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Going Home

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My heart was heavy with such a big change on the horizon. Jackie, our Senior Publisher who I worked closely with, had just peeped into my office to say she couldn’t believe I was packing up my things. I couldn’t either. Everything felt so surreal.

Two and a half years ago, God had given me my dream job as a writer and editor for one of the largest Christian video publishing companies. I worked with incredibly talented people and rubbed shoulders with many well-known pastors and authors. I loved that our team was on mission everyday and that God was using us to impact churches all across the country. It seemed like every day I came home from work, I had something exciting to share.

But just as the summer heat was settling down to welcome the coolness of fall, God was planting my feet on a new mission — the mission of being at home full-time with my children. Being a stay-at-home mom had always been my desire and conviction, but Jeremiah and I decided that after our first child John was born, he would stay at home so I could continue to help support him through seminary.

Jeremiah loved watching John and it was a great experience for us to switch roles and work together. But soon, John would turn two and in three months our daughter Rebekah would be born. Life would again change dramatically.

The Transition

During my last week of work I cleaned out emails, organized files, packed my books and papers into boxes, gave hugs, and said goodbyes. It felt so strange that I wouldn’t be writing and editing full-time anymore. I wouldn’t be attending staff meetings, contributing my ideas, or being affirmed and encouraged in my daily tasks and responsibilities.

I wondered if I was making a big mistake. Was I giving up my career? Was all the hard work in college and seminary going to waste? Would I lose a sense of my identity? Would the trade really be worth it?

I made the transition home by working a few hours a week and finishing up projects during nap times; being connected like this really helped me transition. John and I created a new bond since I was with him all the time. I began to see how much he needed me and loved having me there. I also started to plan play dates and spend time with other moms.

Embracing Milestones

Those few days before Rebekah was born, peace flooded my heart — the kind of peace that I’d been praying for. God’s word, prayer, and other people showed me that I was right where I was supposed to be. Rebekah came into the world in three fast hours on a Saturday afternoon in late October. She was absolutely beautiful and I was determined to savor every moment with her because I knew how quickly the time went by with John.

I started embracing the fact that my children were the priority, and it was going to be a joy to spend my days with them. These were their formative years, the most critical years in their life, and I would be there for all their first milestones.

Over the past few months, I’ve loved watching Rebekah smile at her brother, put new foods in her mouth, crawl, utter sweet noises, and enjoy life with our family. I’ve loved watching John grow into a handsome young boy, put sentences together, read books, attempt potty training, learn how to ride tricycles, and pray for his friends at bedtime. I’ve loved seeing that they both need their momma.

The Hardest Job Ever

I’ve also learned that I desperately need quiet time, breaks, date nights, exercise, shopping, and girl time. I’ll go crazy without them! There are also days that I want to pull my hair out with the constant whining, screaming, discipline, broken sleep, fussiness, neediness, messiness, laundry, dishes, cleaning, and more.

My mom always told me that going to a 9-5 job would be easier than being at home. It’s hard work being in the home day in and day out and most people wouldn’t consider it a dream job. I’ve seen my anger and impatience multiplied and it’s been ugly. I’ve seen my sinful nature and selfishness more than ever before. I regularly share my struggles with close friends and other moms who will pray for me and encourage me.

I’ve often laid my head down at night thankful that God got me through another day. And many times I’ve cried out: “God, help me!” But somehow He continues to give me the undeserving grace to persevere through the really hard days. And usually, the next day is better.

Writing from Home

One fear I had about coming home was not being able to write or use my gifts and talents. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the demands of my children and still do what I love. I’ve found that it takes major scheduling and discipline to carve out time to write, but it’s possible! I’ve been able to find doses of solitude during nap times, after bed times, on the weekends when my husband has a hand to help, and through swapping childcare with friends.

Just in these past few months God has brought unexpected writing opportunities my way. I was able to help edit a newly released book for a friend, spend time and have dinner with a best-selling author, and help my sister-in-law start a faith and fitness blog. One of the marriage pastors at our church also called for some publishing advice. And this past week I began researching new freelance markets to help supplement our income.

I’ve had actual dreams that I was back at work again, interacting with my coworkers. And there are days that I long to be sipping a chai tea at my desk. But when my thoughts run in that direction I remember the words that our Vice President wrote me in an email during my last week of work: Trading in a career to be a mom is the best trade ever.

Now, being almost a whole year into it, I couldn’t agree more. My heart always goes back to being at home with my children, where I believe God created me to be and where my greatest mission on this earth exists.

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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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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

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Going Home

by Samantha Krieger time to read: 4 min
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