What’s Next on Our Horizon? – Part II

kriegerfamilyphoto2015This post is continued from my husband’s blog today, “What’s Next on Our Horizon? – Part I.”

This past weekend, we traveled to the golden plains of Northeast Colorado for Jeremiah to preach at First Baptist Church Holyoke. For the past several months he has been interviewing with them for the Senior Pastor position as what has become their first choice candidate. And in that time we have been in much prayer about the next steps for our life and ministry as Jeremiah mentioned. Since the time we were dating, 11 years ago now, we have both sensed a strong desire for full-time ministry but we weren’t sure how that would be fulfilled and when that might happen. So after we got married, getting the right training and preparation was the most natural next step.

Dallas Theological Seminary was where we landed in 2006. We got plugged into our beloved church, Watermark, and were involved in an apartment outreach for two years. During this time, Jeremiah was a nurse and student part-time. We had our first child, John in 2008. We began developing some of the richest friendships we have ever had with our community group at church and fellow friends in seminary. Seminary was one of the most rewarding and challenging times of our life. We continued to grow our family and before we knew it, Jeremiah completed his Master’s in Theology in May 2012, we had our third baby and bought our first home in East Dallas. The desire for ministry remained in our hearts but we knew we needed a sabbatical so we stayed put.

Jeremiah was faithful to get his resume out there and Dallas Seminary started sending his information directly to churches. One of those churches was First Baptist Holyoke. From the get go, they were excellent in their communication (this is huge these days) and Jeremiah began the interview process through Skype calls. They flew us out in March to see the town and to gauge whether it might be a place we’d like to be permanently. They were sensitive to the fact that I didn’t grow up in a super small town and wanted to make sure I felt comfortable there.

The search committee made welcome bags with home-made cookies, coloring books and crayons for our kids. They gave us a great tour of the area and we attended the church to get a feel for it. We felt refreshed by the church body and sensed a connection with the people. They are using their gifts in a great way and have a heart to reach their town with the gospel. They have a brand new building on land and remained debt free through the building process. By the end of that trip, I felt like it was definitely a place I could see us serving in. While it is a very small town, it has a lot to offer young families. A few weeks later, Jeremiah was invited to come back and preach. The congregation would vote on him as to whether or not to extend a call for him to be the next pastor.

This past weekend he preached their Saturday night and Sunday morning services and did a greeting at the Spanish evening service. He did a wonderful job preaching out of Hebrews. I was pretty nervous during that time, but he wasn’t! The members of the church finished casting their vote on Sunday night, the search committee called him in, and let us know that the vote was very favorable and he was offered the position for Senior Pastor. Everything felt surreal and we accepted the offer, knowing this was where God was leading us. We are humbled by God’s goodness in seeing a desire and dream come to fruition that was birthed in our hearts over a decade ago.

As we embark on this new opportunity in finding out what God desires to do in and through us in Holyoke, CO, we value your prayers and support for the work that lies ahead. We know it won’t be easy, but God will be with us. We are excited for the change ahead, but of course, it is bittersweet leaving behind our family, friends, and church in Dallas.

I feel a little like Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. She was once a city girl turned country. She has four kids and is also a writer and blogger. I am not exactly an exceptional cook though! I am looking forward to supporting my husband, new friendships, wide open spaces, sunsets, stars at night, fresh air, and a little more quiet (outside our crazy house, of course). 🙂

Thank you for hearing our hearts and walking alongside us. We appreciate it so much!

– Samantha & Jeremiah


“Resting” in the Writing World

Today before John’s nap we read the book I Knew You Could by Craig Dorfman. It’s a children’s book I highly recommend full of inspiration and encouragement similar to the classic, The Little Engine That Could. But I beg to say it’s even better.

The words at the end rang true for me today:

When your belief in yourself doesn’t feel quite so pure, and your “I think I can” doesn’t sound quite so sure.

That’s when to push and to strive and to strain, to show the world you’re not a giving-up train. And you’re wise if you know that doing your best means that sometimes you should just slow down and rest.

Speeding through your whole trip will bring only sorrow, so slow down today to be happy tomorrow.

I’m such a dreamer and often want things now. Starting this new site and recently accepting offers for new writing responsibilities has been so exciting. I could write all day if there was time. But my priorities are the Lord, my husband, children, and managing my home.

All of which means that writing comes after all of that. And I know that in order to do my best in the writing world requires me to slow down and rest. Dreams take time and the most important things in life can’t be sacrificed.

I’ve seen the opposite happen (dreams happening fast at the expense of spouse/children) in lives of highly talented and successful people. Some are still making it but some have crumbled and it’s so sad.

As I enter a new season of writing, my prayer is to strive and strain towards my goals but to slow down and rest simultaneously so that I’ll be able to stay at writing for the long haul. If that makes any sense at all.

What about you… How do you balance your dreams with reality? Do you find it easy or hard to rest?

Finding My Way

Yesterday, I walked to our local Starbucks with my little ones to try a mocha coconut latte. A few minutes into our walk, I noticed a man following close behind me. I pulled off into the grass with my stroller so he could pass us.

“Oh, thank you. I’m just trying to find my way!” he said in a long, drawn-out voice.

He glanced down at a piece of paper and had a pencil in his hand. He asked me where Worth Street was and I guided him to it.

He went on his way and I immediately thought about how much I related to his words. In life I often feel like I’m trying to find my way. I wonder if God is taking me down the right path. Does he really know my deepest dreams and desires for the future? Is He with me?

My prayers in college were to marry a godly man, have children, be involved in ministry/be on mission, and write. And I’m so thankful that at 28 years old, God has brought all of those to me and so much more. I’ve been living those dreams for several years now, day in and day out.

But often in the back of my mind I still think I need to “arrive” in life.

The truth is that I have all I need right now, and God is finding the way for me. He’s finding those dreams in the deepest recesses of my heart and he’s fulfilling them. I don’t have to figure them out or manipulate them to come true. He’s working even when I don’t see it.

He’s answering prayers according to His will, even if his ways aren’t exactly what I planned. He always knows best. He’s proved his faithfulness in the past and will continue to prove his future grace.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. – Prov. 3:5-6

Do you ever feel like you have to “arrive”?

Critics vs. Cheerleaders

image by Dan Waber

The more I live my life, the more I see the need for cheerleaders, and not critics.

I remember in my junior year of college, I wrote a fiction piece my Creative Writing professor loved. He read it to the class and at the end of the year, I won the Fiction Award at the end of the year ceremony for the English department. A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to submit the piece to our school’s literary magazine.

I was excited to contribute, but to my surprise, the lady in charge of submissions wrote an email back saying there was no story and no chance of it being published. She said she couldn’t believe that I submitted it. She offered zero feedback on how to make it better. Her criticism instilled a lot of fear in me, regardless if she was right.

I was confused and began to think, did my professor have his head on straight? Or am I just a loser who doesn’t know how to write?

And once in a blue moon, that lady’s words still come back to haunt me.

Then there have been people in my life who’ve done nothing but cheer me on. They’ve intentionally come along side me to speak the truth in love and encourage me to get back up. They’ve given of themselves and said: “You can do it! God has great plans for you! Keep fixing your eyes ahead…” Even if there was criticism on their part, it was constructive and done in love. It built me up. Those people are who I desire to be like. Those who have shown me by example, how to cheer someone else on.

It’s a daily choice to consider the cheerleaders in your life, and not the critics. It’s way too easy to cling to the latter. And the negative thoughts just start flying! It’s also way too easy to be the actual critic. God created us to live in community with one another where we will grow and thrive and part of that includes surrounding ourselves with people who will lift us up, whether that’s in our relationship with Christ, friendships, career, parenthood, or whatever.

Well after my submission upset, God began to give me clarity in my writing dreams. I started writing non-fiction articles and Bible studies for major publishing companies and discovered that non-fiction was where my heart beat the most. His grace allowed my writing career to really take off and today, my passion is to cheer on other people as best I can- while still battling the criticism I have in my heart at times towards others and myself.

Is it difficult for you to let go of another person’s criticism? What do you appreciate most about those who have cheered you on?

Dream a little Dream

I was recently asked by my friend Abby to be her writing mentor as she’s in the process of writing a family-focused small group curriculum for I am Second as part of her internship at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Last night, over tea at Starbucks, we had our first meeting to talk about writing. It was exciting to dream about what her curriculum could like before it’s even fleshed out on paper. But it was more exciting to dream about something that has great potential to impact a lot of people.

I left our meeting encouraged and excited for Abby’s project. And I was reminded that I am definitely a dreamer. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t dream about something that is sparked in my thoughts, something from music, a movie, conversation, God’s word, or a book. I believe God gives us dreams for a reason. I believe he plants certain desires within us and that some of those desires we will never escape because they are directly from Him.

I think it’s also natural to get frustrated when we don’t see those dreams come to fruition, but yet we still believe that some day they will happen. We believe that God wants to do something in us that is much greater than ourselves.

My prayer is that Abby’s dreams for this curriculum will be fulfilled above and beyond what she imagines.

Do you consider yourself a dreamer? Or have any specific dreams? If you go first, I’ll tell you  some of mine.

Being on Mission with Your Children- Part 1

This is part one of a two-part series called “Being on Mission with Your Children.” Part one will consist of being a Mommy on Mission and part two will deal with being a Daddy on Mission. I encourage you to read both parts.

Kelly Sauer‘s Twitter bio caught my attention the other day. It read: I dream big and change diapers.

I just love that and it made me think of a little mission statement that’s been ringing in my head since I’ve been re-reading a book I had to read for my Child Developmental Psychology class in college called The Power of Mother Love.

My new-found mission is: I want to change the world, one diaper at a time.

To tell you the truth, however, I didn’t know this would be my desire until God gave me my son John.

I’m learning that he is my mission. He is 15 months old so of course he doesn’t know it yet, but how I give my love away to him now will profoundly influence and shape his life and character and ultimately, who he will become one day.

Many of you know that I’m fresh into being a mommy so I’m not a pro, but I’ve found a little secret that’s helping me to be “on mission” with him each day and to value, above anything else, the importance of who I am to my child.

This might seem way too obvious, but it starts with Slowing Down.

It requires a lot of intentionality on my part to see the world how John is seeing it, to get off my computer or i-Phone, to stop doing the dishes or the laundry, or worrying about this or that, but to really be all there with him. He invites me in to his world every time and his world is already at a much slower pace than mine. The choice is if I will choose to be still, within my own spirit, and embrace his world with him.

I’ve found that when I’m still and engage with him, I’m able to meet his deepest emotional needs by letting him know I hear his words and see each little step he makes. We’re able to capture moments together like when he first says “t-e-n-k you” or learns how to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on his own. Or when he’s offering to kiss me on the cheek or give me “that look” when he needs something. I can sense his needs easier and I’m there to nurture him whenever he needs it. And he always has a way of knowing whether I’m fully there or not.

My love is more available when I slow down.

Being on Mission as Mommy’s starts with slowing down, to where we are meeting our children’s deepest emotional needs, but that is not the end, it’s the means to the end where we’re slowing down so that we can best live out our faith and instill biblical truth into their lives.

In a hectic, over-worked, disorganized schedule it’s difficult to be all there and live out our faith in front of our children. Nine times out of ten, over commitment results in frustration, anger, restlessness, impatience, depleting quiet times and prayer and we end up not being who we want to be. I’ve been there and it has affected my home. I’m convinced that the tiniest moments of slowing down will help define the huge moments of how our children will grow and come to salvation in the Lord later on.

Of course, their salvation is an act only by God, but we have a huge part to play in how they view and love God for the rest of their lives. What a challenge and responsibility, but what a joy and privilege to help lead them to the cross and have them join us in God’s mission.

If you’re a mommy, and like me, have been wondering where your ministry is and how you can best serve God, remember that you are on mission right where you are, the best place you could ever be…

In your home.

The place where you were meant to help change the world, one diaper at a time.

Will you join me in this mission?

Question: What are some other ways you’re giving your love away and being “on mission” in your home?

Fancy Thoughts

14078172990280c4f4f0150hj3I tend to have all kinds of thoughts. Thoughts about today, tomorrow, the end of the week, next month, next year,  and so on. I think of great plans and how things will most likely turn out. I sometimes even tell God that I know He’s going to do what I ask.

Wow! Just writing that out proves that I’m pretty self-focused and think I have it all together. I’m so far from that though. I like to “think” I have it all together and that I’m in control. I love to control in my thought life.

But the reality is that God is in control. His sovereign hand is leading and guiding me regardless of my thoughts. And it’s when I realize that I’m not in control after all, I begin to surrender and life is actually more free.

Since college, I’ve always loved the verse: “In his heart, a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” I need this verse to be imprinted on my heart because I often forget that the steps are His.

How has God shown you over the years that He is the one leading and guiding you- not your own fancy thoughts?

LA Shoot with Erwin McManus

A few weeks back, our team returned from Los Angeles to film their fourth major video project with Erwin McManus, based off his ever-popular book Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul.

The weekend of the shoot was perfect. LA’s weather was flawless and our team had a blast shooting the beautiful scenery and vast terrain surrounding them. The prime location for the video series was Griffith Park in the Hollywood hills.

Our crew set up their cameras overlooking the expansive Hollywood reservoir. Erwin reviewed his notes and in no time, the cameras were rolling. In a simple yet profound way, Erwin challenges young adults to give their life away by tapping into the talents and gifts God has given them. He states, “We are magnetized to a world filled with opportunities and often paralyzed by the inherent responsibilities.” His charismatic teaching style inspires this generation to change their ordinary life into one with extraordinary passion.

After a long day of work, all the footage was complete. It was hard for our team to pull away from sunny LA and Erwin McManus; however they were anxious to return to their offices and edit the footage. They packed their bags and headed back to Dallas.

The Bible study series filmed in LA with Erwin McManus will be called Uprising: a 6-session video-driven Bible study and will release Sept. 1, 2008. It will include a leader’s guide, workbook, 6 video sesssions, and the book itself. Check out our current DVD resources with Erwin McManus: Impact, Choices, Dreams, and Advance.

Switch to mobile version