The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Hello and welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I am Laura Wifler and I have my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here. First of all, we want to go out on a limb here and ask for an iTunes review. It’s always a little uncomfortable to ask for this but this honestly is the absolute best way to get word out about the show. If you have a friend who’s an author and you buy their book or if you have a friend with an Etsy shop and you buy something from it as a way to support that friend, that is a way that you can support Risen Motherhood completely free.
We really, really appreciate it when any of you take the time to take five minutes and write a review, to do the rating; all that good stuff. For those of you who have done it, we really want to thank you so much for doing that. If you haven’t had a chance yet, there’s a tutorial on the right side of risenmotherhood.com if you think that you’re not sure how to do it or how to go forward and write that. You can do it on mobile or on desktop, either way, we’ve got the tutorial there. We would really appreciate if you would take time out to do that, because we really want to get the word out to as many moms as possible, so that they can see how the Gospel applies to their motherhood and be encouraged to pursue Christ.
Emily: We are excited today to talk about a topic that sometimes we can be an afterthought or something that, “Hey, I’m a little bit too busy for that in these season, and that is doing ministry as a mom.
Laura: She says it like it’s a bad word. [laughs]
Emily: Laura brought this up to me, that it’s like "Ministry of Magic" in Harry Potter and so now, whenever I say that word ministry as a mom... [laughter] we’re not talking about Harry Potter.
Emily: Ministry. Okay wanting to take the edge off that a little bit. It sounds daunting, it does sound like, “Okay, do I need to be a huge women’s Bible study leader or do I need to be spending this huge portion of my week on ministry?” I think that that is something that keeps us from doing ministry, is when we don’t realize that, no, ministry is just a part of your everyday life in your sphere of influence. Ministry is simply carrying out what God has called us to do and reporting to King Jesus, and then advancing His interests in whatever place in life He’s called us to. It doesn’t have to be this big extra outside thing.
Laura: Don’t be afraid of the word ‘ministry’. Think of it as service, or volunteerism. Some of those are some more cultural catch words or whatever, but really what it is, as Emily said, it’s just fitting this stuff into your daily life. We’re called to go and make disciples of all nations, so this starts with our children right at home. You literally don’t even have to walk outside your four walls to be doing ministry.
Emily: Because you have little unbelievers in your house.
Laura: It starts with our own children, and witnessing and ministering to them, and making them breakfast, and cleaning up the house, and taking them to school, and all of those things that we do. We are called to go to "all nations" but that doesn’t mean that you need to go to Turkey or another culture in order to do that. What that means, is that in your sphere of influence - your church, your neighborhood, the city that you live in, those are the areas that you can focus in as a mom who doesn’t necessarily have a family that’s planning a cross-cultural missions trip. This can be stuff right in your own backyard and so as a mom, you’re not exempt from "going and making disciples of all nations." That is something that is a command from the Lord. It looks different in different seasons but we do want to have that heart consistently, throughout our entire lives.
Emily: We thought we would give of some examples because one of our goals today is to take the edge off of that and just help you understand it. We are working this out, we have not arrived at this. I think there’s a ton of areas where Laura and I would both feel like, wow, we wish we did a better job of ministering to those around us. I think it was a light bulb moment for me, when I realized that ministry is about being faithful with what God has already entrusted to me.
Laura, I don’t know if you want to share. What are some of the ways that you both minister to your family, minister to your friends, and then people that you don’t know?
Laura: As Em has said, always tons of room for improvement in [laughter] some of these things. Right after I had a baby, I fell off the bandwagon on some of these things but I picked back up in different seasons, but I think as Emily said too, intentional motherhood - that’s the number one. It’s a faithful, quiet, daily thing but that’s our number one area of ministry.
Then as many of you guys know, I’m adopting so caring for orphans is a huge area that I’m passionate about; that God has laid on my heart. Looking for ways to financially, and now physically help with orphans. Taking meals to new moms, that’s something that I can do with my kids in tow - they could help me cook. I have to look for a lot of things that I can do with my children in tow or in the margins because I’m really protective, as most moms are, of family time and not doing things when my husband gets home late or on the weekends, if he’s home.
In addition, I think both Em and I, see Risen Motherhood as an area of ministry, using social media and the online presence that we have for God’s purposes and His glory. Then I’m involved in women’s ministry at my church as well. I’m a Bible study table leader there and I teach a three and four-year old classroom with my husband, so a variety of different things.
Emily: A lot of these opportunities do come through, like Laura is saying, obvious things that are in your life. Like this last year, my husband and I adopted a college student at our church, through a program. It’s stuff like remembering to have her over and make sure she’s getting a home cooked meal and we’re chatting with her. My husband has a high school student that he works with. Our family is like, “Okay, we can’t do all the kids, but we can do these people.”
Then as Laura mentioned, using social media well. I think that’s something that all of us interact with. If you’re on that let’s use that time intentionally. I’ve tried to think a lot about that and what I put out there and what kind of message it’s sending. Then something that I’ve enjoyed too, even though my husband and I are not adopting or doing foster care, we have really good friends that are adopting - obviously, my sister-in-law [laughter] is adopting. We’ve gotten to pray for and take meals to families that are doing foster care and come alongside them in different ways.
I think it’s a matter of looking at what God has entrusted and then being faithful there. There are obviously tons of challenges to this. I know one of my absolute number one objections is, I’m too busy. My kids are too young; I’m not able to do this. As Laura mentioned, I can’t drag them all around town. It’s really hard. I want to provide structure for my children and so it’s that inconvenience factor. That’s something that the Lord is continually helping me see, like, “Yes, I want to minister to my children well,” but also, as we mentioned at the beginning of the show, I’m not exempt from these other things and I want to be willing to lay down our comforts and to make sacrifices so we can love others.
Laura: I have been here and I know Emily has been here, we both will say this, but we can make every day regular, temporal things too important, things like decorating, or exercise, or trying to make way too crazy and elaborate meals, or having this amazing wardrobe and focusing on our makeup, and our hair, and how we look. None of those things are bad at all, but at times, if we give too much time and energy to those things, then they can take away our time for ministry or we may feel like, “Well, I have nothing left. I have no more capacity for ministry.”
If that’s not an area of your life that’s currently being stewarded, maybe there are other things that need to go so that you are able to be freed up, or a little less time spent on some of those really fun things. Even having a perfect schedule and a perfect routine and not being flexible enough to say, “Oh, friend, I shall help you,” [laughter] in a time of need, but you know you have to keep your schedule. We don’t want to say any of those things are bad in and of themselves, but if the Lord’s bringing something to mind like, “Hey, I might be spending too much time on this and instead I could do ministry," that might be an area to look at.
Emily: We can totally feel scared too sometimes of, “That holds me back so often in doing a ministry thing or reaching out to someone in the name of Christ because I am scared of being rejected. I’m scared of persecution. I’m scared that if I invite that neighbor over, or walk across the street or talk to that mom at the park, it’s going to be awkward and uncomfortable, and I’m not going to know what to say and then they may give me a weird look.”
I think whatever it is, maybe you work and you’re a teacher or you’re a nurse or you’re something and you have coworkers that you want to be more intentional with, but there’s a fear there of, “I’m going to be rejected if I invite them to coffee or start getting to know them better.” We want to overcome these things and we believe that there is help to overcome them in Scripture and through the Holy Spirit to make these things important.
Laura: Here comes the Gospel on Risen Motherhood. [laughter] I always feel like we need to announce it or we need some music that’ll be bringing it in. [laughter] Why do we do ministry? Why, even if it’s scary, even if we feel like we are strapped for time or if our children’s incessant needs are too in our face? Many reasons. The Gospel lays out why ministry is important.
We are image bearers of God and that’s something that we want to exemplify Jesus to other people in our lives. Whether that’s our neighbors or through our church or the woman at the park. This is an area that we can show Christ to other people and that we can offer a picture of redemption to a very fallen and hurting world. This is something that when we serve and we lay down our lives, these are things that God uses to point others to Christ, and to bring them into His kingdom. We want to be sacrificial women. We want to have a motherhood that is "Risen," sort of playing off of our name, our motherhood and our lives should exemplify what it’s like to live in light of the resurrection.
Emily: This one is a little scary but in James, it talks about faith without works is dead. I think that if we’re not ministering and we’re not being willing to spread the Gospel, we’re not speaking about Jesus very often, we’re very inward focused about having our own lives a certain way, I think we have to ask ourselves, "What’s going on there?" Because there’s definitely a disconnect. That’s been challenging to me on many occasions to remember that we are called, or rather, I am called to good works and I’m called to go spread the Gospel. It’s an overflow and it’s something that all of us are called to, in whatever season of life that we’re in. If we’re not doing that, that’s a little bit of a red flag there.
Laura: As moms, we want to see our children living out that authentic faith so we want to bring them alongside us. I know as I spoke earlier, I look for opportunities. Okay, where can I bring my kids? What kind of service can I do with my kids? We’re probably not serving at a soup kitchen right now because it would be a hot mess [laughter] but I’m able to cook with my children and I try to babysit for new moms who are maybe stressed with adding another child. That’s something that’s been easy with my children and they get to play with their friends. I can have a crazy morning for a day and hopefully, give that mom some rest and time to do errands, or sleep or whatever that may be.
Those are two easy things that I’ve done that I can bring my children alongside me, and that is something that our children can see. So we ask, "What does a life look like that has a rhythm of service and ministry?" We want them to see mom and dad serving so that they can see how the Gospel is played out in the everyday.
Emily: Exactly, because we all are worshipers. We are all using our time, our energy, our talents, our mind, our words, and our hands. We’re all serving and worshiping something and so as much as possible, let’s make sure that that is King Jesus and not, as Laura said, the temporal things that are going to disappear, that are not real or they’re not alive. [laughter] Jesus is alive.
I’m getting ready to ramble for a really long list here because Laura and I want to give you guys some practical ideas. It could be different for you but your sphere of influence, where are some of the areas you can minister? We’ve already mentioned a lot of these. At home, maybe you have extended family members that need additional help, again, giving meals to people. Even if you don’t have time to cook, you can bring someone a pizza, or Chipotle, or whatever, or a gift card.
Laura: Sorry to interrupt your list, but this goes back to, I had a girlfriend who, worked a full-time job and then had her children and she was like, “I want to serve moms but I do not have time to make a meal. I can hardly get a meal on the table at the end of the day,” so she would send moms e-gift cards from Chipotle. I was like, “You know what, that is awesome and that is just as good as my home cooked meal.” Sometimes you don’t literally have that time but you can financially, so we can find unique ways to serve.
Emily: That was such a good example. Maybe in your church too, start with your sphere of influence. Are you in a small group of believers that you’re like, “Hey, I cannot take care of the entire church but I can take care of these few people that are in my small group.” Another thing that I’ve thought about a lot is where I frequent. I don’t get out of the house a ton but even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, do you go to Target? Can you go to the same check out person as many times as possible?
Laura: I have another idea to interrupt you with. [laughter] I had a friend who left scripture on a note card in Target near the baby aisle so do that. That’s a good one and easy. I should do that.
Emily: That’s so awesome. There’s so many examples of this. We should have a whole show. When I was pregnant with twins, I was going to the doctor a million times, just thinking intentionally about that. Whatever your vocation is, if you are around a lot of unbelievers, and you’re out in the world, minister to those people and build relationships.
Laura: Start a Bible study at work.
Emily: Other ideas: Even if you’re not planning an overseas mission trip with your whole family any time soon, you can fund missionaries, you can pray for them as a family. Maybe there are international people that you know that are in your community - befriend them. That’s super hard for me but our other sister-in-law is super awesome at that. Whatever your heart issue is, use your gifts. Whether you are creative or administrative, or you like writing and speaking, or facilitating, or you’re a great cook, or you’re great with kids, or you’re organized, or you’re a great teacher. Whatever it is, use those gifts to minister to others and find creative ways to bless others with them. There you go. My list is done.
Laura: That was a beautiful list Emily, [laughter] good job, sorry to interrupt. Ultimately, remember, seasons are okay. Don’t feel like you have to do all the things right now or you’re totally failing. Choose one thing and you can build on that or you can go back a little bit and try something different. There’s lots of ways that this can look in your life and be faithful with today. Start today with your children in seeing the opportunities to minister to them. Be faithful too as you go on your walk and the people that you see or you go to Target and all those things.
Hopefully, we made it really clear that this does not have to be "you’re the head leader of the women’s ministry para-church organization" or anything like that. Remember that quality and faithfulness is the most important. That God desires your heart to be right and that you do things well, we do things to the best of our abilities. It’s not about being busy, it’s not about having something on your resume, it’s not about looking good at your church because you do so many things. We want to do these things well, we want to be faithful in them and point people to the Gospel and do these things with the motivation that says, “I want you to know Jesus. If I can exemplify Him in your life and draw you closer to Him then that’s why I do this.” Do less well rather than being really burdened, frazzled and stressed.
Emily: As always, this is a wonderful big conversation and we will definitely include a lot of links and articles. You can find a ton of good articles on our Facebook page. We definitely try to do this throughout the week, pertaining to whatever we’ve been talking about and we’ll keep the conversation going over on Instagram. You can find us on all of our social media platforms @RisenMotherhood. It’s super simple, and there’s no symbols in there or anything. [laughter]
You can also find us at risenmotherhood.com, that’s where our show notes are. We’ll try to leave all the links and the details to anything we mentioned. Definitely leave us a rating or a review as that would be so helpful. That’s a great way you can minister, by helping spread the Gospel to other moms.
All right, thanks for listening guys.