Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Better Than a Search Engine

Episode Resources

Learn more about the Risen Motherhood podcast.

Dannah Gresh: When you have a tricky question, which is better: a web search or asking a godly friend? Here’s Laura Wifler.

Laura Wifler: Google cannot ask you a question back. So often as moms and as women, we go to Google, and we want to know: “Well, how do I drop the paci?” or “How do I deal with mom-guilt?” There are a lot of questions that often need asked in order for us to get to the deeper heart issues.

I think that God has positioned great friendships to help be a voice into those things and to help us think through and process difficult things that I would have just never considered prior to having a conversation with a dear friend who also loves Jesus.

Leslie Basham: It’s November 8, 2019, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, along with Dannah Gresh. 

Dannah: Our current series, “Risen Motherhood,” has been so helpful! It’s the last day. If you’ve missed any of these episodes, you can hear them all at ReviveOurHearts.com. Now, let’s get back to the conversation. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with our guests.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I have loved these last several days spent talking with Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler, the co-founders of Risen Motherhood. My own soul has been encouraged, and my heart strengthened and challenged as we’ve talked a lot about motherhood, but just how the gospel informs every area of our lives. 

So thank you, Emily and Laura, for being with us here on Revive Our Hearts. You’re kindred spirits! The Lord has given us the same DNA, and I’m just thrilled to see God’s hand on your lives. Thank you for being a part of the Revive Our Hearts family over this past week.

Laura: Thank you for having us. It’s a joy!

Emily Jensen: Yes, it’s been so fun to have all these conversations.

Nancy: I want to take off on that thought of having conversations. We’ve talked a lot about different aspects of motherhood, but one of the things as I’ve listened to you is: I see the role of women in each others’ lives of spiritual sisterhood, spiritual mothers, spiritual daughters. You all illustrate that in some beautiful ways!

You have a sisterhood with each other and with other women on your team and other peers in your life. I would like just to park there for a few moments first. How do women who are like-minded, who love Christ, love His Word, why do they need each other? And how can they encourage each other in whatever season it is that God has called them to be in? 

Laura: Yes, I’ve definitely seen huge fruits from deepening and growing in relationships from other women who are pursuing the same things. I think that so often in isolation we can really forget what matters and stop focusing on the gospel, but instead we’re focusing inward and on ourselves. We begin to think thoughts that are not helpful to ourselves, or we become discouraged. 

As I’ve had a chance to talk with other friends, or I talk with Emily and I share things with her, she really helps me lift my eyes to the Cross! She sometimes sees things that I never even saw before or can point out an area of weakness or a lie that I’m believing or a way that I’m just not seeing that God’s promises are true.

I think that the Lord has given us community and other people to help spur each other on and grow—as “iron sharpens iron,” you know. (see Prov. 27:17) We sharpen one another in our spiritual walk. So being a believer is never meant to be done on your own and that path walked alone.

God has given us other Christians and other people who are pursuing the gospel to help encourage each other to run the race to the end until the end. (see Heb. 12:1; Acts 20:24)

Nancy: And it really goes both ways, doesn’t it Emily?

Emily: Oh, it so goes both ways! I was just thinking. When you enter the season of motherhood, one of the first things you realize is, “Uh-oh, I don’t know what I’m doing! I need to get wisdom!” Right?

We don’t just need wisdom on the big, really important things like, “I don’t know how to discipline this child!” or “I don’t know how to think about some of these big life decisions we’re making about how we’re spending our time.” But there are also the little things like, “Oh, my child has had a pacifier for four years, and I don’t know how to drop the paci!”

There is this absolutely seeking the Lord, but one of the things that the Lord uses is the other women in our lives who can work through that situation with us. They know us, and they can ask questions, and they can probe deeper and help us examine our hearts. Then they can apply the Scriptures alongside us or say, “Oh, here’s what I did.”

So I really think it takes this great range. I think one thing that’s really valuable is having a mom who you’re doing life with who is going through similar things or maybe she’s just one step ahead—someone that you can ask those really practical questions of. 

I remember I was at a kids’ club recently, and I was talking to a friend, and we were dressing like superheroes. I asked, “How are you talking to your kids about this?” or “How are you helping them think about Jesus in light of these different cultural things?” It was just a great five-minute conversation, but I walked away feeling like, “I have more wisdom now, and I needed that!” 

So, definitely, we need to link arms with other moms—not only to realize we’re not the only ones dealing with sin struggles and discouragement, but to know there are other good, helpful ideas out there that may really spur us on to point our children to Jesus, and just live wisely.

Nancy: I want to encourage single women not to feel left out of these conversations. I was single until I was fifty-seven, and I’m so thankful for the friendships with single and married women that the Lord has given me over all these years. So many of the areas where we need encouragement don’t just relate to the task-specific season we’re in but just: what does it mean to be a woman? How do we deal with guilt, to deal with shame, to deal with busyness? How do we pursue Christ? How do we spur one another on to love and good deeds, as Hebrews says? (see Heb. 10:24) 

The whole conversation we’ve been having over these last several days is really a conversation that started between the two of you when you were newly married, just starting to have your families. Emily, you were a pretty young believer, and you were living five hours apart from each other. In fact, you were telling me how you connected with each other, how you started those conversations.

Emily: Yes, we were having these conversations over an app called Boxer. We would just leave each other messages. What was neat was that we would just really build on one another. I think that’s what happens when you have two people come together that have knowledge of the Scriptures.

It’s just that ability to refine an idea and to ask a question that looks into the heart and says, “Okay, I know that it feels like you’re frustrated because they just had another accident (like we mentioned in a previous show, related to potty training), but what is it you’re really wanting? Why is it so important to you that input you just gave, or correction, happens immediately? What is it you’re wanting out of that?” 

Those types of conversations over time just really can draw us to the Lord and draw us to the heart of the Good News and why that really matters.

Laura: I think the amazing thing is that Google cannot ask you a question back. So often as moms and as women, we go to Google and we want to know: “Well, how do I drop the paci (like Emily mentioned)?” or “How do I deal with mom-guilt?” There are a lot of questions that often need to be asked in order for us to get to the deeper heart issues.

When we chat with our friends and we talk with them, so often our friends will ask those questions that maybe we’re too scared to ask, or they’ll ask the questions that we haven’t thought of. That’s something I’ve seen with Emily a lot. She has a very different perspective than mine.

I would say if you looked at our motherhood, particularly in the early years, it looked fairly different from one another. But our ultimate and our values were spot-on, exactly the same. And so, I may have come to her with an issue, and then she was able to come back to me and say, “Well, what about this?” and “Have you thought about that?”

And, “Have you considered what the Psalms say about this?” or “Have you considered this from the Old Testament?”. . . or whatever it may be. She would point my eyes back to the gospel even when I wasn’t even asking her to!

She would help me see that underlying heart issue, because we know that in all of life we have a lot of freedom to make a lot of different choices, but the Lord looks at the heart. He cares about what our motivations are, what we’re worshiping in the midst of that.

I think that He has positioned great friendships to help be a voice into those things and to help us think through and process difficult things I would have just never considered prior to having a conversation with a dear friend who also loves Jesus. 

Emily: Right.

Nancy: Now, here’s the thing: women communicate—social media, texting, calling (as old-fashioned as that may be), actually visiting together. Women, when they get together, virtually or in real life, they do communicate, they connect with each other. They’re conversational, they’re relationally wired. 

But what I hear you saying is that you’re stepping that up so that there’s an intentionality. That doesn’t mean that every conversation is heavy, serious, or super-deep. But it means that you’re not afraid to go there, and you’re intentional about, “How can we encourage each other in our walk with the Lord and in relating that to everyday life?”

I love that you’re not just sharing with each other: “Here’s what I think,” or “Here’s what I feel,” or “Here’s what I’ve seen.” Because, really, you can go to Google to get a zillion other people’s opinions. I don’t think there’s necessarily any sin in sharing our opinions, but what we really need from each other most is: “What does God think? What does His Word say?”

That’s where we can be the most helpful to each other in those friendships! I love that I have a sisterhood of women that—when we text each other, or when one of us is struggling with something, or we need prayer for something, or we’re trying to make a difficult decision—we can count on each other to point each other to Christ and to the Word of God. 

I know my heart is going to be anchored, my thinking is going to be anchored when it’s drifting or when my emotions are going rogue. I’ve got women who are going to help me think biblically. And those are the women I want to call. Those are the women I want to be with. Those are the women I need, and we all need, in our lives.

Emily: Yes. I think some of the women that I trust my heart with the most—and I would absolutely include Laura in this—are the women who are willing to say hard words to me, or words that are a rebuke, in a sense, and just speaking the truth in love. You know, that key word being “truth.” I think sometimes there are friendships that would maybe just affirm or commiserate the hard things of life.

Nancy: You don’t want to risk.

Emily: Yes. It’s just that kind of thing, “Let’s play this over. Let’s look at it from another angle. Let’s pat each other on the back and high-five how hard our lives are!” But the friends that I really value are the ones that put their arm around me, and they’re, “I hear you. I’m with you, and I agree that this is hard.”

They give me that word of encouragement or even say the thing that I didn’t really want to hear. But I’m thinking about it three days later and then I turn to the Lord in repentance for something. So I’m just really thankful for those women who will do the uncomfortable thing, but do it in a way that’s gracious.

Nancy: I’m thinking about a walking partner I had for years when we lived in the same area. We would walk and talk and walk and talk. We did, I don’t know, maybe hundreds of miles together over a period of years. We were in very different seasons of life: she was married, a mom; I was neither.

We would talk about what was going on in our lives. But we could count on each other to listen, to care, to be merciful and compassionate; but also to say the things that each of us needed to hear. If I was in a whining mood or just really discouraged, she was helping me think about how to be grateful.

If she was in a place where she was just despairing her role as a mom, I could even though I’m not a mom, encourage her with God’s calling, and the fact that God’s grace really is sufficient for every season. So that’s a friendship I treasure! It’s not easy to find. So somebody’s saying, “I just don’t have anybody like that!” 

What do you do if you feel like nobody in your friend group really gets it or wants to go there?

Laura: Well, I think much of it comes back to being the kind of friend that you desire to have. So often I know when my friends are pushing me a little bit deeper, then I’m inspired to want to go deeper. I think there’s something about being the first that’s willing to kind of take off the mask. It is vulnerable, and it is really hard to put yourself out there.

But I think that if you find a group of women, and they say that they know and love Jesus, and you believe that they do, somebody has to take that first step, to be willing to say, “Guys, do you want to go deeper?” So often women are just looking for one person to kind of kick it off. Everyone’s afraid. They’re all scared of the same thing. 

But if one person is willing to say, “Let’s talk about this topic,” or “What do you guys think the Bible says about that?” I know that’s how Emily and I became much closer. We’ve been sisters-in-law for ten years now, but really it was more like five or six years ago where I would say our relationship took a completely different turn at a different level.

I don’t remember who, but one of us was willing to say, “Let’s go a step deeper, and let’s keep trying. I want to put the effort and investment in.” That’s one way I think someone could start. 

Nancy: I think the friendship of sisters is such a gift! I really believe there would be less chaos and crisis management needed in our lives, less chronic depression (that doesn’t mean it would all go away, and don’t anybody hear me saying that). But I think some of the things that we really battle in terms of mental and emotional and heart issues could be helped by just the gift of friendship, the gift of sisterhood, the gift of people caring about each other—not just connecting on social media, but using social media, or whatever means, to connect with each other in significant ways.

When we met for the first time, before this conversation started, I looked at you and I said, “You both love the Word. You love Jesus. You’re fruitful disciples and disciple-makers.”

I asked, “Who spoke into your lives? Who influenced you? Were there some older women in your lives that mentored you?” 

And I loved your answer, because it’s something that could be true in any woman’s life. So I want to go there. Tell our listeners what you told me.

Emily: Yes, I’ve just been really, really encouraged by older women in my local church. Publicly, no one will ever probably know who they are. I can think of probably a half-dozen or more. But I could expand that, depending on how we’re talking about speaking into my life. It can just be short interactions here and there. But women who have consistently shown me with their own example of who they are and how they live their life and how they pray and how they read the Word and think about the Word and apply it. 

Everything from that to women who have come to my home, and they have cleaned alongside of me. Or they have talked to me about a really nitty-gritty decision I was trying to make in motherhood. They’ve come over in a moment of crisis and given me a hug and helped me think about it in light of the truth that I know. Or they just encouraged me in the gifts that I have. I may not always be able to lift up my eyes and see or have perspective, but they’re able to give perspective.

I’m just incredibly grateful, because I feel like a lot of the fruit that people see or hear is just a direct result of what’s been poured into me. Women who are extremely mature have sacrificially given of their time and of their life.

Laura: I’m in my thirties, and I would say something that I’ve seen change in my own life—but then when I look ahead to a woman who is even further down the path I see it much brighter and much bigger—is a steadfastness of faith and of security in God’s Word and His plan. 

So often I think, when I’ve seen and I’ve spoken with these older women who have invested in me and I’ve shared with them my struggles and my pinch-points and my worries, they’re able to speak in a way that offers their seasoned wisdom and advice. They just the ability to know that, “You will weather this storm. There is a better day, a new day coming!” That perspective is hard to find, especially in your twenties and in your teens.

Even in my thirties I forget so often. Seeing a woman who has faithfully walked with the Lord for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, that is so inspiring and encouraging to me! Their wisdom, their advice, and their input into my life is often very, very different than my peers. It has just this ability to look back at the Lord’s faithfulness and look ahead to His faithfulness. 

Nancy: They’ve got a track record,

Laura: They do, yes! And so you trust them because you know that you’re not going through anything unique. They’ve experienced these things, too, and they’ve made it to the other side, and they still have joy in the Lord, and it’s just exuding from them! 

Some of the women that I’m thinking about just display God’s goodness and grace and mercy that they pour out into my life. I’m like, “Oh, I want that!” I think that’s been one of the biggest gifts from many of them that they don’t even know they’re giving. I’m thankful they help me walk through this particular trial or this particular question or decision.

But more than that, they’ve inspired me to say, “Man, I want the love for Jesus that they have in their lives. I want that! I want the steadfastness of their soul. I desire to love the Lord in the way that they love Him, and how He’s transformed every part of their being. Lord, let me be like her!” 

I think that that is just motivating and exciting. It’s alluring and appealing and something that makes me want to dig deeper in my relationship with God and to cry out for Him to help me, because I know that I can’t get there on my own, but I see that in them. I think that’s been the biggest gift! 

Nancy: You know, two things I’m thinking as I’m hearing you describe these women: one is that, as far as I know, they’re not famous women.

Laura: That’s right.

Nancy: They haven’t written books. They don’t speak at big conferences. They’re faithful serving members of your local church, your local community. There’s no glamour in this kind of relationship. They’re not doing this to get their Instagram photo. You’re not doing it to get your photo taken with them. 

Laura: Right.

Nancy: I love that, that they are ordinary women who are living out the gospel faithfully in their season of life, and they just have been a little further down the road than you have been.

But also, it sounds like these relationships are not highly structured. They’re not like formal, it’s not that you went and took a class on Biblical Womanhood or Following Jesus. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those. I’ve been to some of those that can be really helpful. But there’s a way-of-lifeness . . . can I say that? . . . about this discipling and mentoring.

It’s really what Titus 2 talks about: older women are to have lives that are worthy of respect. I love that word “alluring” that you said! That’s the best possible way to use that word, where younger women say, “There’s a beauty there!” They know that you’ve been in a hard place, and they’ve seen you trust God in the midst of that. 

They say, “I want that!” But then, not only modeling that as an older woman, but being willing to speak into the lives of younger women in very practical everyday areas of loving your husband, loving children, pure, keepers at home. (see Titus 2:4–5). What does that mean? What does that look like? Kindness . . . I have had so kindness modeled to me from older women!

And here’s what I said to you two the first time we met: how I got from age twenty to sixty so fast. It’s like a blink of . . . Don’t blink! You’re there! And I cannot believe how fast this has happened! I mean, some days it seems like, “I’ll be stuck at thirty-three forever!”

I look back and I’m going, “I was the younger woman looking up to these older women. Then I blinked, and I’m an older woman!” I realized that I’ve been becoming this older woman since I was twenty, or twelve, or whatever. The aspiration has been there in front of me to want to be a woman who will be an encouragement and a blessing and faithful.

I don’t think, when it’s said and done, that it’s my teaching ministry, the Revive Our Hearts ministry, the books I’ve written . . . I mean, those have been great opportunities, and they are fruitful. I think it’s going to be the life-to-life, never-seen, there are no Instagram stories about this, but just life-to-life encouragement. 

I look at you women, and I say that’s who you are now to younger women (and to older women, too, because it goes both ways). But you are going to have incredible potential and opportunity the older you get to be that woman that other older women have been to you.

Age isn’t the only thing, for sure. Your lives inspire me, and it’s like there is no generation gap there. So it’s sisterhood. But I want to say to the older women listening, “Don’t forget the spiritual motherhood.” And I want to say to the younger women, “Don’t think you just need peers.” 

Ask God to connect you with a woman who is maybe not well-known, maybe she’s not the women’s ministry leader in your church, she may not be entrepreneurial. They’re are so many millenials building their own businesses and their own . . . You guys have so much energy! I envy it, in a way. But I love that you have valued just the simple faithful input of women into your lives.

I think that’s what makes your lives attractive, because you’re reflecting the beauty of Christ that you’ve seen in other women that you do life with.

Emily: Yes, Laura and I say this to each other pretty frequently, that it makes us want to be older. 

Laura: I love getting older, because I’ve seen it look so beautiful on so many women! 

Emily: Yes. I think one of the keys there . . . I just want to encourage older women that are listening, who are maybe even walking through suffering. They don’t feel like the type that’s a teacher or is always able to give this packaged, encouraging word, or give the Bible verse in the perfect way. 

Some of the women that I have seen the most beauty in and have made me long to be older and walking with Christ longer are the ones who are struggling with a wayward child, and they’re being faithful, and they have joy. Or they are walking through something with their own parents, as their parents are aging, and they’re doing it in a way that’s honoring their parents and loving them and displaying the love of Christ. 

I just feel like I am packing those things in my brain, watching their life experiences, and going, “You know, one day I may have a wayward child,” and “One day I may have an aging parent,” and “One day I may be having cancer. I may be struggling with this chronic pain, and this woman never complains!” I’m just thinking . . .

Nancy: You have struggles today that are your struggles.

Laura: Yeah. They’re probably going to get worse, but yeah!

Nancy: But their faith and their encouragement can bless you today.

Laura: Absolutely! It’s this picture of what it looks like to have joy in the midst of hard things. I think that’s something that, maybe in your twenties or your thirties, you haven’t quite encountered some of those things yet.

I remember being on the other side of that when we had a child diagnosed with special needs, and it’s like, “Okay, here’s one of those things in our lives that’s just going to be an ongoing thing that’s got grief attached to it. It’s got all kinds of different hard challenges.” But to know from an older woman what it looks like to have decades of that and still be walking with Jesus with joy . . . is a gift!

Laura: I think, too, I love what you said about that this was done in little moments. This wasn’t a formal discipleship program that we all joined. When I think back to some of my most defining moments with some of the women, some of the times where I think I got some of the greatest advice, it was a quick word in the church hallway.

Nancy: I call it “aisle ministry,” before and after services.

Emily and Lauren exclaim: Yes, exactly. That’s the perfect term!

Laura: In those moments, those little passing words that we share . . . I think again to the older woman who’s listening, just to encourage her that we are listening. We do want to hear. We’re hungry! Young women are so hungry for someone who has walked this path already to tell us what to do, how to trust Jesus, what impact He can make in our life.

So those small exchanges matter so much more. I can remember little snippets of wise things that some women have said that they probably have no idea what impact it made on me or how it transformed my thought process—maybe changed my marriage, changed how I parent. God uses even the most small thing that we think, Oh, I don’t even know what I said! 

We don’t even remember what we said, but He uses that to transform hearts and lives. So just to encourage women to not feel like it has to be this formal thing, but I even love what you said Emily, that you’re watching someone walk through chronic pain without complaining. I mean, you’re just in Bible study with her, you’re just at church with her, you’re just living life with her. There were not even any words spoken, but seeing that life is also inspiring to women.

Nancy: Powerful! And that really is the passion behind the book I wrote called Adorned: Living Out the Power of the Gospel Together. If you don’t have that book and you’d like to—as a younger woman or an older woman (it’s written to both)—if you’d like to know more of that lifestyle, that way of life, that’s available at ReviveOurHearts.com. You can pick it up there. It’s called Adorned

And I want to again encourage our listeners to get a copy of Emily and Laura’s book Risen Motherhood. We’ve been offering it over the last several days, and we’d love to send it to you as our way of saying thank you when you support Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any amount.

You can request that by calling us at 1–800–569–5959, or again, just go to ReviveOurHearts.com. Make a donation there and let us know that you’d like a copy of the Risen Motherhood book.

Laura, Emily, you may be younger women to me, but you have surely encouraged me and encouraged my faith. You are beautiful women from the inside out. I love your hearts! I’m thrilled beyond description to see God raising up women like you who are living out the beauty of the gospel and serving where He’s planted you as wives, as moms, in the ministry He’s given you through podcasting. We’ve posted a link to Risen Motherhood on our website. 

If you know some young moms who could use a dose of encouragement and biblical gospel thinking (that’s every young mom!), then point her in that direction.

Thank you for opening your hearts and for sharing with us this week! I had the joy not too long ago of being on your podcast, and it’s been an incredible joy for us to have you here at Revive Our Hearts. I hope we’ll have you back over the years ahead to see what God continues to do in and through your lives!

Emily: Yes, thank you so much for having us! I think we’ve just been incredibly encouraged as well, and are just blessed by the faithfulness of ministry and just your commitment as well, to pour into younger women. So it’s a gift to be here!

Laura: Yes, I agree with everything. It is mutual encouragement. I’m so grateful for this ministry! Revive Our Hearts has impacted me over the years, and I’ve been so grateful for all of the work that everyone does here to put out amazing truthful content. It is just an honor to be able to be on this side of the microphone!

Nancy: Thank You, Jesus, for these precious women, for this encouraging conversation, for the power and beauty and wonder of Christ and Your gospel! We have fresh wonder today because of the conversations we’ve had over these last days. I pray encouragement for these women and the ministry you’ve given to them.

And I pray encouragement for every listener: the younger women, the older women—women who are going to be moved as a result of these last moments we’ve spent together to look for godly friendship, intentional friendships around Christ. Older women who will look for an opportunity to speak into a younger woman’s life and younger women who will realize they don’t have to be in isolation, they don’t have to do this alone, but they can ask You to provide an older woman or women to speak into their lives and encourage them in this season. 

So may we adorn the beauty of the gospel together through God-honoring, Christ-centered, biblically-grounded relationships and friendships! And we pray this for Your sake, for the advancement of Your kingdom, in the sweet Name of Jesus! Amen.

Dannah: On Monday, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will be back to give us a portrait of an effective servant. Learn how we can do a better job building God’s kingdom together. I’m Dannah Gresh inviting you back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to encourage women in every season of life. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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