Yes, free indeed: Overcoming Our Deepest Fears

“Get dressed. We’re going to the lake,” my husband Jeremiah says on the other end of the line as he’s driving home from work on Monday. I was already dressed in my workout clothes and I was loving his spontaneity because it had been a hard day at home and I needed some fresh air.

We arrived at the lake an hour before sun set. My toddler John ran through the leaves and down the hills. I pushed Rebekah in the stroller and inhaled the cool breeze. We then walked on the paved trail that led to a long bridge where ducks swam underneath. We parked ourselves there for a while and watched our son in such delight. It was like the world stood still and all that existed was our little family.

Then out of nowhere… a cyclist comes riding across the bridge and before we could even think to hold his hand, John darts out in front of him. I scream: “John!” and the cyclist screams “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!” and slams on his breaks in a panic, coming to a screeching stop. Not quite understanding, John hurried back to our side and the cyclist rode off.

On our way home, I started crying. Jeremiah was still in shock too. That experience showed me that I have a whole new set of fears I didn’t know I had. God has told us in His Word that He’s not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. But now what? What does that mean? What does it mean to live by faith, this faith I’ve been called to?

Being responsible…When I was crying, the fears flooding through my mind made God’s word seem stale. Could I trust God to protect John in the future…and me and my family? I mean, shouldn’t I help God out and do what is responsible? My heart wrestled. What seems most responsible is to not return to the lake. It is too dangerous! My insides were being seized by fear, and I was doing everything that I could to muster up some sort of faith that would set me free. I felt compelled to act, but if I did, would I even know what was best? I needed to be free.

Yes, free. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Monday taught me that nothing will deflate our spirit faster than fear. Faith in God’s promises gives us the confidence and courage to experience the freedom and joy of the fullness of life. We were created to go to the lake with our family. I was made to watch John sprint down the grassy knoll, laughing with joy as he kicked up the leaves in the air.

Yes, I want that joy that comes with such faith- the faith of a child. John’s life became to me a vivid picture of faith. He lives by faith. Questions about how his needs will be met don’t go through his head. He doesn’t wonder if he will be safe. John’s faith allows him to be free.  John had such delight because he ran freely without inhibitions and fears that would keep him from running. John’s faith doesn’t know such fear. That is why he could laugh and smile when he shuffled his feet through the leaves.

Today, God is helping me to run again. Monday’s experience was tough, but I’m looking forward to going back to the lake again with my family. I haven’t figured it all out, but I know that I’m a weak vessel and I must trust God. There is an “abundance of life” that we were created to enjoy. In fact, I’m learning to enjoy it in a whole new way that I did not know before. Jesus said, “If the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed.” Our faith in Christ is our very freedom. I am free. Yes, I am free, indeed.

* This article was a team effort. Thank you, Jeremiah, for helping me write and edit the story.

treat yourself

We spent Thanksgiving this year at Jeff and Karen Riddle’s home. They are dear friends of ours who mentored Jeremiah and I and five other couples early in our marriage when we first moved to Dallas.

Karen had her first son Ryan and daughter Amanda at the same age I had John and Rebekah and they are also 2 years apart (now teenagers).

Sitting in comfy chairs around their outdoor fireplace, Karen and I talked about life and raising children. She said a lot of great things I will always take to heart and one truth really stuck out to me. She said that in all the busyness of life in this stage, to make sure I’m treating myself to one thing each day.

My eyes lit up when I heard her words. One thing… I can handle that, I thought.

It was great to hear that it was perfectly fine to do that. And it wasn’t selfish, but would help keep me sane!

Whether it’s getting coffee at Starbucks, shopping for an hour, writing, painting my nails, or even the smallest thing that I enjoy… taking the time to treat myself will really help in navigating the crazy waters of balancing two kids and meeting their daily needs.

I stared at the crackling fire, thinking hard on the wisdom there. Fresh into having two kids, I already feel the weight pressing in at times and the stress. Some days you just want to scream because you need time for yourself.

I haven’t figured out what all I can treat myself to each day but so far in the last week I took 30 minutes to buy a pair of jeans at our new Old Navy, got my hair cut and styled, shaved my legs, and took the babies along with me to get a peppermint mocha.

Obviously, finances don’t always allow for me to do those things every week, so I’ll have to get creative, but taking the time to do them refreshed my spirit and helped get me through the day. And I think they helped me be a better wife and mom.

I’m really thankful for women like Karen who encourage younger moms who haven’t quite been there and done that yet. It definitely helps to know you’re not alone.

How do you make sure you’re treating yourself and what does it do for you?

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”

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.

how a child makes love stronger

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.”  – Author Unknown

My “baby” is now an active 22 month old toddler and I can relate so much to that quote. John’s life has instilled something within me I never knew was possible: to love deeper and to see my future truly worth living for.

Even in the challenges that come with raising John, I’ve found no greater joy that I get to help mold and shape his life and who he will become one day. And the even more incredible thing is that in turn, my own life is being changed. As the months pass by so so quickly, God is using John to make me more like Christ- exposing my impatience, selfishness, pride, and helping me become more patient, selfless, and humble.

With a baby girl arriving late October, I know the nights will be longer again, our bank account smaller, and my clothes will probably be stained and shabby. But I know that yet again, her little life will help me see that the future is worth living for because I am the only one she will ever call “Momma.”

I’m not exactly sure how, but I know that God will use her, yet again, to show me more about His love.

How has your love grown stronger?

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