Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Laura Booz: If you are in the same place I have been—a billion times!—where you do feel like, “Oh! I just can’t manage to get to the Word; I just can’t manage to turn to the Lord,” for whatever reason, remember this . . .

Dannah Gresh: Author, speaker, wife, and mom, Laura Booz borrows from Psalm 34 to encourage anyone who feels too busy to spend time reading and meditating on God’s Word.

Laura: If you just taste, if you can read one verse and taste that and see the Lord’s goodness in it, it will build your appetite. And then turn back and do it again tomorrow, and do it again the next day. You will build an appetite for it and you will see that you lack no good thing.

Dannah: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for October 18, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: The book Dannah just mentioned, A Place of Quiet Rest, that’s the first book I ever wrote . . . more than twenty years ago, now. I wrote it back then because it’s a message that I desperately needed. I still need it. I think it’s one that we all need. 

But, truth be told, finding a place of quiet rest, a quiet heart, is easier said than done, right? How often do we find ourselves so busy, so scattered, so fragmented, so harried that any sense of quiet rest escapes us?

I’ve spoken with many women over the years. I’ve found this is something that moms especially relate to. Have you ever asked yourself questions like these: “What would it be like to get to the end of my day and feel like I had actually accomplished something?” Or this, “Am I producing anything really valuable?” Or do you sometimes feel torn between your job and other responsibilities and priorities? 

Well, if you wrestle with those kinds of questions, you may be in the throes of motherhood!—maybe with a toddler or two clinging to your legs as you wash the dishes. Maybe you’re helping your first grader practice for a spelling test while you’re washing those dishes!

Our guest today has “been there, done that!” She’s the mom of toddlers, elementary-aged kids, and teens . . . all at the same time! Altogether, Laura Booz has six children. She’s also the host of one of the podcasts in the Revive Our Hearts podcast family; it’s called Expect Something Beautiful. You can look it up on the Revive Our Heartsapp or at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Recently, Dannah Gresh sat down with Laura to discuss some ways that we can find God’s good gifts in motherhood. And whether you’re mothering or not at this season, I know you’re going to find some rich encouragement as you try to find that place of quiet rest. Here’s Dannah.

Dannah: Laura, you’re not parenting those beautiful babies all by yourself, are you?

Laura: No, I have a wonderful man by my side. My husband’s name is Ryan. We are constantly amazed that somehow we just kept going to the hospital and coming back with another baby! 

Dannah: Oh, wow! Yeah, that’s how it works, I think! (laughter)

Laura: Yes. We consider it a great blessing, and a far more extravagant life than we ever would have imagined for ourselves!

Dannah: You know, I read in some of your writings somewhere that you refer to Ryan as your “scaffolding.” What does that mean?

Laura: That’s so true! Just the way that we work together. I tend to have dreams and visions and hopes for the future. And God put him in my life to kind of put the scaffolding down so that those dreams could be actualized. Because otherwise, they really would just stay in my head. But he takes them all to heart, and then he does the practical things to make them happen.

Dannah: That’s beautiful! So you’re the creative, and he’s the practical. 

Laura: Well, he’s kind of both, to tell you the truth. He also has own dreams, and he’s the scaffolding for that. 

Dannah: Yes, exactly!

Laura: I just take his picture . . . and feed him! I feed him real well!

Dannah: I love that! Well, if you’re listening, do me a favor: if you’re not in the season of the chaos of mothering young children, you probably know someone who is, don’t you? Today’s Revive Our Hearts is a “must listen,” and it’s for every mom out there.

Laura Booz is not just a mother and a homeschooler, but a prolific writer and a brilliant thinker. She has a special gift to inspire people in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with the gift of inspiration the way that you have it, Laura.

In fact, two years ago I put your name on an invitation list to attend a Revive Our Hearts summit. It was a gathering of up-and-coming writers and thinkers that Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Mary Kassian, and myself wanted to encourage . . . and really get to know.

Before I knew it, after that gathering, Laura Booz was a featured guest on Revive Our Hearts and the host of a brand-new podcast we’re producing called Expect Something Beautiful. She’s that special! So lean in, no matter what season of mothering you’re in. I can promise you this: you’re in for a special treat!

Laura, today we’re talking about finding the good gifts in motherhood. Why do we need to look for those?

Laura: I guess I want to back up to your introduction of me and say, there have been so many times—countless times!—when I’ve looked at the back of a book and seen the bio of a woman who has six kids and is writing a book.

I had the seed of a book in my heart. For years and years I thought, How is she able to do that!?What is going on? Here I am in the throes of motherhood, and I don’t have a second to myself . . . let alone to put some thoughts together, let alone to connect with a publisher and write a book. How is she doing that, how is all of that happening?

I wanted it so badly, but I had to keep putting it back in the Lord’s hands, putting it back in the Lord’s hands. I did not know at the time that it depends on His timing, His equipping, His energy, and seasons of motherhood where the door is open and He allows it to happen.

So I don’t want any woman to listen and think, Oh, my goodness, how is she doing that all!? Because there literally is a scaffolding that the Lord built to allow me to walk in this calling right now.

It amazes me that it was a seed and a longing for so long, and now He has opened the door. I have delightful teenagers who are ready to help. They are taking care of the little ones while I write at night. And, there happens to have been a worldwide pandemic that shut down everything!

Dannah: So you had built-in babysitters, lots of extra time. 

Laura: Yes, so I could be home. Anyway, I just feel like that’s very important, because I always felt a little bit disoriented. And my longings were off-kilter when I compared myself to what I heard other moms doing.

Dannah: You know, I love that you mentioned that, because as friends, we gathered some years ago and talked about your dream of writing a book. I have watched you allow the Lord to put reins on your desires, reins on your creativity, reins on your calling, even, so that you would not sacrifice your first calling—and that is being a wife and a mom. I commend you for that.

Laura: I think that is why the message of this book and the message of my life feel so important, because I’ve learned that God was there. Even though I felt like, “God’s really going to be in my outward ministry, or this work, or a career I could have.” But God was there in the day-in, day-out of me walking alongside my little ones and loving them and facing the frustration, facing exhaustion, seeing Him help me through struggle and suffering. He was there all along, and it was there that I got to know Him!

Dannah: So, frustration and exhaustion . . . Let’s talk about those fun topics! Take us to a time when you weren’t having the freedom and the built-in babysitters to begin to minister in the way that your heart had desired for so long. Take us back to that time when you were feeling frustrated and exhausted. What did that look like in the home of Laura Booz?

Laura: I’m trying to think of just the right story, but honestly all that’s flooding my mind are scenes like by the bathtub with water spraying everywhere—and meanwhile nobody has a towel! It’s like somebody needs me across the room, and then there’s an argument in the living room. You know, dinnertime is coming and the phone is ringing and there’s a package being delivered, like all this stuff happening at once, and I have to go to the bathroom.

Dannah: Yeah, alone preferably!

Laura: And I can’t! So, obviously, I cannot at the moment think of one particular story which I would love, just that blurb.

Dannah: That actually sums it up quite nicely. And in the middle of all that, you have this desire to be a writer. You have a degree in English, is that right? And you were an English teacher before. You’re now a blogger and a writer and a podcaster.

I have a daughter-in-law with new grandbabies, and she misses teaching English very much. She also has a degree in what’s called classic and ancient Mediterranean studies, which is like excavating and archaeology.

Laura: Wow!

Dannah: So she’s this brilliant, and in the middle of all the chaos of toddlers, she misses those moments where she can do something that feels—I don’t know—quieter, more organized. We can tell ourselves as moms, something with a little more purpose, right? 

Laura: Here’s one of the things that we can look for. I think this is one of the beautiful things we can expect from God: nothing about our education or our training or experience or anything about our life was for a mistake, especially when it comes to loving and nurturing our children.

So, I got my degree in biology. I didn’t know why. My dad always advised me, “At least you should have a technical degree.” So I kind of snuck the English in on the side. 

Dannah: Oh, so that was a second degree. 

Laura: I got the technical degree. Yes, because you’re not necessarily guaranteed a job in English. But you can get one in the sciences. Anway, that was the strategy. But once I was home with my children, I thought, Wow, that was a lot of time and money and effort on something I’m not using right now.

Well, sure enough, Baby number one comes along with an instant interest in science! Instantly! As soon as she could express anything, she was like, “I am a nurse. Why do you have that cut? May I put a Band-Aid on it?” I was amazed to see that, “Oh! None of that was for nothing!”

So, to see God use my education to nurture this little girl, it was priceless! And, to notice that in each one of my children over the years, has been so meaningful to me, because otherwise I would have felt kind of “on hold” or hidden. But now I can see, “Oh! It’s for so much more than what I was picturing!”

Dannah: And that’s great that you’ve seen the fulfillment and the purpose in that. That’s not always easy. I’ve been home with the babies, where I’m like, “Ah, remember when I had a job and a brain, and I didn’t just talk baby talk all day?!” You have those moments, but you’ve waited for the Lord’s timing to step out, and I love that.

As you’ve stepped out . . . I’m a mom of adult children, and I’m being ministered to by the words that you’re speaking as you encourage us to discover and acknowledge the gifts of motherhood. What’s the most important gift of motherhood that you’ve discovered, Laura?

Laura: The most significant gift of motherhood has been the Lord. The Lord by my side from the moment I wake up in the morning all through the day, all through the night. His strength, His cheering me on, His conviction of sin. He’s always putting forth before me good things, feeding me with good things through His Word, being my Friend at all times—like when I could not get together with friends, when that’s just not an option to go to the park, to run after your kids, all of that. When you are like, “I feel so lonely and so trapped!” Guess who’s there? The Holy Spirit to be my Friend, right in that moment.

So, without a doubt, His nearness, His Personhood, His Godhood, His Divinity has been so dear to me!

Dannah: I’ve experienced that in motherhood, too. Are there any Scriptures that you kind of cling to as you consider Jesus, or the Lord, as Your greatest gift of motherhood?

Laura: Yes! Have you ever read Isaiah 40, verse 11?

Dannah: Read it to me now; tell me what it says. 

Laura: It’s so precious! So, a little background to Isaiah 40. What’s happening is that it’s like this post-war scene saying, “Just you wait. When this war is over, the victor is going to march across the land. He is going to claim His victory, and it’s going to be glorious! He’s coming with might. His reward is with Him.”

So, you’re picturing this great warrior. Then comes verse 11, and you get the true picture of who this warrior is and who is with Him. It says: “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”

That verse has been like a bodyguard for me through motherhood when either Satan is tempting me to doubt, or my own sin is bubbling up, or, honestly, my own weakness is causing me to just faint at the calling.

I read this verse, and I remember in this verse that I’m very important to Jesus. I’m an important part of His victory march—and every mom is. Our children are so dearly precious to Him that He’s carrying them close to His heart. That’s a game changer for me! When I renew my mind with that, it all makes sense.

Dannah: I love that verse. It’s such a tender thing that it says, “He will tend his flock like a shepherd. . .and [will] gently lead those that are with young.” It’s almost like He’s saying, “Listen, if you’re in those frustrating, exhausting years of motherhood, I’m extra going to shepherd you. I’m extra going to be there with you. I see the delayed dreams. I see the exhaustion. I see the desire for you to take a bubble bath without a toddler knocking on the door and trying to join you! I see all of that, and I’m going to be gentle with you, but I’m still going to shepherd you. I’m still going to guide you. I’m still going to keep you.”

Now, here’s the thing I think of, though, when I unpack that verse in my mind: I don’t have sheep at my farm, but I have goats. Laura, they like to escape! They like to run from my shepherding! They think the fence is a suggestion!

Laura: It’s just landscaping!

Dannah: Because on the other side are sunflowers and daisies! I think we can be like that, too, right? We think the things that will really give us peace and pleasure and rest are on the other side of the fence, on the other side of the shepherding boundaries.

So, I feel like I want to really take some time to unpack this. If we have this Shepherd who is promising that He will gently guide those of us who are nurturing and caring for young ones, how do we participate in that shepherding?

What does that look like as a young mom who barely has time—as you mentioned before—to use the restroom, let alone open her Bible and dig into God’s Word? What do we need to know?

Laura: So the way I shepherd Charis for his momma ewes is by giving them the most nourishing food, by making sure they get first dibs at the watering hole, by making sure that he is protecting them from their enemies. That’s why he’s keeping them real close to his side, because they are so important to him! 

He’s like, “Hey! I need you. I need you to be strong and well and nurtured and nourished.” That is what Jesus does for mothers, but we’ve got to stay by Him to get that nourishment. I think sometimes He’s the first thing to go—and His Word is the first thing to go—because we feel like we just don’t have time for it.

But if we saw it in a different light, of, “Oh! This is what’s going to keep me strong! He’s caring to feed me; He’s caring to renew my mind.” There are things that come up in motherhood that you’ve just never faced before, maybe even about your past, maybe about your personality.

It may be a besetting sin. He can care for that so intently and well. It’s not easy for a momma ewe, or it’s not easy for a mother of young children. But to stick by His side is our best option, because it’s there that we’ll thrive!

Dannah: So you’re talking about getting into the Word, taking time to pray, when you just really want to get an extra fifteen minutes of sleep before the baby wakes up! How did that look for you, Laura? 

Laura: Uh! It looked like a million different ways, really. It was like the seasons as they change—and a day could be a season. With babies and toddlers and teens, their timing and what they need from you really does shift and change so regularly.

So I think just keeping your heart warm toward the Lord is key, because then you can see whatever approach is going to help on that day. Sometimes it’s just this one verse, Isaiah 40:11, that you keep by your kitchen sink. or you keep by the changing pad, or you keep in the car, and that’s the verse for a couple weeks that you’re meditating on.

It’s kind of like the drink that a marathoner will run by and just grab that water and get that nourishment that they need to keep going. I do think that there are plenty of times in motherhood like that.

There are also plenty of times in motherhood when we can say, “This is so important to me that, when I do have this little nugget of time, I am going to in some way consume Scripture.” It can be through the Scripture you are teaching your child. It can be through Scripture songs, the friends you keep. 

To me, that has been a game changer—making sure I keep friends close by who when they have their morning devotions (maybe they have time, right?on any given day) they’ll text me a verse that stood out to them or that is on their heart for me, I’ll take that. “Okay, Lord, let that nourish my soul!” 

And then when they are preoccupied and they’re losing sleep, then I am in a spot where I can read Scripture, so I’ll text them a verse, right? So, keeping one or two close friends like that is so helpful!

Dannah: Yes. I was thinking, we just had lunch together before we came into the recording studio. You and I have been friends for years, and I’m just sitting here, thinking, Wow! We just spent an hour together.  I wouldn’t say that everything that came out of our mouth was Scripture, but Scripture was popping up in the conversation.

Sometimes you have to be the friend to pop it up. If your friends aren’t doing that with you, you have to lead the way and say, “Do you know what I’m really clinging to right now? This is the Scripture that’s getting me through diapers and dishes and laundry!” And that might be the thing that starts that in your friendships, and that starts the texting if that’s not already existing, if that makes sense.

Laura: Yes! And, you know what? Sitting here thinking, I’m realizing this Isaiah 40:11 I have consistently heard from older women. That’s where this verse came from, befriending or pouring my heart out to older women in our church. They’re in a place where they are spending more time in God’s Word.

They’re the ones leading the Bible study or faithfully going to the Wednesday Bible study that I can’t go to. But I can sit down with them once a year and say, “Aaah, here’s how things are going,” and pour my heart out. So many times they’ve come back with this verse reminding me, “Jesus is gently leading you. Be nourished by Him!” So, that’s essential, too.

Dannah: Mmm, that’s good. What other practical tips of how you get the Word into your life when life is crazy? I heard of a mom who says, “I open the Bible every day, and I put it on my kitchen counter. I just read until I find a verse that really speaks to my heart.”

“And it’s usually not very long before one of the kids makes noise or needs me, and so I underline that or highlight that or put a little Post-it note by it, and that’s my meditation for the day. Every time I come back to the kitchen, I’m just going to read it again and talk to the Lord about that verse and ask Him to teach me, based on that verse.”

And she said, “That’s all. I used to exegete a whole chapter of the Bible every morning before I left the house, but now it’s just kind of like soaking in that one verse.” But she does it faithfully.

What would you say right now to the mom of toddlers or babies who are sitting there listening and that idea of even just opening the Bible and laying one verse out for the day, or just taking a few minutes in the morning, waking ten minutes earlier than the baby to get into God’s Word, she says, “That just sounds like another thing for my ‘to-do’ list. That just sounds like a burden.” What would you say to her?

Laura: I would say, “Just the way you need to build your baby’s appetite for baby food. You need to say, ‘Oh, taste it!’” I wanted to look the statistic up, because there are a certain number of times a baby has to taste a food before they actually acquire a taste for it. 

I don’t know, it’s like too many times than I’d ever want to try! Like, in order for my child to like green beans, I have to try this eleven times! You’ve got to be kidding! But, Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” 

Then it actually goes on and this is helpful too: “Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (vv. 9–10).

So, if you are in the same place I have been—a billion times!—where you do feel like, “Oh! I just can’t manage to get to the Word; I just can’t manage to turn to the Lord,” for whatever reason. Remember this . . . that if you just taste . . . 

If you can read one verse. . . You’re listening to this podcast, right? You heard Isaiah 40:11, taste that. See the Lord’s goodness in it, and it will build your appetite. And then turn back and do it again tomorrow, and do it again the next day. Taste and see, and you will build an appetite for it and along the way, you will see that you lack no good thing.

Dannah: You know, I have chills right now, because the Lord has had me in that passage for about a week: “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” And you know, I think to my own eating as an adult, I’m not a baby, but I have to do the same thing.

I’ll get all excited about carbs and potato chips and pizza and things that I really do enjoy a great deal, but if I eat them all the time, I don’t have a taste for carrots. I don’t have a taste for lettuce. I don’t have a taste for cucumbers and hummus—things that are pleasing to my palate when I eat them regularly and I feast on those things. Those are nourishing to me; those are good for me.

I have to remind myself that my spirit is the same way. If my spirit is taking every opportunity in my day to scroll through social media or to listen to a podcast that’s just fun and a mind release or to watch NetFlix, and I haven’t taken time to be in God’s Word and do things that actually nourish my spirit, I’m not going to have an appetite for the things that are good for my spirit.

Laura: Right, and you feel the drag of it; I do anyway. I feel like all the yuk just invades so fast! My energy goes down, I treat my husband horribly, I’m irritable with my children. I’m not saying, “I read the Bible, and I’m a saint!” But it really does help to clear the fog and to remind me that God is with me and His truth is good. It just reorients me.

Dannah: Yes, so Laura, I think our challenge today for every mom listening who is feeling the frustration and the exhaustion and the chaos of motherhood is to taste and see that the Lord is good.

And maybe the thing you need to feast on today is Isaiah 40:11. Pop it on a Post-it note, or put it on an index card, or write it on a chalkboard in your kitchen, and just roll it around in your heart and your mind all day long!

And, Laura, if they take us up on that challenge, I’m hoping that the Holy Spirit would meet them as He has you. Would you pray for them, that He would do just that?

Laura: Yes, I would love to. 

Heavenly Father, thank You that the mom listening right now is precious to You, and You are pursuing her heart. You’re paying attention to her. You care about her personality. You care about what she likes, what she is interested in, what she is discouraged about. You care about it all!

You care about the work You’ve asked her to do. You care about the demands that she puts on herself and the trials in her way. You also care about her child, and you care about their relationship with one another. Thank You that You will work good things in their lives.

As they look to You and walk with You, You will nourish them and hold them close. Thank You that You care. You care about mothers. You care about our children, and we are part of Your victory story! May You be glorified! In Jesus’s Name, amen.

Dannah: We’re talking today to Laura Booz. She’s the author of Expect Something Beautiful. The subtitle is Finding God’s Good Gift in Motherhood. We’d love for you to have a copy, in fact so much so that, if you make a gift to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts today, we’ll send you a copy of Laura’s new book as our gift and our way of saying “thank you.”

Just call us at 1–800–569–5959 or visit ReviveOurHearts.com where you can make your donation, and be sure to ask for your copy of Laura’s new book Expect Something Beautiful. 

Nancy: Yes, thank you so much for your support. I hope you do get a copy of Laura’s book. It is a beautiful book!-—beautifully designed, beautifully written. I know it’s going to be a great encouragement to lots of women, especially moms who are trying to find God’s good gifts in motherhood.

You know, we depend on donations from listeners like you to keep our outreaches going, and as you support this ministry, we’re able together to help women everywhere find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ! So your donation at this time means more than you could know. Thank you so much!

So, how does a mom find joy in the midst of the mundane? Laura Booz will be back tomorrow to help us discover more nuggets of God’s goodness in motherhood! I hope you’ll join us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts, with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, wants you to taste and see that the Lord is good, as He leads you to find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ!

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About the Hosts

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Guest

Laura Booz

Laura Booz

Laura Booz is the author of Expect Something Beautiful: Finding God's Good Gifts in Motherhood and the host of the Expect Something Beautiful podcast with Revive Our Hearts. She'll cheer you on, share practical ideas, and point out the beautiful ways God is working in your life. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan, and their six children. Meet her at LauraBooz.com.