Mom, you do it all and it’s amazing

It’s 6:30 a.m. and your feet hit the floor. You grab your favorite teal Yeti cup and hit the button on your Keurig. As the coffee pours out, you’re praying for extra grace and strength to face the day.

Meanwhile, one child has lost their socks and the other is screaming and yelling at her brother for touching her.

You sign school planners and field trip permission slips while pouring bowls of sugary cereal you didn’t want your husband to buy.

Finally, you pour that cream in your coffee and take a bite of the over-cooked eggs you were trying to make for yourself.

Next, you nurse the baby while simultaneously telling everyone what to do including your husband about his board meeting in 30 minutes.

You return back to your coffee and now it’s lukewarm so you heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds. You kiss your husband goodbye and wish him a better day than how yours is starting out.

While your coffee’s heating up, one child’s begging to wear her favorite rainbow unicorn outfit but it’s stinky and dirty so you throw it in the washer on Quick Wash cycle (best mom hack ever) hoping it will be dried in time for school.

Time keeps slipping away and it’s now 7:55 a.m. Your kids can’t be tardy. You juggle everyone out the door regardless of mismatched socks and uncombed hair – praying no one’s missing anything and they’re on time.

You help them work through their emotions and feelings of, “Mom, I don’t want to go to school!” And remind them, “Not going to school is not an option. Stop whining and complaining.”

You’re at the carpool drop-off line. Your kids are moving like snails out of the van. You tell them goodbye with a quick hug and kiss and a huge sigh of Thank you, Lord Jesus.

You drive home, pull in the driveway, and your phone rings. The kids’ elementary school pops up on caller ID. You roll your eyes.

“Mom, I forgot my lunch,” are the words on the other end of the line. You’re annoyed.

You walk in the door and sure enough, it’s sitting on the cluttered countertop. So you get back in the van and drive it to him reluctantly wondering if you’re spoiling him too much.

The van is finally quiet. The baby’s asleep in the car seat. No little voices are saying, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” It’s a taste of heaven.

Since your coffee’s still sitting in the microwave at home, you dart for the coffee shop drive-thru and order a VENTI iced white chocolate mocha (since you’re hot and sweaty) and an apple cinnamon scone – hoping your husband doesn’t text that you’re overspending the budget.

You pull in the driveway for the second time, but you stay put so you don’t wake up the baby. You sip your coffee and scroll social media newsfeeds in delightful solitude. You text your husband a few emoji kisses and how much you appreciate his hard work, too.

Oh, Momma, you really do it all, and it’s amazing. I know some days you think you don’t do anything (especially when people ask you all the time what you do all day?), but in reality, you’re doing everything.

You’re putting your family’s needs above your own. You’re sacrificing big time. Why?

Because of love. 

Sure, you’re not perfect. You yell sometimes, you’re impatient, you fall short, you struggle with control, you have wavering emotions and hormones, you’re majorly sleep deprived and sometimes crazy, you need mom friends who get you, and more…

But you’re still amazing.

I know tomorrow, you’ll be doing the same thing all over again when your feet hit the floor and you’ll most likely face more unexpected challenges. So, please, please, don’t forget:

You are seen. 

You are known. 

You are valued. 

You are loved. 

You are MOM.

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. Her writing appears regularly on Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting, and For the Family. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Dear Seasoned Mama, Thank You For Loving My Children and Me Unconditionally

Not too long ago my four-year-old son walked into the Sunday School class you faithfully teach every Sunday with a pouty face, chin tucked into his chest, and unhappy to be at church. Yet, you scooped him up in your arms and said,

“Come on, Will. We’re going to have fun.”

You loved him in spite of his struggles and took the load off my shoulders. You could see the anxiety and concern on my face, too. This happened for weeks on end and you never gave up on him.

You’ve not only loved him, but you’ve loved my three other kids with your hugs and genuine affection. You’ve taught them the Bible, fed their bellies, and helped them grow.

You’ve sent me encouraging Facebook posts telling me I would get through the hard times. You’ve never judged me as a mom based on my kids’ unpredictable behavior or my own struggles with control and anxiety.

You’ve reassured me when you said, “Oh I remember those days like they were yesterday.” Your personal stories have given me hope and inspiration.

Seasoned Mama, thank you for loving mamas with young children like me by just being there as a support and listening ear. Thank you for treating my children the same when they’re obedient and when they’re unlovely.

You’ve shown me…

CONTINUE READING on Her View From Home

 

Dear Son: Will You Please Stay 5 Forever?

Last night, we cuddled under your dream tent and read Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. As I read you squeezed my arm and said, “I love you, Mama” with your double-dimpled smile.

“I love you, too, Will. I want you to stay this age forever.”

“But I won’t,” you said so matter-of-factly.

And my heart ached a bit—tracing back to when your big brother was five and he’s now 10 years old strutting double digits, glasses, and a shoe size the same as mine. My eyes grew watery thinking about how fast time has gone with you and your siblings. And how you only have a few months left of morning preschool with Mrs. Brenda and Mrs. Ashley. In the fall, you’ll be heading out the door with a backpack and lunch sack just like your brother and sisters…

 

** Continue Reading my article this month over on Her View From Home.

 

Mama, this one powerful gift is already yours to give away

A few days ago, I was making pancakes and signing school planners. When I snuck away to put my makeup on, I overheard my eight-year-old daughter say to my husband, “Dad, where’s mom?”

Rebekah left the kitchen and searched the halls. Eventually, she found me in the bathroom.

“I just needed to know where you were,” she said.

And that’s when it hit me. She really does care even when we clash as mother and daughter, when we have our share of debates, and when I sometimes feel like I’m not doing motherhood right.

Truth is, she has mommy radar. She’s fully aware of how engaged I am and if I’m attentive to her needs. She knows when I’m fully present or partly present on my phone. She knows more than I often give her credit for. She just wants to know I’m near her when she’s working on a project, playing horses, or watching her favorite show.

I sometimes forget that my presence with my children is one of the greatest gifts I can give them.  Maybe that’s why the relationship experts say love is spelled T-I-M-E.

Social media might tell you otherwise, though. That you need to plan this certain vacation, do this awesome craft, sign up for this sport, buy that coveted L.O.L. doll, host the best birthday party for your child known to woman, and be everywhere to everyone at all times because you are, in fact, supermom. 

There’s a lot of talk about doing, but not much about just being. You and I were never called to be supermoms, but instead faithful in our calling.

Have we forgotten that being with our children in their most formative years is building their self-worth, security, relationships, and trust in their Heavenly father who loves and cares for them more than we do?

Our presence, love, care, and concern shows them a tangible example of how Jesus loves and provides for us unconditionally and wholeheartedly- in our deepest struggles, tears, tantrums, questions, fears, hurts, and brokenness. Our nearness to them communicates that we’re here no matter what and welcome all of who they are as children- that we care about the matters of their heart. 

Maybe we’ve forgotten the basics as moms? That the simple things in life are often the most precious and memorable to our children, and even to us. It doesn’t have to be complicated as we often make it.

When that day comes and they’re packing their life up and moving out of our house, may they know in their hearts,

My mom was present with me. I knew that without a doubt. Her love and investment have shaped me into who I am today.

Mama, you don’t have to do everything or be everything to everyone. You have permission to say “no” for the sake of your family. Maybe for just one day, you need to forget the to-do lists, the expectations, the newsfeeds, the perfect Pinterest pictures, being hard on yourself, and the “if only’s” and just be present with your children. I’ll try to do the same.

They need you more than anyone or anything else. Don’t underestimate the gift of your presence as Mommy to your children. It’s more powerful than you’ll ever know.

Blessings,

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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When I wondered if I was seen as a mom

A few days ago, my kids and I made our way to the local golf course to catch the hills for sledding. After several runs up and down the hills, I told the kids I was going to venture down the hill and take a walk in nature for a few minutes alone. They followed me down (mom radar!) and to our surprise we stumbled across a sparrow struggling in the deep white snow- all by herself.

My eight-year-old daughter Rebekah was the first to arrive on the scene and noticed the bird couldn’t fly even when it flapped its wings. She reached out her gloves and scooped up the bird even though I cautioned her not to mess with it.

“I’m fine mom. I have gloves on,” she said. I didn’t argue with her.

The kids and I continued to watch the bird and Rebekah kept following it and picking it up. It was sad to see the struggle especially for my ten-year-old son.

In motherhood, there are times I feel like that little sparrow just making her way through the trenches- yet deeply struggling to survive. The challenges involved in raising children can be overwhelming. It’s hard work that often goes unnoticed and is rarely praised. You don’t exactly get promotions and bonuses or affirmation from your boss.

Half the time, I’m just hoping I’m doing it right and praying, “God help me not to ruin my kids.” And then I pray that the love I bestow on them far outweighs my sin and failures.

Inward struggles exist as well – battling a stubborn sinful nature, impatience, anger, pride, worry, comparisons, depression, and anxiety to name a few.

That afternoon on the golf course reminded me of how Jesus sees and watches over the sparrow. How much more does he watch over me?

“Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns–and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

He knows me as his daughter- his child- who understands sorrow and struggle that took him to a rugged cross. He says I’m valuable. Will I live like I believe it?

He cares and is fully aware of the hardships I face- even the ones that might seem so minimal like regulating the constant fighting and battle of wills between my kids that can drive me to the edge. And the nights of lost sleep when I act like monster mom the next morning.

Truth is- I’m seen as a mom. You’re seen as a mom. We’re not alone – even in the times it feels like we’re barely making it through the snowstorm. Truth is- we all have struggles from one degree to another. And we need each other.

We need to tell each other, “You’re seen, and I think you’re doing a great job.”

We need each other to remind us that God sees- even when no one else seems to see or even care, quite frankly.

And those worries and anxieties we lug on a daily basis as moms?

He knows those too and He’s here to help us deal with them. We just need to throw them over to him like we’d willingly drop any heavy luggage weighing us down and keeping us from effectively moving forward.

 “Cast all your anxiety on Him for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

That day, the sparrow continued trying to fly but its wings were damaged, but that didn’t make her any less valuable.

Rebekah eventually carried her over to the brush – out of the deep snow that looked like it would swallow it whole. Rebekah understood we had to leave the bird and go home to warm up. She gently set the bird down and we walked up the hill to our car.

I knew that even though we were gone, that sparrow wasn’t truly alone. And I won’t forget the lessons it taught me that winter day.

** This article was first posted on TODAY Parents

 

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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Dear Son: May You Always Treasure the Women in Your Life

Dear Son:

Daddy texted me the photo of you at the hospital gift shop helping purchase a bouquet of pink and white roses for Mrs. Barbara in our church. It made me so proud to see you serving with your little hands and thinking of others.

Mrs. Barbara is a widow in our church who lost her husband years ago and was recovering from surgery. It brightened her day not only to receive a beautiful arrangement but also seeing you there with daddy.

My prayer for you is that you’ll always value and treasure the women in your life – no matter how young or old you are. That you’ll treat them with honor, respect, value, and great care as you would one of your most treasured possessions.

May you treat them with….

CONTINUE READING on Her View From Home

Dear Sons: This is what real men do


Not long ago, I was at the gas station and several men brushed by me in a hurry to get inside and the door slammed in my face. I don’t know if they were even aware I was there. But, it still made me feel unnoticed and uncared for as a woman.

The other day when I watched you holding the door for an older couple as they were making their way inside McDonald’s, it thrilled my heart to see you considering others on your own accord.

Even though chivalry might be dead in our culture today, thinking of others never gets old.

Keep seeing the needs around you, and meeting them.

Real men care for others.

When you hear crass words, cussing, and taunting from peers towards those who are vulnerable, stand up for them. Don’t participate in cruelty – choose life-giving words that instill courage into the fragile hearts of others.

Real men choose words of life, not death.

When you see others disrespecting their authority and completely unaware of their surroundings and how they impact others, choose to be different. Let their actions be a lesson to you. Respect your authority and be engaged where you’re at and in tune to what’s going on around you. Be aware of how your actions impact others – good and bad.

Real men understand that actions have consequences.

When the pressures of academics, friendships, family life, athletics, and more are weighing down on you, trust Jesus. Don’t quit and give up when it gets hard. A wise man once said, “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.”

Real men fall, but they get back up

Let your trials, hardships, and sufferings be your teacher. You will rise when you overcome your deepest failures and not let them overtake you – making you a slave to shame and fear. God desires to use the pressure points and pains in your life as a platform for him.

Every day you get to decide who you will be. It’s never too late to lead. People need someone brave to follow. They need to know goodness, love, hope, wisdom, guidance, strength, protection, integrity, purity, and more.

But I’ll tell you this. You may be the only one choosing right. And that’s okay. Do it anyway.

Real men were once young boys like you. And somewhere along the way, they chose to grow up. That same choice, my son, will be up to you. Until then, daddy and I promise to help you as best we know how – in the Lord’s strength.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. – 1 Cor. 13:11

I love you with all my heart,

Mama

 

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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God Sees You, Weary Mama – Her View From Home

I’m thrilled to be writing over on Her View From Home this week. It’s amazing how God can put opportunities in your lap without seeking them. Over a month ago after reading one of the most beautiful posts I’ve read in a long time about ministry by a wife and mom- Arianna with Choosing Freelen, I had to reach out to her to say thank you. When she responded to me, she said she read my blog, loved my writing, and encouraged me to submit to Her View. I felt a strong connection with her being a pastor’s kid herself (and my four children being PK’s), a wife, mama, and writer too.

I took her encouragement to heart and submitted some pieces to Her View. I’m so thankful for her heart and for the nudge to put myself out there. I absolutely love the community of writers on Her View and feel honored to share my words there. If you’re not following Her View From Home, do it now! They’re reaching a growing number of mamas with encouragement and support and the writing is beautiful. Here’s a snippet of my first piece and I hope you’ll head over there to read the rest.

 

Dear mama,

I saw you the other day at Target juggling three young children—one on the side of your hip, another sitting in the shopping cart with a runny nose, and your oldest scooping boxes of Fruit Loops into the cart. Your hair was up in a ponytail and you wore your favorite yoga pants and rose gold Fitbit around your wrist. You appeared a bit frazzled as you looked at your phone marking off food items from your list and making sure they fit the budget—wanting to please your husband.

And I wanted to tell you this: the work you’re doing is sacrificial, but it’s still so very sacred. Never forget that.

Sure, you don’t get promotions, bonuses, affirmation or praise from your boss and co-workers in your role as mommy. But you’re shaping a life as you care for the body and soul of those little feet toddling across your hardwood floors and spilling Goldfish as he goes, one crunch at a time.

I see you when you’re up at night for the third time breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, calming your teething baby, and wiping mustard-colored diapers while your husband snores.

I understand your frustrations when your 3-year-old absolutely refuses to put her socks on before preschool and you’re muttering cuss words under your breath.

I know what it feels like to experience loneliness and just needing a friend to vent to who accepts your struggles with yelling and being “monster mom”.

I see how skilled you are in balancing ….

CONTINUE READING over on Her View From Home

Motherhood & the moment that found me on a Tuesday afternoon

I dropped him off last Tuesday for his first day of preschool. I’m still wrapping my mind around the reality that this is his last year before Kindergarten. My fourth child Will is losing his baby face and becoming a young boy.

After picking him up, we made macaroni and peaches for lunch. We looked out the window and noticed the grey storm clouds rolling in. Rain began to fall and sounded like marbles dropping on our roof. After it settled down, we went outside to explore puddles and find worms.

“Momma, look the baby one! Aww!” Will exclaimed.

He’s always had a passionate love for bugs, worms, rolly pollies, frogs, and anything crawling.

As Will splashed in the puddles – stomping his camouflage boots- I knew this was the real stuff of life right here. Nothing fancy. Nothing grand. Not a Disney World experience. Just a rainy, typical Tuesday afternoon with my brown-eyed boy. Some would call it mundane, but I found it magical. Heavenly, in fact.

A moment where there were no struggles with his strong will, but he was completely content as a friend to the worms. It was a moment where we were together, and the cool breeze and leaves falling on the ground gave us joy that fall was on its way.

Will bent down near one of the puddles looking for new wiggly creatures. He scooped them up and stretched them out with his fingers.

“Look?! I’m tearing them apart Mommy!” his hands were shaped like a spider-web.

The rain water revealed a reflection of his little hand and I thought back on his delivery day that summer in August when his tiny little fingers curled around my own and he was completely dependent on me for his life and sustenance. When I couldn’t stop smelling his newborn scent or kissing his cheeks.

Now, he no longer needs the comfort and nourishment from my breasts but walks and runs as he pleases- constantly on the go and seeking adventure. This unlatching has brought new milestones and growth that have made him more and more independent. Yet, he still needs Mommy just as much as he did on the day of his birth.

In it all, God has been growing him in each precious season of his life. He has sustained his very life and breath. In the day to day, typical moments. In his first steps, words, and solid foods. In potty training, naps, and discipline. In making friends, learning to share, and listening to daddy and mommy. In sleeping, eating, and drinking. In reading books, walking to the park, riding bikes, and much more.

I’ve been grateful to be by my son’s side in every single stage—the challenging and the joyful. The I-just-blew-it moments. The mundane and the magnificent. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I know these are the days I’ll look back on when I’m older and want again.

After playing in the puddles and awaiting his brother and sister’s arrival home, out of nowhere Will gave me a huge squeeze on my cheeks – to the point where it kind of hurt. I then realized where those fingers had just been- ripping apart those worm bodies!

“Eww, Will! You got worm juice all over my face!” I cringed and squirmed. “Gross!” I yelled.

We laughed together, and he ran to grab the bottle of soap.

 

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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How we can still sing to God in our sorrows

As I stood on the other end of the line, frustration and anger burned within me. “They did what?” I asked my mom while we were away at a pastor’s conference for the purpose of being renewed and equipped in God’s word.

“Hannah and Will ran from me and hid under your Suburban and ended up getting oil all over themselves,” she said in a struggling, battle-worn tone as any mom or grandma would.

This was just one of the many incidents of disobedience she’d endured while keeping our four kids. Not only after praying it would all get better, on our way back we were delayed in coming to my mom’s aid due to a blizzard that shut down the roads and caused power outages.

I found myself crying out to God. When will it get better for her, Lord? When will my kids have a heart of submission and obedience? What do I need to do differently? I remembered Psalm 13 when David asks, How long, Oh Lord? How long?

After we ended the call, I tried my best to focus on the time we had at hand with our friends among wonderful teaching and preaching and to trust in the Lord’s provision. I recognized the spiritual warfare too. But still in the back of my mind I found myself asking:

How Long, Oh Lord?

Have you ever found yourself in a similar place as the Psalmist David? More specifically, he cries out in Psalm 13:1-3:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day? 

Perhaps you feel neglected and forgotten by God. Your prayers are hitting the roof, a thousand times over. You don’t see God’s face, hear his voice, or receive his words and counsel. So you feel the only thing left is to look for counsel in your own soul (and you know that never satisfies). You reside with sorrow in your heart all day long like David.

All of us go through these seasons in our soul whether through motherhood, marriage, family life, relationships, the loss of a loved one, broken friendships, and more. David understood that place, God did, and he understands our state too. There are times we need to acknowledge the state of our being and the sorrow within us- to question God and plead for answers because we are absolutely dependent on Him for our very life, breath, and hope. We’re dependent on him to lift our heads out of the muck.

Your Steadfast Love for Me

At the end of Psalm 13 in verse 5 David says, “ButI have trusted in your steadfast love;”

No matter the danger, difficulty, fear of death, and enemies surrounding him, he could place his faith and trust in God’s love for him.

And so can we. We can trust in God’s love that holds us fast. It’s not that we’re so good at holding on to him but he is holding us securely. His love is unmovable and unwavering even when we’re changing like the tides.

David continues:

“My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me.” – Psalm 13:5-6

His love alone gives us a reason to sing in our sorrows. A love that suffered, died on the cross, and rose again so that we could be set free from sin. Because he saved us and redeemed our life, we have joy. And one day, he will make all things new. Our hearts can sing because he is still good, gracious, and liberal in bestowing gifts on us each and every day.

I will Sing in my Sorrow

My kids didn’t exactly improve their behavior from the “rolling around in oil” episode and they had to face serious consequences when we got home, but I thank God for my mom’s humility, patience, grace, and sacrifice to love my children unconditionally. They asked for her forgiveness and understood how their sin was not okay and grieves God.

I thank God that my husband and I were spiritually fed and able to learn together for our ministry. There’s still pain in my heart in the longing for my children to obey immediately, but I know God hasn’t forgotten me as a mom. I know he is changing me in the sanctification process, too, and something beautiful will come out of it all.

I can still sing to Christ in the sorrows- great or small. His face will not be hidden forever and he knows me by name.

For his anger endures but a moment; in his will is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

 

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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