This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Laura: Hello and welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I am Laura, and I have my sister-in-law, Emily here with me. We’re excited because this is our last show of 2017!

Emily: Indeed. It’s been a whirlwind year. When we think about planning for 2017, last year and writing down some of our very little goals [laughter] that we just thought would be amazing, it’s just incredible for Laura and I to look back and see what the Lord has done to spread his Word, his gospel, and his kingdom through this ministry. It’s completely blown any little ideas we had out of the water without us [laughs] really feeling like we did anything. God is just so good.

Laura: And all glory to Him for sure. Emily was alluding to this, and I won’t name what our goals were, but they were very small. [laughter]

Emily: But we thought they were huge!

Laura: [laughter] We thought they were huge at the time, good point. It’s been exciting because this year we hit one million downloads, which was a huge milestone. We also have over 1,000 ratings on iTunes and all thanks to you guys. Literally, as we said, this is totally God working and moving to spread the gospel through this podcast. But also you guys have done the hard work of sharing this podcast with your friends; that is the highest honor. We are so humbled to even think that you would share this with your girlfriends because that is the greatest endorsement you could ever give us. Then to leave a review on iTunes because as you guys know iTunes does these weird algorithms that are a combination of downloads, reviews, ratings, and all sorts of other wizardry. [laughter] I’m not really sure. But we are thankful that women are finding us because of the reviews that you’re leaving, because of the iTunes rankings. Thank you for doing that and we just wanted to say just a big thank you on this show.

Emily:  Thank you too for sharing with us how God is using it. We think the numbers are cool, and they’re definitely interesting, and they’re evidence of the way that God’s using it. But even more than that, is when we get emails or messages from you guys, sharing the specific way that God has impacted your motherhood as you’ve meditated on what you have in Christ. We get messages from women all over the world. We’ve gotten notes from women who are missionaries in other countries, where they have don’t have a lot of fellowship with other believers and they’re saying, “I am getting to hear the way that the gospel applies to my motherhood in this area, where I don’t have a lot of other people to connect with.”

We’ve heard from women in Australia, India, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, the U.K. I mean, just all over the world. That is a joy to us to be reaching the nations with the gospel from our living room, or wherever we record. [laughter]

Laura:  We continue to feel like we need to tell you, and you know this, but we are a couple of sinful women. We are unqualified - we do not have seminary degrees, or broadcasting degrees. We’ve never learned anything about podcasting or professionalism in this area, and we are so thankful for God intervening in our imperfections. Him being strong where we are weak. We want to thank you guys for sticking with us; some of you guys have probably been around for two years now, some of you guys have only just recently joined us. But we are thankful for each and every one of you.

We want to do a quick recap of our theme from this year - if you guys will remember way back to January 2017, we talked about our theme being “Biblical Literacy.”

Emily: And literacy is just a big word for being competent in an area of knowledge. Specifically, our goal and desire was to talk all about how we become competent in the scriptures, and God’s Word, knowing that if we are connecting with God, we’re reading what He has to say to us, the word is living and active, and we know that that has to power to help us know what to do in these daily situations - to enjoy God more. We know when we’re enjoying Him, and when we’re in authentic relationship with God, that is going to overflow to our families, to all the people we interact with.  That was something Laura and I were like, “If we can get excited about biblical literacy and we can get you guys excited about it, God is going to do the work through his word.” We tried to weave that into every show in a little way, throughout the whole year.

Laura:  We covered things like why the Old Testament should matter to moms, how to develop discernment when engaging with various resources, how to encourage your husband in spiritual growth, and his own biblical literacy. Things like what does it look like to accept our limitations? What’s it look like to have our identity in Christ? What is the importance of sharing the Bible with our children? We talked about that in like every different way, [laughter] it feels like. We definitely covered it in a whole range of shows. If you haven’t tuned into all of those shows, definitely go back into our archives; they’re pretty easy to search on our website. There is just so much great wisdom and truth, especially from our interviewees – that’s what I mean when I say [laughter] wisdom and truth from our interviewees. They just brought it. We definitely encourage you to go back and listen to those.

Emily:  Laura and I thought we would go over some of our favorite things that we took away when we think about, over the year, what we learned about biblical literacy. The first thing was a reoccurring theme over and over again, was just learning that quiet times don’t have to be quiet. In fact, we should probably just stop thinking about it like that. Cut the word “quiet time” –  not the concept of it [laughter], just the idea that, of course, we want to get alone with God, we want to have a secret, quiet relationship with Him in certain times and ways. But if we are always waiting for the hot coffee, and the sunrise, and the blanket then we won’t ever read our Bibles, and meet with God. Because if you have young children at home – most of our listeners do – you know that if they hear you wake up, they wake up. [laughter] That it’s just really hard to sneak away. But also, just read your Bible when ever you can, as much as you can.

Laura:  That’s right. I always appreciate Jen Wilkin talking about reading a book of the Bible over and over again. Read it for comprehension. It’s just such a basic thing where you don’t have to think a lot, you don’t have to have note books or pens. Just have your Bible on your phone, or a physical Bible; it’s easy.

Along with that, something that we talked a lot about this year, and that was also challenging for Emily and I (especially after we had our baby girls), is trusting God with our to-do list, and not saying, “Okay, I am going to get these things done because I’ve a few minutes of quiet, then later today, I’ll read my Bible then.”  

No, we want to be giving God the best of our day. We want to give Him the first fruits of our time and of our efforts. Trusting him that if we do the work of getting in God’s Word, of re-orienting our day around him - first of all, it’s going to bless us. We are going to be changed, and we’re going to have a better focus on what our identity is, in Christ. Our family is going to be blessed for it. Oftentimes, I’ll skip reading the Bible, and then I’ll be grumpier, [laughter] crabbier, angrier, all throughout the day. If I get in God’s Word, and re-orient my heart towards Him first thing in the morning, my whole family benefits that entire day. You can trust that God will either help you to get things done that you need to get done. Or, He’s going to basically show you, “No, not that. That didn’t need to get done.”

Emily:  Yes, it is true. It’s important that if we really say that God, and our relationship with Him is the most important thing, then at some level, our time and our resources have to show that. And I am literally saying that back to myself.


Laura:  Preaching to ourselves here ladies.

Emily:  Yes. Am I giving Him the first fruits of my time? Especially if you feel that little prick in the morning when you get on your phone and you’re laying in bed. You’re like, “In the time I looked at Instagram, I could have spent 10 minutes in the Word of God.” Another thing that we drew out this year was needing women to come alongside us, so that we can all study the Bible together. Learning about God’s Word is not something we do in isolation. We certainly read it on our own, but then we should also get together with groups of women so that they can refine us and help us think about things more clearly. Bring up points that we didn’t think of, and correct our ideas when we’re just thinking something really wonky about scripture – and we do this with all different generations and cultural backgrounds.

Laura:  That’s right. Another one we talked about was creating a gospel culture in our home - recognizing that our children are watching what we’re doing. When they see an authentic love for God’s Word displayed in front of them, that is a perfect opportunity for everyday discipleship. Which is also another argument for not feeling like, “I have to squeeze my quiet time into these two seconds that I have of quiet.”

Instead, welcome your child to come alongside you, letting them know that, “Hey, momma’s reading God’s Word right now. Do you want to sit down with your Bible and your pens, and you to have a quiet time too?” Of course it’s very different than what you’re doing, but you are teaching them what a rhythm of someone who loves God looks like in their daily life. This is where we want to bring our kids alongside us in our faith, and not separate the two lives – not separate the “sacred from the secular.” I’ve been using that quote a lot lately! [laughter]

Emily:  But it’s good. It’s evident of something. Even just in the She Reads Truth interview, I was really reminded, “Yes, it is good to just bring it into our family. I want them to think reading the Bible throughout the day and listening to it, hearing mom pray through it is normal.”

Laura:  Yes. We want to make it normal.

Emily:  That it’s not normal to go a whole day without opening your Bible, or a whole week. I mean, days happen without it. [ laughter]. But hopefully, you’re not going days at a time.

Laura:  Another piece that we talked about is that it takes practice to grow in biblical literacy. Oftentimes, it can feel sort of like that “duty into delight” piece. We need to take time to learn how to study God’s Word. We have an entire tutorial up on our website. We actually changed the name (this is a good moment to tell you all) [laughter] to “The Abide Method,” though it’s the same tutorial. We named it that because we want to abide in Christ and be in Him, as we get in God’s Word. It’s basically the inductive study method, however, we’ve added our own “Risen Motherhood take” on it, and some of the things that Emily and I personally add to our study.

If you’re looking to grow deeper and learn how to study God’s Word for yourself, that would be a great place to start. Or to gather a group of women to use The Abide Method to study God’s Word. We have to learn how to study His Word to really be able to engage in it, and understand who God, is and how that changes who we are.

Emily:  We have a ton of resources on our website for that. Check those out.

Finally, we talked a lot this year about not walking in guilt and shame over the fact that maybe we haven’t been in the Word of God. I know this is something that Laura and I have both experienced, but I feel like I am working through, in this post-partum season, feeling bad that I am not in it as much as I want to be. The temptation is to just stay there, and to let that distance feel like it’s growing. I feel like I am getting colder and colder, versus running back to the Lord. Knowing  that my salvation is through faith alone, by grace alone, just gives me confidence to know it’s not about how many minutes I’ve racked up reading scripture. That is not why God has loved and accepted me. It’s through Christ’s righteousness. We have complete freedom to keep going back over and over again. I feel like there was a quote in one of our episodes about family devotions. Like we want to just keep restarting them, to be just so stubborn in our starting over and over again. Don’t give up going back to reading your Bible. Even if it’s been like six months. Pick it back up.

Laura:  Yes, do it today.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about our favorite episode, or one piece that really stuck out because it’s impossible to pick a favorite. Emily, do you want to kick us off with just your one little nugget?

Emily:  One nugget. I really liked Ruth’s interview that she did with us. That was in September, I believe when that came out. I remember being really impacted by what she said about setting expectations for kids. One thing we’ve struggled with throughout the years - we’ve added another baby to the family, I have a kiddo in school now, who wasn’t in school before, I am doing more Risen Motherhood stuff than ever. It’s just this feeling like I don’t know how to manage expectations. If I am going to sit down and write on the computer for a little while, I am going to do something else. I really liked how she said, “Making different times of the day, being clear with children about what it is we expect for them then being really present, when we are present. Engaging them and being intentional about that.” That’s something I am still stewing on, but I really liked that.

Laura:  It’s interesting because I didn’t realize that ours favorite things are actually really close. Mine was from Sally Clarkson, which was an our October interview. But she said this one little nugget; she just zinged it at the end.

Emily:  It’s always those little one-liners, and you’re like...

Laura:  “That just changed my whole world.”

Emily:  Exactly!

Laura:  It wasn’t even the point of the interview, but she said, “Cultivate a sustainable life.” Like Emily, I’ve had a lot of changes this year in my life. I remember just being hit to the core by that and thinking, “My life is not sustainable.” I feel like I just keep telling myself, “I’ll just get to the next week, the next month, whatever it may be. Pass that milestone and then it’ll be sustainable.”  And as Emily was sort of saying, I want to be intentional with my life. I want to be able to say, “This is my time with my children.” Or, “This is my time to do work.” If you could just imagine me as Stretch Armstrong; [laughter] my everything going everywhere – that is a challenge for me, that I am still trying to make tweaks and changes to my schedule – of how can I have a sustainable life long term, so that I can invest well in my family and keep the right priority in order of things in my heart?

Emily: One more titbit; I was just thinking about Ruth’s comment about doing nothing. I am like, “You know I’ve just got to slow down.” Ruth would have said, “No, you have to do nothing. You’ve got to plan for nothing.” I think both Laura and I are trying to figure out how you just plan for nothing and enjoy that feeding with the baby or whatever it is, [laughter] and stop trying to do ten things at one time?

Laura: Yes!

Okay, because the theme of “Biblical Literacy” went so well last year, we decided to do another theme, for 2018. It’s just amazing because Emily and I had the same thoughts individually. Then we kicked it by our team, (the other three women on the Risen Motherhood team) and they all felt like this would be a great piece for next year as well. The theme is “Unity In The Gospel,” and we all had unity, on the unity theme. [laughter] But we want to tell you all a little about the back story, how we got there, and why we’ve chosen this.

Emily: When we first started Risen Motherhood, all Laura and I were really thinking about is, literally, how do we physically get it recorded? [laughter] What do we say? What kind of issues are we walking through in our own personal lives? How are we applying the gospel to that? That’s how Risen Motherhood was born, and that’s taken us almost two years to just process through that. It’s grown into all these things. But we had this moment last summer, when we were on break, and we were sharing this picture of all these interviewees. Somebody pointed out to us how homogeneous that group of women - one man - [laughter] were. For Laura and I the blinders were lifted off and we were like, [gasps] “Oh, you are right. It is!”

Now that we’ve kind of stabilized a little bit, we want to represent more prerspectives and to think through things beyond just what Laura and I are dealing with. Which never came from a bad intention, but we also want to look out and see that there is a lot of different types of moms out there.

Laura: We recognize that not all of you are work-from-home mothers, or working moms, or stay-at-home moms. Not all of you live in middle-class suburbia. Some of you live in other countries, some of you live in small apartments in the city, some of you live on rural farms. You guys are incredibly diverse and different and you’re all dealing with individual issues, and your daily life looks really different. Emily and I can only speak from our experiences. One commitment we’ve always made is to say, “We don’t want to speak into topics we haven’t experienced.” We’re still not an interview show. Interviews are still only about 20%. But one piece of bringing on the blog is to have more voices along with the interviews that we will engage in. Our whole goal is to just be more intentional about what God’s kingdom looks like, what it will be like for eternity and what that picture of the true church is. We want Risen Motherhood to represent that well.

Emily: Living in that already but not yet - like Laura was saying – someday, because we are all in Christ. If you do believe in the gospel and confess Christ as your Lord, we will be in heaven together, worshipping the same God and there’s going to be moms in that group that speak different languages. There’s going to be moms who did public school, moms that did home school, moms that fed their children organic food, moms that didn’t. There’s going to be moms from every race, tongue, tribe, nation and every choice. We want to live in that right now as much as we can, knowing that we are in a broken world. We know that the gospel can give hope to every single mom, no matter what her situation is. God meets us where we are and through His Word, He transforms us and helps us to live more in His likeness, and more in accordance with His will. We want to do that more as we can this coming year, and have that become a picture for Risen Motherhood.

Laura: One quick caveat to make sure that we do say, is that by “unity”, we don’t mean “believe whatever you want.” We’re talking about Orthodox Christianity. There are true things; things that we never deviate from. But with this unity, we want to be united around those truths, knowing that those truths will stand long after us. Anyway, [laughter] I feel like that’s just an important little note to add in there.

I think that’s it for today’s show. Right Em?

Emily: Right. We will be back on January 10th and we will go more into this great unity concept. We have an amazing line-up of shows for you guys, all through the Spring, about school.

Laura: Yes, a whole month on school, a whole month! [laughter].

Emily: Education. Sleep training is on our list. We’ve got moms from all different areas on our list – like urban, suburban. We’re just going to dive into all kinds of different things next year.

Laura: Yes, it’s going to be great. If you want some more info that we talked about on today’s show, head to our show notes at risenmotherhood.com. Of course come find us on social media; we will still be active there through this Christmas break. We are @risenmotherhood on all the platforms - Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Have a great Christmas everyone.