The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome back to Risen Motherhood. I’m Emily Jensen with my sister-in-law Laura Wifler. We wanted to talk today though about turning our day around and not in the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps, I’m going to try harder” type of way. It is a really subtle difference because as we were discussing this topic, we were like, “Well, the culture sends this message a lot.” If you were to go look at self-help books or something, “You can determine your future. You can make your day what you want it to be. If you try hard and you’re driven enough, you can live how you want to live.” But that’s not what the Gospel says.
Laura: I think there are a lot of days, for us as moms, where it could be 10 minutes into your day and already it’s going terribly. Maybe it doesn’t happen until the afternoon, but those days when you’re short on patience, or your kids are being a little more testy or maybe the day has not gone well; a string of bad things, unfortunate things that have happened. I remember one day my son threw up literally all over my body, into my chest and I had to go straight to the shower, my clothes and all, straight into the shower. My daughter had a blow out and they were within 20 minutes of each other. I just got cleaned up and she had the world’s worst blow out that of course, got all over everything because I didn’t realize it was happening.
A bad day where it’s a string of things that no one can control happens and you lose it. You’re on that edge of, “Fine, everybody can watch TV today. Everybody can eat whatever they want. I’m going to eat the world.” [laughter]
Emily: “I’m going to eat whatever I want.” [laughter]
Laura: Where you start letting your day spiral out of control.
Emily: I am a very idealistic person and I have a picture in my mind of what kind of mom I want to be. Sometimes, even my day will start out great and I’m like, “Okay, I woke up early this morning,” I check that box. “I took a shower this morning,” check that box, “I had my quiet time.” Because I did all those things, I think, “Today is going to go great,” Then my kids wake up crying, walking down the hall out of their room and you’re like, “Seriously, that’s how today is going to go?” Then they dump half a box of Cheerios on the floor before anybody’s even had any food. Maybe I have lost my temper right off the bat and it’s like, “This is not going to go well.” We want you guys to know we feel that.
Laura: Yes, we have those days. Or a naptime - when you don’t get naptime and you’ve been counting on it.
Emily: You’ve been counting on it and then the kid wakes up and you’re like, “Aaaargh.” [laughs]
Laura: That might be one of the worst things if you don’t get naptime and some moms don’t ever get naptime. Emily, doesn’t get naptime.
Emily: I’ve had to adjust to that.
Laura: When you’re expecting at least semi-semblance of peace-
Emily: To take a break and take a deep breath and you don’t get that.
Laura: That’s a really hard moment, let’s be honest.
Emily: We want to talk about what to do when you get in those situations and you feel that prompting from the voice, which is really subtle usually, like, “I know this is a moment where I need to stop and change my perspective, and change the way some things are going.” You know you could do that and you sometimes choose not to. How can we get through those moments and pursue our identity in Christ?
Laura: Take a second for a moment and think about yourself as a mom and the standard that you hold yourself to. I am willing to bet that most of us hold ourselves to a very high standard of motherhood, of what we hope we’ll be. Whether that comes from the world or social media, or our own self-imposed expectations on how we should respond to our children, respond to our husbands, the inner monologue running through our heads, etcetera. If you start thinking about, “How did I respond in gentleness and patience, in self- control and peacemaking? How was I loving today? Was I joyful in all that I did today?” Probably the answer is that you didn’t measure up and that you didn’t do quite as well as you hoped you would.
Emily: Probably not. You probably fell on your face in that. I think what’s neat is that even though we totally fail to measure up to not only our own standards but God’s perfect standards for holiness, but Jesus, He did all that perfectly. He was always responding in gentleness, He was always kind, He was always full of joy even though He had difficult circumstances at times. He always obeyed God perfectly. Because He laid down His life for us and He died and received the punishment that we deserved, we now get to live in light of that. For us, it’s like we did all of those things right.
Laura: God sees us the same way that Jesus responded. He sees us as perfect as Jesus was and lived.
Emily: It’s this identity stuff we keep coming back to and talking about. We need to tie our identity to that truth. We need to live like that is true about us. When we sin and when we fall short, not go back and identify with a bad mom, you’re a mom who yells at her kids or, “I’m a mom who’s lazy,” or whatever those things are. That is not who we are in God’s eyes. As soon as we identify and tether ourselves to that, we walk in it. When we tether ourselves to Christ and we say, “No. God already sees me as having an A++.”
Laura: When you are really an F student. [laughs]
Emily: It’s like, “I don’t need to add anything to that.” There’s nothing I can add to it but I can be grateful and I can live like that now. I have the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s a message that we need to preach to ourselves.
Laura: When you really believe that, like Emily keeps saying, it transforms everything that you do. It transforms the way you respond, it transforms your thinking in the moment, when you are feeling those thoughts that are coming through saying, “I’m a bad mom,” or “I let my kids watch way too much TV, and I fed them too many fruit snacks, and my house is not clean enough.” [laughter] Whatever it may be, that is where you can bring in truth and speak that to yourself. What does this practically look like? It says, “Okay, I had my inner monologue of negativity running through my brain. This day has been an utter failure.”
Emily: Or you saw your sin, you saw that you weren’t patient; you acknowledged that, you’re feeling that true conviction, then what?
Laura: Then you speak truth to yourself. That can be through scripture or through correcting your mind, through Godly and Biblical truths, and then from there, you walk forward and you change your action. We want the message of today to be to redeem your day. We want you to know that no day is too far-gone. You are never too far-gone. As a mom, you are never too far lost. You are never too bad to be redeemed and to change the way your day is going to look going forward.
Emily: We can do that because of what Jesus did for us. Yes, we want to commission you guys there and practically talk through a couple of moments that Laura and I have had with the experience thought. Maybe a time when we responded right. [laughter]
Laura: That might be hard to find. My Mother’s Day is a good example of a day that went south, real fast. It was 4:30 in the morning and my husband got called into a work emergency. It was the moment that I knew, “Bummer, this won’t really be Mother’s Day at all today [laughter] because no one’s going to be able to tell my three-year old to say 'Happy Mother’s Day.'” It was really hard and it was one of those days that started bad.
It was a Sunday so I went to church and was really convicted that, “Hey, I’m spending Mother’s Day doing the one thing that I’m supposed to be doing , and doing my job and caring for my children.” There was part of me that wanted to say, “Let’s turn on the TV, go out to lunch, and go out to dinner. Kids, you go do your thing and I’m going to go do my thing because this is my day.”
But I really felt like, “I want to enjoy my children this day, and be intentional with them, and be joyful that I get to spend today with them.” I was convicted of having a pouty mournful attitude about my "rotten life." [laughter] Praise the Lord that I was able to turn that day around. Actually, it ended up being a fun day with my kids. We went to the park and it was good. Know that too, it didn’t go perfectly. I was able to turn my thoughts around, but we want you guys to hear too that just because you take control of your thoughts, and you get your heart set on the right things and focus, that doesn’t mean that that day is going to be perfect.
Emily: It means that we’re going to be more aware of the fact that God is with us, and that we can be grateful and have right perspective eternally on our situation.
Laura: It certainly makes your attitude better. The days that I’ve done it, I have felt so much happier. I’m like, “I’m glad I chose this because otherwise I’d be pouting around and complaining in my heart and probably to my kids.” It truly does transform you. When your perspective is shifted to the right things, to godly things, your day really does ... I want to say "go better" but I feel like that’s dangerous territory.
Emily: Our heart attitudes are better and yes, of course, even if you have hard circumstances, if you’re looking at it through the lens of what God has done for you and how grateful you are, you’re going to enjoy your day more. I’m trying to think if I have great specific examples.
Something my three and a half, almost four-year old keeps saying to me lately. He’s like, “Mom, what are you so mad about?” [laughter] He’s really into facial expressions. If I’m not smiling, he’s like, “Mommy, what are you so mad about?” it’s been interesting for me to pause and a lot of times I realize I am grumping around the house. I’m like, “You need to go there, and you need to do this, and you need to stop doing that. Yes. No, no, no,” and it’s always a really convicting moment for me of, what am I modeling?
I would say sometimes I’m like, “Mommy’s mad because you’re not obeying and you need to stop.” [laughter] Other times, I do pause and I think, “This is not the example I want to set. I need to remember God is not mad at me for what I have done.” He has poured his wrath out on Jesus so I can go forward and have a joyful attitude. I can have a gracious attitude towards my children. I can show them more mercy. I can show them more patience because God has been very patient with me. I’m glad that at least I’m getting used to doing that more. It gets a little easier.
Laura: Practice makes it easier, you would say.
Emily: Yes, and that inner monologue. Why are we doing Risen Motherhood? Because we want to help moms, as we are trying to help ourselves put those thoughts on Jesus and be thinking in terms of, “How does my faith in Christ impact this mundane everyday moment that I am dealing with right now?” Because it’s not too spiritual for that everyday moment; it’s needed.
Laura: The Gospel affects everything.
Emily: I don’t know if we have a challenge for ourselves.
Laura: I think the challenge is to walk forward throughout your day, and even today, no matter what time you are listening to this podcast, and know that it can be redeemed. It can be changed. You can take back your day because of the power and the sacrifice of what Jesus did, not by your own bootstraps but because of what Christ did for you, you can walk forward in freedom and not in guilt.
Emily: You may even have something on your mind right now that you’re like, “I know that thing that I have already said today is not so great. We want to encourage you, as well, to face that and stare it in the face and be like, “Yes, that wasn’t right.” We want to make that right with whoever you need to make it right with. Don’t hide that. Give it to the Lord and know that there is grace for that. Jesus paid for whatever that thing is too.
Whether you already had an argument with your husband today over a parenting thing, or you already snapped at your kids or you were inconsistent with discipline. Whatever it is, God already knows that about you, [laughs] and He is not shocked, and He wants your relationship with you, and He is not mad at you because of what happened in Christ. He poured all of that out.
Laura: It’s Him who’s bringing it to mind now, that’s why you’re thinking of it.
With that, we need to wrap up. You guys can find all of our show notes, more articles and information, and helpful tools at risenmotherhood.com. Of course, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter with Risen Motherhood stuff and then like we mentioned, Instagram for our personal profiles if you’d like to follow us there.
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