This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’m Laura, and I have my sister-in-law, Emily here with me.
Today we just want to highlight one quick thing for you guys. Did you all know that we have a blog?
Emily: Yes, we do! [ laughter]
Laura: Well, if you haven’t seen our blog yet, we would encourage you to check it out on risenmotherhood.com. We’ve added a lot of different voices, which we’re really excited about. And we try to talk about more specific topics than what we talk about here on the show.
In general, we try to reserve the show for some pretty broad topics that every mom can find some ability to relate to. For the blog though, our hope is to be able to not only do that, but also dive into some specific topics that maybe we can’t go into depth here on the show.
You can subscribe to get our blog and new shows straight to your inbox, via email, on our website. It’s on our homepage. We’ll toss a link in the show notes too so you can see where it’s at.
Emily: Also, you can subscribe to our newsletter which comes out once a month. It’s put together by our blog editor, Autumn Kern. She does an amazing job; she pulls together a lot of resources that we share with her, as well as writes a sweet letter. It’s full of really good stuff.
In fact, I was reading it when it came out in February, and was just like, “I am going to click on this stuff. This stuff is really good!” [laughter]
Laura: Yes, she does a great job curating a lot of things. It’s things that we don’t necessarily share on social media, so it’s new stuff and we definitely think you’re going to love it.
Hit “subscribe” for that. It’s also on our website. It’s a different email subscription though, and just because you subscribe to one, doesn’t mean you will get both. We want to make sure that it’s easy for you to get the information you want from Risen Motherhood.
Emily: Today we’re talking about changing our mind in motherhood. Some of you can think of times you changed your mind on something small and silly. [laughter] But you still felt a little awkward and embarrassed about it.
Laura: Yes. I remember I cloth-diapered my son for the first year of his life. It was good, like nothing really went wrong with it. But I ended up switching to disposable diapers by baby two. It was one of those things where I had touted the benefits of cloth-diapering ––Emily: You had all these blog posts about it, you preached the word on it!
Laura: –– I was like, “I am done spraying the poop off the diaper! I would really like to just throw it away and never deal with it again.” [laughter]
Emily: We all have those things before we come into motherhood that you’re like, “I am never going to let my kid _____.” Then one day you realize, “Oh, that’s my kid right there doing that thing I said they were not going to do.” There are definitely little things that we change our mind about.
Laura: But then there are the big things that we change our minds on, and these ones are a little bit harder and a little more dicey. But Emily and I are both going to share some quick examples of ways that we have changed our minds.
Emily: One that we’ve really wrestled through a lot with schooling. Some of you guys may have heard me talk about it - on previous podcasts two years ago or something - that we were planning to homeschool.
I mean, we wrote this in our family vision statement, we built our house and put a place in our house that was for homeschooling. We were going to do this, and then as time went on and we had five kids in five years, we just found our hands very full.
Our now two-year-old has developmental delays, and I take him to doctors and therapists all the time. When I had our fifth baby, I was just like, “Wow, we are just trying to hold it together.”
We ended up putting our oldest son in early kindergarten, at a school here in town. Through a lot of discussion, we just ended up looking at the next year or two and saying, “Hey, this probably isn’t the best thing for our family right now. The best thing would be to go ahead and partner with a school that can help educate our children.”
It was something that was difficult and I felt like, “Oh, I am doing something different. Does that mean that I am being unfaithful or that I am a failure?” But that’s not what it means. It just means we didn’t have all the information, and we want to continue to grow and change as God brings new things into our lives.
Laura: I’ve a very similar story, but on a different topic. We ended up going through the adoption process – about halfway through it. You guys have heard me talk about it – and we have a whole show about adoption – where I talked about our journey.
It’s funny because God has changed our family plan so many times. [laughter]
We started out not wanting to adopt, then he moved our hearts to wanting to adopt, then wanting a third biological baby. And that third baby also has some significant delays as well. To be really honest, it feels like I’ve never been able to pin down our family plan. But we were still moving through the adoption process.
But this past fall, we came to a new milestone where we’d be looking at needing to put some significant funds down and also possibly getting our children a little bit earlier than we expected – all of that combined with our daughter who has needs and our move to Iowa. It just felt like it wouldn’t be a wise decision at this time to bring two additional children into our family with their own needs. Like Emily said, it’s hard when you change your mind on something big and that you’ve been public about. [laughter] I feel like, “Gosh, this is all over social media. I’ve talked about my passion and love for adoption on the show, on social media, with my friends. Everybody knows we’re doing this.” I felt a lot of shame and sadness, and like, “Gosh, we’re not fulfilling what we set out to do.” I felt like a failure because I felt like, “We should be able to do this. This is something that is good, and it’s not wrong.” But as we were evaluating and praying, God led my husband and I to unity on these things, and we knew it was the right decision. But that doesn’t change a lot of those hard feelings that come with it.
Emily: You may be thinking right now of a decision that you’re either struggling to change your mind on because you are feeling those same things. Like, “I already told everyone in my church or friend group that we were going to do this or that thing. Now what? Do I take it back? Does that make me look like a bad mom? A bad parent? Does that make me look like I’m not very godly?”
We also have to admit that we’re not in control. When we change our minds, even though we don’t say it out loud, it’s like, “Woops, I didn’t know everything at the time, and there’s new circumstances. I am human and I am limited.” [laughs]
Laura: It’s definitely very humbling to change your mind, especially on these big things. There’s a lot of uncomfortable feelings that come with that: shame, humiliation and embarrassment. It’s just uncomfortable to talk about it.
Emily: I will say something I’ve noticed is that the discomfort for us, at least in some of these big decisions, hasn’t been between my husband and I. We can come to a consensus and feel at peace with where God has us and our conscience can be totally clean.
But then when I go to tell a friend about it, or I go tell somebody else, that’s when I start to feel a little embarrassed. That’s not conviction from the Lord. That’s me being afraid of what other people think.
Laura: Fear of man. And for you it may not be adoption or schooling. Maybe it’s a change in how you work, how much you work, or where you work. Maybe it’s a change in your discipline strategy, or the method of how you breastfeed or bottle-feed. Or how you sleep train your kids or structure your day. A lot of those things can feel very big. Possibly it’s a change in how you work your childcare – maybe it’s changing up babysitters, or it’s childcare to day-care. Maybe it’s switching what day-care you use. Or change in where you live. I know for me, I said that I would never move away from my family. And three years ago, we moved away from family to Chicago, with no family at all. Now we’re back, but that was something where I had to say like, “Oh, I’ve been touting this, that I’ll never move away. And then woop, we’re moving away.” [laughter]
Emily: Yes. One thing that can help us as we’re processing this is to think about who we are in relation to God. God is unlimited; he doesn’t have to keep learning and growing because he’s unchangeable and he already knows everything. He can make the best decision in any situation because he sees every single facet of every factor. He has every bit of information, and he’s wise – he knows the best thing to do with that for his glory and for our good. We are not God though. [laughs]
Laura: Right. That leads us to why we change our minds so frequently. One is just the fact that there is sin in our lives, and we make the wrong choices for the wrong reasons. Another is because of human limitations. But if we look at just the sin part first, that’s where our motives are tainted with wrong thinking. We are inherently selfish, we’re prideful, and we don’t just worship God. We’re constantly having to reorient our hearts. Sometimes we have to change our minds because we simply made a wrong decision out of sin. We have to learn to grow in maturity as a believer, and we’re able to repent. We’ll get to that in a minute – I’m jumping ahead. But that is one of the reasons; it’s just that sin taints our decision-making.
Emily: Another reason that Laura alluded to is our limitations as people. I recently read this kind of funny article about how we always tend to look back at our past selves and think, “I was kind of an idiot back then.” [laughter] But we know our future selves are going to look back on our current selves and think that too. In the article this guy said, “You would never look at your two-year-old and chastise him for not being able to tie his shoelaces. He literally couldn’t have done that at that point in time. That didn’t mean he was an idiot. He just wasn’t there yet.” In our limitations, we grow and change in our lives; we don’t have all the information. Even if we’re making a decision, we can’t know every facet of the way everything is going to turn out. We just have to make the best choice we can at the time with the information that we have – because we’re human.
Laura: In redemption, because of Jesus, we know that we can be changed at a heart level. We now have the Holy Spirit that allows us to see and understand the wisdom of the Lord. We can start to discern spiritual truths to grow as a believer. We can repent and we can turn back to God over and over again, and improve and learn from those mistakes.
We can also walk by faith, knowing and trusting in God’s plan, even when we don’t know the future. I often think of the many characters in the Bible who made a lot of decisions without knowing the future. Like the midwives in Egypt; when they saved those babies, they didn’t know if Pharaoh was going to kill them. But they were able to make those decisions in faith, not because they knew the future but because they trusted in God’s sovereignty.
Emily: God used that as part of his redemptive plan. That’s key; we don’t know how God is using our decisions to further his kingdom, and we probably won’t know all the ins and outs of that. And that’s okay. Just a few principles as we think about our lives and how to apply this when we are struggling through a situation where we may need to change our minds is to remember first of all, that Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man‘s heart plans his ways. But the Lord determines his steps.” Again, it’s great to be prudent, to make plans and to have hopes and expectations that we think are in line with God’s will. But ultimately, God brings circumstances into our lives that we couldn’t have predicted. Or he shows us our limitations [laughs] in a new way - like you just hit a wall. Then he changes things, and that’s okay for things to be different than we originally planned. Because they are not different from what God originally planned [laughs]
Laura: You make the best decision that you can with the information that you have at the time. That’s what I continue to go back to as my husband and I talk. As we were talking about some things that were frustrating and we didn’t understand, “Why did we make those decisions? Why did God lead us down that path?” We just have to remind ourselves we were faithful in that moment to make those decisions. But ultimately, the Lord determines our steps; therefore we want to hold our plans with a loose hand, knowing that we want to give those to God.
Emily: Just to give some practical examples, maybe one of you – you or your husband – lost your job. Or you ended up with a child with special needs – kind of like what happened with Laura and I. Maybe you have twins or triplets and that changes things for your family dynamics. Maybe you have a parent or a family member who becomes really sick and you need to devote more time to caring for them or being near them. Or maybe your house is damaged. There could be so many things that come up in life that should be taken into consideration, and God brings those with his sovereignty.
Laura: Yes. Another thing that we can apply from scripture is how we can grow and change as believers. I think of Romans 12:2 – “Don’t conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you’ll be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good and pleasing and perfect will.”
When we keep our eyes fixed on the ultimate goal, which is Christ, and growing in righteousness and in our relationship with him, we will continue to lay down our lives, desires, and personal preferences all to do the will of the Father. It is a wonderful mark of the believer to be able to grow and change and realize like, “Whoa, I am starting to think like God thinks.” You know, thinking thoughts like him. Not that you are all powerful and omnipotent, but you know him so well that you love the same things that he loves and hate the same things that he hates. That is something that we grow in as believers. It is a wonderful gift that our faith would mature and then we start changing – maybe – how you spend your time, or you change in what you do with your kids. This could be something as simple as, “Hey, I am going to change the way we do screen time because I feel like I am growing in my faith.” This starts to infiltrate every area of a believer’s life. You may see areas that you didn’t two years ago, but that now you start to say, “Hmm, in order to really live out my calling and be faithful to what God has for me, we’re going to tweak a few of these things.” It might be small and it might be really big.
Emily: That’s the goal – that we are conforming our will to God’s will, which can be little things. Laura and I talk about this in our personal relationship all the time – things that we are noticing or doing or changing. Laura mentioned screen time; that was a change we made in our family recently because we realized we’re getting too wrapped up in it and making it too important. I think it’s a mark of a true believer to see things like that, and notice what’s going on in our heart and repent. It should be encouraging to us that the Holy Spirit is bringing to mind things that we need to change and repent of. You may be listening and things are coming to your mind that you feel like, “I kind of sense that God’s been asking me to re-evaluate this,” or, “I think we do need to change our mind on something and I am afraid to tell people about it.” It’s good to be able to process what that means.
Laura: It could be something really small like, “Ooh, this day is going way off track. I’m off track and on a total warpath with my kids.” You know what, you can change. We have a whole show about that called “A Bad Moment Doesn’t Make a Bad Day,” and it is such a relief to me. I need to actually probably re-listen to that show, because I love remembering that I do not have to stay the same and I can change even in this moment. I can choose my attitude and align my heart to God’s. Another thing, is there a grey matter, or a personal preference that you’re holding tightly to? As Emily was talking about, you might be feeling some conviction from the Holy Spirit. I want to encourage you that if you’re feeling a nudge from the Holy Spirit to change, listen to your nudge. When we ignore that, it impacts our ability to continue discerning God’s will and to grow and change. So listen to that, and don’t ignore it, mom.
Emily: Just because you want to change your mind, repent, and conform to God’s will, there may be a biblical ideal or standard you’re holding to that’s starting to feel really hard. Maybe you’re feeling tempted to change your mind and go in the other direction because you want to do something easier. A last, little encouragement – if we are tempted, God can offer a way of escape. He can sustain us and help us to persevere. This definitely doesn’t mean change your mind because things are too hard. But continue growing into the likeness of Christ and re-evaluating your decisions as God brings new circumstances into your life.
Laura: One quick note I want to point out. Emily and I both talked about some really big changes that we made in our lives. If you are struggling to make a change because of fear of man, or fear of what other people will think, I want to encourage you to trust God with those responses of other people. Know that your standing is before the Lord. You do not have to worry about what other people think or say about you behind your back, or whatever their opinions may be because you’re ultimate worth is found in the Lord. That has been so key for me to remember: My worth isn’t found in someone else’s disappointment. Thank goodness. [laughter]
Emily: Praise the Lord. If you want more information on this, go to our show notes, Risenmotherhood, and we’ll be talking more about some of these things @risenmotherhood on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for joining us.
If you’re thinking about the school thing, and this came up in your mind, definitely tune back in next week. We have a 4-part series all about school and evaluating that very difficult decision.
Laura: Thanks, guys.