Dear Husband: This is how our marriage wins

The other night, it didn’t feel like we were a team. I thought you were against me, didn’t care how I felt, and were being inconsiderate. But then I took a step back, reevaluated our conflict, and realized you were in fact for me. Pride told me otherwise.

The truth is we’re not against each other. No matter what lies we feed on or how Satan tempts us, God has put us together to lift one another up when we’re weak, not to tear the other person down. This God-ordained union of marriage is for our good, not to make us miserable.

Our relationship won’t always be smooth-sailing, but it will be sanctifying. Battling selfishness is never roses and sunshine. Our marriage at times will expose anger, hurts, habits, our past, brokenness, idols, stubbornness, and much more. It will reveal areas in our hearts we never knew existed. It will push us beyond our limits – teaching us sacrifice, compromise, patience, trust, a dying to ourselves, perseverance, and more.

All the more- this is why we have to be a team. Because that’s exactly what we are. Marriage is too hard not to work together. It shouldn’t be a constant tug-a-war match between our strong wills, but we know that sometimes it just is. We’re sinners in need of a Savior…

** CONTINUE READING on TheCourage.com

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Rebekah began learning piano this month

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

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

Spoiling your kids spiritually will teach them that…

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

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

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

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com

Blessings to you and yours,

Samantha

 

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

 

 

 

 

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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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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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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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When God’s plans are far better than your own (even in the frustrations of waiting)

Almost five years ago, our son Will was born on a beautiful Monday morning in Dallas. Before Jeremiah and I learned we were pregnant with Will, I was on birth control and exclusively breastfeeding. I found out when my third child, Hannah, was only four months old.

And I cried, oh did I cry. I questioned. I even threw my pregnancy test. How in the world could I be ready for a 4th child – right after just having Hannah? I barely had time to recover from her birth. I was numb and in disbelief, more so thinking about how I would be able to carry the load I already couldn’t bare. Jeremiah and I desired to have four children, but had wanted to wait a few years.

I remember walking into Starbucks with my double stroller and my oldest son walking next to me, and getting all kinds of stares. “Wow, your hands are full!” are what the baristas would typically say. I’d smile and join in conversation yet deep down I was still thinking:

Oh man. My hands are full now and they don’t know that I’ve got another one growing inside me!

Trusting in God’s timing was a true test of my faith. Would I lean on the Lord to carry me through physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Would I trust that his ways are different and wiser than my own?

Perhaps you’re facing your own doubting in God’s timing for your life: an unfulfilled dream, unplanned move, career change, an unexpected diagnosis, a season of unwanted depression, a broken marriage, or more. Maybe you’ve had your life planned out exactly how you desired and something is really upsetting the apple cart.


You’ve found yourself saying, “Why now, God? What on earth are you doing with my life?”

You may be tempted to believe that God is not good, loving, or that His hands are in sovereign control of your life. As the serpent said to Eve in the garden, you find yourself doubting:

“Did God really say?…” (Genesis 3:1)

You know that God’s ways are not your own, but you’re tempted to let go of your faith because life’s not going how you planned.

Rest assured, there really is a better way than to doubt and question – even when God welcomes our weaknesses and understands our humanity.

Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Here’s the truth. The better way is to wait.

Even in the upsets of life’s timing and how unpredictable it is, God renews the strength of those who wait on him. Like an eagle who soars effortlessly as high as the heavens, you can soar above the trials and sufferings as you hope in the Lord for his answers and provision.

You’ll run and not be exhausted. You’ll walk and not pass out from the burdens weighing you down. You’ll be raised out of the valley and onto the mountaintop. God promises to uphold you when you’re waiting on Him.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace his hand, we must trust his heart.”

Will you trust God simply for who He is? Sovereign. Caring. Gracious. Merciful. All-loving. All-powerful. Perfect. Faithful. Just. Holy. Glorious. And so much more.

It’s hard to believe Will turns five on Sunday, August 5th. He isn’t so baby anymore. When I was pregnant with him, I still remember the feelings well. God was patient with me in my questions. He knew what I needed when Will was conceived – even when I couldn’t wrap my mind around the miracle.

I picked up my pregnancy test from the wooden floor and told Jeremiah, “Alright, this is it. This is God’s plan.” And we did the next thing in front of us – which translated to my husband remodeling our master bathroom!

Today, I can’t imagine our family without Will’s outgoing personality, loving spirit, and high-energy hugs on your legs that come at you like a bulldozer. I still give him as many kisses on his cheeks as I did when he was a newborn!

And you better believe that next year when he goes to Kindergarten I’ll be crying again.

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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The Surprising Places Where Your Marriage Matures

We were young and barely knew each other but we took a road trip to Atlanta eight hours away for a leadership conference. Some people would call it crazy and I guess we were. In the big city, we visited one of my best friends from high school and went to Eatzi’s market and bakery to grab dinner – it was filled with gourmet cheeses, chocolates, fresh warm bread, samples, and more.

I walked passed the floral section and saw a bouquet of sunflowers with Jeremiah. “Oh I love these!” I said. “My favorite flower.”

After walking around the market, Jeremiah snuck back to the floral shop and scooped the sunflowers up in his arms and paid for them at the register. He handed them to me and my eyes lit up.

The Work of Marriage

That was 14 years ago. Fast forward to this past week. Recently, stopping at a sunflower field after picking my son up from camp, I was reminded of what God birthed in us in our early twenties. The memories of our young love flooded my soul with gratefulness and showed me the miracle of today.

Little did we know as two friends – soon to be lovers – that the winds, rain, and hail would one day attempt to destroy the garden of our marriage. Marriage faces the constant threats of unmet expectations, miscommunication, career changes, parenting hardships, financial pressure, personality differences, selfishness, and more. Little did we know the kind of labor required to cultivate the right conditions for a strong and healthy marriage.

In these moments, I’ve asked, “Lord, how can you make this work when all seems dark?”

How Light Shines In

Over the years I’ve learned that light shines in when I humble myself and let the Spirit work. When I bear all things, believe all things, hope in all things, and endure in all things (1 Cor 13:7).

Light shines in when:

  • I face the hard questions: Will I follow Jesus’ ways or my own selfish desires? Am I willing to take a hard look at where I might be missing the mark and causing pain in my marriage?
  • I let my husband lead, and not try to take control over him.
  • I’m quick to forgive and ask forgiveness for my wrongs.
  • I’m a diligent listener, and slow to speak.
  • I’m his biggest cheerleader, not his critic.
  • I confess, “God, I need your help right now!”
  • I’m willing to fight for our marriage and realize we’re on a battlefield everyday against Satan’s schemes.
  • I allow the gospel to penetrate my heart – that Jesus pursued and loved us in our ugly condition. He rescued us from our bondage to sin and is fully capable of restoring and transforming brokenness.

Seeds Grow in Darkness

If your marriage is suffering under the weight of life’s stresses, that is not the time to throw it out. Seeds germinate in the darkness of soil. They rest under the weight of the dirt pressed in, but despite the stress and pressures placed on them, they quickly take root and sprout. Darkness is where growth happens.

Give God room to work. Through the pain, wait on Him just a little longer and watch for his miracles. You just have to give it time and grow where you’ve been planted.

Sunflowers Mature In the Light

One of the things I love and recently learned about the sunflower is how it follows the movement of the sun across the sky from east to west. It does this for the entire cycle of its life as it matures and begins to produce seed that will create the next generation of life.

After time when our marriage has taken root and found strength from the harsh conditions of challenges and hardships, we need to continue to fix our eyes on Jesus – the Son – who brings life and hope to our relationship again. Marriages mature through strong devotion to Jesus.

Because You’ve Always Dreamed of A Beautiful Marriage

No matter what challenges you’re facing in your marriage, don’t forget how big God is and how abundant his grace is in your life. Remember the memories and joys in your relationship when it first began and how far you’ve come. Don’t uproot the seed that will soon produce fruit.

After difficult seasons, I have thanked the Lord for Jeremiah’s friendship and companionship. There’ve been deep valleys but also mountaintops filled with breathtaking sunsets. God has been faithful, and that bouquet of sunflowers was just the beginning of the abundant gifts God has bestowed on me through my husband’s love and service – even when I didn’t deserve it.

If you hang on, it might not be long before God uses your marriage as an inspiration for the next generation. On the outside, they will say, “Now that is a beautiful marriage.” On the inside, you will know that the surprising places where your marriage grew and matured were through the dark soils of life and strong devotion to the Son.

 

Blessings to you and yours,

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. 
You can follow along with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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The Secret to Raising Girls Who Live Out Kindness and Courage

This summer, my girls have enjoyed watching Cinderella (the 2015 film with Lily James). I’ve found myself quoting the movie to my girls a lot when they haven’t been getting along.

At the beginning of the film when Ella’s mother is on her deathbed, she says:

Ella, my darling. I want to tell you a secret, a great secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. You must always remember this: Have courage and be kind.”

Those last five words are what I’ve been saying a lot around my home.

Sinners Sin

Little did Ella know that her golden childhood would fade away as she grew older. She was banished to an attic and mistreated by her evil stepmother and stepsisters. But in spite of it all, she stood strong in the midst of adversity and clung to the words of her mother. We know how the rest of the story goes when she meets the handsome prince.

In real life, the truth is that we can all be like the angry stepmother when life tastes bitter. We were born sinners, therefore, we sin. We know very well that as moms, we ourselves aren’t always understanding and kind but we desire for our girls to be!

I was talking with my friend the other day who’s dealing with hitting, pinching, name-calling, and sassy attitudes. The attitudes can impact the entire household and make you fear how they’ll treat others who aren’t their siblings. I felt better that we weren’t the only ones dealing with non-princess-like behavior.

Seeking Jesus Alone

So often we try to find the next good parenting book, podcast, and inspirational quote. We seek counsel from all over, and more in how to raise godly girls. Many times, those are good things- don’t get me wrong as I’ve taken advantage of all those.

But how often do I first seek what Jesus has to say in his precious word about the attitudes and actions in our home? How often am I on my knees for my child’s wayward heart? And better yet, for my own heart that can be filled with pride?

In God’s Word, Jesus speaks to us. His word is alive and active—convicting us and revealing the depths of who we really are. It shows us how to live. In my own power, I don’t have the ability to change my child’s heart, but Jesus does. When I desire to see love in their hearts that I desperately desire, I must take them to the very source of kindness, love, peace, joy, gentleness, and self-control—Jesus alone. I must do the hard work of asking God to search my heart to see if there are any offensive ways in me. (Psalm 139:23-24).

A Work of God to Produce Kindness & Love

This cannot be done in my own strength or my girls’ unique abilities. It’s a work of God to transform their little hearts, making them moldable to his ways. But yes, let’s keep reinforcing the good truths even found in Cinderella.

Let’s keep encouraging our girls to do the right thing by including others, building each other up, speaking words that are sweet to the soul, not holding grudges, forgiving one another, making new friends feel welcome, choosing the narrow road, standing up for truth, being a friend to the lonely, and more. Let them see that we do these things in our lives, too.

Let’s not grow weary in teaching and modeling truth to them when it gets discouraging. Let’s be quick to ask forgiveness when we fail every day and lean on new mercies the next day.

Let’s remember that we’re sinners but we serve a great Savior who has washed our sins away, loved us in our mess, and saved us out of bondage. He is the King who has come to rescue us from our depravity.

Let’s keep reminding our girls that the greatest secret that will carry them through all of life’s trials is having an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ – the One who has the power to change the hardest heart.

Blessings to you,

Samantha

** This article was first published 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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4 Ways to Prioritize Your Spouse Above Your Schedule … and Even Your Kids

A few years ago, a woman in my discipleship group at church pulled me aside after our time together and shared some wisdom I’ll never forget.

She had two teenagers and was on the brink of a divorce. Her family was falling apart and she blamed the dissolved relationship on her own choices. In our group time I told how my husband and I were getting away for the weekend to focus on our marriage, but I was nervous about leaving the kids behind. She encouraged me not to worry about it.

“Samantha, get away with him. Don’t put the kids’ schedules first,” she said. “I did that all our marriage with sports and all they had going on. I kept myself busy at the cost of my marriage. I wish we’d taken time for each other, but we didn’t. I eventually had an affair. I regret all of it.”

My eyes grew wide thinking about my kids still in diapers. Tears welled up in her eyes as she brushed her strawberry blonde hair away from her face.

I could sense the ache and pain in her heart. I prayed for her, that God would restore their family.

Years have passed since that evening…

CONTINUE READING the rest of the article on FamilyLife.com.

 

 

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