As a mom, do you assume Scripture doesn’t have much to say about the food you make for breakfast, how you view your postpartum body, or what school choice you make for your children? How should you apply the gospel to common issues you face every day so you can connect your Sunday morning faith to the Monday morning tantrum?
Bible Gateway interviewed Emily Jensen (@EmJensenWrites) and Laura Wifler (@laurawifler) about their book, Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments (Harvest House Publishers, 2019).
What message are you conveying with the title?
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler: Risen motherhood is simply living in light of the resurrection of Christ. As new creations in him, our new hearts and unchanging hope transform everything in motherhood, even the most mundane aspects.
How do you apply the Bible’s gospel message directly to motherhood?
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler: In the book, we break “the gospel” down into a common pattern to help us think about its application to our everyday moments—Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation. This pattern becomes a framework for our thinking and writing. When we consider how to apply the gospel to an area of motherhood, we encourage moms to ask questions like,
- How did God originally intend for this to be?
- How has sin and brokenness impacted my heart or circumstances?
- What do Jesus’ death and resurrection mean for my identity and mission?
- How does the Holy Spirit help me and change me? Where am I placing my hope?”
There are many questions to ask, but when a mom examines her heart, she can begin to discern and deal with internal guilt, hardships, sorrows, and pressure from the world and place her eyes back on Christ. It’s only in him that she’ll find lasting joy, hope, and help. When she looks to Christ, every moment in motherhood becomes an opportunity for worship.
How do you suggest recognizing the extraordinary in the mundane routines of mothering?
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler: Motherhood is full of small, unseen tasks. We search for the pacifier under the crib for the hundredth time, make another meal, and wipe the counters clean. But this is tiring! We often want more fine dining and less peanut butter and jelly, more Instagram-worthy moments and fewer piles of laundry.
But God doesn’t ascribe more value to the extraordinary than the mundane. Instead, he looks on the heart and asks us to worship him in each moment, big or small. He asks us to be faithful, loving him and others right where we’re at, trusting that he is working just as much in the mundane moments as in the mountain tops. When we view all of life as a chance to know, display, and obey God, then no moment is disposable or meaningless. All things are from him, through him, and to him (Romans 11:36)—which means even something as mundane as folding laundry can be extraordinary when we do it with joy and patience to serve our household, reflecting our magnificent Savior.
How does culture’s definition of motherhood differ from God’s purpose?
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler: Culture sends moms mixed messages. On one hand, it seems like there’s a “right” way to do motherhood, and our job is to need to figure it out and execute it perfectly. We love our kids, so we want to have the best birth experience, give them the cleanest, healthiest foods, the most nurturing environment, and more. Culture tells us that there’s no price too high—being a well-balanced, modern mom will give us meaning.
But quickly, we discover that we can’t do enough to be the “good” mom that culture tells us to be, because the definition of “good” shifts every day. In those moments, culture gives us permission to just embrace the mess that we are and pursue our own personal hopes, dreams, and desires.
However, in Scripture, we see that God has a design for motherhood that isn’t about a perfect culturally-mandated method or self-actualization. Instead, it’s about passing on the message of life to our children as we image God, reflect the character of Christ, and make disciples of our children. As God’s Word provides boundaries and a framework for life, we’re free to live out his commands in our unique circumstances, knowing that our identity isn’t in the role of motherhood, it’s in Christ alone. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
What is the gospel’s application with mothers who compare themselves with other mothers?
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler: As moms, we tend to size up our choices about work, food, activities, schooling, and more against other mom’s choices—which often leads us to pride or despair. We deem ourselves superior (“Other moms should sacrifice as much as I have. I’ve found the best way.”) or inferior (“I can’t give my kids everything she did. Am I even a good mom?”) In both conclusions, we make our efforts the primary means of being “good enough” for our children.
But the gospel tells us we could never be “good enough” or live up to God’s design and standard for holiness and righteousness. Compared to God, we’ll always fall short. However, he loved us so much that he sent his son to live the life we should’ve lived and die the death we deserved. When we repent of sin and place our faith in him, we’re given a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), the help of the Spirit (John 14:16), and the ability to do good works in faith (Matthew 5:17). In Christ, we can be sure that we’re “good enough” in God’s eyes and that assurance spills over into every aspect of life. This makes us secure and thankful, freeing up energy to love others and cheer them on. We’re not in competition with other moms, we’re in community. Because of the gospel, we can walk in faith, right where God has us. We can obey him in whatever unique family situation we’re in, using our gifts, skills, resources, time, and finances for a kingdom mission in faith.
Where do parents need to find their identity?
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler: If they believe the gospel, then parents aren’t primarily parents, they’re children of God through Christ. It’s this identity, as an adopted child (Romans 8:15), that gives a person love, assurance, hope, and help. In Christ, we’re brothers and sisters in a family that’s on mission to spread the good news of Jesus and make disciples throughout the whole earth until Christ returns.
When our identity is rooted in Christ, we can mess up and fail as parents, yet know that every sin and every wrong we’ve ever committed has been paid for and forgiven through the atoning work of Christ on the cross. This frees us to parent out of an overflow of worship and love for God, rather than from a place of trying to be perfect. When we know our standing in Christ is eternal and unchanging—we don’t puff up in pride when we get things right or wallow in despair when we get it wrong. We can be humble and recognize God’s good gifts in our parenting, and also confess, repent, and change where we need to, knowing our salvation doesn’t hang in the balance over it.
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Emily Jensen: Right now, one of my favorite verses is Hebrews 10:23 (ESV), “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” This is so helpful to me because in the season of motherhood with young children, everyday life feels like wavering. I’m not sure what mood the kids are going to be in and I’m not sure what mood I’m going to be in. Activities and needs change month-by-month. Life brings unexpected sorrows and challenges. But through it all, I can be confident in God’s care and faithfulness. I can hold on to the hope I have in the person, work, and help of Jesus. In a life that feels like wavering, his care and provision never do.
Laura Wifler: One of my recent favorite verses is in Romans 8. The entire chapter is worth a read, but Romans 8:18 has hit home for me in these past few years. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” This reminds me to keep eternity in mind at all times. Some days, I can get bogged down by the hard things in life, but when I lift my eyes and remember my future hope in Christ, it reminds me of what’s important and that I’m part of a bigger story being written.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler: In the busyness of motherhood, we both appreciate the ease and availability to read, listen to, and study God’s Word online and through an app. Bible Gateway is an excellent resource for a new mom who wants to read a psalm during a late-night feeding session, a mom who uses a lunch-break for quiet time with the Lord, and a mom who wants to fill her home with the Word of God during playtime or mealtime. The Bible is living and active, it’s what God uses to change hearts, so anytime we can access it easily, it’s truly a gift.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler: Our hope with Risen Motherhood is to encourage a mom right where she’s at. The gospel is not too hard and God is not too far.
For any mom who wants to learn more, she can check out the Risen Motherhood book here. On our website we also have a ton of free resources—weekly podcasts and blog posts, a monthly newsletter, curated resources pages, and free downloadable Bible study tools. We’d also love for anyone to join the conversation and our community! Connect with us @risenmotherhood on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Bio: Emily Jensen’s articles have appeared on numerous websites, including For the Church, The Gospel Project Blog, and The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. She and her sister-in-law, Laura Wilfer, are cofounders of Risen Motherhood, a gospel-centered ministry for moms. Emily lives in central Iowa with her husband and five young children.
Laura Wifler is a motherhood and lifestyle blogger whose articles have appeared on popular sites, such as BabyCenter and DesignSponge. Laura puts her sound foundation of biblical knowledge and theological training to use running the gospel-centered ministry Risen Motherhood alongside her sister-in-law, Emily Jensen. Laura lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and three children.
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