It’s Mailbox Monday and my friend Tricia Goyer is joining me on the show today! We are going to tackle questions listeners have sent in on adoption, large families, and homeschooling methods. Listen in, I think you’ll be encouraged.
Transcribed version of podcast will be added below, shortly.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Luke 24:4-7, 30-32
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Hey, everybody. This is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Monday, March 30th. This is episode number 904. How are you guys doing out there in Corona land? Hope everybody’s doing okay. Today is Mailbox Monday and I have a special guest on the show with me today. My friend Tricia Goyer is here, and we’re going to tackle some amazing questions from you guys, my amazing listeners. Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
Well, I’m glad you guys are here today. I hope that you guys are doing well in the midst of all the craziness that’s happening, that’s continuing to happen in our nation. And for those of you who keep asking me questions about homeschooling and how to keep doing it now that we’ve got our kids home because it’s, hello, mandated, you can check it out at LearnAtHome.today. So I’m not going to focus on very much homeschooling today, but I’ve got several questions that came into me at the queue, which is just overflowing right now. I so appreciate your questions. You guys can submit them at HeidiStJohn.com/MailboxMonday. There’s a form there for you guys to fill out.
A couple of things I don’t want you to do, I don’t want you to submit speaking requests there because the team doesn’t see them in a timely fashion. If you would like to invite me to speak, assuming that the airline industry ever gets up and running again, you can do that by just clicking on the Speakers tab and I’ll link back to it in the show notes today. Anything that you need that’s not related to Mailbox Monday, that’s probably not the best place to put it. So look for the Speakers tab and make sure you keep your questions short and sweet and to the point.
All right. I am so excited because, you guys, this is literally how this went down. I’m looking at your questions and I’m writing some of them out and I’m making forms and looking at Bible verses, and there were a couple of questions I thought, “I don’t actually know the answer to that. I should probably find someone who does.” And immediately the Lord just put Tricia Goyer on my mind. And so I texted her. I said, “Hey girl, I’ve got a question about adoption. Do you think you could come on and help me answer it?” And she has graciously agreed to get on the show with me at literally a moment’s notice. So my friend, Tricia Goyer, you rock. Welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast.
[Tricia] Heidi, I’ll do anything for you. You’re amazing.
[Heidi] Well, I think you’re amazing. I was like, “By some miracle, could you maybe spare like 15 minutes?” And you were so gracious to do it. So thank you very much. I know you’re getting ready to play a game with your kid, so thank you.
[Tricia] Yeah. No problem.
[Heidi] So I’m going to jump right into these because there’s a couple of questions. If I can get to three, I will. The first one comes from a mom who wants to adopt and she’s worried about adoption in this uber liberal, progressive, bananas culture we got going on right now. So I’ll read her letter, and then I’ll let you answer it.
She says, “Dear Heidi, thank you for sharing God’s truth each week. It has been a blessing to my heart. My husband and I have been married for 14 years this year and have dealt with years of infertility, fertility treatment, and miscarriage. We were blessed with the birth of our toddler who is nearly two, and we will likely not be able to have more children naturally. Because of this, we’ve been praying about adoption and recently we met with a social worker. She was very clear in a roundabout way about the social services view on spanking and homosexuality, stating that social services follows a ‘anti-oppression framework regarding gender rights.’ Our country allows for corporal punishment or spanking, but she told us that if we, ‘whipped a child, they would be taken away,’ and that it is ‘clear from an early age that some children are gay.’
As believers, we believe that spanking, not whipping, of course, duh, can be used appropriately and that homosexuality and gender dysphoria is a sin. There are so many children in need of loving Christian homes, but we do not want to put our own child at risk as our worldview will not be accepted with the liberal agenda that social services has and will flag us regarding these issues. We know that we are accountable for every word we speak and will not compromise our biblical worldview. How do we respond?”
[Heidi] Boy, Tricia.
[Tricia] All right.
[Heidi] You know a thing or two about adoption, girl.
[Tricia] Oh my goodness. Okay. So a couple of things. There’s, of course, adoption, a newborn, from a birth mom, which would be completely different than adoption from foster care. So I’m assuming this is adoption from foster care because you would probably get an older child. And then the social services would be involved because, of course, you’re not going to spank an infant or a newborn.
[Tricia] So I’m assuming because that’s that question that she’s talking about an older child. And when you go through the training, you will hear all of that. And in fact, we went through the training. We’re in Arkansas. There is Christian training through an organization called The Call. Because of my speaking schedule, I wasn’t available on the weekends. We went through the regular DHS human services and their training, and all those things that you mentioned are of the training.
But when you have a child from foster care, for the first six months, you’re going to have the visits from the DHS worker, the adoption specialist.
[Heidi] Like a social worker? Right.
[Tricia] A social worker will be coming to your house. And in Arkansas, there are kids that are already open for adoption. So because we adopted, their parents’ rights were already terminated. So this is not like a child that you are fostering that could go back. These are kids that are already available. And all around the country, there’s hundreds of thousands of kids already available. Again, I’m assuming this is what she’s talking about, because this is the same type of training that we went to. And they will say all those things. And for six months they do. They come and they check and they talk to the kids if they’re old enough. And they will check on you.
[Tricia] But I will say, once the adoption is finalized, they’re never in your life again.
[Tricia] They are never … And literally, my kids would always say, “I’m going to call my social worker.” And the day after the adoption was finalized, they got mad at me at some silly little thing and said, “I’m going to call my social worker.” And I said, “Well, you can’t anymore because you don’t have a social worker.”
[Tricia] But I will also say this, two issues that she talked about, spanking and then just the view of homosexuality. We adopted older kids, and so with spanking and with the trauma that they had faced, that was not a good option anyway.
[Heidi] Right. Absolutely.
[Tricia] So I would say it’s a completely different thing. And with our biological kids who are now adults, we did do spanking and it was very appropriate. We talked to them about what they did wrong and they got little swats and we prayed, the whole bit, which was totally appropriate for our biological kids that we had from birth. With kids coming from trauma, it’s not a good form of discipline.
[Heidi] Yeah. Right.
[Tricia] It would not be helpful to them. It would not be helpful to your relationship. And we actually found the most help, our kids were all involved in trauma counseling and it was really those trauma therapists that helped us to know how to discipline, how to build the relationship. So I would say overall, if you’re adopting a kid that’s faced trauma or that’s been in foster care, any type of child, any child that’s in foster care…
[Heidi] I think..
[Tricia] … if they’ve had loss in their lives.
[Heidi] Yeah. That’s right.
[Tricia] … you just don’t want to discipline them that way.
[Heidi] Well, I think part of what I’m hearing in her question is she’s worried that they’re going to be flagged for spanking their own child, not necessarily a kid that’s coming out of … She’s worried that somebody’s going to say…
[Tricia] Right. And I would just say…
[Heidi] …, “They spank their own child,” and then she’s going to be terrified that they’ll lose their own kid.
[Tricia] I would just say, for six months, don’t spank your own child. You know what I mean?
[Heidi] Yeah. Right.
[Tricia] And there are other forms of discipline, and really, you just have to go through the ropes because this is a government organization. Some of our social workers we worked with were very clearly Christian. Some of them were very clearly not Christian. And you just have to learn to, “Yes, ma’am. This is what we’ll do.” We had to do many things. We had to lock up any type of medication, we had to lock it up. We had to put all knives up and locked in cupboards. We had to put laundry soap up and lock it away. There’s just a lot of regulations that you have to do.
[Tricia] And once the adoption is finalized, you don’t have to continue those things. So I would say-
[Heidi] Oh, that’s good.
[Tricia] Yeah. In general, just decide. It’s like anything else.
[Heidi] And these kids are worth it. It’s worth it.
[Tricia] They are worth it. They are worth it.
[Heidi] Yep. And there’s lots of ways. We’ve talked about this extensively here at the podcast. There are lots of ways to get to the heart of your child, lots of ways to discipline children that don’t involve spanking. I don’t think that spanking is a sin. But if I wanted to adopt and someone came to me and said, “You can’t spank them,” I’d be like, “That’s cool.”
[Heidi] You can ask my kids. I got 100 different ways to skin a cat.
[Heidi] I’ve been at this for so long. If my kids give me that look, I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s going to cause you some trouble in your life right now.”
[Heidi] So there’s lots of ways to do that. Does she need to worry that social services will take her own biological child from her?
[Tricia] Well, before you are even allowed to get approved, they will ask you your views on punishment and corporal punishment. And I think you would just have to make a decision if that’s something that you’re going to tell them or choose to continue to do. And they will say yes or no, I think, right from the beginning.
[Tricia] When we were being interviewed, all our kids were older, so our youngest was 17. And we did say, “When we were raising kids, we believed in spanking and we did it in a very appropriate manner. But we know kids that we’re going to be adopting, that’s not appropriate.” And we just gave that explanation. There was no problem with that. They didn’t label us as, “Oh, these are radical people. We’re not going to let them adopt any kid.”
[Heidi] Right, right. Right, right.
[Tricia] And basically, I think so many times we have so many fears of they’re going to try to find the littlest thing. No. Generally, they want people to adopt.
[Heidi] Right. These kids…
[Tricia] They really need homes.
[Heidi] The kids need…
[Tricia] And so it’s not like they’re going to try to pick apart every little thing. If there’s a big red flag, and if you’re very firm on, “This is how we’re going to discipline every child,” then you probably will not be approved to adopt.
[Heidi] Yeah. And that makes sense.
[Tricia] Yes. And then just about the homosexuality thing, we adopted kids that were older who were raised in a very different worldview than we had in our home. And we had a lot of conversations about it. We even had situations since one of our daughters thought she might be bisexual. And we had the conversation, “Well, why do you think that?” “Well, I think girls are pretty.” I’m like, “All girls think girls are pretty. I look at someone and go, “Wow, Heidi looks really pretty.” That doesn’t mean I want to have a relationship with Heidi.”
[Tricia] And we talked about awareness…
[Heidi] Yeah. You’re right.
[Tricia] Yeah. But we talked about awareness and why women, how we compare each other and we appreciate someone else’s beauty or looks.
[Heidi] Well, that’s why women are jealous half the time, right?
[Heidi] We’re always sizing the other women up. Hey man, she’s so beautiful. I don’t like her right off the bat, right?
[Heidi] That’s just how we are.
[Tricia] And so we’ve had a lot of those conversations. We went to the Bible. And my husband John is really good. It seems like sometimes they want to get in these conversations right at bedtime.
[Heidi] Right. Right.
[Tricia] He will sit there for an hour when I’m yawning, “I need to go to bed.” And he will pull out the Bible and just have those hour long conversations about what God says about this. And then we found out when these were coming up, there was someone that she had known previously from a foster home that she had been in that was pursuing her. And because we have good monitoring systems and right away started seeing these messages, we blocked that and then talked.
[Tricia] And so that’s why she was having these questions, because someone that she had known previously was reaching out to her and “I think I like you” and all this stuff. So it brought up a lot of questions. So if you are adopting older kids, know that that’s probably going to be conversations that you need to have.
[Tricia] And we just have spent time homeschooling and reading the Bible and going through God’s Word. And our girls’ views have changed and they do love God and they want to serve him. But it does take time and know that that’s just the foundation that they came from.
[Heidi] Well, I’m assuming that … I know here in the Pacific Northwest, even if you adopt a four year-old, they’re going to ask you these questions.
[Tricia] Right. Exactly.
[Heidi] What is their response? So when social services says … Are they going to keep her from engaging or participating in the adoption process if they say, “We don’t believe that homosexuality.”
[Tricia] I don’t think they would be that forward. They were not that forward with us. And one of her questions, she said, “She said it and then in a roundabout way.” And I would just answer in a roundabout way.
[Heidi] Okay. That’s good.
[Tricia] Yeah. I don’t know if the Pacific Northwest is different from the Bible Belt. It might be different.
[Heidi] Hey, man, I decided … I’m not trying to hurt your feelings.
[Heidi] I decided there is no more Bible Belt.
[Tricia] I know. It’s so true. We moved down here…
[Heidi] They unbuckled the belt so long ago. They need to stop calling it the Bible Belt.
[Tricia] It’s so true. I remember being just at the hair salon and Christian music, worship music, is playing and these women are just gossiping.
[Heidi] Oh yeah. It’s so funny.
[Tricia] And they’re talking. I’m like, “Okay, this is not the Bible Belt that I thought it would be.”
[Heidi] I know. I know.
[Tricia] But I would say…
[Heidi] Just because you all put pictures of Jesus up on the walls of Chick-fil-A does not make it a Bible Belt.
[Tricia] Exactly. We’ve done this adoption thing three different times in three different ways. I’ve never gotten that straight of a question that I had to answer.
[Tricia] And they knew we would go to church and our faith, and we had those kind of questions in general. They did do references and all those things. But I’ve never had that question.
[Heidi] Well, a good answer is always, “We think that every child comes unique and with a purpose and that they’re loved, and we want to just love them.”
[Heidi] “We’re here to love these kids.” So I would tell this mom, “You know what? You show these people that you are going to be the best parents that the world has ever known because these kids are not being loved currently.”
[Tricia] Exactly. Yeah.
[Heidi] “And you’re going to give them love and a stable home.” All right. This is so great. Tricia, you’re saving my life today. Thank you so much.
[Heidi] Okay, so I got another question for you. And you have a large family too, like I do.
[Heidi] And I know how I’d answer this, but I want to hear your opinion. She said, “Heidi, my husband and I recently learned we’re expecting a baby. This time, it was a total surprise. I’m 37 and this’ll be our ninth child in 15 years.” Okay. So I love you, lady, but are you sure it was a total surprise? Thirty-seven, nine children in 15 years.
Anyway, she says, “We homeschool and are very active. We’re involved in church, youth ministry, skiing, sports, et cetera. We cultivate a love of God and family at home, and scripture is our lifeline. I hesitantly told my believing parents yesterday the news and got a backlash of, “Haven’t you had enough? I don’t understand why you don’t get a vasectomy. Don’t tell me it’s God’s will. You’re not being responsible,” blah, blah, blah. A very, very painful response. And I’m not sure if I should stop talking to them or what. So they’re very worried now, especially with COVID-19. How should I respond?”
[Heidi] What do you say, Tricia?
[Tricia] There are always going to be those people that give those initial responses because…
[Heidi] Yeah. You right.
[Tricia] … they don’t know how to hold their tongue.
[Tricia] And we’ve gotten all the responses, even when we started adoption, before we even adopted one child, “I don’t think you should adopt. There’s a lot of kids with a lot of problems. What is it going to do to your own biological kids?”
[Tricia] And even thinking of that, sometimes parents, maybe a teen daughter comes up and says, “I’m pregnant.” The initial response might not be the best response. So first of all, generally, hold your tongue.
[Tricia] But if you’re in the opposite situation like this woman is, the relationship is wounded now, but I guarantee, when that baby comes, all those things are going to go away.
[Heidi] That’s what I was thinking. Yeah. And I would say don’t throw your relationship away over a foolish response.
[Heidi] We have seven children and our last baby was born when I was almost 42. And we got lots of people like, “Whoa, don’t you know how that happens? And we’re like, “Yes, we do. And we like it.”
[Tricia] Yes. Exactly.
[Heidi] But I think people, they don’t understand big families. And I think I would probably be encouraging these moms. I don’t think you need to justify it. You don’t need to say, “This was a surprise,” because everyone’s going to go, “No, it’s not.”
[Heidi] This is your ninth child. You know how it works. So I feel like, when we start feeling like we have to make excuses and we have to explain ourselves and tell people, “Yes, we know how it works,” I just feel like the better thing to say is, “You know what? We have been so blessed by every child that God has given us and we know this child is going to be a blessing.” And that’s it, because I promise you what you said, Trish, is totally right. When that baby makes its appearance and bats its pretty little newborn eyes at everybody and you get to smell the newborn smell, all will be forgiven.
[Heidi] And so…
[Tricia] I just feel like that person is speaking out of fear.
[Tricia] There’s a lot going on right now and people are concerned and worried, and their own fears might come out in ways that will hurt us. But just know and just turn it to God. Just turn it over to God and say, “I’m hurt right now, but I trust you.” And God had a plan for this child for sure.
[Heidi] That’s right. Yep.
[Tricia] And we’ve had friends of ours recently just had a surprise pregnancy, and it’s like God knows. God knows even in this situation.
[Heidi] That’s right.
[Tricia] He has a plan for this child and you never know who this child will be and God’s plan for how this child will impact the earth. So just know that people are speaking out of fear and don’t let it split your relationship.
[Heidi] Don’t let it ruin your relationship. Yeah, it’s not worth it. And I understand. They’re saying they’re worried because of COVID-19. You know, Tricia, you know my daughter Savannah. She’s due to have her baby in any week now, at any time. And she and I were talking about it the other day because it is a fearful thing, but we know that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear and that we’re here for such a time as this and we can rest in that. We don’t need to be people of fear. We can be people of faith. And so she’s got an opportunity to really demonstrate that to her parents.
[Heidi] Okay. I got one more question. I’m going to see how many I can get in. All right. “Hi, Heidi. I’m new to homeschooling.” So welcome, welcome. “And although I did not plan ahead for this, I know this is exactly where God wants us. I’m a little hung up on all the homeschooling styles, Classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, un-schooling, school at home, et cetera. Do I need to know our style right now and do I need to commit to only one style? I’m seeing a lot of book recommendations, though if they’re not my style, I’m not sure if I should be wasting my time with them.”
[Heidi] So what do you think, Tricia?
[Tricia] Forget the styles. I love what this friend Heidi St. John said in her podcast recently. If you are passionate and you’re passionate about your kids, you’re going to do a great job. And really, just see what excites you and what excites your kids and just follow those threads. And we do buy some curriculum, but lately we’ve gotten into watercolor painting. The kids have been wanting to do some fun mass stuff. We’ve been doing graphing on math. So we do have our curriculum. And then all of a sudden, we’ll just go off on this tangent because someone’s interested in it.
I think so many times we get so overwhelmed we need a perfect curriculum, the perfect styles for our kids, all these things. And really, if we’re having fun, if we’re learning, we’re looking up YouTube videos, reading books together, enjoying the time together, that is exactly what you need to be doing. And I would say do that for a while. Just get resources that you think are fun and your kids are going to have fun and you’re going to have a great time later. If you want to get involved in a co-op and do classes or get involved in something else, you can do that later.
But right now, especially if you’re new, just enjoy it. Enjoy this time together. Bake together, make Play-doh together, do all the things.
[Heidi] Yep. Read together, all the things.
[Tricia] Read together. Do all the things. And I remember when I first started, I bought the whole box that had…
[Heidi] Yep, me too.
[Tricia] … all the worksheets…
[Heidi] That was expensive.
[Tricia] … all the books.
[Heidi] That was expensive.
[Tricia] And I would sit there and just be so frustrated with my five-year-old because he was not filling out every little thing. And so many things are made for the classroom, multiple people. So even worksheets and stuff, if they can tell me the answers, we do not need to sit there and fill out the worksheet. That is made for a teacher that has 25, 30 kids that need to turn it in, that she could check their work. If they could explain a book to me, they don’t need to write it down. There’s so many things that we can just do to enjoy learning together.
And I think it helps us, Heidi, because we do have adult kids who have gone on to college. I have two with college degrees, one that’s working on his college degree. They did fine. And all those things I was worried about have not been a problem at all.
[Heidi] Yeah. And I think that does give you perspective and it gives you confidence. We can look back now because we have the gift of perspective. Four of my kids are out of school, two of them are currently in college. Sierra works full-time as a graphic designer. Savannah’s a mom and she’s doing great.
[Heidi] And I just think, man, you guys, enjoy your kids. Don’t overthink it.
[Tricia] And I’ve had kids that have excelled. One of my daughters started college when she was 16. She had her bachelor’s when she was 20.
[Tricia] I also have kids that are special needs, that my nine year-old is just learning to read. He’s working with the speech therapist and he has eye tracking issues.
[Heidi] And you don’t sound panicked.
[Tricia] No, because I know that eventually he will learn to read.
[Heidi] That’s right.
[Tricia] Just like eventually kids will be potty trained. Eventually, they will.
[Heidi] That’s right.
[Tricia] It might be 10. He’s nine and he’s actually reading little books, which we’re so excited about. And so it will happen in their time. And another really good tip that another homeschooling mom gave me, if there’s something your kid’s struggling with, multiplication tables or reading, put it aside for six months and then pick it up again. And so sometimes…
[Heidi] Oh, I love that.
[Tricia] Sometimes, their brain isn’t just developed and ready to take that new information. And I’ve done that so many times. And all of a sudden, they get it. And it really helps. They sometimes need just a little bit more time to develop and they’ll be ready to get it.
[Heidi] It’s so smart, too, because then you’re not putting the relationship in jeopardy over math facts.
[Heidi] Hello. Yeah. I know, too, I’ve never done … I know some people have participated in some pretty hardcore, whatever, homeschool programs or basically the homeschool program does all the work for you.
[Tricia] I have never done that either. Yeah.
[Heidi] I’ve never done it. I think part of the reason that we homeschool is because we’re like, “We got this.”
[Tricia] I think we’re independent women.
[Heidi] Yeah. Yeah. And I just don’t want to have to show up every week with somebody else’s schoolwork done. I want to follow my own rabbit trail. So I don’t think you guys need to emphasize, and I didn’t really want my kids to learn Latin. I just didn’t care.
[Heidi] But one of the kids went away to college and guess what? They learned Latin there. Well, happy day. So I feel like, wow, relax. Enjoy it.
[Heidi] I was just telling you, Tricia, I just did a whole new thing on my website LearnAtHome.today. It actually will take you right to the Busy Mom Blog. There’s so much information. I think I did six or seven videos.
[Tricia] Oh, good.
[Heidi] Unit studies, learning styles, beginning homeschooling. Can I homeschool through high school? All the questions we’re getting right now. And this isn’t normal homeschooling in COVID-19. Homeschoolers don’t quarantine themselves as a general rule.
[Tricia] It’s been hard keeping my kids busy because they’re used to going to sports and they’re used to running up and down the street with their friends and they’re used to being more active and involved with other kids in the community.
[Tricia] So it’s been a stretch for even me because now they want me to entertain them.
[Heidi] That’s completely right. Yeah, it’s totally right. So now we’re like, “Okay, I guess we’re back to the thing.” So, yeah.
[Tricia] We learned to make French bread the other day. I’m like, “We are exploring this world.”
[Heidi] I love it. We’re doing sourdough over here.
[Tricia] There you go.
[Heidi] It’s so much fun, isn’t it?
[Tricia] It is.
[Heidi] COVID-19, you got nothing on Tricia Goyer. She’s going to learn to make bread.
[Heidi] Hey, Tricia, I know that everybody’s listening to this. Most of my listeners know who you are, but for those that don’t, where can they find you online? And the last book that you wrote-
[Tricia] Is The Grumble-Free Year.
[Heidi] Which I love. The Grumble-Free Quarantine.
[Tricia] Yes. Well, you have time now to work on your grumbling.
[Heidi] I love it.
[Tricia] Because you’re home with all your kids. Yes, but TriciaGoyer.com. I have everything. And actually on TheGrumbleFreeYear.com, I have a free 30-day email challenge. So if you sign up for there for 30 days, I will send you activities to do with your kids on tackling grumbling. There’s scripture verses to memorize, color sheets, all types of things, devotionals to read for free. So we can tackle this grumbling as we’re all in the home quarantined together.
[Heidi] I love it. The Grumble-Free Quarantine is coming to you from TriciaGoyer.com. I love that. I love it.
[Heidi] Well, woman, I am so thankful that you were able to jump on here and help me answer some of these questions today. You’re such a blessing and I love you so much and thank you for doing that.
[Tricia] Love you too, Heidi.
[Heidi] You guys want more information on my friend Tricia Goyer and her book The Grumble-Free Year, you can check it out at TriciaGoyer.com. And I will link back to all things Tricia Goyer in the show notes today. We are getting ready to start a brand spanking new Bible study at Mom Strong International. You guys are going to want to study it with me. We’re going to tackle the resurrection of Jesus, but we’re going to look at it through the lens of hope. And if we ever needed hope, we need it right now. So check it out, MomStrongInternational.com. The scripture writing challenge begins tomorrow. Have a great day, everybody, and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
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