The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome to The Risen Motherhood podcast. We are so glad you guys are joining us today. I am Emily Jensen, and I’m here with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler. First of all, thank you so much to those of you who have already visited our new website. We are so excited that we got everything moved over from our blogs, to this one central location. We have a fresh new logo, so definitely go check it out if you haven’t done that yet.
Today, we are going to be talking about dirt, dishes and diapers, and all the other stuff that goes with that – which is my life.
Laura: The mess.
Emily: Exactly [laughter].
Laura: We want to talk about this topic today because we feel like, as moms with kiddos running around and babies that need tones of attention, it’s like a constant never-ending thing; dealing with toys and diapers everywhere, and dirty dishes too.
Emily: Laundry included.
Laura: Yes, the mess never seem to end, and we want to talk today about where the Gospel hits that, and to identify with you all, to let you know that you’re not alone in this chaos.
Emily: It’s definitely a battle and I especially feel like, with a house full of boys, I am constantly finding things that I don’t always want to know what they are. [laughter] This last week, my twin two-year-olds have been taking off their clothes. My older child never went through a phase where he took off his clothes. I guess some kids do and some don’t. Anyway, my two-year-olds will go downstairs to the playroom. The other day, my three-year-old came up and he’s holding his hands out in front of him and said, “Mommy, there are rocks downstairs."
Laura: Oh no.
Emily: You know what it is? [laughter]
Laura: Noooo! [laughter]
Emily: His hands were brown and I was like, “Oh, honey. That is not a rock.”
Laura: Oh no, I think I might puke right now. [laughter]
Emily: [laughter] I went downstairs, and I won’t tell you any other details because it is just too gross, but it was one of those moments as a mom that I was just like, “Is this happening to me right now? Is this my life?” My twin two-year-olds are like, “Mommy look. I pottied, I pottied.” [laughter]
Laura: [laughter] Oh my goodness.
Emily: I’m like, “Okay, I won’t get mad anymore.”
Laura: [laughter] I think we all have a nasty diaper story or just common diaper stories.I totally had one the other day too where I was on the phone with a customer service rep, trying to get my Keurig replaced – the stupid things always break – anyway, I was on the phone with her, and my son pooped his pants and then my daughter had a blow out, and we are all in the bathroom together.
Everyone’s crying or screaming and I’m still on hold – I waited 20 minutes to talk to this customer service rep, and I just keep saying, “Yes, yes,” nodding along with her, and saying to my kids, “Shhh,” and there’s just poop just everywhere.
Emily: [laughter] Don’t touch it!
Laura: [laughter] It’s on the floor, it’s on my hands; it’s on my phone! So I totally get it. I just feel like every mom has their nasty story of poop.
Emily: Messes are not all diapers but certainly those are the ones where you find yourself going, “I don’t know how to cope with this right now.”
Laura: Yes, they tend to be the most memorable.
Emily: [laughter] What we want to talk a little bit about is where messes came from, because I think often we just go about our daily life and I don’t think deeply about these stuff as I’m in the midst of that moment, doing dishes again. When we think deeply about it for just a few minutes, it can give meaning to the mess or at least, it will make you feel not so frustrated about it.
Laura: Exactly. So where messes come from, it's the creation-fall-redemption story. Originally, we were given the task to care for God’s creation, and there was order in the world and it was beautiful. Adam and Eve were able to keep up with everything and they were the caretakers.
Emily: Then of course we know sin entered and that brought into creation death, disorder, chaos, and brokenness, and that has not only affected our hearts but it has affected all of creation. Now everything we do leaves a wake of disorder and chaos, and that is obviously seen in our homes.As stuff is always kind of falling apart, we are having to try to bring it together, but its natural state is almost like it is in chaos.
Laura: That’s the whole idea, that you can never get ahead and that is simply because of the fall. Every time we talk through stuff like this, I’m like, “Man, that just goes back to the fall.” It goes back to the fall: disease, death, chaos, mess. So there truly is "meaning in the mess," (as they tend to say), and I love that because it gives more purpose - especially when you feel that you can’t keep up. It is one of those, “That’s the way it’s supposed to be and there’s deeper meaning behind it.”
Emily: Also, the Gospel-hope is that Christ came and he’s given us redemption, and eventually he will restore all things to perfect order. We can usher in just a little bit of that order as we clean up our home and our daily lives, and we try to give order to our domain; where we live. We can be thoughtful homemakers - we don’t say, “Hey, the mess is just part of our lives right now.
Laura: Yes, we're imaging redemption. It can sound like, “Oh, this is way deep,” talking about how dirty dishes in the sink reflects the Gospel, but again, that’s what we want to talk about on Risen Motherhood. That the Gospel literally affects everything. It may sound like a stretch; it may sound like we’re trying to squeeze it in, but it’s reality. When you are scrubbing dishes, you are living out the redemption story: how Christ’s work on the cross has made you clean as you make these dishes clean. Again, it’s not something where it’s like every single time we’re doing the dishes I’m thinking about the cross, but I should be - I could be.
Emily: I always have this question about my bed. Why should I make my bed? I’m just going to get right back in it again, and my husband is the bed maker in our family, and he is like, “Because it feels so good to get in a clean bed.” We’re different personalities for that, but I get what he’s saying. He’s saying there’s purpose and there is meaning in the doing of these tasks, even though they are repetitious, and they are mundane and it’s the same thing over and over again, because God is the ultimate orderer. He’s organized and He has intentionally placed things. He is not a God of sloppy and falling apart, and, “Oh, I haven’t thought about that.”
We want to be image bearers of Him, and in making the bed, I’m imaging bringing order to this, restoring that, making it well presented. I feel like God presents everything beautifully to us and so we want to present things beautifully in our home.
Laura: The other thing too is, looking at how Christ has served us, and so we can serve others as moms. Being Christ to the people that enter our home, to our children - you’re doing things over, and over, and over again, but that’s like how we’re continually being redeemed from those daily sins that we’re doing; future grace. I think it just shows how we can exemplify Christ in our homes to other people.
Emily: I like what you just said. I had never thought about that before, about the doing over and over and over again. I mean even though Christ only saves us once, even like that picture of sanctification. It’s like, I have this sin that I keep repeatedly doing over and over again, and trying to repent and the Lord just keeps, “Hey, I’m clean in Christ. I’m bought with a price” and I’m glad He doesn’t give up on us.
Laura: We can’t give up our homes, moms, right? It’s cheesy, but it’s true. We wanted to move on to talk about what are our heart attitudes are during cleaning, seasons that we are in as moms, and what cleaning should look like. I guess where should we start?
Emily: I think it’s important to mention that everybody’s personality is different. Also, the saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” is not in the Bible, and there is no clear black and white line in scripture about, “Oh, your home needs to look like this.”
This all goes back to our heart attitude and knowing, “My clean to me and my husband and our family is going to look different than to another family. Me bringing order to my home is going to look different than someone else bringing order to their home” The standard of comparison doesn’t always have to be the Pinterest-organized mom, but we need to be evaluating our hearts to know whether we’re avoiding cleaning because of a sin or something else.
Laura: Also talking about the seasons of life that we’re in. If you’ve just had a baby, there is a lot of grace for having a messy home, or if you’ve got one kid versus four kids, or if you’re out working outside the home to various levels. We don’t want to give a blanket statement of, “Your house must always be clean, and must always be picked up or you are not exemplifying Christ.”
It’s a situation where you and your husband need to be on the same page, you’re taking an honest and hard look at what does life look like right now; maybe it’s a busy day. You could have a crazy day and it’s like, “Well, dinner is not on the table, the house is in chaos, but the kids are alive.” Or you could have a crazy year. I feel like last year as we moved and just had all these different things going on, our life was in chaos a lot, and I was barely surviving. It felt like just enough to keep my kids fed and happy, and that wasn’t my focus during that time, entertaining or having people over or just keeping a generally clean home. It looked a lot different than it does today.
Emily: What’s cool is your heart attitude in that wasn’t, “I want to avoid the work and pursue recreation or pursue my entertainment or pursue my me time.” You were trying to pursue loving your family and bringing whatever kind of mom normalcy you can to this situation, and the result of that was still mess. It wasn’t a result of sin.
Every messy house doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in sin in your heart, but I know that I really struggled with that, especially before I had children, and when I was a new mom. Not being able to keep up with the most basic of tasks and when God really helped me evaluate my heart in that, it was not that I truly didn’t have enough time or whatever. I was pursuing my own recreation and my own desire. I was like, “I want to do something fun and special today. I want to go out and do this thing.” Like, “Oh those dishes. I’ll get to those later,” or organizing or whatever that thing was, and I really was avoiding it and being lazy.
At that point in time, the Lord just gave me the verse, Proverbs 13:4, and I wanted to share because it’s been so helpful to me, that, “The soul of a sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied,” and in that I’ve learned that when I am diligent, my soul is full even if I am tired.
Laura: And that’s what we want to emphasize here on the show today. You could have a clean home and still have an ugly heart. So what we want to encourage you guys is to look at your heart. Where is it at? What is the reason why your home is messy? Again, that can transfer day to day, year to year. I mean it’s not just a one and done thing, but to honestly look at how much time do you have and where’s your time going? Why is your time going to those places? God is looking at the heart. He’s not looking at your house; He’s not looking at where the diapers are or how your laundry pile is. He’s really looking at your heart attitude - is it for His glory and is it to be diligent and industrious as He is and has created you to be? Or are you being lazy and like a sluggard and craving just more me time?
Emily: I almost wonder if it’s some of our generation and just where we’re at. Everything is instant, everything is supposed to be fun and entertaining. My grandma will sometimes come and stay with me when I have babies. She’s in her 70s. She just whips my house into shape. You know what, she does not take a break. I don’t think she assumes, “Oh, I’ve got some time. After I fold that laundry, I’m going to sit down and read a little book for a little bit, and then I’ll get up and do another thing.” In her generation, it was like, “This is just work that needs to be done and I’m going to do it.” Then she would drink her hot tea after that.
Laura: I have the mentality of, “I just worked so hard. I need a TV show. I need to read a magazine,” and that is not true. There is a time for rest, but just because I folded a lot of laundry, doesn’t mean that I deserve a piece of chocolate and Us Magazine or something.
Emily: Exactly. We bargain with ourselves, and say stuff like, “I worked hard so I can do this now,” That’s where, if you haven’t heard our self-care episode, definitely go back and listen because these two things are pretty closely connected. We do want to build in that time, but it shouldn’t be in competition with our work.
Laura: We are hitting time here. As usual, we feel like we have more to say on the topic, but we want to be committed to using your time well and sticking around that 15-minute episode mark. I don’t think we’ve hit it yet, have we, Emily?
Emily: No, I think we’ve almost gone just a little bit over.
Laura: At least a little. Is there any last thing that you wanted to get out across Emily?
Emily: No. We’ll, just put our coffees down.
Laura: Good. For show notes we’re going to have a few more resources about cleaning and heart attitudes and different things like that, so check it out on our website www.risenmotherhood.com. You can find links to Facebook and Twitter. Of course, we would appreciate if you wouldn’t mind sharing this with someone you think would like listening, and of course subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. That is the best way for people to find out about the podcast. We would be greatly honored if you would be willing to do that. I think that’s it.
Emily: Thanks for listening today guys and we will be back, talking about more everyday things in light of the Gospel.