’t last forever but the hard work you put into sowing spiritual seeds will reap future dividends.

Spoiling your kids spiritually will teach them that…

  • They are to grow up not only physically, but also in their faith as they’ve tasted God’s goodness. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”  – 1 Peter 2:2-3
  • As parents God has given you the responsibility to shepherd their hearts toward righteousness- so they will not forsake it. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” – Prov. 1:8-9
  • True blessing and satisfaction is found first in a relationship with Jesus – not in worldly ways of fame, power, control, lust, pleasure, self-glorification, and more. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Prov. 3:6
  • The greatest command is to love God. And the second greatest is to love others. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” – Matt. 22: 37-39
  • You value and care most for their soul more than any other material blessings or experiences in their life. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Prov. 4:23

We spoil our children with good things because we love to see the joy and happiness in their hearts- may it be so spiritually too. I pray that you’ll join me in taking a deeper look at the priorities in your family life. Life gets crazy busy and we all have to adjust along the way- even daily!

When that day comes for your children to leave home, may they know without a doubt that their faith in Jesus was most important because of what you taught and treasured above everything else.

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com

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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How Can I Live a Life of Thanksgiving When I’m Hurting Deeply?

Lately I’ve been watching fall football with my husband and no doubt around this time every year, commercials with luxurious cars driving through snowy mountains stir something inside me.

A little girl with bright big eyes peers out her window and sees all the twinkling lights. Santa is coming. Snow is falling. And she and her perfect family are savoring the season driving in the car of their dreams. I begin to feel like that little girl too.

A new Lexus sounds pretty good at the end of the year wrapped in a giant red bow. I may even feel like I “need” a new 2019 Range Rover fully loaded with leather seats and a sunroof that extends to the backseats.

Marketing geniuses know how to tap into our longings for “more.” They’ve done their homework. They give us all the “feels” and stir our senses for what’s beautiful, nostalgic, functional, and trendy making us think we’ll be happier.

We know the truth though. No material possession can fully satisfy our longings. In 2030, the 2019 cars will be old. There will always be newer, better, and more technologically advanced toys by then.

A Life of Thanks

As I think about gratitude this Thanksgiving (instead of Christmas and pretty cars!), I’m trying not to look so hard at what I don’t have and instead think deeply on all I’ve been given. Because this is the heart of God. This is what he desires for my life- to be content with what he’s already given me.

To live in such a way that my life spills over with Thanksgiving every day there’s breath in my lungs – not just on Thursday when we gather around the table with our loved ones.

But the truth is, it’s hard to give thanks when life hurts. In suffering, I can give thanks to you God? In loneliness I can thank you? In an unexpected diagnosis I can praise you? In conflict? Hurt and pain? When someone wounds me with their words? Even in confusion and times of chaos? Even when I believe something has been taken from me?

Take a look at what Jesus did in the Upper Room with his disciples:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 22:26-28).

Accepting God’s Will

Jesus Messiah. God of the Universe- not far from being betrayed and murdered on the cross, gave thanks to his father in heaven. He knew the cup of God’s wrath would be poured out upon him and it would be a bitter one.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus would even fall with his face to the ground praying and asking God to take the cup from him (Luke 22:39). He knew the agony, excruciating pain, and torture he’d experience dying a criminal’s shameful and violent death, yet he humbly accepted God’s will as his son.

“Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

He knew the weight of the world’s sins would crush him, yet he chose to praise God. He knew the story wasn’t over- a greater purpose and plan was unfolding.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

And he didn’t just give thanks with his lips, he displayed it by giving up his life.

His body was broken for you… in thanksgiving.

His blood was shed for you… in thanksgiving.

And he did so willingly to save you. He took on the punishment that we deserved.

There’s no greater love than this.

He is our ultimate example of one who chose to thank God and accept his will in the midst of deep anguish and suffering. He knew the joy that was set before him- our precious gift of salvation that we could never earn on our own.

He knew it would get better and three days later he would rise, and the gravestone would be rolled away- conquering death once and for all. And because of his accomplished work on the cross, we can choose gratitude too.

Your Story Isn’t Over

No matter what you’re facing this Thanksgiving, you have great hope that these temporary trials and afflictions won’t last forever. And until you meet Jesus face to face and enter the gates of heaven, you can continually ask for his strength in your deepest pains and hurts.

Until that glorious day where he’ll make all things new with no more tears, death, suffering, or sin – you can thank him here and now and trust his love for you personally- proven to you on that costly, rugged, redeeming cross.

His death has brought you life. And what you see here and now isn’t the end of your story, either.

Blessings,

Samantha

Recommended resources: One Thousand Gifts book and devotional by author and farmer’s wife Ann Voskamp – www.onethousandgifts.com

 ** 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. She writes regularly for Kirk Cameron’s TheCourage.com, Her View From Home, and For the Family. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Son: May You Always Treasure the Women in Your Life

Dear Son:

Daddy texted me the photo of you at the hospital gift shop helping purchase a bouquet of pink and white roses for Mrs. Barbara in our church. It made me so proud to see you serving with your little hands and thinking of others.

Mrs. Barbara is a widow in our church who lost her husband years ago and was recovering from surgery. It brightened her day not only to receive a beautiful arrangement but also seeing you there with daddy.

My prayer for you is that you’ll always value and treasure the women in your life – no matter how young or old you are. That you’ll treat them with honor, respect, value, and great care as you would one of your most treasured possessions.

May you treat them with….

CONTINUE READING on Her View From Home

Dear Sons: This is what real men do


Not long ago, I was at the gas station and several men brushed by me in a hurry to get inside and the door slammed in my face. I don’t know if they were even aware I was there. But, it still made me feel unnoticed and uncared for as a woman.

The other day when I watched you holding the door for an older couple as they were making their way inside McDonald’s, it thrilled my heart to see you considering others on your own accord.

Even though chivalry might be dead in our culture today, thinking of others never gets old.

Keep seeing the needs around you, and meeting them.

Real men care for others.

When you hear crass words, cussing, and taunting from peers towards those who are vulnerable, stand up for them. Don’t participate in cruelty – choose life-giving words that instill courage into the fragile hearts of others.

Real men choose words of life, not death.

When you see others disrespecting their authority and completely unaware of their surroundings and how they impact others, choose to be different. Let their actions be a lesson to you. Respect your authority and be engaged where you’re at and in tune to what’s going on around you. Be aware of how your actions impact others – good and bad.

Real men understand that actions have consequences.

When the pressures of academics, friendships, family life, athletics, and more are weighing down on you, trust Jesus. Don’t quit and give up when it gets hard. A wise man once said, “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.”

Real men fall, but they get back up

Let your trials, hardships, and sufferings be your teacher. You will rise when you overcome your deepest failures and not let them overtake you – making you a slave to shame and fear. God desires to use the pressure points and pains in your life as a platform for him.

Every day you get to decide who you will be. It’s never too late to lead. People need someone brave to follow. They need to know goodness, love, hope, wisdom, guidance, strength, protection, integrity, purity, and more.

But I’ll tell you this. You may be the only one choosing right. And that’s okay. Do it anyway.

Real men were once young boys like you. And somewhere along the way, they chose to grow up. That same choice, my son, will be up to you. Until then, daddy and I promise to help you as best we know how – in the Lord’s strength.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. – 1 Cor. 13:11

I love you with all my heart,

Mama

 

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 beauty of growing older with your spouse – {Kirk Cameron’s TheCourage.com}

October 2018

Two years ago, God woke me up to a certain reality about our relationship more than ever. I got a phone call that stopped me in my tracks.

“Your husband’s been shot,” are the first words I heard from a man on the other line. My heart sank. My body froze in fear. I yelled and cried. I was confused.

Then the rest of the words came out.

“He’s been shot in the arm, but he’s going to be okay.”

Then I heard Jeremiah’s trembling voice in the background reassuring me that he was indeed going to be okay and that he loved me. Relief filled my heart, but I was still shaking.

I thought I lost Jeremiah that day, but God spared his life from an accidental misfire from a neighboring shooter at the rifle range. After two surgeries, a painful road of recovery, physical therapy, post-traumatic stress, and limitations that exist today in his arm, I thank the Lord that my husband’s here with me.

And now more than ever I’m grateful for what we’ve gone through. I count it a privilege and a blessing to be able to live this life and age together– especially in the midst of the suffering.

Time is marching on without asking us. New wrinkles and white hairs are appearing out of nowhere. What’s happened in our past is now a memory to behold in pictures, writing, video, and telling stories around the table with our children—always a good reminder of God’s faithfulness and answered prayers.

October 2016

Reflecting on our differences over time

We’re coming up on our 13-year anniversary in December. I recently turned 36 and Jeremiah turned 39. With each birthday I tend to reflect deeply on life and marriage.

It hasn’t always been easy – at all. We’re both strong-willed, second born babies in our families. We’re stubborn to the core! He’s adventurous and spontaneous, I’m a stick-by-the-rules planner (AKA control freak).

As you can imagine, it can feel like a tug-a-war match and we have our share of fights. And then we make up (that’s always the best). Pride invades our hearts at times, but so does humility. Careless words fly around in the air, but so does uplifting and loving words. We don’t always communicate clearly, but other times we’re on the same exact page.

We drive each other crazy, and then we love each other like crazy. It’s a rollercoaster ride at times with our four children, sinful natures, hormones, and depending how much sleep we got the night before, but it’s still so, so good- this family circus.

What the years have taught us

Our love has grown deeper and richer than it was on the wintry day we said, “I do.” The suffering, valleys, joys, and mountaintops have molded and shaped us into who we are today. They’ve also made us stronger for the unknown trials ahead. And just when we think we’ve got it all together, we find we don’t.

We didn’t really know all the ugly within our hearts on our wedding day like we do now. Yet there’s an understanding that we didn’t know fully before: how differently we were raised, how our past hurts affect us, our personality differences, various habits, how we interpret the world, just being male and female, and more.

The years have taught me trust, selflessness, love, true companionship, forgiveness, hope, and full dependency on the Lord- to name a few. I’ve learned to greater appreciate who God has made my husband to be and how we actually do complement one another. But this has only come through the gift of time– minutes, hours, and years- by no means a quick fix like our culture craves.

Embrace your husband now

I don’t know the state of your marriage today. But maybe your eyes are opening up to all your blessings and the love between you and your husband. Does he need to know that he is truly God’s gift to you?

Don’t take him for granted- even if some things drive you crazy and annoy you like how he doesn’t understand you, scrolls his phone too much, watches too much football, doesn’t always do what you want him to do when you want to, needs to spend more time with kids, or leaves his shoes in your walkway. All wives go through this.

Don’t let the minor offenses become mountains. Be quick to forgive and patient in prayer for him. Be his cheerleader and not his worst critic. Affirm and encourage him daily.

When I see the large scar on Jeremiah’s right arm, I’m reminded how we’re never promised tomorrow, and we don’t know when God will take us home. The time we have on earth is a gift and no doubt God’s grace.

Embrace growing older together with your husband. Find the beauty and joy in your relationship even if all you see are the obvious imperfections. Scars and flaws are what make a marriage beautiful- that we’re loved unconditionally in spite of all our sins and brokenness.

Remember the gift of having your husband’s hands, voice, protection, touch, and embrace when you go to bed tonight.

And I’ll be sure to do the same.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article was originally published on Kirk Cameron’s Campfire Community & 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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God Sees You, Weary Mama – Her View From Home

I’m thrilled to be writing over on Her View From Home this week. It’s amazing how God can put opportunities in your lap without seeking them. Over a month ago after reading one of the most beautiful posts I’ve read in a long time about ministry by a wife and mom- Arianna with Choosing Freelen, I had to reach out to her to say thank you. When she responded to me, she said she read my blog, loved my writing, and encouraged me to submit to Her View. I felt a strong connection with her being a pastor’s kid herself (and my four children being PK’s), a wife, mama, and writer too.

I took her encouragement to heart and submitted some pieces to Her View. I’m so thankful for her heart and for the nudge to put myself out there. I absolutely love the community of writers on Her View and feel honored to share my words there. If you’re not following Her View From Home, do it now! They’re reaching a growing number of mamas with encouragement and support and the writing is beautiful. Here’s a snippet of my first piece and I hope you’ll head over there to read the rest.

 

Dear mama,

I saw you the other day at Target juggling three young children—one on the side of your hip, another sitting in the shopping cart with a runny nose, and your oldest scooping boxes of Fruit Loops into the cart. Your hair was up in a ponytail and you wore your favorite yoga pants and rose gold Fitbit around your wrist. You appeared a bit frazzled as you looked at your phone marking off food items from your list and making sure they fit the budget—wanting to please your husband.

And I wanted to tell you this: the work you’re doing is sacrificial, but it’s still so very sacred. Never forget that.

Sure, you don’t get promotions, bonuses, affirmation or praise from your boss and co-workers in your role as mommy. But you’re shaping a life as you care for the body and soul of those little feet toddling across your hardwood floors and spilling Goldfish as he goes, one crunch at a time.

I see you when you’re up at night for the third time breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, calming your teething baby, and wiping mustard-colored diapers while your husband snores.

I understand your frustrations when your 3-year-old absolutely refuses to put her socks on before preschool and you’re muttering cuss words under your breath.

I know what it feels like to experience loneliness and just needing a friend to vent to who accepts your struggles with yelling and being “monster mom”.

I see how skilled you are in balancing ….

CONTINUE READING over on Her View From Home

The really good things rural living has taught me – #lovewhereyoulive

Over three years ago, we packed up our life and left Dallas, Texas for Holyoke, Colorado – a tiny town 2.5 hours Northeast of Denver – for my husband to be the pastor of First Baptist Church. We left our family, our friends, and the comforts and amenities of the big city to follow God’s calling on our lives. It’s crazy how we didn’t even know Holyoke existed on the map.

I remember when we first drove into town and feeling almost instantly refreshed looking at the wide open spaces instead of the interstates that intertwined like spaghetti. This new way of life would be different- more simplified and involve less distractions. This lifestyle would give my soul room to breathe, to hone my talents and gifts, and allow my children to grow up around livestock, land, and agriculture.

And what I’ve found to be true is the joy God has given me living here. More than I could imagine.

Rural living has taught me:

  • to slow down and savor the small things that don’t look so grand at first but are a treasure to behold
  • that God has given us the gift of nature to praise him and delight in his glorious creation
  • to love and serve the people right near me and to embrace how everyone is connected in a small town
  • how to truly love people when you know a whole lot about them!
  • that God loves and pursues people in remote areas just as he does anywhere else
  • that ministering in a rural area has its unique challenges and drama, but the joys outweigh the difficulties
  • to greater appreciate when rain falls from the sky!

Don’t get me wrong. There are days we miss the attractions of the big city. Just the other day my seven-year-old Rebekah said,

“Mom, there’s MORE to do in the city. I miss the trampoline park, Chick-fil-a, and the Arboretum. I miss the buildings everywhere! And Target!”

“But there’s so much in the country that’s so good for us,” I told Bekah. “The animals, community spirit, closeness to your school, parades, riding our bikes around town, walking to school, your friends, and you wouldn’t get to ride horses (her favorite animal) like you do here. There’s a lot to be thankful for.”

She paused and didn’t say much, but I know deep down there are many things she loves about being here.

There’s always that temptation to think the grass is greener elsewhere and we have to be in the center of the excitement. And there’s a time for that. We take short trips to Denver and Colorado Springs to get away but we always love coming home.

There’s all kinds of beauty past these dusty dirt roads – I just have to continue seeing it every day.

Rural living is the right kind of living for me

I love that God still does big things in our hearts too in remote areas. He teaches me humility, understanding, patience, and helps me see that He’s working in all corners of the world and cares about the middle-of-nowhere too. He reminds me to delight in Him right here – the Creator of it all.

Some would call rural living mundane, ordinary, and nothing of significance but I beg to differ. Rural life has given me a greater appreciation for hard work, our farmers, and for life and death. When someone dies, everyone grieves. When a baby is born, everyone celebrates. There’s a community spirit that is unique and special. When tragedy strikes, people link arms and serve one another. Love is displayed in powerful ways like I’ve never seen before.

God’s also used the beauty out here to inspire me personally in new ways. Some days all I need is my camera or phone and some golden light and I’m like a kid in a candy store. It’s inspired words in my heart that needed to come out on the computer.

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When I’m tempted to complain, doubt, or long for something else, He reminds me that He’s put us right where he wants us and to embrace the life we’ve been entrusted with right now. I consider living in a rural setting as one of his greatest gifts in my family’s season of life.

And in case you’re wondering after reading this post, Amazon does deliver out here. Now if only Starbucks could. I could use a pumpkin spiced latte right about now!

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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One Powerful Word to Get You Through Hurting Seasons in Marriage

Fall is my absolute favorite season of all. The crisp air, falling leaves, pumpkins, mums, pumpkin-spiced lattes, boots, flannel tops, regular visits to the pumpkin patch, and more. I love making memories with my family raking leaves into piles, baking pumpkin pie, making chili and cornbread, and putting on a light coat to walk the dog.

Just as we approach the changing season ahead and much anticipation is in the air, I believe we can learn something transformative in our marriages too.

The reality is we all face different seasons in our relationship. Some seasons are absolutely joyful and exciting while others are dark and painful. Some usher in newness of life and others are filled with dryness, stillness, and waiting.

My husband and I just finished a long season of remodeling our kitchen and dining room to better suit the needs of our family and guests. My husband worked hard on this project and I appreciate his handy work so much. But what you might not see on HGTV is how much demo and remodeling can negatively impact your relationship: communication failures, exhaustion, time consuming projects, mishaps, and financial pressure to name a few.

Different seasons in marriage also require ever-changing demands: job challenges, the birth of a child, your kids’ numerous activities, financial adjustments, accidents, health issues, mental struggles, aging parents, and more.

Sometimes we wonder, will we even make it to the next season? It feels so far away. We just can’t keep living like this.

Over the last 12 years of our marriage, I’ve learned that holding on to hope goes a very long way. As newlyweds when my husband lost his job, hope got us through that anxious time of doubt and waiting. When we struggled to get along, hope showed us that God would teach us how to love each other. When we gave birth to our four children, hope carried us through delivery and holding each child for the first time.

When my husband was in seminary and working full-time to provide for our family, we held onto hope that he’d make it across the stage to receive his degree. Years later when he was accidentally shot in the arm at the rifle range, hope carried us through our hospital stay, two painful surgeries, and a long road of recovery that impacted our children and daily life.

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Hope is a powerful thing. It enables us to get through anything thrown at us that we didn’t ask for. God also orchestrates circumstances to give us hope in miraculous ways: through the provision of others, a song we hear on the radio, God’s living word, prayer, the body of Christ, the testimony and life change of another marriage, learning from our sins and choosing differently, and watching God work in ways we never expected.

If your marriage is suffering right now under the weight of life’s trials, remember that hope is in front of you if you choose to believe it. Never forget that hope is often closer than you think. And before you know it, the expectation and longing for a certain thing to happen in your relationship becomes reality. You’re no longer looking at it from a distance, but you’re actually embracing it.

God can breathe back vibrancy, joy, and life into your relationship that you’ve never experienced before. Just keep holding on to Him. And one day you’ll look back and realize,

Hope got us through.

There’s hope in front of me
There’s a light, I still see it
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it
I might be down but I’m not dead
There’s better days still up ahead
Even after all I’ve seen
There’s hope in front of me

-Danny Gokey, “Hope in Front of Me”

Blessings,

Samantha

 

** This article originally 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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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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