Choosing Gratitude

This week- just a day before Thanksgiving- I’ve been reminded of how ungrateful I am over so many things. It’s such a crazy thing because I’d normally consider myself a thankful person but I’ve been taking a good look into my heart and I’ve found some ugly parts that aren’t so beautiful.

Like being ungrateful that:

  • we live in a tiny apartment with no space for anything
  • I can’t fit into any jeans because I’m in the awkward stage of post pregnancy
  • we are always paying bills and can’t seem to build our savings account how we want
  • the weather is 80 degrees in late November
  • I rarely have time for “me” because my toddler needs constant attention

Instead of being grateful that:

  • we have a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over our head, and seminary life is for a season
  • I just gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl
  • God has given us the ability to make money and our needs are met above and beyond
  • It’s not so cold that you can’t go outside
  • I’m investing into the life of my child so he can make a difference in the world one day

It’s hard to be thankful when things aren’t always the way I hope they’d be. But supernaturally, God is able to help me choose gratitude and give me real joy– every day- not just when I’m gathered around the table for turkey once a year.

And that is what’s beautiful!

Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thes. 5:16-18

life with two

John holds Rebekah for the first time

As I type this post (Tuesday evening), my sweet little Rebekah is sleeping on my chest- head tucked under my chin. She loves to cuddle with her Mommy in the evenings before she goes down.

Life has changed quite a bit in our household since her birth. John has had some really rough days acting out, whining, hitting, having fits and more whining. He just doesn’t know what to think of his sister. Poor little guy. We’re trying our best to love on him well since his world has changed so much too. His behavior is improving though with each day.

I’ve gone through a range of emotions. I’ve been happy, sad, and struggled with anger in dealing with John’s behavior while I’m overtired. I’m still trying to get used to balancing two babies. We are well supported by friends and family. Many people have brought meals, watched John, and been there for anything we’ve needed. When she’s in town, my mom has been amazing helping with laundry, meals, grocery shopping and anything I could ever need.

Jeremiah is working hard to provide for our family and is finishing his seminary classes for this semester. He helps me clean when he comes home and helps reinforce discipline with John. I feel like our marriage is growing stronger in all the change.

And Rebekah… she’s been a breeze so far. She eats and sleeps and is really laid back. She’s our little dolly.

In the midst of the transition, I am grateful. In the chaos at times, I wouldn’t want anything else in life. My perspective is beginning to shift regarding motherhood too. It is a whole lot harder than I ever thought! It’s such a sacrifice and isn’t for the weak at heart.

Life with two… I don’t have it all figured out. I’m far from being the perfect Mom. But I do know that somehow, it’s still the most rewarding job in the world. Even on the really hard days.

Well Rebekah has managed to move her little body all the way off my chest and into my arms. She’s all stretched out. Her eyes are still closed, her mouth is open and she’s breathing hard.

I pray these moments won’t slip away too fast.

She’s here!

Rebekah Noelle Krieger came into the world on Saturday, Oct. 30 @ 3:32 PM. Weighing in at 7 lb. 14 oz and 21 inches long. I’ll save the rest of the details for her birth story, which I’ll be writing soon!

We’re in love all over again and are adjusting to being a family of four. I’m savoring every bit of her when my toddler naps and goes down at night as I know she won’t be a newborn for very long.

We’ll be taking some professional photos of her today, but for now, here are some from her first hours after birth. Thank you for all your thoughts, love, and prayers and for sharing in the joy of her birth.

Why we chose the name Rebekah

 

My sweet Momma

 

To understand the name Rebekah, you first have to understand the story behind a woman named Beverly.

Beverly was a good friend of my mom’s when she was in her twenties. Every day they’d eat lunch together on work break. Beverly invested her life into my mom’s and shared Christ with her. Eventually she led my mom into a relationship with Christ and discipled her. Weekly, they began praying for their children and families. This was all after my Mom and Dad got married.

So all my life, my mom has been the spiritual rock in our family. She took my sister and I to church every Sunday, prayed with us before bed each night, shared God’s love with us, and loved and disciplined me (the more strong-willed child!) in my rebellious years. Her hospitality and the way she loved our neighbors and friends was incredible. I remember her intentionality in sharing the gospel with others.

For 30 years, she prayed for my Dad’s salvation. She never nagged at him or shoved Jesus down his throat. But in humility, led a life of patience with my Dad before me. I believe her example and prayers are why he trusted in Christ as his Savior when I was in college. And I believe her prayers are why my sister and I came to know the Lord at a young age.

My mom continues to be a source of encouragement and wisdom to me as I navigate this journey of being a wife and new mother. She is the most selfless person I know.

At first, Jeremiah and I wondered what to name our baby girl but I always had a gut feeling what I wanted it to be. We could have picked a trendy name or a name with no real attachment to it. But I wanted our daughter’s name to be significant and meaningful. And because my mom’s name is Rebecca (she goes by Becky), no other name fit more perfectly.

We chose the spelling “Rebekah” because my mom actually liked that spelling better and Jeremiah and I did too! We also love that it’s the biblical spelling and the “k” in it goes well with our last name being Krieger.

It’s always crazy to think about what our family heritage would look like without my mom’s friend Beverly reaching out to her.

Well two years ago, Beverly died in her sleep at her home in Ohio. I cried when my mom told me the news. She was such a faithful servant and I am forever grateful for Beverly’s life. It still lives on.

Today, I couldn’t be more excited that my mom’s legacy will continue on as we honor her through our daughter who is due in nine days!

Now, all we need to figure out is our little girl’s middle name. Any suggestions?! (we have three we like, but are still open to others 🙂

I love you, Mom!

“Rebekah”- Hebrew – “captivating, knotted cord”

contagious inspiration

I go through weeks where I’m inspired to write and weeks where I just write regardless if I’m inspired or not. The latter is definitely the hardest and not what I prefer, but it’s reality. For a while now, I have forgotten about the things in my life that help keep me inspired and motivated when it comes to using my gifts specifically in writing. Joys and delights like:

Slowly, I’ve been rediscovering these joys more intentionally and I’m realizing that whatever inspires me should in some form or another, inspire another person to move to action. To do something different.

Inspiration should infect other people. It shouldn’t be hoarded. Contained. Or kept a secret.

If the inspiration I receive is all about me, that would be a tragedy. The people who have inspired me the most in life, gave themselves away. And what they had to give was contagious, producing a ripple effect.

I know inspiration in writing will still come and go in the seasons of life, but I want to keep at it. I want to inspire others to take action in ways I will never know about.

What inspires you?

five minutes to let it shine

Over the past few Sundays, my pastor Todd has been encouraging our church to share our stories of grace authentically and intentionally with the people we encounter every day right here in Dallas. Last week, I had about five minutes to do what I knew God was impressing upon on my heart.

I was at Jamba Juice and a guy in his 20s was serving my sister-in-law Charis and I our smoothies. I asked him if he was a student and he wasn’t, but did have a kid. Charis talked with him a little bit about nutrition. He was easy to talk to and friendly. He poured the leftover smoothie from my cup and gave the remaining to my son. He also gave us some samples of their breakfast granola and dried fruit.

But that wasn’t it. I knew I was supposed to give him one of the orange cards that I carry in my purse that has the info to our church on it.

Then suddenly, about 3-4 people started coming through the door and he was slammed. 5 minutes pass by. Then 10. Then 15. I told Charis how I really wanted to invite him to our church, but the opportunity wasn’t happening.

I was determined to give him the card so while he was serving customers and getting their smoothies, I stepped in behind the counter. In the midst of all the blenders grinding and chatter, I invited him to come and told him how our church is full of young adults and has a great children’s ministry. I was a little concerned about who could hear me.

His eyes lit up and he smiled. “You know what?” he said. “I moved here a year ago and I’ve been looking for a church. Thank you so much! I’m going to check it out Sunday.”

Really? You are? I thought.

I couldn’t believe it. His response was not what I expected!

While inviting the Jamba Juice guy to church is not the same as presenting the gospel, it was an invitation for him to see the gospel at work in the lives of others. It was a step in the right direction.

I think so many times I wait for the perfect moment to say anything about my faith or my church, and it never happens. I fear what people think of me. I’m sometimes not walking in the spirit, or even know how to articulate my words naturally. I fear I will sound stupid or crazy. This experience taught me to shine my light in whatever window of opportunity exists and to just go for it and be who I am.

No matter what.

Have you had any opportunities to shine your light?

What do you love about fall?

Fall is my favorite time of year.

While it comes a bit later living in Dallas, I often reflect on the beautiful fall days I enjoyed in college and in seminary in Virginia.

The bright orange, yellow, brown, and red colored leaves on the trees are breathtaking.

The gentle, slightly cool breeze brushing against your face lets you know change is ahead and a new season is at hand.

Pumpkin spice candles and lattes permeate the air and hug your soul.

Sweet apple cidar with cinnamon sticks simmer in the crock pot, smelling so good, your mouth melts.

Fall for our family is also significant of life. My husband Jeremiah, my son John, and myself were all born in the fall (October exactly). Our baby girl is expected to arrive this fall as well.

I believe God gives us all the tiny little joys of fall to remind us that he’s involved in the changing colors of our lives. He makes all things new and he’s in the process of transforming all of us, season by season.

What do you love about fall?

told to be… still

I come from a line of “doers” so when the nurse told me today that I need to stay off my feet, I thought it would be impossible- especially with a toddler.

For the past few days, I’ve had really strong and firm braxton hicks contractions when I stand up, walk, do chores, anything. They only subside when I sit or lie down. It’s crazy because right at the moment I stand up, my abdomen is as hard as a rock. I have six weeks left until baby girl Krieger’s due date and so far my husband and doula have a suspicion she could come early October.

Yesterday, I sat down for an hour while Jeremiah played with John and it was really, really hard. But I think I’m learning a lesson already.

I’m not still enough and I don’t listen to God nearly enough.

While sitting in our lazy boy with my chubby toes propped up, I was able to reflect more on life and what was really going on. Life can get so fuzzy when you’re so busy. I’m having a baby and my sweet little boy is nearing two. I have an incredible husband and God is building our little family the way He desires. What a gift. It was as if God whispered in my ear that everything was going to be fine and that He was in control. I didn’t need to worry about the logistics of the baby’s arrival, our time table, the lack of sleep coming up with a newborn, or anything. God was handling it. And He would handle it.

I sensed such peace covering my anxious heart.

God is absolutely sovereign. Yes, I will make plans as best I can, but he directs my steps. He knew that I would get to the point in my pregnancy that I would just have to get off my feet.

Who knows if our baby girl will come early, right on time, or late. I’d love to know. But right now what I need the most in my life is to be still and know that He is God, and I am not.

Do you find it hard to be still?

Becoming a Stay-at-home Mom

Recently, we made a pretty big decision in our family. I transitioned from working in the office 30 hrs. a week to becoming a stay-at-home Mom. After a lot of thought, prayer, and counsel, we felt this was the best situation for our family, our son John, and baby girl soon to come in October.

It’s been a whole new world for me because shortly after John was born, I went back to work part-time while Jeremiah kept John and did his studies. It was a great situation to help him get through seminary and to bond with John. It was just what we needed in that season. But I had never known “life” exactly being full-time at home.

It was a bittersweet transition for me especially because I love everything I do as a writer for Bluefish TV. I loved my comfy office. I love the people I work with. I love using my gifts day in and day out, going in every day on mission and with a purpose. I was afraid of losing that. I feared what it would be like to put my dreams and career on hold to serve my family. I even wondered if I would lose my identity, as weird as that might seem.

9-5 Job vs. Being at Home

My mom had even told me before the transition that it would be easier to work a 9-5 job, than be at home full-time raising babies, but that it was worth every bit of sacrifice. She had been a stay-at-home mom all my life.

So far, I couldn’t agree more with her wisdom. My feet ache as I write this. I never sit down except during nap time. I spend about 3 hrs. a day in the kitchen attempting to cook healthy and delicious meals. I’m always thinking of ways to entertain John and get him outside or playing with others so he isn’t bored in our little 700 square ft. apartment. I regularly connect with other mom friends for the support and encouragement that is so crucial.

My phone conversations last about 10 minutes until there’s whining, screaming or a tug on my pants. I change clothes often from milk and peanut butter stains. Vacuuming and cleaning is a regular part of the day. I can handle about one or two big events in a day and after that I’m done. I’ve learned that I’m horrible at multitasking. And most of all, I’ve learned how impatient and easily angered I can become- especially when John has his fits.

And all this has been learned in just a matter of a few weeks. I’m not even a seasoned stay-at home mom yet!

Hard work? Definitely. And some days, more like exhausting. Worth the sacrifice? Most definitely.

Mom’s are always right.

Joy in the Sacrifice

In the midst of it all, including a tighter budget, less time with my husband, or for “me” time, I’ve found no greater joy than watching my little boy say new words, interact with others, discover beauty in the world, say “Mommy please, or Love you.” I love being able to cuddle with him when he wakes up cranky after a nap. I love that I can devote my time to him and let him know I’m fully there. I love that I get to teach him about Jesus in the small details of the day. I love that I’m the most important person to him simply because I’m his momma. I love knowing that if I wasn’t there for him, he would know it.

On the occasional days where I wish I was in my office again or where I feel like I’ve done absolutely nothing, it’s often that someone, something, or my husband reminds me that I’m molding and shaping John’s life day in and day out. That is the greatest job anyone could ever have.

And I smile again with renewed strength.

Dividends in the Future

God did open the door for me to still work a few hours from home each day and be connected to my work at Bluefish and it’s been a huge blessing, one I don’t take for granted. He’s taught me that I can still use my gifts at home. It will just take hard work, time and planning so it doesn’t take away from the needs of my family. Their needs are number one.

Whatever the future holds for Jeremiah and I as we build our family and think about our dreams and goals, the decision to love and disciple our children by me choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, is one I know we will never regret.

Made to Make a Difference with Max Lucado

For the past few months, our creative team at Bluefish TV has been in the process of creating three video-driven youth Bible studies with Francis Chan, Max Lucado, and Doug Fields. In early August, the studies released and it’s been so neat to see the final outcome. I had a blast writing copy, editing, finding real-life stories, and networking with some really great people on this project.

Made to Make a Difference was the Bible study we worked on with Max Lucado and his daughter Jenna. This study in particular is so unique as it challenges students to get beyond themselves and to step out and make a difference in the lives of others.

Here is a 2 minute glimpse into the study. I get chills every time I watch it. I hope you’ll pass the info along to anyone you know involved in the lives of youth.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSvCA_wXTU8&feature=player_embedded]

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