Why I Choose to Connect with You, and Not Compete

One day in the midst of the craziness of getting my coffee made, I scrolled through Facebook for a mommy break. In the newsfeed, my friend Katie had shared a photo of her pristine, cute, crafty living room that looked like a Pinterest explosion. My eyes were glued to the design in her home and the eye candy on her walls!

She’s so much more gifted than I am. How does she do it? My home isn’t as beautiful as hers. Sadly, I dwelt on these thoughts and they put me in a bad mood. I was holding up the measuring stick to a dear, trusted friend of mine. I was competing and comparing and it had the best of me.

A few months later, I didn’t heat up another coffee cup in the microwave but instead got one at Starbucks with Katie. We talked about our struggles and I shared how I compared myself to her and all her gifts. She revealed how she’d done the same with other mom friends who were always going on outings with their kids.

“I can barely get out of the house each day,” she mentioned. “I feel like I’m not doing enough with my kids.”

I felt similar feelings. We laughed and talked about how you rarely see the whole picture of a friend’s life in your highlight reels. You see the joys and milestones, rarely the fighting with your husband, no make-up, unshaved legs, disaster-of-a-house kind of days, the dark reality of depression, defiant children, a broken marriage, tears on your pillow at night, or the pain of how life can be so stinkin’ hard (literally).

It’s much easier to be preoccupied with another friend’s perfect life, instead of choosing to have a heart full of gratitude for own own.

There is a way to celebrate those gifts and talents we see in our friends: the friend who can creatively homeschool all five of her kids and still remain sane. The friend who lives, eats, and breathes essential oils when you have no idea how to use them. The friend who eats squeaky clean and has chiseled shoulders from Beachboy workouts when you’re eating your kids’ processed mac and cheese. The friend who managed to fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans within two weeks after giving birth.

The friend who can sell Plexus, LuLaRoe, Norwex, and Rodan + Fields like nobody’s business. The friend whose husband can build anything from a scrap of wood. The friend who is traveling the world, while you’re wiping nasty noses and changing dirty diapers. The friend who seems to juggle ten different responsibilities when you can barely muster up one simple task. And more…

Comparisons sneak up in all kinds of ways and they indeed steal joy, but we can choose to be devoted to love and honor one another above ourselves (Romans 12:10). We can choose to praise each other for the gifts God has given us.

It takes time, humility, understanding, love, and patience to connect, instead of compete with one another in our hearts. It requires pulling up a chair at the table and listening. It also means calling competition and comparison what it is: Sin.

Envy, jealousy, and covetousness is not the way God desires for us to live. There is a better way. A more freeing, satisfying, and joyful way. There’s so much gratification, fulfillment, and sweet friendship when we connect with our friends to learn the full story of who they are and their unique challenges, not just making judgments from the mere snapshots on the screen. Because the Lord knows, we’ve all got mountains to climb!

When we reach out, it gives us a better appreciation for one another and helps us see that we’re simply not alone. Most of all, we discover the blessing of a friend knowing who we really are and loving us still– and vice versa– which is perhaps what our hearts have been longing for in the first place.

In my sinful nature, I still struggle at times with competing, but I’m determined to confess it to God, do my best to catch myself when I do, and instead ask a friend out for coffee.

If you’ve read Quiet Time, this story is what I’m referring to on Page 5. If you haven’t read a copy yet, you can do so here.

 

Samantha Krieger is a wife, mother, and writer in rural Colorado. 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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{Photos} Quiet Time Devotional Book Signing at Inklings & More Bookstore – Holyoke, CO

Last weekend, I had a wonderful time signing my new devotional book at our local bookstore Inklings and More in Holyoke (which is adorable by the way, for you out-of-towners. It even has a coffee shop/bakery attached to it… and a craft store… and an antique store.. and more!).

Several months ago, they not only asked to carry my book but offered to let me have a book signing. I jumped at the opportunity! Upon arriving, sneaky and thoughtful Bev from our church surprised me with teal carnations, a cute coffee mug, and lollipops to decorate the table.

Joylyn at the bookstore was a huge help in making sure the table was set up and there wasn’t too much sun coming in the window. She took care of a lot of the details. My friend Leslie snapped these photos and I’m so thankful she did because I probably would have forgotten. My friend Jean helped me manage the table and provided the humor (as always).

My moms Bible study surprised me at the very beginning and it was so much fun seeing them. I really enjoyed interacting with visitors and friends. Many who came by bought multiple copies for their friends and family. My husband is not in these photos as he was taking care of our kids, but he was a huge part of this project from start to finish, and continues to be. He snapped a photo and put it on social media and it was fun to see friends and family from a distance getting excited about the book and sharing it from Amazon.com.

Many thanks to owners Lucas and Jennifer Hayes, and Susan Hinck for allowing me to be here and share about Quiet Time! You do such a great job with Inklings and More. Our community is thankful for you. Thank you to my readers, friends, and family for your continued support in launching Quiet Time!

 

Samantha Krieger is a wife, mother, and writer in rural Colorado. She is the author of the new devotional for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.

{BOOK GIVEAWAY} Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches

I’m so excited to announce that my new devotional book for moms, Quiet Time, has officially released! I’ve been so grateful for the finished product and that it is reaching moms with hope and encouragement. It is now available to order on Amazon – paperback and Kindle versions. I’m also giving away two copies along with some Windrift Hill cucumber melon soap.

** To enter the giveaway:

1.) Leave a Comment on how you get quiet time for your self and soul.

2.) Share this post via social media and tag one friend you’re thankful for.

That’s it!

Giveaway Ends NEXT TUESDAY, December 20. Winners will be notified.

BABY BODY {an excerpt from the Quiet Time Devotional Book for Moms}

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“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,

to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,

which is your spiritual worship.”

Romans 12:1

“Sometimes when I look in the mirror or see photos of my post-baby body times four, I cringe a little. I knew my body had changed dramatically through each unique pregnancy, but the full impact hits me when I see the proof. A squishy belly that my kids love to blow their sticky lips on, a larger pant size, purplish-blue varicose veins, stretch marks, and other unpleasant sights have surfaced that didn’t exist before. I’m often amazed that my husband still finds me attractive after all my body has gone through.

I’ve often thought about what God would want us to know about our bodies. After all, he knows we’ve birthed a live human being into this world—many of us multiple human beings. We’ve fed our babies, clothed them, and watched over their very livelihood. We’ve sacrificed nearly 24 hours a day for them. Is the physical sacrifice we have made and are making worth it?

The new marks we wear are battle wounds that signify something so much greater than the eye can see. Of course there’s nothing wrong with watching carefully what we eat, exercising, and eventually burning off the weight, but honoring God in that process is most important. We could be consumed with our health where it’s an idol, or we might not be concerned at all, which isn’t good either.

The truth is that our baby bodies, no matter what shape and size, are pleasing to the Lord. They reveal the physical, emotional, and spiritual sacrifices we make for our children every day. They signify the new life we’ve prepared for, prayed over, and laboriously delivered into this world. They remind us of the reward we have in raising our children and offering them to the Lord each day.

We’re called to offer our bodies as living sacrifices unto the Lord, holy and acceptable. This is our act of worship to him. Worship to him isn’t reserved just for Sunday mornings but is a lifestyle throughout the week. The physical sacrifices of putting our children’s needs before our own, nursing our baby around the clock, easing the pain of a sick one, changing multiple diapers, losing sleep, cleaning up messes, managing meltdowns, watching over their safety, and more are all sweet sacrifices God sees and delights in.

Giving up the right to yourself in order to invest selflessly into the life of your precious child is a beautiful thing. Giving your body wholly to God and honoring him as you raise your children is an act of love and service to him that should never be devalued and diminished. God sees your effort and delights in it.”

PRAYER: God, my body is yours to do with as you please. Help me to honor you today and remember the great sacrifice I’m making as I invest in the lives of my children. I give myself wholly to you to do as you will in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

quiet-times-large-title-front-cover-kindle** This excerpt is from my new devotional book Quiet Time. 

** The QUIET TIME  E-BOOK is now available for pre-order in the Kindle store on Amazon.     <—- click here to download

** The paperback version will release at the end of the month!

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Open Door – {an excerpt from the Quiet Time Devotional book for Moms}

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OPEN DOOR

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

1 Peter 4:9

A fresh-from-scratch poppy seed Bundt cake for our neighbors, a trusted place to drop off your kids for a few hours, a glass of sweet tea to cool you off, or just a place to sit and talk, that was the atmosphere my mom created in my home growing up in the Carolinas. One of the greatest gifts my mom gave my dad, sister, and me growing up and continues to radiate in is hospitality.

My high school friend Jen would often say, “Every time I come in your kitchen, I want to e-e-a-a-t!” The aroma smelled like an apple pie endlessly baking in the oven. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, our table was set like the front cover of a Williams-Sonoma cookbook. Every glass cup, plate, and piece of silverware in its perfect place, gracefully decorated. Best of all, my mom made people feel accepted, special, and important—even the plumber. To this day, I love reminiscing about the environment she created for us.

Her youngest daughter, on the other hand (that would be me), has burnt broccoli and other dishes multiple times. I’ve misread ingredients. I once made a chocolate cake that made my friend Mallory nearly choke to death due to baking soda overload. I’ve dished out the weirdest concoctions on the dinner table. I’m not always the neatest in my home. I’m clean, but a bit cluttery. I blame it on being creative. Showing hospitality makes me shake in my boots, gives me anxiety, and causes my control-freak tendencies to protrude.

So when I read verses like 1 Peter 4:9, I’m both challenged and convicted. Scripture clearly teaches that as Christ-followers we’re to practice being hospitable to one another. Key word: Practice. Yeah right, you may be thinking. My house is a disaster, macaroni is glued to my floor, I haven’t vacuumed in months, and don’t you dare step a foot in my filthy bathroom! I’m right there with you.

The clincher, though, is that we’re taught to do this “without grumbling”… Murmuring is the expression of secret and sullen discontent. In other words, it is a form of covetousness—having desire for something God has not given you. Not trusting God for what he has given you. Hospitality isn’t drudgery but is a gift from God, and we have incredible opportunities to change the world through this gift in a way that nobody else can. In this way, hospitality can be freely offered with joy and without complaining.

When our doors are open, others can sense a belonging and a welcoming that is difficult to find in this cold, dark, and lonely world. When our home is accessible to outsiders, whether that includes our mom friends, their children, our kids’ friends, neighbors, or strangers, it communicates, “I welcome you. I love and accept you. I invite you in.” This is the gospel lived out in one of the most practical, tangible ways.

An open door also invites others into the craziness of our own life. It doesn’t always have to be complicated either. If dinner is too overwhelming, sharing a cup of tea or coffee will do. If the house is a mess, inviting them to sit next to the overflowing pile of laundry can suffice. I’ve done that many times. People will see you for what your home life is really like and recognize you’re pretty normal after all.

I’m convinced that if we waited until our home was pristine and picked up, we’d never welcome anyone inside. Practicing hospitality is a gift to others and an opportunity for others to know the real you. Who’s God calling you to invite in to the four corners of your beautiful mess? Chances are good that in turn, you’ll be invited into their mess too.

PRAYER: Jesus, my natural bent is toward selfishness. I’d rather isolate myself than invite others in to see my reality. Give me the desire to reach out and be a welcome mat for others so they’ll see your love and goodness. Amen.

This excerpt was taken from my new devotional book Quiet Time that releases at the end of the month. If you would like to be on the Launch Team, there is still time. Please fill out your email in the form below and you’ll be sent an Advanced Electronic Copy to review and details on how you can help spread the word. Thank you!

 

Exciting Writing News (& How You Can Help!)

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final stages of tweaks {New Leaf Creative Studio}

Even when we give up on our dreams, God doesn’t. Even when we doubt him, he is still faithful. Our desires may be fulfilled differently than we think, but that doesn’t mean God has forgotten them. He knows best and his timing is perfect.

When Jeremiah and I returned from our 10-year anniversary trip this past summer, I received an email from a big-name publisher about my interest in writing a devotional book with an author many of us know in the Christian community. I was beaming with excitement – heartbeat racing and all! I was one of 3 writers to submit samples but as I got further into the process, I learned that it was going to be a ghostwrite and not a cowrite to my dismay.

After seeking counsel and being still for a while, I respectfully declined as ghostwriting wasn’t in line with my personal writing goals or something I felt comfortable with. Through that experience however, I learned so much. Feeling somewhat stuck and discouraged, I began answering my own question, What if I write my own devotional book? I’ve always had a burning message in my heart to communicate to moms who are struggling. Jeremiah really encouraged me to do what I felt most excited about right nowThat was June. This is October. And here we are…

I’m thrilled to let you know that I’ll be releasing my first book (Kindle & paperback versions) called Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. I will be talking about it more this month, but I wanted to begin sharing now.

Quiet Time is all about encouraging and strengthening moms in the trenches of motherhood who are daily battling tantrums, sibling fights, defiance, emotional ups and downs, sleepless nights, depression, and more. This devotional book helps address the worthiness of the calling in the midst of the sacrifice. On each page, moms will find their calm in Christ and be reassured that they’re not alone, God is with them, and their work is worthy.

14489737_10102850710146368_1307227125_oRight now, I’m building a Street Team of readers and friends who will come alongside me to share the book with others. I truly believe in the power of community and that this project is a team effort. I would love for you to consider joining me.

As a part of the Street Team, you will be helping me get the word out about the book and also being a huge part of encouraging young moms.

What is required to be on the Street Team?

1.) Read a PDF copy of the book. You will receive a free PDF copy of the book before it goes on sale. (a month before it releases)

2.) Write a positive Amazon Review. Once you’ve read the book and if you like it, I would love for you to share a positive Amazon review during the launch.

3.) Share on social media. Provide a link on your social media accounts where friends/family can learn more about the book.

And I have a few other goodies up my sleeve as well. If you’re not a mom, I still welcome you to read it and share it. If you can’t commit to being on my street team, I value your prayers as we near the end of the process and launch the book.

If you would like to join me on the Street Team, please fill out your information on the form below and I will be in touch with you. Thank you so much!

Samantha

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