This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. We are excited to share this interview with you today that we did with Raechel Myers and Amanda Williams from She Reads Truth.
Rachel and Amanda are wives, moms and authors. But most importantly, they are followers of Christ who are passionate about seeing women get in the word of God everyday.
In today’s interview we discuss how moms can actually do that in the little years, by first changing their expectations, and intentionally reading scripture alongside a community of other women.
As a special treat to Risen Motherhood listeners, they also wanted you guys to get ten percent off anything from She Reads Truth, the shop, from November 1 through November 8, 2017.
We encourage you to check out their Advent reading series along with all of the beautiful prints that accompany it. The code is RISEN10, and you can find more of their stuff shereadstruth.com and risenmotherhood.com in our show notes.
Here’s Amanda and Raechel.
Laura: Hi Amanda and Raechel. Thank you so much for being on Risen Motherhood today.
Amanda: Thank you so much for having us. What a fun treat.
Laura: Yes, we are so excited. Can you guys start us off with telling us a little bit about yourself, and your family makeup – we’re probably all interested in your kiddos.
Amanda: Yes, totally. Yes, go for it Rae, go for it.
Raechel: I am Raechel and I have been married to my husband for fourteen and a half years now.
He and I actually met when we were seven years old, grew up as good friends, and started dating when we were sixteen, and got married when we were twenty.
We just have this lifelong friendship that we got to base our marriage on. But now it’s strange because our daughter is seven, and so it’s strange to go like, “Hmmh, Certainly there’s nobody now in her class who she could marry.”
We have a ten-year-old son, he’s just about to turn eleven. He’s also just about to surpass me in height, just insane. It’s weird to have a whole person that’s like the same size as you, but, you know, he came out of you, and he belongs to you.
It’s just a really bizarre – I am sure the moms listening in can also agree – it’s just bizarre to watch them grow because you are not growing. But they just get bigger and bigger and it’s just...it’s bizarre.
We have a seven-year-old daughter. Our eleven-year-old is Oliver, and our seven-year-old is Hazel. We also have a daughter who would be turning ten this spring; her name was Evie Grace. She passed away, she was stillborn.
But she’s always worth mentioning when people ask about our family. Especially, I think, with an audience like this who, they’re in the trenches of motherhood, the bad and the really difficult.
Probably our story is unique to some, but not to all. Our little Evie Grace was born with Trisomy 9, she passed away just before she was born.
But she was wonderful, and she just continues to be one of the Lord’s greatest kindnesses, and greatest mercies to our family because of the way that, even through her little life, the way that he drew us to himself, and to his word honestly. To the way that we kind of had to truly anchor in the Word at that time.
She would be turning ten this Spring. We miss her a lot.
Emily: Thanks for being willing to be vulnerable and share that. I know Laura and I are both walking through the very early stages of kiddos who have different kinds of special needs.
We definitely have talked to a lot of moms who’ve lost infants in the womb, out of the womb, and so I know there’s going to be a lot of moms that relate to that. Thanks for sharing.
Amanda: I am Amanda, I am married to my husband, David. We’ve been married fourteen years; it’s funny because Raechel and I have only been friends for a little over...
Raechel: I think five years.
Amanda: But our timelines are very similar. I’ve been married fourteen years to my husband, David, and we have three children who are the same ages as Raechel’s children.
We have our little girl who’s ten, and twin boys who are seven. We live here just outside of Nashville. She and I are both Nashvillians, but we’re both on the outskirts of Nashville and we’re kind of on opposite ends. Door to door apart, we’re an hour apart, but we’re both...
Laura: An hour?
Amanda: Yes, but we’re both in Nashville. We’re in the same place right now, we’re in our office.
That’s our families. We’re really just thankful for our husbands who are very much a part of not just our family life obviously, but of our ministry, She Reads Truth, and our kiddos are too. They’re just great, so yes, we’re all really thankful. It’s a family affair.
Laura: Wonderful. Yes, well let’s talk about She Reads Truth. I know that this is a wonderful ministry that a lot of our listeners utilize. You guys recently came out with a new Bible that we were commenting that it is one of the – no – the most beautiful Bible [laughter] that we have ever seen.
Can you guys tell us a little bit about the heart behind She Reads Truth, and kind of where the ministry is at today?
Raechel: Yes. She Reads Truth, the very simplest way to say, what She Reads Truth, is, of course is our mission. It’s pretty memorable, it’s about women and the word of God everyday. But we really mean that, and it’s really a lot more than just women everyday, but it’s a whole community of women. Right now, daily it’s almost half a million women who are opening scripture together, which just blows our minds.
We try and keep our head down, and not think about that because it’s pretty overwhelming. [laughter] Even if it were so few, this is just an incredible opportunity.
But the big deal is that even five years ago, there was this feeling for Amanda and for myself, of wanting to be in the word, but just needing help.
I needed help to know where to …l ike I needed to read the Bible, but where? Really, that’s what She Reads Truth is. It’s so simple. It’s painfully simple, and we love that, and we really never want to lose that.
It is simply just giving direction, and we don’t add a lot to it. That’s not the point because we really believe that. We say the Bible is for you, and it’s for now. It’s not for when you’re smarter or when you’re in a different season of life, or anything like that. It is meant for you however you understand it, because we truly believe what the Bible says.
That it’s living and active, and that the Holy Spirit is right there with us when we’re reading, and we can invite Him.
We think everybody is can read the Bible. Really we read through books in the Bible; right now we are reading through a bunch of minor prophets – Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah. We’re running through five of them in three weeks.
But it’s just great, it’s great for anybody who is listening to the podcast today. Who woke up this morning and thought, “I know I should be in the word. I know I want to be in the word, but what am I supposed to open right this second?”
She Reads Truth is for that girl, and a lot of other types of girls too. But we’re for that girl who just says, “I need to read the Bible today”, and she can open up the She Reads Truth app, or go to www.shereadstruth.com. I guarantee that we’re reading something today.
You can read it with us, and you won’t be reading it alone because there are women all over the place reading that same passage and talking about it.
It’s just a vehicle for women. Part of what we want to do is to reach the unreached with scripture. But a big part of what we do is to get the already reached to reach for the Bible.
Laura: To bring that down to specifically – for you as moms, and you can relate I know to our audiences really well – a lot of them are in the really little years – four and under, five and under – especially a lot of diaper changes, nursing, things like that.
Taking that tagline of “Women in the Word of God Everyday,” I love that. But why do you think that it’s important for the mom particularly, to be connected to the vine?
Amanda: You know it’s funny that you say connected to the vine [laughter]. We were just talking about John 13 [laughter] before you picked up the phone.
It’s funny too because we were talking about our families and the timelines of She Reads Truth when our children were very small when the community of She Reads Truth begun.
We were those moms with small children, who wanted to be, just like Raechel said, who just had a desire to be in scripture, and a heart to know God. We felt overwhelmed – I know I can speak for myself – in many areas of life, including motherhood. But also including our spiritual life, just wondering where to start.
It’s very important for mothers to be connected to the vine, like you said, to Jesus, and to God’s Word. But honestly, I don’t know that it’s any more important than of is for any of us.
It’s important for the mother because it’s important for humans. It’s important for us as women, as God’s children who are made in his image, to know our Maker. And to know who he is, who we are in Him.
One of the primary ways that he has given to us, a grace that He has given us is scripture, is his Word. It has been protected for us so that we can read it now, even though it was written thousands of years ago.
It is given to us; it never changes. Our seasons of life change; we may have small children and then those children grow up. Then one day those children are out of the home.
Even women who are listening now, who’d long to be mothers, but maybe aren’t yet, our life is constantly changing. But God’s Word stays the same, and God’s Word remains even when everything ... the Bible says that, “The world will pass away, but His Words will not pass away.”
That is the thing that we can count on because, you know as moms, we love our children, we love our families, but we are not perfect. We have a Father who is good and who loves us, and who is perfect. When we need a sure thing, we open His Word.
Raechel: Like Amanda is saying, it’s important for moms to be in the Word just like it is important for human beings to be in the Word.
She and I were actually talking earlier today about that, even just anticipating this podcast, and talking about that it’s tough in that season of motherhood to be in the Word, and to make time for that. In the same way that it’s tough every season. Honestly I don’t know that there’s a season where it’s easy, and there’s reason for that. No matter what season we’re in, there is a certain involved discipline.
Amanda and I, our job is to read the Bible, and it is still a challenge to carve out that time where it is just us and the Lord, and not a task list.
I don’t say that to discourage moms who are like “Wait, it’s hard now and it’s always going to be hard. Cool.” [laughter]
But I’d like to say, “Don’t wait for a convenient time to develop a relationship with the Lord and His Word.” Because there will always be a reason that is hard, and there will always be a reason that it’s inconvenient. They’ll always be something more pressing.
I say that to say just fight for it, because this is worth it right now, in this season.
Amanda: Raechel often says, and so I am going to quote you Raechel, [laughter] that we know, especially those of us who have known Jesus for a long time, maybe we’ve known Jesus since we were kids.
We know that the Bible is His Word, we know that it’s important to read it. But there is a difference between knowing that it’s important, and understanding that it’s urgent.
We believe that reading the Bible is not just important, that it’s urgent. That it is a primary means that God sustains us and breathes life into us.
It is the way that we know Him, and so it’s no wonder that we are at a loss for how to know Him better when we’re not in His Word because that’s what His Word does for us.
The thing is, the more time we spend in His Word, the more you understand how vital it is. That’s why it’s so important, what Raechel just said, it’s “just start somewhere.”
We say that so often, guys, it’s like we want so badly especially in our social media age where we have blog posts of five ways to do this. Or, if we want to know the best product to buy we Google it. We want the right answer the first time.
The thing with knowing God is that there is not a formula. We would have figured it out by now, right? There is no formula, and there is no formula for reading a Bible. It is simply starting, and starting somewhere. It’s all His Word, so just start.
Emily: Wow, there is so many amazing truths in there.
Raechel: You just get us started and we’ll just keep going …
Emily: I love it.
Amanda: We have strong feelings on the topic [laughter].
Emily: I just love it. I love it because especially like you’re saying, “Don’t wait” because I think that we all tell ourselves this tale, like, “Okay, this trial is going to be over, and then I’ve arrived.” Like, “There’s no more trials after that, if I can just get through this thing. I am going to put off my Bible reading and my prayer life, and these things until I get out of this trial.”
I know I heard from a wiser, older woman one time tell me a huge lightbulb went off whenever she realized that, no, life is one trial, and then it changes to a different trial, and a different one..
Again, that’s not to be discouraging, but encouraging to say, “Do it now.” I love that. In terms of our children, realizing that if we’re trying to pass along the gospel to them, then the best thing we can do is to be knowing God, and finding joy in Him in our own lives. If we’re not doing that, it’s going to be very difficult to be an authentic overflow to them. Thanks for sharing.
Amanda: There’s so much beauty in the trial. We say “beauty and the mess,” and the “messiness of motherhood.” You know these are these phrases that we have all kind of gotten used to of late.
It’s true that there’s beauty within that, and reading God’s Word is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the beauty, and to the work that God is already doing right where we are.
It is true that our inclination is to wait until we feel like, “Okay, now I am ready.” But in that way, it’s kind of like motherhood. Like, you’re not really ready, [laughter] you just start, right?
In those trials and in the tough seasons, it’s like they are. Life is kind of like one tough season after another; like there’s something tough even about the good seasons.
When you’re in a good season, it’s tough to really keep your perspective right and your priorities straight, and all of that. When things are too easy, in a way, and then when things are really hard, you’re like, “Okay, I’ve got my perspective right, but I just can’t even stay above water.”
I feel like there’s struggle on both sides of that fence. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to be rooted in the Word of God because if we rely on our emotions to direct us where we’re going to go, where are we going to end up?
We need to rely on the Lord, and the wisdom that we find in His Word, and His revelation of Himself to us. That’s what we use as our guide.
Laura: Yes. You mentioned something there about if we rely on our emotion. There are a lot of ways to study the Bible. We’ve talked about that; that there are many ways, and the most important is to just start.
But there are also some ways that when engaging in study, aren’t smartest things to do. Can you guys talk to some of those common pitfalls that you do see women falling into in their study of scripture?
Amanda: That’s a good question.
Raechel: The first thing I think about is something... it’s funny, I may not have had conversations about this lately, but one of the first pitfalls is calling it “quiet time” [laughter] Because there’s a big expectation that just gets built all round that. And especially for moms.
Laura: Oh yes, no such thing.
Raechel: On Sunday I was sick, really like too sick for church. I just had a cold, sore throat, couldn’t swallow. It’s like, “Okay, well, we’re going to stay home today.” We stayed home all day Sunday, literally no one left the house.
But here’s what the Lord did for me on that day that I couldn’t go to church. And this is going to sound nerdy and weirdly like I am very holy, but it’s neither of those things. [laughter]
We were preparing to study the Book of Exodus for Lent. One of the things, it’s my job to prepare for that and to become familiar with that book. I knew I wanted to read the Book of Exodus over the weekend.
This was Sunday morning and I still hadn’t done it, and so I was like, “Okay, here’s what I am going to do.” I am in the middle of – here is where it gets nerdy – a cross-stitch pattern that I am working on, which I really wanted to test it before we put the pattern in the book.
I am a needlework nerd, and I appreciate that some people accept that, and come to me. [laughter] So I sat down in our living room, turned the fire on. I sat in the living room first thing in the morning, got out my cross-stitch pattern and got out my phone, and just turned on an audio version of the book of Exodus.
I required nothing of anybody. Everyone was allowed to do whatever they wanted. [laughter] Evidently we can call that my quiet time for the day.
But I sat in that chair, I don’t even know that I for ate lunch. I just sat in that chair throughout the entire book, like all day long. It was hours. In and out and throughout the whole day, my family came to be with me. I mean, I was sick and so I just really didn’t move.
But they just came; like my daughter Hazel came and laid kind of on the blanket in front of the fire near my feet, and just listened to the parts of Exodus where the plagues – she was there for that – and the crossing of the Red Sea, and Miriam’s Song.
As the audio thing is reading Miriam’s Song, she starts singing along with it because she learned about that song in school. She came and she worshipped with me in this sweet way, to thank the Lord for all the good He’s done for us.
Then she went on with her day. Later on we were getting to the part about the instructions for the temple, and my husband was sitting there, reading his own book, like a business book. He’s sitting on the sofa, and I am still cross-stitching and still listening in to Exodus.
He came and he was there for that part, and he just kept lifting his head up, and laughing and being interested in all the details that went into designing the temple because he’s a designer.
It’s just fascinating to read about... I can’t remember his name Amanda, what’s the designer’s name?
Amanda: Oh gosh, don’t put me on the spot. I don’t know.
Raechel: Ezel, Bezel? Whatever, I can’t say it.
Amanda: I can’t say it either. Anyway, keep talking and I’ll find it.
Raechel: It was just an interesting conversation as the book went on. By the end of the day, I’d moved out to the back porch, and it was the very end where Moses is putting up the posts of the temple for the first time, and they’re putting the canvas over it or whatever.
I stopped and rewound it like three times because like that last part of chapter twenty, it’s where the temple gets set up, and then God’s cloud comes in and inhabits the temple. It’s like when the Holy of Holies becomes the Holy of Holies.
As a family, our eyes were wide. We were like, “Wow!” Like we’d never paid attention to the moment when the temple became the temple.
There was no formula, like, “Here’s quiet time for me today.” But it was just like a gift, like the Lord knew I had a hunger for knowing him. He carved out this quiet time for our family where we all just got to come in and out, with his word being read.
It was our own non-quiet time where it was just like a part of our day. I realized that’s not every Sunday or anybody’s real life ever. But it was a wonderful, little, happy gift day, where we got to just listen to scripture.
Maybe we weren’t going to read it out loud, and we weren’t going to impose it on anybody in the family. But everyone was blessed by the reading of the Word at our house, and it was a really sweet time.
Emily: I really love what you’re describing there. It’s a beautiful story. It’s like this bringing together of your discipline and your intentional choice to sit down and say, “I am going to listen to this.”
Also, like you said, non-quiet time, non-formula [laughs] thing where God made that into what He wanted it to be for you. You know, that day. Sometimes we don’t want to be disciplined, we want it to kind of like just magically happen, or whatever. It to just be this organic thing.
It does require that intentional first step. But then I love that you didn’t box it into that either, and allowed it to infiltrate your whole day and your family in. I feel like that’s true a lot times of quiet times, which maybe we’ll start to campaign to quit calling it that. [laughter]
I thought Bible study time is this combination of like, “I am going to sit down and make time for this. God, I am also going to let interruptions happen. I am going to see where you’re directing my time for this study.”
Amanda: Yes, a lot of times my car does this thing where, when you crank the car, if a lot of times I’ve been listening to something, then it won’t pick up. But for some reason the volume’s always up really loud. The kids will get in the car and be like, “And the Lord said...” [laughter] and they’ll all crack up.
But I love that. Raechel hadn’t told me that story, so I love that image of your family. I can just picture you guys in your living room and that happening.
You asked about common pitfalls, and I really think that is one of the big ones, is not the boxing in. Like expecting that it should look a certain way, or kind of putting these false restrictions or expectations on ourselves, that the Lord never puts on us, to be clear.
There are passages in the Bible where it’s just to go in your closet and pray. Jesus pulled away from the crowd, and so there is precedence.
Even in this song, like seeking the Lord in the morning, there are places where it calls for that. But somewhere along the way, we feel like, “Okay. Well that’s the one way that it looks.” Then when it doesn’t look that way, we feel like we’ve failed, or that we’re not spiritual enough, or that the Lord is disappointed in us.
That grieves my heart, especially for young mothers, and really just women in general. I think women – I don’t know if this true of men, I’ve never been a man - but women, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves on what our time in God’s Word should look like.
What makes me really sad about that is that it steals our joy because the joy of reading God’s Word is the connection with our Father. To insist that it be at a certain time of the day, or that it be uninterrupted, or that it be a certain length. Any of those things automatically takes the focus off of God’s Word, and puts it back on our effort.
Our effort is never going to be perfect. One of our primary encouragements for women is to read, and to be open to what that looks like in different seasons. Be open to what that looks like on different days of the week.
Yes, definitely find space and time to read God’s Word in quiet, alone if you can. But also, read God’s Word for your family. Read God’s Word when you’re in line at the drive through at the bank. Read God’s Word in the car pickup line.
When the She Reads Truth app first came out, we had so many women who commented on how they were thankful to have access to God’s Word into devotional and stuff, when they were in the pickup line waiting for their kids at school. So many of us spend … it’s a solid like fifteen minutes of our day that we’re just kind of trapped, right? Anyway, that is a common pitfall, our own expectation.
Laura: Yes. I really appreciate how you guys are looking at this in really creative ways. I know that I am very much a creature of habit, I really enjoy my routine, which as a mom of little kids, there isn’t a lot of routines. That can be very difficult.
But I love how you guys are looking at it not having to be at the same time, it doesn’t have to be the same style. I mean, just to think about “Let’s listen to a whole book the whole day.”
You think about how many people have TVs running throughout the whole day, just in the background! Maybe they’re paying attention, maybe they’re not, and I just love that! Instead of TV it’s the Word of God speaking over your home throughout the day.
That’s a really great encouragement for moms to get creative with how they get the Word of God into their souls and into their minds because there are so many ways to do it in the world that we live in today.
Our option is not just the tangible Bible – which it is a wonderful gift to have the Bible in printed text – but we have so many options. That’s a great encouragement to mothers.
To tag onto that, for you guys in closing here, what kind of encouragement would you give young mothers today?
Raechel: [laughs] So much. Somebody was just telling me the other day, they were like, “Alive till 5.” That’s the rule. Just keep them alive. Just keep ‘em clothed and fed.
Amanda: That was us with our twins … but we meant five years old. But 5 o’clock in the day was …
Raechel: I forgot about when they were five-years-old!
Amanda: Yes! [laughter]
Emily: Speaking of, Amanda, I did not know you had twin boys. I have twin boys that are turning four this fall. Offline I may have to ask you some questions about how to survive. [laughs]
Amanda: That is enough information for me to know that you’re doing great. [laughter]
Raechel: Yes. Gosh, encouragement for young mothers. I never want to be the old lady that’s like, “It goes so fast.”
Amanda: Oh my gosh! Stop saying that Raechel. The first thing I always want to say to young moms is when I see them out, I have a rule – from twin mom to twin mom – I sort of have that rule when I see a mother or friend of toddler twins out in public, I make a point to go over to her and tell her she’s doing a great job.
Emily: I am so glad you said that. [laughs]
Amanda: Because it was hard, and motherhood is just hard. I don’t know that mothering twins is any harder, but it’s definitely logistically challenging.
One of the things that I always needed to hear and have the urge to say to young moms is that you’re not alone. It feels so isolating. Mothering young children, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom of young children, or if you’re a working mom of young children – when you’re the working mom, sometimes you can feel like you’re the only working mom. And when you’re the stay-at-home mom, sometimes you feel like, “I am the only human.” [laughter] It’s almost like there are no adults. “There are no adults over the age of five in the world, it’s just me!” [laughter]
So you’re not alone, and not just that there are other mothers all over the world that are in there with you, even though they’re not there physically present, Jesus is with you.
My mother-in-law is precious, and she has always told her kids when she tucked them in at night … the last thing that she says to them. She still does mind you – they’re grown, right - here I am married to one of them.
When she tucks my kids, her grandchildren, in at night, and the last thing she says is, “Jesus is with you,” it almost got on my nerves a little sometimes. I sound like a terrible person right now, but it’s true, because I just thought like, “Well that’s real sweet,” but like, “What’s that mean?” But it was so simple, but it always bothered me because it was such a simple truth that is so hard for me to understand. Just for the young moms, those who are mothering small children, you’re not alone.
We’re either in there with you, or we’ve been where you are, and Jesus is with you. You are not alone; he sees every small act of faithfulness, every diaper you change, every time you sleep...
Raechel: Every time you cry.
Amanda: Every tear you cry. It’s good work, its holy work that you’re doing, I would say. He didn’t say that, but I am going to say it. [laughs]
Raechel: I’ll tell you one really practical thing. I think this is absolutely helpful, haha we’ll see.
When my oldest – this is like ten years ago – was a baby I started this habit of doing my future self favors. The day had come – it was probably born out of that thing where women our mom’s age would say, “It goes by so fast.” Like, “You’re going to be so sad when this is over,” and you’re like, “Oh my word, I can’t. I just want to sleep.” [laughter]
I remember I started it when he was a baby, and I would rock him at night – and I didn’t do this every night – but I would give him a kiss, and rock him in the room, and then lay him down in his crib.
When I was ready to do it, like here’s the kiss, here’s the lay you down, I said, “And I know that when I am older, and when he’s older, I am going to wish I could kiss him one more time. And I am going to wish that I could rock him one more minute.”
I would always kiss him one more time, and rock him one more minute as a favor to my future self. I don’t know, that sounds maybe crazy, but...
Laura: No, it doesn’t! I am tearing up over here.
Emily: Let’s talk about that [laughter].
Raechel: Literally I was cooking dinner in my house the other night and he was away at soccer, and he’s ten. I was feeling sentimental about how he’s not a baby any more. Then I just closed my eyes and I cashed in one of those one last kisses and one last rocks, and I was like, “I am so glad I did that for future me.”
It goes so fast, and so do little favors for your future-self. Give them one last kiss and one more minute of rocking while you can, so you can cash in that later.
Amanda: That’s sweet Raechel.
Laura: Well, I am like a total ball baby over here, thinking about how I need to be doing that [laughs].
Amanda: One in each arm, you can to it. [laughter]
Laura: Yes, exactly! Well, Amanda and Raechel, we just really appreciate your time today. We are just thrilled to have you guys on the show.
We hope everyone goes and checks out all the She Reads Truth resources at shereadstruth.com, as well as please, pick up a copy of this Bible.
You’ll be inspired to read the text just because it is so beautiful. Of course it is more than that, the Word of God is living and active. This Bible is not only beautiful, but will also profoundly impact your life.
Thank you ladies for being on the show, we truly appreciate it.
Raechel: Thanks for having us.
Amanda: Thanks for having us. Good to talk to you guys.