The really good things rural living has taught me – #lovewhereyoulive

Over three years ago, we packed up our life and left Dallas, Texas for Holyoke, Colorado – a tiny town 2.5 hours Northeast of Denver – for my husband to be the pastor of First Baptist Church. We left our family, our friends, and the comforts and amenities of the big city to follow God’s calling on our lives. It’s crazy how we didn’t even know Holyoke existed on the map.

I remember when we first drove into town and feeling almost instantly refreshed looking at the wide open spaces instead of the interstates that intertwined like spaghetti. This new way of life would be different- more simplified and involve less distractions. This lifestyle would give my soul room to breathe, to hone my talents and gifts, and allow my children to grow up around livestock, land, and agriculture.

And what I’ve found to be true is the joy God has given me living here. More than I could imagine.

Rural living has taught me:

  • to slow down and savor the small things that don’t look so grand at first but are a treasure to behold
  • that God has given us the gift of nature to praise him and delight in his glorious creation
  • to love and serve the people right near me and to embrace how everyone is connected in a small town
  • how to truly love people when you know a whole lot about them!
  • that God loves and pursues people in remote areas just as he does anywhere else
  • that ministering in a rural area has its unique challenges and drama, but the joys outweigh the difficulties
  • to greater appreciate when rain falls from the sky!

Don’t get me wrong. There are days we miss the attractions of the big city. Just the other day my seven-year-old Rebekah said,

“Mom, there’s MORE to do in the city. I miss the trampoline park, Chick-fil-a, and the Arboretum. I miss the buildings everywhere! And Target!”

“But there’s so much in the country that’s so good for us,” I told Bekah. “The animals, community spirit, closeness to your school, parades, riding our bikes around town, walking to school, your friends, and you wouldn’t get to ride horses (her favorite animal) like you do here. There’s a lot to be thankful for.”

She paused and didn’t say much, but I know deep down there are many things she loves about being here.

There’s always that temptation to think the grass is greener elsewhere and we have to be in the center of the excitement. And there’s a time for that. We take short trips to Denver and Colorado Springs to get away but we always love coming home.

There’s all kinds of beauty past these dusty dirt roads – I just have to continue seeing it every day.

Rural living is the right kind of living for me

I love that God still does big things in our hearts too in remote areas. He teaches me humility, understanding, patience, and helps me see that He’s working in all corners of the world and cares about the middle-of-nowhere too. He reminds me to delight in Him right here – the Creator of it all.

Some would call rural living mundane, ordinary, and nothing of significance but I beg to differ. Rural life has given me a greater appreciation for hard work, our farmers, and for life and death. When someone dies, everyone grieves. When a baby is born, everyone celebrates. There’s a community spirit that is unique and special. When tragedy strikes, people link arms and serve one another. Love is displayed in powerful ways like I’ve never seen before.

God’s also used the beauty out here to inspire me personally in new ways. Some days all I need is my camera or phone and some golden light and I’m like a kid in a candy store. It’s inspired words in my heart that needed to come out on the computer.

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When I’m tempted to complain, doubt, or long for something else, He reminds me that He’s put us right where he wants us and to embrace the life we’ve been entrusted with right now. I consider living in a rural setting as one of his greatest gifts in my family’s season of life.

And in case you’re wondering after reading this post, Amazon does deliver out here. Now if only Starbucks could. I could use a pumpkin spiced latte right about now!

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. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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4 Ways to Prioritize Your Spouse Above Your Schedule … and Even Your Kids

A few years ago, a woman in my discipleship group at church pulled me aside after our time together and shared some wisdom I’ll never forget.

She had two teenagers and was on the brink of a divorce. Her family was falling apart and she blamed the dissolved relationship on her own choices. In our group time I told how my husband and I were getting away for the weekend to focus on our marriage, but I was nervous about leaving the kids behind. She encouraged me not to worry about it.

“Samantha, get away with him. Don’t put the kids’ schedules first,” she said. “I did that all our marriage with sports and all they had going on. I kept myself busy at the cost of my marriage. I wish we’d taken time for each other, but we didn’t. I eventually had an affair. I regret all of it.”

My eyes grew wide thinking about my kids still in diapers. Tears welled up in her eyes as she brushed her strawberry blonde hair away from her face.

I could sense the ache and pain in her heart. I prayed for her, that God would restore their family.

Years have passed since that evening…

CONTINUE READING the rest of the article on FamilyLife.com.

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

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