FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Sunday Faith to Monday Tantrum: Emily Jensen & Laura Wifler

with Emily A. Jensen, Laura Wifler | May 8, 2024
Play Pause

Does a 'perfect mom' even exist? Many mothers compare themselves, burdened with unrealistic expectations. If you feel torn between high-fives and criticism, you're not alone. Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler, Co-Founders of the Risen Motherhood Podcast, help you understand and apply the gospel to common issues moms face so you can connect your Sunday morning faith to the Monday morning tantrum.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Are you comparing yourself to other moms’ social media? Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler offer gospel insights for moms’ daily challenges.

MP3 Download Transcript

Sunday Faith to Monday Tantrum: Emily Jensen & Laura Wifler

With Emily A. Jensen, Laura Wifle...more
May 08, 2024
| Download Transcript PDF

Emily: God is calling every mom to her motherhood, to her family, to her husband; and that’s going to look differently. You even see that now in Christian culture. Sometimes, a specific lifestyle or specific method is kind of held up as the one best way, the holiest way to mother. It looks so righteous; it looks so good; but “what if I can’t recreate that” because someone’s a single mom or they do have a child with disability? There are a myriad of reasons why that might not transfer to another mom’s life.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at This is FamilyLife Today!

Dave: Well, we’re talking about motherhood today.

Ann: Yay!

Dave: Where should I go back to? Should we go back to the hole in the wall when our kids were little toddlers? I don’t know why that came to my mind! [Laughter]

Ann: For those of you that haven’t heard—

Dave: —we haven’t talked about this in years.

Ann: Ohhhh.

Dave: And we don’t need to talk about it. That was just a moment—

Ann: —a bad moment in parenting, when I kicked a hole in the wall out of my frustration with our three children.

Dave: Yes; and then she patched it up with—

Ann: —wallpaper.

Dave: —wallpaper, so that Pastor Dave, when he came in the house, wouldn’t see it.

Ann: It was not one of my finest moments.

Dave: And the boys ran right to it the second I walked in: “Look at what Mom did. She’s so strong!”

Ann: “Dad, you won’t believe what Mom did today!” You know what I remember about that moment?

Dave: What?

Ann: Feeling utter shame going to bed. I remember apologizing to the boys: “Guys, I shouldn’t have done that. I’m so sorry.” But as a young mom and as an older mom, one of the things that we can carry is shame and guilt.

Dave: Yes.

Ann: And it’s a heavy thing to carry.

Dave: Well, today we’re not talking about fallen motherhood.

Ann: Exactly.

Dave: That was sort of a fallen motherhood moment. We’re talking about risen motherhood, and a lot of our listeners know these two women.

Ann: It’s pretty great, just because we have Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler with us today. You’re a hero to many, [Laughter] especially young moms who are struggling. So, welcome to FamilyLife Today.


Emily: Oh, thank you for having us. It’s a joy to be here.

Laura: Yes, we are so excited to be here.

Ann: Tell us about your families and about what you do.

Emily: Sure. I’m Emily, and I’ve been married to my husband, Brad, for 14 years and we have five kids ranging in ages from 6 to 11. To do that math, you have to put a set of twins in there. That’s how that worked.

Ann: Yes.

Dave: You had five under five at one time.

Emily: Yes. My oldest turned five, and then, I went into labor the next day with our fifth, so it’s really close in there.

Ann: Whoa!

Emily: Yes. Those were some wild years that I’m still looking back on and recovering from a little bit. [Laughter]

Ann: Unbelievable.

Dave: And you married Laura’s brother.

Emily: Yes, I’m married to one of Laura’s older brothers.

Laura: Yes.

Ann: So, you’re sisters-in-law.

Laura: We’re family. Yes, we’re sisters-in-law, which is so fun, and we get to work together, which is incredible. I’m Laura Wifler, and I am married to Mike and have three kids. Emily and I live about a mile apart in central Iowa, so very close to one another, which is a joy. My kids range from ten to six, no twins. Math works perfectly. [Laughter]

Dave: Two of your boys, right now, are running around our studio somewhere.

Emily: That’s right! It’s so fun.

Laura: I’m really curious what they’re doing. They saw that Pop a Shot when they walked in, and—

Ann: —i’s better not to know.

Emily: Snacks, pop, basketball. There’s a Wii, maybe. [Laughter]

Ann: Going to Universal tomorrow.

Laura: Incredible.

Ann: Life couldn’t be better!

Laura: Oh, they are living their best life.

Dave: Tell us about Risen Motherhood. We’ve heard so much about it. It’s impacting people all around the world, right?

Emily: That’s our understanding. Hard to believe, but yes.

Dave: So what was the vision for this?

Emily: We launched Risen Motherhood in 2016. We had babies and toddlers at the time, and we really were having these conversations about how really mundane aspects of motherhood connected to Scripture, connected to the Gospel. Things like potty training—does God care how I potty train? Or something like getting your kids to sleep through the night—does it matter what method I use over another method? How am I supposed to be thinking about feeding my kids?

Laura and I were having those types of conversations with each other, and we just knew a lot of friends who were having really similar conversations. I think at that time, it felt like there were a lot of practical tips for moms out there, and then there was a lot of theological truth, but there was a little bit of a disconnect happening. We really wanted to bridge that gap with some relatable conversations between two moms.

So, I just messaged Laura one day and said, “What if we just aired these conversations?” And we started a podcast, and the whole thing kind of spun out of control from there, or into God’s will. [Laughter] I don’t know, but there you go.

Laura: Yes, it’s pretty incredible. I was a little bit reluctant at first, which is why I smile while she says that, but I’m so glad she convinced me to do it. Through the years of motherhood, it started out as just a podcast, but it has since grown and now it has social media platforms, and articles, and free downloads, Bible studies, prayer resources.

Everything we do we are able to offer for free, because we are a non-profit, which is such a joy. I know you guys share in that with us. So, it’s been cool to see the ministry really grow, but also, at its heartbeat, we just want to create content that encourages moms and helps them connect that Sunday morning snotty nose to the Monday morning breakfast. I’m sorry—the Sunday morning sermon to the Monday morning snotty nose. That’s what we say. There we go.

Dave: Snotty nose—same thing.

Emily: They probably had a snotty nose at church, and you took them anyway.

Laura: That’s right; that’s right.

Ann: Laura, what resonated with the moms? The practicality of it, and how do we bring God and Jesus and the gospel into that?

Laura: I think so. We were asking really, really practical questions. “What do we think about breastfeeding?” “What do we think about diapers?” “What kind of diapers do we buy?” Some of these questions, at the time—a lot of mommy-bloggers and mommy-influencers at the time—were really talking about these things, and just telling you, “This is what to do. Here’s how to create snack time for your kids.” “Here’s how to think about TV and media.” “Here’s how to think about bedtime.”

But at the time, there just weren’t a lot of people weaving the gospel into it, and that was what Emily and I were asking. “Well, if there’s a best way, it’s probably not because this mom-influencer told us. It’s because Scripture has said something about that.” But you’re not going to find potty-training in Scripture. So, we started talking through how to apply the gospel to everyday life, how to think critically through God’s Word about these things that we were really facing as moms.

So, yes, I think that is what resonated; there weren’t a lot of people talking in that way, and it was really one of those needs that moms all over the world were really asking. And it wasn’t formulaic.

Ann: Yes.

Laura: I think that was something—

Emily: —we weren’t saying, “Buy Pampers.” That wasn’t the conclusion we came to.

Ann: Like “If you do this, this will happen.”

Laura: Exactly.

Emily: Yes, and God is calling every mom to her motherhood, to her family, to her husband; and that’s going to look differently. You even see that now in Christian culture. Sometimes, a specific lifestyle or specific method is kind of held up as the one best way, the holiest way to mother. It looks so righteous; it looks so good; but “what if I can’t recreate that” because someone’s a single mom or they do have a child with disability?

There’s a myriad of reasons why that might not transfer to another mom’s life. Well, if you go back to the Bible and you’re using these principles that are true for all people for all of time, and you’re applying the wisdom of the Word of God to your situation, He’s going to lead you in what that’s going to look like.

So, I think we also found that moms were really refreshed by this idea that it’s not about fitting into the box of what my friend does, it’s about following the Lord and asking for His wisdom in whatever life He’s given me.

Ann: I remember going to my son and daughter-in-law’s house, and your book, Risen Motherhood, was on the table.

Dave: This was years ago.

Ann: Yes. Kendall said to me, “Have you read this book?” At the time, she had four kids. I guess she still has four kids. [Laughter] At the time those kids—

Dave: —but she doesn’t have five or nine. [Laughter]

Ann: But I think she had four kids under five, and she said, “This book is getting me through these hard, hard days.” I think that right after that is when we called you two and said, “We can’t wait to have you on.” One of the things you talk about is, “If Christ really changes everything, how does He change potty-training?” [Laughter]

I laughed when I read that. These are the things we think about when we’re potty-training: “Does Jesus even care? Is this separate?” So, in it—this is the craziest thing—you explain the gospel! [Laughter]

Dave: Here’s the thing—I pick up—how many mother’s books have I read? But I read yours!

Emily: Because I had to get ready for this interview. I’m seeing in the title, “Gospel Hope,” and I’m thinking, “How are they going to bring the gospel in?” You don’t just bring it in. Every chapter—because when I read the first chapter, you said, “Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation,” I’m a pastor. I preach this.

Laura: Yes.

Dave: I thought, “Oh, that’s great. There’s your theme, and here we’re going to—” You never leave it!

Laura: No. [Laughter]

Dave: You pick a topic and you go, “Now how”—

Emily: We have a drumbeat. We like it, and we just play it hard.

Dave: So, I think it would be great for our listeners—how would you explain that? Creation, fall, redemption, consummation?

Laura: It’s just a mnemonic device that helps us remember God’s big story. So, when we think of the word “creation,” we’re just thinking about God’s design for mankind. When we’re thinking about the fall, we’re remembering that sin and brokenness has touched everything; the curse has touched everything in life.

And then we’re thinking about redemption; we’re remembering that piece of the gospel that says Jesus came, He lived a perfect life, He died, He rose. And now, if you’re following Him, you get the Spirit, you get to be part of the church, right? There’s hope. And then, when we talk about consummation, we’re really looking ahead to what’s coming, when Jesus returns, and all things are made new. There’s perfect just judgment given.

So, all of those pieces become like little anchors that when you’re processing through a practical situation and you’re wondering, “Yeah, what does potty training have to do with the gospel?” you can start to go through those anchors in your mind, and that’s how you can preach the gospel to yourself in that situation. And also know that it’s part of a bigger story, right? This moment that you’re experiencing is part of something that matters more.

Ann: Give us an example. Walk us through something in your life that you totally implemented—

Dave: —it could be potty training, but it could be anything. [Laughter]

Emily: It’s been a while since we’ve done that.

Laura: I know. I’m a little rusty on toilet training.

Ann: Maybe something that you’re going through now.

Laura:  Yes, let me think. A lot of the stuff that we’re looking at now is almost less practical as you move out of the young years, and so, I’m thinking through media choices. That’s something that I feel like even moms of really young children are thinking a lot about: media choices; but that continues on.

I think as we think through the gospel, the mnemonic device—and that’s not original to us. We hope everybody realizes we don’t claim to have invented it. Many people have used it, but it has been really handy for us and helpful. But when we think about things like media choices, this is where I have to start thinking.

Ann: Personally, you’re saying? Or with your kids?

Laura: With our kids, even.

Emily: Yes.

Laura: A question a lot of moms ask is, “What can I show my children?”

Dave and Ann: Yes.

Laura: It’s good to know that God designed us to love good stories and to enjoy fun entertainment and things. I think, in and of itself, all that is good, true, and beautiful comes from God, and our hearts long for that. So, our kids wanting to watch a good story or be entertained or enjoy things—that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But then, you have to think about that “fall” piece. Well, not every media choice post-fall—there’s a lot of sin in there. There are things that are going to distort the truth. There are things that are not of God, and we want to be cautious about what we expose ourselves to, and what we’re filling our minds and our hearts with. So, that redemptive piece is, if you’re following Jesus, you want to love like Him, live like Him, [and] fill your mind with all that’s good, true, and beautiful.

Emily: Yes, listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He prompts you and helps you know what is good and what is wrong to engage in. I think then, in looking at the hope of heaven, knowing that one day all media will be redeemed; all of those things. We know that someday we will go to heaven and it’s not going to be—

Ann: —hear the best of all the stories.

Emily: Yes, exactly! We’re not going to have to cover our eyes. We’re not going to have to monitor these things. That’s just an incredible hope to look forward to. So, you can, I think, as we start to get the gospel under our skin, start to learn to think in this way. And it is a learned way of thinking.

Ann: I think that’s key. It’s not something we may naturally bend to, so you have to be very intentional in making it become a habit, almost like the neuroplasticity in our brains.

Emily: Yes.

Laura: Yes, that’s awesome.

Ann: We’re going down this certain path that we haven’t gone many times, but we’re going to make this become a habit. I can remember our kids being little, cleaning toilets with three little boys who were potty training.

Dave: You mean cleaning the wall, because they didn’t hit the toilet. [Laughter]

Emily: They hit every area but the toilet.

Ann: I can remember thinking, “I don’t even see any good in this.” I remember being in the Word later—and even being in the Word is hard for young moms. Now, I would listen to it as a young mom, but I remember just catching moments:“I have to be in the Word. It’s my anchor.” But I remember after—I can’t remember what I read, but I thought, “That can be my worship moment.”

Laura: For sure.

Ann: There’s not a time He hasn’t seen me wiping a bottom, wiping noses, cleaning the sink; all the things that I’m doing, He notices that. I could either complain and grumble about it, or I can make it this worship experience: “I get to do these things.” My kids see my attitude about it. I just think that what you’re doing is so stinking practical.

Dave: That’s something you’re being able to live out now, because you’re in a phase with younger kids. They’re running around our studio right now, [Laughter] and that’s only one of each of yours. That’s your oldest. When we walk into our daughters-in-law’s houses, we remember. Now we’re grandparents, but it’s chaos. And you can see—

Ann: —and they’re good moms.

Dave: They’re awesome.

Ann: Every home with littles is chaos.

Emily: Right, yes.

Dave: But they’re exhausted, and they’re frazzled, and you can feel the tension in the marriage, because it’s a hard season of your life. So, talk about that for you two. You’re leading a major ministry as well as being moms and writing about it. Is it hard?

Emily: Of course.

Laura: Absolutely.

Emily: I think it’s where the identity in Christ piece becomes so important, because I thinkm if our hope for our goodness before the throne of God is in how good we’re doing as a mom, that’s really discouraging, because we’ve already talked about—

Ann: —shame.

Emily: —sometimes you kick a hole in the wall. Sometimes you yell. Sometimes you do things, and you realize that you’re just unable, and you fall short, and you don’t have what it takes to be the perfect wife and the perfect mom and the perfect homemaker and the perfect worker and the perfect friend. You’re just not going to be all of those things.

But in Christ, we are fully righteous before the throne of God, and we get to rest in that. And then, even Jesus wasn’t in all places at all times, right? In His physical body, He was ministering to one person at a time, one group of people at a time, wherever God was leading Him that day.

Dave: Yes, yes.

Emily: I think I took a lot of comfort in that idea that, yes, there are a lot of people that need me, there are a lot of areas where I’m maybe not doing as much as I want to be doing, but I’m following, hopefully, step by step, moment by moment what God is calling me to do that day. That’s all I can do.

Ann: Is that the kind of thing that, when you go to bed, we have that choice of beating ourselves up, feeling the shame? The enemy is the accuser. So, how have you done that? I’m sure that you guys have felt that. Laura, have you felt that when you’ve gone to bed?

Laura: Absolutely. And I loved how you said that you have a choice, because I think that’s the thing we forget—that our heads hit the pillow and suddenly the narrative is playing that we have failed, that we have been a bad mom: “Here are all the ways that we haven’t done it right. Here are all the ways we’re going to be better tomorrow.” And I think that’s the moment that we can just stop and say, “Hold on. I want to take control of every thought.”

Ann: That’s good. Take it captive.

Laura: That’s right. And recognize that it’s the battlefield of the mind, and that is where we can say, “Okay, Lord. I wasn’t perfect.” I think it’s important that we acknowledge that we probably did sin that day. There are probably some things—

Ann: So, there’s some confession going on.

Laura: Absolutely.

Emily: Sure.

Laura: There needs to be confession. It’s not that we just say, “Oh, just grace, grace, grace, and just only that.” But we recognize, “Okay, these are ways I behaved that I don’t want to behave anymore,” and so, we confess that to the Lord. We ask His forgiveness, and then, from there, we can also look at all these other things that Satan is just heaping on, and that’s that condemnation that is extra, that God hasn’t placed there.

We can ask, “Well, Lord, is that something I should have done today?” Maybe it’s that we feel like, “Oh, man, I was supposed to go get these errands done,” or “I was supposed to make this incredible party, and I didn’t get started planning this birthday party.” Well, has God asked us to make big, huge birthday parties?

And that’s where knowing the gospel and understanding what’s in the Bible is so important for a mom, because when we do the day replay, we have to remember what God is actually asking of us. So often, we’re adding to the list of what a faithful mom looks like. I’ll never forget, someone once said to us, “I’m so thankful that God hasn’t asked me to be faithful in another mom’s life,” because that would be very, very hard.

But we look at another mom’s life, and we think, “She’s being perfectly faithful. She’s getting it all done. She’s doing perfectly.” And we look at ours and feel that we’ve failed and not measured up. But He only asks us to be faithful in our own, and actually, when it comes down to it, when we understand what God has really asked us as moms, it’s actually quite simple.

It’s loving Jesus; it’s loving our families; it’s being faithful to our children to raise them to know and love God. And all of these tertiary things that, I think, we add on that create that end-of-day guilt are really just extras. If we thought critically for a little while, I think we’d see that so many of those things we can leave at the cross; leave them there and [not] have to worry about them.

Emily: Yes. I think every mom struggles with things that she regrets, moments that she looks back on in her day and thinks, “Ooh, I shouldn’t have handled it that way.” And then like Laura said, sometimes there are things that are just expectations we’ve put on ourselves that aren’t from Scripture, that are nice to do, but—

Ann: —they could be from social media.

Emily: Sure, they could be from social media; they could be from our friends. So, one tool that Laura and I have used is just to say, “You always want to examine your guilt.” So, no matter what it is, don’t stuff it down or ignore it. That’s what we usually see moms do, is just they live with it—

Dave: —yes, push it down.

Emily: —[they] just internalize it deep inside. Don’t live with it! Look at it.

Ann: Then it becomes normal.

Emily: Yes. It becomes normal.

Ann: Like they just wear it like it’s—

Laura: —just that hum of mom guilt is like their friend. It’s wild.

Emily: Because when you look at it, there’s always freedom on the other side, because either you’re going to look at it and find out that this is something you actually need to confess and repent, and there’s freedom there. Or you’re going to look at it, and God’s going to give you that wisdom to say, “You know what? This wasn’t something that I had to do anyway. This is okay. This is something I can let go.” And I can walk in freedom knowing that I don’t have to do the elaborate birthday parties.

I think it’s really common in motherhood to experience loneliness. It’s also really common to believe that you are all alone, and you’re the only one who understands what you’re going through. No one could possibly get you. At some level, everyone’s life is very unique, so there is some truth to that.

But I also think that, for someone who feels completely and utterly alone, at some level, my encouragement to them would be to say there are people that I think we can find and connect with that, if we perhaps have a broader view of what a friend can look like, and what understanding can look like, and encouragement in the gospel can look like, suddenly friendship can be formed.

It’s also putting yourself in places where you can find friends. Again, in young motherhood oftentimes, we are isolated to our home, or just going to work and back home, and there are not a lot of ways to make connections, or we feel too tired to make that connection, or we feel like it would be too much work to get our kids out; but it is always worth the work.

It may take time. It may take a year or two or more of praying and asking God to give you a friend, but it also means that we have to go into spaces where we can make those friends. The local church, obviously, is a huge place for a young mom to make friends. So many churches have incredible programs designed just for that, because we know that that’s a really hard season for moms. There are a lot of ways if we just say, “Okay, I’m willing to make some effort.”

But I think what happens very quickly is that we sort of fold in on ourselves, and that’s what Satan wants. He wants us to believe that there’s no one out there that can get us, there’s no one out there that can help us, there’s no one that wants to even be a friend. But there’s another mom out there, I’m sure, that feels just like you, and if we can get you guys to the same spot, hopefully at your local church, there’s a friendship to be had.

Ann: And maybe you pull another mom in your neighborhood or at your church and say, “Hey, I have this book called Risen Motherhood.” [Laughter] ”Do you want to go through it with me?” What a great way to start!

Emily: That would be our hope, for sure. [Laughter]

Shelby: I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler on FamilyLife Today. I just think this conversation today was so relatable. If you’re a mom, the struggle is real, and I hope this time today was kind of like a lifeline for you. If you want to hear more from Emily and Laura, they’ve written a book called Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments.

This really will help you to find guidance and encouragement when you’re trying to navigate the complexities of motherhood in a world filled with confusion and conflicting advice. So, you can get your copy right now by going online to

When you’re on our website at, there’s a little button at the top of the page that says “Donate Now.” We’d love for you to become a partner with us here at FamilyLife and be a part of our community, helping to reach marriages and families all over the world. When you give this month and become a monthly partner, the cool thing that’s happening here in May is that every gift that you give will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000.

So, when you become a monthly partner at $50 a month, it actually becomes $100 a month, just this month. So, again, you can find out more information about how to give at, or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

And another great benefit of becoming a monthly partner is that you get to participate in our new online community and be a part of the conversation that’s happening here at FamilyLife, including a live Facebook event with the Wilsons and me, Shelby Abbott, on June 5th at 7:00 p.m. Again, that’s for monthly partners, and if you want to learn a little bit more about how to give, you can find more details in the show notes at

Now, coming up tomorrow, what  are some practical tips for maintaining a healthy marriage while parenting children with disabilities? It’s obviously a complex conversation and topic. Well, Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler are back tomorrow with the Wilsons to talk about just that and provide you with some hope. That’s coming up tomorrow, and we hope you’ll join us.


On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a donor-supported production of FamilyLife®, a Cru® Ministry.

Helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.


We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?

Copyright © 2024 FamilyLife. All rights reserved.