Parents, why we need to be praying for our children more than ever

This week, another American flag has been lowered to half staff. Another mass school shooting has hit our land, where two students were killed and 18 injured by a 15-year-old male student with a handgun in Benton, Kentucky not far from Nashville. This tragedy comes shortly after the recent Texas and Louisiana school shootings. Our nation has experienced 13 school shootings this year. Even though the news headlines now seem quiet, the hurt and pain is still greater than ever in that small Kentucky town.

My heart sinks as a parent with two children in school and two preschool-aged children soon to make their way through elementary doors. In light of recent news, I’m reminded more than ever about the spiritual battle at hand and how desperately our children need our prayers each and every day.

Ephesians 6:12 says that, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Parents, we are not fighting a battle that is merely flesh and blood, but a spiritual one. We’d be foolish to think we can fight the battles that are upon our children today with merely physical armor. These battles can only be fought spiritually through our prayers.

In prayer, we plead with Jesus to bring refreshing rains of healing and restoration to our nation again– to the hearts of families that desperately need a Savior. On our knees, we cover our children in God’s protection, love, and security. In calling on our Redeemer, we humble ourselves and turn to the One who is able to do far more than we’re capable of with our finite hands.
Parents, we have the tremendous privilege, by the shed blood of Jesus, to regularly go to the throne of grace in confidence that God will hear us when we cry out to Him. May the healing in our land that we long for first start with us. And even if our prayers are broken and our words are stuttering, make no mistake, that is still a beautiful thing.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Wake us up from our spiritual slumber, oh God. Forgive us from our apathy and transform us into praying parents who are on the battle lines, engaged in the war at hand not idle to the enemies tactics.

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” – Ephesians 5:14

Raise up people who will lead prayer groups inside the walls of our schools, in our churches, communities, and all over our nation. Raise up people who will mentor hurting children and who will love children living in broken homes who need to know how accepted and loved they are by our heavenly Father. Raise up teachers, administration, and students who are serious about following you. Help us to listen to you if we are to be that very leader in our community.

Dear God, raise up a generation who will not turn to guns but to the Word of God for their ultimate hope and rescue. May we as parents allow the gospel to pierce the darkness and bring its saving light. Turn our hearts to seek you first and fill our schools with joy, peace, love, kindness, and hope once again.

In your name we pray, Amen.

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. 

 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

The one thing your morning routine desperately needs

It’s the kind of question that comes once in a while and when I’m not prepared for it, I’m convicted.

“How’s your time in the word?” one of my closest friends texted recently. She’s the kind of friend that has full permission to ask the hard questions. We’ve built that trust with one another over the last decade. I won’t be judged by giving her an honest answer.

“Not good,” I wrote. “I need to make the sacrifice and just make it happen.”

Laziness and slothfulness is sometimes my natural bent. Discipline hurts; like lifting 15 pound weights when you haven’t set foot in the gym for the last five years.

In my heart I knew I was suffering from not making my time with Jesus priority. Instead, I was filling my time with exercise, cleaning my house, Facebook news feeds, meeting with others, taking care of my family, and working on writing projects – all of which are beneficial and necessary in their own way. But opening my Bible, journal, and spending time in prayer which I know is what always feeds my spirit, was not at the top of my to-do list.

I was addicted to busyness and productivity – a common issue for many of us. It’s practically become our identity – all the more with technology today. But it was hurting my spirit, and it took a friend that cared deeply for me to tell me not what I wanted to hear, but what I needed. And knowing that she’s a woman of the word and prayer, her gentle prodding encouraged me to begin cutting out the clutter.

The next morning I decided to get up with my husband in the early hours of the morning and open my Bible with him. I downloaded a reading plan from the Bible app (Authentic Prayer by James MacDonald) and joined friends who are reading along in the app too. I dug out my journal and wrote prayer requests for family and friends.

See, we have a choice every day to fill our schedules or our souls first. We decide what takes precedence. And Satan would do anything to keep you from being in God’s word enjoying intimate fellowship and communion with the lover of your soul.

I once heard a pastor say that if we’re too busy not to pray or be in the Word, we’re simply too busy. We may need to take a hard look at our priorities and schedules to see what needs decluttering. This might mean unplugging from our devices, deciding to pull our kids out of sports so we can eat dinner around the table again, or weeding out anything making us ineffective and overwhelmed. They could be good things too, which may require a sacrifice (that could hurt!).

That morning while in God’s word, my kids came upstairs with bellies growling for breakfast. I was ready to face them and the day ahead. The quiet time fueled my faith and satisfied my hungry soul. I wasn’t so quick to act in my flesh either. I didn’t realize how much I missed being with Jesus until he opened my eyes to see my desperate need.

The depressed mood I’d been in for several days was gone and I was reminded of my purpose again. Joy had returned to my heart and my eyes shifted from being consumed with self, to serving others.

The more we feed our spirit and put Jesus first, the more we’ll desire to hear from the Lord and we won’t settle for less. Our schedules lose the power they once had over us.

So, I’ll now turn the question to you, “How’s your time in the Word?”

This article was originally published on TheCourage


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. 

 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

Dear Children: Why Your Words Matter

Before bed time a few days ago, my nine-year-old son John told me for the first time that he wanted to go on a mission’s trip to Africa. My husband went last year with our church to a village our church body supports in Uganda. My heart filled with joy that John had a desire to venture to a world different than his own and experience the joy that both my husband and I have had visiting the beautiful continent at different times in our lives.

Then the next day, news headlines were filled with the derogatory remark about other countries which I’m sure you’re familiar with by now. This isn’t a post about our president, politics or the context of those words, but as I watched the writing on the screen, I felt a pit in my stomach.
Ouch.

I was hoping John wouldn’t see the headlines and ask questions about it. He hasn’t yet, but regardless, I want my kids to know why our words matter so much. I need the reminder too.

First, I’ll say we’re no perfect home or family. Words fly carelessly around the air at times unbridled and we have to harness them back in. As a mom of four with emotions and a strong-will, I’m reminded daily of my need for Jesus in controlling my tongue. We’re on training ground every, single day in our home. I fall short and need him desperately. I think of Psalm 141:3: Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. 

Dear John, Rebekah, Hannah & Will, you must know this about your words:

The book of James dedicates time talking about the power of your tongue. Scripture says it’s a small member of your body yet boasts great things. Your tongue can even direct the course of your life like a rudder that turns a ship. Your words also have the potential to cause a forest fire of trouble by only one tiny match. Can you imagine that?

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:6)

Words have the ability to pierce like a sword and wound unlike anything in this world. What springs forth from your lips matter because God’s word says so. Your words don’t go without consequence. If you want to live the good life, an abundant life full of blessing and peace, you must do what Scripture says and avoid evil.

If you want to see good days ahead, you must keep your tongue from evil and deceitful speech (1 Peter 3:10).

Your words mean something because they matter to God – for the sake of his name and others. They matter because when you carry and claim the name of Jesus, you represent him. Take seriously that others are made in his image and are to be valued and honored. When you fall short from doing the right thing, confess and turn away from your sin promptly.

God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created him (Gen 1:27).

Your words matter because God loves all ethnicities. God has a heart for all nations to know and love him just as he loves them. He can use your words to reach those far from him. Strife, lying, bullying, perverted speech, gossip, slander, and rage are not a part of God’s plan and won’t bring goodness and blessing in your life. Use your words to show compassion, kindness, understanding, and build up the heart of another.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

Your words matter because they reveal the true condition of your heart. Your heart is desperately sick without a Savior. Jesus says that it’s not what goes into someone’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of his mouth (Matt. 15:11). Be mindful of what’s really going on inside your heart (frustration, jealousy, anger, pride, etc.) and seek to deal with it before you speak.

Thankfully, your words also have the power of LIFE and the ability to crush lies.

Your words can build up, restore, renew, move others toward action, bring hope, heal wounds, rescue from sin, instill joy, and bring forth something that once did not exist. God formed creation into being with the very words from his mouth:

“Let there be light,” and there was light (Gen. 1:3).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

“Will you forgive me?” are sometimes the only words you need to ask someone. The power of these four words have restored friendships, reconciled marriages, and brought happiness and peace to the playground once again.

Use your words for healing and not towards harm. Don’t let your words be hollow either – if something needs to be said for the good of another, say it. Follow Jesus as your ultimate example. Be children who speak LIFE and live it out by God’s strength working in and through you. 

I love you,

Mom

** You’re welcome to use the letter portion of this post & change the names for your own children for your personal use. 


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 a regular contributor for Kirk Cameron’s site TheCourage and For the Family. She is also the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

You can give him everything, but you must give your husband this:

A few days ago, my husband and I were going crazy indoors with our kids from the bitter cold temperatures in Colorado. We packed them all in our suburban and headed to a rec center to swim. As soon as their little feet hit the concrete, they were beaming with joy. Splashing, playing pool volleyball, laughing, talking and enjoying themselves instead of fighting was a relief for us.

My husband swam side by side with my four-year-old and shot hoops with my nine-year-old. At one point, I took a rest on the side and just observed my surroundings. Several dads enjoying the pool with their kids. One child in an over-sized red life jacket was throwing a tantrum because his dad was trying to get him comfortable in the water but he was scared. One wife pointed her phone from the bleachers to shoot pictures of her husband and three kids wading in the shallow end.

It got me thinking just how critical dads are in the lives of their children and how I need to do a better job affirming my man as a father. It is too easy to criticize their weaknesses or overlook the daily blessings dads bring to the family. As wives, we also share with our husbands our hearts, our beds and bathrooms. During birthdays and holidays we work creatively to plan their perfect gift. We can share many things and we can give them everything. But our husbands need to know:

1.) They are valued and appreciated in the home.

One of the greatest gifts we can give our husbands is to affirm them in their role– regularly voicing our appreciation for all they do. Often, this affirmation can disappear in the chaos of life or the backdrop of mundane life. Constant criticism, demeaning, and comparing him to others is like deadly poison to a family. Respect, love, patience, encouragement, and kindness builds them up and results in a thriving home. Appreciation for our husbands is one of their greatest needs.

2.) Their role as protector and provider is crucial. 

Husbands and wives are equal in value, but distinct in roles and responsibilities. The burdens that our husbands carry daily (or hourly!) such as financial stability, our family’s safety,  feeling valued in their jobs, and more is much different than what we may carry as wives. Leading the family is a huge responsibility that requires us coming alongside them as a teammate, cheering them on in the difficult realities of life. Their role is an important one that should be praised.

3.) Their presence with their children is life-changing.

My husband doesn’t sit around and think about how awesome he is when he teaches our son how to mow the lawn, hammer a nail, or shoot a BB gun. He just does it because that’s what dads do. But as a wife and mom, I know how huge this is relationally. He is investing in their little life, teaching them new skills, and prioritizing father/son bonding time. All these deposits make our sons who they are becoming and how they will be as responsible adults. As women, we can come alongside our husbands and remind them of how they are changing lives.

4.) There’s no one else that can fill the father role like they can.

One of the greatest lies I believe men face is that they aren’t good enough or have what it takes. These thoughts may be deeply ingrained by the way they were raised, a broken relationship with their own parents, or insecurities from physical or emotional loss (eg. pains that might come from previous physical or emotional abuses, accidents or losses in life). As wives, we can remind them of truth instead:

  • they do have what it takes
  • they’ve been given the gift of leading the family
  • they are wanted and needed
  • and we support them 100%.

No husband, wife, marriage, or family is perfect. We all fall short, but with God’s help and strength working through us, we can remind our husbands through our words and actions just how much they mean to us. As the father of our children, their work and efforts are worthy. They shouldn’t go unnoticed. What are some creative ways you can let your husband know?

 


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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

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. 

 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

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. 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

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. 

 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to SamanthaKrieger.com & receive weekly encouragement:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Page 3 of 4712345...102030...Last »