Why a Father’s Love is So Important

Recently my seven-year-old daughter put on her sun dress, tied a pony tail in her golden-brown hair, slapped on some tutti-frutti scented lip gloss, and headed straight for my husband.

“Daddy, look at me!” she said.

“Oh Rebekah, you look beautiful.”

She smiled with her head down, acting a bit shy but enjoying his presence.

Daughter or son, within every child lies a desire to please their father and win their undying love and attention. I was no different than my daughter. While my dad traveled a lot with work, I always anxiously awaited his arrival home. I loved cuddling up on his lap and rubbing my cheek against his five-o’clock shadow. I craved his affection and attention.

Daddy- the Protector

God has given daddies the wonderful privilege and responsibility of leading the home and protecting his family – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I asked my husband just this morning why he believes a father’s love is so important. I was curious to see how his answer would differ from what I was thinking. He said, “It plays a huge role in the overall trajectory of a child’s life.”

My husband grew up with a father who suffered deeply from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from Vietnam. He knows very well what this means as his own father struggled with anger and exploding from the trauma he experienced in war. My husband has had to depend on God’s strength to overcome his own battles from growing up with secondary PTSD.

Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior

When I think of the very course of a child’s life and the implications, I think of Psalm 127:3-5 which says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”

Because God says children are a blessing, not a burden, daddies have the privilege to bend and shape their child for God’s plans. They’ve been given the task of directing his arrows so that they’ll be purposeful and on point in service to God. Daddies have been given the position to ensure that his children will be on target in life, not missing the mark. He’s a steward of his children – training them to be arrows of righteousness who do good and not harm. This is his responsibility until the day he bends back the bow and sets each arrow free into the world.

The truth is that no earthly father will ever love and bend back his bow perfectly. Only our heavenly Father can do that. But we can’t forget that even in imperfect love, a daddy’s love, affection, time invested, and attention is critical and vital to the overall well-being and success of his child. Words spoken, behavior, lifestyle, actions, experiences, character, priorities of daddy and more will stay with his child all his life.

The Wonderful Challenge

It’s a wonderful challenge to seek the Lord’s help and direction even in weakness and the battle against sin. It’s a wonderful opportunity for daddies to view their children how God does– as a reward – a gift to open up and find delight. It’s a wonderful challenge for daddies who didn’t have a present father growing up, to choose a different way and find the healing they need in their heavenly father.

Daddies, your children need your strong hands and steadfast position on this battlefield. They are desperate for your voice, touch, strength, help, counsel, affection, leadership, godly wisdom, courage, and much more. Our culture desperately needs you too.

After my daughter was reassured by her daddy’s attention that day, she ran off and played freely- confident in his love for her no matter what.

** This article originally appeared on the 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. She enjoys connecting with readers on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

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The Beautiful Brand of You


A few days ago, my friends and I met for lunch at an internationally known golf course that’s just a few miles away from our town to celebrate our dear friend Katie who’s moving to a different state. It was the perfect place to escape and enjoy the rustic scenery, rolling chop hills, and tranquility in Northeast Colorado.

It’d rained that morning, but as we were seated at the long wooden table the sun started to peek through the clouds and before we knew it, the sky was bright blue. Glass jars of iced water with lemon sat at each placemat. As we sat down with hungry bellies, my heart filled with gratitude.

We’d journeyed together in Tuesday morning Bible study for the last two and a half years. We’d dug into God’s word together but also shared our very lives – struggles and joys, tears too. We’d come to understand what “better together” truly meant.

As I looked at each of my friends I was reminded about how we’re all different in our gifting, talents, and abilities. In our group of moms we have some that are hospitable, organizers, introverts, extroverts, creative, sensitive, exercise enthusiasts, counselors, teachers, coaches, crafters, behind-the-scenes women, and more.

We’re unique in how we raise our kids, manage our homes, the sports and activities our kids do, our husbands’ line of work, and more.

I found myself being so grateful that God had used each of them in my life to show me more about his sovereignty in creating us. I thanked God for how he’s provided for me through their life in tangible ways. Because you know there’s always the temptation to wish you had your friend’s gifting.

Lysa Terkeurst once said, “There’s an abundant need in this world for your exact brand of beautiful.” And I just love her words. I believe as women we beat ourselves up too much with the wrong kind of thinking: “If only I were a better organizer, skinnier, prettier, smarter, multi-tasker” and the list goes on. We focus so much on what we’re not instead of what God has given us right at our fingertips.

We wallow in self pity as we spend unhealthy amounts of time comparing ourselves to each other’s Facebook and Instagram feeds frustrated with how we don’t measure up. All the while, God is trying to get our attention in letting us know that He has made us just the way we are for His purposes. He is saying to us,

You are the exact brand of beautiful that I’ve created you to be. You have gifts and talents and abilities that I long to use through you. Yes, even in your failures and disappointments, I have plans for you. You are my masterpiece, created to do good works for me. Do you trust my love for you and my plan for your life?

Are we convinced of this, though? That the gifts we’ve been entrusted with are enough? Am I convinced? I want to be. Through a process, I’m beginning to see that how God wired me is just what He wanted and to actually trust that He will use me to the fullest in the way He desires. Yes, even in all my brokenness.

I don’t need to doubt His ways in creating me. I don’t need to dwell on past hurts in regards to my gifting and abilities that can sometimes feel like fresh, open wounds. I need to believe that what He says of me is true:

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10

And I’m determined to believe Him at his word.

At the end of our lunch, we took a photo with Katie in front of the green. We checked the phone to make sure we looked okay. Our various styles shined through in the picture: cardigans, jean jackets, sandals, cowgirl boots, floral tops, brown hair, blond hair, long hair, short hair, blue eyes, brown eyes, jeans, and flip flops.

Everyone smiled brightly – an exact brand of beautiful with hearts and minds created to serve our Creator. Together – just the way it was meant to be.

** This article originally 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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Four Spiritual Lessons Learned from My Daughter’s First Swim Meet

“But I don’t want to go!” My seven-year-old Rebekah screamed as I woke her up at the crack of dawn for her very first swim meet of the summer season. She hid under her covers in a ball.

“Let’s go.”  I said. “We’re going right now. Everyone’s waiting in the car.”

“I don’t want to. I don’t want to!”

I pulled off her purple and white floral sheets and looked into her blue/green eyes. “Rebekah, you’ve practiced. You’re ready for this. Your coach Brenda says you’re ready too. Will you trust us?”

“But what if I can’t swim the whole lap? The water is going to be cold. No. I’m not doing it!”

After lots of dialogue and struggle, we drove to the meet. She remained nervous and anxious when we arrived and refused to let me help her put her cap on. I grew unsure of what we committed to. Will she back out of racing because she’s too scared?

In no time, my friend Trisha scooped Bekah up in her arms and carried her to the tent where she’d wait for her heat to be called. Coach Brenda let Rebekah be her “helper” and she coached her on what it would be like on the starting block. She showed her exactly what to do.

After “Swimmer’s, take your mark!” and the buzzer went off she jumped into the water and swam the 25 Freestyle. She didn’t stop at all and had a smile on her face at the end. I felt relieved and was so proud of her for overcoming her fears.

She swam her backstroke and relay races with no complaints. Getting a free sugary snow cone from winning a heat helped too. This new experience taught me a whole lot about our faith in Jesus- more than I even realized. Here are a few lessons:

1. We must be willing to risk something. 

Signing my child up for swim league took a risk on my part. What if she doesn’t like it? What if she can’t do the hard work? What if, what if, what if… At some point, we just had to commit, and I needed cooperation from her. Rebekah had to risk diving into unchartered territory of the unknown.

When we put our trust in Jesus, we don’t always know what he will ask of us. Will he ask me to give up an addiction, lifestyle, or way of living? Will he ask me to step out of my comfort zone and love on someone different than me? Will I have to suffer or struggle for a season of my life? Whatever Jesus calls us to do, we have to embrace risk and not run from it in fear. If we’re not risking something, we’re not fully living.

2. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others.

I found myself looking at the seasoned swimmers. I’d been a swimmer my whole life and knew Rebekah would enjoy it too, but I had to remember this was her first meet. Butterflies were in her stomach, there were lots of people cheering on the bleachers, and anything new can bring anxiety. She had to swim her race – not anyone else’s. And thankfully a few seasoned moms shared with me their own stories of their kids at one point needing a barf bag before races! It made me feel better that we weren’t necessarily unique.

In our faith, we’re all on different journeys. We struggle to various degrees. Our spiritual gifting and disciplines are all unique and that’s how God intended it to be. We need to be content with where we’re at and not wish we were in another person’s lane. God has us right where he wants us and is growing us in his timing.

3. We need each other.

Before my daughter’s first race, there was only so much I could do as her mom to encourage her heart to be strong. It was because of the help of my friends and her coach (and prayer!) that ultimately gave her the courage to work through her fears.

In our faith, we’re crazy to think we can walk this life without anyone by our side. On the days we think we’re crazy for following this man Jesus, we need to know that we’re not, in fact, lunatics. God has given us the gift of each other to remind us of his goodness and love and that we’re placing our faith in the person of Jesus. He is with us. He uses others to show us his grace in amazing ways. There’s such a beauty in leaning on others for help and strength. It’s up to us to accept that support.

4. We’re racing to win the prize.

Just as swimmers race to win or beat their previous time, in our faith we’re called to win the prize. Throughout scripture the Apostle Paul talks about the need for self-discipline. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, he says to run the race of faith in such a way to win the prize. He says, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

Following Jesus and placing our faith in him requires strict training – yes, this is contrary to popular theology today. We aren’t running this race of faith aimlessly, to always “feel good” or with an apathetic attitude. We have a goal to share the gospel with others and to live it out until the Lord takes us home to be with him forever. We’re racing to win the prize. The race is final, not a warm-up before the real thing. Our calling as believers is indeed a high calling and we’re not racing for a temporary crown, but an imperishable crown. And our final goal is Jesus himself.

A few days after the swim meet, Rebekah received her first medal. “Ohhh!” she said as I handed it to her. She put it around her neck and smiled at it. She now understood that her hard work in all those practices resulted in something.

The initial risk was now a reward to behold.

 

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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What is God Doing When Our Plans Change?

In a matter of days, I’ll say goodbye to a dear friend and neighbor who I’ve grown close to since our move to Holyoke almost three years ago. Katie Wilson and her family have been a treasure to my family. She’s changed my youngest son’s diapers, we’ve celebrated our girls’ birthdays together, and she’s watched our kids any time we had a need.

When I needed encouragement, she’d bring me chocolate and coffee unannounced (yes, hold on to that friend!) I’ll always remember our shopping trips to Denver and Greeley and her wisdom and insight from sitting beside her in Bible study the last 2.5 years. I’ll always remember her girls raiding my pantry for food and how they loved playdates. Katie has been a true friend and a delight to know.

Katie’s husband, Dr. Wilson, has been a part of our family as well- he was always available to answer any of Jeremiah’s medical questions after the shooting accident in 2016. He never cared if it was after-work hours. He was a blessing to many people in our community as a wonderful doctor and a man of integrity who loved and deeply cared for others.

In these coming days, I’ll be preparing my heart and my kids’ hearts to “let go” of their playdates with the Wilson girls, hearing their girls’ voices echoing across the road while on the tire swing, and just knowing they were always there.

Change is never easy. Sometimes the very word causes us to cringe in our seat. In fact, our human nature is pretty resistant to it. But it’s a natural part of life that if we don’t embrace, we may become bitter at God for allowing something into our lives that we didn’t ask for.

Perhaps, in your own experience you’re having to let go too. Or maybe you’re bracing yourself in regards to a different situation – sending your child off to college, a career change, saying goodbye to a family member or someone you love, or trying to figure out the new normal in your present situation. I think of Abraham in Scripture who the Lord told to,

“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Further on, we see that Abraham obeyed immediately and left idol worship in the wicked land of Ur to settle in the land of Canaan. He was seventy-five years old and I’m guessing he was quite comfy living right where he was. But God had called him to go. He had a plan that involved some pretty amazing things including that many nations will be blessed because of his obedience, his descendants will be more than all the stars in the sky, he will inherit the land, God will act for Abraham even though he is childless with Sarai, and that through his very lineage, Jesus Christ- the Savior of the world- would be born.

It’s important to note that God says to Abraham, “Go to the land I will show you.” This was not about Abraham’s plans and agenda, but about what God was doing through the people of Israel and the plan he had for the redemption and rescuing of mankind. He was going to use Abraham in a mighty way, even though Abraham had no idea how God’s promises would exactly unfold.

Sometimes in life we’re forced to move forward and it’s beyond our control. Or sometimes we’re quite comfortable living in a land of prosperity and would rather stay complacent. Or sometimes we just know it’s time to move on. Whatever the case, God works in all our circumstances – good and bad. He never changes who He is, but he’ll often call us to change for our own growth and to fulfill his plans in our life.

Saying goodbye is never easy on my end. I can be selfish and want things my way but God is helping me trust him through the different seasons. I can thank him for the precious memories I’ll always have with the Wilson’s in Holyoke. I can give him thanks for bringing them into our lives when we needed them most. I can thank him for giving me a sweet taste of real friendship. I can praise Him for using them in a great way to better the lives of so many people in our town.

There’s so much to be thankful for even when change is hard and there’s a temptation to doubt God’s goodness. Just as we see the flowers starting to bloom and the deadness from winter disappear, let’s watch together in anticipation with how the Lord longs to bring newness and life to our situation that we’ve never experienced before.

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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Dear Mom and Dad: Don’t be a bystander

A few weeks ago while my friend and I were watching our kids at the park, our sons came running over to us. They informed us of a boy who’d called them an inappropriate word while they were playing in their “secret fort” off in the distance.

I told my son the word wasn’t acceptable and unkind and that we don’t say those words to one another. We only want to build each other up. I told him I was sorry he had to hear that and be affected by it. Before I knew it, the boy had left the park and I couldn’t approach him. Weeks passed by, and I forgot about the incident. Until yesterday.

“Mom, there’s the boy that called me the bad word,” my son said at school drop-off. I looked over to where he was pointing.

“Oh okay,” I replied. “I may go talk to him,” I hesitated a bit.

“Don’t be a bystander, mom!” he responded in a singing, encouraging voice.

I smiled and looked at his sandy brown hair and brown eyes. I was challenged by his wisdom.

I looked at the boy and still didn’t feel it was right to approach him. But I had to do something. So I drove home and emailed our principal, received a response immediately, and he handled the situation with the boys involved that morning. He assured my son that he can always go to a teacher or parent if he’s been hurt and to always share what he’s feeling. I felt reassured as a parent that our principal’s first interest is in protecting his students. My son felt more at ease too.

What struck me in this experience was that even though the hurtful word wasn’t on my radar, it sure was on my son’s. He’d brought it up twice. God was prodding me to take more action as the parent.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, a bystander is defined as:

One who is present but not taking part in a situation or event : a chance spectator”

In our parenting journey, we’ll make mistakes and not get it right all the time. We don’t always know what to do in the moment. We’ll come across forks in the road where we have a choice to actively take part in our child’s life or stand on the sidelines. But our children need us as their protectors, nurturers, and biggest fans. If they’re consistently communicating the same messages to us, we need to humbly listen. If they aren’t saying anything, we need to draw out what’s in their heart.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” – Proverbs 20:5

We need to fight for them in a culture that’s increasingly hostile to truth, goodness, and honoring others. So what are some practical ways we can prevent from being a bystander?

1. Engage. Engage. Engage. Kirk Cameron’s new resource for parents called Engage: Five Lessons for Raising Kids in a Social Media Generation is spot on. We have to be fully present in their lives to know what’s really going on. What’s on their phone apps? Have we set boundaries regarding screen time? Do we really know their friends? Are we aware of the photos they consume, post, and share? We set the rules because we love them. We have the right to know the full story because we’re accountable to God in how we parent. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12

2. Take action when sin has been committed. When a wrong has been done by another child or your own, don’t brush it under the rug as if it never happened. Face it head on no matter the cost. Take responsibility. Acknowledge the sin, work through the conflict and both sides of the story, and aim for reconciliation as far as it depends on you. Training your child to work through conflict and disappointment will be one of the greatest gifts you give because real life will be full of difficult people, let-downs, unfair circumstances, and more. Real life also involves real consequences for our actions. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8

3. Love your child unconditionally. Some of my friends who were strong-willed children share how much they deeply love their parents today. Their parents had to be firm and discipline often, but they knew it was for their good. They knew they were loved. We can never outdo love for our children. They are God’s and we have the responsibility to teach them his ways and to obey his commands, that are not burdensome but a blessing. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

Your role as a parent is massive- you’re shaping a life made in God’s image. If you’ve been sitting on the bench, it’s never too late to stand up. Don’t allow any amount of shame or apathy to keep you from starting new. You have much to be thankful for in being able to play an active role in your child’s life.

So, what are you waiting for? Go get in the game!

 

** This article first appeared on Kirk Cameron’s 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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Wives, this one desire could be hurting your marriage

It’d been a long day and my husband and I needed to begin our kids’ bedtime routine. While I finished up dishes, he lounged in the recliner looking at his phone to decompress from a busy day. I felt tension and anxiety welling up in me as our kids grew more hyper and silly from being overtired.

“Jeremiah, let’s go. Let’s get them down for bed,” I said.

“Okay,” he replied. “Let me finish reading this article.”

A few minutes later he still sat in the chair and I yelled: “Jeremiah. Come on!”

Eventually I nagged some more and sounded like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet. I was so obsessed with him taking action immediately that I kept reacting out of my impatience. My tone of voice was ugly, controlling, pushy, and disrespectful. My “request” turned into an argument that eventually broke our togetherness. If I would’ve given him time – like other occasions – it would’ve saved us from having an unnecessary blow up in front of our kids.

Where Control Originates

Ever since Adam and Eve indulged in the forbidden fruit and sin entered the world, within us lies this desire for control, to be contentious, and argumentative. The desire is so strong that we’d do just about anything to have it. However, this burning impulse to have all the control no matter the cost is not loving.

Proverbs 27:15-16 says, “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind…”

Proverbs likens a nagging, quarrelsome wife to the wind- it’s impossible to stop her quarreling once she starts. Her anger, emotions, and frustrations take over, making it impossible to calm down.  As I write this article, the wind is blowing like crazy where we live on the Colorado plains. There’s no way to prevent it from blasting through the trees or blowing my kids over. It comes and goes as it pleases and does not cease.

This kind of contention towards our husbands only causes distance, frustration, anger, feelings of being trapped, and more. My husband said it can make a man feel like he’s dying inside. Now that’s a pretty big deal.

Responding vs. Reacting

My ungodly reactions to him kept moving us toward conflict. My control was further damaging our relationship. In the book, The Mingling of Souls, Matt Chandler writes,

“When we learn to respond to each other rather than react, we will move much more quickly in our conflict toward resolution and reconciliation. Reactions only stoke the fires of conflict; responses, particularly godly ones, help us snuff out the conflict.”

How much different would my struggles have been if I gently responded instead of harshly reacted in selfishness?

Eventually, I began drawing the circle around myself and confessed my sin of control. But acknowledging it was only part of the process. I had to turn from it and seek forgiveness and reconciliation from Jeremiah. Yes, I needed his help, but nothing was happening in our home that was earth shattering at the moment and I could wait until he finished reading his article.

I had a choice on how I’d react when things aren’t done on my timetable. My eyes were opened to the fact that I feared something, too: a loss of control, cranky kids, not getting them in bed at a good time, and my own me-time afterwards.

Letting God take the Reigns

Thankfully, Jeremiah and I were able to extinguish the conflict and reconcile. As my husband’s best friend, lover, and helper, I’ll never completely get it right. I will fall in my sinful nature, but I have the choice to do what’s right. The greatest way I can show him respect and love is to let go of the desire to nag and control. When I release control, I let God take the reigns and be his Holy Spirit- he does a much better job anyway.

I begin not just knowing the famous love passage in Scripture but living it out:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Bringing it Home

Maybe you’re like me and control is a huge stronghold in your life. It’s never too late to begin asking God to show you areas that need real transformation. Ask God to change your heart of stone and make it soft and pliable. He is a gracious and loving Father to you. Begin by confessing it, repenting of your sin, and turning to Christ for help.

His desire is for our marriages to look like Jesus more and more as the years go by. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give your husband today is to release your struggles with being a controlling and nagging wife. Simply call it what it is. You may consider asking him if this describes you or how it makes him feel. Begin taking steps toward healing with him.

Conflict in marriage will be inevitable while on this earth, but choosing to respond in a godly way is God’s will- bringing the oneness, joy, peace, and wholeness that you desire in your relationship with your husband. God wants you to enjoy your relationship to the fullest while bringing glory to Him.

** This article first appeared on Kirk Cameron’s 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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How we can still sing to God in our sorrows

As I stood on the other end of the line, frustration and anger burned within me. “They did what?” I asked my mom while we were away at a pastor’s conference for the purpose of being renewed and equipped in God’s word.

“Hannah and Will ran from me and hid under your Suburban and ended up getting oil all over themselves,” she said in a struggling, battle-worn tone as any mom or grandma would.

This was just one of the many incidents of disobedience she’d endured while keeping our four kids. Not only after praying it would all get better, on our way back we were delayed in coming to my mom’s aid due to a blizzard that shut down the roads and caused power outages.

I found myself crying out to God. When will it get better for her, Lord? When will my kids have a heart of submission and obedience? What do I need to do differently? I remembered Psalm 13 when David asks, How long, Oh Lord? How long?

After we ended the call, I tried my best to focus on the time we had at hand with our friends among wonderful teaching and preaching and to trust in the Lord’s provision. I recognized the spiritual warfare too. But still in the back of my mind I found myself asking:

How Long, Oh Lord?

Have you ever found yourself in a similar place as the Psalmist David? More specifically, he cries out in Psalm 13:1-3:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day? 

Perhaps you feel neglected and forgotten by God. Your prayers are hitting the roof, a thousand times over. You don’t see God’s face, hear his voice, or receive his words and counsel. So you feel the only thing left is to look for counsel in your own soul (and you know that never satisfies). You reside with sorrow in your heart all day long like David.

All of us go through these seasons in our soul whether through motherhood, marriage, family life, relationships, the loss of a loved one, broken friendships, and more. David understood that place, God did, and he understands our state too. There are times we need to acknowledge the state of our being and the sorrow within us- to question God and plead for answers because we are absolutely dependent on Him for our very life, breath, and hope. We’re dependent on him to lift our heads out of the muck.

Your Steadfast Love for Me

At the end of Psalm 13 in verse 5 David says, “ButI have trusted in your steadfast love;”

No matter the danger, difficulty, fear of death, and enemies surrounding him, he could place his faith and trust in God’s love for him.

And so can we. We can trust in God’s love that holds us fast. It’s not that we’re so good at holding on to him but he is holding us securely. His love is unmovable and unwavering even when we’re changing like the tides.

David continues:

“My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me.” – Psalm 13:5-6

His love alone gives us a reason to sing in our sorrows. A love that suffered, died on the cross, and rose again so that we could be set free from sin. Because he saved us and redeemed our life, we have joy. And one day, he will make all things new. Our hearts can sing because he is still good, gracious, and liberal in bestowing gifts on us each and every day.

I will Sing in my Sorrow

My kids didn’t exactly improve their behavior from the “rolling around in oil” episode and they had to face serious consequences when we got home, but I thank God for my mom’s humility, patience, grace, and sacrifice to love my children unconditionally. They asked for her forgiveness and understood how their sin was not okay and grieves God.

I thank God that my husband and I were spiritually fed and able to learn together for our ministry. There’s still pain in my heart in the longing for my children to obey immediately, but I know God hasn’t forgotten me as a mom. I know he is changing me in the sanctification process, too, and something beautiful will come out of it all.

I can still sing to Christ in the sorrows- great or small. His face will not be hidden forever and he knows me by name.

For his anger endures but a moment; in his will is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

 

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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What Inspired Me About our Visit to The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile and Lodge in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

A few weeks ago for Spring Break, Jeremiah and I helped get my parents settled in their new home in Oklahoma. One day we took a nice detour from moving boxes and headed an hour and a half away to The Pioneer Woman’s mercantile and lodge in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. This was such a special trip for my kids because they’ve basically grown up watching The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network Channel – thanks to my mom who introduced me to Ree’s blog, recipes, books, photography, and cooking show.

When my babies were all five and under, you can imagine how evening time was- scrambling to get hungry bellies fed and managing multiple meltdowns. I often felt like pulling my hair out! While I cooked dinner, I’d often turn on The Pioneer Woman and they were instantly captivated. I loved it because not only did they enjoy learning about life on the Drummond Ranch and watching Lad and Ree’s four kids, but they learned cooking skills too! Now they’re all nine and under and have a true desire to be in the kitchen with me and it’s so helpful.

When we set foot at the Mercantile and lodge, their little hearts beat with joy. What they’d seen on TV for so many years was now a reality. Naturally, they wanted every Charlie stuffed animal, book, toy, and trinket in sight. When we arrived at the lodge, they ran and played at their heart’s content.

There were many things I loved about our visit, but perhaps most of all, I was inspired how the Drummond’s have opened up their lives, land, work, passions, talents, and more for others to enjoy and benefit from. They have given themselves away in a sense through multiple avenues. They haven’t hoarded those gifts and talents they’ve been entrusted with, but have used them to the fullest. Their hard work has paid off in so many ways.

As a wife and mom it’s made me think about what I need to “give away” in my own life. How am I using my talents and abilities to make my little world a better place for others right here? The Drummond’s- like my family- live in a small, rural community (in the middle of nowhere) yet they’re doing BIG things right where they live. Perhaps there’s something inside all of us that desires to make a big impact in our every day lives. I know I do.

So I’ll ask you too. How would your world look different if you viewed everything you’ve been entrusted with – your resources, talents, time, wealth, abilities and more to serve others? Do you believe that your ordinary life could be extraordinary? Do you believe that your greatest joys could come from releasing control and being willing to use your gifts to their fullest potential?

Chances are good, someone needs you exactly for who YOU are.

Thank you, Drummond Family for being you, and for blessing my family and so many others. I’m planning to return with my mom soon and stand in line for lunch!

{See PHOTOS below}

If you’re planning a visit to Pawhuska or hoping to, you can see their schedule for lodge tours here.

If you’re not following Ree’s blog already, you should: ThePioneerWoman.com

Dream pantry. Honey, I do need one with a ladder too.

Rebekah loves Ree!

sweet shop near the bakery

watching their creations

Hannah at the stovetop

my mom who got us all hooked!

Jeremiah had a lot of fun, too!

the land from the lodge

Walter Drummond doing what we all want to do!

Can you guess where Rebekah spent most of her time?

cheek to cheek

the kids loved this hill to the right of the lodge. They played, ran, explored, and loved on the ranch dogs.

my favorite color for cookware

the boys in the kitchen

resting in the sun

the lodge’s deck

Will couldn’t get enough lovin’

sad to say goodbye

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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Dear Child: Why You Can Always Depend on God’s Love

Before bedtime a few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter Rebekah looked me in the eyes and asked,

“Mom, but… who created God?”

Nighttime is always the perfect opportunity for theological questions and vulnerability from our kids.

“That’s a good question.” I said. “No one created Him. He has always been. He was here before everything.”

“You mean, he always existed?” her eyes grew wide.

“You got it. It’s amazing isn’t it?”

She paused for a minute.

“And, do you know how much he loves you?” I asked.

“Yeah … I think…” she looked up at the ceiling.

“He loves you so, so much- way beyond the moon,” I said.

“Can we read Princess Snowbelle now?” she flips open the first page.

I realize how “I think I know how much God loves me” is an honest answer. It’s difficult to understand. Not only is it unfathomable to think about God always being here before the foundations of the earth, but his love has too.

When I look at the canvas print on her wall showcasing the moment when she and her sister chopped their hair secretively in the kitchen one slow summer afternoon. God knew every strand cut then. He knows every lock that’s grown out. I observe her physical changes and how her face has matured since that photo. I think about how God knit and fashioned her in my womb and knew her before she was born.

Even though time is slipping away as I watch her permanent teeth grow in, her favorite sparkly leggings shrink, and her maturity developing at a rapid speed, God’s love remains steadfast and unchanging for her even in the midst of my imperfect motherly love.

There are many things I want to teach my daughter that it can be overwhelming. But perhaps I’ve made it more complicated than it should. There’s really only one thing that matters most in her life and it comes from Ephesians 3:17-19:

“… And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  

My daughter, I want you to know this about God’s love:

“Be rooted and established in love …” (vs. 17)

May you know this love intimately from your Creator and heavenly Father. Be rooted in love, like a tree planted by streams of living water that never grows thirsty or dry but is constantly a source of life, growth, and blessing. I pray your life will be grounded on God’s overflowing love because everything you do springs forth from that.

“Grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” (vs. 18)

You can trust in God’s love because he proved it by sending Jesus to save you from every sin, bad word, wrong behavior, offensive action, or thought. In Christ, you have the power to grasp this love and to believe it personally. His death on the cross and resurrection proved this love and that he is indeed King forever and in fact King and rescuer of your heart.

“Know this love that surpasses knowledge…” (vs. 19)

You can depend on him to love you like no other earthly daddy, mommy, or man ever could because love is who he is. His love isn’t broken, half-hearted, or lukewarm. His love for you is perfect, complete, and a consuming fire. No person can even compare to him.

Even though human relationships will inevitably let you down and cause you pain at times, Jesus won’t. His love surpasses human knowledge or wisdom because it is from above – it’s not of this world. It goes beyond the mind and into the heart. You don’t have to be on a chase to find an earthly love to satisfy what only God can.

“That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God …” (vs. 19)

There’s so much the world wants to pour into your heart from a young age: the desire to be beautiful, popular, accepted, noticed, followed, liked, and treasured. I pray you’ll experience the fullness of God being near to your heart. He is the source of your joy, satisfaction, and happiness. Live for him and not the short-lived approval of your peers. Grab hold of how good and wonderful He is. He will show himself to you.

Because of his deep love for you, love Jesus in return by worshipping him with every ounce of your being. You were made to glorify him and enjoy him forever.

May our daughters grasp this love and believe it their whole life. May God’s kindness draw them in as it did for us (Romans 2:4). As mothers, may we tangibly display this love in their life with God’s continual help and guidance.

Rebekah’s eyes are glazed over after reading about princess friendship in Frostovia. I close the book, say prayers, and kiss her goodnight. She peeks out her window and sees the light shining in from the moon.

“God is watching over me. Goodnight, Mommy.”

 

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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Links I Like {March 9, 2018}

Happy Friday, friends. I made it an aim this week to do more reading than simply scrolling through my newsfeeds and doing mindless activity on social media. 🙂 Here are some articles I was encouraged by that I hope you will find helpful. Feel free to add articles you enjoyed this week to this list in the comments section or on the post you clicked to get here.

Links I Like:

What God Says to Your Tears  by Scott Hubbard (DesiringGod.org).

Wow, just wow. Such a beautiful article about God’s nearness to us in pain. He sees your tears. He sees you. 

6 Things to Do When You Worry Too Much About What Others Think of You by Scott Kedersha (ChurchLeaders.com).

I appreciate the vulnerability in my friend Scott. Worth your read.

Porn is Not the Worst Thing on Musical.ly by Anastasia Basil

Sobering article but good to be informed regarding technology safety for our children.

Don’t be a social media crazed spouse  by Arlene Pellicane (TheCourage.com)

Short and sweet article in setting up boundaries with our phones. Who doesn’t need this reminder?

What Does it Mean to be a Woman who Fears the Lord by Katie (IChooseBrave.com)

I recently discovered Katie as a fellow contributor on TheCourage.com and I love her writing style and biblical insight.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

– 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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