This 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.
Laura: Emily, I think the first thing we need to talk about today is our new printable. We have a gorgeous new printable out from Give it Pretty. It’s got these awesome ferns that feel very fall and it’s really pretty. We hope you guys will head over to download it. The quote is by George Muller and it says, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.” We just love that. A great reminder for all of us moms, to every morning, the first and primary business for us to attend to is to go and pray, and to speak to the Lord, and to remember where our joy is found, because we all know it cannot be in our children, or in our schedule, or in our accomplishments of the day. God is the only constant. He is the only one that is worth having joy in because he is the true source of that joy. We hope you guys will head over to risenmotherhood.com and download it. It’s completely free because of the generous work of Give it Pretty. She also has an Etsy shop, so you can find her on Etsy.com. Check her out as she’s got some really beautiful prints, and cards, and confetti, and lots of fun things for wrapping and packaging that I think you guys will all find very helpful, as you get ready for parties or anything like that. Check her out and check out the printable.
Emily: Laura, I wanted to kick things off this morning by sharing a story with you. I have not told you yet, but it happened a couple of days ago and it totally frames this show up. It was a rainy day. I was standing in the kitchen, the kids are playing, and it was kind of dark. I’m sneaking a muffin or two out of this bag of muffins I have sitting on my counter. I’m chowing down and my twins catch me, so they’re asking me for muffins. I’m like, “Okay, here’s a couple of muffins,” and I go on about my day. I come back later, I turn on the lights, I’m cleaning, and I notice that the whole bag of muffins is moldy. I immediately start gagging and I’m over the sink. I’m like, “I don’t know. It’s been 30 minutes so it’s too late.” But that feeling of, “Oh, my goodness. I consumed something that is disgusting.” I’m googling on my phone ‘What happens to children who eat mold?’ [laughter] I totally panicked. It’s really interesting because I was thinking about this later going, “How did that happen?” I thought about this show that we’re recording about discerning truth and what happens when we are sometimes in a spot, as a mom, where we are having a bad day or feeling down. We’re lurking in the dark, we’re consuming stuff and we’re not really thinking about it. It tastes good going down at first and then later, we see something in the light or see something in the light of truth and all of a sudden, we realize we’ve been consuming something that is not good for us. I thought, “Wow, I did not want that word picture!” [laughter]
Laura: God really drove today’s show home for you, didn’t he? [laughter]
Emily: That is what we are talking about today; the things that we consume online, whether it’s through Instagram or through your Facebook feed or Twitter or Pinterest or whatever. These things that you take in and you enjoy them and eat them. Maybe if you were to examine them a little bit more closely, you would see that they’re really not good for your soul.
Laura: Indeed. These things that we take in and feel super good. Things like saying, “You’re enough,” or, “If you just love your kids, you’re fine.” “You’re doing a great job mom. No matter what happened today, you did an awesome job,” or, “If you apply yourself harder and you juggle more, you can get a lot more done if you put your mind to it.” A lot of these messages are tricky messages. Emily and I have had multiple discussions around these messages, and what they mean, how they go down, and how to deal with them because they’re super popular. I’m absolutely sure that today, you have seen some of these messages pop up on your Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or whatever feed you’re looking at.
Emily: Laura and I realized they are so popular because they appeal to the side of us that wants to just … there’s a verse in 2 Timothy that talks about people accepting false teaching because they have itchy ears and they want to be told what they want they want to hear. There is that element there of, that’s an easy thing but it’s something that we can digest that doesn’t confront our sin, and so it’s totally common and understandable why that’s there.
Laura: Yes. Why people put them out and why people consume them. It’s funny because Emily and I, both as bloggers, can see that those are the type of messages that get shared a ton and they go viral. Like Emily said, they feel good to say and we are not saying that they are always wrong. We want to put a blanket statement up front to say these are not always wrong. It’s okay to send a piece and say, “Hey mom. You did a good job today.” But if they are not sandwiched by truth or supported and under guarded by proper theology, sometimes these things that we hear online really are not truthful. They are false messages. We want to talk through some of those things that, as you take in these messages, the lens to view them through.
Emily: We want to make sure that we take what is right and true, and that we leave the rest behind because this is a message that isn’t going to fully satisfy. I know that when I am reading these things, my brain literally screams, “I’m not doing a good job.” [laughter] I know that I’m not good enough and so I don’t even know what to do with that statement because I feel like the Holy Spirit bristles against that so quickly. That was something we wanted to talk about is having that voice that comes forward of, “When I read something that tells me, 'Hey, you’re good just because you love your kids.' I want to respond, 'Hey, if you looked at what I did today, you would know that yes, I love my kids but no, the way I responded to them was not good. I need something else to do with that sin and that failure other than to stuff it down and to try to ignore it'.”
Laura: That’s what a lot of those messages can do for us. They just feel good in the moment but long-term, they’re not really dealing with the issue. I think we talked though in our guilt show of false guilt vs. true guilt and something needing repentance from the Holy Spirit. If you’re suffering through that, that might be a good show to go through and listen to. We’re talking through as you consume or see these messages, again, they’re not always bad or negative or totally sinful [laughter], but we want you to see them though the truth like Emily said of, “I’m not a good mom, I know that and thank goodness for grace.” Anytime you see those things, those are chances to thank God for his grace in your life because you know what a wretched sinner you are. The other reason these things are so popular is because nobody wants to hear that they’re a bad mom; [laughter] that’s why they go viral. That’s the thing about the gospel, is that the gospel is sort of offensive at first. Death came before life and Jesus had to die before we were redeemed. That’s a hard truth as believers and for anyone to come to terms with is that the bad news comes before that good news but we can’t forget the bad news. The reason the good news is the good news is because of the bad news.
Emily: Talking through the gospel, because that’s what we do here, the only two humans aside from Jesus who were ever able to say, “This is good and God has made us good and we are enough,” are Adam and Eve, before the fall. The rest of us don’t get to start there. We may get to end there after Christ bled but as followers of Christ, we have to believe and acknowledge our sin. The scripture says, if we say we have no sin, if we’re saying things like, “I’m enough on my own,” or, “I can do better if I just try hard enough,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. We need to confess our sin and be open to our sin as followers of Christ, and acknowledge it because then we get to glorify Jesus and make our Savior important.
Laura: The beautiful thing is acknowledging Jesus because that’s where redemption comes in and remembering it is all grace, moms. Any good you do is of Christ. Those are things that Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on the cross has allowed for you to do and so those are times to be grateful. I know sometimes I’m like, “Whoa, that was a supernatural amount of patience. Where did that come from?” [laughter] At times, I have those moments but that is the Lord Jesus Christ working in my life. If it were up to me, I would be an impatient, horrible, lazy mom. [laughter] I am so grateful that God gives grace and allows us to do great things because we are born sinners, we are rebellious, we are wicked, and we don’t want anything to do with God on our own. I think that’s a wonderful truth. We could be grateful to God for every time that we triumph over sin. That’s a time when we are doing a good job. That’s a moment for us to be grateful to God.
Emily: That is such a good thing, as we can tend to claim that righteousness as our own. Even hearing, “Good job,” we need to remember that good in me is Christ in me. The other thing, Laura and I talked about this a lot on previous shows about our identity and that God doesn’t love us because of how we are doing as a mom. [laughter] God loves us because we are his creation and he loves us because of what Jesus did. We don’t understand that. We don’t understand why he chooses us and pursues us and lays his life down for us, but he does that not because of how we are doing in our motherhood. The other thing we wanted to bring out was don’t gloss over your weakness or powerlessness and think that, “I’d better hide that stuff down.” That is exactly where God wants to meet us. He works most powerfully in our humility, when we are contrite, and when we are broken over our sin. If you’re waiting to get all, “Okay, I’m doing a good enough job. I’m going to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I’m a good mom and then I’m going to go approach the Lord.” You’ve missed an opportunity to truly connect on your brokenness, which is where we need God.
Laura: As Em has said, none of us are ever going to be enough. We’re not going to be good moms just because we showed up or just because we loved our kids. That isn’t what ultimately makes us a good mom and ultimately, the goal isn’t even to be a good mom. It’s to bring glory to God in everything that we do. Not to be satisfied in our own efforts but to be satisfied in him, doing his will, spreading the gospel, making disciples—that should be our end goal. It should be to say, “I want to come to the end of the day and feel like I’m a good mom.” No, you want to come to the end of the day and say, “I serve a good God.” It’s just a mental shift, and it’s something that, again, we don’t want to say, “Never read those messages, they’re horrible,” but when you read and consume those things, in the back of your mind it should be, “Hey, I see something that I did good day. I want that to point me to Jesus, not point me to my own self-worship.”
Emily: That is so good, Laura. I think it’s so hard to realize that we don’t have to live on this roller coaster of whether or not we’re measuring up every day. Because I feel that at the end of every day, I look at what I did and I measured up to a standard, and so I totally understand this feeling of wanting to hear, “Oh you’re doing okay.” But really, and I’ve given this illustration before, I’ve heard it a million places so if you’ve heard it, sorry, [laughter] but for those of you who haven’t, we think, “I got a B-plus in motherhood or a C-minus,” but the reality is we fell short. We got a big fat F.
Anything short of meeting God’s standards of 100% perfect is a failing grade. The good news is that Jesus takes our failing grade and he takes the punishment for that and he doesn’t stop there but he gives us his perfect score. That is the record with which we are approaching God. That’s the record with which we’re approaching the throne of grace. Do our good works bring him glory? Absolutely. Do we want to pursue holiness? Yes, but we do that out of a heart that realizes we already have that perfect record and it’s like our gratitude flowing out. That’ a totally different way to look at it than seeing your failure and then wanting to hide your report card. [laughter]
Laura: This is such good news Emily, yes. I love that illustration. I’ve heard it a few times. [laughter] I love it; it’s so good. I think this is such good news for us because we can rest in this. We don’t have to worry if we measure up, as Emily said. We know our standing not just today but forever and ever and ever. It’s so refreshing and it should actually encourage you more than hearing a temporary message that says, “Hey, you did this great job. Even if you screwed up a thousand different things today, you’re still okay.” But this says, “You did a ton of different things that you shouldn’t have done, but your price has already been paid by Christ on the cross, and now you get to live for eternity with him forever. Your daily status is not going to change no matter what you do.” We have nothing to offer and he chose us at that point and so our joy and our acceptance doesn’t have to rest on being a good enough mom or a failure of a mom or anything like that.
Emily: We were also looking through some examples in scripture as we were prepping for this show. Another thing I was going to mention, as I was looking at these examples is that, do you ever notice in these mom things in the Bible, when God is really working, it’s in a place of brokenness. That is hard to swallow but looking at Hannah, she was struggling through barrenness, and then she has her son Samuel, and she dedicates him to the Lord. That was a broken moment and a broken part of her life, and a sad thing, but God redeemed them, worked through that, and it became a big part of the redemption story. Mary as well; look at what happened to her, probably her worst nightmare as a mom happened to her son, but God worked in her brokenness and it’s beautiful. Again, not wanting to gloss over the fact that sometimes those broken places or the places that scare us the most or where we feel the most inadequate can be the very things that God wants to use to work out something for his glory in our lives.
Laura: Every time I see a greater need, every time I recognize those areas like, “Lord, I can’t do this. I do not have control over my impatience or I feel frustrated or something comes out of me that I feel really ashamed about," those moments point me to Jesus more than the moments where I do a great job because I see my need; my sin is in my face. It totally freaked me out and I am like, “God, I can do nothing apart from you.”
Seeing, like Emily said, those moments of need and desperation, draws us closer to Christ. It draws us closer to becoming identified with him, to defining and seeing our need. We can celebrate in our neediness because we know that we have a great Savior who works in and through that, and will redeem us, and make us whole and restore all at the end of the age.
Emily: I love how you said, “My sin scares me sometimes.” I love that because it should. It should jar us a little bit. Those are the moments where we can be humble and realize, “Oops, I do not have it all together,” but there is a greater hope. As we were thinking about this show today and we were like, “What do we want to communicate?” it’s mostly, again, as you are consuming some of these things online, whether it is a blog post in your news feed or something you are seeing on Instagram, be discerning and know that even though that is going to comfort you temporarily, there is a greater hope. As you’re sharing things, you’re hitting share or you’re hitting like, or you’re commenting or whatever, also think in terms of how can you minister to the other moms who are in your life, and see how you can share messages that are going to point them to Jesus. Even if they’re a little bit hard to read at some points, and even if it confronts sin, or even if it’s not a popular cultural message, think about that. Use that intentionally to share articles that point women to Jesus, to like and promote things that do more than gloss over sin and say, “Hey, you showed up so you’re okay.” Anyways, that was our hope today. We hope that that’s what you walked away with.
Laura: I couldn’t have said it better myself. At the end there, I didn’t know we were going to say that but I liked that. That’s a great practical application from this show of being conscientious of what gets shared and what you’re liking. I think that is something that we should all have more thought in, of what we’re pushing out on social media. I know how easy it is to hit share on that feel-good message but we want to point all things back to Christ and point all people to Christ, and so it’s good to be discerning as Emily said. Thank you so much for joining us. We hope that you were encouraged by today’s show. If you were, please head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review. We know we ask every time but it is the best way to support the show. If you don’t know how, we have a little tutorial on the side bar of our website risenmotherhood.com. It will walk you through all the steps, pre-screenshots from my phone and computer so you can check that out and of course, find us on all the social media. Speaking of social media messages and stuff, [laughter] Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, @RisenMotherhood. You can easily can find us so please, join the community; join the conversation. We want to continue to encourage as many moms as possible to continue looking to Christ for their hope, not for themselves and so we hope that this message has encouraged you today.