Dads and Moms: Five Reasons Why You Should Be Spoiling Your Kids Spiritually

What parent doesn’t love to spoil their kids – when they’re behaving of course?! I absolutely love rewarding my children when their behavior is exceptional – a date with mom, an ice-cream cone, a toy from the dollar aisle, or a fun getaway in nature. I also love spoiling my kids through the privilege of playing a sport they love or honing their musical skills.

Lately I’ve been challenged by the idea as to whether I’m spoiling them enough spiritually. Meaning, am I prioritizing their spiritual life above all the good things God gives us like sports, friends, social life, games, technology, and more? Am I lavish towards them in what will impact them for eternity – teaching them God’s word, spending time in devotions and prayer, memorizing Scripture, worshipping through our praise and thankfulness, making sure our home is one that reveals God’s love and acceptance?

Growing up, my dad and mom were intentional in how they raised my sister and me. Our spiritual lives were priority to them even as we were busy athletes. In fact, they chose our church primarily because it had a strong youth group. They also knew how important it was to set a foundation early so they encouraged us to take mission’s trips, attend Bible studies and Wednesday night Bible study, participate in church-wide evangelism, serve others through hospitality, engage in discipleship groups, read our Bibles and devotionals, and more.

I remember thinking one day, I can’t believe my parents are letting me do this, when traveling to Puerto Rico with my youth group to share the gospel and restore homes for others. I can’t recall a time when they said “no” to opportunities that would grow and stretch my faith and belief in Christ.

Rebekah began learning piano this month

Even at a time when my heart drifted towards rebellion from the Lord, his Word was always sown in my heart because of their faithfulness to focus on me spiritually. I still knew God’s love for me even when I wasn’t living like it.

I’m convinced today that as parents you can never out due your children in giving them opportunities to experience God’s love and faithfulness in their life. Sports, trophies, and medals won’t last forever but the hard work you put into sowing spiritual seeds will reap future dividends.

Spoiling your kids spiritually will teach them that…

  • They are to grow up not only physically, but also in their faith as they’ve tasted God’s goodness. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”  – 1 Peter 2:2-3
  • As parents God has given you the responsibility to shepherd their hearts toward righteousness- so they will not forsake it. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” – Prov. 1:8-9
  • True blessing and satisfaction is found first in a relationship with Jesus – not in worldly ways of fame, power, control, lust, pleasure, self-glorification, and more. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Prov. 3:6
  • The greatest command is to love God. And the second greatest is to love others. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” – Matt. 22: 37-39
  • You value and care most for their soul more than any other material blessings or experiences in their life. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Prov. 4:23

We spoil our children with good things because we love to see the joy and happiness in their hearts- may it be so spiritually too. I pray that you’ll join me in taking a deeper look at the priorities in your family life. Life gets crazy busy and we all have to adjust along the way- even daily!

When that day comes for your children to leave home, may they know without a doubt that their faith in Jesus was most important because of what you taught and treasured above everything else.

** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com

Blessings to you and yours,

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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The beauty of growing older with your spouse – {Kirk Cameron’s TheCourage.com}

October 2018

Two years ago, God woke me up to a certain reality about our relationship more than ever. I got a phone call that stopped me in my tracks.

“Your husband’s been shot,” are the first words I heard from a man on the other line. My heart sank. My body froze in fear. I yelled and cried. I was confused.

Then the rest of the words came out.

“He’s been shot in the arm, but he’s going to be okay.”

Then I heard Jeremiah’s trembling voice in the background reassuring me that he was indeed going to be okay and that he loved me. Relief filled my heart, but I was still shaking.

I thought I lost Jeremiah that day, but God spared his life from an accidental misfire from a neighboring shooter at the rifle range. After two surgeries, a painful road of recovery, physical therapy, post-traumatic stress, and limitations that exist today in his arm, I thank the Lord that my husband’s here with me.

And now more than ever I’m grateful for what we’ve gone through. I count it a privilege and a blessing to be able to live this life and age together– especially in the midst of the suffering.

Time is marching on without asking us. New wrinkles and white hairs are appearing out of nowhere. What’s happened in our past is now a memory to behold in pictures, writing, video, and telling stories around the table with our children—always a good reminder of God’s faithfulness and answered prayers.

October 2016

Reflecting on our differences over time

We’re coming up on our 13-year anniversary in December. I recently turned 36 and Jeremiah turned 39. With each birthday I tend to reflect deeply on life and marriage.

It hasn’t always been easy – at all. We’re both strong-willed, second born babies in our families. We’re stubborn to the core! He’s adventurous and spontaneous, I’m a stick-by-the-rules planner (AKA control freak).

As you can imagine, it can feel like a tug-a-war match and we have our share of fights. And then we make up (that’s always the best). Pride invades our hearts at times, but so does humility. Careless words fly around in the air, but so does uplifting and loving words. We don’t always communicate clearly, but other times we’re on the same exact page.

We drive each other crazy, and then we love each other like crazy. It’s a rollercoaster ride at times with our four children, sinful natures, hormones, and depending how much sleep we got the night before, but it’s still so, so good- this family circus.

What the years have taught us

Our love has grown deeper and richer than it was on the wintry day we said, “I do.” The suffering, valleys, joys, and mountaintops have molded and shaped us into who we are today. They’ve also made us stronger for the unknown trials ahead. And just when we think we’ve got it all together, we find we don’t.

We didn’t really know all the ugly within our hearts on our wedding day like we do now. Yet there’s an understanding that we didn’t know fully before: how differently we were raised, how our past hurts affect us, our personality differences, various habits, how we interpret the world, just being male and female, and more.

The years have taught me trust, selflessness, love, true companionship, forgiveness, hope, and full dependency on the Lord- to name a few. I’ve learned to greater appreciate who God has made my husband to be and how we actually do complement one another. But this has only come through the gift of time– minutes, hours, and years- by no means a quick fix like our culture craves.

Embrace your husband now

I don’t know the state of your marriage today. But maybe your eyes are opening up to all your blessings and the love between you and your husband. Does he need to know that he is truly God’s gift to you?

Don’t take him for granted- even if some things drive you crazy and annoy you like how he doesn’t understand you, scrolls his phone too much, watches too much football, doesn’t always do what you want him to do when you want to, needs to spend more time with kids, or leaves his shoes in your walkway. All wives go through this.

Don’t let the minor offenses become mountains. Be quick to forgive and patient in prayer for him. Be his cheerleader and not his worst critic. Affirm and encourage him daily.

When I see the large scar on Jeremiah’s right arm, I’m reminded how we’re never promised tomorrow, and we don’t know when God will take us home. The time we have on earth is a gift and no doubt God’s grace.

Embrace growing older together with your husband. Find the beauty and joy in your relationship even if all you see are the obvious imperfections. Scars and flaws are what make a marriage beautiful- that we’re loved unconditionally in spite of all our sins and brokenness.

Remember the gift of having your husband’s hands, voice, protection, touch, and embrace when you go to bed tonight.

And I’ll be sure to do the same.

Blessings,

Samantha

** This article was originally published on Kirk Cameron’s Campfire Community & 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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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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Links I Like {March 9, 2018}

Happy Friday, friends. I made it an aim this week to do more reading than simply scrolling through my newsfeeds and doing mindless activity on social media. 🙂 Here are some articles I was encouraged by that I hope you will find helpful. Feel free to add articles you enjoyed this week to this list in the comments section or on the post you clicked to get here.

Links I Like:

What God Says to Your Tears  by Scott Hubbard (DesiringGod.org).

Wow, just wow. Such a beautiful article about God’s nearness to us in pain. He sees your tears. He sees you. 

6 Things to Do When You Worry Too Much About What Others Think of You by Scott Kedersha (ChurchLeaders.com).

I appreciate the vulnerability in my friend Scott. Worth your read.

Porn is Not the Worst Thing on Musical.ly by Anastasia Basil

Sobering article but good to be informed regarding technology safety for our children.

Don’t be a social media crazed spouse  by Arlene Pellicane (TheCourage.com)

Short and sweet article in setting up boundaries with our phones. Who doesn’t need this reminder?

What Does it Mean to be a Woman who Fears the Lord by Katie (IChooseBrave.com)

I recently discovered Katie as a fellow contributor on TheCourage.com and I love her writing style and biblical insight.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

– Samantha

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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Seven Things I Wish I’d Known Before Becoming a Mom

Motherhood. You never know the extent of what to expect until you actually become a mom for the first time and begin living out the joys and challenges. Nine years ago, I didn’t know what I was in for after I delivered my first born child on a beautiful October morning in Dallas. I’m certainly better today because of the sanctifying, dying-to-self work that’s required in mothering and nurturing my four children today.

Here are seven truths that would’ve helped me prepare for the journey:

1.) Sleep-Deprivation is the new normal. Sleep? Who needs it anyway? Because the first few years you won’t be getting it so you might as well live with it. Coffee will be your best friend even if you didn’t drink it before. Sneaking in naps when the time allows will be your saving grace. Don’t feel guilty for giving your body the rest it needs.

2.) You’ll love your child so much that it hurts. Disobedience, harsh words, tantrums, sibling fighting — oh how it can make your blood boil and provoke you to anger. It hurts when your child hurts you, others, and doesn’t obey. But loving your child wholeheartedly means risking wholeheartedly too. I promise, it’s still worth the risk to keep loving them unconditionally.

3.) Prioritizing your husband is a non-negotiable. Your kids can be thriving in the home, but if your relationship with your husband isn’t, then adjustments need to be made. Do everything you can to put your husband first and not make excuses in the midst of the chaos and demands for, “Mommy! Mom! Momma!?” Protect your marriage like it’s your newborn baby.

4.) Fingerprints on newly cleaned windows, playdough stuck in the carpet, and pee everywhere is only the beginning of the never-ending messes. We’re barely scratching the surface here, moms. Get ready for the mess because it will be daily and sometimes it will be GROSS. Every home has them, large and small. Kids will be kids. Don’t let the messes get under your skin too much even if you’re OCD.

5.) Motherhood is sacrificial, unnoticed work. Promotions? Bonuses? Affirmation and praise from your boss and co-workers? Lunch breaks? Maybe at your job, but not exactly in your role specifically as “mom.” You’ll barely get a bathroom break. Your work in the daily grind will often be disregarded and unappreciated. But your reward is in heaven and God sees. Your kids do too, even if they don’t express it. Look for the “sweet” in the sacrifices and by all means indulge in some chocolate.

6.) You need your mom friends and they need you. Isolation is an enemy because you’ll feel you’re all alone and your circumstances are different than other moms, adopting a “why me?” mindset. Authentic community with other moms brings you outside of yourself, realizing that we all face similar struggles. Let others into your reality even if it’s not exactly tidy. Reach out to friends for their help and support in this season of your life.

7.) Even in your imperfections, building a legacy and investing in the life of your child is an amazing gift. No matter how hard and taxing motherhood is on you emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and regardless of your flaws and mistakes, you are still pouring your life out for the good of your child. The seeds you’re planting will one day come to fruition: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

And… don’t forget to give yourself lots of grace (and good coffee!).

Blessings,

Samantha Krieger

 

  • This article originally 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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