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.