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.