One Surprising Word in 12 Years of Marriage

In our early years of marriage, Jeremiah and I served in an apartment ministry where we built relationships with residents and provided meals once a week in order to build community retention. One evening when we were hosting one of our largest meals for well over 100 residents, we got in a fight while he was making his way into the room with dishes and I was working in the kitchen. My blood boiled inside and I launched a wheat dinner roll at his face.

Jeremiah yelled. I yelled, and the incident got really heated before it got any better. We both felt blindsided with pride, and friends were arriving soon. Nothing like two Christians loving each other unconditionally!

The arguments and quarrels we got into our first few years of marriage were pretty silly and petty, but so revealing of our selfish sinful natures as two young lovers. And make no mistake, my sinful nature is still alive and well just as it was then, but with time I feel like something has changed.

I’ve grown to appreciate the man I married for who he is, not who I want him to be or who I think he should be. I’m slowly learning selflessness instead of being self-serving. Especially after a traumatic shooting accident last year at a nearby rifle range where my husband’s life was almost taken, I’m learning to trust God in his sovereign plans for us. Through all this, the word JOY comes to my mind after crossing our 12 year mark on December 17, 2017. According to Theopedia.com,

Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.

It’s amazing that in the trenches of pain, struggle, and challenges of marriage that God can still produce our character and shape us into who he longs for us to be and that if we’d just hold on a little longer our pain can actually birth in us a contagious joy. Joy that isn’t fleeting and temporary like butterflies-in-my-stomach happiness, but is rooted and grounded in the biblical and sacrificial love of the Gospel.

The power of the Gospel

Over time I’ve become even more aware of the areas in my life where I fall short. I’ve come to understand my own weaknesses. As my failures have shown through the years, my experience of God’s grace has grown with equal measure. Through Jesus I have experienced forgiveness. In his shed blood, I have acceptance. He tells me I am worthy when I feel worthless. As he does this for me, he also empowers me to share this gift with my husband. My husband shares it with me. God turns isolation and separation from our brokenness into the joy of redemption and restoration.

I appreciate and respect my husband more than I ever have and it’s all by grace. The love I have for him is much deeper and richer than it ever was. Marriage to him gives me great joy. And I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the fact that he loves me in spite of the “messy me” stained by sin, baggage, past hurts, and crazy hormones. The other day I was in a cranky mood but he kept wanting me to relax and watch our favorite series. I texted from upstairs while he was on the couch downstairs:

Do you still want me even though I’ve been mean?

Of course. I love you. Come down.

How humbling. It blows my mind that he sees every part of me and still desires me. It is how Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her not because of any good thing she had to offer but purely out of unconditional love and acceptance rooted in God’s character.

Joy has birthed from twelve years of marriage through confessing our sins to one another, doing the hard work of communicating, learning to let go expectations, prioritizing sexual intimacy (yes!), allowing others into our relationship to give us counsel and biblical insight, learning to cherish one another, forgiving faults daily, putting our relationship above the kids, weathering trials together and not against each other, and above all, allowing Christ to inform and direct our relationship.

Thousands upon thousands of books have been written on how to have a thriving marriage, but it’s something that doesn’t come immediately like cooking chicken in your insta-pot. You have to give it lots of time and patience to work– more like a crock pot! You have to be willing to patiently strive for the peace, love, and contentment you desperately desire.

The final (& surprising) word on joy:

If our goal is to first please Jesus and glorify him as best we can in our marriages,  joy is what pushes us to endure the challenges we will face:

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  – Hebrews 12:2

Thankfully, after the flying dinner roll episode in our apartment community, Jeremiah and I were able to cool down, reconcile, and remember why we were there – to serve others. We became a team again. In spite of the painful, hard work, I’ll always remember that special season in our journey. And I’m thankful for the real truths that it reminds us of today.


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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How to find joy this Christmas when you’re in the middle of pain

Several Christmas seasons ago when I had four kids all under the age of five, I struggled immensely through the holidays. I was physically and emotionally drained, sleep deprived, and my husband was traveling a lot with his work schedule. Expectations with how Christmas would be didn’t always go as planned. My joy had disappeared and in fact, I remember using the word “wasteland” to describe how I felt inside managing my kids, home life, and daily adult responsibilities.

In the Christian life, it can be easy to allow our circumstances to impact the joy in our hearts. It doesn’t take much to discourage us: a job loss, illness, disobedient kids, unmet expectations, accidents, a broken relationship, death of a loved one, hurting marriage, not feeling like we measure up and more.

So, how do you pray for the joy to return to your soul once again this Christmas? Here are four simple ways.

  1. Confess your hurting heart to God. “Jesus, my joy is gone. Will you restore it?” can be some of the most precious words for him to hear. There is something about confession that reminds us that we are fully dependent on the Lord for his strength. Confession acknowledges our current state and that we aren’t choosing to hide but need help. It is a beautiful thing when we cry out to God to do what only he can. 
  2. Pray for light at the end of the tunnel. “Jesus, I need a way of escape. I need your deliverance.” Sometimes we just need a Jonah moment in our life. We need God to work powerfully in our life and get us out of the deep dark, nasty hole. We need a miracle. Prayer is our weapon against the Enemy’s lies and attacks too. When we pray, we ask God to do what only he can.
  3. Accept help from others. Pride is always something that stands in the way of reaching out and asking for help. Choose humility instead and realize that those who love you are happy to offer a helping hand, especially in moments of deep crisis and pain. Don’t let an attitude of “I can do this on my own” keep you from experiencing the blessing of others lifting you up and encouraging your heart. God wants to use the body of Christ for the benefit of others, including you!
  4. Give yourself grace. In dry and difficult seasons it seems like the world is off color and offset. Even your own heart and how you perceive life can be very dark. Remember to extend grace to yourself and your situation. We’re often most critical of ourselves in those times and it’s easy to beat ourselves up. Soak up Jesus’ new mercies for each new day and wait in anticipation for his rescue. He will lift you up in due time. Wait on Him.          

Looking back on that wasteland season with my kids, there was still so much hope in my life. While my husband had to be out of town Christmas day, my parents provided an abundant Christmas and multiple homemade meals for all my kids. I’ll never forget how all the sparkly, ribbon-wrapped presents overflowed out of our pre-lit tree and the adorable video footage we captured. Several friends from my Mothers of Preschoolers group and family members came to my aid with meals, gift cards, and babysitting my kids (the best gift ever!). Somehow I survived to write about it and my heart feels with joy thinking about it to this day.

This Christmas season, my kids are all nine and under. I have new, unique challenges and there is still a temptation to think God has left me in the moments of chaos and confusion. But I want to choose joy, and I am striving for it even though it can be really hard. I want to live an abundant life in Christ and I know He is the one that can give me the joy I desire.

Will you join me?

This article first appeared 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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If You’re Worried About Your Child’s Future

Sometimes it comes out of nowhere. Sometimes it’s a thought in the back of my mind. But when these words and worries come, they’re fierce and have the ability to hold me captive.

What about the safety of my child, Lord? Will he follow you all his life or turn away? Will he make the right choices and choose good friends? Will he be okay in this ever increasingly evil world?

Today, it doesn’t take much to become worried and concerned for our child’s safety and overall well-being: terrorist attacks, sickness, mass shootings, sexual abuse, bullying, internet dangers, suicide, pornography, ISIS, unhealthy friendships and the list goes on.

I have found my own heart questioning how my child will grow up in such a world – a culture  lacking in peace, love, and joy. A culture that has forgotten God and has instead made self and sin kings on the throne. I sometimes find myself doubting God’s plan and goodness through it all because it can be so overwhelming.

After watching the delightful and comical movie The Star with my husband and kids last week at our local theatre, I was touched and reminded by all the good that was still happening leading up to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Regardless of King Herod’s evil attempt to hunt down and murder baby Jesus soon to be born, God’s sovereign plan prevailed each and every step of the journey.

The star led Joseph and Mary to the exact place where Jesus was meant to breathe his first breath in the lowly stable. Even in the midst of the chaos and evil in their present day, light had still come to pierce the darkness and bring peace. Man’s feeble attempts to destroy that plan were shaken and overcome. And one day, that shepherd King would sacrifice his life on the cross, providing salvation and rescue for each and every one of us.

Still for today, God’s plans will not be hindered.

When it comes to our own children and our natural concerns for their future, we can trust that God knows what he is doing. He brings light into the darkest situations and provides hope, healing, and restoration. That is who he is and that is what he does. Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In the Christian life we’re not promised a life of ease void of suffering contrary to some popular theology. In fact, we’re told that in this life we will face hardship, affliction,, and persecution. But we’re promised that God will be with us and will never forsake us. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)

He has plans to give us hope and a blessed, abundant future. We must remember this for our children too. Ultimately, they are God’s and he knows their future before we do. He goes before us. And he will be there before our feet arrive.

Our children will face trials and even darkness, but we have to remember that the light is still among us just as it was that night in Bethlehem. When you’re looking out at the world and the darkness is frightening, look up to Jesus. His light has led you and you can have confidence that it will lead your children too.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

 
* This article first appeared on The Courage. 

 

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 You Should Find Time to do Absolutely Nothing This Christmas

A few days ago, I came home and collapsed on our brown leather couch. I just sat there– didn’t even stare at my phone for the latest news, cute photos of friends’ kids, or even check our bank account. I just rested my mind and body. Prior to that day, I organized a cookie exchange and fellowship for the women in our church, attended a “muffins with mom” at my daughter’s preschool, met several writing deadlines, labeled and addressed Christmas cards, and helped my husband with several work projects. Not to mention being up at night with our kids wetting their beds from the hot chocolate they drank at our town’s parade. Needless to say, I was spent.

That sacred time on the couch being absolutely useless gave me time to think and reflect on life and what was going on around me. I began to actually hear from the Lord and to understand what my soul was craving. It didn’t need the peppermint chocolate Hershey’s kisses in the mason jar next to me or the better-get-it-now Amazon deal, but my heart needed sweet time with Jesus in prayer and His word. My soul was craving what we all have inside us- a hole that can only be filled by God alone. No matter how much we try to satisfy it with what the world or our flesh has to offer, we’ll still be left wanting more. He is the only path to true, lasting, infinite peace and joy.

Honestly, I want to do…

… Continue Reading the rest of this post over on Kirk Cameron’s website TheCourage

If Worry & Anxiety is Choking the Life Out of You …

We were traveling back from visiting my husband’s brother and his family in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and had about 2 hours left on our trip. We stopped at Sam’s Club to stock up on groceries and other items that we don’t have in our small town. I had my four kids with me while Jeremiah was taking care of something at the guest services desk and as I was pushing the shopping cart, anxiety and panic came over me. My three and four-year-old were running ahead and refusing to listen.

From the music blaring through the speakers, the busy shoppers, and stimulation in front of me, I broke down. I went over to the counter where Jeremiah was and left the kids and the big cart at his feet. I darted for the tire aisle so I could hide myself behind all that black rubber and cry. The anxiety and fear was so intense within me that I felt hopeless.

Eventually, my gracious husband took all the kids and did the shopping while I got myself together and cooled off in the car. I was on overload, exhausted from traveling, and unable to deal with the demands in front of me. He didn’t quite know what to think or do with me. I didn’t either.

If you’ve ever been in a place similar to mine, you know that trusting God in the smallest details of your life can be hard especially if anxiety is a daily battle raging in your heart and mind. I often wonder why he tells us so much in Scripture, “Do not fear, Don’t be afraid, Fear not.” 365 times! And how in Matthew, Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more of value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matt. 6:26-27)

That day I’d failed to trust that God could in fact get me through that store with all my kids in tow. I feared them getting lost, stolen, and just the sense of losing complete control (something I love to have). I was fearing everything that day. I was choosing not to abide in Jesus for the help he could provide. I failed to realize that he cares for me as a mom of young children, too. Honestly, I didn’t believe that he saw me that day.

God feeds and cares for the birds of the air. He’s watching over them and I am more valuable? He says that I am. If we are more precious to him than the birds, than how much more does he care about our daily lives? He desires that we trust in his provision for each day. Each hour. Each minute. When we know and believe that he is watching out for our best, loves us infinitely, and longs to provide for us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, worry and anxiety slowly begin to take the back seat. Through a process, we begin trusting God at his Word and that he will do what he says.

Like the birds of the air, we too, are called to live in freedom and not in bondage to our fears and anxieties. But this can’t be done in our own strength. We must be fully dependent on the Lord for help. Recognizing our tendency towards anxiety is the first step– call it exactly what it is. Asking God for help and believing that he will is the next step.

May we be women who cry out more often: “God, help me!”

May we cry out in humility, dependance, and faith that He will answer our need for peace, calm, and hope in our hearts no matter what challenge we’re facing– great or small.

I still struggle with going inside public places with all my kids. I rarely brave big stores with the four. But they are growing older, listening better, and getting easier to juggle when we have to go out. I’m learning to give my anxiety to the Lord. I’m learning that worry robs me of his peace and joy, and more than anything I desire to have a life that is abundant, trusting in his goodness because that is what he wants for me.

I want to live in freedom like the birds do. I know I will fall, but I am striving for His strength working through me. Will you join me?

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. Read more from her book, Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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5 Words That Could Mean Life or Death to Your Marriage

If you’ve followed my blog for a length of time, you may remember this article I wrote. It ended up going viral in December 2013. Since it’s been almost four years and I have new readers, I wanted to repost it. I pray the Lord will use it to encourage and strengthen your marriage!

A few weeks ago, my friend Charity wrote on Facebook that a photo of her friend’s grandparents had made The Huffington Post. I clicked on the link and saw the breathtaking image of this husband and wife. I was instantly caught up in the beauty and tragedy of it.

I imagined what was going through the wife’s mind as she held the fragile hand of her dying husband. I imagined the memories they shared together—the joys and challenges. I imagined the birth of their first child and raising a family in their home. I pictured his strength and her beauty at a young age.

From the expression on her face, I saw a woman who deeply loved her man. A woman who fulfilled her commitment and stood on her word to love him “Until death do us part.” I saw the ache in her soul that he was breathing his last breaths and soon, he would no longer be by her side as her protector, provider, soul-mate, comforter, delight, lover and friend.

And my soul began to ache as I thought about my husband and the deep love we share for one another. It made me think of the vows I promised him on a wintry December day in Virginia amongst all our family and friends eight years ago:

I, Samantha, take you, Jeremiah, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

I also thought about the ways I’d failed my husband over the years and how I still have many areas of growth in loving him the way God intends.

Begin with the End in Mind

The five words “Until death do us part” are spoken of at the wedding altar in regards to lasting commitment but the reality of death being the actual end of the marriage is rarely expounded on. After all, the wedding ceremony shouldn’t be depressing right?

But the truth is that in order for our marriages to have the life they need to survive the long haul, we have to begin with the end in mind. Death—no matter how much we try to escape it—is the end and we have made a promise to God, our spouse, and other witnesses to love our spouse until then.

It sounds so easy and simple, but to actually live that out is another story. That’s why so many marriages end in divorce. Contrary to popular ideals, marriage is not a bed of roses, but is a battlefield that demands a daily dying to self.

Because of our sinful, stubborn, selfish natures we inherited in the garden, we continue to bring that nasty nature into our marriages—into all our relationships in fact. The manner in which we relate to our spouses and handle conflict is often broken. Ask anyone who’s been married for a little while and they’ll tell you just how much the molehills become mountains. Often they come out of nowhere and seem impossible to climb.

When we don’t get our way, conflict arises. When our spouse forgets his wallet or keys and makes us late to an important event, we grow angry. When he isn’t fulfilling our needs and desires the way we’d like, we have a pity party. When he doesn’t help out around the house enough, we grow bitter and nag.

When our spouse is short with us or raises his voice, we go on the defense and lash back. When he watches too much football, we tell him to get off the couch and get to work. And the list goes on. Conflict is a natural part of the marriage relationship and if it’s not happening internally at the moment, it’s guaranteed to hit you from the outside in just a matter of time.

Choose Humility & Forgiveness

The hope is that we can still have conflict in the midst of a healthy marriage defined by love. Through confessing our sins, repenting, and seeking forgiveness habitually, God refines those areas where we’re weak. Like iron sharpening iron, God uses our spouse to help change us. We put our hope and trust in God for help and guidance.

It’s having that humility before our spouse to say, “I know I’ve screwed up. But I love you and I’m committed to you every day of my life to make our marriage thrive.”

It’s realizing that, “Will you forgive me?” may just have to become a part of your daily vocabulary.

It’s choosing not to be isolated and asking trusted friends or family to encourage and help you get back on the road to loving and serving one another again.

It’s understanding that even if your spouse is driving you crazy and you want so badly for him to change that you may have to look in the mirror first to see where you need changing. Then you can dig your knees into the ground and pray for him.

It’s remembering that the very act of touching your husband’s hands, sexual intimacy, bearing children, laughing, working, playing, and eating meals together is all an act of grace that should instill gratitude in your heart. All of those life-giving moments are gifts that are not guaranteed or promised forever.

Being able to call him husband is a gift in and of itself.

Fight the Battle Against Sin

Above that beautiful image of the elderly couple, I read that the grandson wrote that they’d been together for 68 years and still kissed 15 times before bed every night.

As the wife sat next to her husband’s death bed, I’m guessing she wasn’t thinking about the times they fought or let each other down, but only the good, sweet, joyful, holy, precious, sacred times God had given them as husband and wife on this earth. There’s no doubt there was gratefulness and a deep sadness in her heart that it was ending.

Life is a vapor, as we know from Solomon in Ecclesiastes, and no matter how much we try to deny it, death is waiting for us and our spouse in the end. So the fight against sin in our marriage is worth it because one day, if we know and belong to Christ, He is going to make all our brokenness whole again and we will be made perfect as He is.

And the words “Until death do us part” don’t have to be brushed over, denied, or forgotten, but can inspire us toward a greater, selfless love for our spouse and ultimately for God.

Blessings to you,

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.

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for clearing the table (a wife & mother’s honest reflections)

A few days ago, I stood over the kitchen sink staring at the dishes piled up. I was worn out, sneezing with watery eyes from a cold, and the kids were in typical fighting mode against one another. I needed help and I prayed. I didn’t want to nag and get angry like I do some nights.

Within minutes, God heard my prayer and my husband Jeremiah began gathering the plates, silverware, and glasses from the table and set them on the countertop where I was washing greasy pots and pans. He ordered the kids to take their plates to me. He went for several trips back to gather all that we had from having company over.

You see, some wisdom my mom passed on to Jeremiah not long after we had our second child was how much she appreciated my dad always clearing the table for her after dinner. It made such a difference (and encouragement) in her clean up routine. Jeremiah has cleared the table for me most nights since that conversation six years ago.

I think as wives we could all agree there are many things our husbands do that are often over-looked in the daily, beautiful mess of our ever-changing lives: replacing light bulbs, getting dirty under the car, helping put kids to bed at night, locking the doors, taking out trash, taking care of us financially, assisting with DIY projects, just getting done what needs to be done, and meeting countless other needs.

But how often do we thank our husbands and affirm them in all that they do, everyday? Has having a heart of gratitude become a lifestyle for us?

It’s easy to point out the negative or what we’d like to see changed in them. It’s easy to nag to death, rather than let the Holy Spirit move in their hearts.

It takes humility and discipline to build him up with our words, rather than tear down in our stubborn pride. It takes an opening of our blind eyes to see all the blessings that are right smack dab in front of us if we’ll only take time to pause, look, and reflect on the beauty of those blessings at our feet.

Our husbands are God’s gift to us, whether they do things exactly how we like them or not. They are God’s provision and protection over us. It is a joy to come alongside them and work together for a purpose and passion.

How God has wired and uniquely gifted your husband is to your benefit and your children’s. God knew what he was doing when he put you two together (even if you sometimes think you’re clearly from two different planets).

You’d think after almost 12 years of marriage that I’d have this whole “building up, appreciating my husband thing” down. But I don’t always. I fall short. I’m praying I will affirm him more and encourage him in all that God has created him to be. I want to be a wife who better praises him, thanks him, and shows him through my actions and behavior that he is worthy; that he is my man and I love him.

I want him to know how much the sacrifices he makes mean to our family and that without him, we would just never be the same. I want him to know that clearing the table every night might seem like such a simple act, but it’s a big deal. It communicates that we’re a team, we’re in this together for a greater purpose, and that my work as a wife and mom is noticed and cared about. The burden is lifted when it’s shared.

As his wife I’ll still fail, have emotional ups and downs, and not always appreciate him the way I should but I’m striving to be the wife God has called me to be, even in my brokenness and weaknesses. I resonate with Ann Voskamp’s words in her book One Thousand Gifts:

I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.

Even if it doesn’t seem attainable, thankfully with Jesus living in us as wives, having a heart of gratitude is possible. When I’m doing the dishes tonight, I’ll be thankful for the abundance of food that six bellies were able to consume because provision has been richly made for us first and foremost through the Lord and the hands of my hard-working husband.

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.

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Battling in Fervent Prayer for Your Children

Not too long before my family and I made our big move from Dallas, Texas to Holyoke, Colorado I was in my parents house reminiscing on all our memories, our journey of seminary, and the special city where all our babies were born. I was in my moms sowing/reading room when I saw her journal open with note cards of all her grandkids names written down. My sister’s boys and our four kids, in addition to her prayer partner Bonnie’s grandchild were listed. My mom and Bonnie have been prayer partners for more than 25 years and pray on the phone once a week. Talk about discipline!

I read them one by one and was challenged and encouraged in my own prayer life. In the current ages of our children (8 and under), my husband and I have had our share of challenges in parenting each child’s unique personality. We haven’t always known what is a spiritual vs. a physical battle with each one. But now more than ever, when I’m often pleading for help from Jesus, I’m reminded that prayer is my greatest weapon against the Enemy.

You see, our fight even in parenting, is not against flesh and blood but against the forces of evil in the spiritual realm. We don’t always see the battle before us so we must fight with spiritual weapons. It would be silly and foolish to engage in a spiritual battle with only physical armor. The discipline of prayer teaches us to humble ourselves and seek our greater authority who is fully aware of every situation we face.

Prayer is an invitation for us to bring all our concerns to Jesus and lay them at his feet. We need to be confident to go to the throne of grace- regardless of our weaknesses and brokenness- that he will hear us when we call to him. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  Your words will not fall on deaf ears and you can have assurance that your almighty God, maker of heaven and earth cares for you and is fully capable.

My temptation each day for not being fervent in prayer are thoughts like: “Their rebellion is not that big of a deal. They’re just kids. They will learn …” and more. But the reality is that they’re also in a battle against their sinful nature, the darkness in this world, culture’s cunning lies, and the battle of their flesh that says “dive in and enjoy sin to the fullest, even if it hurts you and causes great pain.”

Proverbs 22:15 says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.”

In addition to our parenting strategies and disciplines, what if we trained and disciplined ourselves in prayer over our children’s hearts each day? After all, scripture says that foolishness resides within them just as it does with us. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9).

Their bad attitude, sassy mouth, undisciplined behavior, disrespect for authority, laziness, apathy, not wanting what they desire, sibling rivalry, complaining spirit, lying, stealing, lusts for more, and the list goes on… What if we engaged in prayer like never before over their hearts? What if we entrusted Jesus to do the work that we simply cannot do?

I have no doubt that we’d begin to see prayers answered, hearts softened, passions rekindled, respect and responsibility in action, and a standing up for the right thing like we’ve never seen before. Perhaps we’d begin to see the healing we’ve been longing for so badly in our home, marriage, and children because of prayer.

Just as my mom began writing down her prayers and claiming them, I too (finally!), have started writing down and praying promises of Scripture over my children. It’s been a great delight and privilege to pray over their struggles. Ironically, I see their battles are very similar to my own.

At the end of the day, for all of us, the sobering question we must face is that if we don’t pray for the hearts of our children in this dangerous and deadly spiritual battle, who will?

Fighting in the war with you,

Samantha

This post was inspired by the book my moms Bible study is going through this fall: Fervent by Priscilla Shirer.

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mama to 4. She is the author of the new devotional for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.

 

 

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Faith Reflections from Today’s Solar Eclipse

Today, I met my friend Katie at our city park for a picnic lunch with our kids to watch the solar eclipse. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in this phenomenon. I pressed my protective eye wear against my face and looked up at the bright sun.

And there it was. The moon was beginning to cover the sun and it was beautiful. My eyes were focused on the bright orange ring. The darkness began to steadily cover the light within a matter of minutes.

I was amazed that though I couldn’t see this spectacle with my bare eyes, it was still there. God’s creation and glory was clearly on display. His handiwork. His doing. And here I stood as a finite, imperfect being, staring up at the sky observing all this grandeur. I was just a tiny dot on the map. God is the Master-craftsman who formed it all – the heavens and the earth, the skies and the seas, the plants and animals, you and me.

I think about the verse in Hebrews:

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” –  (11:1)

Even though I cannot see God, he is here. Even though I can barely scratch the surface in understanding his beauty, holiness, majesty, and greatness, He is still God. Creator and Father. He holds everything together.

Observing the solar eclipse, among many other people today, gave me greater confidence in my faith. Just because I don’t see God working in the darkness and struggles in my own life or in this world, doesn’t mean he is not doing something. The truth is that he’s always moving. He is not slow to keep his promises.

“Look on the ground!” Katie says.

Circular, light reflections from the eclipse dance on the park’s sidewalk below the swaying trees. We snap pictures with our phones and the kids continue to play. The sky grows a little darker and an eeriness is in the air. The landscape looks “metallic-like.” The breeze brushes against our cheeks.

Our friend Sarah joins in on the fun.

The eclipse is at 98% – almost completely dark from where we stood. Darkness covers the sun, but there is still a speck of light. It certainly was a historical moment.

“I want to be out here with the eclipse forever!” says Katie’s daughter Alaina. We agree tickled by her joy.

Sometimes what we see here on earth is jaded. The lens through which we see is muddled. When we begin to see life through the correct lens and ask God for a greater understanding of who he is, we’ll begin to see the glory and beauty we’ve been longing for. We’ll see that our faith, after all, is solidified and we can trust Him fully for who he says that he is and what he will do in our lives.

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me…” – Isaiah 45:5

What if it’s too late?

Last week, while at the Denver airport waiting on my son’s plane to take off for Dallas, a woman came running to the check in counter, hysterical.

“I need to get on that plane! I have kids. We just got here!” She yelled at the gate agent. It had been at least 45 minutes since boarding, if not more.

“I’m sorry, ma’am but it’s too late. All the doors are closed and the plane is ready for take-off,” the gate agent said.

“But, it’s right there!” she yells looking at the plane. “And I have these kids with me,” she points at her 3 teenage sons.

She begs and pleads and I feel her pain as well as the other observers watching this woman.

The woman stares all around and now several gate agents are telling her she can’t get on the plane. She eventually calms down accepts the fact that she’ll be getting a later flight.

I didn’t know this woman’s situation. Maybe she was caught in traffic, didn’t gauge the time right, or just assumed her family would make it fine. The fact that this woman had missed her opportunity to get to her destination got me thinking about my time here on earth and the responsibility I have in sharing my faith with others.

I have friends I pray for each week that they would come to know the Lord, but I have to admit that sometimes it’s easy to give up hope and throw in the towel. Sometimes I coward and don’t want to go deeper. I fear what they’ll think of me. I’m really not crazy, I promise!

I don’t want any of them to be on the outside looking in only wishing they’d accepted God’s love but were so close. I know the truth in how precious and valuable life is and that as the cliche goes, we’re never promised tomorrow. When we die, we will give an account to God as to whether he was the ultimate authority over our lives– the one in whom we wholeheartedly trusted for our salvation by grace through faith– not because of any good thing we’ve done.

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. – 2 Cor. 6:2

I don’t know about you but I want to be bolder in my faith, especially as I get older. But I need God’s strength working through me to accomplish his will. I actually pray every day, “where do you want me Lord? What is my mission field for today?” I need his constant direction and guidance.

If you’ve been wanting to talk to a friend about your faith, but just haven’t, do it and don’t wait for the perfect timing, emotions, feelings or day. Count this blog post as a little nudge to go across the room and reach out through a Facebook message, text, phone call, or coffee outing.

Better yet, I’d love to be in prayer with you if you have a friend you’ve been praying for. Feel free to share with me here and I will remember and be in prayer for them.

God includes you in the work He is doing and it is exciting. May we be women who love unconditionally, boldly, and pursue God’s purpose for our lives by fulfilling the Great Commission right where we are.

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mama, and author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.

 

 

 

 

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