When You Find Yourself in a Season of “Stuck”

My three-year-old has been obsessed with going to his room and dressing himself multiple times a day. Recently, I heard a bloodcurdling scream in our living room. I ran to Will as he yelled, “I can’t ge-t-t-it. It’s stu-u-u-ck!” He couldn’t pull the zipper up on his shorts – it was stuck on the fabric. Tears streamed down his eyes.

“Mommy can help you. This isn’t as bad as you think,” I said.

I zipped up his shorts and dried his tears. He ran off to play trains and I was thankful for a drama-free resolve that didn’t include blood or else I would’ve passed out.

In our own lives, what is it about being stuck that makes us feel like we’re screaming inside? Maybe you’ve found yourself sitting on the sidelines waiting to get in the game. You’re not progressing like you want to in parenting your defiant children, career success, marital health, in-law issues, finances, weight loss, and more. You’re simply unsure of what to do next.

I don’t know about you but when I’m not seeing the completion of a process, I feel like a failure and that I’m not doing enough. Is it even okay to be in the in-between?

After publishing my first book, I’m continually asking God what is next? I’m cautious about what big project I jump into next and how it might impact my family and sanity with young children. I’m sometimes fearful of tackling the unknown and something altogether new.

Lately, I’m remembering the mantra my mom often tells me from one of her favorite authors and spiritual mentors, the late Elisabeth Elliott: Do the Next Thing. To which I translate: Do something. Just show up. Don’t stress about a future that isn’t here yet. Be obedient to God’s word and to prayer. Be present and available in the tasks he has before you right now. Don’t detest those baby steps.

“Doing the next thing” is an action that means moving forward. So, I’m writing the next article, pursuing publishing contacts, growing my relationships with author friends, and continuing to write for my local paper and other websites. I’m surprising weary moms with my book in a goodie box (my favorite part!).

God is working in the still spots and He isn’t aloof to my desires. He’s here. He’s more concerned about my contentment and trust in him than the outcomes I want.

This season of “stuck” for you? It won’t last forever just as the overcast April rains soon bring us clear blue skies. Maybe your next thing will be to seek the support of a trusted friend, join that financial peace class, schedule to meet with a counselor, begin writing that book burning wildly in your heart, quit your 9-5 job and create a business from scratch, download a good fitness app to keep on track, or pursue healing with your spouse.

As I was there to help my son’s zipper situation and calm his tantrum so he could get on with playing, God will come to your aid in just the right time and lift you up in the perfect way He sees fit.

Blessings to you,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mama to 4. She is the author of the new devotional for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.

 

 

 

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A Letter to My Single Self

Dear Self:

You’re 21. You just graduated from college but, to your dismay, after four years of rigorous studies, you never got your MRS degree. All your roommates had serious boyfriends who became husbands, but you’re still wondering when it’s your turn.

You’ve dated some really good guys but nothing serious ever came about. You’re remembering the advice from your dad who said you didn’t need a serious boyfriend in college. But… college is over. You’re on your way to Nashville for a publishing internship and you’re praying God will bring you someone special.

Well at this season in your life, if I could have a heart-to-heart conversation with you over coffee (or rather tea—your Starbucks addiction won’t come until you have a newborn), there are just a few things I’d say to you while you’re still single…

Continue reading over on StartMarriageRight.com

Don’t Tell Me To Be Patient

“I want to ride bikes, Mommy!”

My three-year-old pleads with me as we’re riding the elevator up to our apartment.

“Not right now, John. We have to put the groceries away.”

“Noooo! I want to ride bikes now!” He screams a little more and throws himself on the floor.

After a few minutes, the fact that we won’t be riding bikes settles in. He whines, gets up, and follows me into our place.

Even from infancy, patience isn’t a word that we quite understand. It’s not a practice that comes naturally. If anything, no matter how old we are, we often detest the very word and act itself.

I didn’t set any specific New Year’s resolutions this year (surprisingly because I’m typically very goal oriented), but I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to work on practicing patience in my life- simply because I feel like this is one of the hardest virtues and spiritual disciplines to live out.

I need the person standing in front of me to move out of the way because I have two screaming children and need to check out

I want God to lead and guide our family, right now, to the perfect neighborhood after our lease is up in seminary housing

I want my friendships to grow on a deeper level, now.

I want to see the physical results immediately from my strength training class I take every week

I need God to heal the broken and sinful areas in my heart, right now. Why does sanctification have to be such a process?

I want all my dreams to be fulfilled now because time is of the essence. Besides, I turn 30 this year and I’m not getting any younger!

Our concept of time is so different from God’s. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Timing doesn’t thwart His plans or throw him off schedule. Thankfully, He’s told us a lot about patience in His Word, one being that we have to put it on. He knew that patience wouldn’t exactly be a part of our everyday wardrobe.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience… Col. 3:12

There it is. A command that we must follow and obey. And we are His children.

Holy. Chosen. Beloved.

He is taking care of me and I don’t need to fret about the things I can’t see clearly or the prayers that have been left unanswered. If I’m to put on patience, then that means I must take off any impatience, anxious thoughts, pride, irritability, anger, and more. Any sin that hinders me from living the life God intends.

In the book Faith That Does Not Falter, Elisabeth Elliot writes:

We want answers now, right now, but we are required at times to walk in darkness.

If God requires me to walk in seasons of darkness, then I know that eventually His light will shine through and prayers will be answered according to His good and perfect will.

Article: Letters to My Future Husband

photo credit: StartMarriageRight.com

Before I went off to college, finding a husband was always on my mind. I had shared that desire with a friend who was married and she suggested I start writing journal entries to him during the waiting process. It had helped her a lot.

I was all over her advice because I loved to write and reflect anyway. I had five spiral bound journals I’d written in since middle school. Yellow legal pads were always laying around our house, so I got one out and wrote my first entry on Dec. 16, 2001…

Today I’m contributing over at StartMarriageRight.com. Continue Reading and join the conversation.

How to depend on God’s grace

Kauai, Hawaii

On our honeymoon four and a half years ago, Jeremiah and I went on a hike via horseback throughout the lush terrain of Kauai, Hawaii. Mid way through the excursion, we planted ourselves at a waterfall to get water, rest, and eat sandwiches. After our bellies were full, we jumped into the water and swam up to the waterfall. We climbed to the rocks behind it and sat still for a few minutes, refreshed by the waterfall and refreshed in our new union.

Lately, I’ve been picturing that waterfall like God’s Grace. So constant. Abundant. Energizing. A beautiful downpour.

And I’ve never seen it quite like this before. When I could be headed down a dangerous path, God’s grace somehow sustains me. When I don’t deserve certain gifts, grace keeps me.

I think when we realize that God’s grace is always available, we stop trying to do “good” works all the time and we depend on him. We see that He’s not in heaven throwing lighting bolts down into our living room. We don’t have to earn his favor. We don’t have to live life chained to bad habits, addictions, or lies. We have his grace to draw from and to help us where we are weak.

Here are some practical ways I’ve been trying to depend on God’s grace:

  • When I’m impatient with my son’s fits or actions – I remember that God is working patience within me and it doesn’t come over night. God is teaching me in the same way I’m teaching my son.
  • When my tone is critical or harsh towards my husband– I remember that I’ve grown leaps and bounds in this and it will be a process of sanctification and a willingness to obey God’s Word instead of go off my feelings.
  • When I don’t love people well in my thoughts or actions– God loves me still, gives me the opportunity to repent, confess that sin to others, seek reconciliation, and do things different next time.
  • When I don’t love God the way I should by spending time with Him– He reminds me of where I’m wavering and that he is better than life itself and gives me the desire to open his word and enjoy him.

To sit under the waterfall of grace, there is no place on earth like it because it changes the way you see everything and most importantly the way you view God. You can be encouraged that he won’t give up on you and will sustain you until the end.

What do you appreciate most about grace?

Article on Radiantmag.com today

Two years ago, fresh into marriage, Jeremiah and I went through a major trial. Several months ago, I finally felt led to write about it and I submitted it to Radiantmag.com. They posted it today. Click here to read it. It’s called When the Clock Struck Two.

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