The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Welcome to Risen Motherhood. We are so thrilled to have all of you guys joining us today. Thank you so much for tuning in for our very first episode. I have my sister-in-law Emily Jensen here. We are super excited to get this project off the ground. Emily, I feel like we started this so long ago.
Emily: So many months ago, I know. It feels so rewarding to make some progress. It seems like so many things in life are just the same thing all the time, so it’s fun to be seeing this project realized.
Laura: What we’re going to be talking about today is our current culture, and why we feel something like Risen Motherhood is needed. We'er going to talk about the idea behind the show, motherhood and the gospel, and tying that into what the gospel really means as mothers - how that changes how we mother. Em, do you want to kick us off?
Emily: Sure. Laura and I are both in the online space. We’re both bloggers and sister-in-laws too, so we read all these blog posts about moms needing to do things in a certain way. The pressure to be perfect and how to balance everything correctly and finding the right system and the right way to feed your kids. There’s just so much out there right now that is pressure on us and it’s really stressful to be a mom sometimes.
Laura and I always find ourselves talking about the daily issues and going back and forth like, “How should we be thinking about this?” and, “What is my heart attitude in this and what does that say about how I’m living out that aspect of motherhood?” These are conversations that Laura and I have been having for a while, and they’ve been really helpful to us.
Laura: We found that there is so much confusion in motherhood, like Emily said. We’re talking about everything from practical stuff, like potty training, to deep heart issues of the sanctifying work that motherhood does, and what our heart attitude is whenever our kid is disobedient. We feel like, if we’re having these conversations, we bet other moms are having these conversations too. Both of us have individually had them with other moms, and so we just recognize how difficult it is to be a mother these days.
With all that online chatter and books and how-tos and ten-steps-to-the-perfect-sleeper, all these things are calling and clamoring for attention. It can be really difficult to find our focus and to remember what matters. That’s something that Emily and I have found in each other; the ability to keep each other focused on what truly and ultimately matters. We are hoping that Risen Motherhood can be an extension of those conversations and a way that all of you can come alongside us. I think we want to be clear and upfront too that Em and I do not have it all together.
Emily: We are definitely still learning and growing and we are working this out. As we talk through these things with each other, and with other moms around us and read scripture, we are learning. So you are hearing a work in progress; definitely remember that. As Laura was saying, we need each other. I think that is our hope, that this would spurn on thoughts for you and maybe would even cause you to go your own friend group and say, “Can we be talking about these things?” and, “What are you doing in this situation?” or, “How are you handling this feeling of guilt?” or, “How are you handling potty training or whatever?” Then talk about those things in light of scripture.
That is the heart of Risen Motherhood. We want to be moms who live in light of the resurrection of Christ, and walk in our new identity and that’s the story behind the name.
Laura: The other thing we wanted to mention, before we dive into the true meat of the episode, is that we see this for all moms, but we are moms of young children and so that’s probably more of our target audience. But working moms, stay at home moms, we want to do this in 15 minutes. We chose that time intentionally so that you could get in, get out, and get a little bit of encouragement for your day. You can do that while folding your laundry, hiding in the bathroom, washing dishes or whatever it is you need to do – maybe driving in a car – I find that’s a good time to listen to podcasts.
Emily: I put my phone in my back pocket and I walk around the house while I’m sweeping and cleaning.
Laura: I do that too!
Emily: There is an idea, if you’re trying to find a way to listen to a podcast.
Laura: Yes, then you can always hear it and your kids can’t steal it from you.
Okay, let’s jump in to cut into the meat of the topic today. We want to talk about the gospel and how it impacts motherhood. Why don’t you jump off Em? You talked to me a lot about our identity and I think that’s just a point you should bring up today.
Emily: It’s something that I’ve learned and grown in, is that to always be thinking of myself and ourselves as women, first and foremost as Christians; as followers of Christ and that is who we are, and then we have all these different roles and callings in our life. That might be wife or daughter or friend or mom or church member. Those are all callings or roles but they don’t define who we are. It’s important that we don’t get that confused because I think looking at ourselves through that lens of Christ is where it all starts.
Laura: I think that one awesome thing about remembering who we are in Christ, is that we know too, as moms we have a bigger purpose in mothering than just raising moral kids or kids that do well at school. We are striving for something that is eternal and long lasting. I think that’s something for me that is so fulfilling about motherhood - when I remember this is eternal work. I’m not just sweeping the floors for the 500th time because I want a clean house. I am doing that to show my kids God’s love. All these little building blocks: playing with them during the day and cleaning up after them, and changing diapers and all those little things that we do. Those are ultimately leading up to such a greater work.
Emily: I think we long for this adventure and to be a part of something that is exciting and we want to escape. It’s like motherhood can feel so mundane; just doing the same thing over and over again, like you said. It’s when we’re thinking of ourselves though, as a daughter-warrior for the King and we’re in this kingdom and there’s this whole spiritual realm that we don’t see, that’s our reality. That’s our reality in the gospel so that’s exciting!
Laura: Emily’s nerd side, of fantasy stuff, is totally coming out right now! (Laughter)
Emily: It’s just a way to say, “Part of me sweeping the floor is being an image bearer and this has purpose.” Then also, I think there’s this aspect of guilt that weighs moms down. I literally don’t know how moms do it apart from Christ because when I feel like a failure, I get to go to the Lord and say, “Lord, I have totally messed up here. I have spoken harshly to my children or I have totally checked out today as a mom." I had just put them in front of the TV and been like, “I can’t. I can’t today.” I can repent of that and say, “No, you have new mercies for me,” and I don’t have to carry that guilt around tomorrow. I don’t know how moms do that apart from Jesus.
Laura: I totally agree. I find that it is just a continual repentance throughout the day. I think that’s something that I can be disgusted by - how often I need to come back to the cross.
But really, if I continue to come back to the cross during the day, living in light of the gospel and renewing my mind through the truth of God’s word, I find that at the end of the day, I am so much lighter. When I don’t do that, I’m super discouraged. I’m annoyed at my children and snappy at my husband. But if I can remember to "keep the main thing, the main thing," I my day not only goes better in the moment, but also just overall. By the end of the day, I can go to bed and sleep peacefully.
Emily: Exactly, and there are so many things that we have to give up as moms, right? That’s part of it, feeling like, “Sometimes it’s like everything is being taken away from me. I can’t sleep through the night anymore. I can’t eat without somebody trying to get food off my plate. I can’t walk anywhere without stepping on a toy.” You just feel like, “Wow, what has my life become?”
But I think again, the gospel speaks to that and just says, “No.” Christ gave everything for us and we are called to lay down our whole lives to follow Him, and not wait, pursue comfort and not look back. That’s radical motivation. To pour ourselves out because we have eternity to be with Jesus, and to have joy and not be stepping on toys, so it’s okay to step on a few now and try and not say anything awful when you do. (Laughter)
Laura: I know. Hold your tongue, right? (Laughter) It’s so interesting. Those moments where you - for me especially, it’s like missing naptime. When the kids don’t nap, they are so revealing of our hearts and I feel like that shows me exactly what I am hoping in that day. It will reveal that if I miss my naptime and my day is ruined, I am super crabby at my kids. My husband walks in the door and I’m like, “I’m done, they’re yours.” That totally reveals my heart - that I have put more faith in a nap than I in the gospel and what Christ has done for me.
Emily: Exactly and we’re not going to get our joy from a perfect rest time, away from our children. We’re not going to get our joy in having our house perfectly cleaned, or getting to this imaginary place where all of our laundry is done and where our children are behaving.
I think it’s just finding our joy in Christ and we can have joy there. That’s just crazy and it’s something that we need to hear and we need to live in and walk in because if not, motherhood does get exhausting and it’s impossible to do on our own strength.
Laura: It definitely is, yes. I think that it’s remembering that this is a choice, that coming to the cross is something that we need to do each and every day, moment by moment and it’s something that we’ve never arrived. As moms, that’s a really important point too; to remember this needs to be done over and over and over again.
Emily: Yes. Well, these are exciting conversations and we definitely want to continue them, which is why we have other episodes on different topics but we want to just make sure you guys have a chance to get to know us a little bit here on the front end. Laura, do you want to share with everybody a little bit about you?
Laura: Sure. My name’s Laura and I am married to my husband Mike, who’s an engineer. We’ve been married about five years. We have two kiddos; one is almost three and then my other baby just turned one on New Year’s Eve. We’ve recently moved to Chicago from Minneapolis. We had a crazy whirlwind year where we did a home renovation, lived in temporary housing for a bit, and finally just finding ourselves settling down, which has felt nice to not be as crazy.
Things that I’m interested in or do: I feel fairly boring when I have to talk about hobbies, but Emily and I both have blogs as we’ve mentioned and I so enjoy writing and reading - hardcover books - way better than those eReaders. Doing DIY projects; I like large and small ones, everything from little paper crafting things to, I don’t know, we recently built a credenza, total IKEA hack, but a credenza for our dining room in our new house.
Emily: Yes, Laura is a super skilled decorator. She’s very humble about it but she’s awesome at DIY projects and her house is as gorgeous.
Laura: Thanks Em. Okay, your turn.
Emily: I am married to Laura’s brother so that’s the connection; Laura’s brother Brad. We’ve been married for over six years and we live in Central Iowa, although I’m originally a Kansas-citian. I have four boys, a three and half-year old, twin two-year olds and an almost five-month old baby. We’ve got a lot of energy in our house and I have become an expert on diggers during the day. I know what an excavator is versus a front-end loader. And I can act them all out too. So yes, I try to find ways to control the chaos and it’s great. (Laughter)
Laura: Emily is a super girly girl. Everyone knows she’s a super, super girly girl - she would have four boys.
Emily: Exactly, although Laura is trying to teach me all kinds of crazy things. And when I get time, I like writing and reading like Laura said, and I love watching PBS shows with my husband, specifically The Masterpiece classic shows. I’m not going to give everybody a lecture about why they need to watch them but there’s good stuff. My husband and I like business ideas and improvements and systems, and all that stuff.
Laura: Very analytical.
Emily: He’s an engineering heart as well. My hobby in 2016 is cooking with more vegetables.
If I don’t put it on my hobby list, it might not happen. Actually, my hobby list might not happen in general. (Laughter)
Laura: That’s motherhood I guess.
Okay, we are going to have show notes for every single show, which basically means you’re going to be able to find links for more information on the topic we discussed, things written by ourselves or also written by other wiser women than us that we have found as great resources. Definitely head over to our blogs and check those out. Emily, do you want to cover the other stuff?
Emily: You can also find us on social media. We’ll have all of those links connected through our blog so if you can get one place, you can get all the places. Definitely subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. That helps other people find us and gets the word out about the show, so that is extremely helpful. We would really appreciate it.
And just talk to a friend about this, especially if you know someone who is trying to understand how their faith impacts their motherhood, or maybe they’re just struggling in motherhood and they need to hear some encouragement. Definitely talk with them about these issues and yes, get excited because next time we’ll be talking about self-care. Get your coffee and take your deep breath.
Laura: Yes, your cold coffee - it will probably be cold. That’s one thing we should just say. We are talking about fun topics you guys: self-care, postpartum, gospel instruction for young children - that postpartum one is postpartum body image, yikes, strikes - but we’re going to tackle it. The last one is marriage and motherhood, so those are the topics. Tune in for one, hopefully all of them, and we will see you next time. Thanks guys!