The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I am Emily Jensen, here with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler, and we are really excited because next week we have an interview from Gloria Furman. She wrote the book, Missional Motherhood. We had a Skype call with her a while back, and chatted about living intentional motherhood and light of redemption, and we are so excited to share it with you.
Laura: If you have not heard of her, you’re going to love her. She has this gorgeous book that is beautifully written and you will really enjoy it. It definitely gives you more purpose and inspiration in motherhood and how to apply yourself to God’s design for motherhood. I felt more excited to be a mom after reading her book and listening to her talk.
Emily: When that pops up on your feed next week, take a few minutes to listen to it. But today, we are going to be talking a little bit about this season that we’re in, the election season. I’ll admit I was super-nervous to talk a little bit about political things. But don’t worry, I want to reassure all of you that we’re not talking about candidates, what you should do [laughs]…
Laura: Or who you should vote for. No, we are not here to tell you about that because, trust us, we’re as confused as you are about what is going on out there [laughter]. Politics are crazy every year, but it definitely does seem a bit more daunting this year. We’re going to try to tackle – not who to vote for - but a little bit more about how we should view it.
Emily: I think sometimes it starts to feel like this is the worst thing that has ever been in the history of the world. But it’s always good to remember again, even if you walk through the Old Testament, or any history book, and even when you look at other country’s politics, it reminds us that this is part of living in this sinful, fallen world and it’s going to be confusing and crazy, and silly at times.
Laura: Politics are so hard because there are so many issues out there, it’s hard to even know your own position of what that is. You don’t know what the media is; if they’re telling the truth, or if they’re just twisting everything. For me personally, I feel I want to be involved, I want to be a contributing citizen to society, and to know what’s going on, but it feels so overwhelming. So even when it comes down to the time to vote, or the time to take a stand on issues, I feel like, “Whoa, I don’t even know the truth behind all of these things,” or “I don’t even know what my position should be,” because it’s just so complicated! [laughter]
Emily: I feel with the age of the internet, you can read every side to everything, everywhere and you’re convinced, “Yeah, oh yeah, I agree with that,” and then in the next cycle, “I totally agree with that!” "Never mind that’s a better one!" So it’s a good reminder that we can’t stand on the shifting sands. "This different leaders says this, or this prominent Christian person says that," or whatever. We can only go to scripture and pray, and believe the Gospel, and do our best to sift through these things with wisdom, but just knowing that there isn’t a sure thing out there that, “That’s my silver bullet article or information, and now I know what to do, and everything is simple.”
Laura: And guess what, the Gospel does speak to politics! As we are walking through this election season, it is going to get a little bit more crazy all the way to November. But remember who you are. That’s a big point that Emily and I just want to drive home today. It has been so comforting to me to remember that I am an exile on this Earth. 1 Peter, 2:11, that’s what Peter calls us, “I urge you as sojourners, and exiles.” And remembering Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in Heaven.”
This is not our home moms, this is not our children’s home because a lot of times politics instils fear for my own children. I think, "I can handle it, I’ll be okay,” but I worry about my children and what their future is going to be if someone gets elected, or if whomever is on the Supreme Court. We must remember that though Satan rules here, he has been given temporary authority, but we are always looking and longing for our true home. We are citizens, but not of the United States; our story is not wrapped up in the U.S.'s story. Our story is wrapped up in Heaven and we are citizens of Heaven. I just want to encourage you today to look forward to eternity and your citizenship that lies there.
Remember moms, as you see the news media, you can say, “But I have hope. I have so much hope beyond what I am seeing - all this scary stuff on TV. I’ve so much more hope in front of me because I have eternal hope in Jesus Christ my King”
Emily: This whole election season has reminded me to teach our kids and instill in them that this is not their permanent home. We need to figure out how to teach our kids that this isn’t a cultural thing, that you’re going to sit in like a Christian and feel comfortable. How can I teach them that from a young age? What a gift that as a young child I go, “You are not going to grow up in a world that is going to be friendly if you trust in Jesus.” So we’re going to learn as a family, to trust in Jesus and love Him and live for Him in a world that may disregard us, or even persecute us some day, and we’re going to understand this feeling of being a sojourner.
Laura: The important flip-side of that, that the Bible talks about, is knowing that while we’re exiles in this land; we still need to respect the authorities that are put in place. So this is where the politics come in, and I love what Jeremiah charges, the Jews living in Babylon, who were longing for their home; longing for Jerusalem. They were in Babylon, and Jeremiah says to them, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare, you will find your welfare.” So Jeremiah charges these Jews to still look to the welfare of the city while they’re there. We can model that, we can still seek and be involved and have an attitude that still desires to be involved in what is happening with the U.S.
Emily: It’s the great commission that we’ve come to. We want to see God’s redemption, even in our local community. We want to see the Gospel brought to our neighbors, and to our local community, to the nation and to the world, and so figuring out even with your kids and family, “How are we going to do that?” Just a side note too, if you are feeling powerless and alone in it (laughs) one thing you can do is start with your neighborhood. Ask yourself: "How can we spread the gospel in our neighborhood? How can we do it in our local community? Are there city council meetings we can go to? How can our church impact things?" It’s just cool too to be motivated by that - wanting to bring God’s redemption to light in our communities now and loving them, and being desirous that they would come to see Christ.
Laura: And this "seeking the welfare of your city," doesn’t mean that you have to go crazy - go run for mayor, [laughter] or be on Congress because sometimes we can feel, “I am not involved in politics, so how can I make any change?” And we’re going to get into some of those practical application things, but like Emily said, this starts in your backyard. It’s so important to remember that we don’t have to fear the future. I know we sort of touched on this a little bit earlier, but I love 1 Peter 3:5 where it says, “Do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” This has always struck me, “Don’t fear anything that’s frightening” – if it’s frightening, I am going to be afraid! [laughter] I love that, but the whole reason that we don’t have to fear something that’s scary, like the upcoming elections, or just American politics in general, is that we have a hope that is beyond this grave. That we don’t have to hope in this world. Again, our story is not tied up with our governments. We have our own story and we know the ending, and we know that we will be redeemed one day with Jesus. That’s something to stick in your back pocket mom when you’re watching TV, to remember that, “I don’t have to fear this!”
Emily: I almost want to let out a “Woo hoo!” right there! [laughter] As you’re mentioning fear Laura, it triggers this idea as well, that we tend to always think about Christian persecution, or an environment that’s difficult for Christ’s followers, or that isn’t according to our world view, as a bad thing. But from God’s perspective, it’s important to remember that sometimes God actually strengthens and matures his true believers, and grows the church through persecution. That is a hard thing for us to swallow, but it’s the same thing as when my kids have toys everywhere and I say, “You are going to clean up these toys”, and they’re looking at me like I am some mean, horrible dictator. [laughter] But really, I am loving them in the best way possible by making them do something that doesn’t feel good to them in the moment, because I have the long-term view about what is going to shape their character, and I can see things that they can’t. We have to continue to remember that as this political season is going on, it may seem to us that our whole world is going to pot, but God has a purpose that we don’t see, and He is able to overcome and use evil for His good, and even strengthen the church sometimes. Our children may be stronger believers because of this.
Laura: It’s so true, and that’s looking on the bright side. Indeed, all things are for God’s glory, and are good, but again, I often fear for my children more than I fear for myself. I can handle whatever, but I can’t handle something happening to my kids. But that gives me hope, and asking myself, what do I long for most for my children? I long for them to know Jesus, and to have a solid understanding that He’s got their backs, that He is always for them. So if persecution is going to do that, I pray that I will have the courage to understand that this is a good thing and that my children will as well, and that God is going to take care of us no matter what. There’s so much practical application that goes into some of this stuff; recognizing that there are absolutely no perfect parties, there are no perfect candidates, and that all are flawed. Even when we feel, “They’re worse than everyone else ,” we must remember that everyone’s a sinner. [laughter] What else?
Emily: It’s also being patient with our brothers- and sisters-in-Christ especially, and remaining unified in this time, having these conversations respectfully with each other and again, trusting God, and not getting overly worked up about things. Praying is important too.
Laura: And when someone has a different view than you, not letting that become a family issue. That’s huge; saying "unifying" doesn’t mean we all vote the same way. I’ve read articles from believers that are, going in a hundred different ways; how they’re voting and everything. I don’t think it means they have to vote with you, but that we’re all trusting God to care for us throughout this season.
Emily: And continuing to be loving. Our witness as Christians is just devalued when amongst ourselves we just act crazy. I see some things sometimes and think “Really?” [laughter] But we can continue to show the world a bright light when we are loving one another, hoping in God and saying “Hey, what’s going on with this group of people that doesn’t seem to think that the sky is falling? They’re concerned and they’re involved. These people have this common hope and they aren’t having a massive breakdown.
Laura: It’s going to look so different to the world, and hopefully that is ministry in and of itself. We should recognize that we have the freedom to vote, we have the freedom to be involved in this system, and even though our system is broken, it's still the way they’ve set it up. So if you want to be involved, do that. Go out there and vote. A lot of us are all talk and no action. I have a friend who’s really challenged me in writing letters to my congressmen and my governor and there are lots of great sites online where you can literally copy and paste, and put it with your name. These things do incite change, and we can be involved by seeking the welfare of our city, and doing that by being involved in politics. Again, you can do that being a stay-at-home mom. You can do that being a working mom. That doesn’t mean you have to be the Governor. [laughter]
Emily: Hopefully this has been a little bit helpful and encouraging for you guys. Obviously, we were a little bit anxious to talk about this, but again we wanted to look to Christ and be hopeful in the midst of this, and remember that we don’t have to fear, and that there are some things we can do. And especially to see that God has a good plan for our children and for the eternal redemption of the Earth.
Laura: It’s just about a mind-set, and we can set ourselves apart from the world by remembering exactly who we are. We are not of this country and of this world, but we are women who have been redeemed, and we look far, far beyond the grave to the resurrection of the eternal, Jesus Christ.
And don’t forget you will find lots of articles on our Show Notes on risenmotherhood.com. From there you’re going to find our Facebook and Twitter links so you can follow us on social media for more gospel-hope like this. If you have a chance, please give us a rating and review on iTunes; I know we’ve said this at the end and you’ve probably all turned it off by now, but if you’re hearing this, we would very much appreciate you hopping over to iTunes, doing a little work to just hit “subscribe” and write a review. It’s not nearly as hard as you think it’s going to be. [laughter] Look forward to next week when we talk to Gloria Furman.