Ep. 18 || Freedom To Be The Mother God Created You To Be: Why Comparison Doesn't Work - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura:  Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here. Today, we’re talking about freedom and motherhood. As Em and I were chatting through the show, it felt like it was a beast to nail down. There’s a lot of ways that we can take this but one thing that we feel really strongly about, here in Risen Motherhood is that we don’t talk a ton about practical stuff. We’re not going to tell you, “This is how to get your baby to sleep, or how to eat correctly, or how to choose the public school, or home schooling, or these are our top 10 tricks for, I don’t know, all the things moms are supposed to do.” Because, the truth is, we don’t know what we’re doing. Especially me, I will say I’m looking to the next mom to know, “Okay, that’s how that works.”   

Emily:  We’ve realized that practical things for moms, when we feel insecure about something that’s going on in our home or with our kids, that is one of the first thing that we want to run to. We go online and we Google, “How do I fix this problem?” or we look at our friends and immediately copy what somebody else is doing. A lot of times, that practical can actually be a barrier to us running to the Lord and depending on God, and walking a life that’s lived in faith and praying. We also want to be a voice to point you guys to Christ. We think the practical is super important but we think we need the reminder, as well, that the practical comes after we’ve been depending on God.  

Laura:  That is why our show is structured like it is. Of course, as you guys have seen, we do a little bit of practical on our videos. If you see us on social media right now, we’re on Periscope and Facebook, sharing some videos because we do recognize the value in that. But again, we’re regurgitating some of the things that wiser people than us have taught us.

The Gospel gives us this amazing freedom as moms, that as long as we keep the main things the main things, then we don’t have to look like the mom down the street or that mom on social media, or the Pinterest mom, or the mom at your church. When we say freedom in Christ, we don’t mean that like, “Okay, you can do whatever you want.” Because if you’re a believer and if you’re trusting in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, there is an innate desire in you already, to want to honor Him and obey Him, and live according to His Word. As we personally seek to follow the Bible and live according to that, there is freedom beyond that, to be able to do the things that you are gifted in; that you’re interested in. Whether that’s baking, or DIY, or craft projects, or being the PTA lead, or the major volunteer over here, there is amazing freedom that God has gifted us to not have to look like our friends.

Emily:  We’ve said this before, that scripture does not directly address all of the things that are going on in our lives right now in 2016 or exactly how to handle each situation. We have to take the principles that are there and the commands about our heart attitude and living in faith and having self-control; all of those things. It’s about having a right heart in what we’re doing and less about the details of what type of food we’re going to choose to feed our kids, or like we were talking about in the episode about the Gospel and breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding.

The Bible doesn’t spell that out all the choices that we make as moms. Laura and I also wanted to share some examples as we have experienced with these feelings. I know that I feel this way a lot about when I’m cooking or during dinnertime with family, though I think we are pretty simple eaters. In this season of life, that isn’t something that we emphasize. As I look around, other moms or Pinterest recipes and stuff, I always struggle with feeling guilty that I’m not doing a good enough job at dinnertime. Do you have anything like that Laura?             

Laura:  Millions of things, but my biggest one is probably the crafts and projects, and activities for the kids. I love a good DIY project, don’t get me wrong, but I like the adult kind, so I am not as gifted in dreaming up activities. I know with Pinterest; I don’t have to dream anymore, but execution on that is something that I don’t enjoy. I have tried and have felt guilty over that often, and I’ve felt like I need to stimulate my kids more or their childhood is going to be so boring because I didn’t cut up construction paper. I value that in other women and I respect and admire it, but oftentimes I can feel guilty or lacking in that area and feel, “Oh, that must be the mark of a good mom, is to do those crafts.”   

Emily:  Or to see different capacity levels. That is something that I think I have a hard time with too. God has gifted each woman with different energy levels and different time and different ability to multitask. Sometimes I can see a mom has a lot on her plate but she’s able to do it well. I’m not always able to have as much on my plate and still thrive - so even accepting my own limitations that God has given me. I’m like, “Yes, when I work hard, this is still as much as I can get done joyfully and that can look different than my friend.”  

Laura: I hinted at it earlier but keeping the main thing, the main thing, as a mom and then letting everything else fall under that umbrella is key. Asking, "What is our purpose?" and going back to that age-old catechism, the one that whether you were raised on them or not, you probably have heard of: "What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

Our job as moms, and you can go back and listen to some of our episodes - one and five - about the Gospel for moms. But specifically in motherhood, our end goal is to impart our faith to our children and to teach them about who God is, and glorifying God through our actions, and our words, and letting the overflow of our enjoyment, using that catechism, letting that overflow into our children’s lives and teaching them about who He is. Emily, do you want to go through the gospel?    

Emily:  Yes. We have shared about this many times but God made us to enjoy Him and to glorify Him. But in the Garden, Adam and Eve did not obey God. They sinned and so we are walking in that same sin today and we need Jesus to reconcile us to God. When we trust in Christ and we are freed from the penalty of sin, we get to walk in freedom and that is a really exciting thing that we get to enjoy as believers.   

Laura:  How does that apply to us today? There are expressed commands in scripture that we need to follow, but then the Bible doesn’t address specifically some of these other - maybe outliers? They’re not outliers in our lives because we deal with them everyday, but outside of the expressed Biblical commands, we have complete freedom.

Stuff like, “How far apart should I have my kids?” and, “Should I let them watch this TV show?” and, “Do I feed them vegetarian, gluten, sugar?” “Do I home school or public school?” We have freedom in Christ to make choices and we develop personal convictions on those things.     

Emily:  What motivates our personal convictions is - going back to our quiet time episode - our understanding of scripture and reading the Bible, having a knowledge of what God desires for us, what His will for us is and really walking in those things with heart. It all goes back to our heart attitude. With a heart that is saying, “How can I make God and Jesus look like the greatest treasure in this decision? How can I be trusting and depending on God in this decision?

God says, “Be holy like I am holy.” How can I be pursuing holiness in this decision?” I think that if that is the posture of our hearts, when it comes to these matters of freedom, we will be making faith-based choices and not looking at other moms and being like, “What’s the newest trend in this?” or not being motivated by fear either.         

Laura:  I think the biggest thing we want you moms to come away with is understanding the difference between appreciating and learning from another mom or the millions of helpful articles that are online and comparison. There's a big difference between comparison and appreciating another mom’s skills or learning from her and picking a few items that you can apply to your own life - because we always want to be improving. The problem enters when we start comparing and we start feeling that guilt and like we’re not measuring up. What are you doing in that instant? You’re comparing yourself to another mom and not to the person that you are supposed to be comparing yourself to and that’s Jesus.

Emily: I also wanted to affirm what you’re saying because Laura, we were saying, “There is so much pressure out there,” and online especially, that’s the space that we are all in a lot but to be hopping from one style of motherhood to the next, to the next, to the next. We want to encourage you guys to look at the gifts and the resources and interests that God has given you. To look at what your husband’s interests and preferences are for your family. To work those things out together and figure out, what does it look like for you guys and for you as a mom, to pass on the gospel to your children, and then be confident that it can look a little different than other people and that that’s okay. Again, as long as you’re seeking to honor God.

Laura:  The heart behind this is that you ladies would walk out of here in freedom and be able to say, “My quiet time can be five minutes with my kids while my neighbor’s is forty five minutes, and somehow her kids sit on a blanket and mine don’t. That is okay because I am trying and I am striving to teach my children to honor God.” That is the heart that we want to encourage you to have here. To be able to say, “Stop comparing and saying I don’t measure up,” because the only standard you need to be comparing yourself to is Jesus, and not the mom down the street or the mom on social media. Because like Emily said, that’s generally where we like to get our supermom examples.        

Emily:  As all topics, there are a lot of different angles but we hope that you guys leave encouraged today. If there’s another mom that you are friends with that’s coming to mind, that you think would benefit from hearing this, we would love it if you could share this. Again, if you want to leave a rating or a review, that would be an awesome way to help other moms find us on iTunes. It’s so encouraging to us when we get to go back and read those so thank you guys for leaving reviews. You can find us on risenmotherhood.com to hear more. Thanks for joining us today guys.    


Ep. 17 || Taking Back the Last Hours of the Day - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Emily:  Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’m Emily Jensen here with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler. Today, before we get started on our awesome topic, we wanted to respond. We had some great feedback from you guys, which we love, but one of the things we’ve heard is you wish our show was longer, which we are humbled that you’d want to listen to us.  

Laura:  Quite flattering.

Emily:  We wanted to share with you guys why we have chosen the format that we have. That is primarily because it’s accessible for moms and it’s something that they can listen to in a short period of time, while you’re doing a quick errand or you are doing a quick chore. It also is a great way for Laura and I to practice being succinct, and trying get the truths across that we think are important. We know that the more we talk, the more room there is for error and so we also want to be wise in our words.

We totally hear you guys that we don’t cover everything that we could in each episode so if you want to hear more, we do have some options for you. We are trying to offer some videos on periscope, I think we are @RisenMotherhood, and on Facebook; we also have some videos on there. Generally, we try to talk about out topic for the week and then we also push out a lot of articles on our social media. If you’re following us on Twitter, or on Facebook, you can find a lot of resources that talk probably about everything we do, about what is going on or other articles we’ve written that are way more in-depth, so definitely check those out.

Also, if you have a question about something that we didn’t cover in an episode, and you have this burning desire to find out more about it, we would love it if you guys would email that to us, or contact us on social media and let us know what your question is. If it makes sense for us, we may record a whole episode on it.        

Laura:  Yes, please give us ideas. Emily and I are bursting at the seams with ideas but we would love to hear, specifically, what you guys want to hear about. We know we’re constantly like, “Oh, we ran out of time.” We’re going to work on that, but as Emily has just said, it’s protection for us and we hope that it makes it more accessible to more moms.

Now, what are we talking about today? We are talking about that terrifying time of night that all moms have. It is like an epidemic with children from about 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., bedtime. It’s commonly referred to as “the witching hour”.    

Emily:  We know that you guys can picture the witching hour, in your mind right now.

Laura:  Are you shuddering? I’m sorry if you are. Hopefully you’re listening to this during the witching hour and it’s not so bad. We want to talk about how to do witching hour well and how to take back those last few hours of the day. Em, do you want to share what your evening is like? We thought we’d swap stories.  

Emily:  My kids wake up from naps pretty early. Usually by 1:30 or 2:00, I’m already looking at the clock, a little bit like, “We’ve got a little bit of time.”  

Laura:  That is so stinking early. I would die.

Emily:  I know! They want to go down for naps about 12:30 and in order to sync it with the baby, that’s what I’ve had to do so it’s fine. By about 3 o'clock, I have run out of every trick up my sleeve.

I have done the crafts, I have done the outside play, practically everything. Generally, I would say I have about two and a half hours to fill. During that time, I try to tap grandparents like, “Can you come over and make my children smile?” and try to do even more outside time. That’s great when it’s nice outside. I don’t know, what else we do? I should get more things up my sleeve, because usually I’ve got two to three out of my four kids literally clinging onto my legs. That full body wrap and you’re like, “I can’t walk. You need to go do something else.”

Laura:  Especially if you’ve got three of them on your legs. Oh, my word! I think it’s so funny because when I worked, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., or 4 to 7 p.m. used to be "happy hour." Now it is anything but. We have renamed it to witching hour. 

My kids take really long naps to accommodate my husband’s work schedule. They sleep from about two to four. I don’t let my older one sleep past four. My daughter might sleep until five and I have been blessed with good nappers. I have the evening but my evenings go longer, so typically my kids don’t go down until eight to give them a little more time with dad. I have the same amount of time in the end but it’s a lot at the end of the day. My daughter used to have colic and she has always been a fuss monster. Evenings have always been really difficult with her crying a ton. I usually reserve TV for that time and we don’t have any other tv time during the day - then it’s this magical box that keeps them a little bit quiet for a while.

But I feel like everyone’s drained at the end of the day. I feel like my kids are super-bored with me, I’m bored with them, and like you said, we’ve exhausted all the activities. I’ve started going on errands sometimes in the evening. It helps getting the distraction because in the morning they’re much more content on their own.        

Emily:  What Laura and I want you guys to hear is that this is normal. We know that you guys have your own stories as you’re listening to this. You’re like, “I can relate to that,” or, “My kid is way worse than that,” or whatever. It’s just at that time of day, generally, kids are hungry for dinner. Like Laura said, they are bored, they have done everything, and you have done everything as well.

They might be over stimulated by this point in the day, depending on how many activities you’ve done, or whether you’ve really gone about at their routine. Maybe they’re transitioning home from a caregiver or maybe you’re busy, and you’re cooking, and you’re trying to pick up the house.  You’re maybe more distracted than any other time of the day and all of a sudden, the kids sense that.    

Laura:  They do. They’re like, “Mom’s busy, I’m going to make sure she focuses on me.” That’s their whole goal in life.

Emily:  It’s very normal.

Laura:  I was even Googling around for a study and while I couldn’t find anything that scientifically said that we’re wired to be crankier at the end of the day, there were lots of general psychologists talking about how  blood sugar is low, and we’re all getting more tired; fatigued. It’s a very distracting time. We’re trying to multitask with dinner and all of those things and this is real; it’s a real thing that happens.

Knowing all of this and being able to relate to each other on this, where does Gospel fit into that? We want to reemphasize that making Jesus our greatest treasure transforms everything we do as moms. At the end of a day, often we are tired, as we’ve talked about and so we’re looking for the easy way out. We’re sick of disciplining and we’re not quite as on point with patience or being as committed to dealing with bad behavior. We’re pushing our kids off and we don’t want to deal with everything.

I think remembering that Jesus Christ died on the cross; he suffered all of our sins so that we could have this amazing wealth of righteousness to bring to our families. That comes at the end of the day too and He is our power source for that time. We want to put our relationship with Him above our other priorities, and that should transform the way we respond during this so-called “witching hour.”     

Emily:  Totally and I personally struggle with that a lot especially towards the end of the day. If someone were to peer into my life, they might think, “Emily values her peace and quiet more than she values her relationship with her children,” because I am doing everything I can to get everything to be a certain way in our house, even if that means I have to speak harshly to my children or I have to push them to the side, or whatever those things are.

I always have to remind myself that my children are not the interruption. My relationship with them is important and I want to disciple them. That’s my main responsibility; passing on my faith. I do that by imaging Christ and by setting an example. It’s a mind shift and that heart shift of saying, “No, this is my relationship with my children. It is important. I need to stop and address this.” My to-do list is important too. It’s not unimportant, but there’s an order there that we want to keep in mind.       

Laura:  When we remember how patient and long-suffering God is with us, we can reflect that back to our children. We want to let His mercy and His grace to motivate us to have sweetness with our children at that time of the day, to have grace and patience with them when they are going up the wall.

The flip side of that that we wanted to talk about too, is something I do sometimes and that’s losing my temper with my kids. I actually tend to more be the silent treatment type of mom. I know this is so immature. I rarely yell at my children but I often will not speak to them because I’m so mad. I know that if I speak, I will lose my temper, but I’ve already lost it in my heart and I’m choosing to give them the silent treatment. You better believe it works on my kids; they get real nervous whenever mom’s quiet. [laughter]

Sometimes I can often be like, “I’m tired. I’m sick of this. I’ve worked so hard all day. I’ve done everything I can for these children and they are not grateful.” The common term we like to tell ourselves is, “grace upon grace,” which soothes the soul. I don’t want to say that that “grace upon grace”  is untrue, but if you’re getting to the end of the day and saying, “It’s okay. God will forgive me if I lose my temper here, because 'grace upon grace,'” well, that is an area of cheapening grace.     

Emily:  Once we understand what grace costs, we don’t want to presume upon it and use it as an excuse to sin in our heart and in our actions.

Let’s jump into the practical as well because we understand running out of patience. Laura and I certainly don’t have all the right answers, but we’ve tried a few things here and there and wanted to pass some of that along.  

Laura:  The biggest thing to remember is that towards the end of the day, it’s going to require a lot of hard challenges. There are a lot of practical things like reserving special toys for after five, or sending them outside or feeding them earlier; things like that. But I think the biggest thing to get across too choosing your attitude during that time. If you get to the end of the day and you’re doing that day on your own effort, you will run out of patience and you will lose your temper.

There’s a quote that says, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” I’ve always loved that. My mom would say that to me all the time and I would roll my eyes as a high schooler but today, I think she is so right, that it is 90% how you react to it. When your children are pestering you , and nagging on you , and begging for food and acting like you have literally never fed them [laughter] before in their lives, remember to "choose your attitude." Know that you have power over a bad attitude because of what Christ did for you.   

Emily:  Be intentional.  A lot of days I’m shocked that this happens and I say to myself, “What did you guys turn into at three o'clock?” but this happens every day. We can be intentional and at the beginning of the day, focus on some of those self-care things that Laura and I have talked about like, "What do we need to do to be pacing our self throughout the day?" so that we are not giving all of what we have, so that by one o'clock in the afternoon, we have nothing left to give.

Or whenever it is that you see your children, maybe it’s four o'clock and you’re like, “I’ve already given all I have today.” Try to pace yourself.

Continuing to depend on God throughout the day, either through quiet time or through prayer, or through whatever you need to do to keep your focus on the main thing is important. Then looking intentionally at your day and saying, “How can I front load some of my responsibility?” because it does seems like a lot of things converge at that five-six o'clock hour. How can you intentionally say, “I’m going to prep dinner earlier,” or, “I’m going to not let my kids get out as many toys after nap time so that I don’t have as much to clean up.”

There’s a lot of those things that takes a little bit of thought but when you do that, it is amazing. Whenever I decrease the amount of activities I’m trying to get done I can just focus on my children - they’re a lot happier and I’m a lot happier, and I do see more of that pacing myself - but it takes planning moms. We want to encourage you guys to put in that effort and that it’s worth it.         

Laura:  Should we take a moment here and thank God for the Crock-Pot? [laughter] We don’t get too deep into tips here because you will find those a dime a dozen online, but we will link to some that have been phenomenal and helpful to us. Definitely go into our show notes. If you’re looking to take back those last hours of your days; take back the witching hour, I think there will be lots of great tips for you. We want to encourage you today, wherever you’re at, that those evening hours are coming. Today, make a change in how you deal with them and start with your heart, ladies.

You can find us on risenmotherhood.com for all of our social profiles, on Facebook and Twitter and Periscope. Certainly tune into Facebook this week. I’m sure we’ll have some videos up there. We hope you ladies have a wonderful day today and thanks for tuning in.

Ep. 16 || When the World Is Scary: Mothering in Faith, Not Fear - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Emily:  Welcome back to Risen Motherhood. I’m Emily Jensen here, with my sister- in-law, Laura Wifler. Laura wanted me to mention that it’s my birthday today. I’m just going to go ahead to tell you guys that I’m turning 30.

Laura:  The big Three O.

Emily:  To commemorate the early hours of my birthday, I woke up and fed a baby [laughter] and I woke up with other kids, a couple of times.

Laura:  This is 30.

Emily:  This is 30 [laughter]

Laura:  It’s going to be a good year.

Emily:  My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I was like, “I can’t think of any material thing but if you could find a way to give me 12 hours of sleep, I would take it.” That’s what the world has come to.

Laura:  Well, congrats on 30 years old Emmy. That’s awesome. For the record, I am not 30 but I will be turning 30 in September. We are very close in age, if you guys were wondering how old we are. I'm still in the 20s.  

Emily:  Today, we are talking about your fears. Not just your fears about getting grey hair but your other fears [laughter], extreme fears in motherhood and the things that are probably pretty unlikely but sometimes they take over our mind, and it feels like it’s really bad and it’s going to happen.

Laura:  It’s important to remember that today we are not talking about worrying about meal planning or what activities to sign your kids up for, which are legit things. I’m not trying to make light of them, but what we’re talking about is those bigger, like Emily said, more unlikely things. It’s a scary time to be a mom, let’s just be honest. It can feel scary with things like kidnappings, and terrorism and global warming happening. I live in Chicago so there are a lot of murders that are happening downtown or the whole like, “I have a pain in my toe. I must be dying,” these unlikely conclusions that we draw.  

Emily:  Last night on Facebook, when I was thinking about this episode, I literally clicked on an article that said something about, “You’re killing your children if you’re feeding them hotdogs.” It was something like that. I was like, “Really?”

Laura:  Perfect example.

Emily:  Then I read the article and afterwards I was like, “How many times did I feed my kids hotdogs in the last week?” [laughs]

Laura:  You’re not going to be able to feed your kid a hotdog, without worrying if you’re killing them inside. That is why it can feel like a scary time. It’s exactly what Emily said. The access to information that we have right now with Facebook, for example.

Emily:  Facebook is crazy these days.

Laura:  I had to start going through it and saying, “See less from this brand.”  Because  I could not handle the amount of fear-centric articles and I was like, “I don’t want to know about that.” 

Emily:  Here’s the thing too. It’s always people who post their opinions and they're not experts. So now we’ve got fear-mongering articles in front of our face 24/7 on the news, all over the internet, and you have a bunch of non-expert people speaking into these situations and it can start to feel like, “What is going on in the world?”     

Laura:  I’ve heard from so many people saying, “Our world is going to fall part. It’s so much worse than it’s ever been.” It’s just interesting to me because I’m like, “Well, it’s not really worse than it’s ever been. It’s that you hear about literally every bad thing that ever happens.” You hear about it now, whereas before, you lived in a bubble because there was no 24/7 news cycle. Remembering even in Biblical times, there was persecution, slaveries, gladiators, fights to the death of humans!  

Emily:  I know.

Laura:  Kidnapping, people doing whatever they wanted to do it, these crazy politics. There is nothing new under the sun.  

Emily:  Yes, I’ve just been spending some time reading through the Old Testament and literally, I’m shocked at how  similar it is but even how much worse it sounds than where we live. I’m like, “Wow, I’m glad those are not our problems.” One little walk through the Bible or a history lesson would tell us, this is normal humanity.  The things that are going on in our world have been going on since the fall, which I won’t jump into right now.

Laura:  It’s fine. Let’s get to the gospel. [laughter]

Emily:  It’s just that sin entered the world and now everything is broken. Everything is impacted by sin and so we live in this fallen world, but God sent Jesus and so we are counting on Him for His ultimate justice to be done. The punishment for sin and all of the suffering that has happened was placed on Jesus. We cannot even imagine what that was like. Now God is working out His perfect plan and Jesus is going to return.  

Somebody said to me one time, “Hey, we feel like the world is spiraling out of control but it’s really coming into place.” This is God’s plan. All of these things that are happening, we can hope and we can have confidence and we can almost look at it feeling like, “Yes, it’s awful and it’s hard but this is part of God bringing about His ultimate justice and His ultimate grace for us.” One day, I don’t how it’s all going to work out but we are going to look back and be like, “Wow, we want to worship and glorify God forever because of what a wonderful story He played out, and the salvation and the justice, and everything that happened.”  

Laura:  It’s really important to remember that when we’re worrying about these things, we’re making God smaller. We’re not looking at Him as He truly is. We’re not believing who the God of the Bible is. A God that values us enough to sacrifice His own son, who took all of the wrath, all the suffering. The one person who shouldn’t have had a hard life, or any suffering or anything bad happen. He took everything - and that is how much God loves you! 

When we worry about those things, we are totally negating the gospel and not even placing any value on it. I think it’s important to remember things like, God made flowers because they are beautiful. He literally made something to grow up to be beautiful for a short term, and die again simply for our enjoyment. How much more does God love you and want you to understand that - when He would just make a simple flower for you?    

Emily:  Another thing - we live in a culture and in a time that wants life to be as easy and as comfortable, and as convenient as possible. As people, we can sometimes pursue that and when we hear all these things, we think, “Oh, this is going to mess up my plan for my kids’ lives,” or, “If this happens, this is going to be the worst thing ever.” We need to remember that the God we follow had His own son sacrificed.  That probably wasn't in Mary's, Jesus' mom, perfect plan to stand and watch her son be tortured and shamed, and spit on, and killed but that was God’s good will.

We need remember, and this is a hard, hard truth for us to swallow as moms, that God has not promised us an easy life but God has promised that He will do everything for our good, and for His glory. And we can trust Him in that. Sometimes His good does not look the way we want it to. When we’re having these fears or we’re worried about what will happen, there is that element of saying, “No matter what happens, even if it is this irrational fear that I’m having, I have to trust that God can redeem everything. That God is going to be over everything and that God is going to sustain me through that, and help me face that, whatever that is.” 

Laura:  I think that the concept of future grace is something that has always sustained me. Every time I get down the path, no matter what type of worry, when you start thinking ahead in the future, remember that God’s grace is meeting you. That’s all that you have and all that you need. Worry isn’t going to change tomorrow. God will give you that grace to face whatever it is in the future. The reason you can’t comprehend, “How in the world am I going to face that if that happens?” The reason you start getting in a tizzy when you start allowing yourself to go down a path of any type of fear, is because you have not been granted the grace to deal with that yet.

I’m amazed as I watch friends walk through trials and I’m like, “Oh my goodness, I have no idea how I would handle that. I would be a wreck. How are they so at peace?” That is because they are looking to the Lord and they are resting in that grace that has been arranged and set forth for them; at that perfect time. So we don’t need to worry about things that may not happen at all, and how we would deal with that because God is going to help us to deal with that at the right time.       

Emily: One thing that comes to my mind sometimes and that I have been struggling with recently, is that my children will do something or go through something bad someday. All of a sudden, my brain hops about 15 years in the future and I am like, “That child is going to be kicked out of school forever for bullying,” [laughter] or, “This child is going to have this other big health issue or something.” I just have to remember what the Lord has asked me to do today. He has said, “Emily, faithfully discipline this child today. That’s all I’ve asked you to do, and all I’ve asked you to worry about is the fact that this child is hitting your other child. Just deal with that.” [laughter]

Don’t deal with what’s going to happen in 13 years or whatever because you don’t know. I think we just have to stop ourselves. That would be one of the one ways we would say to combat this is just stop thinking about. Just cut that path off. 

Laura:  Okay, so what does that look like? That looks like saying, when we feel the worry coming, "Wait. No. I’m worrying. I’m going to go think about something else.”

When people say, “Just stop,” I'm always like, “That’s impossible,” as a woman, I’m like, “No way.” But really, what I’ve learned is that my brain is always thinking and so I need something else to think about. I will say, “Think about good things,” A lot of times my illogical fears come out at night and I’ll be spiraling down a path of something scary, and then I’ll try to think of a good memory from that day, or try to think about something fun that’s happening the next day.

But even better, if I were really on top of it, I would have a verse that would say, “Hey, this is what I’m going to think about,” Like Matthew 6:25-34 - amazing verses about not being anxious. We’ll probably link to a couple of these in the show notes but remembering scripture to say, “Hey, this isn’t what I’m going to do because I don’t need to, because I have nothing to fear, because I have God on my side.” Having those things and then redirecting your thoughts is key.

This is the battlefield of the mind, moms. We are at war with our own minds and so that’s where you want to come armed, equipped, ready to fight, and that looks like something as simple as changing what you’re thinking about.            

Emily:  If you’ve heard our Quiet Time episode, you should definitely go back and listen to that because that is where we build up this foundation of, when we are spending time in God’s word. If you haven’t read anything in scripture, you don’t know any truth. Any situation is going to be really difficult because that is where the Holy Spirit works for us, pulling some of those things out of our minds and our hearts to remind us of truth.

This is a practical thing but I have to stop reading stuff and stop watching stuff sometimes. I’m not going to advocate for being sheltered. I know there are some good things about being aware of the hardship that’s going on in the world, but for each of us, we have to use discernment. If you are feeling continuously anxious or continually concerned or it’s causing you to really freak out, or if you have those hot button things in your life that if somebody talks about, you really get defensive, it may be time to back off clicking articles on Facebook.  

Laura:  Those are super good tips. It's a lot of irrational worries. For example, I totally looked this stat up and I was like, “Okay, my kid has more of a chance of getting in a plane crash than being kidnapped.”  I get on a plane with them about four times a year.” Just looking at the illogicalness or just the very unlikeliness of these things that we allow ourselves to spiral down with, that simple fact alone should hopefully help abate some of those fears.

But ultimately, God is the only one who can transform your mind in His word. We want to encourage you today to take control of your mind and not allow it to go down these rabbit trails. When you do so, you’re not trusting in who God is and believing in the God of the Bible. Go forth today-   

Emily:  …With hope that God is going to fulfill all of His promises and yes, go hang out with Him.

Laura:  Yes, do that [laughter] and happy birthday Emily.  Thanks for joining us ladies.


Ep. 15 || When Quiet Times Aren't Quiet: How Moms Make Time To Study God's Word - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura:  Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here. Hopefully, all of you guys heard our awesome new jingle. Isn’t that such a fun little improvement? We got some feedback, a very helpful critique that our jingle was not as peppy as we are, and so we took the plunge and bought a new little jingle. Hopefully you guys like it and it reflects us a little bit more. We’re really excited about it and I literally can’t help but dance every time I hear it. I had my kids help me pick it out. I ran it by Emily, of course, but actually, my kids were pretty much the ones who picked that. The one they danced the hardest to is what we went with.  

Now, today, we are talking about a topic that Em and I are super passionate about. We’re talking about quiet times or basically just spending time in God’s word. 

Emily:  Quiet time is a little bit of a funny term. Of course if you’re a mom, you’re like, “What do you mean quite time? Because I’m pretty sure I get almost none of that and when I do, I’m sleeping or watching a TV show.” [laughs]

Laura:  Exactly. Sleeping is my quiet time guys. 

Emily:  Laura and I are super passionate about this mainly because we know how important it is, in order to function as a person, to have hope and joy in our lives and to grow in our relationship with God. This is the biggest component of that relationship, aside from and along with prayer.   

Laura:  I think  a quiet time is one of those things as a believer, where you are taught right away that this is the first way that you’re going to grow. Everybody pretty much knows what a quiet time is, if you are a believer, but I think it’s one of the quickest things that we can fall away from. We might still listen to worship music, we might still listen to a sermon online, or go to church, but those quiet times, are the meat of the Christian life. It’s one of those first things that we often give up or we pass on for that day.

Today we're talking about why this is so important and how you guys can find time, because I know it can feel near impossible, especially with some seasons of motherhood. We want to talk about some tips for how you can get in the word more.     

Emily: Laura and I wanted to share where we’re at. Obviously, we have kids so we totally understand the struggle. Laura, what does your quiet time look like right now or maybe, what has it even looked like? How has it evolved even since having children? 

Laura:  Obviously, my quiet times are far shorter than they used to be. One of the biggest things I had to learn was that whether it’s two minutes or it’s half an hour - as a mom, I have had to really come to terms with, “If I have two minutes then that is worth spending it in the word.” I can meditate on scripture in the car while I’m waiting for something or at the table.

Just last night, I had a quiet time. It was probably seven o'clock, and my husband wasn’t home yet. I turned on the TV for my kids and I was like, “I have not been in God’s word,” so I read the Bible. I had to change a diaper, resolve fights, [laughter] two different fights, somebody dropped of a package and I had to sign for it. Literally, in the span of 20 minutes, I was interrupted four times to try to deal with stuff and I had a TV on for my kids. [laughter]  I’m getting used to that, but that’s been the biggest roadblock for me. Once I overcame that, I realized it doesn’t have to be perfect, with my cup and coffee, and my candle, and my tea, whatever people do -  I don’t have to have that, and so it became a lot more accessible.       

Emily: I think that has been a huge key for me too, just trying to figure out how it fits into my life everyday, even when it’s not ideal. The funny thing is in some ways, I feel like I spend more time in God’s word now than maybe I ever have. I’ll just say, it’s out of pure desperation [laughs].

I also have more on my plate and more on my heart than I ever have in my life. I think we’re in a really intense season and so I find that I want to meet with the Lord everyday, and I want to read truth and get wisdom, and get help, and find peace, and rest for my heart. I’m thankful for that and I’m thankful that, yes, my weakness as a mom [laughs] is driving me to God. But I would say as far as the way quiet time looks, it is really different. It’s not necessarily before the kids get up alone, every day. It is after breakfast with the TV on and I’m exactly what you said Laura, interrupted several times but still working through a text. Or it is going through school time with my kids and we’re talking about a verse. I’m talking through that with them and praying through that with my kids and it’s like, “Oh, I’m learning with them. I’m meditating on a verse throughout the day.” It definitely looks a lot of different ways.    

Laura:  There are so many roadblocks to having a quiet time as a mom that we can easily push it aside. A lot of times, I will get into a rut of being like, “Oh, well, I listened to a sermon today. That was God’s word,” or, “That song. That was direct scripture lyrics [laughter]. I’m going to let that simmer in my soul a little today,” and we can allow that to replace our quiet time. Emily and I were talking about other roadblocks that we had, that you guys might identify with. Stuff like unpredictable schedules with kids, nursing, or morning sickness if you’re pregnant. We’re talking about, especially with me saying last night, all the interruptions and feeling like we need that uninterrupted time that just doesn’t exist.     

Emily:  Or if we have no idea what we are studying or working on. That is totally me too. I ended up having to give myself a never fail backup because if I didn’t have something to go study or to go read, I wouldn’t do it because it’s super weird to open up your Bible and look at it and be like, “Should I just point to a scripture and read?” [laughter] 

Laura:  That is not how we’re supposed to read it. Sometimes we’re always looking for that warm fuzzy feeling. Opening the scripture and we’re doing the pinball method where we’re like, “I’m just going to bounce over here today and I’m going to look for God to make me feel better or speak directly into my life in some magic 8-ball way.” But that is another roadblock because often times, our quiet time isn’t touchy-feely. It can often be difficult, and hard, and boring. If you don’t come into it with purpose and right expectation, then I think often our expectations are not met and then we are not motivated to continue to do it.      

Emily:  Even more so as a mom with young children. Because maybe more so than a lot of other seasons, again, you’re being interrupted and you can start to feel like, “I feel like I’m not doing a good job as a mom, and now I feel like I’m not doing a good job as a Christian.” Then we’re really getting down on ourselves about the fact that we’ve missed several days, or maybe we’ve missed weeks, or we’ve missed months or, maybe you haven’t even had a quiet time since your children were born.

Wherever you’re at, that’s a normal feeling that we all feel, but our relationship with God, through Christ Jesus is not based on our works or how good we’re doing at meeting with God, or how awesome our prayers are, or how spiritual we are. Our salvation is based completely on what Jesus did for us and that should make us want to meet with God. Laura can talk more about that but I think we just want to say in the gospel, you can start over today and go get back in God’s word. You don’t have condemnation.    

Laura:  It’s like starting a diet. You say, “I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow. I messed up today.” No, start now and know that you can come before the Lord. I know that’s a big thing and you’re kind of feeling ashamed and you feel like, "I can't meet with you God - I’ve been such a bad person.” You feel those unapproachable feelings towards the Lord but that’s not how He wants it and that’s not what His word says. He says, “Come to me. I don’t care how long it’s been but I want that relationship with you,” and so don’t walk in guilt moms, but start today.    

Emily:  Start today and know that as a person, if you want to hear from God, you have to be reading His word. This is where His words are, what He speaks to us individually and this is how the Holy Spirit is going to speak to us. This is what has power to actually change us. 

Like Laura said, it’s good to hear teaching scripture, it’s good to listen to spiritual songs, it’s good to have a spiritual conversation with your friends, to do all of those things but the heart of what is going to transform you is God’s word that is living and active. Your faith is going to come as you read it, and hear it, and it’s just profitable in your life for a lot of good things.  

Laura: We talk a lot here on Risen Motherhood about how we want to give our children the gospel day in and day out, and how we desire to point them to Jesus and see that eternal value. But if you’re not spending time in God’s word, directly in the literal Bible people, [laughter] and not-

Emily:  …a devotional.  

Laura:  or a song, a podcast or a devo that someone wrote. We’re talking about electronic or a hard copy of God’s word. That is what we need to be putting in ourselves so that we can pour that out. Like Emily said, ultimately that is where that transformation happens.  Learning about God’s word through thinking, using our minds; that is what transforms our hearts. It’s not like our heart changes and then our heads are all of a sudden, logically in it. It’s the other way around. It goes into our heads and through our hearts.   

Emily:  When we’re reading, especially to our children, we are also discipling them and all the things Laura and I keep talking about. They are watching us sacrifice and make time for that.

The other thing I wanted to say is just to remember that this is a relationship. Just like you would not go three weeks without talking your husband or you wouldn’t be like, “Well, I’ll just connect with him every once in a while. We’ll go out for coffee for two hours, we’ll catch up and we’re going to be good.” No, you would not have a good relationship. What do you do with the person that you love the most? You talk with them throughout the day, every day as much as you can connect with them. Yes, there’s hard days, and there are days you don’t connect with them but overall, you like talking to them, you like being with them, and you like learning about them. We want to take the pressure off and just remember it’s a relationship.        

Laura:  We want to talk about some of the ways in which we can overcome those roadblocks and have those relationships. The biggest thing that Emily and I talk about is having a plan and knowing what you’re going to do. I know Emily gifted this to me but I really like it. There’s a Give Me Jesus Journal by Gretchen Saffles. We’ll link to it in the show notes but there’s a great journal. We’re going to put some resources online so that you guys can check out those things. Reading the Bible through in a year, Bible study, like BSF or a Bible study through your church, using that as your quite time and it’s a great way to actually come prepared to Bible study that week [laughter], working your way inductively through a book of the Bible. Somebody that we love is Jen Wilkin, who talks a lot about understanding how the Bible transforms our minds in, what I was saying earlier, into your hearts. We’ll have some links to some of her stuff on the show notes.   

Emily:  The point is Laura and I wanted to encourage you guys, as we are encouraging ourselves, to make this a priority. It is so hard, and Laura and I don’t want to sound like, “We do a quiet time every single day and so we’re perfect.” Of course, you’ve heard us say a million times, “No, we are not,” and, “Yes, this is hard for us,” and, “Yes, we are fighting that fight alongside you to get in His Word,” but it is eternally important and it’s something that’s worth sacrificing for.

Laura:  It’s looking at your schedule and saying, “If Jesus is my first priority, does my schedule reflect that?” Sometimes, you are literally too busy to even spend more than two minutes in the word or zero minutes in the word. That is a time where it might be to say, “Whoa, do I need to scale back on a few things? What needs to be eliminated so that I can at least have a little bit of margin in my life to read the word?”  Last night I was like, “Man, I’ve got to practice what I preach. I’m going to talk about quiet times tomorrow, [laughter] so I haven’t done it today.” I turn on the TV for my kids and instead of wanting to surf the internet or do my own fun stuff, I was like, “No, I’m going to get in God’s word.” Yes, admittedly it was partially because I was like, “Gosh, darn it, [laughter] I’m going to be talking about it tomorrow.”

But I was so grateful for that time afterwards and felt refreshed. But that’s also something to remember is that sometimes you don’t necessarily feel refreshed once you are in the word. It might be painful sometimes. I love John Piper who says, “Duty turned into delight.” Sometimes we are doing these things to build habits in the long-term. You’re putting those deposits, those investments into your soul. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone through this dry, dry season where I am just like, “This just stinks.” But overtime and somehow slowly, God softens my heart to where I’m really enjoying it, and I’m seeing fruit from it and I’m seeing my life transformed by it. So give it time. It is hard work but it is so worth the reward. It’s far more worth any diet or fitness plan, or any business building. Whatever you are doing with your time, this is worth far more.      

Emily:  Far, far, far more and  like anything, you will go through those dry times. With your husband, it’s like, “Oh, he is going to be there and so it is important that I lay down this even if sometimes I don’t immediately feel like it,” and in the long- term, investing in that relationship reaps great rewards. The same thing is true of our relationship with God because I have this older wiser woman at church who will always say this to me, “Emily, the only things that are going to last are people and God’s word. So if you’re going to invest in anything, invest in those things.”What we’re taking with us is our character, our hearts, our souls and not anything else. We want to encourage you guys today, and we hope that you came away today, with some ideas of how to overcome some of those roadblocks that you’re facing.  

Laura:  No more excuses [laughter]. Basically, I need to hear this too. 

Emily:  I need to hear it so bad. 

Laura:  There is no excuse. You can figure it out. I’m sure you figured out how to pop on Pinterest, or [laughter] pop on Instagram today. If you want it enough, you’ll do it. I also want to charge you to be diligent with it and say, “This matters and I am going to do the hard thing today, and not just the easy thing because the value is so long lasting.” 

Emily:  That’s it for today guys. Thank you guys for listening. Just a reminder, you can find us on risenmotherhood.com. We would love it if you would go there and check out our show notes. Also, if you would be so willing to leave us a review on iTunes, that would be awesome and share this. If you have a friend or someone who is coming to your mind that you’re like, “Oh, I know we were just talking about how to get in God’s word,” or whatever it is, just definitely pass this along. Thank you guys again, for listening and we hope that you enjoy our brand new little jingle on the way out.     

Ep. 14 || How Mom Can Help Dad Invest in the Family's Faith - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura:  Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here with me. Today, we are going to do something we normally do at the end of the show, but real quick, we love you guys. We love our listeners. We’ve received so much support from you guys. You are so good to share things and to send us messages and emails, and things on social media. We are so appreciative every time you guys affirm what we’re doing, because it can be a little scary to do this especially because we know we’re not super great [laughter] but we’re really grateful for you guys.

We want to ask you, if you would, to share this with someone else. We want as many people as possible, and as many moms as possible, to hear about the gospel and how it should change what they’re doing as mothers. To help them to catch this vision that Emily and I, and all of you are on. We would really appreciate it if you would take five minutes and share the podcast.

Today, we’re talking husbands and often times, what happens in a marriage and what happens after kids and all of the crazy in our lives, they start to get a little disengaged. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about your husband being disengaged. We’re going to be talking about moms and all of our problems [laughter]. But some of you might not have wanted to listen to this episode because you’re frustrated with your husband in this area. Some of you may not even be married or not have a husband who is a believer, and some of you might have a husband who is rocking it right now in this area and you’re grateful for him. I think all the moms are probably coming from all over the board right now as they listen to this episode. So we hope that there is one or two truths out of this that you can apply to your life today. Your turn Emily.       

Emily:  This is all good stuff and important back information. I know my husband has done a wonderful job with our family. One thing that happens to me is that sometimes I will be scrolling along my newsfeed, and I’ll run across an article about how husbands should be leading their families spiritually. We might also go to a marriage conference or hear a conversation where the pastor will share something about what husbands are supposed to be doing, and it puts this little seed in my heart of, “My husband’s not doing that.” 

It can cause a lot of expectations that maybe aren’t right, and it could also start to change your heart to be a little bit more bitter, maybe not believing the best in him. It can turn your eyes off of yourself and your own job, and onto your husband and what he should be doing, and what he’s not doing and why. It can pull us down this really bad path mentally and emotionally and eventually, I think it can drive a wedge between you and your husband and it tends to get you off of the same team. We really want to be on the same team as our husbands, working towards the same unified goal, which is passing our faith onto our children.    

Laura:  I think that once you see that other man or you hear about that other man, or you read about that other man that’s doing all these amazing things, you’re like,” “Wah-wah.” Anything your husband was doing starts to pale in comparison, even if two seconds prior, you were like, “Yes, we’re doing pretty good.”

It’s a sick feeling in my stomach just thinking about that feeling.

I think our first response is often to nag. Maybe that’s inside - a grumbling or nagging inside our hearts and sometimes, a lot of times - especially with me who’s a verbal processor, that is aloud. It’s like this word vomit of stuff. Like, “Oh, I guess you just don’t care about the spiritual status of our children,” or, “I’ll just have to do it all myself. Do you even have quiet times? Do you even take notes at church? Are you even listening?” Sometimes it’s in our hearts but sometimes if you’re like me, it’s out loud and that’s hugely embarrassing to admit. I don’t know if any of you guys can relate because I’m feeling a little alone. Emily, have you ever done this?    

Emily:  Yes, well, I think - I was absolutely horrible. I went into marriage with really high expectations of what my husband was going to do as a spiritual leader. I remember on our honeymoon being like, “Okay, are we going to wake up and do a quiet time together now?” 

Laura:  [laughs] You’re so cute. 

Emily:  “Aren’t we going to read scripture together and pray?” and I fell really hard that first year of realizing that I wanted my husband to be as perfect as Jesus. [laughs] 

Laura: That’s what we all want. 

Emily:  I needed to put my hope in Christ so that I could enjoy my husband for who he is. It’s not that I don’t ever fail in this area anymore, but I feel like I had such a hard time in the first couple of years of marriage. Maybe the Lord has done a little tiny bit of work in my heart in this area, which I’m grateful for, but another thing you mentioned was compare.

We look at other women’s husbands or you hear about someone, and you compare and totally forget that each of our husbands were created differently, and they are going to carry out their leadership differently. Some of our husbands may have a quieter personality or they are more introverted or more introspective. Other husbands are musical; maybe they play the guitar and sing worship songs with their family. My husband has never picked up a guitar and so we shouldn’t be looking externally for what our own husband should be doing.  

I think the main thing we want to address, for you guys, is the heart. As Laura and I were talking about this, it’s like, what is our heart towards our husband?  Let's go ahead and chat about how the gospel applies to this, because I feel like that’s what poisons our heart to begin with. 

Laura:  You’ve probably heard it every week here. Do you know what we’re going to say? [laughter] The fall; the curse. If you have learned anything from this show, is that it all goes back to the fall and it makes us as women desire, or prone towards, dominating over our husband. There’s a reason why this is pretty common and we can even have a whole podcast show about it. So it's the redemption story, ladies. You have received grace and so you can extend grace to you husband. We have been shown love by Christ and so we can extend that same thing. 

One verse that I love, because I am so verbal, is in 1 Peter 3. It says, “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words, by the behavior of their wives.” That speaks so much to our actions being grace-filled. That they would be won over without the nag; the constant reminders of where they’re failing and what they’re doing wrong. That you would give them no condemnation; no shame, just as Christ has not shamed you for all the ways that you have failed. The same thing we want to extend to our husbands is the same grace that has been shown to us.     

Emily:  That gospel, as well, allows us to be fully secure in our relationship with Christ. The only person who is going to meet our expectations, who lived a perfect life and who is going to fulfill all of our hopes and dreams is Jesus. When we are treasuring Him fully and fixing our eyes upon Him, we don’t put a burden or a weight on our husbands to do those things for us. Our husband is our brother-in-Christ. I think that’s an interesting thought too. We want to help our husbands and encourage them spiritually, so sometimes, if you see areas where they are struggling, there is a time for a mature, gracious conversation with them. 

I think what Laura and I want to communicate, is treat him the way you would want to be treated. Give him the benefit of the doubt because you know all those things you want to do as a mom like, “Oh, I want to read with my kids for a minimum of 30 minutes a day and I want to be feeding them vegetables at every meal. I want to be doing…” We have these really high standards but we don’t always meet our own standards because life gets in the way. We don’t live up to the kind of moms that we want to be.

In the same way, our husbands want a lot of times to be doing these things with their families but they’re working really hard. I know my husband is often serving our family really practically. He’s cleaning up dishes, wiping mud off of faces, putting kids to bed. It’s not that he doesn’t want to, it’s more like what happens to us as women? We don’t do what we intend to do.   

Laura:  One thing that was key for me to learn is that, especially as a stay-at-home mom, I was around my kids 24/7. My trial by fire was pretty fast in a way because it was constantly coming at me. But with my husband leaving for work, he didn’t have as much time to do the research and read the articles and talk to other moms. Let’s now talk through the ways that we can encourage our husbands, Em. 

Emily:  We’re going to dive right into the practical but if you’re listening to this, we really want to encourage you, before you go to the practical, to address your heart towards your husband. Make sure that you’re on his team, that you’re believing the best in him, that your heart is truly to love and honor him and to take over for him, because you think he’s not doing a good enough job.

I know we keep saying that but if you jump to the practical with you heart wanting to manipulate the situation in a new way, this is not going to be effective, assuming you’ve gotten your heart right.

One of the biggest things that I do for my husband is make it easy for him. Sometimes I will just arrange materials. Again, I know I’ve mentioned this many times, but we do a lot of our talking about scripture at the breakfast table. I pulled all of those things together and put them in a box. I put it right by the breakfast table so that when we sit down and we’re all eating, I can literally can pull it off the shelf, set it right next to him and say, “Hey, this is the verse that we we’re talking about in church this week. You could chat with the kids about that,” and he’s like, “Great,” He’s happy to do that. It makes it easier for him and more accessible. I don’t know if you have any other examples.   

Laura:  Or like, “Hey, I heard about this new toddler Bible. Do you want to try reading it to our kids,” or, “Hey, this is a great sermon that I heard,” and then shoot him a link to a sermon. Don’t do it in a way that’s like, “Gosh, are you going to read this toddler Bible to our kids or do I need to do it?” [laughter] Not like that. That’s an example of a negative heart, but a way of saying, “Hey, I heard about this. My mom friend uses it and I really trust her. It’s a really cool resource. What do you think about it?” 

Coming to him in a way that, as we’ve talked about, as you would want to be treated; softly and sweet. Gracious words are like a honeycomb: sweetness to the soul, health to the body. We want to be encouragers of our husbands. The other thing too, is to find areas that he does well and exploit the heck out of them. We want to breathe life into our husbands, to build them up.

Emily and I both talk a lot about being our husband’s biggest fan. Sometimes that can be really hard because we can also see all the ways that he fails, but you also know the very best things about him. Tell him how much you appreciate him. Tell him how much you love him. If he’s good at finances, talk about finding a Compassion's International child to sponsor and say, “Did you hear about these kids at church? I’d love to do this. Do you think we have room in our finances for this?” Stick it up on the fridge and bring it up. There’s natural ways. Look for ways that your husband can be easily helping to spiritually lead your home.      

Emily:  It’s about listening really carefully, because your husband, probably, is leading your family through expressing his preferences, as Laura shared, or his giftings. It’s just observing and being a student of your husband, seeing what are the areas that he is passionate about, or he is already naturally trying to pass on some things to your children. Grabbing onto those and trying to find ways to exploit that, or help him go even further to share his faith with your children.

Then finally, the last thing Laura and I wanted to mention was praying for your husband because at the end of the day, we don’t have power as wives to change our husbands’ hearts. No amount of conversations can convict your husband about how he’s doing as a spiritual leader.   

Laura:  Don’t be confused moms. You’re not the Holy Spirit. 

Emily:  Literally, you cannot. Laura and I have both had situations with our husband, where we have tried to, “Okay, if I just talk to him at the right time in the right way with enough words, he will get it. He’s going to see what he’s doing wrong here and he’s going to change.” It will not happen. I’m not saying don’t talk to your husband but I’m saying recognize the role of the Holy Spirit and that only the Holy Spirit can truly change a heart. You can inform, encourage, and point your husband to scripture. You can be on his team but only Jesus is going to change his heart.  

Laura:  Amen. With that, I think it’s time to wrap up. I know we clipped through these but probably each one could have been an episode on its own, however, we just want to encourage you guys to get back on your husband’s team, if you’ve been off of it. Connect together and check your heart modus mom. This is about the log in your own eye before you look at the speck in theirs.

I think that wraps it up. We will skip our usual stuff but if you want show notes or want to find us on any social media and all that good stuff, head over to RisenMotherhood.com, that’s where we’ll be. Have a great day moms. 


Ep. 13 || Breastfeeding & Bottle Feeding: How the Gospel Changes the Conversation - Transcript

Laura:  Hey guys. Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. Today, we are talking about a super sensitive topic. Emily and I are somewhat terrified to talk about this, but also excited because it shouldn’t be such a scary topic. We are talking about one of the most common mommy war topics: breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. We are talking about how you feed your baby, and we’re both cringing a little bit here. I think it's one of the most difficult things as a new mom, is feeding your baby.  It seems like it’s always touch and go and your'e wondering if it’s going to work, or how it’s going to work, or if you know your child’s getting enough. It’s the first thing that’s in your face as your first big responsibility as a mom.

Emily:  Regardless of what you do, it takes up a tremendous amount of time. It takes a lot of time feeding your child in the first year. If I could clock the hours that you take, either preparing for it or washing bottles or whatever you do, it affects all these other areas like sleeping, and their temperament, and their mood, and when you go places, and what you have to bring with you when you go. It impacts everything for your first year, so it’s a huge deal.

Laura:  It is like your life. I feel like that was everything I thought about the first year, especially with my firstborn. It was like everything came back to how I fed my child. Then too, you have kids that have gas or they have colic or reflux, and allergies. There are so many complications with either how your child receives it or even how your milk comes in, and what your diet should be. And even if you do bottles, you have to find the right nipple, and if you’re in a pump, what’s the right valves that are going to fit on you? I hope my husband does not listen to this episode or any men out there [laughter]. I’m sorry! I think there are so many variables and it is super stressful. It’s super personal, that’s why I think so many moms debate about it.    

Emily:  And like you said, I think we can all be unified that regardless of how you choose to feed your baby, there are challenges. It takes up a lot of time and it’s a big responsibility. I think we can all acknowledge that, “Hey, it’s hard.” Laura and I have all over the board experiences of feeding our children.

Laura:  We have six kids between us. Emily has four of them though. 

Emily:  We wanted to share our personal experiences a little bit here, so you know where we are coming from. Laura, do you want to share?

Laura:  This is really high level because we have so many experiences, just like all of you, but yes. 

Emily:  And if we were all sitting down for coffee, we would talk about all those great details. Okay Laura, what was your experience?

Laura:  I’ve got two kiddos. I’ve written a ton about this topic because it was so stressful and difficult for me. Too much so and I realize that now, but I went from exclusively breastfeeding to exclusively pumping for about six months. Then it went to bottle feeding and formula feeding for the last few months. I definitely did all three, at a high commitment level to all of them, and honestly, breastfeeding was an idol for me. It was something that I wanted to work. I wanted to breastfeed. I had heard that it was the most natural way and all of those things, and I wanted to give breastmilk to my son, but for various reasons, it just didn’t work. I was so committed to pumping that I spent hours and hours on the pump. I was trying to get my milk supply up, doing all the lactation tips, and all the things you do to try to increase your milk supply.

My son was a huge eater. He was taking so much milk and it was a difficult time. Then the second time, my daughter had colic and we moved at the same time. I exclusively nursed her for about five months, very much in an on-demand way and whatever she wanted, and then I lost supply - or enough supply - probably due to stress, the doctor said. She just wasn’t eating enough, was falling off the growth charts and I went "wham bam," straight to formula [laughter].  I think it’s a thing you probably wouldn’t do until you’re a second-time mom. Maybe not, but I needed the first child to be able to say to the second child, “I’m not doing one foot in, one foot out.”            

Emily:  [laughs] I’ve had experiences too, all over the table. My first son came out four weeks early. We nursed but for a variety of reasons, for only about four months did that work, and he was never great at nursing. I would say I never had a good nursing experience. It was always a fight; it was always tears on his part and me feeling unsure. I went to the doctor with him at four months or something and he was like, “Hey, he’s at zero percentile. You have to do something.” That was immediate, “We are moving you over to bottle and formula.” Again, I was a first-time mom and I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn’t know what support was available and all those things.  

Laura:  It’s so hard the first time.

Emily:  That was the best decision. That was the only decision we needed to make at that time, and moved over to formula and did that for the rest of the year, and he did great; he thrived. Then second time around we had twins, and I knew going into it that we had a 15, 16-month old at home and I was getting ready to have twin infants. I didn’t have a previously good breastfeeding experience and so I think I wasn’t expecting to breastfeed them. But I also wanted to pump and I wanted to offer them breast milk as long as I could, so that is what I did.

They were born a month early and I pumped for about three months with them, and kept up with it for a long time, but I honestly got to this place where pumping was extremely isolating for me. We had a family living with us at the time, and so I was having to pump in a back room of our house. With twins and feeding, it was like all I was doing was being attached to my pump and feeding those babies. I felt like I was going to go into a dark place, and so it was really, really important for me to stop that for my own emotional and mental health. Like Laura said, second time around, I think I felt more confident that they do grow out of that stage and everything is okay.

My most recent experience has been totally different. I had a full-term baby and this child loves nursing so much. I have been exclusively breastfeeding now for eight months. He will not take a bottle; I breastfeed on demand. It’s funny because now I’m having my total ‘dream breastfeeding experience’ but it’s still not perfect. We’ve had growth issues. Again, I can’t be away from this sweet guy because he won’t take milk from anything else [laughter] but me. It’s funny; I feel like we’ve done everything. I’m happy and it looks like I’m on trajectory to maybe go a year or more with this dude breastfeeding.  

Laura:  That shows you from two moms how we’ve had literally every experience in the book [laughter]. That’s what we want to make clear.. Especially if you look at Emily as a case study, the same person, and she has had an exclusive nurser and pretty much almost gone pretty quickly to formula both by choice, and by what happened. Same mom. I think that that’s an interesting note, that it doesn’t always work perfectly for every single mom or the mom doesn’t always have to make the same decisions with each baby.  

Emily:  I agree. So we wanted to address the gospel in this. This is a component that generally isn’t talked about when breastfeeding or bottle-feeding comes up. Personal experiences are interesting but what I hope that you observed, as we were sharing is that Laura and I, regardless of what way we were ‘choosing’, there were problems. Sin and the fall makes everything that God originally designed and originally planned, complicated and broken.  Even if we're at the hospital say, “Oh, I want to do this natural ‘ideal’ thing,” it was complicated.  Some women have their baby and maybe there’s things in their past, or traumas, or whatever, that make it so that they can’t, in that moment, make that decision to breastfeed. I think regardless of how you feed your baby, sin has, and will, and does, impact that.    

Laura: The big thing to remember is that through redemption – this is the beautiful part about the gospel – God has offered grace through the cross. What that means is that being able to use formula and such things, we have an alternate method – a great method – of being able to feed our children. We have very helpful nurses and lactation consultants that when we’re struggling with breastfeeding, they can help, tips and advice. We have breastfeeding support groups and pumps. All these are a form of grace. It’s a wonderful thing that even though our bodies are broken, that sometimes when that perfect original design of being able to breastfeed your child doesn’t work out - because we live in a broken world with broken bodies - how amazing is it that God has offered grace through all of these ways to help us either find support in continuing to breastfeed, or an alternate method that’s going to work well for you.

What a cool way to see redemption: every time you attend that support group, or every time you hop on that Facebook page and get some advice, or from a friend, or you sit down with your pump, that is grace. We love finding God’s grace and the redemption story in the small things that we do every day as a mom.  

Emily:  I think the other thing that Laura touched on earlier in the episode, which I want to bring back up again, is what are we worshiping? What are we putting our heart and our hope in? Are you hoping in God? Are you focusing on worshiping Him? Are you focusing on letting the Lord and His word control you, or are you hoping in and focusing on your desire to feed your child a certain way, and letting everything else in your life be killed on that alter? 

Being willing to literally sacrifice anything at any cost for this one thing. Maybe it’s a perfect breastfeeding experience or maybe it’s, “I must continue exclusive pumping for a certain amount of time” or something else. I don’t know what all of the different idols are, but I think it’s really important that we keep God as the most important figure; Christ as the most important thing in our lives. Do not begin to worship a style of feeding to the point where it’s controlling everything in your life. It can get really weird, and I think you have to ask yourself, “What is my heart worshiping? What am I making the most important thing?”    

Laura:  Along with idolizing or putting on a pedestal a certain method or way - because we have been extended grace in this area, our job is to give ourselves grace and also other women, so that we don’t hold them to some standard that we feel it should be. We’re not just talking here about if you breastfeed or if you don’t. People had opinions whenever I exclusively pumped or whenever I formula fed. There was a high standard of what kind of formula I use. I was even amazed by people’s really strong opinions about, “This is the best kind of formula. It’s the closest to breast milk. This is what you must use or you are not a good formula-feeding mom.” It happens in all sorts of areas of how we feed our babies, and it will happen as you progress past breastfeeding into if you’re feeding your child organic, or if you’re giving them processed foods or if you’re giving them gluten!

It’s something we face as moms our whole lives, and our job is to steward well whatever God has given us to feed our babies. One way that we can model God’s grace is by feeling freedom in what we feed our children. Evaluating that with your husband and looking at what’s going to work best, and not allowing a certain form of feeding to be idolized with you, or in your conversations with others. We want to give each other grace, moms, and not have this be a huge mommy war. There’s no point in it.         

Emily: Just a quick side note, feeding is a legitimate way that, especially with our babies, we love them well. We are Christ to our children by feeding them and caring about their nutrition, and caring that they’re getting enough food and they’re getting it at the right time. That is a way that we are imaging Christ to our babies. A baby that’s literally physically nourished is able to learn and grow. You’re preparing them physically and mentally to be able to learn and hear the gospel, and other things later in life. I think we don’t want to devalue and say that eating doesn’t matter at all - because it does matter - but it’s your heart in it and your heart should say, “This is a way that I want to be preparing my child to receive the truth that I’m going to share with them and to nurture them,” and not, “This is a way I’m going to control my situation and feel like a good mom.”   

Laura:  Right on. I think we’ll end it there as we’ve hit our time. We hope that you don’t hear from us what method is correct or the right way to do things but just your heart attitude behind it, and why we can find freedom. If you’re struggling with that right now, we really hope that you’re able to move past that and be able to live in God’s grace of all of these great ways that we can feed our children, and to adjust your heart to be grateful for that.

We have our show notes on this. I think I’ve written about this topic a ton before. I don’t know how much Em has but we’ll have some other great articles up. Definitely check us out on Facebook and Twitter for social media, so if you want to follow along and get updates there, do that and you can head over to RisenMotherhood.com for any other info as well. Hope you guys have a great day.

Ep. 12 || Is Your Child’s Faith Your Responsibility? - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Emily:  Welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’m Emily Jensen here, with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler. Before we jump into our topic this morning, we had a couple of housekeeping things we wanted to chat about. We’ve had a couple of compliments lately on our beautiful website, but we know that some of that is due to the fact that we’ve got gorgeous pictures that don’t reflect what we look like in real life.  

Laura:  We look way better in those pictures, you guys. [laughs]

Emily:  [laughs] We are thankful to Libby Asay Studio who took those shots for us. Definitely go check her out, especially if you’re in the Central Iowa area. She is awesome and sweet and fun and you’ll want to hire her.

Laura:  Oh, and she’s perfect with kiddos too. She’s got a couple of her own so she’ll definitely know how to work with your family.  

Emily:  The other thing that we wanted to mention really quick is what our "show notes" are. Did you guys know that we post a corresponding post on our website for each episode that we do? Our show notes have links to a lot of different resources , and then posts that maybe I’ve done, or Laura has done on the topic , and our whole show archive is there, so definitely go check that out. If you hear us talking and you’re interested in what we’re sharing and you want to learn more, that would be a place to start. That’s what "show notes" are.

Today we are going to be talking about what is our responsibility when it comes to passing on our faith, and what is not our responsibility or what we shouldn’t feel guilty about. We wanted to talk about this specifically, because in the last show, we were talking about "What is mom’s time worth?" we started to drift into how to pass on your faith to your child. So we thought, “Hey, that’d be a really good episode,” since I know it’s a huge question that a lot of moms have.

Laura: As Em and I were talking, we realized there were two main areas that a lot of believing moms fall into. One of it would be the "hands off approach" of believing that, “If I send my child to church each week and we do the classes, and we do the right actions, then they’ll be saved,” or, “We’ll just trust that God will take care of the rest, as long as I get them to the right checkpoints in life,” and these parents not doing and practicing things at home.

Then there’s that other side, which I think Emily and I definitely land on, and probably many of you as well. It’s where you have this huge burden about your child’s faith and that you feel, “I need to do all these things; this huge checklist of things in daily life. I need to model it well,” and it becomes this huge heavy burden of guilt. We live in somewhat of a fear of, “If I don’t do the right things, and if I don’t make sure that my child understands how the gospel impacts their everyday life, then they may not become a believer.” We carry this heavy guilt and burden for feeling like we are shouldering that responsibility.  

Emily:  I think when you live there, basically everyday becomes this roller coaster of pride and despair. You get to the end of the day and if you’ve talked to your kids about Jesus , and you’ve done all these little things, you take a deep breath. Or if you see some fruit in their life, you go, “Huh, okay, might turn out okay.” But if you’ve spoken harshly with them or you’ve ignored them, or haven’t spent the time, at the end of the day, it’s like, “Nothing is going to turn out good in their life and it’s all going to be my fault. I’m ruining my children, “ and we can really repeat some bad lies. We don’t want to get stuck in there though because neither of those ways is the right answer. There is a third way, and it’s being faithful to what God has called us to do as moms, and then trusting Him for the work of salvation and the work of changing them.

Laura:  We have no guarantee that God is going to save our children. We ourselves can’t cause that to happen, but we can obey God one day at a time with the help of the Holy Spirit, to help shape our children’s hearts so that they have a great foundation. That’s what we’re really laying here - we are drawing a foundation for the future.

One quote Em and I like is from Matt Chandler. He says something along the lines of, “Our job isn’t to save our children; it’s to teach them about Jesus, putting as much kindling around their hearts as we possibly can, so that the Holy Spirit can come in and ignite the fire.” That is our charge as mothers.   

Emily:  That is a really important job and I think the first question that comes to mind when we start to ask, “What does it look like to be faithful?” or, “What is it that we’re supposed to be faithful to do as mothers?” Surprisingly, as you read scripture and develop an understanding of God’s charge and His vision for moms, it’s really not super specific. It’s not down to the details. It’s really general and then it’s left up to us and our families, and our own individual communities to know what that looks like.

Some examples Laura and I wanted to go through of, what we’re supposed to be faithful to do is, we’re supposed to teach our children about who God is and the words that He’s spoken to us in the Bible. We’re supposed to be pointing them to the gospel, sharing Christ with them throughout all the everyday moments. We’re supposed to be training them in wisdom: what’s the difference between wisdom and foolishness, and disciplining them - that is a huge one that the Bible talks about! We’re supposed to be requiring them to obey us. That’s a hard but important thing and it’s a clear command in the Bible. We're supposed to be loving them like Christ has loved us and having that posture of mercy towards them, but also seeing the long view. I know Laura always talks to me about that. Making the choices that are going to be the best for their long-term spiritual health and not just giving them what they want.   

Laura:  Those feel like really big tasks. As a mom, when you really start to think about each of those tasks, that’s where I think that guilt and burden can come from because it’s like, “How do I do that? What if I miss a day?” or things like that.  It’s not about having a perfect track record or making sure that all at once all of these things are being fulfilled. It’s an overarching vision for your family and it’s applying these things that Emily has talked about. There are other ways, but one big way you can do that is sitting down and talking with your husband. We’re going to get into more detail on how to build a vision for your family in a later episode but maybe another way of putting it is, it making it a passion area for your family. We want to be moms who intentionally pass down our faith to our children. That is done on a daily basis and then it’s also done over a lifetime, like Emily was saying.

The daily stuff would look like, for example: family quiet times, listening to Christian music, going to church on a weekly basis, and talking to them about the gospel. I know we’ve had a few episodes where we’ve talked about how we weave God into the everyday, as we talk about the trees, or how things work, or how people are made.

But then in the big way - throughout a lifetime - that’s actually a fun thing and something that excites me - when you look at how you can cast a vision for a lifetime. That can be for a family who, let’s say they’re really passionate about pro-life. So they do things surrounding that, of going to clinics and praying, or working there, or meeting with moms. Or maybe it’s your kid’s in public school and you are really passionate about reaching people in the public school, so you’re on PTA and you’re volunteering, and you’re involved in a lot of things.  Maybe it’s a certain hospitality type of thing. I know my brother and our sister-in-law; they’re really passionate about internationals and inviting them into their home. They open their home all the time and have people in. They want to show their children God’s love through hosting internationals in their home, and having open doors. You can build that vision for your family around things that interest you, and your husband, and are going to make a long-term impact on your children who grow up some day and say, “My parents really showed Christ to these people, or through doing these type of acts, and I saw that daily as I grew up.”          

Emily: I think you have to live it. A huge part of being faithful is keeping your own faith with the Lord, which is what Laura is saying. We each have our own individual passions and desires in the way we’re sharing the gospel and living that out. Our children watch that, as well as receive more of the formal instruction from us. I think the other point we want to make is that faithfulness doesn’t mean that you have a perfect track record as a mom. Faithfulness isn’t perfection; it is coming back to your mission, or your vision, or your goals, over and over and over again, with persistence, stubbornness, and continuing to pray, and repent, and say, “Lord, I messed up today,” or, “I haven’t done this correctly.”

I’ll give an example. We shared about our learning box in the "Teaching Your Children about Jesus" episode. I started home schooling with the kids and I totally fell of the wagon. I had that moment that we all have, where you go, “Should I just stop doing that?” That was kind of a burden.   

And I just said, “No, what it’s about is going back to what we said was important to us. It’s hard, but just because I haven’t done it for two weeks doesn’t mean I cannot sit back down and do it again.” So this last Monday, I sat back down and I got it back down and it was like, “Sorry kids. We haven’t done this in a while but it’s coming back.” I think faithfulness is stubbornness about this area.

Laura:  It is. We want to be moms that are super stubborn. This is something that we do not give up on; we don’t quit on. I feel like we could be one of those "Fitspiration" people, how they’re, “Get your workout in! Even if it's the last 20 minutes of the day - be dedicated.” I feel like that kind of thing. A lot of the things they say, ring so true for how we want to be passing the gospel on to our children.

Emily and I aren’t so perfect at this. It’s a daily thing where we are repenting and coming back and saying, “Let’s start over again. Every day is new.” We want to encourage you that even if you haven’t been doing these things, or you’ve not done them for a few months, this is a great day to start and to get back into that. Check out the episode, "Teaching Your Children about Jesus," if you’re looking for some ways to jump start that - or maybe you’ve never done it before, that would be a great episode to listen to.

Just choose one thing - because we do not want to make you feel overwhelmed, or like this is too much. We want the gospel to be accessible to you and to realize how this is too important to not weave into your every day, and that it is possible to weave into your every day. Look at motherhood as a slow reward and something that you are building as heritage over time for your children, and be consistent moms who come back to the cross. God knows you screwed up already anyway, so tell Him and then move forward in freedom in being able to do these things.        

Emily:  I think that’s the gospel for us as moms right there. We keep saying this, your identity is not found in how you are performing as a mom. Your identity is rooted securely in Christ. You are a daughter of God and you have been fully redeemed. God has put all of the wrath and the punishment you deserve for not being a great parent on Christ. That doesn’t give us an excuse to go on and say, “He’s paid my penalty so I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” but, “He’s paid my penalty. How merciful God is. How gracious He is to me. I get to walk in freedom regardless of what I do. Because of that, I want to serve God by telling my children about this great God that we have, that cleanses us from our sins even when we don’t do what we’re supposed to do, and He is so good.”  That is the heart that we want to have, and then when we have that heart, we are going to do what we need to do.

Laura:  The point is when you understand what Christ did for you, you cannot help but to spread that onto everyone. When you understand deeply and truly the magnitude of what Christ did for you, that is something that overflows out of you and to your children.

That about wraps up our show today. We want to encourage you guys to head to our website, RisenMotherhood.com, and check out the show notes. We’ll have a little bit more information on how you can do that, maybe a link to that episode we referenced and you guys can get recharged into wanting to pass your faith onto your children.

Head over to Facebook and give us a "Like." That’s where we are pushing out a lot of our shows as well as Twitter. Those are the two mediums that we are on.  Then finally, of course, you can find us on iTunes and all the podcasting apps and streaming things so definitely check those out.

Ep. 11 || What Is Mom’s Time Worth? - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura: Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’m Laura Wifler and I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here. Today, we’re talking about a really interesting topic. We’re talking about "what is a mom’s time worth?" For you as a mom, what is the value of your time and where is it spent? What does the gospel say about where it should be spent, for how long and that kind of thing. We’re also talking specifically about, is there a time when it’s appropriate to bring in help to help the mom? 

Emily:  We realize this is a complex topic. I feel like, with a lot of the topics we try to tackle, we go, “We have 15 minutes to talk about something that’s highly individualistic.” We can’t speak to every personal situation but we can share our own personal experiences, and try to cast a vision for motherhood for you guys. I think that’s something that Laura and I are passionate about. We try to understand more about what the Bible has us to do as moms, to be faithful with our children. We want to pass that along because that is really the main thing.  

Laura:  We’ve discussed it before in episode one and six about what a mom’s role is, so if you’re looking for more, definitely check those episodes out. Us moms [and dads], our primary role is to raise our children in the Lord, to teach them in faithfulness and righteousness, and to train them up. Our time; the value of the time, the task that God has designed for moms primarily to do: our role is to invest our faith into our children. To pass on what God has taught us, and to teach our children and train them in the Lord. 

That’s not something someone else can do. God has designed that to be your unique and special role. If a mother, who has birthed these children won’t do it, who will? 

Emily:  My kids may pick up some stuff if they go to church, but one hour a week or two hours a week of instruction, from someone that they don’t know very well probably isn’t a replacement for what we see in scripture. In the Old Testament, in Israel, families, parents, the whole community passed along all of the things of the Lord. The Old Testament talks about, “Write things on your wall and talk about these things all day long to your children” tell them about God’s glory. 

Then there’s all these practical things that go along with passing down your faith, and sharing the gospel with your children as well. That includes keeping them physically nourished. And the love that you have with them and expressing sweet little hugs, and playtime, and reading books with them, and bringing them onto your lap. Discipline is a huge thing that we do that passes along an understanding of the gospel. I feel like passing along our faith is a big job and like Laura said, it’s something that is uniquely given to parents to do to their children. 

In our current society, we can’t rely on the culture or anyone around us to be teaching that to our children intentionally.   

Laura:  It’s definitely a sacrificial thing. Choosing to invest well in your children for eternity is something … where as we talk about what a mom’s time is worth, there are hard choices to be made so that we can do that well. Passing on and training our children, like Emily said, takes a lot of time. I think about myself. I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember; I was raised in a Christian home. But how much knowledge I’ve gained (and I’ve been immersed in Christian culture for 25 plus years)?

I feel like I grow so much all the time, each year that passes but I’m amazed at how much time it does take to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. Does that make sense?   

Emily:  It totally does. It’s like the faithfulness day in and day out. It’s not those one or two big events a year that you do with your child. It is literally the building; little brick, upon brick, upon brick of the foundation that you’re giving your children.  I also want to say something real quick that can bog us down and it’s bogged me down lately. 

We are called to be faithful to that and to trust God each day and give Him our time and use it to point our children to Christ, but we are not responsible for how they turn out, or if they accept that faith or not. We cannot put that weight on our shoulders. I just wanted to give that quick caveat in case any of you are starting to sink in despair. [laughter]  

Laura:  Or feel a lot of pressure. 

Emily:  “I’m not doing this right and it’s all going to be my fault.” We probably need to do an episode about that. Just know you are responsible to be faithful; as faithful as you can today. 

Laura: With that in mind, as we are trying to figure out, “Where does my time go as a mom?” specifically we’re talking about bringing on help. Things like a cleaning service, or a meal service or a laundry service.

Emily:  Lawn care too.

Laura:  Yes, so different things like that that can be hired out, but are not things that only mom can do. We want to look at it from the biblical vision of motherhood, that’s this big chunk of your time and should be the biggest aim and goal. When we talk about finding help, it’s for these external items. Finding help isn’t always the right answer and we want to make that clear too. 
It’s something that Emily and I have both grappled with over these past few years. It’s something we’ve had a lot of discussion with other moms so we thought it would be an important topic to talk about.    

Emily:  I think another reason why we feel like we have to talk about this is because in our culture particularly, there is this myth that a mom or a woman should be able to handle it all, and do it all herself. We are a very independent culture, very few of us live with other generations, and we don’t live in these fluid communities or commune-style living. We are very independent; it is very much an expectation that you are able to manage all your responsibilities on your own but I think that is not true. None of us are able to do everything well. Every time you put your time somewhere, it forces you to take time away from something else. 

I think we are trying to dispel that a little bit and say, “Hey, we can’t do it alone. We cannot do this big job that God has given us alone.” We need other Christians and sometimes, we just need practical helpers.  

Laura:  One point I feel we should make too is that with the whole investing in your child’s faith, that is also a community thing. That’s something that’s important but we don’t want to sound like, “It is only mom’s job to invest in their faith,” Your children should be surrounded by other believers. That’s a quick side note but we want to make that very clear that God’s church, it is the body of Christ that is raising and investing in the next generation as well. 

But back to our focus here. This is a complicated topic but as Emily said, there’s a lot of demands on our time. Especially for me, I have felt that finding help can seem really indulgent. I’m a stay-at-home mom primarily, and you could say that I probably spend about a part-time amount of work on my blog. That’s typically done in the fringe hours, but I feel this sense of, hiring help or finding help can be a snobby thing or a spoilt thing. It sounds great. 

Emily:  It’s that independent like, “Oh, Laura should be able to do all of this.”       

Laura:  Totally. I’m just drinking the world’s juice of, it’s a prideful side of me.Emily and I both want to share where we are coming from on this. But personally, I tend to not hire or find help partially, because I have that seed of pride of wanting to be able to do it all, and feeling very self-sufficient and I have the tendency towards that. But also, truth be told, generally on most weeks, I am able to at least keep our house sufficiently smoothly running. That’s not to say it’s perfect or it’s cleaned as much as I like or our grass is always mown or anything like that. We want to be clear here that there are seasons and times for help but it doesn’t mean that’s always the right answer.

Emily:  Sometimes it’s like managing your time better. 

Laura:  It’s managing your time better. Doing meal planning, writing lists, talking to your husband about, “Hey what things can be let go and what not,” but we’re going to get to that. Emily, do you want to share on your side of things?   

Emily: Just to piggyback off of that too, I think it also teaches your children and is modeling. Part of passing on your faith sometimes is having them watch you do the mundane things and say, “You need to sit and play with this toy because mommy really needs to go clean this thing.” Or, “We need to go take care of this task as a family and that’s part of life.”  

Laura: Take them alongside you. 

Emily: That is part of it too but I will just share that again, for us, we are in a season of life. We have four children under the age of four. We have an infant, we have twin toddlers that are needing a tremendous amount of redirection and discipline and training. In this particular season, we have looked at my time. I’ve just started home schooling and we’ve said, “What are some things that can take some pressure off of me?” because it is like, “I’m up at night with a baby and I’m tired” and then during the day, trying to do this job well and do it joyfully. We hire a cleaner that comes twice a month. 

That does not absolve me of daily cleaning responsibilities. I still get under my table and pick up crumbs every single day so I don’t leave them for two weeks, but it’s like the deep cleaning of somebody else who goes and scrubs our tub. Also in the summer, we hire out lawn care so that my husband can come home from work and be all hands on deck with our family. Those are two practical examples. Also, I have younger women in my home multiple times to help me do organizational projects. I’m getting into another tangent though. We try to find creative ways to have support on some of these areas that are less important, or that anyone can do.     

Laura: That’s something that we wanted to hit on. Something you touched on there Emily, that sometimes people can be in a spot of life where budget doesn’t allow you to hire help.  You touched on being creative in that way and hiring younger women or training them. Maybe it’s not even hiring but if you’re feeling strapped on time, there are creative answers particularly when you’re involved in a local church, to tap into resources that can help you be more efficient with your time. Like Emily said, having a mother’s helper.   

Emily: A mommy’s helper. 

Laura:  A mommy’s helper.  I know that sometimes people are in different places in life, and with budgets and so this is about being creative about finding help for mom, not just what’s some luxury expense. 

Emily:  I think my husband has challenged me to say, from an hourly wage perspective, what is my time worth? We think about that number and it’s like when you look at paying someone a little bit to come help you with something, it’s sometimes worth that number. Every family has to look at their budget and like you were saying Laura, that creativity of, “Do you know any empty nesters that would love to come, be around the house with your little kids and come along side you? Do you know any young women who would want to be discipled?” Maybe you’re not going to pay them but they come into your house and they help with chores, because they’re learning what it looks like to be a mom and an older woman. Definitely keep all those things in mind and don’t deprive other people of the blessing of being a helper.    

Laura: It’s of mutual benefit for sure. We want to move forward here towards what it looks like to figure out if you could benefit from help. The first thing we’ve touched on in the beginning of this episode, we want to bring that back full circle and remind again, as you’re looking and truly evaluating your day, are you keeping the most important thing, the most important thing? The fact that you are there appointed by God to invest well into your children’s faith? Are you doing that? Are you doing that as well as you can, being faithful with what God has given you? 
Then outside of that, how is life going? What other things do you feel like you can do or is working well? Things like you may work, volunteer, discipleship, ministry, interests and hobbies, self-care - go back to episode two. What are those other things that are important to you as a family? Not just mom but as a family for your guys to live out your calling.    

Emily:  Just like you were saying Laura, I think those things can also be components of passing on our faith to our children, and them seeing us take care of ourselves, them seeing us participating in ministry, seeing us bringing people into our home and being hospitable. There is a place for all those things but each of us has a responsibility to look at our time and say, “How are we, uniquely as a family passing along our faith to our children, and what things are cluttering that mission?”   

Laura:  That’s a good way of putting it. This is the thing we want to drive home as well is that maybe it’s not finding help. We do not want to come here and say that that is the end all be all answer, but maybe it is. We don’t want you to see it as this magic bullet, that, “If I just had a housekeeper, I could totally get my life together.”  
Emily:  “If I ordered my meals and got a box meal kit...”

Laura: It’s one of many tools to help you manage your household better. 

Emily:  I think too, it’s clear communication with your husband. Regularly, my husband and I try to talk about what is our vision for our family, where is our time going, where are there points in our life where we are both feeling stressed out, or continually frustrated, or things are continually falling through the cracks? 

As we get older, we’ve started to own those things and say, “Look, this is a weakness for us.” 
Instead of fighting that and continue being mad about it, what can we do about it? Could we make room in our budget to help this be an easier thing because it’s a non-essential thing, and it’s okay to have some things in life that are mediocre. You don’t have to be knocking it out of the park in every single area.     

Laura: Totally. We hope this has been helpful today. If you have questions on what we mean or you need clarity, we would absolutely be happy to chat more about this. Shoot us a message or a note. Emily, anything else?   

Emily:  No. There’s always other things but no, [laughs] not today. 

Laura: As we were talking, I was like, “Oh, we should talk about that, we should talk about that,” a never-ending amount of topic ideas for Risen Motherhood, I think.  

Emily: Find us on RisenMotherhood.com and please share if you’d like and we’d love a review or a rating. That would mean a lot to us. We are so thankful for you guys. Thanks for listening.

Ep. 10 || When You Feel Alone - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura: Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I am Laura Wifler and I’m here with my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen.  Today we are talking about how often it is, as a mom we feel alone. Different from lonely because when Emily and I were talking, we had to differentiate this a little bit. You know that feeling you get whenever you’re like, “I am the only one who feeds my kids fruit snacks 10 minutes before dinner,” or, “I am the only one who has ever experienced a child waking up in the middle of the night.”  We’re dramatic usually when we think we’re the only ones. I don’t know Em, what do you think about whenever you feel like you’re alone?  

Emily: Usually, it is that isolated feeling where I think my family is unique; no one can understand what our family is going through. I sometimes worry too with my son, like I’m the only one who does certain things wrong as a mom. Am I the only one who flips down the TV screen in the car when people are just screaming and I’m like, “I can’t take it anymore,” and I’ve got 10 more minutes and like- 

Laura:  It’s like a 10-minute drive. [laughter]

Emily:  “I don’t care. Bring on the DVD.” Or sometimes, you can’t get your kids to eat dinner and we don’t feed them vegetables as often as we should. Or being crabby towards my child because I’m on my phone and I’m checking Instagram and they’re pulling on my leg and I’m being impatient. I feel like a lot of it is in my own weaknesses as a mom. I can feel like I’m the only one who does these bad things because I don’t see my friends doing it. When you’re around other people, they’re on their best. I’m on my best-mom too!

Laura:  Yes, you’re not doing it either [laughter].  We can also as moms be like, “Oh, I don’t think anyone understands how I feel as I’m going through this.” I know that having a husband that works a lot, when other moms try to relate, I’m like, “You don’t get it. You don’t even understand,” because it’s almost like we want to feel alone in that, thinking, “I experience it so much more than any other mom ever has.”   

Emily:  Or you feel like your hard is the hardest hard. [laughs] I thought that a lot when I had newborn twins. I was like, “No one can relate to how hard this is,” and I even feel that sometimes now. We have twin toddlers and it’s like, “Well, not really.” - everyone who’s had a toddler can understand to some degree but it can feel like, “We have all boys. No one can understand how loud our house is or why it’s so loud, or the dirt, and the energy that’s going on.” Like you were saying, “No one can relate to how stressed that makes me feel at the end of the day, when I’ve had little boys bouncing off walls.” 

I think whatever our struggle is as a mom, we can tend to isolate that and be like, “No one understands this struggle that I have.”  

Laura: Which is so ironic to me. I do this too, I will be the first to say it! When my daughter had colic, it was like anyone else who said they had a crying baby, I’m like, “You don’t get it.” 

Emily:  [laughs] 

Laura:  It’s so funny to me because it’s like one quick Google search or taking 10 minutes to talk to a case study of a handful of people, it’s like, “Yup, you are not alone. You are not the first person in the universe to experience a child with colic. You are not superior, you are not special, you are not unique in any way,” Deal with it; it’s happened before. It’s logic but we tell ourselves, “No one gets it,” and it’s funny to me. If you were to really listen to our inner monologue, I think it would be pretty illogical. We’d be like lunatics, [laughter] we’d sound crazy.         

Emily:  I know and a lot of it, for me, is having a pity party and not wanting to be content with what the Lord has put on my plate and in my life for this season. I’m not believing that that’s God’s best for me. I’m just believing, “This is hard and I don’t want it to be hard and so woe is me. Hard life; nobody gets it. I have it the worst,” and it’s very self-centered. It’s not thinking about things that are right and true and good. It’s totally self-worship and it’s also worshiping whatever: “I want things to be comfortable or I want to control things and it’s not going my way,” Adult temper tantrums. [laughter]      

Laura: Pity parties are funny. It’s our favorite party to attend but it’s the worst on.  

Emily:  [laughter] The worst party you’ll ever attend. 

Laura:  It’s the worst party ever but you’re like, “I’m going there today. I can’t wait to go!” Oh, man. 

Also, we’re often finding our identity in our struggle instead of finding our identity in Christ. That is something I know that I do. I just become like, “Oh, I’m the colic mom,” or, “I’m the mom that had to move five days after I had baby.” It starts to define us. Whatever our struggles or our issues are, they become like, “I am that mom,” 

Emily:  You live that out. 

Laura:  You begin to completely play it out.

Emily:  We’re just trying to go through: What are the reasons why we feel alone? Laura has touched on identity and I think the other one we wanted to talk about was being isolated as women.  This may vary based on how much you work outside of the home or don’t. But even if you work outside of the home, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having meaningful interactions with other women or people who love Jesus. I think I’ve also noticed when I start to get really, “Oh, I’m so alone,” I realize I haven’t had conversations with people.  

Laura:  You are literally alone. 

Emily:  Who have I talked to other than my own voice, and a toddler in the last however many days, and sometimes you’re just talking to your husband. That doesn’t always count for me because we’re having the same problems-  

Laura:  It does not count. 

Emily:  [laughter] He is just like, “Well, you’re alone with me.”

Laura: I think that something that we tend to do is get more introverted and we have these issues. You not only begin to isolate yourself in your thoughts, but sometimes it happens physically as well, and so getting out of the house - like I was saying, if you start to talk to more moms, it can easily become something where you’re like, “Oh, you struggle with that too and you get that?”  

Emily: We want to be connecting over truth, rather than just sharing our experiences and going, “Oh, yes, me too! You too?” 

Laura:  And where the gospel plays into all of this, we go back to the fall and redemption, as we always do with the gospel. Adam and Eve were separated from God in their sin. They went and hid from God, ran away and were isolated from each other too. They were causing blame on one another, pointing the finger and wanting to say, “This isn’t my problem,” or, “It’s not my fault.” That element of the fall causes us to also feel alone.  We’re going to have these feelings that we desire deeper relationships that we don’t get, or we start to fall into depression or despair or even self-righteousness, which causes us to have a rift between one another as humans. 

Our human relationships are fallen because of the fall. 

The great part about this, of course, is always going back to the redemption story and that nothing can separate us from Christ now; that because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we are never alone. We have the great High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. He understands what we’re going through. Even if you are literally the only person on the planet that has experienced something, Jesus can identify with you. There’s no feeling, no emotion, no situation that He doesn’t get and hasn’t experienced.         

Emily:   The picture that comes to mind for me a lot is when one of my children will do something disobedient. Sometimes I’ll move him, to time out and it is a separation. I physically separate him from the rest of the family because sin separates us from other people, and it causes us to be alone. Like, “You have to sit here alone now and think about this sin and what happened in your heart,” and then come back later and talk with him and reconcile and say, “Okay, you sinned in this way. We want to ask God for forgiveness but then I want to restore our relationship and bring us back into full fellowship, so that you can rejoin our family. No one is bitter and no one is frustrated with you,” I always think of that picture, like that’s what happens with our sin.   

Laura: It’s perfect.  

Emily:  When we do that, and we are in sin or this is the result of sin, we are isolated in our own but God has made a way, like Laura said.  I think the other great thing is He has brought us into a kingdom and into a family of other believers. Not only are we not alone because Christ understands but we’re not alone in this Christian walk. We have fellowship with others and we can have fellowship with others. If you’re feeling alone, I think there is an element of looking at your own life and saying, “Am I not engaging in the fellowship and the body of Christ that God has given for me to be a part of?”   

Laura: A practical way of getting out of those feelings of being alone is going to your local church and getting involved with the body of Christ and saying, “I want to serve,” or, “I want to be mentored,” or, “I want to be involved in this Bible study.” There are so many opportunities in the local church to be involved in. That’s not only to go there and be physically present - but also the thing that is so hard for us as women - is to truly be vulnerable with other women. 

I know that takes time. Female relationships take time to build on, but I think that’s key: no man is an island. None of us can do this on our own. We all wear these masks and it’s so important to be willing to be authentic with what you’re struggling with, and I have seen time and time and again when I tend to be a super honest person like, “This is what I’m going through, take it or leave it,” I just lay it on the table and let them pick it up - I think every time I’ve done that, I can’t tell you the amount of times in the room someone has been like, “Me too,” or, “I thought I was the only one.” 

I’m not making that up; that is true. It’s amazing how one person who’s willing to be vulnerable can find there are so many other people in the room that can often relate.      

Emily: The thing here is wanting to check our heart attitude and wanting to relate to other people. Because when you’re feeling alone, sometimes what you want is for other people to join your pity party and pat you on the back and be like, “Me too,” and you’re like, “Good. Come to my party.” [laughter] 

Instead of saying, the greater goal is for them to remind you of truth, for you to be reminded of truth, for you to be worshiping God, and to be content and joyful about the plan that He has for your life, or whatever you are going through, and to understand how Christ is with you in that. When we are being authentic, I think the goal isn’t so that we could say, “Me too.” Although that is a really important thing - but it’s so that someone can say, “Me too, now what? Now let’s look to Christ.” That’s something that is unique to a believer; a follower of Christ can give you that. Your friend on the street can have some camaraderie with you but is that really going to help you feel better? It might, it might not. 

Another practical thing is getting in a support group. Facebook has a billion groups now, of people that are going through different things. I know this year I started attending a breastfeeding support group in my community and that’s helped me so much in moments. It’s a practical thing of not feeling alone.    

Laura: It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Christian group.  Although that is going to give you the most edifying and uplifting encouragement with your struggles, but there are so many benefits.

We’ll wrap this up. Find us on our website RisenMotherhood.com. From there, of course, you can find the links to Facebook, to Twitter and also to our iTunes page. Please, if you haven’t yet, subscribe and leave a review over on iTunes. It is the best way for us to get the word out about the show. 

Also, guys, get involved in some mom groups. I think that’s a charge from this episode. Get involved in your local church and Bible study and a women’s group and a mom’s group, whatever - all of those things. Take some action from this, talk to other moms, be real. We hope that these shows not only encourage you in the moment, but that they spur you on to do action or to have further conversation; to digest this. 

Emily:  Amen. 

Laura:  All right, thanks everyone for tuning in. 

Ep. 9 || Social Media Comparison & Motherhood - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Emily:  Welcome back to Risen Motherhood. I am Emily Jensen here with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler.  We’re excited to talk about a topic that impacts our lives and probably impacts yours: comparison on social media; whatever your platform or your social network of choice is.

Laura:  There are a lot to choose from. Just to be clear, this morning we’re talking about usage of it or consumption of it, not the posting to it. We want to just make that clear upfront because as we were pulling this together, it got a little hairy as we were trying to figure it out. We want to separate it and today talk specifically about consumption of social media as moms and what the gospel has to say about it. 

Emily:  Laura and I are obviously both on social media. 

Laura:  We love it.  

Emily:  I think we’re both on Instagram, we’re both on Twitter, and on Facebook too. 

Laura:  I’m not really on Twitter; I’m a ghost on Twitter. 

Emily:  Well, yes, in some form or another [laughter]. We’re both on Pinterest although I don’t always count that as social media but I know it technically is.  

Laura:  Yes, I’m a consumer on Pinterest for sure. I don’t really pin out there. I have a couple of secret boards though. 

Emily:  So what else? Are you on any other social media? 

Laura: I know there’s Snapchat and Periscope and some of those more like disappearing ones, [laughter] I don’t know the term. I know they’re really popular right now. I think that I have watched a few, I believe it’s called scopes on Periscope or broadcasts maybe. I have never been on Snapchat. I sound ancient. Have you been on Snapchat?    

Emily:  I have not. I actually had to Google it one day to understand what it is. 

Laura:  [laughter] I don’t know. 

Emily:  I still don’t get it. Okay, let's stop before we start sounding too uncool. 

Laura:  My goodness, when did we become old ladies? I don’t know, I shouldn’t say it. My grandma is an awesome social media user actually. I’m always surprised by some of those grandmas out there that are super good on Facebook. 

Emily:  Too good? 

Laura:  Too good, that’s true. Now you know what platforms we like to be on. We probably need to get with the times and try some new ones out but there are a lot of options. All that to say, there’s a lot of ways to get your social media fix. 

Emily:  Laura and I were talking about some of the people that we follow and how we consume social media. I know I follow mostly my friends and family, and probably what I would consider to be regular people. Then I also follow, especially through my accounts that are more focused on my writing, other writers and bloggers. I’m trying to think what else. Just creative people.     

Laura:  Or people posting spiritual encouragement. I follow a lot of interior designers; a lot of moms that are interior designers or cooks. I like looking at pretty food on Instagram. I love those videos where the food is made on Facebook; they’re everywhere. I don’t even like any of these pages but they keep popping up in my feed and it’s amazing. I’ll watch one after another of those. I don’t remember who puts them out but where they’re making the food right in front of you, and it turns out to be this beautiful cookie or something.     

Emily:  Our social media feed’s probably look a lot like yours if you’re listening. I also have my phone with me most of the day, even though I go through seasons where I’m pretty disciplined about only checking it at a few times of the day. Right now, I’m in a season of checking it throughout the day. When my kids are awake, I can’t be on my computer much because they flock to me. It’s like a magnet. 

I just find with my little breaks in the day; any little breaks, I will get two minutes to take a deep breath between having to discipline or something, and so I find myself checking my social media a lot.     

Laura:  Me too. I definitely pop in for a couple of minutes and sometimes longer, but I'm on it multiple times a day for sure. 

Emily:  [chuckles] I think too, Laura and I have both had this experience, which every mom who is listening has probably had. Your day is going fine. You open up your Instagram account and you’re scrolling through and all of a sudden, you start feeling kind of junky. Sometimes I’ll even feel sick to my stomach or super down and I can’t really identify it. I’ll put my phone down and start to get really crabby. I’ll go back and check it later and then I feel that way again and I get in this weird fog and at the end of the day, I’m like, “What is wrong with me?” Mostly, it’s because I’ve been on social media and this whole comparison thing is playing out.   

Laura:  It’s interesting because I think we know when someone posts a picture out there, they chose that specifically and we logically know that’s not their whole life, but you see a photo of a mom and her kids are dressed super well or her house is clean, or she just baked a fresh pie and it’s got the really detailed lattice, and it’s really intricate and you’re like, “Man, I am an awful homemaker. I don’t think-“  

Emily:  When was the last time I made a pie? [laughs] 

Laura:  It’s interesting because I will have had a good morning, and maybe the morning has gone really smooth with the kids, or I got a few things crossed off my list, and I feel good about my day. Generally, it’s going well. Then you get online and you see these things and you’re like, “Oh, man, I am not even cute enough. Man, my top knot is not cutting it today,” or, “Her home is so much more put together than mine,” or, “She has all of these awesome opportunities. How is she juggling all of these things?” You know logically, she’s not, but those feelings inside of you say that you don’t believe that to be true; that you think she’s got some magic ticket you don’t.     

Emily: I think there’s this other side too, and this is just being totally honest. I know that there are other women out there who are going to understand what I’m talking about. By going through your social media feed and downward comparing and judging other people and thinking, “You’re doing really good” It’s gross even saying that but that is the truth about comparison; it goes both ways. I can also get in a not good place of feeling self righteous, labeling somebody else as a hot mess and again, off of one tiny snapshot and I probably did 10 things wrong -  I’m the one on my phone ignoring my child [laughter]. It’s wrong but it happens; we do it.   

Laura: That’s exactly what’s wrong with comparison on social media, is it always leads us to either one of two places; pride in who we are and our abilities, and the self-righteousness as Emily was talking about, or despair and jealousy. Either direction, it’s sin.   

Emily: It never leads you to a good place of, “Oh, I’m so encouraged and I want to look at Christ more now.” Comparison doesn’t take you there. I think the other thing that’s such a lie about comparison is that other people are not the standard that we are trying to compare ourselves or that we are trying to live up to. What standard God has set for us is His holiness and loving Him with all of our heart, and all of our soul, and all of our mind, and all of our strength all of the time. When you start to think about that, we are all leveled at the same level.

Laura: I think the thing to look at is, we don’t want you guys to hear us saying today that social media is bad, or that you shouldn’t be on it because comparison happens. Social media in and of itself, just like so many things in our world, is a neutral tool. It has been corrupted by the fall, or rather, our hearts have been corrupted by the fall, which then takes social media and you can either use it redemptively or you can use it sinfully. 

We want to encourage you today to evaluate the way you are using social media and see if it’s something that is causing you to have sinful feelings, either of those directions of pride or of jealousy or what have you. Look at how you are consuming it, and what can you do to edit your feed of those that you follow to protect yourself. Maybe it’s just checking it less frequently. 

Emily:  Or just speaking truth to yourself; inserting that gospel. Laura and I keep harping on this, of viewing everything in light of who we are, which is, we’re all sinners. We all have fallen short of the glory of God. Like we were talking about, we all don’t meet God’s standard and that’s in different ways. It’s like in some ways you see it on social media, and other ways you don’t, but we’re all the same bad. Then we all have an opportunity to be redeemed and to be cleansed by Christ’s blood, and to have a fully restored relationship with God and be in Christ. If you are, then you are part of the unified Big C Church, you are part of a family of believers. 

Then it’s like, “That’s getting weird,” that you are comparing yourself to those people because you share in the same inheritance, and they have the same Holy Spirit in them. You’re sharing all the same blessings and all the same good things. It’s like when you look at it in that light, it’s like, “Oh, we’re all on the same team too if we’re Christians, so we don’t need to be comparing gifts. All of our gifts bless each other.”      

Laura: That was good Em. 

Emily:  I thought, “That’s a bunny trail,” but-

Laura:  It was a nice deep bunny trail but it was good.   

Emily:  Sorry, let’s go practical. 

Laura:  No, I think that was awesome. Okay, we want to also talk about, if social media is tempting you to sin, what are the steps? What are the steps to move forward, and first and foremost as Emily touched on previously, of confessing your sin. Coming to the cross and repenting, admitting to the Lord where your heart has been, and why this is a struggle, and that you want to change. Repenting is turning away, and not doing something again and so start there. Start with being honest and needing Jesus and then look hard at your feed. I think there have been seasons that I’ve gone through, and I’ve written about this a lot, that I have needed to unfollow people for a time for different reasons and different types of people. I haven’t been able to handle it and I don’t have the self-control to not manage my emotions when I am on social media.  

I think Facebook has super intricate ways of blocking people and they don’t even know it; it’s sort of amazing. We want to encourage you to be ruthless with your accounts and then also to look at the way that social media can be used for good, and remembering that there are people out there doing amazing things. Sometimes this probably can be hard to follow but people who are encouraging mothers how to do it well, how to inspire you in your homemaking, if these are people that are encouraging you and inspiring you to do better, continue to follow them.         

Emily:  It is really important. Laura and I were talking about this. It’s funny because we can get mad at our social media feed but who created it? We did [chuckles].  I think looking at who you follow is important but that redemptive piece of, I almost have to force myself to when I see something that I’m envious of or that makes me feel bad. It’s like actively saying, “No.” God gave that person those unique gifts. They are walking in those passions. Their life might look like that in that moment and so it’s not my job to be jealous of that or to judge that. I want to rejoice with them and say, “Wow, look at what a neat gift God gave that person. I am so glad that they are pursuing their passions.” I have no idea what their heart attitude is, but just trying to force yourself to look at it in a way that is grateful for that other person’s gift is good. 

Laura:  For the record, that is a lot easier said than done. We want to make that [laughter] super clear here that that doesn’t come easily to Emily, and it doesn’t come easily to me. It’s one of those decisions that you have to make.  Life is all about continually speaking truth over and over again to our souls, and choosing the right attitude; something that reflects the gospel. With that, we hope that today, you will view social media a little bit differently, and be able to be on it and find encouragement, and hope, and redemption in it and that you will be using it wisely. It should be something that is edifying to your life. 

Emily:  Definitely. Wow, I don’t have any more train of thought [laughs]. 

Laura:  That’s good because we’ve hit our time. As usual guys, find us on RisenMotherhood.com. From there you can find links to everything and of course, you can download-  

Emily:  All of our social media. 

Laura:  All the social [laughter], yes, our social media. Speaking of follow us, can we say that on this episode? I don’t know. And of course, you can find the show on iTunes or on the website. Thanks so much for tuning in; we hope you guys have a great day. 

Ep. 8 || Top Knots & Leggings: What Difference Does Your Momiform Make? - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura:  Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’m Laura Wifler and I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here with me. Today we are talking about a really fun topic. We’re talking about momiforms. What we wear, does it matter? How we do our hair, our makeup, those kind of things. Are they important? How do they impact us in our daily lives, and what does the gospel have to say about that? 

Emily:  I’m super excited about this topic.  

Laura:  Yes, [laughter] and Emily, can you tell us why? 

Emily:  I don’t know. I think it’s just something that I’ve wrestled with and struggled with. I am totally a girly girl: I love makeup, I love hair, I love cute clothes and I think it’s just something that I’ve had to think about: "What is the eternal value of this? Or how does this appropriately fit into my life as a godly woman, and what are the things that are not adding value?" 

Laura:  Emily is super good at hair and makeup. She did my hair and makeup for my wedding, and I can’t tell you how many weddings or just special events that if I am in Iowa and around Emily, I am like, “Let’s reserve an extra hour so that she can do my hair and makeup.” I don’t think it’s fun. I am at the opposite end of the spectrum as Emily, but I do enjoy having Emily do everything for me. I have yet to know how to apply eye shadow. I don’t think I even own eye shadow so [chuckles].

Emily:  Laura and I represent different perspectives on this, which sometimes we come into a show or a topic and we’re really aligned. I think we align at the heart and the values- 

Laura:  -where it’s important. 

Emily:  Yes, but our routines are really different. Maybe you can identify with one of us or the other. I’m just going to share my getting ready routine really quick. To me, getting ready would include- 

Laura:  She has a big grin on her face you guys, a huge grin. I don’t smile when I talk about makeup.  [laughter]

Emily:  [laughter] When I first told Laura that I don’t get ready every day, she thought I meant I was in my pajamas all day and what I meant is I didn’t get my curling iron out!  

Laura:  For me, if I didn’t get ready for the day, that would be like level zero. For me to not get ready for the day would be like negative five. Pajamas, staying in it, and stuff like that.  

Emily:  We felt it was important to define for you guys what we’re talking about. For me, my base-base level routine is wake up, brush teeth, wash face, throw hair in a top knot or a cute pony. Then I’d wear a sweatshirt, not a real sweatshirt, kind of a cute sweatshirt and jeans, but I may not do that until after the kids eat breakfast. I would probably pop back to our room to do that - on a day when I’m rushed or I slept in to the last minute, or I woke up to Risen Motherhood. Like today, we’re recording early in the morning and so I did not wake up at 5:30 a.m. to take my shower and do everything, but I’m planning to do that. After I get done here, I’ll do my short five to seven-minute routine. But then my long form routine, which I would say is me ‘getting ready’ would be using a curling iron or a flat iron and putting on full makeup, and something a little bit cuter but still subject to be soiled.

Laura:  How long would that take you? 

Emily:  If I took a shower, 30 minutes. If I didn’t, 15 to 20.  

Laura:  Oh, that’s still pretty fast. 

Emily:  If I shower before then, that cuts out some good time.

Laura:  Five to seven minutes realistically is probably what it takes, if I curl my hair so I guess I’m at the same amount of time as you, Emily. If I curl my hair, it’s probably 20-ish minutes. I take pretty quick showers but I feel like I only shower a couple of times a week and have trained my hair to not be a grease ball. You know how that takes time train your hair?   

Emily:  Yes, your hair always looks good. I can never tell when you shower or don’t shower. 

Laura:  Good, that’s the way it should be. 

Emily:  [laughs]

Laura:  But I really have a very minimal routine. I wear a foundation and mascara and that is it, and I have two levels: I was telling Emily I have "every day, all my life" and then I have "wedding" level. When I do wedding level, Emily is doing it so I really don’t have any levels [laughter]. But hair and makeup and clothing, while important to me to want to look socially acceptable, and I of course love feeling put together like anyone else, it’s not necessarily something for me that I have interest in, and that I want to spend a lot of time on. 

But the one thing Emily and I both do is capsule wardrobe. The reason I switched to that was because I was frustrated with having to give any thought towards clothing. I wanted to eliminate that decision-making in the morning, eliminate shopping or at least consolidating my shopping. For those of you who don’t know what a capsule wardrobe, high level, there’s usually a select number of pieces in your wardrobe, typically around 30 but it could be whatever number you want. It’s meant to streamline the process so that you have a seasonal wardrobe where you shop at the beginning of the season and then you don’t shop for the next three to four months. You wear those items of clothing every day, and mix and match. There’s no set rules. We’ll link to somebody who does a great capsule wardrobe so if you want to get in on that, there’s people smarter than us that can help you.       

Emily:  I think it’s helped me to think of my clothes in terms of a uniform, especially now that I’ve had some more children. I’m basically in a preschool all day, [laughs] and it’s like, “What is appropriate for me to wear in this environment?” I just get mad if I try to wear my silk blouse.

Laura:  Yes, that isn’t a good idea. 

Emily:  I have a three-year-old, and it’s just matter of time before that thing is  completely ruined. 
So much like a nurse or a teacher, somebody would wear clothing appropriate to their job if you stay at home with kids or when you are at home with your children. So if you are around your children, what is appropriate for you to be able to get up and down off the floor, and pick up a child and deal with a baby, and be able to serve applesauce for lunch and not be crabby or frustrated that they’re going to ruin really nice pieces of clothing?

Laura:  And it’s not that you can’t wear that. It’s your heart attitude as you wear it. If that’s a special item to you and you don’t want it to get ruined and you wear it, and then you’re upset with your children for shooting milk out of their mouths on your blouse, you probably shouldn’t be wearing that.

Emily:  But I think it’s helped me, even in terms of the capsule. I ask myself, “What do I want to be? What is my happy medium there of feeling put together, so that I can be productive in my day so that I can feel good?” Postpartum body image here. I want to feel good about the way that I look and be at my best, but not be so at my best that it’s unrealistic. I think it’s okay for moms to dress down a little bit. I don’t necessarily think that’s wrong. 

Laura:  Something that Emily and I have talked over is the cost-value balance and the idea of diminishing returns on the idea of getting ready in the morning. We believe that is different for every mom. You can look at Emily and I: we both have very different styles of how we would say our routine in the morning is. But there is value to getting ready and not being in our pajamas all day. That can be a stereotype of moms. You roll out of bed and you never change your clothes. That’s not good either.   It’s staying in the middle and not going into either ditch. 

Emily:  It’s been helpful for me to think about, what are the things that ‘getting ready’ (whatever that means to me) is going to add to my day, so that I can image Christ and be a better servant of my family, and of my husband, and be a better witness and not have barriers to the gospel. 
I think the biggest one to me is just productivity.   

Laura: Me too. 

Emily:  But Laura and I have also talked about, we make healthier food choices when we are in real pants [chuckles]. 

Laura:  If you are wearing jeans, you might second guess that second cookie because you can feel it. You can literally feel the cookie in your stomach.  

Emily:  [laughs] Yes, just feeling good and wanting to love our husbands well by caring enough to be looking nice for them and being hygienic. All of those things. Just being an image bearer of God to our children, as we are looking pulled together on the outside. Even though that’s not where our beauty ultimately lies, I think it can be one more opportunity to reflect God’s beauty to our family and to others. 

Laura:  On the other end of the spectrum, talking through cost of spending too much time in the bathroom, or too much time getting ready. If we’re taking too much time, that can be valuable time lost with both our husband and our children, or serving other people. That can be something that can chew through time. Also, I often will find that if I have spent too much time in the morning getting ready, or picking my outfit or whatever, I can feel very rushed in the morning with my kids and then I’ll take it out on them. I’ll expect them to move quicker to make up that time. I’m more impatient or I’m more frustrated with them because of their lollygagging around. 

I think something we can’t let happen is letting our day be determined by how much time we did or didn’t have, to get ready in the morning. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of even seven minutes in the bathroom to get our hair done. On those days when we’ve spent too much time, we can’t let our attitude depend on if we got our full routine or if we didn’t get our full routine - whichever way we tend to swing.       

Emily:  Like you were saying Laura, in the end, it’s all about, what does our heart value? What are we worshiping? What are we caring about most? I think in all things, we want to worship Christ the most. We want to care about Him and honor Him more than anything else. Each woman should think individually about, “How can I honor Christ in my getting ready every day?” which would mean, "I want to harness the value that it has for my life, which may help me be more productive, which might let me love my husband in some ways."  

And image Christ and be a hard worker, someone who is being disciplined and self controlled. If I’m doing anything that is in excess of the true value of getting ready, I am now idolizing - making clothing or makeup or hair routine too important - because I’m afraid of what other people are going to think of me. It shows my identity is wrapped up in that. It could also be that I care too much about frivolous things or non-eternal things; that needs to be addressed. Each person has to look at that and it’s going to be different individually for sure but I think it’s a worthwhile thing to consider.  

Laura:  You have to determine, at what point in the process of getting ready in the morning, whether that’s taking 10 minutes or that’s taking 45 minutes, does it start to lose its eternal value? That answer will be different for different moms because it depends on our hearts and our attitudes. What we are valuing, like Emily just said, and there is freedom and that’s something we want to say - grace covers guilt. No matter what decisions have been made in the past or where your heart has been or like for me, it’s literally different on different days of how I’m feeling about myself and my self-worth. 

But there is freedom in clothes and makeup and hair and how we look. They don’t define us. What matters is what kind of woman you are and how you are not just caring for your hair and your clothes but for your heart. We want to be godly women that pursue excellence. To pursue Christ and say, "How does clothing and makeup affect how we pursue the Lord and how joyful we are in our day, while serving our children?"

Emily:  I will just say my own personal testimony. I have really cut back a lot on my daily routine, and my getting ready because I saw that I was putting too much value on things that weren’t eternal. That doesn’t mean that I look sloppy all the time now or that- 

Laura:  She doesn’t. 

Emily:  - Or that I don’t wear cute clothes, but that I was just realizing the time that I’m spending online shopping or the time that I am putting into self-image isn’t gaining anything eternal. I want to be spending that time and energy on other things. I don’t want care too much about this because it’s passing away. The Bible says not to be anxious about  what we’re going to wear, and it says my beauty isn’t on the outside, and it says that we need to seek first the kingdom. That has been convicting to me over the years to say, “That’s where I want to be putting my time.”   

Laura:  I think that is a great example and a good truth. We are hitting our time here so let’s wrap up. Emily has written a lot on this topic and so we’ll be linking to a lot of her articles. I doubt I’ve written on this topic [laughs] so she has a lot of great truth to share and so you’ll definitely want to read more of her stuff. We’ll also link to things like we talked about: the capsule wardrobe and some other really helpful articles. 

As usual, if you wouldn’t mind sharing this with someone, we’d love it if this was a conversation starter with you and other moms, and just something to get you to think. Please, if you have more questions, feel free to email us any time, subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. We would love that and we are so grateful for those of you that have done it. That’s the best way to get the word out about the show. That’s it and thank you for tuning in everyone. 

Ep. 7 || Dirt Dishes and Diapers: Dealing With The Never-Ending Mess - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Emily: Welcome to The Risen Motherhood podcast. We are so glad you guys are joining us today. I am Emily Jensen, and I’m here with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler. First of all, thank you so much to those of you who have already visited our new website. We are so excited that we got everything moved over from our blogs, to this one central location. We have a fresh new logo, so definitely go check it out if you haven’t done that yet.

Today, we are going to be talking about dirt, dishes and diapers, and all the other stuff that goes with that – which is my life.

Laura: The mess.

Emily: Exactly [laughter].

Laura: We want to talk about this topic today because we feel like, as moms with kiddos running around and babies that need tones of attention, it’s like a constant never-ending thing; dealing with toys and diapers everywhere, and dirty dishes too.

Emily: Laundry included.

Laura: Yes, the mess never seem to end, and we want to talk today  about where the Gospel hits that, and to identify with you all, to let you know that you’re not alone in this chaos.

Emily: It’s definitely a battle and I especially feel like, with a house full of boys, I am constantly finding things that I don’t always want to know what they are. [laughter] This last week, my twin two-year-olds have been taking off their clothes.  My older child never went through a phase where he took off his clothes. I guess some kids do and some don’t. Anyway, my two-year-olds will go downstairs to the playroom. The other day, my three-year-old came up and he’s holding his hands out in front of him and said, “Mommy, there are rocks downstairs."

Laura: Oh no.

Emily: You know what it is? [laughter]

Laura: Noooo! [laughter]

Emily: His hands were brown and I was like, “Oh, honey. That is not a rock.”

Laura: Oh no, I think I might puke right now. [laughter]

Emily: [laughter] I went downstairs, and I won’t tell you any other details because it is just too gross, but it was one of those moments as a mom that I was just like, “Is this happening to me right now? Is this my life?” My twin two-year-olds are like, “Mommy look. I pottied, I pottied.” [laughter]

Laura: [laughter] Oh my goodness.

Emily: I’m like, “Okay, I won’t get mad anymore.”

Laura: [laughter] I think we all have a nasty diaper story or just common diaper stories.I totally had one the other day too where I was on the phone with a customer service rep, trying to get my Keurig replaced – the stupid things always break – anyway, I was on the phone with her, and my son pooped his pants and then my daughter had a blow out, and we are all in the bathroom together.

Everyone’s crying or screaming and I’m still on hold – I waited 20 minutes to talk to this customer service rep, and I just keep saying, “Yes, yes,” nodding along with her, and saying to my kids, “Shhh,” and there’s just poop just everywhere.

Emily: [laughter] Don’t touch it!

Laura: [laughter] It’s on the floor, it’s on my hands; it’s on my phone! So I totally get it. I just feel like every mom has their nasty story of poop.

Emily: Messes are not all diapers but certainly those are the ones where you find yourself going, “I don’t know how to cope with this right now.”

Laura: Yes, they tend to be the most memorable.

Emily: [laughter] What we want to talk a little bit about is where messes came from, because I think often we just go about our daily life and I don’t think deeply about these stuff as I’m in the midst of that moment, doing dishes again. When we think deeply about it for just a few minutes, it can give meaning to the mess or at least, it will make you feel not so frustrated about it.  

Laura:  Exactly. So where messes come from, it's the creation-fall-redemption story. Originally, we were given the task to care for God’s creation, and there was order in the world and it was beautiful. Adam and Eve were able to keep up with everything and they were the caretakers.

Emily:  Then of course we know sin entered and that brought into creation death, disorder, chaos, and brokenness, and that has not only affected our hearts but it has affected all of creation. Now everything we do leaves a wake of disorder and chaos, and that is obviously seen in our homes.As stuff is always kind of falling apart, we are having to try to bring it together, but its natural state is almost like it is in chaos.  

Laura: That’s the whole idea, that you can never get ahead and that is simply because of the fall. Every time we talk through stuff like this, I’m like, “Man, that just goes back to the fall.” It goes back to the fall: disease, death, chaos, mess. So there truly is "meaning in the mess," (as they tend to say), and I love that because it gives more purpose - especially when you feel that you can’t keep up. It is one of those, “That’s the way it’s supposed to be and there’s deeper meaning behind it.”

Emily: Also, the Gospel-hope is that Christ came and he’s given us redemption, and eventually he will restore all things to perfect order. We can usher in just a little bit of that order as we clean up our home and our daily lives, and we try to give order to our domain; where we live. We can be thoughtful homemakers - we don’t say, “Hey, the mess is just part of our lives right now.

Laura: Yes, we're imaging redemption. It  can sound like, “Oh, this is way deep,” talking about how dirty dishes in the sink reflects the Gospel, but again, that’s what we want to talk about on Risen Motherhood. That the Gospel literally affects everything. It may sound like a stretch; it may sound like we’re trying to squeeze it in, but it’s reality.  When you are scrubbing dishes, you are living out the redemption story: how Christ’s work on the cross has made you clean as you make these dishes clean. Again, it’s not something where it’s like every single time we’re doing the dishes I’m thinking about the cross, but I should be - I could be.

Emily: I always have this question about my bed. Why should I make my bed? I’m just going to get right back in it again, and my husband is the bed maker in our family, and he is like, “Because it feels so good to get in a clean bed.” We’re different personalities for that, but I get what he’s saying. He’s saying there’s purpose and there is meaning in the doing of these tasks, even though they are repetitious, and they are mundane and it’s the same thing over and over again, because God is the ultimate orderer. He’s organized and He has intentionally placed things. He is not a God of sloppy and falling apart, and, “Oh, I haven’t thought about that.”

We want to be image bearers of Him, and in making the bed, I’m imaging bringing order to this, restoring that, making it well presented. I feel like God presents everything beautifully to us and so we want to present things beautifully in our home.

Laura: The other thing too is, looking at how Christ has served us, and so we can serve others as moms. Being Christ to the people that enter our home, to our children - you’re doing things over, and over, and over again, but that’s like how we’re continually being redeemed from those daily sins that we’re doing; future grace. I think it just shows how we can exemplify Christ in our homes to other people.

Emily: I like what you just said. I had never thought about that before, about the doing over and over and over again. I mean even though Christ only saves us once, even like that picture of sanctification. It’s like, I have this sin that I keep repeatedly doing over and over again, and trying to repent and the Lord just keeps, “Hey, I’m clean in Christ. I’m bought with a price” and I’m glad He doesn’t give up on us.

Laura: We can’t give up our homes, moms, right? It’s cheesy, but it’s true. We wanted to move on to talk about what are our heart attitudes are during cleaning, seasons that we are in as moms, and what cleaning should look like. I guess where should we start?  

Emily: I think it’s important to mention that everybody’s personality is different. Also, the saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” is not in the Bible, and there is no clear black and white line in scripture about, “Oh, your home needs to look like this.”

This all goes back to our heart attitude and knowing, “My clean to me and my husband and our family is going to look different than to another family. Me bringing order to my home is going to look different than someone else bringing order to their home” The standard of comparison doesn’t always have to be the Pinterest-organized mom, but we need to be evaluating our hearts to know whether we’re avoiding cleaning because of a sin or something else.

Laura: Also talking about the seasons of life that we’re in. If you’ve just had a baby, there is a lot of grace for having a messy home, or if you’ve got one kid versus four kids, or if you’re out working outside the home to various levels. We don’t want to give a blanket statement of, “Your house must always be clean, and must always be picked up or you are not exemplifying Christ.”

It’s a situation where you and your husband need to be on the same page, you’re taking an honest and hard look at what does life look like right now; maybe it’s a busy day. You could have a crazy day and it’s like, “Well, dinner is not on the table, the house is in chaos, but the kids are alive.” Or you could have a crazy year. I feel like last year as we moved and just had all these different things going on, our life was in chaos a lot, and I was barely surviving. It felt like just enough to keep my kids fed and happy, and that wasn’t my focus during that time, entertaining or having people over or just keeping a generally clean home. It looked a lot different than it does today.

Emily: What’s cool is your heart attitude in that wasn’t, “I want to avoid the work and pursue recreation or pursue my entertainment or pursue my me time.” You were trying to pursue loving your family and bringing whatever kind of mom normalcy you can to this situation, and the result of that was still mess. It wasn’t a result of sin.

Every messy house doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in sin in your heart, but I know that I really struggled with that, especially before I had children, and when I was a new mom. Not being able to keep up with the most basic of tasks and when God really helped me evaluate my heart in that, it was not that I truly didn’t have enough time or whatever. I was pursuing my own recreation and my own desire. I was like, “I want to do something fun and special today. I want to go out and do this thing.” Like, “Oh those dishes. I’ll get to those later,” or organizing or whatever that thing was, and I really was avoiding it and being lazy.

At that point in time, the Lord just gave me the verse, Proverbs 13:4, and I wanted to share because it’s been so helpful to me, that, “The soul of a sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied,” and in that I’ve learned that when I am diligent, my soul is full even if I am tired.

Laura: And that’s what we want to emphasize here on the show today. You could have a clean home and still have an ugly heart. So what we want to encourage you guys is to look at your heart. Where is it at? What is the reason why your home is messy? Again, that can transfer day to day, year to year. I mean it’s not just a one and done thing, but to honestly look at how much time do you have and where’s your time going? Why is your time going to those places? God is looking at the heart. He’s not looking at your house; He’s not looking at where the diapers are or how your laundry pile is. He’s really looking at your heart attitude - is it for His glory and is it to be diligent and industrious as He is and has created you to be? Or are you being lazy and like a sluggard and craving just more me time?

Emily: I almost wonder if it’s some of our generation and just where we’re at. Everything is instant, everything is supposed to be fun and entertaining. My grandma will sometimes come and stay with me when I have babies. She’s in her 70s. She just whips my house into shape. You know what, she does not take a break. I don’t think she assumes, “Oh, I’ve got some time. After I fold that laundry, I’m going to sit down and read a little book for a little bit, and then I’ll get up and do another thing.” In her generation, it was like, “This is just work that needs to be done and I’m going to do it.” Then she would drink her hot tea after that.

Laura:  I have the mentality of, “I just worked so hard. I need a TV show. I need to read a magazine,” and that is not true. There is a time for rest, but just because I folded a lot of laundry, doesn’t mean that I deserve a piece of chocolate and Us Magazine or something.

Emily:  Exactly. We bargain with ourselves, and say stuff like, “I worked hard so I can do this now,” That’s where, if you haven’t heard our self-care episode, definitely go back and listen because these two things are pretty closely connected. We do want to build in that time, but it shouldn’t be in competition with our work.

Laura: We are hitting time here. As usual, we feel like we have more to say on the topic, but we want to be committed to using your time well and sticking around that 15-minute episode mark. I don’t think we’ve hit it yet, have we, Emily?

Emily: No, I think we’ve almost gone just a little bit over.

Laura: At least a little. Is there any last thing that you wanted to get out across Emily?

Emily: No. We’ll, just put our coffees down.

Laura: Good. For show notes we’re going to have a few more resources about cleaning and heart attitudes and different things like that, so check it out on our website www.risenmotherhood.com. You can find links to Facebook and Twitter. Of course, we would appreciate if you wouldn’t mind sharing this with someone you think would like listening, and of course subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. That is the best way for people to find out about the podcast. We would be greatly honored if you would be willing to do that. I think that’s it.

Emily: Thanks for listening today guys and we will be back, talking about more everyday things in light of the Gospel.

Ep. 6 || Momma You Matter - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura: Hey guys. Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. Today, it’s just me Laura, talking to you guys right now from my living room. Today marks a transition point for Emily and I. When we started this podcast, we did a five episode series. We figured, “Let’s just see where this goes, and see if there’s some interest,” and thus far we have just been thrilled with the response and God’s blessing over the podcast. 

You guys have all been so receptive, and we’re incredibly thankful for all of your support, your messages, your note - and the fact that we have anybody tuning in is somewhat surprising and shocking to us, but we are so grateful. Emily and I were chatting a little bit more and we had initially started this out, as I mentioned as just five episodes. We had said, “We’ll just test it: test the market and see what happens. If nobody tunes in, we can sort of fade off into the distance,” but thankfully, because of all of your response, we’ve decided to move forward and continue recording episodes with Risen Motherhood. 

Today’s episode is a talk that Emily recently gave at a baby shower. My two cousins were pregnant together and Emily was asked to give devotion at their dual baby shower. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Emily is much more well-spoken than I, and I tend to think she’s the one who actually helps you guys learn something through this podcast. She has a real heart for teaching women, and a real gift, and I think that’s going to come out through this podcast, as she casts her vision for motherhood. She and I use Voxer to communicate quite a bit, and she ran the devotion by me one day and just said,  “Will you just let me know what your thoughts are?” I think I was listening to it on my way to church; I was going to Bible study that morning, listening to it in the car, and I started tearing up as I was listening and I was reminded of these amazing truths that she was going to share with these new, pregnant, first time moms. 

I was reminded, as a mom who’s entering her third year now with two kids, just what an amazing mission that we’re on; the meaning of the work that we’re doing. I  Voxed her back and said, “Let’s share this with everyone who listens to the podcast, because I think they’re going to be touched as much as I was.” I’m pretty sure as I got my son out of his car seat - they’re always so tough to unbuckle from the seat belts - but I got him out and I was looking at him, and I was tearing up and he was like, “Mom, why are you crying?” 

I said, “Because I’m so happy that I get to be your mom.”

You all can’t see me, but I’m tearing up now, just thinking about that day and the deep meaning that we have as mothers, so I want to share this with you guys. I asked Emily to record it for the podcast, so she is going to do that. It’s coming right up. 

Before we do that, I also wanted to let you guys all know that we’re going to be switching to an every other week schedule, with the crazy lives between kids, the blogs, our husbands and travel. All that stuff. That’s what we think we can keep up so be looking for episodes to come out every other Wednesday around 5 a.m.

So let’s get to the heart of the episode; the good stuff, the things Emily has shared. It’s meant as a devotion for new moms; pregnant first time moms, but I believe these truths are so important for all of us moms. She’s talking about catching this vision of how we can live out our callings as moms, and how the gospel intersects with that, which is what we want to talk about here on Risen Motherhood.

Emily: When I was first asked to participate in this devotional time, I was keenly aware of my own newness and the role of mother.  In my short years of being a mom, one thing has become very clear to me. How much I need Jesus and the wisdom of others, because I have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. 

You have a lot of questions and choices ahead of you too. For instance, how will you feed your baby? Will you use a schedule or a routine? Will you swaddle or leave their arms out? Will you give them a pacifier or not? If you choose to, how soon will you give them a pacifier? Will you sleep them in your room, in your bed, or on the other side of the house? Are you going to use cloth diapers or regular ones? I think you get the picture. I could go on and on about the questions, and choices new moms have, and those are just the obvious ones right off the top of my head. 

The thing is the Bible doesn’t speak directly to our cultural norms and choices. Most of these decisions, you’ll find that there is freedom; there are grey areas. Parents get to do their own research and decide what’s right for their own lifestyle, but there is one thing that the Bible is clear on, and it’s not whether you decide to breastfeed or formula feed, or at what age you decide to potty train. The Bible is completely clear about your primary mission as a mom. 

Today, my goal isn’t to give you the perspective of a mom, who’s looking back with decades of wisdom and good experience under her belt, but to give you the perspective of a mom looking ahead. A mom who’s catching a vision for motherhood, which is something that I’m doing right alongside you. In this short time, I hope to give you an overview of a mom’s mission, a few examples of what it might look like to carry out that mission, and explain how you cannot only survive, but thrive, as you live out this important calling. 

What is a mom’s primary mission? To teach her children the Gospel, helping them to know and love Jesus. This is the main thing, the thing from which everything else flows. This is the thing that gives all the other things eternal significance. It’s what makes diaper changes and act of service and image bearing. It’s what makes cradling a baby in the middle of the night really a matter for eternity, and it’s what allows you to have deep joy in the days that feel mundane and trivial. 

Some of you might be wondering what I’m talking about when I say the Gospel. Well, it’s the good news that Jesus died for our sins and was raised to new life, so that those who hope in Him can have a fully restored relationship with God for eternity. Why am I so confident that this is a mom’s primary mission? Because as followers of Christ, we are called to be part of the great commission, bringing this message of the Gospel to all the people of the world, and in just a few short weeks, you are going to bring a little unbeliever home from the hospital. 

The frontlines of the mission field, is coming right to you. There will likely be no other unbeliever in your life over which you have so much influence. Carrying out your purpose as a Christian, to give glory to God and to tell others about Him can now start with this little person in your home, as you bring them alongside you, and later share the love of God with those outside of your four walls. 

How you will carry out this mission is generally outlined in scripture, with many of the specific details left up to us. We will need to seek God’s guidance and prayer, if God gave us a perfectly clear handbook, they would be no need for dependence and faith. With a step-by-step guide to our own individual children, we would just become prideful and self-righteous, but instead, God’s way requires us to understand that His ways are higher, and we can trust Him at all times. As I’ve learned more about carrying out this mission in motherhood, I’ve noticed two different ways that I teach my children about Jesus. 

The first is the informal teaching. These are the things that happen in each and every small moment. You will cultivate rich soil in your child’s heart when you care diligently for their needs as a baby, rocking them, singing to them, kissing them, dealing gently with them, and using smiles and laughter. A baby’s brain is growing at a rapid pace, and you can help determine the pathways of their neurons which are shaped in love. 

A baby that has been loved well, can become a toddler that is trustworthy of your instruction. You can teach your young child about Jesus when you look out the window at snow, or pick up after them for the millionth time, ask them to do a hard thing, because you’re training them in righteousness, and even when you send them to time out. Discipline teaches them God’s law and that they can never perfectly obey, and that they’re sad and just really painful consequences for disobedience.

Teaching a child to know and love Jesus doesn’t mean that you make sure they’re always happy or entertained, or having a good old time or getting their way, but that you are loving them with sacrificial love and joy.  Speaking of joy, a wise older mom once told me that if I lose my joy, I lose my witness. Surely Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, but He died so that we could have life abundant. 

Crazy hormones and sleep deprivation, a feeling that you have no idea what you’re doing and adjusting to a new way of life, will threaten to steal your joy, even in the first few weeks of being a mom. Biological challenges are real, and I don’t want to minimize them, but also don’t underestimate the power of your faith in Christ, and the impact that that can have on your daily joy. 

When moms are struggling to feel happy and peaceful, sometimes it’s simply because they are placing their hope and their faith in something other than Jesus. As it says in Acts, there is no other name given in Heaven, among men, by which we must be saved. No one else and nothing else is going to be able to give you supernatural energy and love for your children. Only Jesus dwelling in your heart can give you the hope you crave, and if you lose your joy, your children will have a hard time longing for that mysterious connection to Christ. 

You are the aroma of Christ in your home, so talk about Jesus, sing about Jesus, read books about Him, let them see you studying the Bible and making time to be in church. All of these small daily things will help you fulfill your mission as a mom - to share the Gospel with your children. 

In addition to all of these small and the natural ways you teach your child the Gospel, there’s also a way to fulfill your mission more intentionally with formal teaching. In the Israelite culture, God wanted the people to live in a sort of religious isolation. Living under the same law and worshipping the same God as their family and neighbors. A Jewish child, theoretically, was immersed in the teachings and ways of the Lord throughout the whole of their daily life, but this is not true of our modern American culture. 

Your children will grow up in a culture that doesn’t worship the one true God, and unless you intentionally teach them a different way and help them to understand the Gospel, they will learn from social media, and friends, and other forms of entertainment. It’s likely that Jesus’ first education about God didn’t come from a fancy Jewish school, but from the lips of His mother and father in His own home. There He learned the law of the Lord and about the writings of God’s revealed word through the prophets. He later was acquainted with the teachings of the local synagogue, learning from the religious leaders who built upon the truths He gleaned at home. 

Don’t underestimate your own influence of teaching in your child’s life, and the need to formally and intentionally tell them about God’s word, through things like memorizing scripture, reading Bible stories, discussing cultural issues through a biblical lens and singing songs rich with truth. 
You don’t have to be a Bible scholar or have a teacher’s background to talk to your child simply about the Bible, but you do have to spend time in it and get to know God yourself. As you teach your children about God in your home, they will be able to understand and value what they learn at church.

Listening to all of this might have left you feeling a bit overwhelmed and trust me, I can totally relate. Some days, I’m not sure how in the world I’m going to teach my children about Jesus when I am such a sinner myself. I mean, I can’t even manage to keep our boys from coloring on the walls and tearing pages out of our books, but I’m encouraged when I remember that motherhood is a marathon and not a sprint. The best thing we can do for our children is to explain that we are full of sinners, learning to hope in Jesus right alongside them. We need forgiveness from God too, because we mess up and fall short and don’t do the best thing as a mom. 

We can’t do right, but we can point them to the God of all righteousness who has cleansed us despite our failures, and in that we are giving them the Gospel. Knowing that this is your mission, how are you going to carry it out? How in the world are you going to stay focused and not get caught up in the world’s agenda for motherhood? There are going to be thousands of blog posts, and articles, and moms along the way, who are going to tempt you to jump onto their bandwagon, buying into a particular brand of motherhood as the right way. 

Here are some thoughts on how to stay on target and be faithful, and as I say these things, I am listening to my own voice and being reminded that I need to make these things important as well. 

How Can Moms Stay on Target With Their Purpose?

Abide In Christ - First, you must abide in Christ. In a sermon I once heard, the pastor talked about a conduit. He talked about us being a conduit of grace. We’re just a vessel, a means of getting grace from God to others, but if we aren’t connected to the source, nothing can flow through. We cannot produce fruit on our own and we can’t teach our children to love Jesus, apart from a loving relationship with Jesus ourselves. I encourage you, at every turn fight for time with Jesus.  Do it while your kids are awake, on your lap or taking a nap or eating lunch. It doesn’t matter really, but don’t neglect time with the Lord. When you are feeling exhausted first ask yourself, am I trying to mother apart from Christ? 

Take Care of Yourself - Secondly, you must take care of yourself. This is the second question to ask when you are exhausted. We have real physical needs as women, and while God can supernaturally sustain us, we also need to be good stewards of our bodies, and sometimes we do have to sacrifice sleep to rock a baby, to image Christ in his sacrificial loving nature. Sometimes we also need to help our babies learn to sleep, so that they can develop healthy bodies and we can approach life as a rested woman. It takes prayer to understand that balance. I’ve heard it said, “The most holy thing you can do is sleep.” 

Also, while you don’t have to be in perfect athletic shape, staying active and eating healthy food can help you feel energized, in order to keep up with the demands of motherhood. Emotionally, you will have needs. Female friendship and the joy of using your unique God given gifts is a must, but careful, warning here: It can be really easy to use these things as an escape, because motherhood is hard. If you feel yourself wanting to fill up just to get out of the hard moments, that’s different than filling up so you can love and reflect Christ more fully. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a shower, real pants and blow-dried hair. 

Take Care of Your Marriage - Third, you must take care of your marriage. This could be an entire topic in and of itself. Respect your husband and give him space to lead your family. Enjoy his preferences and trust him as a parent. Don’t view him as a babysitter or a stand-in for the real parent. Don’t get down on him for not doing all the things that you do. Don’t envy him or compare. Joyfully serve him and your children. Pray for him, involve him from the beginning, ask him to take the night shift or to even to change a diaper or whatever he’s comfortable with. Trust his intentions and believe in him. If you have to approach him about a parenting issue, just do it gently, and in a private setting where he won’t feel belittled or ashamed. Treat him the way you would want to be treated: included, important, valued and loved. 

Get Help From Your Community - Fourth, you must get help from your community. If you don’t already have this, I would encourage you to get connected to the following:

  1. First of all, some moms who are just one step ahead of you will remember how hard it is to be where you’re at, while still being able to offer hope and perspective. They will also give practical wisdom. These are the people you call and text when you aren’t sure how to help your child drop the pacifier habit or how to introduce solid foods.
  2. Second, you’ll want to get some older moms around you, who have grown Christian children. They can give you a long-term view and help you keep your eyes on your mission, instead of the trenches of your current circumstances. They will also inevitably tell you to enjoy the stage you’re in, which is sometimes hard for us moms to swallow, but they’re right.  
  3. Third, you need a church family, the people who are going to bring you meals, and help you with childcare so you can go on a date, those who are going to support the Biblical teaching you’re giving your children and more. These people are your support group when things get hard, and you need prayer, and wisdom, and direction. 

With all of this good wisdom ridded in truth, the reality is, we still don’t know how our kids are going to turn out yet. You might do a lot of right things, and faithfully but not perfectly live out your mission, but the results aren’t guaranteed, and that’s another reason why you have to hope in Christ. Even through my husband and I’s attempts of faithful parenting, just as last week, my kiddos filled up my brand new winter boots with fire place ashes, tore a cabinet door off in our kitchen and they got into countless fights. 

I am on this journey with you, but what I hope you can do early on is catch a vision for motherhood, understanding that your primary mission isn’t just to educate them or cultivate their gifts and talents, or feed them healthy food or make them popular, but to share the Gospel with them in hopes that they will know and love Jesus. 

Ep. 5 || Marriage & Motherhood - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura:  Welcome to the last episode in The Risen Motherhood Podcast for this series. We are so glad to have you guys join us. Last week, we talked about how to do gospel instruction with kids.  This week we’re talking about marriage and motherhood, a really big topic especially in this season of little kids, that most of you listeners are likely in, as well as Emily and I are in. Marriage can very easily be put on the back burner so we’re excited to talk about that today.

I should mention to you that Emily is here with me.  Once again, we’re speaking in the same room, which is exciting to be able to record together instead of via Skype. We’re talking about marriage and motherhood.   

Emily:  You said back burner. It reminds me when we talked about self-care. A lot of times with motherhood, our children are so demanding and their needs are so immediate that we unintentionally put a lot of things that are important, but not urgent, on the back burner. That can work for a little while but a lot of times, we end up regretting when we put aside things that are important. We need to be caring for our marriage, being one of the most important things in our lives that we care for, right behind our relationship with God.  

Laura:  Today’s society has pushed the helicopter parenting trend and things like that, to put our kids first. The world continues to say that the husbands can take care of themselves, and they’re going to make it, and that’s not your priority, but really, the very best gift that you can give your children is a strong marriage. For them to be able to see everything from healthy conflict resolution to physical affection with your husband and how healthy relationships work between mom and dads, that is a great goal. Something to keep in mind is to remember: "No, putting my husband as the priority is the greatest way I can love my children." 

Emily:  And I think bringing the gospel in immediately, our marriages are a picture of Christ and the church as the bride and the bridegroom. It’s just important to remember that our marriages are a picture to the world of that. It’s important that we are honoring it and that we are honoring one another in marriage and we’re honoring our husbands. I think that that is so crucial. 

Laura:  Like Emily said, it’s a picture between Christ and the church. I think it shows how Christ has sacrificed everything for the church, and that’s Biblically how marriage has been founded, and why we have marriage today as that picture. We want to get into a little bit of those practical things of, what does that look like with little kids running around? What are some things that Emily and I do with our husbands or wish we were better at? [laughter] 

Emily:  One of the things I know I used to be worried about, when my husband and I had kids, was that it was going to hurt our marriage or was going to put all this strain because that is one thing you see a lot in commercials and in movies. You see the frazzled parents whose marriage is falling apart or under serious strain and a little bit of that is true: You’re sleep deprived, you probably have less time together. There’s just a variety of practical things.  But in our experience, children have enriched our marriage because of some Biblical principles that we’ve practiced. The reality is, God says children are a joy and they are a reward and a blessing and they’re a great thing, and so they don’t have to bring your marriage down the drain. I think that’s a little bit of a myth that sometimes women can-  

Laura:  - hide under. 

Emily:  Yeah, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy sometimes. [laughter]

Laura:  And I think number one, we have to maintain our own relationship with Christ first. I know so often I can look at my husband and be like, “Yes, here are X, Y and Z reasons you’re not leading our family quiet times or initiating prayer before bed.” You have these expectations of your husband and really, it’s the whole looking at the log in your own eye, and to stop expecting our husbands to be this perfect model of Christ in our family. 

We want to first say, look back at yourself and self-reflect on where you are, where your relationship with the Lord is, see how flawed and weak and how much we need the Lord, and quit looking at your husband. Quit saying, “Oh, he needs Jesus here. Here’s what he could work on. He could do this better. I could really use help here,” but to recognize our need for Christ first, is number one.    

Emily:  I’ve had to practice in my own mind, imagining my husband and I sitting together on the same side of the table facing our problems or our sin. 

Laura:  You’re on the same team. 

Emily:  We’re on the same team; we are one in Christ. Because of that, it’s not me against my husband and also, like you said, it’s me individually with my relationship with Christ. Definitely staying strong in that, is the number one way to take care of your marriage. There’s lots and lots of practical things too so let’s go ahead and move into some of those things. First of all, this is something I’ve been harking on lately when I’ve been talking to people but when you go on dates, try to have fun. Have some fun together.   

Laura:  Yes, it’s not a business meeting. 

Emily:  Lighten up, lighten up. My husband and I are super analytical and we used to get one on one time together and go through super deep stuff and that is really important. I do not want to say, “Oh, don’t communicate about the deep stuff,” but sometimes when you have little kids, it can feel like the business meetings are happening every day and when you get alone together, just laugh. Do something lighthearted and just enjoy each other.  

Laura:  I think that you need both. You need that time to get away. I’ll come to my husband and I’m like, “Okay, here are the six things I want to initiate and start talking about and here are some things that have just been sitting here on my heart and I want to say these things,” and so I totally agree; have fun. 

I also think that date nights at home are great.  There are like 1,000 Pinterest articles about how to have date nights at home and free date nights but one thing to remember is that it’s okay to put a little money into it. In fact, it’s important that you do. I think there's an element of getting out of your home, your kids are not under your roof, you are not the first responder and you can go away and check out a whole lot more. 

And there are still free things to do - though it's going to cost gas money - but one thing that is a struggle for a lot of people is that they don't want to put their money towards a date night or a babysitter. That's a struggle for me; putting money towards a babysitter now that we are away from family and friends. I was just uncurling my fist to pay our first babysitter, but it's so important. Your checkbook speaks for you - one of those ways is where your marriage falls on the priority list and being willing to say, “We’re going to get a hotel for one night or we’re going to go out for dinner.” Even Chipotle, but being able to take the time and the money that it costs to maintain a marriage is important.  

Emily:  It is. Even looking for ways intentionally to make that happen.  For my husband and I, it can feel overwhelming sometimes to say, “Okay, how are we going to get an entire day or an entire evening away from our kids?” It’s going to take all this thought in advance. Something we’ve done, in addition to that, is just look for opportunities. If there’s a chance for us to sneak away for breakfast really quick, we’d do that. 

Laura:  Yes, odd times. 

Emily:  Odd times. I will sometimes go meet my husband at work. We will walk down the street, have coffee for 30 minutes and then come back to his office. It’s just weird and it’s kind of random but it’s working for us, and it’s ways to put in even little mini dates in between those big dates that we all imagine.  Again, take the pressure off but it’s all good. Sometimes taking the pressure off instead of waiting for the perfect night that you as a wife imagine, your husband coming home with flowers and you are gone for the whole night. It’s okay too to just go get the coffee together or just go out and get an ice cream together.  There is a place for that especially if you have a newborn.  

Laura:  Definitely. I don’t want to say you have to do these big, grand dates by any means. The other thing I would say is you, as a wife, can initiate that. For me, it was just hard because I kept waiting and wanting him to say, “Here, I made reservations and we’re going to this restaurant!” Typically, I am the scheduler, the keeper of the calendar and I have just realized that if we want this to happen, I have to be okay with making it happen. He is super happy and thrilled that I did! So just lowering those expectations for how it comes about and what it looks like.    

Emily:  Also, believing the best in your husband and believing he wants to go out on a date with you. But just like we have things going on in our lives that keep us from doing exactly what we want to do, our husbands have that too. I always tell myself, “I know my husband wants to go on a date with me. It’s not that he’s neglecting me on purpose or something like that. It is totally fine for me to plan it.”

Okay we’ve talked about dates but this also goes into a little bit of physical affection. It can be really difficult especially after you’ve had a baby; you don’t feel like yourself. Maybe you’ve got lots of little kids touching you.        

Laura:  Oh, man, you just do not want to be touched! 

Emily:  You’ve got hormonal things going on, but at least I have found, it is so important to reengage physically and to almost make yourself. It’s almost like you have to do it first and then the feelings come. Even if they don’t come, it’s still really important. 

Laura:  Definitely, and it’s good for your kids to see that. It’s good for you to choose to engage in that. I think there is something at work with the oxytocin, with your newborn on you, and the same is true for marriage and physical affection. There are things at work when you engage in those things beyond just mental. 

Emily:  One thing that’s helped me reengage is whenever we are out in public or at church, I try to think to myself, “If we were dating right now or we were newlywed, what would I be doing?” Oh, I would be holding his hand, I would be sitting right next to him, I’d be as close as I possibly could be. I ask myself that question and then I try to do whatever that thing is, and it’s really helped me to remember to hold my husband’s hand in the car, or put my arm around his back. Those little things are what keep you a married couple and not just partners living under one roof.  

Laura:  There are times where I’ve had to say to my husband, “Hey, let’s recommit to this or I would like for you to hold my hand more.” It’s awful and sort of painful to say, but it’s always worth it.

Another great way is just serving each other. I think that’s the whole out-serve one another. We’ve all heard it, but again, it’s where you can look at the other person and see all of their flaws, where really we should be looking at, “What are the ways that I can love him?” From just shooting him a text in the middle of the day, telling him you’re thinking of him or pictures of the kids, or just a thoughtful thing, making his lunch - I make my husband’s lunch every night before work the next morning. I know a lot of wives do, but I think that’s just one thing for him that really loves him and blesses him. 

So find those things that are meaningful, that are even small and quick, that can be done as you're cleaning up the kitchen and putting away leftovers; I can do that so it’s not adding a lot to your workload. 
Emily:  One of the things I’ve had to remember is that God has created me as a wife, to be a helper to my husband; really first a helper to Him. That includes understanding what he needs and then taking the time and the attention to meet those needs.  When I’m at home all day, if I’ve met my kids all day but I really haven’t done much intentionally to help my husband, then I’m missing a little bit of that component there. 

For me and my husband, it’s been a lot of conversations like, “I cannot do everything in the day. I cannot be all things to all people but what is really important to you? Is it that the house is picked up? Is it that we have dinner on the table? Is it that I’m fresh and excited to see you and I’m in a great mood? Is it that I’m out of yoga pants? Look, what are the things that are important to you?” 

My husband has given me one or two things and I try to make those things a priority. I even tell my kids at 5:15 p.m., “I have to clean up the house now because daddy is coming home and it’s important to daddy, and mommy wants to do this for daddy.” Just that verbiage for my kids of saying, “This is something that’s important to my husband and we’re going to do it.”    

Laura:  That’s great. And a few other things: like praying together. I know it seems like a no brainer but I would be willing to put a lot of money on the couples that don’t spend time intentionally to pray together because again, it's one of those easy things to fall by the wayside. You’re exhausted before bed, and for me I think that that’s something where I wanted my husband to lead in and I wanted him to initiate and pray these eloquent beautiful prayers ... but I can initiate those things. I can talk about, “Let’s remember to pray and here are some of the things that we want to pray about.”      

Emily:  That’s helping him. 

Laura:  That’s helping him; it’s not leading for him. I feel like I’m hitting the same note this whole show but- 

Emily:  But again, you’re on the same team with him.

Laura:  On the same team.

Emily:  “I want to help you do what I know you want to do and what we want to do.” 

Laura:  The last thing is finding couples that you respect and admire, that encourage you to strive for the cross. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with other healthy couples that are staying the course. Men that can encourage your husband and women that encourage you and don’t let you goof off and do your own thing.   

Emily:  My last thought would be, and this just came to my mind, is forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive. That is something every single day that we have to practice as a married couple. Just remembering that Christ forgave us and we want to be practicing that in our marriage. That’s going to be one of the best ways to get on the same page and hit reset, and be moving together as a couple. 

Laura: To wrap up, review us on iTunes and subscribe.  We would really appreciate it and we do hope this fosters conversations among you guys as women and with other mothers. Get together with them, see if they have listened to this or share some of the things that have made you think or you’ve been reminded of.  We really appreciate it guys. We’re just glad you guys have joined us through these episodes and we’d love to hear from you too if you have other ideas for future podcasts. No promises.

Emily:  No promises. 

Laura:  But we definitely would love to hear from any of you guys, or if you have questions on anything as well, please feel free to reach out to us. 

Emily:  Yes, thanks guys for listening. 

Ep. 4 || Teaching Our Children About Jesus - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Emily:  Welcome to Risen Motherhood. I’m Emily Jensen here, with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler.  Last time we talked about postpartum body image and today we are going to tackle gospel instruction for our children. 

I know that this was something I didn’t start to think about that much until I got a little bit closer to the toddler age but certainly it is an important topic and it’s something that feels really overwhelming and scary to jump into. We already don’t know enough about breastfeeding and nap routines; all those things and then you get this huge thing of, “Oh, and you need to pass on your entire faith to your child,”  What does that look like?

Laura:  There was this transition point when my son turned, maybe 12 months or 18 months, somewhere in there where I could get what I needed in books. It’s very practical, it’s very tangible, it’s easy to know how to give him the right food or choose the right formula.  It’s scientific in a way and easy - well - not easy, but you know what I mean. But then you get to raising their hearts and it definitely changes, and that is really daunting especially as a first-time mom.

Emily:  I was already thinking ahead and was overestimating what my toddler could do. Because with your oldest child, your expectations are so high for them. I was looking to moms who had maybe five-year olds or ten-year olds and looking at what they were doing with their kids and thinking, “I need to be doing that type of stuff with my toddler.”  And what I found was that those things didn’t work and then I would quit because they can’t sit down and listen to a 15-minute story. They can’t do question and answer and comprehend, so it’s a different ball game when you first get started. 

Laura:  Yeah, and when I started disciplining, I remember feeling super nervous about it. It was hard enough at home, in the privacy of our own house where no one could hear me, except my toddler - who didn’t know I messed up and I would stumble over words. I was like, “Uh, Jesus - don’t do that - uh, Bible,” just dropping in my words. 

I knew that there was a better way, and I had seen other people do it, but in the heat of the moment, it’s hard to gather your thoughts and be able to say something that, again, is age appropriate and also impactful for the future. Like you said, you’re reading these books and these people have done this for years, or they’ve had multiple children to practice on, or it's a lot easier to write or to say casually than it is in the moment or say when you’re in public. I know in public it’s always like "Uh, ah, oh." It’s scary so it’s a hard thing. 

Emily: The first time when I tried to do formal instruction in faith with my oldest, I went online and found these Bible lessons and I printed off. They were probably 15, 20-minute lessons; they had a craft, a song. I did it one time and then I was like, “I’m never doing that again.” [laughter]

It was fun and I think he liked it, but it was unsustainable and I think those are the types of things that can keep us from doing anything. I’m an idealist and I get this awesome vision in my mind of what I want something to be, and then when it doesn’t live up to that, I tend to do nothing. I think there’s an element of just do something; get started and just go somewhere.    

Laura:  Even though it is super scary and it’s really difficult, Biblically, we have instruction and a charge, as parents or mothers, to raise our children up and to write these things on their hearts; to teach them about the Lord. We are the number one people that will have an impact on our children for eternity, and so that responsibility falls to us and particularly with the mom, as she often spends the majority of time home, with the kids.  

Emily:  Like you said, there’s definitely room for both but as a mom, there is that nurturing element. Even looking at the things we are supposed to teach them, passing along the gospel message to them, helping them to see their sin and the way that they break the law and that they need Jesus. Helping them see the difference between wisdom and foolishness, which is sometimes a little bit different than sin, and also giving them moral instruction like, “Hey, in our culture, these are some things that you need to do-”   

Laura:  Social norms. 

Emily:  Yes, in order to fit in, at least get to know somebody. You’re going to have to be able to do these basic manners or no one is ever going to talk to you.  [laughter]

Laura:  Exactly, there is that charge. Scary as it is, we want to talk a little bit today about ways that we weave the gospel in. Emily and I, and I know that we’ve said this probably in every episode, but we want to be very upfront to say that we are learning; we are growing in this. This isn’t like, “Oh, we do this all the time and it comes out so perfectly.” Hear us when we say we stumble over our words all the time. Half the time, I’m really grateful it's the two-year old listening to me because what I say would make no sense to an adult. But we’re trying and that’s the thing: you get better with practice. That’s a thing to remember is that you’re going to start out and it feels sort of uncomfortable-     

Emily:  It’s awkward. 

Laura:  Awkward, yes, and I can attest that as someone who now has a two and a half-year old, it has gotten easier as I’ve studied it and practiced it, and just forced myself to bulldoze through those feelings. It’s flowing easier - but again, we are not perfect at this.  

Emily:  Yes and it’s helped to be in community for me and listening to other moms and how they do it. Laura’s cousin, and I go to church with her; she is so natural and will bring in really good Biblical scriptures. When I hear her talk, sometimes I will go back home and write down what she said and think, “That was so good. I want to remember to say that to my child.” 

Be listening too when you are around other moms that you think are doing it well. Hear the words that they are saying and definitely take this to heart. I think there’s a couple of different types of gospel instruction we’re going to talk about: formal and informal. Formal would be what you sit down and teach them, like Bible verses and catechisms, doctrines. It’s almost like a-  

Laura:  Class. 

Emily:  A class, yes. 

Laura:  Intentional teaching. Very intentional, set aside time, for investing in the gospel with your kids. 

Emily:  Then the informal is the things that we do every day. Our life as an example to our children; how we’re loving them and are we modeling Christ and the character of God? What we’re saying to them in the car while we’re driving, and the way that we respond when something doesn’t go our way; they’re watching that and we can be talking to them. 

That’s more like discipleship; informally passing the gospel, bringing your kids along with you and saying, “Do as I do. This is how you walk the faith, this is how you live the Christian life,” and that’s something that we should be doing all the time, no matter what.     

Laura:  Yeah, as moms, we need to do both types of things. As for the informal stuff, I’ll be super honest:  I remember hearing some moms say, “Oh, look at that rock. Isn’t that cool that God made rocks so big and strong?” I remember feeling really awkward about that and like it was forced or contrived.

Honestly, again, as I practiced it more and talked with my son, it is really cool to see him say, “Mom, tell God to make it stop raining.” It’s cool to see that he’s getting that and at such a young age. As you weave those things in, as uncomfortable as it can feel, it does get easier. When you start seeing some of those things, that truth coming out of your kid’s heart, it’s really gratifying.

Emily:  Yes, it is so encouraging. Also, as you become more fluent in the gospel yourself, you’re able to communicate more naturally to your child. I have found that this whole area has made me a little uncomfortable, and also challenged me to grow in my relationship with God; to be practicing and growing my own understanding of what scripture says and what the gospel says. 

As I have a fuller knowledge and a better understanding,  I’m able to pour these things out and that’s why it’s so, so important. It’s important because going back to our self-care talk, that we are filling ourselves up with the right things and relying on the Lord and getting to know Him better because without that, we don’t have much to share.   

Laura:  What goes in must come out. I always hear people say garbage in, garbage out [laughter] but I suppose it’s the opposite of that so gospel in, gospel out. 

Emily:  Great. So, let’s get practical here.  

Laura:  You want to share your stuff first? Just to clarify too, Emily and I do a lot of the same things so we decided on a, “You touch on this, I’ll touch on this,” type of thing.  

Emily:  Because we do have, like you said, a big overlap. I have a three-year old, two two-year olds and an infant right now. I have this little box that is next to our kitchen table. I pull it out in the morning and in this box are a few materials in it that I don’t have to prep for; they are there every day and the first thing we do is we sing the little song with Bible Truth and this is literally a toddler’s song. I got a lot of these ideas from Cedarmont Kids. We’ll have some of these resources that we are mentioning in the show notes, so no worries if you don’t catch everything. I just sing a little song, even "Jesus Loves Me," that type of song.  

Laura:  Oh, yes, "My God Is So Big," any of those easy ones. 

Emily:  But things that have Biblical truth. Then we go through a new verse for the week. Our church goes though the Desiring God Foundation verses and so I’m talking like a small, short verse. 

Laura:  Genesis 1:1. 

Emily:  Yes, I just share it and then I give a brief basic explanation and we do that every day for a whole week. Then we go through some vocabulary words - my whole point in that is just to give them a foundation of understanding. If I’m using words like "forgive" and "pray" and "love," if they don’t know what those things mean, that’s going to be difficult for them to understand anything I’m saying. So I try to give them that foundation of understanding.

Then we also go through one page of a ten-point gospel and that’s another resource available from Desiring God. I literally just made it into a basic book and every day, we do a different page and talk about the gospel. My goal is that by the time they are, let’s say five years old, they have that memorized. When we say the gospel, they’ll know what we are talking about.    

Laura:  You do that over breakfast each morning? 

Emily:  Yes, so I have found they must have food in their mouths and be contained in a church. At the ages our kids are at, I definitely have tried to do it at other times of the day. I was like, “Okay, let’s all sit down and listen,” but that just doesn’t work; they go a million places, so breakfast works for our family. 

Laura:  It’s important to remember too that, with all of our kids, they are talking in between it. They are like in La La Land, they’re throwing food.  

Emily:  Climbing onto the table.  

Laura:  It’s chaos. 

Emily:  It seems like no one is listening. Some days, it goes really well and we go for 10 minutes and other days I do it for literally two minutes, but it’s just the habit of pulling it out every single day, or every other day.    

Laura:  I don’t do everything you’ve listed but good aspiration for me! But alongside that, another great thing to work on with kids is catechisms. At two years old, my son is a huge sponge.  We all know how quickly these little kids learn ABCs, a song or whatever, and so we use New City Catechisms; it’s an app that you can download on your iPad. I work on the first five with my son and we keep repeating those over and over.  It’s not like I’m planning on having him learn all of them - there are a lot.      

At this point, it’s just great to get a couple of simple truths in him like, "Who made you? Why did God make you?" some of those simple truths in his heart. It was really cool when he called his aunt and he told her that he loved and that God made her. He said, “God made you to glorify Him,” or something like that for her birthday. [laughter] It was so cool. It’s just a catechism coming out but it’s really neat. 

We do catechisms, scripture memories, some of those short verses; the same Desiring God stuff that Emily was talking about, which we will link to in the show notes. In addition, just playing Christian music in the background too. I know, one time Taylor Swift was playing in the car and Eli came out singing "Shake It Off" - not a big deal, but it was amazing because he heard that song ONE time and was singing the chorus. 

Some great songs or CDs that we like are Songs for Saplings, Rain for Roots, like Emily said, Cedarmont Kids. Playing those, maybe during crib time or-  

Emily:  Or just play time in the background. 

Laura:  Rain for Roots and Songs for Saplings, they won’t hurt your brain as a parent. 

Emily:  They’re a little softer. 

Laura:  Cedarmont Kids is a little bit more, “Aaah.” [laughter]

Emily:  I cannot listen to this any longer.  But the kids love it. 

Laura:  Yes, the kids love it and so the Christian radio, or whatever you have in your area, but those are some big things. We also read the Bible together as a family before bed. We like the "Jesus Storybook Bible" and "The Big Picture Bible."  We will link to it. It’s a great toddler Bible. It’s really good for that two, three-year old age and it’s a little shorter and has bigger pictures and so that is our great Bible too. 

We just read one story a night and we talk about it. I remember too when he was a little younger, we would even ad-lib much of it because they don’t even have that attention for three sentences so we would just talk, “Oh, look, there’s Joseph,” and just be casual about it and get that truth into him.   

Emily:  I think the main thing is finding what works for your family and knowing that it doesn’t have to look like what we said and it doesn’t have to look like your friends. I had to let that go because bedtime at our house is lots of crying and screaming and things, so we literally just pray for our kids before bed and put them to bed. We cannot do a story at our house and that’s okay. I think I had to let that go and say, “It can look different for everyone.”   

The point is that you’re just planting seeds over time. It’s not like these big events in your children’s lives that are going to change them or impact them.  It’s little things that you do every single day over a really long period of time.

Laura:  Start small. Start with playing music in the background. Don’t feel like, “Oh, they’re doing these 15 things and I need to do all of them.” Again, this is years of build up and we want to keep adding and we’re subtracting, depending on life circumstances, or new babies in the family, and things. But just start with one thing and then continue to build off of that. Don’t feel overwhelmed. I know how easy it is to feel overwhelmed - we’re not even going to talk about discipline today. That’s a whole other nutshell to be discussed. Maybe that will be a future show at some point.   

Emily:  There are so many things I could talk about. I feel like this is a huge topic but hopefully, we just glazed through the surface today and again, go check out show notes. We are going to pack as many resources in there as we possibly can. Share this with a mom that you think might benefit from this that maybe is even on the cusp of trying to figure out what to do here.   

Laura:  Yes, you guys talk together with each other and challenge each other to say, “Let’s start family quiet times or scripture memory,” whatever that may be.  

Emily:  Yes and then also, don’t forget that you can find more information on our blogs, oaklandavenueblog.com, emilyjensenwrites.com or on Twitter or Facebook and also subscribe and leave a review. Next time, we’re going to try to cover another huge topic: marriage and motherhood and all of those things.  

Laura:  Again, grazing the surface. 

Emily:  Yes, grazing the surface of everything, [laughter] We’re just skimming over topics. Thank you guys for joining us and we’ll see you back next time. 

Laura:  We’ll see you next time. Bye guys. 

EP. 3 || Post-partum Body Image - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura:  Welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. We are thrilled you all are joining us today. I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here with me. We’re talking about how the gospel impacts a mom’s everyday life, and specifically today, we are talking about how the gospel impacts postpartum body image.

Emily:  Which is a little bit of a raw topic for Laura and I.  We are excited to be discussing this although it is.

Laura:  We’re nervous, let’s be real.

Emily:  A little nerve-racking.

Laura:  It’s a little raw but it will be fun.

Emily:  Yes, exactly.

Laura:  Emily, do you want to start off and just tell the listeners exactly where you’re at, where you’ve been, that kind of stuff?

Emily:  Sure, and I’m going to imagine that you guys are all sitting across from me drinking coffee because it is just a little bit personal to talk about these stories that we have. I’ve had four kid in -

Laura:  She can’t even count them all.

Emily:  [laughter] - Three and a half years; under four years. I had a set of twins in there and I would say each time that I’ve had a pregnancy, I’ve definitely gained more than the recommended amount of weight.  If you look on the chart, especially with my first, I gained at least over 35 pounds.

Laura:  No shame in that girl. I will beat that.

Emily:  When it’s your first, you’re like, “Oh, I want to try to be healthy,” and then you notice that you’re getting over that little margin. I had him a month early too. Then with the twins, I definitely gained over 50 pounds. I have one picture of myself in the hospital when I was in labor and I always tell my husband.  “You can never show that to anyone because I look so huge,” but that was okay; it was worth it.  With this last pregnancy, which I had my most recent baby in August, and definitely although I think I ate a lot healthier that pregnancy,  I still gained around 35 pounds for a full-term 40 weeks.

Laura:  In between babies, how were you with postpartum recovery and stuff like that?

Emily:  Every time, so far, it has taken me a full nine months to get back to what I would call ‘my pre-baby weight’ and it’s definitely been a long process. I don’t think I’m someone who just springs back. I hit that plateau when I get back from the hospital and it’s like, “Okay, that’s all the weight I’ve lost until I…” It’s about six months out or five months out when I can focus on eating healthy again, and getting more exercise.  It’s definitely not been an easy process for me. 

Certainly, having so many kids in such a short amount of time has been a huge yoyo on my body, just from the weight gain and weight loss. It’s been up and down and up and down. Right now, I have not hit that nine-month out point yet, so I am still trying to find contentment where I’m at. I look different than I did when I was 21.

Laura:  Don’t we all?

Emily:  What about you Laura? What’s your journey been like?

Laura:  I’ve had two kids for listeners who are tuning in for the first time. They’re about 20 months apart. My first pregnancy, I gained upwards of 40 pounds or close to 40, and definitely got the wrist slap from the doctor at 20 weeks who said, “No more gaining weight.” It was between Thanksgiving and Christmas and she said, “Please try not to gain any more weight until I see you next.” I mean, really? Does a doctor normally say that? I did switch doctors later for more reasons than that, but I was like, “Over the holidays, you want me to not gain weight? All of America does. Now this pregnant woman is going to as well!”

Emily:  Side note, it’s totally unfair to go to that weighing and in the wintertime because you’re like…  (Laughter)

Laura:  Oh my goodness! I want to wear flip-flops to my appointments because those boots weigh a lot. (Laughter)

Emily:  They’re always like, “Go ahead and get on. Get on the stand,” and you’re like, “I’m in my winter coat; this is so unfair.”  (Laughter)

Laura:  I’m always in summer clothes during the winter of my prenatal appointments. I want to be as low as possible for them.(Laughter) But yes, for both pregnancies, I gained far above the average. With my second, I gained close to 50 and so Emily, you are doing great with twins; at least you had that. But I feel like the first time after I had my son, getting back in the postpartum phase was easier. I think it always is with our first. By five or six months out, I felt different but generally back to what I looked at prior. Of course, things are rearranged and things are softer and there’s all those things that we all have experienced, but generally, I felt pretty good by that time, although still not exactly satisfied. 

Then with my second, I feel like it took at least nine to ten months. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to work out and if you know me at all, I do not work out. It’s not something that I enjoy. I’ve never done it beyond some high school sports and college things like activities. That wasn’t my thing and like you said, “We’re not our 21-year old selves.” It’s definitely a little bit harder. The recovery isn’t naturally happening and so it takes a little bit more effort.

Emily:  It does take more effort, I totally agree with you. One thing I was surprised about, and maybe you were too, Laura, is the fact that it hasn’t gotten a lot easier for me to deal with postpartum body image after each pregnancy. I get that, “Okay, I’ve done this one time. I know the drill. This isn’t going to affect my heart as much as it did the first time around,” but honestly, I can say this third time around, I have still struggled with it just as much as I did after the first time, if not more. I’ve had to counsel my heart and do some practical things to be content, where I’m at right now. I don’t know why it doesn’t get easier but for me, I think it’s been still a hard journey.

Laura:  I think as women, we’re always going to struggle with body image. Whether that’s because we’re too thin or we’re too heavy or something just isn’t shaped the way we like it to be, it’s going to happen. But in the meantime, let’s talk about some practical tips. Probably most of you guys know this, but need a fresh reminder, or maybe it’s your first baby or you’re pregnant with your first.  These are truths that Emily and I have learned. 

My number one is, always buy clothing that fits. I feel like you just try to squeeze into those -not squeeze - let the maternity jeans sag off of you because you don’t have the right body shape but they’re comfortable still. But your butt looks way worse, let’s be honest, because the jeans just do not fit correctly.

Emily:  Yes, or you try to squeeze into your pre-baby jeans and you’re like, “Well, they button but…”

Laura:  Oh, they go up to my calf. (Laughter) I’m like, “I was so thin!”  It’s not fun to put those back on.  So just go to the store, spend the $30 or $60, or whatever you spend on jeans, and get a pair of jeans that you can wear in between, that you can button without feeling like you’re going to explode out of.  You will feel a million times better, I promise.

Emily:  I almost have this ‘in-between wardrobe. I’ve got my maternity clothes and then I’ve got a bunch of clothes that fit.

Laura:  Oh, 'tweener clothes? 

Emily:  'Tweener clothes that I probably wear for six to nine months. Then I’ve got, I want to say my normal clothes, but because I’ve been pregnant so much in the last few years, I don’t think I’ve gotten much use out of them. But I totally have felt better about the way I look when I’ve just invested in an in-between wardrobe, so I think that’s awesome.

Laura:  There’s a phrase “nine months up, nine months down” so give yourself grace in between; mentally not downplaying what you just did. What you did was amazing. What your body did is a miracle and what it’s still doing is a miracle. Whether or not you’re nursing, you’re bonding with that child; you’re sustaining life and caring for it. I think that’s a huge thing of, just mentally remembering what an amazing work your body did, and that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, even when it doesn’t look like what you want it to look like.

Emily:  And some people went through traumatic deliveries. Others had C-sections or natural deliveries but for all of us, it really is hard on your body. I think we don’t realize how long it takes to recover from that. Then you also have all these hormones and everything else going on, and so it’s okay to wait and ease into it. Even though we get the thumbs up at six weeks out, every person needs to evaluate for themselves.  If you’re not ready yet, don’t put pressure on yourself to try to make it to the gym, and start dieting and all those things, when you really still have a lot of complicated hormones and you’re maybe sleep deprived. You’re trying to get used to this new way of life. It can be too much pressure to add, “Oh and you need to get your body back,” on top of that.

Laura:  I totally agree. 

Emily:  To hear the blessed comment, “You look like you’ve never had a baby.”

Laura:  I know. Why is it that we want that so much? It’s like, “Yes, I did have a baby so I should look like I had one.” 

We’re getting close on time here, Emily. We had more for you guys but we can’t make it through them all if we want to get into some of the other meat.

Emily:  This is such a meaty topic and we’re just getting started. We want to talk about how the gospel applies and what we should be focusing on, which is the internal, the hidden person of the heart, the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which God says is beautiful. 
We want to focus on that.

Laura:  God’s version of beautiful is long lasting and the world's will change. Emily says to me all the time, that cultures have had different perceptions of beauty over all of time, and God’s version of beauty is long lasting; it’s eternal and it’s what matters. I think the biggest thing that happens when we’re in postpartum and we’re really struggling through not being happy with what we look like, or a certain area or whatever it is, is that we’ve misplaced where our worth and our identity is found. We’re starting to idolize that perfect image. Maybe that’s our pre-baby self, maybe that’s a supermodel or another woman.

Emily:  Or just a friend, yes. 

Laura:  Yes, the friend that we all have that looked-  

Emily:  Gorgeous.  

Laura:  -amazing three weeks out. Good for her. We can be happy for her, but I think the thing that we have to remember is that, at least for me, I know when I got back to my pre-baby jeans, it still wasn’t enough. I still wanted to be thinner. I remember being six months out, trying to put on my pre-baby jeans and just being like, “I was so thin. Why wasn’t I happy with what I looked like?”  I got there and I was not happy and that’s because I’m finding my worth in the wrong places.

Emily:  And any time we put our hope on something other than Jesus Christ, it’s going to fall short. It’s going to fail us and it’s always going to be stringing us along to do more. I think that’s a great point, to not just say, “Once I hit this number, then I’ll be happy,” because that’s not true.  

Laura:  Exactly. It’s a lie. 

Emily:  In the meantime, it’s okay to have goals and want to be healthy as long as we’re focusing on contentment in Christ, and we’re able to have joy where we’re at. To not be doing a lot of this negative self-talk and just condemning ourselves and living in this weird place mentally of not liking who we are, and who God has created us to be.

Laura:  And something specifically that Emily and I talked about, that we want to discuss is, the common lies that we think about postpartum, and how we can defeat that with truth. That’s something Em and I are going talk about in every show probably, Especially on postpartum, I think the battle is in our minds. Let’s just list of some of the lies Em.     

Emily:  I think one I really struggled with this last time is that my husband is not going to desire me anymore. Especially after the fourth baby, I could feel that my body looked different than it did before I had children. Not that everyone sees me this way but especially without clothes on, it looks different. It was important this time around for me to air that with him, and talk through that and speak truth to myself. Now, I feel like I’m in a much better place; a place that I can still be joyful and intimate, and free with my husband and not be worried about it. That was a big one for me. What about you Laura?  

Laura:  I think I definitely compare myself to that other person that had a baby and just say, “Oh my word, she looks so much better than me. Everyone’s probably comparing me to her.”  No, I’m the only one making the comparison! Or thinking dramatic things like, “I’ll never be thin or beautiful again.” We can be really dramatic. What else? 

Emily:  I think we talked about fitting back into your old jeans and you’ll be happy again.  

Laura:  Yes, or just degrading areas of our bodies, like, “I hate my stomach,” or, “I hate my thighs,” or whatever. 

Emily:  Or just seeing a picture of yourself and thinking, “Oh, I look so fat.” 

Laura:  Yes, those are lies that are just brought into our mind by Satan. What we’re doing when we’re critiquing and criticizing ourselves is again going back to where we’re finding our worth. We’re forgetting who we are in Christ.  

Emily:  Absolutely. I think that the best thing I’ve learned to do in that situation is to transform my mind and input truth. As I focus on the truth, those lies get quieter and eventually go away, even if you’re still battling them over a long period of time. 

Laura:  What that practically looks like is you hear the lie, “I hate this. I don’t like that,” and then you have to stop at that moment, repent of it and live in the forgiveness that Christ has given, and then ask for a right view of yourself. Em and I pulled together some scriptures. I don’t think we have the time to go through them all today, but just a couple Em? 

Emily:  I think one that sticks out to me is 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or the height or the stature because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.” 
I think that’s a big one. We talked about true beauty a little bit closer to the beginning, just like God is looking at our hearts and that’s really what matters.  

Laura:  Exactly. When we’re repenting of those negative thoughts, we’re asking Him to help us see ourselves as His true beauty; His real standard. That’s what it means to transform your mind or to take a lie and overpower it with truth.  

Emily:  And it’s definitely a process, a long one that Laura and I are still in. 

Laura:  Definitely. We totally did a flyover of this topic.  I think we could have gotten so much deeper. We’re already over time so yes, we will put some more scriptures up on the show notes page, along with a couple of links to some other articles that have been really helpful; both practical and spiritual. As far as wrapping it up, let’s see. Next week we’re talking about gospel instruction for kids so that will be fun.  

Emily:  Yes, and if you guys benefited from this, or you want to start this conversation with your friends, go ahead and share this on social media.  

Laura:  We would love that. It’s a huge honor when you do that.  We know so many of you already have done it. 

Emily:  You can leave us a rating or a review on iTunes. It’s a way for other moms to find this podcast. 

Laura:  I think that’s it.  

Emily:  See you guys. 

EP. 2 || Motherhood & Self-Care - Transcript

Emily:  Hey guys, thanks for joining us again on Risen Motherhood. This is episode two and we are talking about self-care today. I’m Emily Jensen and I’m here with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler.  Again, just to review what we talked about last time, motherhood in light of the gospel and in light of the resurrection of Christ and how that causes us to live in a light of eternity in all things. Not just to be trying to kill time to get to the end of the day with our kids, but really being thoughtful and letting our faith impact what we do, even in the mundane.

EP. 1 || Motherhood and The Gospel - Transcript

The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura:  Welcome to Risen Motherhood. We are so thrilled to have all of you guys joining us today. Thank you so much for tuning in for our very first episode. I have my sister-in-law Emily Jensen here. We are super excited to get this project off the ground. Emily, I feel like we started this so long ago.

Emily:  So many months ago, I know. It feels so rewarding to make some progress. It seems like so many things in life are just the same thing all the time, so it’s fun to be seeing this project realized.

Laura:  What we’re going to be talking about today is our current culture, and why we feel something like Risen Motherhood is needed. We'er going to talk about the idea behind the show, motherhood and the gospel, and tying that into what the gospel really means as mothers - how that changes how we mother.  Em, do you want to kick us off?

Emily:  Sure. Laura and I are both in the online space. We’re both bloggers and sister-in-laws too, so we read all these blog posts about moms needing to do things in a certain way. The pressure to be perfect and how to balance everything correctly and finding the right system and the right way to feed your kids. There’s just so much out there right now that is pressure on us and it’s really stressful to be a mom sometimes.

Laura and I always find ourselves talking about the daily issues and going back and forth like, “How should we be thinking about this?” and, “What is my heart attitude in this and what does that say about how I’m living out that aspect of motherhood?” These are conversations that Laura and I have been having for a while, and they’ve been really helpful to us.

Laura:  We found that there is so much confusion in motherhood, like Emily said. We’re talking about everything from practical stuff, like potty training, to deep heart issues of the sanctifying work that motherhood does, and what our heart attitude is whenever our kid is disobedient. We feel like, if we’re having these conversations, we bet other moms are having these conversations too. Both of us have individually had them with other moms, and so we just recognize how difficult it is to be a mother these days. 

With all that online chatter and books and how-tos and ten-steps-to-the-perfect-sleeper, all these things are calling and clamoring for attention. It can be really difficult to find our focus and to remember what matters. That’s something that Emily and I have found in each other; the ability to keep each other focused on what truly and ultimately matters.  We are hoping that Risen Motherhood can be an extension of those conversations and a way that all of you can come alongside us. I think we want to be clear and upfront too that Em and I do not have it all together.

Emily:  We are definitely still learning and growing and we are working this out. As we talk through these things with each other, and with other moms around us and read scripture, we are learning. So you are hearing a work in progress; definitely remember that. As Laura was saying, we need each other. I think that is our hope, that this would spurn on thoughts for you and maybe would even cause you to go your own friend group and say, “Can we be talking about these things?” and, “What are you doing in this situation?” or, “How are you handling this feeling of guilt?” or, “How are you handling potty training or whatever?” Then talk about those things in light of scripture. 

That is the heart of Risen Motherhood. We want to be moms who live in light of the resurrection of Christ, and walk in our new identity and that’s the story behind the name.

Laura: The other thing we wanted to mention, before we dive into the true meat of the episode, is that we see this for all moms, but we are moms of young children and so that’s probably more of our target audience. But working moms, stay at home moms, we want to do this in 15 minutes. We chose that time intentionally so that you could get in, get out, and get a little bit of encouragement for your day. You can do that while folding your laundry, hiding in the bathroom, washing dishes or whatever it is you need to do – maybe driving in a car – I find that’s a good time to listen to podcasts.

Emily:  I put my phone in my back pocket and I walk around the house while I’m sweeping and cleaning.

Laura:  I do that too!

Emily:  There is an idea, if you’re trying to find a way to listen to a podcast.

Laura:  Yes, then you can always hear it and your kids can’t steal it from you.

Okay, let’s jump in to cut into the meat of the topic today. We want to talk about the gospel and how it impacts motherhood. Why don’t you jump off Em? You talked to me a lot about our identity and I think that’s just a point you should bring up today.

Emily:  It’s something that I’ve learned and grown in, is that to always be thinking of myself and ourselves as women, first and foremost as Christians; as followers of Christ and that is who we are, and then we have all these different roles and callings in our life. That might be wife or daughter or friend or mom or church member. Those are all callings or roles but they don’t define who we are. It’s important that we don’t get that confused because I think looking at ourselves through that lens of Christ is where it all starts.

Laura:  I think that one awesome thing about remembering who we are in Christ, is that we know too, as moms we have a bigger purpose in mothering than just raising moral kids or kids that do well at school. We are striving for something that is eternal and long lasting. I think that’s something for me that is so fulfilling about motherhood - when I remember this is eternal work. I’m not just sweeping the floors for the 500th time because I want a clean house. I am doing that to show my kids God’s love. All these little building blocks: playing with them during the day and cleaning up after them, and changing diapers and all those little things that we do. Those are ultimately leading up to such a greater work. 

Emily:  I think we long for this adventure and to be a part of something that is exciting and we want to escape. It’s like motherhood can feel so mundane; just doing the same thing over and over again, like you said. It’s when we’re thinking of ourselves though, as a daughter-warrior for the King and we’re in this kingdom and there’s this whole spiritual realm that we don’t see, that’s our reality. That’s our reality in the gospel so that’s exciting!

Laura:  Emily’s nerd side, of fantasy stuff, is totally coming out right now! (Laughter)

Emily:  It’s just a way to say, “Part of me sweeping the floor is being an image bearer and this has purpose.” Then also, I think there’s this aspect of guilt that weighs moms down. I literally don’t know how moms do it apart from Christ because when I feel like a failure, I get to go to the Lord and say, “Lord, I have totally messed up here. I have spoken harshly to my children or I have totally checked out today as a mom." I had just put them in front of the TV and been like, “I can’t. I can’t today.” I can repent of that and say, “No, you have new mercies for me,” and I don’t have to carry that guilt around tomorrow. I don’t know how moms do that apart from Jesus.

Laura: I totally agree. I find that it is just a continual repentance throughout the day. I think that’s something that I can be disgusted by - how often I need to come back to the cross.
But really, if I continue to come back to the cross during the day, living in light of the gospel and renewing my mind through the truth of God’s word, I find that at the end of the day, I am so much lighter. When I don’t do that, I’m super discouraged.  I’m annoyed at my children and snappy at my husband. But if I can remember to "keep the main thing, the main thing," I my day not only goes better in the moment, but also just overall. By the end of the day, I can go to bed and sleep peacefully.

Emily:  Exactly, and there are so many things that we have to give up as moms, right? That’s part of it, feeling like, “Sometimes it’s like everything is being taken away from me. I can’t sleep through the night anymore. I can’t eat without somebody trying to get food off my plate. I can’t walk anywhere without stepping on a toy.”  You just feel like, “Wow, what has my life become?”

But I think again, the gospel speaks to that and just says, “No.” Christ gave everything for us and we are called to lay down our whole lives to follow Him, and not wait, pursue comfort and not look back. That’s radical motivation. To pour ourselves out because we have eternity to be with Jesus, and to have joy and not be stepping on toys, so it’s okay to step on a few now and try and not say anything awful when you do. (Laughter)

Laura:  I know. Hold your tongue, right? (Laughter) It’s so interesting. Those moments where you - for me especially, it’s like missing naptime. When the kids don’t nap, they are so revealing of our hearts and I feel like that shows me exactly what I am hoping in that day. It will reveal that if I miss my naptime and my day is ruined, I am super crabby at my kids.  My husband walks in the door and I’m like, “I’m done, they’re yours.” That totally reveals my heart - that I have put more faith in a nap than I in the gospel and what Christ has done for me.

Emily:  Exactly and we’re not going to get our joy from a perfect rest time, away from our children. We’re not going to get our joy in having our house perfectly cleaned, or getting to this imaginary place where all of our laundry is done and where our children are behaving. 
I think it’s just finding our joy in Christ and we can have joy there. That’s just crazy and it’s something that we need to hear and we need to live in and walk in because if not, motherhood does get exhausting and it’s impossible to do on our own strength.

Laura:  It definitely is, yes. I think that it’s remembering that this is a choice, that coming to the cross is something that we need to do each and every day, moment by moment and it’s something that we’ve never arrived. As moms, that’s a really important point too; to remember this needs to be done over and over and over again.

Emily:  Yes. Well, these are exciting conversations and we definitely want to continue them, which is why we have other episodes on different topics but we want to just make sure you guys have a chance to get to know us a little bit here on the front end. Laura, do you want to share with everybody a little bit about you?

Laura:  Sure. My name’s Laura and I am married to my husband Mike, who’s an engineer. We’ve been married about five years. We have two kiddos; one is almost three and then my other baby just turned one on New Year’s Eve. We’ve recently moved to Chicago from Minneapolis. We had a crazy whirlwind year where we did a home renovation, lived in temporary housing for a bit, and finally just finding ourselves settling down, which has felt nice to not be as crazy. 

Things that I’m interested in or do:  I feel fairly boring when I have to talk about hobbies, but Emily and I both have blogs as we’ve mentioned and I so enjoy writing and reading - hardcover books - way better than those eReaders. Doing DIY projects; I like large and small ones, everything from little paper crafting things to, I don’t know, we recently built a credenza, total IKEA hack, but a credenza for our dining room in our new house.

Emily:  Yes, Laura is a super skilled decorator. She’s very humble about it but she’s awesome at DIY projects and her house is as gorgeous.

Laura:  Thanks Em. Okay, your turn.

Emily:  I am married to Laura’s brother so that’s the connection; Laura’s brother Brad. We’ve been married for over six years and we live in Central Iowa, although I’m originally a Kansas-citian. I have four boys, a three and half-year old, twin two-year olds and an almost five-month old baby. We’ve got a lot of energy in our house and I have become an expert on diggers during the day. I know what an excavator is versus a front-end loader. And I can act them all out too. So yes, I try to find ways to control the chaos and it’s great.  (Laughter)

Laura:  Emily is a super girly girl. Everyone knows she’s a super, super girly girl - she would have four boys.

Emily:  Exactly, although Laura is trying to teach me all kinds of crazy things. And when I get time, I like writing and reading like Laura said, and I love watching PBS shows with my husband, specifically The Masterpiece classic shows. I’m not going to give everybody a lecture about why they need to watch them but there’s good stuff. My husband and I like business ideas and improvements and systems, and all that stuff.

Laura:  Very analytical.

Emily:  He’s an engineering heart as well. My hobby in 2016 is cooking with more vegetables. 
If I don’t put it on my hobby list, it might not happen. Actually, my hobby list might not happen in general. (Laughter)

Laura:  That’s motherhood I guess.

Okay, we are going to have show notes for every single show, which basically means you’re going to be able to find links for more information on the topic we discussed, things written by ourselves or also written by other wiser women than us that we have found as great resources. Definitely head over to our blogs and check those out. Emily, do you want to cover the other stuff?

Emily:  You can also find us on social media. We’ll have all of those links connected through our blog so if you can get one place, you can get all the places. Definitely subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. That helps other people find us and gets the word out about the show, so that is extremely helpful. We would really appreciate it.  

And just talk to a friend about this, especially if you know someone who is trying to understand how their faith impacts their motherhood, or maybe they’re just struggling in motherhood and they need to hear some encouragement. Definitely talk with them about these issues and yes, get excited because next time we’ll be talking about self-care. Get your coffee and take your deep breath.

Laura:  Yes, your cold coffee - it will probably be cold. That’s one thing we should just say. We are talking about fun topics you guys: self-care, postpartum, gospel instruction for young children - that postpartum one is postpartum body image, yikes, strikes - but we’re going to tackle it. The last one is marriage and motherhood, so those are the topics. Tune in for one, hopefully all of them, and we will see you next time. Thanks guys!