Four years ago authors Laura Wifler and Emily Jensen, both residents of Ames, began sharing their personal challenges that go along with raising a child.


Every parent has their challenges while raising a son or daughter, whether it’s troubles with potty training, biting or crying, there’s always something that seems to lower the self-esteem. When the sisters-in-law began talking about their challenges with others they noticed everyone had something similar, and turned to the Bible for answers.


Because of these similar experiences the sisters-in-law introduced the Risen Motherhood podcast, which was originally a five part mini-series that tried to give mothers relief and show them they are not alone and that there is hope in every day—including in school drop offs and dirty floors.


“Motherhood is hard and sometimes we think we’re doing a good job, but the next minute we’re not,” Jensen said. “We need hope every single day, and we encourage the moms that listen to find relatability and you have people in the trenches with you, it’s easier.”


One hundred and thirty four episodes later and after having an audience reaching 165 countries from around the world, the two published their first book, “Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments,” on Sept. 3.


“I think what we stumbled upon was a pressure that women are facing in the culture, and that there is this general feeling of stress and not being able to do enough as a mom,” Jensen said. “People aren’t sure what to do with that feeling, and it was just really neat to see this combination of cultural pressure and we found in faith and what God said and made a connection.”


The 224-page book consists of five chapters co-written by the two, while the remaining nine chapters were written individually. Each chapter tackles a specific topic such as the Gospel, relationships, food traditions or special needs.


The most difficult part?


“Condensing so much information into one chapter,” Jensen said.


During it’s launch week on Sept. 7, their book was the sixth bestseller for hardcover nonfiction by Publishers Weekly, and was number 17 overall for the Christian genre by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.


The national recognition is nothing new to the pair as their weekly podcast has had over 5 million downloads and in 2017 was number one for religion and spirituality podcast on iTunes, Wifler said.


“What started off as recording some of our conversations between each other just snowballed,” Wifler said.


All through word of mouth.


“It’s really amazing to see what these two have been able to do all primarily by word of mouth, and epitomizes the best of what is possible in our connected world today,” Literacy Agent Andrew Wolgemuth said.


The brand gaining traction


Shortly after launching the podcast, the two began pondering the possibility of transcribing each episode, so that people who may not speak English could translate it, or so a deaf listener could read and still learn. However, the cost was too much at the time, when all of a sudden a check appeared.


“We didn’t ask for anyone, but we prayed about it and asked the Lord to provide, and two weeks later we had a $1,000 check,” Wifler said.


During that time the podcast was gaining more follwers each week, with listeners sending Jensen and Wifler questions and topics to discuss.


Over time, the two began getting inquiries from publishing companies about writing a book.


“What stood out to me was how thoughtful Emily and Laura were when talking about motherhood and parenting, and it just felt deeper than you would normally see,” Kyle Hatfield, the acquisitions editor for children and family books at Harvest House Publishers said. “They were willing to go deep as they talked about different issues, and since we’re a Christian publisher, something that stood out was how they figured out how the Gospel can influence different areas of motherhood and parenting.”


They chose Harvest House Publishers because they allowed them to have a lot of creativity and freedom similar to the message they spread on their podcast, Wifler said.


Parallel with the rise in publicity, they began receiving more donations, which made the two ponder establishing either a business or non-profit organization.


“As the money kept coming in, we realized we could be real, and this is something much bigger then us,” Jensen said. “This isn’t about how we mother, but how you can uniquely have the freedom to be the mother you were created to be.”


Now after nearly a year as a non-profit the organization has grown from Jensen and Wifler to a team of seven and five board members; most of which are Ames residents.


“We see the work as impacting future generations and that’s exciting to us,” Wifler said. “To help mothers understand the power of her role, and her immense influence that she has in her children is an amazing opportunity.”


About Wifler and Jensen


Wifler, a mother of three was originally born on the east coast, but moved to Ames in time for the third grade. A graduate of Gilbert High School and Iowa State University, she briefly left Ames and lived in Minneapolis and Chicago working in the public relations field.


She returned to Ames in 2018


Jensen, a mother of five was raised in the Kansas City, Missouri area and devoted her life to special education. She married Wilfer brother, and moved to Ames in 2010.