The really good things rural living has taught me – #lovewhereyoulive

Over three years ago, we packed up our life and left Dallas, Texas for Holyoke, Colorado – a tiny town 2.5 hours Northeast of Denver – for my husband to be the pastor of First Baptist Church. We left our family, our friends, and the comforts and amenities of the big city to follow God’s calling on our lives. It’s crazy how we didn’t even know Holyoke existed on the map.

I remember when we first drove into town and feeling almost instantly refreshed looking at the wide open spaces instead of the interstates that intertwined like spaghetti. This new way of life would be different- more simplified and involve less distractions. This lifestyle would give my soul room to breathe, to hone my talents and gifts, and allow my children to grow up around livestock, land, and agriculture.

And what I’ve found to be true is the joy God has given me living here. More than I could imagine.

Rural living has taught me:

  • to slow down and savor the small things that don’t look so grand at first but are a treasure to behold
  • that God has given us the gift of nature to praise him and delight in his glorious creation
  • to love and serve the people right near me and to embrace how everyone is connected in a small town
  • how to truly love people when you know a whole lot about them!
  • that God loves and pursues people in remote areas just as he does anywhere else
  • that ministering in a rural area has its unique challenges and drama, but the joys outweigh the difficulties
  • to greater appreciate when rain falls from the sky!

Don’t get me wrong. There are days we miss the attractions of the big city. Just the other day my seven-year-old Rebekah said,

“Mom, there’s MORE to do in the city. I miss the trampoline park, Chick-fil-a, and the Arboretum. I miss the buildings everywhere! And Target!”

“But there’s so much in the country that’s so good for us,” I told Bekah. “The animals, community spirit, closeness to your school, parades, riding our bikes around town, walking to school, your friends, and you wouldn’t get to ride horses (her favorite animal) like you do here. There’s a lot to be thankful for.”

She paused and didn’t say much, but I know deep down there are many things she loves about being here.

There’s always that temptation to think the grass is greener elsewhere and we have to be in the center of the excitement. And there’s a time for that. We take short trips to Denver and Colorado Springs to get away but we always love coming home.

There’s all kinds of beauty past these dusty dirt roads – I just have to continue seeing it every day.

Rural living is the right kind of living for me

I love that God still does big things in our hearts too in remote areas. He teaches me humility, understanding, patience, and helps me see that He’s working in all corners of the world and cares about the middle-of-nowhere too. He reminds me to delight in Him right here – the Creator of it all.

Some would call rural living mundane, ordinary, and nothing of significance but I beg to differ. Rural life has given me a greater appreciation for hard work, our farmers, and for life and death. When someone dies, everyone grieves. When a baby is born, everyone celebrates. There’s a community spirit that is unique and special. When tragedy strikes, people link arms and serve one another. Love is displayed in powerful ways like I’ve never seen before.

God’s also used the beauty out here to inspire me personally in new ways. Some days all I need is my camera or phone and some golden light and I’m like a kid in a candy store. It’s inspired words in my heart that needed to come out on the computer.

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When I’m tempted to complain, doubt, or long for something else, He reminds me that He’s put us right where he wants us and to embrace the life we’ve been entrusted with right now. I consider living in a rural setting as one of his greatest gifts in my family’s season of life.

And in case you’re wondering after reading this post, Amazon does deliver out here. Now if only Starbucks could. I could use a pumpkin spiced latte right about now!

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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Why I need to simplify my life

simplifyThis past week I spent time in VA Beach visiting my sister and nephew. I came away from my trip with a lot of unexpected thoughts, refreshment, and a confession that  flying with a one-year-old is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Probably because I’m often impatient and struggle with people pleasing at times. Therefore I was constantly giving John toys or feeding him gold fish and pretzels to keep him from screaming the passengers’ ears off. I can still feel the frustration.

Anyhow, the one unexpected thought I came home with was to simplify.

Simplify in the sense of what I allow into my life. And it all started with a conversation my sister, mom, and I had about email and facebook. I think lately, a lot of my personal time has been dedicated to answering email and facebook comments. I don’t think I’d ever go as far as to say it’s an addiction, but maybe something I do a lot? I don’t know.

I know email and facebook are not bad things. The majority of us use them. But for me, too much of a good thing is a bad thing and I need to chill out for a bit. The world doesn’t need me. It will still go on. I don’t have to get back to people the moment they ask for something. It’s really okay. We’re all friends anyway.

So the last several days, I’ve checked my blog, email, or facebook about once or twice a day for a few minutes. It’s been so freeing to be detached. I’m excited to use the extra time to be intentional about playing with my son, spending time with my husband, hanging out with friends, enjoying God’s beauty, and soaking up what life is all about- real-life relationships.

My desire is that in the next few months I will accomplish things I never thought possible by living a more simple life when it comes to online habits. So please… check up on me and ask how I’m doing.

Are there any areas in your life where you’re learning to simplify, or at least would like to?

Truth on a Starbucks Sleeve

coffeeIt’s wet, cold, and rainy here in Dallas. I’m off work today as well due to a severe case of strep throat. Before my husband left to workout with his friend Jay, I hinted that I would love a warm cup of Starbucks. A few hours later he came in the door with one. I was so happy he remembered! While sipping on my white chocolate mocha, I noticed the writing on the sleeve advertising their new Tea Time drinks. It read ‘Your next “action item”: Do as Little As Possible.’ 

I just loved reading this simply because that is what I’m trying to do in my life. I don’t know if you struggle as much as I do with that “to-do list”. I have things to get done and when they don’t get done, I get frustrated. And sometimes my mood is determined by what hasn’t been done. I don’t focus on what has been done. As Americans I think we also characterize success by what we “do.” But I think we can be successful and still do only a little. Little in the fact that we’ve come to understand priorities, moderation, and balance in day to day life. Not being so overcommitted or stressing ourselves out to the point of physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion. Maybe it even comes down to not being so hard on ourselves to be all things to all people.

I saw this lived out on my trips to Argentina, Guatemala, and Africa. Tea time and siestas was a daily thing. They lived simple lives, they loved well, and were relationally driven. They probably have less heart attacks than we do. 

Success in the simple really is attainable. I’m striving hard for it. Do you think living a simple life is possible in our culture today?

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