This transcript was edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. We’re excited to kick off today’s show with a special announcement you may have heard if you’re following us over on social media @RisenMotherhood. That’s where we tend to make new, big announcements because we record these in advance. But we are writing a book! “Risen Motherhood,” the book!
Laura: It’s always weird to make announcements to Emily’s closet; [laughter] basically that’s what we’re doing right now.
Emily: Yes, my husband’s work jeans just got really excited [laughter] about that. It’s coming out Fall 2019. We don’t have a ton of details yet because we’re in the manuscript writing phase, so pray for us.
Laura: Brutal phase, but it’s fun.
Emily: It’s this cool combination of really enjoyable and gratifying work, but also difficult in some ways. But we are excited to share the journey with you guys, so follow us - like I said – on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @risenmotherhood. But mostly Instagram is where we’ll share this.
Laura: We do a lot of behind-the-scenes on Stories, so if you don’t watch our Stories, it’s totally fine. [laughter] But that’s where we’ll hop on and share behind-the-scenes looks.So on our show today we’re talking about what can sometimes feel like a little bit of a sensitive topic. We all have little crutches that we like to lean on, and we don’t want anybody to mess with our crutches.
We’re going to start off though by talking a little bit about ... just how motherhood drains you. [Laughs]
Emily: Yes it does, and there are certainly seasons where it’s more draining than others. But one I always vividly remember is not long after my twins were born, I was actually pumping and bottle-feeding them, and at the time, our older child was like 16-months-old.
Laura: We were all tired for you. [laughter]
Emily: One of the first days that I was home all by myself all day long, I remember pumping with a bra. I was literally walking and pumping with my backpack on, trying to feed and take care of twins. My toddler baby is pushing a chair into the kitchen and climbing on stuff. Once I got everyone safe, I remember going to my room and literally hitting my knees and being like, “God, why did you do this to me? You have to help me.” Just being completely desperate and completely at the end of my rope and just feeling like, “I don’t know how I am going to survive this.” [laughter]
Laura: I know. It’s funny now, but it’s never funny at the time, right?
Emily: It’s not funny.
Laura: We all have those moments we think of immediately. Every time someone asks me, “When were you at the most weak in motherhood?” I go back to my daughter’s colic. But I have talked about that so much on the show I am going to talk about a different time. [laughter] I think you guys are all like, “We know your daughter had colic, Laura.”
But the most recent was just this past summer – we were transitioning into having our third baby who was actually diagnosed with special needs. This was the same week that my husband broke his leg, ended up having surgery and was on crutches for three months. He was in a wheelchair for a few weeks, and it was just a really hard season with young, little kids. I had a husband that really could not help, and actually needed a lot of my help, and then dealing with a lot of grief on top of all of that. That was a season that I cried, not everyday, but I cried a lot of days. And when I cried, I cried really hard. [laughter] I just found it was a time where I was like, “I literally can’t do it. I’ve hit the wall.” You think you hit the wall a lot in motherhood. But then you slam into it one day, [laughter] and you’re like, “Oh, that’s the wall. [Laughter] Okay, I really did find the wall this time.”
Emily: Maybe it’s something you can’t relate to, something that intense yet. But it’s something like you’ve just had three or four days in a row without much sleep. You just feel like, “I don’t know how I can carry on today.” Or maybe you have been trying to balance work and motherhood for whatever reason. You just feel like, “Hey, I am not doing a good enough job in either area and I am tired; I am worn out.” Maybe you just have a lot of work in the home that you’re having a hard time keeping up with. We all have laundry, and dishes and things that we have to coordinate on calendars. It can just be a lot and really overwhelming.
Laura: It doesn’t have to be huge things; it can be a lot of these little things. Maybe even feeling lonely or isolated. Maybe it’s not something you’re doing everyday; it’s the fact that you don’t have friendships. Or maybe you don’t have fellow believers around you because you’re a single mom and feel really alone in your role. Or maybe you’re a missionary and you feel like there isn’t that local church support that you wish you had.
Emily: But whatever it is, we all have these seasons, big and small, where we feel like we’re at the end of our rope. One thing we can do – Laura and I can relate to this – is rely on crutches or survival tools, aside from Jesus, which we’ll get to. I know one for me is – I have a lot – but I’ll share just one example.[laughter]
Laura: We’re going to get vulnerable with you guys and tell you about our crutches.
Emily: Yes. I think sweets is one of my crutches. Honestly if I don’t have them in my house, I am not too bad. But if I know I’ve got a bag of cookies sitting around, if it’s been a really stressful day, it’s usually about two in the afternoon, I just have one and I am like, “Hmm, that tasted good, and I deserve more of these.” Then – here’s the way my reasoning goes – “I am just going to eat the whole bag so they’re not a temptation anymore.” [Laughter]
Laura: Incredibly logical.
Emily: Then they’re not there anymore and I don’t have to walk by them. That’s one of many for me that can be after the fact that I know that was a gross overindulgence and completely unnecessary, but it made me think it was going to help me get through the day.
Laura: Yes. For me, it’s similar because it’s a sweet treat, but it’s coffee. I love the froufrou coffee drinks. I don’t normally drink it; I usually have black. But I know that whenever I am having a hard day, or a hard season, I definitely go through the drive-through lane thinking, “I deserve this.” It’s very different than having a couple cups of coffee. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but definitely my heart attitude towards getting a froufrou, $5 drink is like, “Argh, I’ve had such a hard day. I totally need this.” I mean, I will go out of my way to get that coffee, and I feel like I can’t feel good until I have it. Then I get upset if I am not able to have it.
For me in certain seasons, I [laughs] definitely notice the coffee.
And for both of us – Emily and I were talking - our phones can be something we want to check out on. Or maybe it’s just a hard moment and we’re like, “Okay, let’s just go see what’s happening on pretty Instagram.”
Emily: I’ll get to where I am sitting on the couch – again, this is usually at the end of the day, and I am yell-parenting from the couch. [laughter] I am just done and I am like, let me just sit here and look at my phone ... “Hey, what are you guys doing down there? Stop that!” [laughter]
We all have these things, and maybe you can’t relate to any of those. But maybe for you it’s wine - that’s something in mom culture we see a lot, and that’s fine. Laura and I have the occasional glass of wine. But maybe you’re drinking it to the point of drunkenness, you’re hiding it from people, or you’re doing it alone to cope. Maybe it’s the gym or exercising. Again, nothing wrong with being healthy, getting those endorphins and getting out your stress. But it can become a way that we’re just trying to cope with something.
Laura: Or maybe it’s the fact that you are leaning on your friends; you need them to survive throughout the day. You’re constantly texting them, wanting to be with them and you feel like you can’t be home or you can’t be alone with yourself. Or maybe it’s inspirational quotes or sayings that are secular or of the world, telling you that you are doing enough, and you’re going to be okay, just try harder. Online shopping – it feels good. You get a thrill when you purchase new jeans on the internet. Or work – wanting to detach from your current home life and invest into work because you can see the productivity. You feel a little more successful, and there’s not a bunch of tiny barriers in your way for getting things done.
Emily: Again, what we want to say, these, in and of themselves are not necessarily bad things. But when we’re using them as a crutch, that’s when it kind of goes into this area where our hearts are wrong. Laura shared a little bit about her husband breaking his leg, but what was that season like? He would have been hobbling around, but explain what happened. [laughter]
Laura: The biggest thing that I always remember is that he was unable to use his hands during that season because they were full with the crutches. They were leaning on crutches, so he couldn’t really help me do anything. He was incapable of really getting any work done, [laughter] or getting through anything. It was really hard as a wife. I was like, “Get a little fanny pack, honey. Just tuck your things there.” [laughter] Crutches – well let’s not take this analogy too far – but something with that is we’re looking for that quick fix. But ultimately, it’s sort of paralyzes you, and you’re not able to be effective.
Long term being on crutches doesn’t heal what is broken, it only helps you limp along. What helped my husband heal was having the surgery on his leg, and taking the time that it needed to heal. Not the crutches themselves; it just limped him along for a while. [Laughter] That’s kind of what we do with crutches. But really what we need is the healing of our savior. Instead, we’re just putting this band aid on through online shopping, or wine, or coffee or whatever it maybe.
Emily: Yes. The gospel gives us a better way. We thought for this show, instead of going into creation, fall, redemption and restoration – we love that – we just wanted to bring out a couple stories about people who hit the end of their rope, or were completely paralyzed, or just needy people, and Jesus was so compassionate and merciful to them. This isn’t from the perspective of two Bible teachers; we know there’s a lot of different ways that you can apply stories and unpack them and things. But just things that have impacted us as we look at the scriptures and say, “Wow! Jesus is really the best. He is the only one who’s able to offer this.”
Laura: Yes. First off, we can look at Mark 2, the paralytic - this is a man who cannot walk. He is totally paralyzed, and his friends lower him through the roof to be in front of Jesus. At that moment, Jesus sees their faith and he forgives the man’s sins, which is his eternal need, but he also heals his body, and from there, the man gets up and walks. He’s no longer laying on the mat. God gets the glory, and people are just amazed.
We think that that parallels well to motherhood – how we feel so paralyzed sometimes. But it is okay to come to Jesus, completely incapable. That man could not do anything to save himself, or to help him to walk. That’s how we approach the throne, and when we approach with faith, Jesus can forgive our sins and bring us into true fellowship with God, healing us in a way that really counts. Then we have the Holy Spirit who helps us to keep going in his strength, and give God glory. That also is a great picture for other people to see God’s strength and our weaknesses.
Emily: I loved that the end of that parable talks about people were amazed, and God got glory. That is what is so cool when we turn to Jesus instead of some of our crutches. It’s God getting glory as well, and other people going like, “Wow, how is she sustained?” It’s through the grace of God.
Another story that comes to mind is from Mark 5 - this is the woman who has been bleeding for 12 years. In their culture, she would have been considered unclean. She probably would have been out of fellowship with people that she wanted to be around. She’d tried everything, been to every doctor. If you want to use this language, she tried every crutch, [laughter] every means of getting by with temporary healing. We find out from the parable that all of this actually just makes her worse. That her problem has gotten worse from all of those things. She hears about Jesus, and she comes to just touch his robe. She thinks, “Okay, if I just do this, I will be healed.”
That is what happens. She is fully, completely healed from her affliction. When Jesus realizes what happens, he turns around to address her, and she just falls down, prostrate before him. He tells her that it’s her faith that has made her well, and now she can get up and go in peace. She has now been made clean. There’s all these things in her life that are going to start, little by little, to be restored because of the healing that she received.
In motherhood, we are often trying every means to take care of ourselves; [laughs] like we’re going to see every doctor possible. And really it’s just making us worse when we don’t approach Jesus. But we can come to him in faith, with our deepest hurts and issues, and he’s not afraid of that. We’re not going to make him unclean.
Laura: One thing we want to point out is that sometimes this process can take awhile – that sanctification takes time. One thing that always comes to mind for me is my husband worked a lot. We’ve done a show about it before, When Husbands Work Long Hours, that you can check out the link in the show notes. But in that season, my husband worked for a long time – about seven years – and I had a very bad attitude for many of those years. I didn’t understand why God wouldn’t take away that thorn, or help us to fix that issue, and have him not work quite so much.
But the transformation that I needed in order to understand where Christ was at in my life and how he sustained me took a lot of time. Sometimes God sees it good for us to be in the wait, and to travel through a very long season of surrender. We want to point out that this isn’t always a quick fix. That just because you say, “Okay, I am going to get rid of my crutch,” doesn’t mean you’re going to turn around and always have this great attitude and perspective.
But it’s constantly going back to the cross, and continually repenting and saying, “Lord, I want you more than I want this quick fix.” We learn a lot in that longer season. Emily you have a really good quote. I want you to read it.
Emily: I just ran across this from Zack Eswine. He’s talking in response to some of these stories where we see Jesus do these miraculous healings. He says, “The presence of inconsolable things reminds us that healing is not the same as heaven. Miracles are real and powerful, but they do not remove the inconsolable things.” He goes on to talk about how these people that received healing; let’s say the lame man who walks, he could still trip and break his leg later in life. There were still situations that came up that were hurtful, so it’s still a long process. Whatever it is, whatever situation you’re in, God may actually be working for his glory as you turn to him day in and day out, over and over again. As you feel like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back. That is really normal.
Laura: Bringing this down, what does all this mean for us moms who are struggling? Which, I think, is every woman listening to this podcast. [laughter] It is a good place when we are weak. Being weak shows how Jesus is strong. When we are poor in spirit, and meek and humble, when we’re at the end of our rope, we can be a lot like that paralytic. We can realize that we can’t do this on our own, but that’s where Christ shows up, and he fills us up, and we rely on him. We can turn to him in prayer and confession, crying out to him. He wants that and he knows how you feel already, so don’t be afraid to show your weakness in front of the Lord.
Emily: Yes. This next one, it’s hard to believe at times. But it’s true, and it’s that Jesus is better than anything that you are using as a crutch. He is more wonderful and more enjoyable. We may be running to more Netflix shows, or social media, and they do satisfy a little bit. One thing I say to my kids a lot is like, “This might make you a little bit happy for a little while, but only God is going to make you the most happy for the longest period of time.” We have to say that truth to ourselves.
There is a hymn that I love that speaks to this.
“Come you sinners, poor and needy,
weak and wounded, sick and sore.
Jesus ready stands to save you,
full of pity, love and power.”
Then it goes on to say this;
“When we arise, I will arise and go to Jesus.
He will embrace me in his arms.
In the arms of my dear savior, oh there are ten thousand charms.”
I love that because it’s not just a picture of us coming weak and wounded, which we are. But it’s a picture of us finding ten thousand charms - endless things to enjoy in Jesus. That is a hard thing to believe, but we can embrace him more and more.
Laura: Finally, we know that God has everything he needs to sustain us. He is the source of our power, patience, and long suffering. Jesus is all of that for us. Often we can come to him thinking that he’s withholding from us, or that he might withhold something from us. Or that he doesn’t really care about something. But we have to remember that he owns everything. He controls everything. He is sovereign over all, and so this should give us a lot of confidence that when we go to him, we will get the help that we need. He can provide all of that for us, and he will, because he loves you, mom.
Emily: We know that this show doesn’t solve everything. You may still have situations in your life that you’re like, “I don’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel, and this feels like it’s never ending. What I am going to do if I give up my crutches? How I am going to survive?” But we’re just trusting that God is working in your heart as he’s working in ours to begin to see ways that we can turn to God, turn to Christ in those hard situations. Begin to put some of those things that are good in their rightful place in our lives, which may still be enjoying a cup of coffee, or going to the gym, but not relying on that for sustenance.
Anyway, if you want to find out more about this, you can go to our website, risenmotherhood.com. We’ll have show notes there with lots of links to different, helpful things and quotes in the show. You can also find us on @risenmotherhood on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Laura: Thanks for joining us guys.