Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Have you ever heard of seasonal affective disorder where people experience depression related to the changing of seasons? Well, Gloria Furman says many moms experience something she likes to call seasonal obsessive disorder.

Gloria Furman: I'm in this season. She's in that season. I kind of want that one instead. And we covet a season that God's given someone else when honestly we're all in the same season, the season of life. We have life.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms, for Friday, October 12, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, yesterday we heard a conversation between two moms who both have a heart for the Lord. Erin Davis has four children, and she also helps Revive Our Hearts with various writing projects.

At a national conference for The Gospel Coalition, Erin connected with Gloria Furman. Now, Gloria is the wife of Dave Furman, pastor at Redeemer Church in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Gloria also has four little ones, and she's written a book called Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full. And she knows all about having full hands. We'd like to send you a copy of Gloria's book today when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, and I'll be giving you more details on that later in today's program.

Now, if you missed part one of this conversation, you can hear it at www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, we often stress how important it is to persevere when marriage is tough or motherhood is tough or when anything in life is tough. But the flip side of that is the Lord doesn't just want us to persevere, to grit our teeth and get through that tough season. He also wants to give us joy in the things that He's called us to.

Erin and Gloria are going to talk about that as they continue this conversation. So here they are, recorded at The Gospel Coalition National Conference.

Erin Davis: In your book, you say there's more to be said about a mother's work than the fact that it's hard and never done. And I love that, because I think that for some reason the narrative that we have for motherhood is: It's hard, it's hard, it's hard. The same is what we say about marriage. I mean, can we come up with something new about marriage other than: It's hard?

And I think the same is true about motherhood. I think a lot of what we're hearing is: It's hard. Do it anyway. So, what impact do you think it's having on mamas not to hear hope about their role?

Gloria: Well, it turns the story of motherhood into an inconvenience and possibly even something that diminishes them. "Oh, I have these kids. Gosh, if I didn't, think of what I could be or do."

Erin: Yes.

Gloria: This season of motherhood just seems dragging. "Gosh, I can't wait until they're eighteen." I mean, it's a really sad way to live, every day knowing that I'm drudgering through this thing.

Erin: I think we could wish away every stage if we're not careful. We can't wait until this baby starts sleeping through the night. We can't wait until this toddler's potty trained. We can't wait until they're in school. We can't wait until . . . and then they are gone.

Gloria: Right. Or we talk a lot about seasons and defining them.

Erin: Yes.

Gloria: And then we have . . .Have you heard of seasonal affective disorder? Where in the winter you get more sad.

Erin: Yes. Correct.

Gloria: I think we have seasonal obsessive disorder. I'm in this season. She's in that season. I kind of want that one instead. We covet a season that God has given someone else when honestly we're all in the same season—the season of life. We have life in spite of the curse. In spite of death, we've been given life. We're all currently in the season of life.

If you're in Christ, you're in the same season you're going to be in forever. You are in Christ. Thirty trillion years from now, you're going to be doing the same thing that you could be doing today: Worshiping Jesus in all things. So there's your season. That's how long your season will last. You don't want to be out of that season.

Erin: Right.

Gloria: So seeing that as the over-all encompassing lens through which you should view everything, I am in a season of life with Jesus Christ forever, and there's nothing you can do to change it because He's sealed us in His own hands.

Erin: Right. You talk about bringing our subjective insecurities as mothers in line with the objective reality of our eternal security in Christ, and that sounds really big. I'm interested in what that looks like as a mom, because I think motherhood can really exaggerate our insecurities and make us feel insecure.

What about that mom who's insecure because she doesn't know what she's doing, or she's insecure because she doesn't think she's the mom her kids need, or she's insecure just because she feels like she's destined to mess her kids up? How do we bring that under the eternal security that the gospel provides?

Gloria: I packed a school lunch for my kindergartner and received it all back at the end of the day, which is common. She'll pick through, "I don't like that, or this, or that." And that happened multiple times. And then I was chatting with her teacher, and I said, "I don't know what my kid's doing at lunch, if she's talking or just sitting there, but if you could let me know. She's not eating. If you observe anything weird. I keep getting lunch back."

And she said, "Okay." And then she came back to me, and she said, "She just kind of looks at other kids' food, and she doesn't want what she has."

And my instinct was, "Oh, the teacher thinks I'm the kind of mom who doesn't know what her kid likes." My insecurity was rearing its ugly head, and I was starting to think, What does she think of me? Does she think that I need serious help? I need to be in a group, a support group of moms who don't know their children! What am I even doing? She's seen hundreds of kindergarten kids, and I'm the only one who has this issue. All the other kids have . . .

Erin: Every mom can relate to that crazy brain.

Gloria: Yes. It spiraled within a split second. I jumped straight into all of these subjective feelings about my insecurities as a mom, which, honestly, probably the only thing to do with it is she just doesn't want what I've given her.

Erin: Right. She wanted you to pack a lunch box full of candy, and you didn't.

Gloria: Right! But my heart leapt to evaluating myself and my feelings in light of what somebody might think, maybe, probably not, about me.

I was prepared to start acting on that relationship and feeling insecure and saying things to boost myself around the teacher. So I can see how that all plays out. I can totally relate to the woman who is fretful of her subjective feelings and not understanding of that objective thing of being in Christ forever.

So understanding that you are prone to that, I think, is the first step. Admitting you have a problem would be number one.

Number two: Talking to somebody about it.

There's so much encouragement to be had with telling another mom, "I totally did this. I went there in my heart." And have them go, "I did it, too!"

Erin: Yes.

Gloria: See, we're not being tempted with anything uncommon. So if we're not tempted with anything uncommon, then we have the gospel that ministers to both of us. So let's all preach the gospel to ourselves and remember those objective things of who Christ is and who He says we are and who He says He is.

Erin: Yes. I wonder what measuring stick the gospel provides for motherhood? I think, without the gospel, we can only measure our success as a mom if our kids grow up to be doctors. Or we can only measure our success as a mom if we have these tricked out playrooms like we see on Pinterest. With all these things we're trying to measure, "Am I a good mom?" And they're not working.

So what does the gospel and God's Word, what measuring stick does it give us for whether or not we're good moms?

Gloria: Faithfulness, and it's not necessarily all about our faithfulness, but His faithfulness. The measuring stick is broken because He's faithful period, for whatever situation you're in. I think we like to compare. "Oh, you have a six-year-old? Me, too." But it's not the same. Your six-year-old is different than mine, and our context is different. Their struggles, our struggles, my struggles, our capacities, but God's faithfulness is the same.

So it doesn't necessarily matter how God provides for our family, but the fact that He's the one providing. I think when we can see that the measuring stick doesn't really exist, that it's in your mind and that He's faithful, then we can just keep looking to Him instead of looking sideways to see how we're doing. This is to is stamp eternity on your eyeballs.

Erin: On your eyeballs. Yes.

Thanks for your time.

Gloria: Thank you.

Nancy: That's Erin Davis and Gloria Furman. Our team connected with them at one of The Gospel Coalition national conferences.

They've been talking about embracing your current calling, whatever it might be, your current role, with joy. And no matter what God may have called you to right now, I want you to know that you don't just have to endure it begrudgingly. Christ can give you joy right where you are.

That doesn't mean all the circumstances will be easy. It doesn't mean any of them will be easy. But it means there can be the joy that comes from the presence of Christ in the midst of those challenges.

Erin will be back in just a moment with more practical advice on this topic. But first I want to let you know how to follow up with what you've just heard.

Our guest today, Gloria Furman, has written a book called, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full. I think, for me, that phrase, that title could apply in just about every season of life. This book will help you make staying close to Jesus your number one goal no matter how busy or how chaotic your life may be.

And I'll just say this from personal experience: I find that when I make it a point to stay close to Jesus, to live in His Word, to live in His presence, to take time to cultivate my relationship with Him, it does have a way of calming my heart and my circumstances and reducing the chaos at least a bit.

Well, we'd like to send this book from Gloria as our gift when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. We're able to air programs like what you've heard today thanks to the support of listeners like you.

So, if you appreciate the biblical, practical insights that you hear day after day on Revive Our Hearts, would you consider what you can do this month to help this ministry continue? And be sure to ask for the book by Gloria Furman when you call with your gift of any size. The number to call is 1–800–569–5959, or visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com, and you can make your donation there. We'll send one book per household with your donation this week.

Now, Gloria and Erin had been talking about embracing God's calling on your life with joy. I'd like to take a moment to dig deeper into that with Erin. Right now, her main job is raising four young boys, and she knows how easy it is to get discouraged in the middle of that important job.

Here's what discouragement looks like to Erin.

Erin: Here are the ways that it comes out in my own life:

  • A lot of huffing and puffing.
  • "Phew . . . oh, we have to do this again?"
  • A lot of kind of throwing up my hands, losing my cool.
  • Also, using the word overwhelmed to describe my life more often than I use words like blessed, happy, fulfilled. "If I didn't have these children, I wouldn't be so overwhelmed."

Well, if I didn't have these children, I also wouldn't have a lot of really wonderful things. So I'm choosing to focus on that.

Something that used to happen at my house a lot, I'm trying not to let it happen as much anymore, is as soon as my husband walks in the door, I announce, "I am off duty. I can't handle these children one more minute." And the message is: "Oh, these children are wearing me down. I am miserable in this parenting role."

But if someone were to come to me and say, "Do your children make you happy?"

I would say, "Yes of course! Do you want to see their picture?" But in reality, I'm living like if I didn't have these children, I would be less stressed. I would be happier. My body would return to its eighteen-year-old version of itself—all of those things I think would make me happy.

Nancy: But the fact is, there is a lot about parenting that is challenging. Depending on what the season of life is, there may be sleepless nights or screaming kids or sick kids or restricted schedules. So we're not saying that if you embrace motherhood as a sacred role, that all that stuff goes away and life becomes easy.

Erin: That's right. Life isn't easy as a parent. Life isn't easy if you're not a parent. But there are those elements of parenthood that are always going to be there, and they can be cumbersome. But 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 says,

But God said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The thing about God and His Word that is so strange and hard to understand, it's such a great mystery, is that those things are a blessing in that they force us to depend on God. They reveal our need for Him, and they reveal His goodness to us and His grace toward us.

So if you want a formula for how to make your baby sleep through the night, I don't have it. My son Noble didn't sleep through the night until he was a year-and-a-half old. And if you want to make your toddler behave, I don't know how to tell you how to do it.

But I do know that when that baby wasn't sleeping through the night, I was pressed into prayer in a way I never had been before because I couldn't do it in my own strength. I was exhausted.

And when Eli, my toddler, pushes against me and presses against me, and I am at my wit's end, and there is no way I can have self-control on my own, it presses me into God in new ways.

So, am I always happy as a mom? No, I'm not. But the lesson is that happiness really isn't the end goal. Easy street never leads us anywhere we want to go anyway. Easy street just takes us to boring places.

Nancy: Some of us are thinking, I'd like to try that.

Erin: She'd like to try it out for her own. I understand that. I like to walk down easy street every once in a while.

But that child may make your life more difficult, but stop focusing on that. Are they a hindrance to your happiness? Maybe, but they are the way to so many other things that are so much richer than happiness.

So the lie is: My children are a hindrance to my happiness. Okay, get over it. Focus on all the things that they do to enrich your life.

Nancy: And, Erin, what you just shared there is so crucial—not just for young moms, but for women, for men, for every one of us in every season of our lives. As I often say here on Revive Our Hearts, "Anything that makes me need God is a blessing." It's a blessing. I latch on to His grace in a way I wouldn't otherwise do if I didn't feel so desperate and so needy and so overwhelmed.

And that's where we see the power of God displayed in such great ways. When our weakness is matched up to His grace, then we see it, the kids see it, the people around us see it. They know we're weak, but they see that He is strong. And it becomes a way of displaying the greatness and the power of God, which really is what our calling is all about.

Erin: We teach our children that song from very early on: "Yes, Jesus loves me . . . we are weak, but He is strong." And as moms, that is so true. We are weak to mother well, but He is strong. He is faithful.

If your children are a daily—or sometimes at my house, minute by minute—reminder of God's strength in light of my weakness, how can I complain about that?

Nancy: And I'll tell you, in order to counter the lies, we need to counsel our hearts according to the truth. I think there's a mom listening right now who just needs to say it out loud. Your kids may be there, or somebody else may be around, and they may think you're nuts. But just say, "His grace is sufficient for me." His grace is sufficient.

Erin: At my house, we frequently pray for fruits of the Spirit. And I will say to my children, "Mommy is struggling. We're going to ask Him for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."

And when my children are struggling, I'm able to say to them, and they've seen it: "You can't do this on your own, buddies. We're going to stop, and we're going to ask for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

So, Mom, you feel like you're going to blow your top? It's a teachable moment—not a burden.

Nancy: Yes, we are weak, but He is strong.

Erin: Absolutely. Always. He's so strong.

Nancy: Amen, amen. That's so good.

Well, you address a number of other lies in this book about motherhood, and we can't spend a long time on the others, but let's just touch on what some of those are, because I know a lot of women will relate to these.

One lie that's being told to moms is that motherhood is being defined by the decision of whether or not to work—and when we say that, we mean work outside the home because every mom works.

Erin: That's right!

Nancy: But for a lot of moms in our generation, it's been their success as a mother has been defined by whether or not they choose to work outside the home. Speak to that for a minute.

Erin: I'm so tired of the conversations about modern motherhood revolving around this question. "Am I a good mom if I work? Can I stay at home and be a good mom? Can I work and be a good mom?"

I feel like this focuses our attention on the pixels, and we miss the big picture. And what I've seen is: Stay-at-home moms are miserable because they feel like, "If I had something outside the home, I'd be more fulfilled, I'd be doing something more meaningful." This is what my stay-at-home moms' friends tell me.

And working moms are feeling like: "Oh, if I was able to be home with my kids more, I'd have better balance. I'd be a better mom."

So stay-at-home moms are miserable and looking on the other side of the fence. Working moms are standing on the other side of the fence looking at stay-at-home moms thinking that the grass is greener on their side. And we're caught in this revolving door, talking about working versus staying at home, working versus staying at home.

And the real question is: Will you use your family to do something huge for the kingdom of God?

Nancy: Okay, there's another lie which I think a lot of women wrestle with, mothers or not mothers, but particularly where it comes to motherhood, and that is: The ultimate goal of motherhood is perfectionism.

Erin: That's right.

Nancy: The pressure to mother perfectly. Is there a woman who doesn't feel that?

Erin: I don't know. I've never met her.

This is a huge lie, and the friend of mine who revealed it to me is a great mom. She's like the poster child for a great mom. She has four kids plus foster children. She home schools them. She's always calm. She has great hair. I mean, she is a perfect mom.

And when I interviewed her for this book, I had no idea that this would be an area that she would hone in on. She talked about that she gets two messages from the culture about motherhood. The first is that her children are a distraction from her and what she wants.

The second is: But, if you're going to mother, you better do it perfectly. You better raise great kids that are perfectly behaved and do perfectly in school. You need to manage date night with your husband once a month. You need to have a perfectly clean home. You need to be instilling this, this, and this. You've got to be doing flashcards when they're in their highchair. And on and on and on.

So she is a mom, and she sees the kingdom value in it, but she sees this pressure cooker where she feels like she has to do it perfectly. And she's not doing it perfectly, and so she continues to struggle in her role.

Nancy: So what do you say to that mom?

Erin: I think we just have to realize how unrealistic it is and culture is sending us that message across the board.

It always bothers me about those celebrity moms who are on the cover of a magazine. "She gave birth three days ago, and now look at her in this bikini." It's so completely unrealistic.

And to some degree, we just have to shut those messages out and not let them filter in. But Paul, again, encourages us with some great words in Scripture. Philippians 3:12 says, "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own [why?] because Christ Jesus has made me his own."

So the beauty of exposing lies is that once you're aware of it, you have the power to do something about it. But that's not enough. You're going to have to replace it with God's truth.

And God's truth is: Yep. You're not perfect. But press on because the Perfect One has already redeemed you, and He who has started a good work in you is going to carry it on to completion, and He's not interested in perfection from you.

So be faithful to walk through your calling and to depend on Him. Jesus isn't asking you to do it perfectly. He's asking you to do it well and to depend on Him, and that's all that you can do.

So when you start to feel that pressure to have a perfect house, a perfect body, a perfect marriage, perfect children, just call it out: "That's a lie!" because that's what it is, and then replace it with God's truth.

Nancy: I think a cousin to that lie is another one that you addressed which is: Motherhood will make you holy.

Erin: That's right.

Nancy: You either have to be perfect, or motherhood will make you a godly woman. And that's a lie, too.

Erin: It seems counter-intuitive to place that lie in the same chapter with these other lies about mothering perfectly or motherhood being a hindrance to your happiness, but I think it's just as dangerous. We're in danger of swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction.

You don't get any more holy with each baby that you bring home. It doesn't give you preferred parking in heaven to have a bunch of children. There's no automatic sanctification that happens just by being a mom.

And I think it really boils down to entitlement for a lot of moms. They feel like, "This is hard work. Doesn't God see what I'm doing?" And they feel entitled to whatever—fill in the blank—because they're working hard as mothers.

Or maybe it's not directed at God. Maybe it's directed at their husbands. That's probably more often the case. "Doesn't he know how hard I'm working as a mom? I deserve me time. I deserve girls' nights out. I deserve a bigger house to contain this. I deserve on and on and on."

Or "I deserve from my children because of all I do for them. Certainly, they should be grateful. That's something you're going to have to teach them.

But this attitude of "I deserve something," or "I'm holier than you are because I'm a mom," or "I'm a better Christian because I'm a mom," that really doesn't hold water when we hold it up to God's Word. There's nothing in Scripture that tells us being a mom is going to make us more holy.

Leslie: That's Erin Davis. She's been talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth about how motherhood can push you closer to the Lord, and that's true for whatever God has called you to. It will expose your neediness and help you lean on the Lord.

Earlier in the program we heard from Gloria Furman. She's written a book that will help you stay focused on the Lord no matter what busy task is in front of you. It's called Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full. Like Nancy said earlier, we'll send you a copy when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts.

Get more detail at ReviveOurHearts.com or call 1–800–569–5959.

Recognize this sound? (water running) Water figures prominently in Scripture—from creation to Revelation. But how does water teach us about God's power? or help strip us of self-reliance? On Monday, Nancy will take us through the Old Testament of Exodus to explain ways water can be a learning experience for God's people. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss wolgemuth wants you to experience the joy of the Lord whatever season you are in. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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