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12-year old speaks out on abortion

Abortion. It has happened to one out of four women in the church today (yes, the church). Abortion is familiar territory in my husband’s family. Sitting on her couch one day, my relative chose to reveal the pain she still carries today 35 or so years ago. Hers was performed in the 70s when free love and free sex danced among the streets. When not much was known about abortion- just that it was a procedure.

“We [her husband] just did it not knowing what we were doing,” she told me. “I’m sick to my stomach every time I think about it. The loss is still with me knowing we have a baby in heaven.”

It felt surreal to hear about her pain– the emotional, physical, and spiritual toll it has had on her. She knows it and desires to educate others about the trauma she experienced and deals with today.

The bottom line is that God’s grace is still near. His forgiveness is real no matter what what we have done. And she knows that. But sadly, it will never take away the pain she senses every day. This video of a courageous 12 yr. old girl stirs my heart to action– especially now that I have a greater glimpse into just how deep the pain cuts.

The Greatest Gift

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your-word-is-a-lampBeing a new mom, I’ve definitely been thinking about the legacy I want to leave and the kind of gifts I want to give my children. I think the greatest gift I could give to John and Jeremiah is to be a wife and mother who is consistently in God’s Word. Here’s why:

1.) God’s Word penetrates the heart- changing us. While the places you go, the people you meet, and the books you read do that too, it is His word that  is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word speaks to us, showing us how to walk and revealing the love story of Christ.

2.) God’s Word helps us see our sin, leading us to confession. Jonathan Edwards said, “Confession is the detergent of the soul.” While we must be careful not to be legalistic or ritualistic about confessing our offenses to God, a daily acknowledgment of our sin is critical so that it doesn’t harbor day after day. God’s word is like a mirror showing me who I really am. Helping me see the sin I don’t always see.

3.) God’s Word encourages us to be all that we can for Christ and His glory. While worship, church, prayer, and fellowship with others do that, it is His word that gives us the greater hope and perseverance to continue on in this difficult life. To glorify him with my heart, body, soul, and mind. His Word is my number one fan, helping me to press on and reminding me that I’m not crazy!

4.) God’s Word Challenges me to Selflessness and to Serving others. When I see that I am nothing a part from Christ, and that only he can make me self-less, I’m encouraged all the more to be the person I need to be for my family. I long to serve them through my actions and words. To build my house, and not tear it down with my  hands.

Growing up, my Mom was a woman who meditated on and loved the Bible. That was the greatest gift she gave to me… and to my whole family.

How has His word been a gift in your life?

A Day at the Park

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On the days I’m at work, Jeremiah and John get to have “Daddy day-care” together. When daddy’s present, John gets thrown high up in the air, gut laughs after daddy blows on his belly and tickles his armpits and feet over and over again, and loves looking up at the birdies and breathing in the air on their walks together.

Yesterday, they went to one of our favorite parks a few blocks down from our apartment. And here is their beautiful creation. John is mastering his poses.

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Save, Save, Save

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376-savings-jarI was in conversation with a girl my age this weekend about finances and the economy (as it seems to be the hotbutton of late!). I shared with her some of the research I had been doing about where certain people think we’re headed as a nation. I proceeded to say how much my family and I are really trying to save, save, save.

She looked at me in disgust: “Save? I’m not saving. I work hard. I’m going to spend what I want, when I want. As long as I’m being responsible, I’ll be fine. Who needs a savings account?”

Her expression and gestures kind of made me laugh under my breath. She didn’t care at all about what was going on in our economy. I am wondering if she’s even watching the news. But then I began to think more about her response and the fact I have had the same attitude before. In fact, growing up with a father who was extremely successful and not having to worry about finances, early on in our marriage I would spend like I was still under my dad’s roof. It was scary. My credit card proved it. So in essence I lived out her words in some way, shape or form.

But now things have changed. My whole mindset is radically different. While I’m still far from perfect, I really value saving more and spending less. Last year around this time, we were about $40,000 in debt. Thanks to the help of Dave Ramsey, we’re now $10,000 in debt with just a small student loan left and Jeremiah’s car. We’re so thankful that our mindset and behavior has changed. I know we can all admit as Americans that we love living above our means. I mean, who doesn’t love it? But the  better way is to be wise and to be content with what we have. I wish it was easier done than said.

My Dad’s Surgery Approaching

In my first year of seminary, I was taking a break from classes to visit my parents at our lakehouse in VA. That weekend, my dad came down with an awful sickness. He was throwing up, felt dizzy, couldn’t see or barely walk. He was looked at by a doctor in the small town our lakehouse was in. The doctor didn’t have much to say. He and my mom decided to travel to Lynchburg where my school was for a second opinion. I was standing in our kitchen when I heard the news. My mom called me to say that dad either had an aneurysm or a brain tumor. They would know soon. She sounded anxious and a bit fearful. I knew it was serious especially in the way she relayed everything.

At that moment, I broke down into tears and was tempted to call all my friends and spill the news. Instead I set the phone down and headed over to our big comfy chair that overlooked the peaceful water. I grabbed a pen, my journal, and Bible and spilled all my fears and frustrations out on the pages. In that time, I felt God’s peace and presence like never before. Several hours later, I heard the news that thankfully dad had a brain tumor and not an aneurysm and would be operated on soon. I packed my bags for the hospital.

My family camped out in the hospital for several days praying for dad and awaiting his return out of surgery. I was joyfully overwhelmed by all the calls and emails we received from friends and the seminary faculty praying for my dad. Through it all, he made it out and recovered well- even though it was tough.

Fast-forward five years later and we are in the same place again. Dad’s tumor has returned and he’ll be operated on tomorrow at 11AM at Baylor University Medical Center here in Dallas.  Many thoughts and emotions run through my mind right now. Why must he do this all over again? Why the pain again? Will the doctor do his job correctly? How will his recovery be?

Yet through it all, like what I learned in the chair at our lakehouse– God is sovereign over everything and he cares deeply for me and my family. Despite everything, He’s in control. He is with my dad and knows all the circumstances. So the question remains: Will I trust him again?

May my dad rest in your care tonight as he prepares for this surgery tomorrow God. Comfort his heart and may your glory be made known all the more. Calm his spirit as I know he is nervous. In your awesome name. Amen.

My Son & My Selfishness

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n55713931_5260Life with a child… there’s simply nothing in the world like it. It’s pretty wild the influence our culture has had on me  when it comes to having children: they’re too much work, they’ll ruin your fun, you won’t be able to do anything anymore, you’ll become older faster, your career will be over, they’ll be a burden to you and others… the list goes on.

While children are certainly hard work it is the best hard work I’ve ever done. I’m only four months into it all, but I feel like I can say that getting up multiple times at night, nursing non-stop around the clock, changing 25 diapers a day, washing spit up out of my hair and clothes, taking multiple trips to the doctor, and putting whatever need John has before my own has been worth all the sweat and tears. He has been everything but a burden. He’s been a beautiful addition to this union of marriage.

img_8684Most of all, my son is teaching me to be Self-less which is something I think our world doesn’t want. It’s hard to give up self. It’s painful sometimes to put someone else’s needs before our own. Sometimes I just want things my way, when I want them. And don’t tell me anything different. But God calls me  to deny my self. He calls me to higher living because life’s more abundant when I’m not looking into mirrors all day. 

My friend Bethany’s mom would always tell her, “Marriage strips away one layer of selflishness and having children strips away the rest.” I couldn’t agree more.img_8680

He’s got the Whole World in His Hands

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blueThis past weekend wasn’t typical that’s for sure. Saturday morning at approximately 2 AM, we heard gun shots that woke us up out of bed. Yeah, not the exact thing you want to hear at 2 AM. Half way asleep, I just kept thinking: Is that really what I think I’m hearing? Jeremiah is much better than I am in stressful situations. He had heard the shots before I did. He then called 911 and explained the situation. The dispatcher said she’d already received calls about it and they were taking care of it. Oh well that’s good, I thought. Meanwhile my heart is still beating a million times a minute. So is Jeremiah’s. We went across our apartment to check on John and he was fast asleep. I couldn’t believe what was happening. 

Believe it or not, we live in a very nice area. Our apartment complex is very nice. Three-story luxurious town homes and midrises are right beside us. The problem with Dallas is that right around the block from a nice area can be a really bad part. It’s a very transitional city. Unlike any I’ve lived in. I’ve been reflecting on the past two days about God’s sovereignty in my life. It’s crazy to think how there’s never a moment in time when He is not in control. I’ve heard it said once that you’re indestructible until God calls you home. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the mission field in the Middle East in the hot spot of war and danger or serving God right here in America… God is still in control. He knows when my time is up. My days have been numbered. He is protecting my family and nothing happens in my life in which he isn’t sovereign over.

I’m not really sure what gun shots mean in the start of 2009. Hopefully nothing but a wake-up call to pursue things that matter most in life more. We don’t even know what really happened yet that morning. But I do know that I trust in an all-powerful God who cares deeply for my needs, for what concerns me, for the fears and frustrations that fill my mind. He is watching over my son too just as Jeremiah and I attempt to do our best in protecting him. I definitely don’t understand all of God’s mysterious ways but I can definitely trust that His ways are higher and his thoughts are not my thoughts. His heart breaks because of the evil in our world. I can lay my head down at night, a little more comforted, knowing that He’s got the whole world in His hands.

I just now found out that my husband blogged about this too on his Old Testament online journal for DTS

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – Luke 12:17

John on New Year’s

My friend Ashley just posted some photography she did of John Samuel during his bathtime on New Year’s Eve. I just love the photos she did. John really loves his bathtime and is proving to be photogenic already. Enjoy!

Giving Respect

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6-13-sweet-pearI’ve been reading through the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas for some research for our upcoming Bluefish TV marriage series. I read the book last year for my small group but there’s just something about reading a book for the second time. 

Gary is a man full of wisdom who draws on his personal experiences being married to his wife, and from classic leaders and writers of the past. So many things Gary said challenged and spoke to me today. A concept he wrote about today was on the issue of respect- which happens to be what I’m learning most about right now in my marriage. He described how comparitively few Christians think of giving respect as a command or spiritual discipline. We are obsessed with being respected, but rarely consider our own obligation to respect others (54).

Wow! Isn’t that so true? Being the fact that I’m a woman created in the image of God, I’ve been commanded to respect my husband- when I may not agree, when I might be offended, or irritated, whatever, I’m called to show respect most importantly through my actions. It’s interesting how I can put on my best face in front of others and respect others easily, but when it comes to those I really love, I sometimes have a harder time. 

In our culture today, and since the fall, respect has always been an issue. Women, in particular, struggle with being domineering, controlling, and taking the authority that should be a man’s. But that is not our role at all as women. God’s word is pretty strong in saying that the word of God is blasphemed (I know it’s a weird word but it means insulting, showing contempt, or irreverence) when a woman tries to usurp the man’s role, leadership, authority, etc. God knows what he’s talking about. It simply “works” when we’re functioning rightly in our appropriate role. I see it in our marriage clearly when I go against God’s will for me as Jeremiah’s wife. In humility, I’m called to submit out of reverence toward my husband. This is not the kind of submission that some men have a skewed view on but the kind where the woman delights in submitting because she knows her husband loves and cherishes her.

Do you agree that the role of women/men is often reversed? What ways have you seen your marriage work beautifully when the love and respect is really happening? In general…Guys- what’s it like for you when a woman tries to overtake the role you were created to fill?

two days with “iPhone”

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0283_apple-iphone-case1A few Sundays ago, our contract ended with Sprint and we were contemplating buying new phones. Jeremiah did some shopping around and just couldn’t find what carrier he wanted. He knew how much I loved my sister’s new iPhone during Christmas and spontaneously, he decided to purchase two new iPhones for us under AT&T. I was really excited about it. He bought a pink case for me and everything. That was Sunday.

After having so much fun playing with the phone and loving its ridiculously amazing features, both of us around the same time began doubting the decision. Jeremiah knew we had 30 days if we wanted to take them back. We figured out the numbers and with our plan over a span of 5 years, we would have spent $10,000 on the two phones. We decided that maybe should go towards the baby’s fund or towards the church. Whatever. Well Monday came and a lot went on at work evaluating the future more closely with the economy the way it is. I then evaluated my decisions and what I could do personally. On Monday, I said “Let’s just take them back.” (I think Jeremiah was waiting for me to say it).

He was really happy at my suggestion. (I know he wanted to make me happy and I honestly believe we might have just kept them if I said I wanted them- who knows) but I also knew deep down that he was probably thinking it wasn’t the best financial decision. All along I think I made too many hints at what I thought I wanted and Jeremiah probably felt he should provide in that way. I know that many people have this revolutionary phone (all the guys I work with do) and I am not at all judging their or your decision, but for me personally, choosing to let go of the phone was what I knew I should do. I already struggle with checking email too much and with that phone I knew I probably would even more. I also knew the ability it had to define my worth or “status” or keeping up with what’s new. I even knew it could quickly become some kind of an idol as strange as that might seem. Even though of course I know it’s a heart issue.

For a short period, I was bummed we gave them up but yet I also felt so freed especially knowing the money could go elsewhere. In 5 years from now, what will compare to the iPhone? Maybe nothing will. Who knows. I may even have one in the future, but for right now, this was the decision we had to make. Those two days were really a time of growth for me- learning to let go and not put my worth in material things- something I will continue to learn all my life.

The good thing is I have enough friends that have them so I can play with theirs if I need a fix!

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