Do your family devotions feel like drudgery? You’re not alone! Join me today as I answer a question about this from a listener and also give the pro-life response to the issue of ectopic pregnancy. Also, more news on comprehensive sex ed out of California. It’s time to get off the bench!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- What is AAPLOG’s Position on Treatment of Ectopic Pregnancy?
- Treating an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion
- Ectopic pregnancy
- ‘Downright Sickening’: CA Preps Graphic Sex Ed with Bondage, ‘Blood Play’, and K-3 Gender Queer
- California Family Council
- Parents of California or EPOCH
- MomStrong International
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John—welcome to the podcast. Today is Monday, May 13th. This is Mailbox Monday, episode number 765. I’m going to jump right into it today. We’ve got a lot of stuff to talk about. Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
So we’ve had a great weekend. Thanks to everybody who came out to Mobile, Alabama for the Teach Them Diligently conference and also to Abundant Life Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. You guys have a fantastic thing going on there in Lee’s Summit. I just want to encourage you like we did on Sunday, that what we’re facing in the culture right now—particularly as it relates to parenting, and the attacks that you’re seeing leveled against the family through the public school system, and many other places—are really just a reminder that we are in a spiritual battle. And spiritual battles require spiritual weapons. And so, keep those weapons to the forefront your primary weapons, Mom and Dad—which are prayer and a knowledge, a working knowledge of the Word of God—meaning we study God’s Word to know it so that we know how God wants us to respond to any given thing that’s happening in the culture right now.
It’s Mailbox Monday, and so today as always—I want to get to as many of your questions as I possibly can. Last week we left off talking about the topic of ectopic pregnancy and I said I would come back again and so I’m going to pick that up today.
So this question comes from a listener who asked to remain anonymous and she was asking what is the biblical position, the pro-life position, on treating an ectopic pregnancy. This is a really good question. It’s also a tender topic and I want to just start off by saying—and this is what I always say on my Facebook page, this is what say to people who ask me this when I’m at conferences—is that this is about intent. And the intent of a pro-life person whether you’re a physician, or a mother, or a father—should never be to intentionally kill an unborn child but to preserve the life of the mother and the child.
So we always come from a position of wanting to save them both. We want to treat them both if we possibly can, and sometimes that’s not possible. So the abortion movement—they’re going to come to us with all of these hard cases. What what happens in the case of incest? What happens with the case of rape? And especially hardcore cases for the life of the mother. And so, this is a really interesting topic because I don’t believe that an ectopic pregnancy falls under the abortion argument. I don’t see it as an abortion because ectopic pregnancy is not an issue in the abortion debate. So the removal of an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion and has never been considered an abortion by most people in the pro-life movement—simply by virtue of the fact that this is not a mother or a father who are intentionally taking the life of a child that they just don’t want, or that child has a birth defect, or that child was unplanned.
This is a case where the mother’s life is threatened—and we do everything we can to save the life of the mother and save the life of the child. And though doctors will try to save the child, sometimes they can’t. Right? I’ve had many friends who have had ectopic pregnancies. If you’re not familiar, an ectopic pregnancy refers to any pregnancy that’s implanted outside the uterus. And the most common place for this to happen is in the fallopian tubes.
And most of my friends who have had an ectopic pregnancy—end up losing not only the baby but also part of their fallopian tubes. And usually, by the time that we discover ectopic pregnancies it’s about 7-8 weeks of gestation, and by that time—more often than not—the baby has already died. The embryo has already died. And so—if that’s not the case, which was the case for one of my friends, I want to say this was 15 or 20 years ago I got a phone call from my friend and she said—oh my goodness, I just had an ultrasound she was having excruciating abdominal pain, went in and they discovered—yes she had an ectopic pregnancy.
So this just means that your baby, that the pregnancy, is developing outside the uterus. And sometimes they occur in multiple places, but most often you’re going to hear about an ectopic pregnancy that’s inside the fallopian tubes. I had Abby Johnson on the podcast on Friday with me, and actually looked up to see if she had something to say about this and she did. And I’ll link back to it in the show notes today. And I want to read to a little bit about what she said because I think she said it best. She said: “there have been a few ectopic pregnancies that have survived when they have implanted outside the uterus. However, there have never been any babies survive an ectopic pregnancy while implanted inside a fallopian tube.”
And you guys can look up articles on this. There has never been a case where a baby survived that was implanted directly in the fallopian tube. And so, when the baby is implanted directly in the tube—the pregnancy has to be removed. There isn’t another option. And Abby points out that how the pregnancy is removed is key, and I would also like to say to me this is all about intent. This is about intent. The intent is therefore to save the life of the mother—not to kill the baby. And sometimes, this is how it goes.
I’ve heard the Catholic Church talk about this as the principle of double effect. And so, they say that moral actions produce two effects and they evaluate them under the under the principle of double effect. So here’s what they say:
- The action must be either morally good or neutral.
- The bad effect must not be the means by which the good effect is achieved.
- The intention must be achieving of only the good effect or the bad effect can in no way be intended, and must be avoided if possible.
- The good effect must at least be equivalent in proportion to the bad effects.
So in ectopic pregnancy, a mother who’s facing this tubal pregnancy risks an imminent rupture of her fallopian tube—and so there exists a danger to both the life of the mother and the child. And usually the course of action is to remove the fallopian tube which results unfortunately in the loss of life for the child.
Pro-life does not mean that we elevate the life of the baby over the mother, sometimes there are situations that cannot be avoided. Ectopic pregnancy is one of them. This has never been, as far as I’m concerned—and I used to teach childbirth education classes for many years. This is never a situation where a woman wishes to terminate her child because she just doesn’t want the baby anymore.
Here you’ve got a baby that is going to die by virtue of the fact that it’s not implanted in the uterus of the mother. And these kinds of pregnancies can severely injure or damage the mother. And so, sometimes the baby at times, and even the fallopian tubes must be removed. And so these are situations that are very difficult, but again we’re talking about intent—and death is not the purpose. The purpose is to save the life of the mother.
When we talk about abortion. Abortions not only kill children, but they do so through brutal means. And so, when we’re talking about ectopic pregnancies—we’re talking about emergency treatments that are not done to kill the child, but rather to save the life of the mother. And the loss of life which does occur, is both unintended and tragic. We try to save the child, though sometimes we cannot. And so to me this is an issue of intent, and an emergency situation—such as the one that we’ve been talking about with ectopic pregnancy—falls under that category. So I hope that helps answer your question.
The next question comes from a listener. Her name is Michelle. She says: “Heidi, thanks for your encouragement and your wisdom I listen regularly.” Thank you, Michelle. Thank you for that. She says: “How do you handle children who do not have a good attitude during devotional time or during Bible time? We struggle with this on a regular basis and there are times when they moan and groan, they start arguments, or they just have bad attitudes —and no consequence has seemed to help. We just keep plugging away and try not to let it deter us. Most of the time, we the parents, end up with bad attitudes.”
Man, Michelle—moment of silence. Girl, I feel you. This is so normal. You saying that you feel like it’s an attack from the Devil—and I’m sure that he absolutely has a part to play in it, but also can I just say this is children, in general. So your next question that goes on to, with the first question is—“how do you handle attitudes during Bible time and then also after dinner conversation.” Michelle says “we always have a conversation or devotion after dinner and our kids cannot wait to get up and get it over with. They are itching to get done with it moaning running etc..”
Your kids are old enough to sit. They are 8, and 11, and 13. So let’s talk about this for just a second—because I think sometimes we can get caught up in the at the actions of our children and miss the heart. And so, I love that you have noticed that you’re struggling with heart issues with your kids—because really that’s what we’re after.
So it’s less about doing devotions at the dinner table, or after dinner, or whether or not your kids are moaning and groaning, acting like children—and it’s more about—are you after the heart of your children? And something that occurred to me many years ago—when our children were very young—was that we had the opportunity as parents to make their time in the Word as joyful and as desirable as possible.
So let me unpack that a little bit. What I mean is—you know, you’ve heard the saying you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Right? And so, we can have devotions with our kids but they may not want to be there. They may not enjoy it. And what happens, more often than not, and this certainly was the case in my home—was that we would do devotions and the kids would roll their eyes. They would hang upside down on the on the chair—and then pretty soon, you know, I’m upset with the kids. I’ve gotten short with them, you know—Let’s read the Bible and enjoy it! You know? Nobody wants that. And so your job, Mom and Dad, is to learn. And we do this through, basically—I think—just through trial and error. Right?
We want to make the cool drink of water that we offer our children from the Word of God. We can’t make them drink, but we can sure offer them a cool drink of water—that Living Water. And sometimes what we miss—in our efforts to train our children and righteousness in our efforts to implement a devotion time, of Bible time—is that once it gets not-very-fun anymore for the kids, once the kids aren’t enjoying it anymore—then as parents, we sort of dig our heels in and we say: well, we’re gonna do this no matter what.
Can I just encourage you—if you’re in that place, what would it look like to make that Bible time with your children desirable? So over the years we’ve tried many different things, and the reason we try different things is because what we’re doing is now no longer working—right? So that wonderful thing that you started in September, by the time we get to May, oftentimes it’s kind of old and we’re sort of bored of it. We want to do something different. There’s nothing wrong with changing it up.
So for many many years I tried different things with our kids when I noticed that we were kind of going sideways with things. Sometimes I would put out milk and cookies, sometimes we would go outside and we would have our devotions outside. The point was that I wanted to be in tune with the heart of my children. I don’t want them to leave my home and think about our quiet time, or our devotion time, or Bible time as a family as something that they resented and hated. I want them to look back and say this was a good thing and we loved it.
That doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect, but I do think that often times, it becomes all about—sit still, and be quiet, and listen. And that’s important, those are important skills, but especially when we’re talking about God’s Word as it relates to our family life and knowing His Word and passing that onto our children—I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to leave our home and have good memories of that. And like I said before—they won’t always be good memories, but I think the majority of them can be. And so if you’re struggling with that with your kids, sit down with the kids—or even with your husband or your wife—and say: hey, how can we make devotion time something that the kids actually really look forward to soon as a hey kids route into devotions? They come running instead of—here we go, blah blah blah.
And over the years we’ve changed a many many times and I can tell you that the the most wonderful times we’ve had with our kids have been the times where that water that we were offering them, that drink of water from the Word of God, was cool and refreshing and desirable for your kids so something for you to think about. There’s some ways that, you can off the top of my head, that come to me like—I told you before—I love to set out milk and cookies for the kids. I remember one time in particular though—I will say it doesn’t always work. One time in particular I set out, I think tea, I got out my specialty tea, sat it out, and I you know I put some half and half out and some some biscuits. And I thought this is going to be so sweet. And for whatever reason, we called the kids down for devotions, and they were already two of them were already fighting before they even made it into my beautifully set living room where I had lit candles and put out. And by the time that particular day was over, which is why I remember it—the kids were fighting, I was crying. I think I said something like—I’m never doing this with you again. Of course it wasn’t true. But we say those things, right?
So I just want to say even when you do everything right it can still go wrong. And I think the main thing is—don’t give up. Get back to it. Enjoy your kids, remember that the time is fleeting, and make the most of it. All right? So don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work. All right?
Next question. “Good morning. In the midst of your busy speaking season I wanted to ask you about rest. I know that you’ve touched on this topic recently, however my question is more specifically geared toward a Sabbath day rest.” So this mom is saying she’s tried to rest on Sundays but she finds herself sort of restless and waiting for Monday. And I totally understand that. And so I want to just define rest for you right now—because I think sometimes we have a wrong idea of what rest looks like.
To me, and this is how our family has looked at it over the years—rest is anything that brings you joy. So if you recharge—because the whole point of resting is that you recharge, it’s not that you get legalistic about it and everybody has to sit on the couch, everybody has to take a nap. If taking a nap is what brings you joy and what you need to do to recharge then absolutely take a nap. But if recharging for you is taking a walk, if recharging for you is reorganizing your bedroom, or rearranging the furniture, or even cleaning your kitchen—if that’s what’s going to help you rest, then I’m all for doing it. So the point is to have it be a joyful thing. So like last week, for example, we came home from church and we had had a really busy weekend—lots of things happening in our family, various events that we were going to.
And I came home from church and literally—I looked at my bed and I was like oh happy day. I just crawled under the covers. I think I would sleep for like three hours, which I normally don’t do. But on Sunday, we give ourselves permission to do what is restful and what recharges our batteries. Sometimes that means I’m reading a book. Sometimes it means I’m going through pictures and organizing pictures—because I wouldn’t do it any other day because I’m busy and it’s something that brings us joy.
And so, I think that’s what you need to look at. Don’t let it be a legalistic thing. I think that legalism sucks the life right out of us, right? And we can even be legalistic about rest, and so I would encourage you away from that.
All right, one other thing I want to talk about really quickly—and that is Comprehensive Sex Education which is making a huge move into the state of California right now. It’s all over the nation. If you’re not familiar with it you definitely need to be. And the Christian Christian Broadcasting Network wrote an article about this the other day and they called it down right sickening—California graphic sex-ed with bondage. I’m not even gonna say the words here because I know some of you have kids that are listening, but I’ll link back to this article in the show notes today. And I want to encourage you to to get involved. If you’re in California especially—get involved —because the state of California is poised to adopt this, right?—and it is a no holds barred Comprehensive Sex Curriculum that teaches children as young as kindergarten about gender identity issues and talks explicitly. When I say explicitly linked to the article you guys are going to be horrified at what they’re telling your high school students is OK. We’re talking about teaching them about every imaginable sex act—heterosexual, homosexual, makes no difference. And the State Board of Education has been, as many of you know already, taking public comment on the curriculum for months—and despite protests from various parent and conservative groups, it appears that it’s poised to adopt it. So Greg Burt, who’s a spokesperson for the California Family Council, says that protesters are running out of time. And so I want to encourage you to get involved, look up the California Family Council—I’ll link back to them the shown notes today.
Also there’s a new group which is over 18,000 parents strong now called Informed Parents of California or EPOCH and they are going to be joining the council to protest this curriculum during a May 8th rally at the Capitol. I want encourage you a new 18,000 member parent group called Informed Parents of California has been formed to to fight this. The founder, Stephanie Yates, said that this curriculum was “downright sickening and dangerous. It’s reckless and will destroy your children’s physical emotional and mental health.”
And I’m telling you what, you guys—I have looked at curriculum like this and it is awful. You need to be able to get off of the bench and onto the battlefield. I’ve been telling parents for years, you know, I never used to be one of those people who who said—get your kids out of public school. But honestly, I mean, the barn’s on fire. At what point do we get the horses out? At what point do we say—okay, this is no longer acceptable.
And some of the biggest concerns about this particular curriculum is that in kindergarten through third grade. So the books that are given to kindergarten—they’re going to teach kids that they can be a boy or a girl, neither, gender queer, or gender fluid. And to me this is equally as damaging. Then they’re going to tell your children that the adults in their life might not understand their gender identity. Well of course they’re going to tell your kids that because the adults in your life are going to say—no, that’s garbage. It’s absolute garbage. In fourth and fifth and sixth grade—so now they’re turning parents against their children—in fourth, and fifth, and sixth grade—they’re using slang words for genitals, they’re explaining masturbation, sexual fantasies to sixth grade kids—fourth, fifth, and sixth grade—and in high school it gets even worse. I would say just flat out acts of debauchery being taught to children.
And so I want to encourage you—get off the bench get onto the battlefield. Speak up. And parents, if your school won’t listen to you—pull your children out of school. Pull your children out of school. Why are we allowing our children to swim through a cesspool in order to get basic education about reading, writing, and arithmetic? I would argue that the time has come to say—no more, not on my watch. Pull your children out of these immoral schools where the teachers and the administrators think that they know better than parents do. And in fact one of the worst things about this curriculum is that they’re not allowing parents to opt their children out of it.
And we talked about this a couple of years ago and parents said—oh, this will never happen. But actually, it’s true! Senator Mike Morrell, who is a Republican from Rancho, Cucamonga, is seeking to remedy this with a new bill that allows K through 6 parents to opt into the sex curriculum for their children rather than having them opt out. But right now—parents can not opt out of the whole curriculum. They are actually forced to have their children listen to instruction related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and discrimination. This is an affront against parents everywhere and we should be concerned. So if you want more information on these groups I’ve reference to you please link. Please go up to the show notes today and you will see them there.
Also I will be speaking in California. I’m really excited to be down there this year for your homeschool conference at CHEA and I’ll link back to that also in the show notes today.
I want to say thanks for everybody who’s listening to the podcast and leaving reviews at iTunes. Thank you. Thank you, thank you—I can’t thank you enough. Please keep those reviews coming, please keep them coming for the books I’ve written over at Amazon or any place that books are being reviewed. It helps us get a message of whole-hearted parenting out to families and it is needed now more than ever. I appreciate you listening. I hope you guys have a fantastic day and I’m going to see you back here for the second week of our study at MomStrong International on Wednesday.
Write to Heidi:
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