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

Ensenada, Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


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

 

 

 

 

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Where to look when the grass is greener somewhere else

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

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

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

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

The list goes on, doesn’t it?

A longing for something better

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

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

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

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

Look at the days God has given you

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings to you and yours,

Samantha

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

 

 

 

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10 ways moms can pray for their children

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

A crossroad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


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

 

 

 

 

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