Have you ever wondered if God was listening to your prayers? You’re not alone! Join me as I talk with my husband about the last seven years of producing this podcast. Miracles abound where God guides. He is faithful!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Psalm 15:1-5
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast. Today is Monday the 5th of August. This is episode number 801 and I have a very special guest on the show with me today. My husband is here and we’re going to reminisce a little bit about God’s faithfulness in our lives, particularly as it relates to the podcast, as we celebrated our 800th episode.
Stick around, I know you’re going to be encouraged.
Alright, so you guys, my goodness— thank you so much for reaching out. You have been great about entering the giveaway that we’re doing. Remember I told you that we’re going to be doing a bundle giveaway this time and it’s very easy to enter. We want to say thank you. It’s just our way of celebrating and so we’re going to be giving some stuff away. If you go over to Instagram and give a shout out to the podcast, all you gotta do is tag me @HeidiStJohn. For each unique shout out, or story, or post, we will count that as an entry. So you’ve got until Friday to tag me. So Friday, August 9th— that’s when we’re gonna shut it down and that’s what we’re going to start picking the winners. Also, if you want to leave a review on iTunes, we will enter those also in the pool. All you gotta do is leave a review, take a screenshot of it and share it on Instagram.
And then finally, MomStrong International, if you’re not already a member there, it’s really easy you guys. We just reached a milestone—we’re over 13,000 members at MomStrong International, so head on over there. Create your free account and login. Click on the chat room and then type in your reply to the question marked 800 Giveaway. That’s how simple it is and we’re going to be giving away bundles on August 9th, and submissions are open through that time. So celebrate with us. We are so excited about what God is doing. I’m going to be in Lee’s Summit, Missouri on the 24th of August for my women’s conference, Faith that Speaks. We’re going to be wrapping up this year’s theme: Miracle Worker, The Life Changing Power of Following Jesus. And I just want to encourage you, come out and join me and my family. Our whole family’s going to be there, so it’s going to be a wonderful time. We’re excited about that.
Speaking of family, my favorite person in the history of people is here today at the show. My husband Jay St. John is here, and we’re going to be talking a little bit about God’s faithfulness, and kind of the ups and downs of following Jesus. Speaking of miracle workers, hey baby, welcome to the show.
[Jay] Hey, it’s good to be here.
[Heidi] So you drove quite a ways to be here today.
[Jay] I think I brought you here.
[Heidi] Yeah. You right. That’s probably true.
[Heidi] Well, I’m glad that you’re here. You’ve been engineering the podcast for a really long time.
[Jay] It has been awhile, yes.
[Heidi] So when did we start this thing anyway?
[Jay] Was it 2014?
[Heidi] I think so, yeah. In the fall or something like that.
[Heidi] And I was thinking about this the other day because we’ve just rounded 800 episodes, which is no joke.
[Jay] It’s a couple of them, yeah.
[Heidi] That’s you behind the scenes engineering things and taking all my “ums” out and making me sound better than I really am—thanks for that.
[Jay] Working my magic over here.
[Heidi] Working your magic. And I’m trying to remember when we started—you know, we’ve had a lot of people say— why did you guys start a podcast? And I thought that’s a really great question. And I seem to recall just sort of getting ahead of the podcast curve, just thinking— I wonder if this would be a better way for me to communicate because I like speaking and you like all the engineering aspect of it. But where were we when we started?
[Jay] Well, I know that we had kind of dabbled with podcasting with our ministry for a bit. We’d started and stopped, and tried different things. And then when you decided to do a podcast for your ministry, we did it at US Digital in the radio station that’s there.
[Heidi] Yeah, that’s right. And they had a studio and made us feel super important.
[Jay] Yea, it was great! Felt so important in there.
[Heidi] I think when we started, I tried to do like five minute podcasts, and I just couldn’t do it.
[Jay] Yea, there’s just not enough time to get started, have something impactful to say, and wrap it up. How do you do that in five minutes?
[Heidi] And I couldn’t do it. Some people do it, and I’m really impressed. Like I saw a guy doing the MiracleMinute. A friend of mine is a pastor and he does this thing called MiracleMinute and he shares this amazing biblical wisdom in a minute and every time he does it, I’m like—how do you do that man? I can’t do it. I can’t even do the intro in less than a minute.
[Jay] We’ll use up so much to say.
[Heidi] It’s really true. But I was thinking about God’s faithfulness to our family over the years. A lot of people ask us how we got into ministry together and what we’ve been doing. And I thought it might be worth it to just take a few minutes and talk about sort of how we got here, and where we’re going, and what the Lord’s doing. And you kind of got to take him back to Bible College because that’s where we met. You have always been interested in music. Were you always interested in ministry?
[Jay] Yeah, I don’t know. I mean when I was younger I wanted to go on the Air Force. So if that’s the ministry, I guess so.
[Heidi] Well, you know, Air Force and flying high…. no, actually it’s nothing, nothing like ministry except for the terrifying part of it. Maybe if you’re afraid of heights ministry might be the same thing.
[Jay] It was for sure when I was, um, just graduated from high school that I felt like I wanted me to go to Bible school and I wanted to serve the Lord in whatever way He wanted. And so I was in a band and brought all my music gear down to Multnomah.
[Heidi] Which is where I met you.
[Jay] And then we met. We were doing ministry when we met. Both of us were involved with ministry of the church when we met, so we just haven’t stopped.
[Heidi] No, and I think that we had an idea going into it of what it might be like. We thought— oh, we’ll work for a church, people will be so great, we can encourage people in their walk with the Lord. And it turns out ministry is pretty hard.
[Jay] Yeah. It really is. You really have a target on your back when you want to follow God. But honestly in any place in your life where you choose to follow God, the enemy’s not going to be happy with that, and he’s going to do what he can to derail you and bring you down. We’ve experienced our share of that.
[Heidi] Yeah, for sure. We just finished speaking in Phoenix and in Los Angeles a few weeks before that, talking about how God doesn’t do anything apart from a Kingdom purpose. And when He brings us together as a husband and wife, it’s because He’s doing something with us together that we couldn’t do necessarily apart. And really, everything that we’ve done has been a part of that. And so I was hoping today to sort of speak to that, just the faithfulness of God and what it takes to follow the passions that God has given. And one of the questions you get a lot when we’re out on the road is always—is this what you thought you’d be doing?
[Jay] No, it’s not.
[Heidi] Did you think you’d have seven kids?
[Jay] Nope. I did not think I’d have seven kids. I didn’t think I’d be married touch a beautiful lady either.
[Heidi] Oh my goodness, 20 points.
[Jay] Yeah. So a lot of things about my life are not what I thought, but that’s kind of the joy of following God—is letting Him do what He wants to do. And as He shapes you, and leads you, and uses you— it just takes you down to places that you probably don’t think you could or would have gone.
And that’s part of the fun of it, I think. There’s a joy in it. People ask all the time— how do you do so many different things? And we always tell people— well, we’re doing what God asked us to do and He makes it happen somehow. There’s a joy that we find in doing it. And it definitely is beyond what we have the time for, the money for, the stamina for.
[Heidi] Yeah. Well, and it’s a yielding. It definitely has been for all of our married life. We’re comeing up on 30 years for goodness sake.
[Jay] Has it been that long?
[Heidi] How long are you married, honey?
[Jay] Almost 30 years—not long enough.
[Heidi] I was waiting for you to say it— and not long enough— you’re old standby. And one of the things that that early on— and I’m hoping this is encouraging to couples that are listening to this today— is we really determined when we were very young, because I was 19 when we got married and you were 21, that we wanted to do something for the Lord together. We felt like we would be stronger together, that we would accomplish more together. And we had kind of a backward idea what that would look like. Because I think we thought it would be a lot more romantic than it actually is. Turns out it’s hard work. But it’s also grown us up in incredible ways. So talk to the couple with me, Jay, for just a minute, who’s thinking about their own unique strengths. About where we started, looking at our unique strengths. And we were in a different season of life. So in 1989 we got married and went straight into ministry—we were just in a different season of life—no children. And then eventually we had seven children and eventually started homeschooling. And so, the Lord’s taken us through different seasons and it hasn’t always looked the same.
[Jay] Yeah, that’s right. And when we started out it was more—I thought the band, that side of things, was going to grow pretty high.
[Heidi] Yea, you guys were pretty hot. I mean the band was pretty cool. I mean, come on.
[Jay] Thank you.
[Heidi] And you looked good with your mullet. And you guys got to open for Petra.
[Jay] Yeah. And many others too.
[Heidi] Yeah, at the coliseum, it was pretty sweet.
[Jay] Yeah. So I really thought that’s where things would go. And then I began working at the church where we met.
[Heidi] Yea, in Portland.
[Jay] And I became a worship pastor there and we were doing choir and worship team. You were doing the worship team word and we did plays.
[Heidi] And well I thought just whatever you are doing, I wanted to do it too. I wanted to help and I couldn’t be the director. So I thought — well, I’ll stand in the back with cue-cards.
[Jay] Right. And as we went along and we were doing that, things were great. But overtime, especially moving to different churches where it just didn’t fit quite as well, and also all the kids we had—that concerned me a little bit, seeing how we weren’t working together quite as much. But then when the homeschooling happened, and the co-op started at our church—Wow! In my mind, that just took off and I was like— something is really unique here and God’s wired us to work together to do this in a pretty big way.
[Heidi] And that was when you started praying about— Lord, do you want me to stop this full time job that I’m doing? — because you were pastoring full time— and step away and minister to homeschoolers.
[Heidi] And that was no joke.
[Jay] Yeah, no, it was a big faith step from my side of things. I felt like I was responsible for providing for my family and how can that happen when we’re just trusting the Lord?
[Jay] And you know what folks? I’ve learned He actually does take care of you when you follow Him.
[Heidi] It’s an amazing thing, and it only happens when you take that step of faith. And I remember one point in particular, this was a long time ago— I was doing devotions with the kids and you were at work and I had been reading through the Old Testament with our younger kids… actually, with our older kids. What am I saying?
[Jay] They’re older now.
[Heidi] Yea, they’re older now. They’re all in their twenties now. But they were eight, 10, and 12. And we were talking about how the Lord set the 12 tribes of Israel apart. In particular He called the Levites. And I remember looking over at Skylar and he was raising his hand on the couch—not like I asked the kids to raise their hands—so it was kind of a weird thing to do. But he was stretching his arm way up in the air and was like— mom, mom, mom. And I said— Skylar, be quiet, we’re reading the Bible. And finally I was like— what Skylar? And he said— mom, we are the Levites, God has set us apart. We’re supposed to do the ministry part of it. And there was something that just happened in my heart. Do you remember this?
[Jay] Oh yeah.
[Heidi] And I called you at work. I was just balling like— Jay, we’re the Levites. And that was kind of the beginning of us going to do this thing.
[Jay] That was definitely in that time and we were wrestling with— should I step down from the church to pursue this full time— because we were so busy with it anyways. It was becoming a full time job anyhow. So, yeah.
[Heidi] Well, and just seeing the signs, I think people sometimes wonder if — when you are doing exactly what God wants you to do— then everything’s going to line up and you’re going to know, and God’s going to speak to you. It doesn’t work that way.
[Jay] Yeah. Well there definitely is signs that we have that God shows us. I tell people all the time—we learned from Henry Blackaby: Experiencing God, there’s definitely signs that you can look at to know when God’s leading you. And all those things we talked and prayed about it many times in those days. I remember having five things, holding them up on one hand saying—these are the five reasons. I can’t remember what they were now. But one by one they use were taken away. I’m like— wow, I have no more reasons not to do this. And I’m like— okay God.
But it was difficult for me to take that step.
[Heidi] And it was difficult once you did it.
[Heidi] Because things did not fall into place like we had hoped they would. And we struggle financially. I mean really struggled. And I remember driving somewhere, and I remember going through our mail and looking at the mortgage payment and I just burst into tears just sitting there thinking— I don’t know how we’re going to pay for this. I don’t know how we’re going to do this. And the Lord had been providing for us, like manna from heaven and in kind of strange ways. And I remember you saying something that’s so impacted me. You said— you know, Heidi, I wonder what would happen if instead of us freaking out, if we just thanked the Lord because we trusted His provision and we knew that God was going to provide. And we did that. You’re driving, I think we were heading towards Seattle, and we just started thanking the Lord.
Like— thank you Lord, that you’ve already provided for this mortgage payment. Thank you that you see the situation that we’re in and You are faithful and we trust You. And wouldn’t you know it?
[Jay] Yeah. I don’t know that it was that hyper spiritual. I just remember us recounting the previous three months, I think it had been, where every month we’d done the exact same thing. We’d get to the third week of the month and the book keeper would call and say there just isn’t enough money to pay.
[Heidi] Yea, our little nonprofit. We used to say we put the non in nonprofit.
[Jay] That’s right. But yet every month, and it was usually was on the last day of the month, the money would come in and we were able to pay our bills. So that’s what brought that about. It’s like— look, God keeps providing every month, even though He waits to the last second, it feels like.
[Heidi] Rarely early, but never late.
[Jay] But never late. Yea. So it just seemed logical to me to just praise God because it looks like that’s what He’s going to do— He just waits to last second every month. And that’s how He works and let’s praise Him for what He’s going to do with the last second.
[Jay] So I mean, it still was hard. I mean we still had hard things that happened during those days, but God has provided, God has blessed, and walked us through, and taught us like crazy, and really grown us up. Looking back, and looking at even how we are now, and what we do together, just seeing how God uniquely brought us to a place to use the things He equipped us to do, to do something greater than we are individually on our own.
[Heidi] I remember you telling me one time, because I never planned on speaking and the only reason I even did it was because somebody didn’t show up for an event and they asked me to fill in— and one thing sort of led to another. And I remember you telling me after, I don’t even know where we were, at a particular event that I’d spoken to something simple, and you came up and said— you have a gift, you should use that gift more. And I’m like— well yea, we have five little kids. We had two more kids after that. But you saw something that you wanted to see me grow in. And I think that’s a really unique thing that you did for me. And seeing in each other the gifts that God’s uniquely given us. Like I see so many giftings in you and you’ve been using those gifts for the Lord as long as I’ve known you, and to take the gifts that God has given you, and blend them with the gifts that God has given me, where there’s not a competition and no who’s out front or who’s on first. The Lord really does amazing things through it. And it doesn’t look like any of us ever thinks it will. I think that’s kind of a big thing to know.
[Jay] Yeah. God takes the little bit that we are willing to be obedient with and then multiplies it. And we’ve seen that in our family. Even just looking around where we’re sitting right now, which is like— how in the world that we get here? Well, we got here because God asked us to do something and we’re like— really God? okay, we’ll take this step. And then it’s like He just does a much bigger thing and then we take another step, and that’s just how it is for us anyhow. That’s how God has led us and used us. And it is a joy, as I mentioned earlier, it’s a joy to see all that. It doesn’t always make sense and man’s economy, but I think that’s what God often wants because He wants us to give Him the glory and not pat ourselves on the back—because we’re just not that good.
[Heidi] Right? Yeah. You right. So think that the Lord’s calling us to do something and we step out in faith. And we say—okay Lord, we’re gonna do this. We think we hear your voice. And some things go really well and other things are really hard and really painful. But I think something that we’ve learned, and you’ve been particularly instrumental in this, because I probably would have given up. You’re the one who was like— don’t give up. I think one of the nice things about our 30 year union is that we’ve never both been so discouraged at the same time that we just throw in the towel. Like usually when I’m discouraged, you’re, you’re feeling pretty good and when you’re discouraged I’m like— come on, we got this thing.
[Jay] Yea, I think God does that on purpose.
[Heidi] Yeah. I think that must be the Lord. And I remember starting the podcast sitting in that little studio, and we would try something and how many downloads we get?
[Jay] I don’t remember but I remember at one point having 200 downloads. I don’t remember where it was. I just remember thinking— wow, we’ve got 200 downloads. This is amazing!
[Heidi] Yeah, it’s amazing!
[Jay] Yea, 200 people are being encouraged because of what we’re bringing.
[Heidi] Yeah. And those little things, that little encouragement and the willingness to say— hey, we’re going to get up tomorrow, we’re going to do it again. And we’re going to try to get better. And then there was a season where we had to put it down for awhile. I think it was right after Saylor was born. And we took a break from it because I just could not juggle the newborn.
[Jay] And you were having some health problems too.
[Heidi] Yeah. So a lot of things going on. And then we picked it up again and you had this great idea to say— hey, let’s try like…. Remember we tried an hour? I thought—oh, I’ll do an hour. We tried five minutes — can’t do it.
[Jay] Well, it was five minutes every day. Then we thought, let’s do an hour once a week.
[Heidi] And I couldn’t.
[Jay] And it was just too long.
[Heidi] Yeah. Too Long. And so you thought— what if we did like a short podcast? You know enough to get something in there three times a week. And wouldn’t you know it— it actually worked. And I was looking at how many downloads we’ve had now. And I wrote this down because it’s astonishing. In the eight years we’ve been doing this, how many years does that… don’t make me do math. 2014…
[Jay] It’s almost six.
[Heidi] We are at 28.7million downloads. That’s a lot of people.
[Jay] Well, a lot of downloads.
[Heidi] A lot of downloads.
[Jay] Well, it could be dude out there downloading it over and over. And if that’s the case, thank you.
[Heidi] Part of our heart and doing this today is, I know that there are people married couples in particular, and young people too who aren’t married but they want to follow God. It requires a persistence of just saying— Lord, even when it’s difficult, even when I don’t think it’s going well, even when I’ve only got 200 downloads and I don’t think anyone’s listening to it, to persist in what you’ve asked me to do. And along the way we get to see the faithfulness and the goodness of God.
[Jay] Yeah, absolutely. It really is a joy. And it’s like you’re always saying— hey, I’ve God had a refrigerator. Your face would be on it, your picture would be on it. That’s what you say. If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. And it’s kinda like that. When we’re doing what God has asked us to do, and we’re just thinking— there’s no, well this was going to work. And then it does. And you’re like— wow, how’s this even happening? I really believe it’s God blessing us and doing it and it’s like He’s smiling and putting your picture on His refrigerator.
[Heidi] Yeah. I love that. It’s a beautiful analogy of the heart of God for His kids. And even when it doesn’t work. I mean, there’ve been 100 million things I feel like you and I have tried that were like— yeah, that didn’t work.
[Jay] But we don’t talk about those things.
[Heidi] We don’t talk about those things. We have those little conferences and are like— welp, start over again. But I have appreciated so much Jay, your willingness to just say— Hey, let’s keep trying this and see where the Lord takes it. And the same thing is true of the homeschool resource center. We prayed for this place for 15 years, just tried things that didn’t work. And there are seasons of loneliness, truly, and isolation. And yet God was still at work. He was still at work. God’s still works even when it’s dark, even when you can’t see Him, He’s still working. I think it’s worth reminding people that the Bible teaches us that He who began a good work is faithful to complete it. And this is an exciting time to be a Christian.
[Jay] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We live in the Northwest and it’s kind of crazy out here if you haven’t seen the news or listen to the news.
[Heidi] *laughter* that’s my nervousness laugh.
[Jay] But we always tell people— Hey, light shines brighter in the darkness.
[Heidi] Yea, you right.
[Jay] And I think that when our lives, because there we definitely go through times….I don’t know why God does this, but He’s just quiet and you’re like— Lord, please Lord. I mean I’m there. We went through seasons where I remember just crying out to the Lord like— Lord, what do we do now?
[Heidi] you’re so quiet.
[Jay] Yeah. I mean I just think He wants us to trust Him, lean on Him. It’s kind of like a trial when you go through those things. And all those things, looking back on those times, it’s grown me, it’s grown us, and we’ve had to just go—you know what? we know got us to school this direction to do this thing, let’s just keep at it until we hear what He says next.
[Heidi] Until He really closes the door.
[Jay] Or He closes the door so you can’t do it anymore.
[Heidi] Yeah. Yeah. And we’ve had Him closed the door on some things too. That’s certainly been the case. And I think those parts are very, very difficult because that means when you see— hey, the Lord is not blessing us anymore. He was blessing for a season but He isn’t anymore. Now you’ve got to open your hand and release it. And we certainly did that with First-Class. We’ve done that with several things. You know that we poured our heart and soul into you and it didn’t go the way we wanted it to. And yet later, sometimes even years down the road, you can start to go— oh I see. That’s what the Lord was doing. He’s faithful.
[Jay] That’s right. He is. He’s good.
[Heidi] He’s good all the time. Well Babe, I appreciate you.
[Jay] Thank you. I appreciate you on.
[Heidi] 800 podcasts—wow!
[Jay] I don’t know, you have so much to say. I think that all the time when I’m mixing podcasts and I’m like— how in the world do you come up with more stuff to talk about? But you do.
[Heidi] Because the world is always changing. This turned out to be a good thing for you, because I can get some of my like 700 million words out in the podcast.
[Jay] And maybe it’s quieter at home in the evening, is that what you’re thinking?
[Heidi] I could be, I don’t know. I don’t know. Well we sure appreciate the audience and everybody listening, and sharing the podcast with your friends. We read every single review that you guys leave on iTunes. I even read the one from that crabby lady last week who said that I viewed the world through an unjust lens—an unjust scale, I think is what she said. Initially I was kind of wounded and then I was like— no, I guess everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. So we read those, and for the most part we’re very encouraged. So thanks everybody for leaving reviews, and thanks for sharing it for helping us get to 28 million downloads. It’s kind of an amazing thing. We appreciate your prayers and your support.
If you guys want to support the ministry, you can certainly do that financially. We really need your prayers, absolutely. We’re here now in the studio. We did this podcast for a long time out of our closet.
[Jay] I know, I thought we were going to talk about that. That’s right. We started in the, once we moved home from US Digital, it was just easier to do them at home. And we did it in the closet because it’s quieter in there.
[Heidi] Oh yeah, all the clothes will absorb the sound.
[Jay] The problem is, it’s not very big. It’s really claustrophobic in there and I couldn’t see through the door. So I’d shut the door while you talk and I’m just going to hear you. We were doing that for quite a while.
[Heidi] We did that for quite awhile. Let me move to the school room a little bit.
[Jay] That’s right. And that worked out pretty good.
[Heidi] That worked pretty good.
[Jay] And actually that room was quieter than I thought it would be.
[Heidi] Only a few people heard us yell at the kids.
[Jay] That’s right.
[Heidi[ So that was good.
[Jay] Or the kids yelling outside the door.
[Heidi] Yeah, yeah, that’s true. Yep. And then, about a year and a half ago we moved here. To the studios are Firmly Planted Family, which—it’s amazing.
[Jay] It’s amazing. I mean there could be kids screaming and yelling and banging and whatever else they’re doing out there and it is quiet as anything in here.
[Heidi] Yeah. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Well, speaking of amazing, I’m looking out the window of the studio right now and our son has just arrived. So that’s kind of fun. It’s fun to see what the Lord’s doing. Even as our kids are grown. I mean, 800 episodes— they were a lot smaller when we started on this podcast. So we just want to take a little bit of time since we never do this and just tell you guys, thank you for listening and we really appreciate it.
[Jay] Yup. Thank you very much.
[Heidi] All right, you guys, if you want any questions or if you’ve got a question that you want to send me to Mailbox Monday, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org we love you guys. Thanks for celebrating this milestone with us. Stay faithful. I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
Support this ministry by donating through E-giving. You can also send donations to: 1100 NE34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682