One Powerful Word to Get You Through Hurting Seasons in Marriage

Fall is my absolute favorite season of all. The crisp air, falling leaves, pumpkins, mums, pumpkin-spiced lattes, boots, flannel tops, regular visits to the pumpkin patch, and more. I love making memories with my family raking leaves into piles, baking pumpkin pie, making chili and cornbread, and putting on a light coat to walk the dog.

Just as we approach the changing season ahead and much anticipation is in the air, I believe we can learn something transformative in our marriages too.

The reality is we all face different seasons in our relationship. Some seasons are absolutely joyful and exciting while others are dark and painful. Some usher in newness of life and others are filled with dryness, stillness, and waiting.

My husband and I just finished a long season of remodeling our kitchen and dining room to better suit the needs of our family and guests. My husband worked hard on this project and I appreciate his handy work so much. But what you might not see on HGTV is how much demo and remodeling can negatively impact your relationship: communication failures, exhaustion, time consuming projects, mishaps, and financial pressure to name a few.

Different seasons in marriage also require ever-changing demands: job challenges, the birth of a child, your kids’ numerous activities, financial adjustments, accidents, health issues, mental struggles, aging parents, and more.

Sometimes we wonder, will we even make it to the next season? It feels so far away. We just can’t keep living like this.

Over the last 12 years of our marriage, I’ve learned that holding on to hope goes a very long way. As newlyweds when my husband lost his job, hope got us through that anxious time of doubt and waiting. When we struggled to get along, hope showed us that God would teach us how to love each other. When we gave birth to our four children, hope carried us through delivery and holding each child for the first time.

When my husband was in seminary and working full-time to provide for our family, we held onto hope that he’d make it across the stage to receive his degree. Years later when he was accidentally shot in the arm at the rifle range, hope carried us through our hospital stay, two painful surgeries, and a long road of recovery that impacted our children and daily life.

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Hope is a powerful thing. It enables us to get through anything thrown at us that we didn’t ask for. God also orchestrates circumstances to give us hope in miraculous ways: through the provision of others, a song we hear on the radio, God’s living word, prayer, the body of Christ, the testimony and life change of another marriage, learning from our sins and choosing differently, and watching God work in ways we never expected.

If your marriage is suffering right now under the weight of life’s trials, remember that hope is in front of you if you choose to believe it. Never forget that hope is often closer than you think. And before you know it, the expectation and longing for a certain thing to happen in your relationship becomes reality. You’re no longer looking at it from a distance, but you’re actually embracing it.

God can breathe back vibrancy, joy, and life into your relationship that you’ve never experienced before. Just keep holding on to Him. And one day you’ll look back and realize,

Hope got us through.

There’s hope in front of me
There’s a light, I still see it
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it
I might be down but I’m not dead
There’s better days still up ahead
Even after all I’ve seen
There’s hope in front of me

-Danny Gokey, “Hope in Front of Me”

Blessings,

Samantha

 

** This article originally appeared on TheCourage.com 

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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Why it’s actually okay to release control of your life

Ensenada, Mexico

Earlier this year my husband and I embarked on a 3-day cruise to celebrate our 12-year anniversary. On the first night in our cabin, intense fear woke me up in the middle of the night. As I looked out our window I could barely see the ocean waves. I was worried the ship would sink and rehearsed the emergency exit plan in my head.

The lack of control I felt from being on the open water paralyzed me and it didn’t help that I wasn’t fully awake. Were we crazy to take this vacation and entrust our very life to the captain in charge?

That experience got me thinking about faith and how often we can feel like we’re losing a sense of control when we place our trust in Jesus – who we can’t see on a daily basis.

When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to, “Follow me,” (Matt 4:19) Scripture says that immediatelythey left their nets and followed him. They left their comforts, all that was normal in their trade as fishermen, and what they could control.

I’m guessing they weren’t thinking: At this time and on this day, the Messiah will come out of nowhere and meet us where we’re at…They were not expecting that at all. But that is what happened. Jesus came out of nowhere into their lives and met them right where they were.

Peter and Andrew handed over their life to the One who was greater. They surrendered their life to become a learner of Jesus even when they didn’t exactly understand what that meant.

The truth is that releasing control of our life is the means by which we’re truly free and able to experience deeper intimacy with Jesus. Even as much as our hands want to hold tightly to what we think provides security, Jesus tells us where our ultimate hope is found:

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” – (Matt 10:39)

The truth is that I love holding on tightly to my life (my loves, wants, wishes, desires, needs) and thinking only about my inner circle. Yet Jesus calls me to something better. He calls me to seek His kingdom first and then all these things will be given. He calls me to step out of the boat and join him in his mission of winning broken and lost souls for eternity. He calls me to love, selflessness, and servanthood where he’s placed me. That can be both scary and inconvenient.

Placing our faith in Jesus can be terrifying because of the unknown. What will happen if I diligently follow Christ with my life? How will I learn to deal with stresses if I go to Jesus instead of my current coping mechanisms? Does this mean anything for my personal goals and career? What will people think and say when I try to engage them with the gospel? And the list goes on…

When you surrender, Jesus gives you new desires and tastes. What was once pleasing and attractive to your eyes will not be anymore. The intense desire to please others and find your identity in material things begins to lessen. Your mission is no longer self, but to serve your Savior. You become more concerned with living for eternity rather than how many “likes” you have in a day.

You’ll begin to find joy and excitement from continually asking the Lord, where can I serve you today? What can I give away for your kingdom? The unknown becomes an adventure.

He’ll also equip you for exactly what you need in the moment – whether that means reaching out to a stranger, seeking forgiveness, inviting a friend to church, giving up an addiction, seeking counsel, changing your circle of friends, opening up your home to your neighbors, seeking healing in your marriage, confessing sin, investing in an “unlovable” person, starting a ministry from scratch, using buried talents and gifts to build the body of Christ, and more.

On the cruise ship that night, I was stressed out. But before I knew it, it was 8:00 am, the sun was shining, and the boat was docking safely to the Baja shore. Even in my anxieties, the captain knew exactly what he was doing and the next night I slept peacefully.

When we release control and trust in God as our sovereign Creator and Father who loves and cares deeply for us, we can rest easy knowing that the plans he has for us are for our good even when we can’t see the future ahead.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


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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10 ways moms can pray for their children

A few days ago, my kids and I broke away from dinner time clean-up to take an evening walk. One of the most refreshing times for me as a mom is to head a couple blocks south of our home and watch the sun set in the wide-open fields. A dirt road leads to the land and as you come to the end of it a yellow traffic sign meets you with a bold black arrow pointing to the left and one to the right.

A crossroad.

As my kids made their way to the sign and the bursts of pink, orange, and blue colors in the sky hung in the backdrop, I thought about how much they’re growing up. Just the other night I began to share with my almost ten-year-old son how as he grows older he’ll begin to see more of the ugly that’s in our world – hatred and murder to name a few. We had a serious conversation and will continue that dialogue.

Since then, I’ve continued to think about the decisions my kids will face as they meet each new stage of development:

  • Choosing the right friends
  • Navigating challenges in school
  • Handling the good and bad of technology
  • Deciding their passions and educational pursuits
  • Giving into the flesh or the spirit
  • Finding their identity in Christ or in this culture
  • Believing who God says they are vs. lies of Satan

All of these are critical choices that can’t be diminished. It’s a matter of wisdom. The book of Proverbs is full of stark contrasts between the wise and the foolish person:

  • The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness (Ecclesiastes 2:14).
  • The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (Proverbs 12:15).
  • The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace (Proverbs 3: 35).
  • And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:26).
  • The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him (Ecclesiastes 10:12).

We want our kids to be wise and not foolish. No one wants to be a fool, yet many times the roads that we take are in fact that very nature as we can be easily deceived.

As moms we have the wonderful privilege and opportunity to pray for these crossroads in our children’s lives. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say it’s our joyful duty. If we don’t pray for the overall trajectory of their lives, who will?

Here are ten ways you can start now and begin praying for your child’s decisions and choices:

  1. Pray that God will soften your child’s heart toward his Word and commands.
  2. Pray that when your child is faced with temptation, that he/she will remember his word and act on it.
  3. Pray that your child will know and feel the love of Jesus, no matter how he/she behaves.
  4. Pray that in each new season of life, God will bring positive role models and friends to your child that will build him/her up to be a better person.
  5. Pray for your own relationship with your child to be one of unconditional love, acceptance, joy, selflessness, and trust.
  6. Pray that God will lead your family to a gospel-centered church where your child can grow in the love and nurture of the Lord around strong believers who love Jesus.
  7. Pray for discernment and wisdom in how to raise, discipline, and provide boundaries for your child.
  8. Pray that God would show you what your child needs in the appropriate situation and for His will to be done.
  9. Pray that your child will have a thirst and desire for the Lord – to walk in the Spirit and not the constant pull of the flesh.
  10. Pray for your child to have respect for their authority and to be a blessing to their classmates and teachers.

We can’t underestimate how powerful our prayers are. God desires that we come to his throne of grace as moms—all the time! The truth is we all need his grace in some way, shape, or form. We can’t undervalue the importance of being specific in our prayers and believing that God will answer them.

As your children continue to face new crossroads as they grow up, may they know and feel your love and care for them because you want the absolute best for them – not pain and harm – so they’ll live long, prosperous, and blessed lives in the love and fear of the Lord.

When they’re adults, may they rise up and call you blessed as their Mama (Prov. 31:28). May they know that your prayers were a huge reason why they chose the road of wisdom and not foolishness.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


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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If you’re experiencing a season of loneliness

Not long ago, my husband and I went through a wave of change in our network of friends. Five families we were close to have moved away all in the same time frame. It wasn’t long before we noticed that God was taking us through a season of having to depend solely on him.

There was another situation when I was uninvited from a get together. A friend felt I’d feel more comfortable not attending this particular event with her friends. I trusted she was right but was tempted to doubt God. He reminded me of his faithfulness and that I wasn’t alone even when it felt a little unwelcoming and awkward.

The truth is that God created us to know others and be known by others no matter our age. We also have a deep longing to be loved by others. Perhaps you know the feeling of:

  • sitting in a sterile room hearing only the hum of the air conditioner
  • attending an event with hundreds of people not knowing anyone
  • scrolling through your friends’ highlight reels of their Disneyworld vacation while you’re sitting on the couch.
  • reaching out to someone but there’s no reciprocation.
  • not being satisfied with the often shallowness of social media and needing face-to-face fellowship with a friend.
  • Requesting, “Table for one please,” at a restaurant you love.

In God’s word and prayer, I’ve found his comfort and I’m reminded that he is with me.

He’s my source of satisfaction and joy. He’s been teaching me truths about contentment that I would’ve never known otherwise. Not just with my circumstances, but contentment in my relationship with Him.

I’ve been asking myself these hard questions: Is he truly enough? At the end of my life, when I will meet Jesus face-to-face, is he all I need, and do I live like it here on earth?

I’m also learning what it means to be intentional and invite others instead of waiting to be invited. I’m able to teach these life lessons to my kids too. Jesus pursues us every day, am I pursuing others with his love and life-changing gospel?

I’m still waiting on prayers to be answered but I’ve found myself anticipating in this time to keep learning more about God, his character, and love for me. In the waiting, Jesus is showing me new depths of how he felt when he walked this earth among people who didn’t always understand, accept, or include Him. He experienced intense periods of loneliness too.

In her new song “You Say,” Lauren Daigle writes,

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe

I believe what God says of me. If I will only live it.

That I am His. And His love is enough in times of loneliness and in times of deep companionship and community.

Do you believe it too?

— I enjoyed talking recently with the editors at Kirk Cameron’s TheCourage and discussing this article. You can listen to a clip of the audio interview here. 

 

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com


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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Why Godliness is Worth Pursuing More than Body Image

Not long ago, my husband and I began a strict eating plan that has radically changed much of our lifestyle, eating habits, and various sugar addictions. With summer here we’ve also been exercising outdoors more often. Even though it’s painful at times, we’ve felt amazing on the plan and are learning a lot together.

In our home I made a comment the other day about still needing to get my baby weight off (from four years ago) and I could see my inquisitive nine-year-old John thinking in his head about my words. He looked in my eyes and said,

“Mom, but then if you do that, you won’t have anything left to remember us as babies.”

I laughed and told him how I appreciated his viewpoint and thoughtfulness.

A challenge for me right now in the midst of tackling my health and weight loss goals is focusing too much on the outward and physical part of my body. The Lord is constantly reminding me that one day this body will go to the grave. It will not last forever. And while I’m to be a good steward of it and offer it to God each and every day, my ultimate hope is not in my body image or the image I desire for it to be. Nor is my hope found in comparing myself to another person’s outward appearance.

1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Make no mistake. God desires for us to take good care of our bodies – the Holy Spirit resides in us. But Scripture says that bodily training has only some value in comparison to what growing and training in godliness offers. It reaps dividends not only in our life now, but in heaven when we’ll be given brand new bodies.

So what is the one place you can put your hope in? You better believe that it’s godliness in every way.

Growing in godliness through confessing sin, pursuing reconciliation with others, living out the gospel, loving one another, engaging in Bible studies, growing our prayer lives, knowing others beyond mere talk about the weather, practicing what we’re learning in God’s word, bearing one another’s burdens, and allowing Jesus to form and shape us into his image… These are all just a few ways we can begin stretching our spiritual muscles and focusing not on earthly things but on what will last forever.

If we spent more time focusing on the spiritual matters of our heart, can you imagine how strong spiritually we’d be? If we spent more time looking at the mirror to our soul – God’s precious Word – than we do looking at our body image each day, I’m convinced we’d see huge steps of growth in our walk with Christ. The peace, satisfaction, wholeness, love, and joy we’ve been longing for would be a reality. Our hearts and minds would be renewed.

Getting to what’s at the heart of your spiritual life is what the Lord ultimately desires for your life… As Jesus said to his disciples, so he says to you and me: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:22-23).  

“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:29-31).

Your heavenly father knows your needs (yes, even bodily), and will provide abundantly for you as you seek his Kingdom first in your life.

Blessings,

Samantha

** 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. 

 

 

 

 

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The Secret to Raising Girls Who Live Out Kindness and Courage

This summer, my girls have enjoyed watching Cinderella (the 2015 film with Lily James). I’ve found myself quoting the movie to my girls a lot when they haven’t been getting along.

At the beginning of the film when Ella’s mother is on her deathbed, she says:

Ella, my darling. I want to tell you a secret, a great secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. You must always remember this: Have courage and be kind.”

Those last five words are what I’ve been saying a lot around my home.

Sinners Sin

Little did Ella know that her golden childhood would fade away as she grew older. She was banished to an attic and mistreated by her evil stepmother and stepsisters. But in spite of it all, she stood strong in the midst of adversity and clung to the words of her mother. We know how the rest of the story goes when she meets the handsome prince.

In real life, the truth is that we can all be like the angry stepmother when life tastes bitter. We were born sinners, therefore, we sin. We know very well that as moms, we ourselves aren’t always understanding and kind but we desire for our girls to be!

I was talking with my friend the other day who’s dealing with hitting, pinching, name-calling, and sassy attitudes. The attitudes can impact the entire household and make you fear how they’ll treat others who aren’t their siblings. I felt better that we weren’t the only ones dealing with non-princess-like behavior.

Seeking Jesus Alone

So often we try to find the next good parenting book, podcast, and inspirational quote. We seek counsel from all over, and more in how to raise godly girls. Many times, those are good things- don’t get me wrong as I’ve taken advantage of all those.

But how often do I first seek what Jesus has to say in his precious word about the attitudes and actions in our home? How often am I on my knees for my child’s wayward heart? And better yet, for my own heart that can be filled with pride?

In God’s Word, Jesus speaks to us. His word is alive and active—convicting us and revealing the depths of who we really are. It shows us how to live. In my own power, I don’t have the ability to change my child’s heart, but Jesus does. When I desire to see love in their hearts that I desperately desire, I must take them to the very source of kindness, love, peace, joy, gentleness, and self-control—Jesus alone. I must do the hard work of asking God to search my heart to see if there are any offensive ways in me. (Psalm 139:23-24).

A Work of God to Produce Kindness & Love

This cannot be done in my own strength or my girls’ unique abilities. It’s a work of God to transform their little hearts, making them moldable to his ways. But yes, let’s keep reinforcing the good truths even found in Cinderella.

Let’s keep encouraging our girls to do the right thing by including others, building each other up, speaking words that are sweet to the soul, not holding grudges, forgiving one another, making new friends feel welcome, choosing the narrow road, standing up for truth, being a friend to the lonely, and more. Let them see that we do these things in our lives, too.

Let’s not grow weary in teaching and modeling truth to them when it gets discouraging. Let’s be quick to ask forgiveness when we fail every day and lean on new mercies the next day.

Let’s remember that we’re sinners but we serve a great Savior who has washed our sins away, loved us in our mess, and saved us out of bondage. He is the King who has come to rescue us from our depravity.

Let’s keep reminding our girls that the greatest secret that will carry them through all of life’s trials is having an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ – the One who has the power to change the hardest heart.

Blessings to you,

Samantha

** This article was first published 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. 

 

 

 

 

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Why a Father’s Love is So Important

Recently my seven-year-old daughter put on her sun dress, tied a pony tail in her golden-brown hair, slapped on some tutti-frutti scented lip gloss, and headed straight for my husband.

“Daddy, look at me!” she said.

“Oh Rebekah, you look beautiful.”

She smiled with her head down, acting a bit shy but enjoying his presence.

Daughter or son, within every child lies a desire to please their father and win their undying love and attention. I was no different than my daughter. While my dad traveled a lot with work, I always anxiously awaited his arrival home. I loved cuddling up on his lap and rubbing my cheek against his five-o’clock shadow. I craved his affection and attention.

Daddy- the Protector

God has given daddies the wonderful privilege and responsibility of leading the home and protecting his family – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I asked my husband just this morning why he believes a father’s love is so important. I was curious to see how his answer would differ from what I was thinking. He said, “It plays a huge role in the overall trajectory of a child’s life.”

My husband grew up with a father who suffered deeply from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from Vietnam. He knows very well what this means as his own father struggled with anger and exploding from the trauma he experienced in war. My husband has had to depend on God’s strength to overcome his own battles from growing up with secondary PTSD.

Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior

When I think of the very course of a child’s life and the implications, I think of Psalm 127:3-5 which says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”

Because God says children are a blessing, not a burden, daddies have the privilege to bend and shape their child for God’s plans. They’ve been given the task of directing his arrows so that they’ll be purposeful and on point in service to God. Daddies have been given the position to ensure that his children will be on target in life, not missing the mark. He’s a steward of his children – training them to be arrows of righteousness who do good and not harm. This is his responsibility until the day he bends back the bow and sets each arrow free into the world.

The truth is that no earthly father will ever love and bend back his bow perfectly. Only our heavenly Father can do that. But we can’t forget that even in imperfect love, a daddy’s love, affection, time invested, and attention is critical and vital to the overall well-being and success of his child. Words spoken, behavior, lifestyle, actions, experiences, character, priorities of daddy and more will stay with his child all his life.

The Wonderful Challenge

It’s a wonderful challenge to seek the Lord’s help and direction even in weakness and the battle against sin. It’s a wonderful opportunity for daddies to view their children how God does– as a reward – a gift to open up and find delight. It’s a wonderful challenge for daddies who didn’t have a present father growing up, to choose a different way and find the healing they need in their heavenly father.

Daddies, your children need your strong hands and steadfast position on this battlefield. They are desperate for your voice, touch, strength, help, counsel, affection, leadership, godly wisdom, courage, and much more. Our culture desperately needs you too.

After my daughter was reassured by her daddy’s attention that day, she ran off and played freely- confident in his love for her no matter what.

** This article originally appeared on the 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. She enjoys connecting with readers on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

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Wives, this one desire could be hurting your marriage

It’d been a long day and my husband and I needed to begin our kids’ bedtime routine. While I finished up dishes, he lounged in the recliner looking at his phone to decompress from a busy day. I felt tension and anxiety welling up in me as our kids grew more hyper and silly from being overtired.

“Jeremiah, let’s go. Let’s get them down for bed,” I said.

“Okay,” he replied. “Let me finish reading this article.”

A few minutes later he still sat in the chair and I yelled: “Jeremiah. Come on!”

Eventually I nagged some more and sounded like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet. I was so obsessed with him taking action immediately that I kept reacting out of my impatience. My tone of voice was ugly, controlling, pushy, and disrespectful. My “request” turned into an argument that eventually broke our togetherness. If I would’ve given him time – like other occasions – it would’ve saved us from having an unnecessary blow up in front of our kids.

Where Control Originates

Ever since Adam and Eve indulged in the forbidden fruit and sin entered the world, within us lies this desire for control, to be contentious, and argumentative. The desire is so strong that we’d do just about anything to have it. However, this burning impulse to have all the control no matter the cost is not loving.

Proverbs 27:15-16 says, “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind…”

Proverbs likens a nagging, quarrelsome wife to the wind- it’s impossible to stop her quarreling once she starts. Her anger, emotions, and frustrations take over, making it impossible to calm down.  As I write this article, the wind is blowing like crazy where we live on the Colorado plains. There’s no way to prevent it from blasting through the trees or blowing my kids over. It comes and goes as it pleases and does not cease.

This kind of contention towards our husbands only causes distance, frustration, anger, feelings of being trapped, and more. My husband said it can make a man feel like he’s dying inside. Now that’s a pretty big deal.

Responding vs. Reacting

My ungodly reactions to him kept moving us toward conflict. My control was further damaging our relationship. In the book, The Mingling of Souls, Matt Chandler writes,

“When we learn to respond to each other rather than react, we will move much more quickly in our conflict toward resolution and reconciliation. Reactions only stoke the fires of conflict; responses, particularly godly ones, help us snuff out the conflict.”

How much different would my struggles have been if I gently responded instead of harshly reacted in selfishness?

Eventually, I began drawing the circle around myself and confessed my sin of control. But acknowledging it was only part of the process. I had to turn from it and seek forgiveness and reconciliation from Jeremiah. Yes, I needed his help, but nothing was happening in our home that was earth shattering at the moment and I could wait until he finished reading his article.

I had a choice on how I’d react when things aren’t done on my timetable. My eyes were opened to the fact that I feared something, too: a loss of control, cranky kids, not getting them in bed at a good time, and my own me-time afterwards.

Letting God take the Reigns

Thankfully, Jeremiah and I were able to extinguish the conflict and reconcile. As my husband’s best friend, lover, and helper, I’ll never completely get it right. I will fall in my sinful nature, but I have the choice to do what’s right. The greatest way I can show him respect and love is to let go of the desire to nag and control. When I release control, I let God take the reigns and be his Holy Spirit- he does a much better job anyway.

I begin not just knowing the famous love passage in Scripture but living it out:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Bringing it Home

Maybe you’re like me and control is a huge stronghold in your life. It’s never too late to begin asking God to show you areas that need real transformation. Ask God to change your heart of stone and make it soft and pliable. He is a gracious and loving Father to you. Begin by confessing it, repenting of your sin, and turning to Christ for help.

His desire is for our marriages to look like Jesus more and more as the years go by. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give your husband today is to release your struggles with being a controlling and nagging wife. Simply call it what it is. You may consider asking him if this describes you or how it makes him feel. Begin taking steps toward healing with him.

Conflict in marriage will be inevitable while on this earth, but choosing to respond in a godly way is God’s will- bringing the oneness, joy, peace, and wholeness that you desire in your relationship with your husband. God wants you to enjoy your relationship to the fullest while bringing glory to Him.

** 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. 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Child: Why You Can Always Depend on God’s Love

Before bedtime a few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter Rebekah looked me in the eyes and asked,

“Mom, but… who created God?”

Nighttime is always the perfect opportunity for theological questions and vulnerability from our kids.

“That’s a good question.” I said. “No one created Him. He has always been. He was here before everything.”

“You mean, he always existed?” her eyes grew wide.

“You got it. It’s amazing isn’t it?”

She paused for a minute.

“And, do you know how much he loves you?” I asked.

“Yeah … I think…” she looked up at the ceiling.

“He loves you so, so much- way beyond the moon,” I said.

“Can we read Princess Snowbelle now?” she flips open the first page.

I realize how “I think I know how much God loves me” is an honest answer. It’s difficult to understand. Not only is it unfathomable to think about God always being here before the foundations of the earth, but his love has too.

When I look at the canvas print on her wall showcasing the moment when she and her sister chopped their hair secretively in the kitchen one slow summer afternoon. God knew every strand cut then. He knows every lock that’s grown out. I observe her physical changes and how her face has matured since that photo. I think about how God knit and fashioned her in my womb and knew her before she was born.

Even though time is slipping away as I watch her permanent teeth grow in, her favorite sparkly leggings shrink, and her maturity developing at a rapid speed, God’s love remains steadfast and unchanging for her even in the midst of my imperfect motherly love.

There are many things I want to teach my daughter that it can be overwhelming. But perhaps I’ve made it more complicated than it should. There’s really only one thing that matters most in her life and it comes from Ephesians 3:17-19:

“… And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  

My daughter, I want you to know this about God’s love:

“Be rooted and established in love …” (vs. 17)

May you know this love intimately from your Creator and heavenly Father. Be rooted in love, like a tree planted by streams of living water that never grows thirsty or dry but is constantly a source of life, growth, and blessing. I pray your life will be grounded on God’s overflowing love because everything you do springs forth from that.

“Grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” (vs. 18)

You can trust in God’s love because he proved it by sending Jesus to save you from every sin, bad word, wrong behavior, offensive action, or thought. In Christ, you have the power to grasp this love and to believe it personally. His death on the cross and resurrection proved this love and that he is indeed King forever and in fact King and rescuer of your heart.

“Know this love that surpasses knowledge…” (vs. 19)

You can depend on him to love you like no other earthly daddy, mommy, or man ever could because love is who he is. His love isn’t broken, half-hearted, or lukewarm. His love for you is perfect, complete, and a consuming fire. No person can even compare to him.

Even though human relationships will inevitably let you down and cause you pain at times, Jesus won’t. His love surpasses human knowledge or wisdom because it is from above – it’s not of this world. It goes beyond the mind and into the heart. You don’t have to be on a chase to find an earthly love to satisfy what only God can.

“That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God …” (vs. 19)

There’s so much the world wants to pour into your heart from a young age: the desire to be beautiful, popular, accepted, noticed, followed, liked, and treasured. I pray you’ll experience the fullness of God being near to your heart. He is the source of your joy, satisfaction, and happiness. Live for him and not the short-lived approval of your peers. Grab hold of how good and wonderful He is. He will show himself to you.

Because of his deep love for you, love Jesus in return by worshipping him with every ounce of your being. You were made to glorify him and enjoy him forever.

May our daughters grasp this love and believe it their whole life. May God’s kindness draw them in as it did for us (Romans 2:4). As mothers, may we tangibly display this love in their life with God’s continual help and guidance.

Rebekah’s eyes are glazed over after reading about princess friendship in Frostovia. I close the book, say prayers, and kiss her goodnight. She peeks out her window and sees the light shining in from the moon.

“God is watching over me. Goodnight, Mommy.”

 

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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Learn These Three Questions to Draw You and Your Spouse Together

The furniture looked like something dated from the 70’s. There was no luxury beach out our patio door or even a pool, and we were in the middle of the Garden Isle of Kauai. Instead, I stared at a green rustic cabana with an outdoor tub and shower. Not to mention there was no central air. This was not my idea of a honeymoon and I sure let my husband Jeremiah know.

Jeremiah was hurt. I was disappointed. He became angry. He worked hard to plan the perfect place. We were in a shouting match for the ages. We were terrified that in the couple days before when we stood at the altar that somehow we’d made a colossal mistake. Eventually, he reluctantly took us to a resort and charged an enormous sum to our credit card.

In that moment, we were more concerned about declaring our opinions about the other person’s failure than asking questions to know the other person’s heart. The prideful path we were starting out on as newlyweds was clearly not God’s plan.

When we reflect back on that time in our life, we laugh now. Life was so different. We were different. By God’s grace, so much has changed for the good. We’ve learned over time the power of asking questions. No matter where you are in your marriage journey, here are three questions every couple should ask that will help bring them together instead of apart:

1.) Will you forgive me?

When hungry-for-answers Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?

Jesus responds, “I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven.”

I can imagine the look on Peter’s face. Often, we think there’s a certain number of times we can only forgive and then we’re done. Everything in our fleshly nature wants to remain in bitterness and resentment especially when a wrongful act has been committed against us: How dare he commit such an act against me?

It takes the power of Jesus and his word to help us choose forgiveness when everything in us does not want to forgive. But Jesus commands us to forgive, regardless if the feelings aren’t there. And he’s our perfect example who has forgiven us for every sin we’ve ever committed. There is life-change in the question, “Will you forgive me?” It’s the first step to healing, restoration, and being one in spirit again.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”Ephesians 4:31-32

2.) How can I serve you today?

When my feet hit the floor in the morning and I turn on my Keurig to insert that anticipated k-cup, I’m thinking about myself and my needs. It takes a conscious effort to look at the needs of my husband and think about how I can encourage and serve him. I can imagine how different our marriage would look if that was my attitude every day.

When we think about the life of Jesus and who he was to the people he came to save, it’s amazing that he got down on his knees, took a towel, and washed his disciples’ dirty, stinky, calloused, smelly, worn-out feet. He wasn’t thinking about his own agenda, but that of the Father’s. His mission was to serve and he lived it out faithfully.

In marriage, our mission should be to serve. That’s what truly makes you a great spouse. “How can I serve you today?” will help you see what your spouse needs just for today. The answer to that question will help you know how to practically meet that need and in turn strengthen your relationship.

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” – Matthew 23:11

3.) Where would you say we’re drifting apart?  

Sometimes in our “heated conversations” I have to remember that Jeremiah and I are a team even when it feels like the roof is caving in on us. One time it literally did in our first home! We’re not against each other even though it feels like it. The truth is that we have an Enemy and our sinful natures warring against us constantly trying to tear us apart from being one flesh.

“Where would you say we’re drifting apart?” is a question worth asking. Sometimes our bank accounts, weekly schedules, and personal goals can be more inwardly focused and unknowingly exclude the other person. This question helps you pinpoint areas for growth in your relationship. And we all have them! God calls you and your spouse toward oneness and doesn’t want you to settle for less.

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:6

These questions aren’t easy. Not one bit. But they’re necessary. Jeremiah and I cannot go back and undo the past. We can only learn from it. We can only wonder how much frustration we would have spared our marriage had we possessed the humility to ask these questions of each other more quickly. 12 years later, we’re still learning how to ask these questions.

We did, in fact, resolve our differences after the dust settled that honeymoon day way back then. We had to do some soul searching. We eventually mustered up the strength to overcome the pride within us and ask for forgiveness. We had to take an other-person-centered attitude in order to learn to become one flesh.

Well, after only having been at the resort for two days, we were sitting at the poolside living out our honeymoon dreams. I looked at Jeremiah and asked, “Can we go back to the cabana? I kind of miss it.”

His face turned beat red.

 

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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