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Just Like Eve

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A few months ago, a “blonde” moment helped shed some new light on my marriage and my sin.

I woke up this particular morning exhausted from being up several times with our newborn son. My husband, Jeremiah, was cooking eggs in the kitchen while I was getting ready back in our bedroom—with my son latched onto my left hip. I laid him down on the bed to put a necklace on and when I scooped him back into my arms, my head jerked back uncontrollably, like whiplash, and I banged it on the bathroom door behind me.

Immediately, pain shot from the back of my head to the front. I took advantage of the situation by yelling, whining, and complaining of the pain. My son looked at me as I rubbed my head.

Jeremiah then chimed in from a distance, “You’re such a drama queen.”

I’m a what? I thought. My heart beat fast as I rehearsed words that I would let Jeremiah have when given the chance. I slammed the door—that I hit my head on—so he could hear it and marched into the kitchen.

“How dare you call me a drama queen! My head hurts. I’m in pain!” I yelled.

“I just never know when to take you seriously. You’re always hurting yourself.”

I opened the refrigerator door for some orange juice and shut it fast—desiring to trump him more than anything. And at that instant, unpleasant and colorful words spewed out of my mouth like an uncontrolled lawn sprinkler. Silence pervaded our home with the exception of the little baby coos resounding in my ear.

“You really need to calm down, Babe,” he responded.

My heart still raced. He just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t care when I hurt. He makes me so mad. What an insensitive jerk.

I took a deep breath.

A while later, we attempted to talk through what happened, but that only lasted a minute. I was too stubborn to share my feelings.

Throughout the day, I was ashamed and confessed my language, behavior, and ugly sin to the Lord, and learned some key things. I had allowed hurtful words to sow the seed of pride in my thoughts, which led to unbridled anger displayed in my actions and on my tongue. My husband had treated me harshly and justice needed to be done—but did it really?

What if I had taken the time to cool off and ask why he felt that way towards me? Or if any of my past reactions influenced his response? What if the road of love and respect had been chosen instead? These thoughts are so opposite from our culture’s way of thinking and from the heart of flesh within me. In my sinful, strong-willed nature, dominating comes as natural as breathing. But God calls me to higher living as a wife—to be a helpmate or rather a “help meet” to my husband.

Just like Eve was created for Adam to be his helper, I’ve been created to help meet Jeremiah’s needs. And being a help meet stems from unconditional love—the kind of love that pastors share on the altar as couples are pledging their vows to one another: love that is patient, kind, not self-seeking, proud, rude, or easily angered (1 Corinthians 13). But when it comes to actually living out that love when the honeymoon’s over, it’s hard! But I am discovering that it’s possible to show this foreign kind of love.

When Jeremiah shares an opinion, idea, dream, or something deep from his heart, I’m learning to listen with care and follow his leading even if it’s not what I would do, trusting that God is leading him first. Many times, I’m tempted to nag like a constant drip on a rooftop, or be the “Holy Spirit” for him, but all that does is make him feel trapped and annoyed. Who wants to feel that way?

When I disagree or negatively interpret something, I’m seeing where I need to show more respect through facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. It’s about thinking before I speak but also before expressing myself. It’s undeniable that my actions always communicate more powerfully than words.

Another way I’ve been striving to be a help meet is to wake up every day as if Jeremiah were king and it was my goal to please and serve him. Even though that sounds nice and pretty, God truly calls me to love in such a way. I’m not only his lover and soul-mate, but his playmate that plays and has fun with him, even in the dirt!

The opposite of being a help meet is being the famous foolish woman we see in the pages of Proverbs. No one goes near her because she’s angry, contentious, lacks discretion, is stubborn, loud, and selfish. She tears her house down with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1). In other words, she does nothing but put down her husband and children by her actions and words.

Being a help meet will undeniably keep a marriage healthy and strong. It works simply because it’s God’s original design and it’s a beautiful creation. To take on the role of the foolish woman is to build towers of isolation that eventually crumble into bitterness and resentment. And if not dealt with, will destruct into a brutal divorce or an “un-divorced” marriage—a mere tragedy altogether.

At the end of such a crazy day, we stayed up talking in bed. Jeremiah asked forgiveness for being insensitive and careless with his words. Through tears, I confessed my pride, anger, and foolish response to him, promising I would allow God to continue to work on me. That night, the healing began.

Though miles and miles away from being close to perfect, knowing what I’ve been created to be has cleared up the foggy lens in which I used to see my husband and my role as a wife. I truly desire to do good for him, and not harm and that even means working on the drama in my clumsy, blonde moments!

Jean Vanier had it right when she said, “Love is an act of endless forgiveness.”

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Samantha Krieger is a writer and editor in Dallas, Texas. Through story, personal reflection, and biblical insight she is passionate about helping others live out their faith in everyday life. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, she wrote Bible study curriculum for Bluefish TV -- one of the largest Christian video publishing companies. She's written for LifeWay's Collegiate Magazine, Focus on the Family Magazine, StartMarriageRight.com, and has contributed to books on Christian living. She holds a B.A. in English from Liberty University and a M.A. in Religion with an emphasis in Church Ministries from Liberty Theological Seminary. Samantha and her husband, Jeremiah, have three children: John, Rebekah, and Hannah. She blogs weekly at: samanthakrieger.com and tweets at: @samanthakrieger.

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When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Just Like Eve

by Samantha Krieger time to read: 4 min
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