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.

 

 

How Your Husband’s Differences Can Bring Beauty in Your Life & Relationship

I love to play it safe and err on the side of caution. Jeremiah thrives on adventure, spontaneity, and risk. So on our way home the other night from eating out together, he wanted to take the back roads home.

“Remember, we have about 20 minutes until I told our babysitter we’d be home,” I responded.

“We’ll be fine,” he said.

We veered off the highway and onto one of the many dirt roads we aren’t familiar with in rural Colorado. The sun began to set and its brilliance illuminated the grassy farmlands filled with grazing cows, rustic barns, and golden wheat.

I felt the temptation to look at my Fitbit for the time but then a gentle voice in my spirit nudged me to be still and just take it all in. Jeremiah continued following the dirt path and as the sun set, we parked the suburban, rolled down the windows, smelled the country air, and talked. It was a perfect escape from daily life and its demands.

As we recently hit 12.5 years of marriage (women always know these half way marks it seems!), I’ll admit there have been moments I haven’t always appreciated how different we are. In fact, I’ve been resentful and bitter at times. Selfishness has won my heart and I haven’t valued how God wired Jeremiah. I have often felt like my way was the better and only way.

But as I look back on our years together, I’m able to better see just how “normal” my life would be without him gently challenging me to be unconventional. Even when I resisted it and maybe through some fits, he’s known what I’ve needed and I’m better today for it. And I know in the future, I’ll continue to grow in ways I wouldn’t naturally choose.

As wives, no matter how many years we’ve been married we can still learn to embrace and respect the unique gifting and abilities in our husbands. And I believe it will bring a closeness and unity in our relationship that we’ve never experienced before. Instead of saying or thinking:

“You’re crazy!”

“What in the world are you doing?”

“We are so different! How will this ever work?”

“How did we end up together, again?”

“You want to do what?!!”

What if we just buckled up and enjoyed the ride right beside our husband in humility and acceptance of who he is and the ideas that are birthed in his own mind and heart? What if we just trusted him to take us on an adventure that is actually good for our soul- even if it stretches us and makes us uncomfortable?

You see, I most likely wouldn’t have taken the back roads that night. I’m a planner and punctual – I often resist change. But if we didn’t take that beautiful route, I would’ve missed out on sweet conversation and time spent bonding together.

I would’ve missed soaking up the wide open spaces and God’s breathtaking creation. I didn’t know it when we turned off the beaten path, but Jeremiah had created a little space for my soul to breathe and be close to him. He opened my eyes to slow down and not worry so much about the predictable schedule.

And it was exactly what I needed. The adventure was what it was because we were together.

After the sun went down, we got back on the familiar highway to home. We pulled in the driveway about ten minutes late, and everything was just fine.

“We need to do that again,” I said.


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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Why a Father’s Love is So Important

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

“Daddy, look at me!” she said.

“Oh Rebekah, you look beautiful.”

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

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

Daddy- the Protector

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

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

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

Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior

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

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

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

The Wonderful Challenge

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

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

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

** This article originally appeared on the TheCourage.com


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. She enjoys connecting with readers on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

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Dear Mom and Dad: Don’t be a bystander

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

** This article first appeared on Kirk Cameron’s TheCourage.com

 

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

 

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Wives, this one desire could be hurting your marriage

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

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

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

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

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

Where Control Originates

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

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

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

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

Responding vs. Reacting

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

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

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

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

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

Letting God take the Reigns

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

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

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

Bringing it Home

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

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

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

** This article first appeared on Kirk Cameron’s TheCourage.com

 

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

 

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Learn These Three Questions to Draw You and Your Spouse Together

The furniture looked like something dated from the 70’s. There was no luxury beach out our patio door or even a pool, and we were in the middle of the Garden Isle of Kauai. Instead, I stared at a green rustic cabana with an outdoor tub and shower. Not to mention there was no central air. This was not my idea of a honeymoon and I sure let my husband Jeremiah know.

Jeremiah was hurt. I was disappointed. He became angry. He worked hard to plan the perfect place. We were in a shouting match for the ages. We were terrified that in the couple days before when we stood at the altar that somehow we’d made a colossal mistake. Eventually, he reluctantly took us to a resort and charged an enormous sum to our credit card.

In that moment, we were more concerned about declaring our opinions about the other person’s failure than asking questions to know the other person’s heart. The prideful path we were starting out on as newlyweds was clearly not God’s plan.

When we reflect back on that time in our life, we laugh now. Life was so different. We were different. By God’s grace, so much has changed for the good. We’ve learned over time the power of asking questions. No matter where you are in your marriage journey, here are three questions every couple should ask that will help bring them together instead of apart:

1.) Will you forgive me?

When hungry-for-answers Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?

Jesus responds, “I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven.”

I can imagine the look on Peter’s face. Often, we think there’s a certain number of times we can only forgive and then we’re done. Everything in our fleshly nature wants to remain in bitterness and resentment especially when a wrongful act has been committed against us: How dare he commit such an act against me?

It takes the power of Jesus and his word to help us choose forgiveness when everything in us does not want to forgive. But Jesus commands us to forgive, regardless if the feelings aren’t there. And he’s our perfect example who has forgiven us for every sin we’ve ever committed. There is life-change in the question, “Will you forgive me?” It’s the first step to healing, restoration, and being one in spirit again.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”Ephesians 4:31-32

2.) How can I serve you today?

When my feet hit the floor in the morning and I turn on my Keurig to insert that anticipated k-cup, I’m thinking about myself and my needs. It takes a conscious effort to look at the needs of my husband and think about how I can encourage and serve him. I can imagine how different our marriage would look if that was my attitude every day.

When we think about the life of Jesus and who he was to the people he came to save, it’s amazing that he got down on his knees, took a towel, and washed his disciples’ dirty, stinky, calloused, smelly, worn-out feet. He wasn’t thinking about his own agenda, but that of the Father’s. His mission was to serve and he lived it out faithfully.

In marriage, our mission should be to serve. That’s what truly makes you a great spouse. “How can I serve you today?” will help you see what your spouse needs just for today. The answer to that question will help you know how to practically meet that need and in turn strengthen your relationship.

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” – Matthew 23:11

3.) Where would you say we’re drifting apart?  

Sometimes in our “heated conversations” I have to remember that Jeremiah and I are a team even when it feels like the roof is caving in on us. One time it literally did in our first home! We’re not against each other even though it feels like it. The truth is that we have an Enemy and our sinful natures warring against us constantly trying to tear us apart from being one flesh.

“Where would you say we’re drifting apart?” is a question worth asking. Sometimes our bank accounts, weekly schedules, and personal goals can be more inwardly focused and unknowingly exclude the other person. This question helps you pinpoint areas for growth in your relationship. And we all have them! God calls you and your spouse toward oneness and doesn’t want you to settle for less.

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:6

These questions aren’t easy. Not one bit. But they’re necessary. Jeremiah and I cannot go back and undo the past. We can only learn from it. We can only wonder how much frustration we would have spared our marriage had we possessed the humility to ask these questions of each other more quickly. 12 years later, we’re still learning how to ask these questions.

We did, in fact, resolve our differences after the dust settled that honeymoon day way back then. We had to do some soul searching. We eventually mustered up the strength to overcome the pride within us and ask for forgiveness. We had to take an other-person-centered attitude in order to learn to become one flesh.

Well, after only having been at the resort for two days, we were sitting at the poolside living out our honeymoon dreams. I looked at Jeremiah and asked, “Can we go back to the cabana? I kind of miss it.”

His face turned beat red.

 

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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