Friends who’ll sit with you in the in-between and “I’m not really okay”

A friend and I took a trip this week to the mountains for some girl time and of course, Starbucks coffee since we don’t live close to one. On our drive, she asked how I was doing – a genuine, “Really, how are you doing?”

I paused for a minute and knew I needed to be authentic in my response. Crazy the temptation to only say “fine” when you’re not.

“I’m struggling. It’s hard. I feel like I’m stuck in the in-between. And that’s just where I’m at. I wish I could sugar coat it.”

She listened intently and understood my words. Deep down, the pride in me wanted to say I was fine. Really, I’m fine.

But I’m not and it’s okay. Like many of you, I miss routine, the excitement of summer sports activities, seeing people more frequently, gathering at church, not having to go inside stores with a mask that annoys me, only being able to walk through one set of doors in Walmart and Target, constant worries about my kids’ future, and more.

In our home life, I want to be more patient with my kids and not so irritable and easily set off.

I realized it’s okay to sit and not be fine. It’s okay to not have answers yet. All of us are in the “in-between” not only in this crazy pandemic, but as we wait on Jesus to make everything right again in this sin drenched world.

We’re all waiting for something.

And until then, there’s no need to pretend or wear an emotional mask to hide behind our soul sickness. We need friends right there with us who get it – not aiming to fix or give advice, just to be present in our pain. To truly care. More than that, we just need Jesus.

The very things I was missing God was answering as we drove along the highway. I had companionship to my right, iced coffee, and time in nature hiking. I had fellowship with another woman who deeply loves Jesus and encouraged my faith.

I can’t say I’m okay right now. I’m still struggling to trust. Maybe you are too. But Jesus hasn’t changed one bit. He answers prayer all the time in mysterious ways. His faithfulness is constant. His mercies are new every day. He knows the desires of your heart.

Sometimes I just don’t see it. And I’m thankful for the many friends God has put in my life who’ll sit with me right where I’m at and remind me of His goodness regardless of my roller coaster emotions.

“When our eyes run out of tears. When our pen is out of ink. When our prayers sound dry. When our words fall few. When our faith feels flat. He still is.” – Paige Pippin @thepaigepippin

Persevering with you dear friend,

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, and Love What Matters. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

Dear Mom: Your Investment was no small thing. In fact, it was everything.

Growing up, you prioritized our family first before everything else. You gave us hot meals, washed our clothes, faithfully supported your husband, served our neighbors, volunteered when help was needed, and were always there to greet me with a snack when I came home from school.

You prayed for me at my bedside when tears streamed down my face from girl drama in middle school.

You were at all my sports’ events, milestones, graduations, and made sure all my friends were fed when they came to our house.

You took me to church even when I whined and complained. You encouraged me to travel the world while I was still young. 

You prayed hard during my rebellious teen years – even when I didn’t know it.

You didn’t have to do any of that, but you chose to. You lived a life of sacrifice on behalf of your family. 

Most of all, you showed love in tangible ways through your support, love, generosity, and grace. You put our lives before your own.

Before I entered the halls of high school, you’d already prayed for my future husband and children. You were planning ahead when I wasn’t even aware.

Growing up, you prioritized our family first before everything else. You gave us hot meals, washed our clothes, faithfully supported your husband, served our neighbors, volunteered when help was needed, and were always there to greet me with a snack when I came home from school.

You prayed for me at my bedside when tears streamed down my face from girl drama in middle school.

You were at all my sports’ events, milestones, graduations, and made sure all my friends were fed when they came to our house.

You took me to church even when I whined and complained. You encouraged me to travel the world while I was still young. 

You prayed hard during my rebellious teen years – even when I didn’t know it.

You didn’t have to do any of that, but you chose to. You lived a life of sacrifice on behalf of your family. 

Most of all, you showed love in tangible ways through your support, love, generosity, and grace. You put our lives before your own.

Before I entered the halls of high school, you’d already prayed for my future husband and children. You were planning ahead when I wasn’t even aware.

You faithfully served when no one else was watching. You loved me when I was unlovable; even when nasty words spilled from my lips. 

You chose to love when it was hard and messy.

Years have passed since my school days and now, you’re the beautiful, radiating grandmother of six – 4 boys and 2 girls. Your grandchildren adore you.

You were there for their births and held them gently and tenderly like you did me. You were present and engaged for all the difficult days after.

Your investment in my life was no small thing. In fact, it was everything. And it continues to be.

You are a light. You shine so bright in the lives of your children and children’s children. 

Mom, your love is a legacy to celebrate each and every day. “Thank you” will never be enough. I love you.

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 Instagramand Facebook.

May His Strong Will Cultivate an Even Stronger Faith

Dear Lord,

At the end of an exhausting and emotional day with my strong-willed child, I just need you. I’ve cried and prayed and cried and prayed, and I need your intervention.

He isn’t responding to me the way he used to. He’s distant, moody, down, and in his own world it seems. His body is changing along with his emotions. He’s maturing before my eyes, and it’s blowing my mind.

I don’t know how to reach his heart right now. 

I know this doesn’t surprise you at all. You’ve known him since the day I gave birth to his sweet 7-pound frame on that sunny October day. You’ve watched all his first milestones, and You’ve been there with me navigating all his developmental changes—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

You’ve been with him in the hallways of his elementary school, on the playground, and in his sports activities. You’ve never lost sight of him. Even when I doubted, You were with us as mama and son.

You have great plans for his life and put me in his life for a reason.

Channel his pride, energy, intelligence, creativity, determination, and leadership in the right direction. Keep him away from …

Continue Reading my article this week over on Her View From Home

Dear daughter: You are beautiful, worthy, valuable, and a masterpiece

Dear daughter:

Not long ago, my friend treated me to a facial at a spa a few hours away. The minute the esthetician started massaging and exfoliating the dead skin cells on my face, I felt like I was melting into the massage table. As we chatted, we got on the topic of image and beauty. She was honest with me about the pressures she feels from our culture and certain social media apps like FaceTune to look a certain way.

“So many girls use the app,” she said. “It’s really a thing. Even celebrities admit to using it.”

“Really?” I replied. 

I’d never heard of the app. I was aware of other photo-editing apps but this one seemed to go a bit deeper.

She said you can enlarge your eyes, remove blemishes and scars, tan your skin, soften your face, fine tune your jaw bones and facial structure, and more. When I got home, I looked up FaceTune online and discovered the app has been downloaded more than 20 million times.

These apps have an impact on us, no matter our age. When I was a teen, I felt pressure staring at Seventeen Magazine in the grocery store checkout line. I didn’t quite look like the flawless, perfectly toned model staring back at me. I didn’t feel pretty enough.

Because there’s nothing new under the sun since I was your age — meaning the struggles you have are pretty much the same just with improved technology. The human heart hasn’t changed, and I owe it to you to tell you the truth.

You’ll never measure up to the filtered version of that picture-perfect image. You know, the one with the drop-dead gorgeous girl who has a perfect smile, white teeth, striking cheekbones, lash extensions, slender waistline, and adorable outfit? Instagram is an endless sea of this kind of “perfection.” You can’t compete with an edited image of another girl. It’s impossible.

That snapshot taken in the perfect moment when she’s all put together and then enhanced in a photo-editing app is not the authentic her. And you never should have to compete or feel insecure around an unrealistic version of another girl.

Your worth and value can’t be measured from the outward appearance. And that girl you’re constantly measuring yourself against? Her worth and value isn’t defined by her appearance or enhancements, either. 

When you were being fashioned and knit together in my womb, God saw you. And he saw something of great worth. You were precious to him before you were ever conceived. After all, he created you. 

When I delivered you in the hospital and saw your face for the very the first time, I was instantly in love with all of you. God gave you the exact color of eyes and hair on your head, made you female for his plans and purposes, and gave you gifts and talents for a reason. Your physical features were decided by Him first and foremost. And when he looks at you, trust me, he is well pleased. When I look at you and all your amazing abilities, I’m overjoyed.

When culture and your friends attempt to mold you into something you’re not, remember God has a say in who you are today. He says you’re already valuable—long before you analyze and post an image of yourself. Way before you scroll the newsfeeds and examine friends’ and celebrity feeds and think to yourself:

Am I pretty enough? Am I valuable? Do I make the cut?

Remember God says you’re loved for who you are—fearfully and wonderfully made. True friends will love you for who you are inside. Your value and significance aren’t determined by how pretty, attractive, sexy, or stylish you are to other people. Or by how many likes, comments, emoji kisses, or social media engagements you gain from an airbrushed photo.

So, the next time you’re scrolling your phone and see that filtered FaceTune image and you’re tempted to doubt how God made you and if you’re good enough, remember what He says about you. 

You are His masterpiece.

I love you beautiful girl, 

Momma

“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

Samantha Krieger is a wife, mom to 2 boys and 2 girls, and author in rural Colorado. Her writing appears on TODAY, Her View from Home, Family Life, and KirkCameron.com. She writes regularly on topics of faith, family, marriage, relationships, and motherhood.

Dear Husband: I’m ready for date night again

This pandemic has me missing our nights out together. I can’t believe how much I took it for granted before. I’d put on a little extra makeup, change out of my mom attire, and spray on perfume. You’d wear a collared shirt, boots, and rustic cologne.

We prioritized date night even if we were at odds with one another. After the evening was over, we’d love and like each other again. Crazy how that works! Maybe because it felt like old times, like our dating days before kids.

Date nights were our peace in the beautiful chaos of family life – a harbor from life’s troubles and difficulties. Our time, just you and me, together. Sometimes my favorite part was the drive to our destination, in peace and quiet.

Date nights gave us time to breathe from our busy schedules and enjoy conversation and laughter in a relaxed environment.

Date nights reminded us that our marriage was a priority – before being daddy and mommy. Because what our kids need most is a daddy and mommy who love each other.

Some date nights were casual like driving to watch the sunset or walking a trail together. Sometimes it was bowling or surprising friends with ice cream. Other times, our friends would watch our kids for a weekend get-away and we never wanted that to end.

I miss the romance, break from the ordinary, and the routine too.

But until that day comes when we can go out again, let’s do take-out and support a local business. And get a cheesecake or fudge sundae for a palate cleanser. Let’s light some candles, turn on Netflix, and cuddle on the couch.

We can get creative when the kids are in bed and make the most of these nights spent at home. What really matters is being with you. Love is what matters most in this stressful and unpredictable time. We can make the most with what we’ve got.

When this pandemic is over, I’ll let you pick which restaurant we dine at first. I promise I won’t complain, be picky, or be impatient if the food takes longer.

I’ll be grateful date night with you is back in the world again.

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 Instagramand Facebook.

Dear Mom: You’re doing this beautifully

For the mom who’s hanging on by a thread from sleepless nights with your newborn baby … you’re doing this beautifully.

For the mom who’s battling critical comments from family members and strangers in the store in how you raise your kids … you’re doing this beautifully.

For the mom who’s juggling pre-teens, teens, hormones, and sassy attitudes … you’re doing this beautifully. 

For the mom who isn’t sure she can make it another day inside her house during this pandemic … you’re doing this beautifully.

For the mom who can’t craft worth a lick and the mom whose house looks like a Pinterest dream … you’re doing this beautifully.

For the mom who’s waiting to see new life breathed into her present situation and is waiting patiently and expectantly … you’re doing this beautifully. 

For the mom who’s suffering from anxiety, PPD, depression, and more … you’re doing this beautifully. 

For the mom who needs a true friend to check in and care … you’re doing this beautifully.

You’re doing this motherhood thing beautifully. You are exactly who your children need – no matter your struggles and imperfections. 

You’re not alone. Be strong. Hold tight. Light is coming. Hope is on the way. We’ll get through this together. 

You are loved,

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 Instagramand Facebook.

3 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for a Quarantined Easter – Guest Post by Katie Bowman

On the blog today, I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Katie. I met Katie while our husbands were studying at Dallas Seminary together. She has been a constant encouragement in my life through her faith and creative communication. I pray you’ll be refreshed and encouraged by her words in this time!

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Dear Momma,

Easter is going to look different this year. Instead of dressing up with bows and bow ties and sending your kids off to children’s church we will all be at home watching the Easter service from our living rooms. It may not be traditional but it can still be incredibly special.

I don’t know about you but this whole quarantine, virtual school, not being able to go anywhere has had me running the gambit of emotions. From the highs of more family time to the lows of… unending family time. Top it off with stresses like financial loss, being sick, rainy days and an extra work load its a recipe for a mommy meltdown.

Here are three things I am doing to prepare my heart for an Easter in quarantine:

  1. I am setting my mind on things above. For the first part of the quarantine I was taking advantage of not having to set my alarm but I quickly realized that my time with the Lord was getting pushed out. I began setting my alarm and pressing in to the disciplines and routines I had already established pre-quarantine. Time with the Lord is a non-negotiable. His Word reminds me to store up my treasures in heaven, not get bogged down with the troubles of this earth. Right now, it’s almost impossible to not let our minds run wild with worry unless we are constantly pushing it back with the Truth of God’s perfect Word.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

1 Peter 5:10

2. I am lowering my expectations. So much of our hurts come from unmet expectations. We can come to these expectations by comparing our lives to others seemingly picture perfect lives on social media. I am putting my phone down and lifting my eyes up. What will make Easter special for MY family? How can we bring glory to God through our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection? How can I disciple my children to see the wonder, hope and joy that is only possible because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

“But it is true! Christ has been raised from the dead! He was the first One to be raised from the dead and all those who are in graves will follow. Death came because of a man, Adam. Being raised from the dead also came because of a Man, Christ. All men will die as Adam died. But all those who belong to Christ will be raised to new life.”

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

3. I am committing to CELEBRATING Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ Resurrection is what makes our salvation possible. We have so much to celebrate! This will look different for every family, but for me I am committing to joining in the fun instead of just facilitating it. It’s when I get face to face, eye to eye with my kids that the gospel is communicated most clearly. I want my kids to see that my joy is not contingent on what is happening in the world, it is tied solely to Jesus. Billy Graham put it this way, “Earth’s troubles fade in light of heaven’s hope.”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

1 Peter 1:3

Easter will look different this year, but it can be one that really showcases the hope we have in Jesus. Right now the world looks hopeless. But here’s the truth: the world has never been where we should find our hope. We get blinded by it’s charms, but with it’s charms stripped we can look full into the face of Jesus and declare: My hope is in You!

ABOUT KATIE: Katie Bowman is a chaplain’s wife and a mom to three children: Greyson, Violet and Shepherd. She has her Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary and enjoys reading, theology, photography, and anything creative. She lives in a suburb of Dallas, TX and loves connecting with others through Instagram, her blog and Facebook.

Dear child: Forgive me for being impatient with you in this scary and stressful time

In a matter of days, our lives have turned upside down like those rollercoasters you’ve dreamed about riding this summer. Your sports activities, spring musical program, and school have all been closed. Your playdates and outings are being withheld to ensure your safety on lockdown. 

When you first heard the news, you yelled and cried out to me, “Why, Mom? Why?”

I felt the same as you. 

I’ve lost my temper and unstable emotions have got the best of me. I’ve forgotten you’re just a child and don’t see the world as adults do. You just need my love and care right now – not my harshness and anger over things I can’t control.

I’m trying my best to keep our home a place of calm, but sometimes it feels more like a war zone. The world is in crisis, and lots of mommies and daddies are in survival mode too. 

You’ve seen me blow up and shed tears on my pillow. I’ve seen the tears you’ve cried and concerns at bedtime when darkness settles in. I hear your complaints for wanting your friends and missing your teachers at school. I know your need for routine and structure, and I’m trying my absolute best. 

We’ve never gone through a worldwide pandemic together. I don’t know how to feel about it all. But I know I have to take responsibility for my actions and how I respond. I have to be willing to learn, adjust, process, grieve, and find our new normal.

Please forgive me for not being more patient, loving, and gentle with your spirit. My words have been reckless, not uplifting. Anxiety has filled my soul. I need to focus more on the issues going on in your little heart, instead of focusing on panic and fear.

I’m amazed at how incredibly strong and resilient you are in this time. You inspire me and have given me a lot to laugh about and be thankful for. Thank you for having grace on me.

At the end of the day when you’re tucked in bed, I watch you peacefully sleeping and I’m so grateful God gave me you. We’re together and that’s the greatest blessing of all.

I love you,

Mom

*** A special thanks to TODAY Parents, Love What Matters, and Her View from Home for sharing this piece on your platforms.

Dear kids: We’ll look back on these days and miss them

Dear kids,

We’re driving each other crazy and loving each other like crazy. While we have no known end date to this quarantine, I’m pretty sure we’ll look back on this time and miss it. 

We’ll miss sleeping in and staying in our PJs, working on your chromebooks on the couch, zoom calls with your teacher, playing old fashioned games, enjoying dance parties, playing Nintendo Switch, taking walks as a family with the dog, baking 5 batches of cookies in a day, Facetiming your family and friends, and really having nothing to do or anywhere to go.

We’ll miss not having a schedule filled with activities, school functions, demands, responsibilities, doctor appointments, and more. We’ll miss the quantity of time together. I know we will even if we’re not thinking about it now.

It’s not that we didn’t do all those special things before. We’ve always valued our family time. But now more than ever we have to be together. It’s the memories we’re making.

I couldn’t believe the other day when I saw how much you all have grown – seeing your growth from the beginning of the year in our photos on iCloud. My draw dropped. In this time, you’ll go up a pant size, maybe two. Lose more of those wiggly teeth and tell me you need new shoes. You’ll eat me out of the house like you always do.

During this time, you’ll mature even more. It will go fast– it always does. Even though the days are long, the years fly by.

So, until then, I’ll keep documenting our days. Praying for sanity. And trying not to take all God has given for granted. I’ll try to cherish these moments as much as I can. 

When the house is empty one day, I know I’ll give anything to go back to the days when your fingerprints were all over the front glass door, the floors were sticky and messy, and your presence was right within my reach and I could control where you were. 

These coming weeks and months will go down in history, and in the memory books of our family. Let’s keep persevering through this pandemic and savoring this time together. 

I love you,

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 Instagramand Facebook.


Take heart, He has overcome the world…


So much has changed in our country and world in just a matter of days. You may be feeling enormous amounts of stress and anxiety when you think about your own future, perhaps in your business, work, health, relationships, and more. These are stressful times right now and let me just say: You may need to have a good, ugly cry. I did last night while watching Fox News reports. 

Yesterday, my heart ached as my family and I were in Kearney, Nebraska for a quick get-away and you can just see the sadness on people’s faces at restaurants. I gasped when I stared in the windows at Starbucks and no bodies were in the chairs enjoying coffee and conversation.  And just last night the Governor of Colorado announced the new mandate for public areas that impact our little town too. I’m sure by the time this post is published, new laws will be in place.

You and I are looking at an unseen future and who knows what the aftermath will be like? 

But rest assured as a believer in Christ, you don’t have to live in a state of panic, worry, and fear. You have a great hope and future awaiting you – one day God is going to restore all that’s been corrupted and broken. He promises to make all things new. We’re living in the “in-between” where sickness, sin, and death remain. But this won’t be forever and what’s going on in our world are the aches and labor pains until Jesus returns. 

The end of our story isn’t darkness and death, it’s glorious and beautiful redemption. That doesn’t mean we won’t have to go through suffering, trials, and tribulations on this side of heaven. We will. We are right now. But he’s promised to never leave us in our pain and trials. 

A verse that has given me great comfort in this time is John 16:33: 

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus is bigger than anything you face here on earth. He knows you’ll endure tribulation but he is still here. He has overcome the whole world. Your heart can rest easy knowing He is sovereign and fully aware of what’s playing out – even if it’s scary when the shelves are bare and your whole life has been put on hold. 

Not only that, there are also many other people feeling the same as you – loaded down with heavy anxiety and needing comfort and assurance. You’re not alone in your heartaches. 

In times like these, we need one another even more. We know we can’t socially isolate spiritually. We need one another to bear our burdens, share our struggles, pray with and for, and encourage daily. Spiritual isolation is not our friend. We need to lock hands even more in helping one another especially the vulnerable and elderly. It’s our time to step up to the plate and make sacrifices with our time and resources. 

So, let’s lean on each other and find ways to tangibly help our neighbor, family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s get our eyes off ourselves and go be the hands and feet of Christ. 

Taking heart with you,

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.