Ep. 27 || Intentional Motherhood: It's The Little Things - 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 with my sister-in-law Laura Wifler.  Before we get started today, we have a little, exciting announcement. [laughter] We finally made the jump on Instagram, which we know has been around forever, but we just arrived as "Risen Motherhood." Also, today we’re talking about the everyday moments at 3:01 p.m., [laughter] at 8:23 p.m., 2:00 in the morning and whatever. The mundane parts of the day that don’t necessarily have a special event or activity attached to them. We want to talk about how those count and that’s what makes up most of our life.

Laura:  We want to talk about the value of those things. Em and I both saw this Jen Wilkin interview about parenting until 5:00 p.m. and it was one of those things that convicted both of us, of applying ourselves throughout the day all the time.

Emily:  One thing that she mentions in that interview, and we will definitely put that in the show notes because it’s worth watching, is the, "I’m killing time" mindset. I even said it yesterday. Last night, I was talking to my parents, and our kids have fevers, and I was trying to get to dinnertime. I was like, “If I come over, can we take a bath? “Yes, they can take a bath, that would burn some time.” [laughter] It’s my vocabulary of, “How do I get from point A to point B? What’s going to make that clock tick as fast as possible?” Whether you are home with your kids all day, or you are home with your kids in evening, or on the weekends, whenever you are around your kids, there is that temptation, especially when they are really little, to "kill time."

Laura:  I’ve talked to my friends at work or everybody who stays at home. Either way, it definitely seems like as a mom, you want to pass the time. It’s important that whatever we have with our kids, it is intentional. With my husband, a lot of times when he’s not home in the evenings, I’m like, “The whole day’s out the window.” I want to be like, “Let’s go out to eat. I’m not going to make dinner or let’s just eat this junk for dinner, PB&J sandwiches  for the second time of the day,” or whatever it may be. I know that I want to throw in the towel when I hear that he’s not coming home until after bedtime, and try to survive the end of the day. That definitely tends to be my ‘kill the time’ end of day stuff.

Emily:  I can totally relate to that; wanting to throw in the towel and jump into survival mode. I have all these triggers that it’s like, “If this happens, or that happens, or that happens, then we go into survival mode.” I like to pretend those are only extreme things, but probably there’s something that happens every day that can knock me into survival mode. I don’t know if you guys can relate to this or not, but I’ve always been a future-living person. When you are in middle school, you are like, “I’ll do this when I’m in high school.” When you are in high school, you’re like, “I’m going to be this way when I’m in college,” or when you are in college it’s, “When I get married or when I have kids, I’m going to start this thing.” I can live that way as a mom too of, “Well, this is an exception. Today’s an exception. Tomorrow I’m going to do something different or next week or when the next season comes.”

I think we totally devalue the importance of those moments when we are all saying, “When 5:00 p.m. gets here or when tomorrow gets here, then I will do something more meaningful with my time.” [laughter]

Laura:  It ultimately comes down to, what are we worshiping in that? Is it something fun and exciting in the future, or later this afternoon, or is that we feel like, “I only have to do something if someone is around or if it’s going to be seen and if it’s going to be recognized.” For me, a lot of times, I can get into the mode of wanting to complete tasks. It doesn’t matter if somebody sees them but if I personally can check off something off my to-do list, I can value that over investing intentionally with my kids. You have to look at some of those things that you are worshiping.

Emily:  We’ve talked about that on other episodes, too, I think Idols to the Mom’s Heart. We’ll link to that on the show notes. What we do here at Risen Motherhood, is give a broader perspective of our calling, that it is to pass along the Gospel to our children. It happens in the big exciting moments and it happens at church or when you do a devotional time. It also happens in all of the everyday moments, and the things where you don’t necessarily have your Bible out or you don’t necessarily have a specific agenda that you are trying to teach your kids. 

What is our perspective of passing on faith? Is it that big, broad view, or is it, “As long as I meet these basic checkpoints, that’s all that matters? 

Laura:  When you have a two, three, four-year old, a lot of times we are like, “There’s so much time. We can shape and form them later.” Actually, we have such little time, moms. There is the formative years through junior high and then they are starting to look to other people to help shape them. That’s when we have to set these moral compasses now. It’s important that we view our role as important today and, like Emily said, not waiting for that second season. “I’ll do that when they are in preschool. I’ll do that when they are in grade school,” but looking at, “These little years really matter.” We need to be intentional today.

Emily:  My oldest just turned four a couple of minutes ago. I had that crisis moment, exactly what you are talking about Laura, where I realized, “Wow, these most intense young training years have passed us.” [laughter] Obviously, there’s still lots of time and opportunity but it is amazing how fast it does go in hindsight. Now I look back already with my oldest and go, “I wish I would have done this or that a little bit different,” but that happens to every oldest child. [laughter]

Laura:  When we are talking about this, guys, it can sound vague like, “Yes, we need to be intentional,” but what does that look like? To be super clear from the get-go, what we are not saying is that you have to be doing something so important from the outsiders perspective, super intentional every second of every day. What we are saying is we want you to be aware of where your time is going, and how it’s being spent. That doesn’t mean TV is wrong. It doesn’t mean the iPad is wrong. It just means how are you managing those things and do you have a handle on those things? Are you saying, “Hey, I’m first using my time for the Kingdom and everything else can fall into place under that.”

Em, do you want to start us off as we get into that because I know you have some thoughts.

Emily:  Awhile back my husband and I went to this talk. It was about technology, but Tim Challies was sharing. He introduced this concept that I’ve really not heard explicitly presented before. The idea is that we make more impact in our children’s lives in the daily moments, over the course of the years. The things that you do five days a week, or seven days a week at 9:00 a.m., or at 7:00p.m., those little things make more impact than those big events that happen in your child’s life. It’s backwards but it’s the things like, how did you speak to them every day? What did you emphasize in life? Were you available? Were you distracted? Were you stressed? What were those things? That is what is going to build who they are. It’s not necessarily what you did for holidays. Those things are important and yes, they are going to make memories, but that’s not really what’s going to shape their character.

Laura:  I can speak to this personally of seeing my parents, as I grew up and they were hosting and serving. There was constantly people in the house. It was never this big talk of, “This is why we serve,” but I saw it lived out every single day. Our house was a revolving door. I know that I do a lot of that today because of them. I feel I channel that. I saw my parents live that and do that faithfully, humbly and willingly. Today, that’s something that I know I’ve applied in our life and it’s because I saw that lived out every day from my parents, not just over Christmas or big holidays and things like that.

Emily:  So how can we live out faith and see those moments as important? We know that we should value that because that’s what God tells us He values in scripture, but it is the humble moments. It’s the prayers that we do when no one is watching and the way we are faithfully disciplining our children when we don’t have any reward on the horizon necessarily. It’s the mundane work that we are doing that we don’t get thanked for. When we do all of those things out of our heart of worship to God, with a desire to see Him be glorified and to pass our faith along, that is a beautiful thing and God values that.

Laura:  There are so many Biblical examples of people who have taken the time to live intentionally and to trust God in those mundane moments, and not see as, “I have to get to the end.” We can take Paul for example, of his time in jail. When he was unable to engage in the physical part of his ministry, he still was intentional. He wrote letters. He encouraged the church from where he could. He did what he could, where he was at, to be intentional for the cause of Christ.

Or the Proverbs 31 woman. She is a rock star. Every time I read that passage I’m like, “I need to be a little bit more industrious.” [laughter] She’s like a real estate rock star. She’s waking up early. She’s caring for her family. She sees things, sees opportunities and she acts on them. I don’t know, we can continue to go on and on. Ruth, this was a good one. She continued to be faithful when she was with Naomi, doing that mundane work and going out and gleaning in the fields and then she met Boaz. Ultimately, that became a great redemption story and part of the ultimate redemption story. God used that; her being faithful in the small things to carry out His plans.

Emily:  There’s so many good examples. We see that all throughout scripture, how people were going about their lives and it was part of God’s greater narrative, and of this redemption story. It wasn’t meaningless work. There were no meaningless moments and we need to think of our lives the same way. Jesus was that way too. Thankfully, He didn’t come to earth and say, “I’ll start obeying God as soon as my public ministry starts.” He lived faithfully as a carpenter. He obeyed His parents as a child and He was faithful even before His public ministry started. Again, thankfully, He didn’t go, “Well, I just have to get to the cross.”

He did have a point in time that He was working towards on earth but still, along the way, every person that He met, He was faithful in His interactions, and He was intentional to reflect God, and obey God in each of those moments, and they all mattered. It wasn’t just the cross that mattered. That’s a good example for us, as we are trying to model a life lived like Christ, that there may be big moments in our lives that are important but we don’t just say, “Well, none of these other things matter up until those big moments.”

Laura:  If we look at the long goal, we have to look at the path of what it’s going to take to get there. Much of that, as we said before, is shaped in these little years. Again, it’s such a short amount of time when you look at the long picture, and anyone who has a child older than one can say, “It really does go as fast as they say it does.” A big thing of this is intentionally structuring our day to fill those moments well, instead of burning through them.

Emily:  For me, I’m trying to remove the words, “How can I kill time, or how can I burn through this, or how can we get to the end of the day, or how can we get to bedtime?” I’m trying to remove those phrases from my vocabulary, because when they come out, I realize that’s what I’m doing. I can do it with things other TV too. We can do it by running mindless errands or going to Target for the hundredth time when you don’t need to, or whatever. There’s a ton of ways we do it. We are just saying, how can we look at our day and not view it as trying to run out time but instead say, “This time matters,” It’s okay that we go do these other things as long as we don’t see it as a waste.

Laura:  It is speaking to your children, and every moment, about Christ, seeing connections between God’s Word and your kids’ lives. A lot of that is done through communication and pointing out the Gospel to your kids. So much of it, as we talked about, is your actions. How are you responding to your kids? What are you valuing? Where are you going all the time? What are you spending time on, dragging your kids along to? Like Emily said, is it a mindless errand? That’s okay at a certain point but then overall, what are they going to say, “This is where my mom took us all the time,” or, “We went and we served in this place,” or, “We volunteered over here,” or, “We were at church.” They are watching all those things.

Think about when your kids start talking and saying things, and you are like, “I must say that a lot.” [laughter] It’s just going to be greatly amplified in the future of, “This is where my mom spent her time, and this is how she did things, and this is how she responded when I did something wrong. Here’s how she responded.” They are watching that and they can see the Gospel played out in the way that you live every single day. They are seeing Christ, and that’s what we want to show them; how Christ would respond and where Christ would spend His time. Being more purposeful with how we structure our days so that we are making every moment matter.

Emily:  There is no perfect time to start. It’s right now, wherever you are.

Laura:  Don’t wait. Literally, right after you listen to this show, mom. [laughter]

Emily:  Start thinking about how you are living out your faith for them right now, not waiting until a more convenient time, or a more exciting time. That’s what we want to encourage you guys to do today. Is there anything else Laura?

Laura:  No. Go follow us on Instagram, please.

Emily:  [laughter] Definitely do the Instagram thing. Leave us a rating and a review on iTunes if you think of it. That’s super helpful to us. It helps get the word out and helps other people know what they have to look forward to if they listen to this. That’s it.

Laura:  Go forth. Be intentional.

Emily:  See you guys.