My “Straight A” Husband

dts-754138So today calls for me to brag on my husband a bit.

A little over two years ago, we moved to Dallas for Jeremiah to attend Dallas Theological Seminary to further his study in God’s word and to better prepare him for full-time ministry. This past semester, I worked part-time at Bluefish (still do) and put him through school so he could focus on his studies, internship at our church Watermark, and our apartment ministry without wanting to pull his teeth out.

I’m really proud to say that Jeremiah just got his grades back and he got 2 A+ and 2 A’s! So, straight A’s! All semester, he worked so hard in his reading, studying for tests, and writing papers while simultaneously propping up a bottle for John or studying with him on his lap.  DTS isn’t an easy school and it’s one of the best seminaries in the world. Some of our favorites have come out of there like Andy Stanley, Tommy Nelson, David Jeremiah, Tony Evans, and Dennis Rainey.

Jeremiah wasn’t concerned on getting the best grades necessarily but on learning the content. We’re still unsure of what God has for us ministry-wise in the future, but for now we’re trying to live in the present. We don’t really know what the upcoming semesters will look like work-wise and time wise, but we’re thankful for God getting us through this far.

[Photo: Campus of DTS]

Finding Love in my Son

IMG_9289Last night, for the first time, John Samuel fell asleep on my chest. Typically, I nurse him before his bedtime and he falls asleep that way. But last night was so special. I rocked him while he was still awake, sucking on his green soothie. His big brown eyes just stared into mine. It was a moment for just the two of us- Mommy and son. He was calm and so content. Then eventually, his eyes just closed.

My eyes welled up with tears because of the joy that lie in my arms. And to think that God loves us the way a mother and father loves their own child. The love is so deep and profound that it’s difficult to handle.

God is our Abba father who tenderly guides and protects us in his arms. His love is so wide and so rich. I am just now starting to get a glimpse of that love through my son. I truly can’t imagine life without him and I’m so thankful for the gift of motherhood and how it reminds me so much of Christ’s love.

Musings on Being a New Mama

3113_618605228558_55713931_36595474_2109231_nMy first Mother’s Day was really special. My pastor Todd spoke on the role of women in the church (God’s created order for man to be above women- not in equality but in our roles) and how that applies to being a Mama on Mother’s Day. This couldn’t have been a more timely message as God has been teaching me a ton on this very topic and I wrote an article about it a few weeks ago for Ungrind.

The message focused around 1 Timothy 2: 11-15: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

I had never heard these verses explained the way Todd did. He said how this verse isn’t saying we shouldn’t “speak”- rather we should let men lead. This is the created order. It doesn’t mean we can’t lead other women or teach other women, but when it comes to teaching or being over men, the way God designed it is for men to have the authority- the assignment. To have it any other way is to jack with God’s word.

I am definitely okay with this. I would much rather let all the responsibilities be on a man’s shoulders and not my own. I’m much more comfortable following the way God has set it up. When it comes to marriage… God’s created order is for wives to submit to their husbands (Eph 5). This isn’t an oppressive, duty-filled submission but rather a natural response from the love our husbands display. But, it’s difficult to do and it has been since the fall. Because our husbands fail at times and we do too.

BUT, when we follow God’s created order, it’s beautiful. There is peace. We allow men to be men and the ship is sailing in the right direction.

This speaks volumes to me in being a new Mother. I never understood the verse that says, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” In the role that God has given me to help shape and invest in the lives of my children, if I continue living as a godly wife and mother in faith, love, holiness, and propriety, there is an opportunity for me to be preserved today. So basically I have the opportunity to make or break my role as a woman, wife, and mother by choosing to walk in the Spirit or not.

I’ve been encouraged to allow God to use me to help shape and mold my son John into the man God wants him to be and to most of all, allow my husband to lead and thrive in the role God has established for him. This encourages me as a new Mama in that the investment I’m making in my son and Lord willing, future children is a great and significant one because of the God-given role I’ve been given.

A Passion for Marriage

sex-was-gods-idea-01Recently, my friend Cheli challenged me with something simple and profound. She said what if I lived my whole life with a passion for my marriage? Just how different would my marriage look?

I haven’t run into too many people who say they want to have a lifelong passion for their marriage. I often hear of a passion for a career, a life-long goal, sport, hobby, or whatever but not necessarily for their marriage. If we were passionate about working hard at our marriage, I bet people would stay together. Any time we have a passion for something, we tend to invest tons of time into that one thing. We can’t go a day with out it. And our life just isn’t complete without.

I’m determined to begin viewing my marriage with more passion. It’s not that I haven’t before but I want to have the mindset that my marriage is the most important thing than anything else right after my relationship with Christ. In the end, I think my son’s life will be most impacted by the kind of relationship I have with my husband, even more than the relationship I have with him. Did I love and respect my husband well? Did I show my son truly how to love another person with passion?

I sure hope so.

What does it look like for you to have a passion for your marriage? If you’re single, what does it look like to start becoming passionate about having the kind of marriage you dream of and working hard towards that?

Out-of-the-Box Gift ideas for Your Mom

sm_mother_childsamanthakrieger.com

Mother’s Day is in one week. Here are some out-of-the-box gift ideas to show your Mom just how much you love her:

•    Prepare her favorite dinner. Arrange the table extra special with rose petals and a few wrapped gifts.
•    Take her on a scavenger hunt to a few of her favorite places- give her clues to the next place inside a gift box.
•    Buy all the necessities for a pedicure/foot wash and spoil her with a spa night at home (or schedule a professional spa out)
•    If you have kids, make a homemade card with them. (Write a poem or the “Top 10 reasons why I love you”). Buy poster-board for $.79 and fold in half to make a big impression as a card.
•    Write a favorite “memories of mom” book or create a video. (for print books: blurb.com, lulu.com, snapfish.com)
•    Print out a few digital photos and create a scrapbook, put them in a frame, or photo calendar
•    Monogram her initials onto something: jewelry, purse, stationary, etc.
•    Buy a gift-certificate to her favorite clothing store
•    Visit a museum or concert together
•    (Spouse) Clean the house while she is out or hire a maid to do it all.
•    (Spouse) Give her a coupon to keep the kids one evening.
•    (Spouse) Make your wife sleep in one morning and get the kids ready- take them to school.
•    Give her a magazine subscription
•    Give her an I-tunes Gift card
•    Put together an emergency box (fill with things like lotion, relaxing CD’s, movie tickets, chocolate, etc.)
•    Buy favorite specialty items: favorite candle, perfume, boutique cosmetics, shampoos, magazine, special chocolate, etc.
•    Frame a family portrait (blow it up to an 8×10)
•    Frame a really nice picture of Mom
•    Buy Customized Stamps (use stamps.com) to create a special stamp (a photo of you together, children, wedding, baby, etc.)
•    Plan a surprise picnic to local park with good scenery

Why Chick-fil-a is the best Chain Restaurant Ever

In my opinion, no greater restaurant chain exists than Chick-fil-a. I don’t eat fast food barely at all, but if I do it’s Chick-fil-a.

They’ve probably asked you the same question at the drive-in: “How may I serve you?” Just look at that question and its contrast with “Can I take your order?” like you would experience at a Wendy’s or a Taco Bell.

I’ve always been greeted with a smile at Chick-fil-a and a readiness to refill my sweet tea. This kind of service is just unmatchable. This morning, I was running behind and grabbed a chicken biscuit from them and once again, they delivered their best and helped get my morning off to a better start. On my way to work, I started thinking about Chick-fil-a and Christianity. (as I often think about random connections while driving down the interstate).

I really want to serve those I come in contact with every day and be genuine about it. To greet them with a smile, look them in the eyes, and say their name. I want to genuinely seek to meet their needs whatever they might be. And it’s my hope that when I’m gone, a lasting mark would be made and they would know when they see me again, that I am one who seeks to serve.

S. Truett Cathy, you had it right.

Tim Hawkins wrote a song about his obsession:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsJHqstPuNo]

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOR1wUqvJS4]

The Greatest Gift

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

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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