Our priorities are what drive us, and they matter. What do your decisions show are your priorities?
TRANSCRIBED PODCAST IS BELOW
Hey you guys this is Heidi St. John, welcome to the podcast.
Today is Friday, it is the 4th of January and today we’re going to be talking a little bit about priorities. And I’m going to take a bit of a homeschool slant, so if you’re a homeschool mom who’s weary or just a mom who’s surrounded with a lot of kids and you’re weary – and you need a little heart reset – stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
Well, I hope you guys had a wonderful holiday season. I am a routine girl so I like to get back into routine. I’m looking forward to getting into our routine. I actually think my kids are looking forward to it also. And in an effort to do that, I thought – you know, I’m going to take several of the letters that I’ve received over the past couple of months that have to do with homeschooling and burnout and how to get all things done – you know – all the things that you want to get done in a day – and I’m going to take a little bit of encouragement from a book I wrote several years ago called The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight.
So, even if you’re not homeschooling I think this will encourage you because what works for a homeschool mom also works for a mom who’s not homeschooling – because guess what? – God’s priorities are still apply. They apply whether you’re homeschooling or whether you’re not. But I want to just give a little bit of extra love to the homeschool moms out there who are listening – because I know, after 20 some odd years of experience with this – that January can be a very frustrating time. And I can remember very clearly coming into January and trying to get back into a routine, and trying to get the kids back on the homeschool train, and get myself, and my head, my heart, and my mind back into it — only to feel like I was already behind and already tired from the get go.
So if that’s you, and you’re kind of nodding your head – or maybe your quietly crying into your pillow right now – I’ve been there, I understand! So this episode really is all about that. And I might go ahead and carry it over to mailbox Monday depending on whether or not I feel like I get those questions answered.
Before I get started today, a couple of things that are coming up that I want you to know about. First of all the team and I are heading to Abilene, Texas for the Heidi St. John conference. We are very excited about that. We will be there on January 19th. So if you’re anywhere near Abilene – come on out! I’m telling – it’s a day that will encourage and bless you. We’re gonna be walking very closely with each other that day through the Word of God, talking about God’s heart for you as it applies to your parenting and your mothering. But we’re gonna go even deeper than that and say – what is our role in the culture right now? What does God define it to be? And so, I think you’re going to be encouraged. You can bring your mom, your sister, your cousins, your Bible study group.
You don’t have to be a mom to enjoy this. I think you’ll be blessed by it. So that’s the 19th of January – in Abilene. You can find out more information at the show notes today or at HeidiStJohn.com/events. Tickets are still on sale and they’re only forty dollars a piece, and they include lunch for a whole day! So it’s absolutely worth it! Come on down and join me, and my family, and the staff of MomStrong International. We’re looking forward to seeing you!
The weekend after that I’ll be in Coos Bay, Oregon for Miracle Worker The Life Changing Power of Following Jesus. I cannot wait to see you there! I love Coos Bay because one of my favorite people in the whole world lives there – so we are very excited about that event also.
And one more thing – I thought I would just go ahead and give you a little bit of a preview. You guys have heard me talk about essential oils here on the podcast. Well I’m getting ready to do another class. We’re calling it: I can be well. And it’s a class about spiritual, and emotional, and physical wellness. So for an entire week – January 15 through the 21st, me and several of the leaders from a Young Living team, as well as my friend Dr. Eddie Wadsworth who’s been on the show with me before – I know a lot of you guys really appreciated her. She’s coming back and she’s going to be helping me teach some classes with with our staff about how to use essential oils. But we’re going to go beyond that and I will be teaching particularly about intimacy in marriage. And we’re gonna be talking about anxiety, and weight loss, and all kinds of things. I think you guys are going to really be encouraged. You can register for that right now at TheBusyMom.com/Oils. You will need to have a Facebook account to join the class. And so we’re excited about that. If you’ve got any questions, go ahead and shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All right, let’s get right to the topic today. So I’ve received several letters from you and some e-mails. And actually – you guys! – you’ve been sending me snail mail! You know that I have a particular love for getting cards and things like that in the mail so thank you for everyone who sent us Christmas cards over the Christmas holiday. If you’ve got extra cards sitting around and no one to send then to – you can send to me :). I’ll put my address out at the end.
But several of you’ve been talking about the frustrations that you’re having trying to manage all the things that are in front of you. And I think sometimes we make mistakes because we embrace things that God has not asked us to embrace. Like for example – how many of you have ever said yes to something and then five minutes later you’re like – That was a mistake.
Well, typically we do that because we don’t inquire of the Lord. And so I want to encourage you to do that and I wrote a book several years ago – if you haven’t picked it up I would encourage you to do that. It’s called The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight – Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years – or how to fit your size 16 day into a size 10. And I wrote in the very beginning the little introduction, which was sort of my fun. I’m going to read it to you and see if some of you mean this was me several years ago. But every time I read it I’m like – oh man, this takes me back. So here’s what I said:
This morning I was standing in my bathroom putting makeup on, our third grader was next to me doing her math: “Mom what’s greater than again?”. The first grader sitting next to the shower door: “Mom, I wrote my essay backward again?”. When I turned around I discovered the baby was crawling out of the room with a washcloth in her mouth. Fifth grader called in the kitchen table – “Mom I can’t find my grammar book!” … sigh. The ninth grader comes in and asks if he can take a break. It’s only 9 a.m.
And after 45 minutes – I have one I done! 9 a.m. and I was behind the a-ball. I looked at my third grader. She smiled at me. “Mommy?” Yes. “You only have one I fancy”. Can you relate? Homeschooling is a tall order. It can seem overwhelming and at times it is. I know – as a homeschool mom of seven children I’ve had my moments, believe me. There have been times when I have asked my sweet husband to watch the kids for an hour so I could go to the car and listen to – nothing.
And over the last 20 some odd years I have wanted to throw the homeschool towel in on numerous occasions. You guys, I will confess I have looked at the big yellow school bus as it’s passed by my front door with a longing in my eyes. I’ve wondered what it’d be like to put my kids on that bus just for a day and walk inside to a quiet house. I’ve fantasized about enjoying my morning tea before it got cold, or finishing a thought before it was interrupted – and I don’t think I’m alone in my fantasy land either because I’ve spoken to many of you over the years who’ve had that exact same dream from time to time.
And you know what? I think you can get off the the guilty train right now because it’s it’s OK. You don’t have to feel guilty. There isn’t a mom on the planet who hasn’t wondered on occasion – What in the world she got herself into?! And I don’t think homeschool moms are any different!
So if you’re at the end of your homeschool rope right now, or if you’re at the end of your mommy rope – tie a knot and hang on – because we’re going to spend a little bit of time today just talking about some practical ways to manage the daytime hours in your home – so that you can make the most of the precious years that God has given you with your children. But here’s the thing you guys, and I want you to lean in and listen to me, because the most important thing that you will ever do as you start this journey is to lay down your expectations…
I’m gonna say it again: You gotta lay down your expectations and ask the Lord to reveal His expectations. We want His heart for marriage, His heart for our children, His heart for our homeschooling. And we got to be honest about where we are. If you’re a homeschool mom – you need to know why you’re doing it. We’ve got to surrender our hearts if we want to find His.
And when I talk about surrender that, here’s what I mean. I mean we lay our burdens at his feet and we ask Him for peace. And guess what? He not only offers you peace but He offers you rest. The Bible says in Matthew 11 that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So if the Lord has called you to homeschool, or if you’re on the fence right now and you’re thinking – oh man I can tell the Holy Spirit is talking me about this – but you’re too afraid or you just think you can’t do it. Hang on. Because if God’s calling you to do it, then he’s already equipped you with everything that you need to get the job done. And here’s the deal you guys – managing your day is really just about managing yourself. Let me say that again because if you’re taking notes you should write that down. Time management is really not about managing time. It’s about me management. It’s about managing myself. And we’ve got to make sure that our priorities are in order if we’re gonna be successful. So the first thing we’re going to do.
Man I can tell we’re going to have to carry this over to Monday because I’m so much I want to tell you guys!
The first thing that we want to focus on if we’re gonna be successful in our homeschooling is our marriages. And a lot of times I love to speak about marriage – one of my favorite topics in the whole world! Probably because I’ve been married to the love of my life – for going on 30 years. And I came from a broken home and I’ve watched as many of my siblings, and many of my dearest friends marriages – have collapsed under the weight of pressure from outside activities, from temptation that we allow into our homes — and most of the time you can trace it back to priorities they’re out of order. Because we’re not embracing what God says is His heart and His priority for our home. And so I when I talk about marriage, I often talk about it in the context of the The Wonder Twins. Anybody remember them? If you watched TV at all in the 70s, if you were like me and sat in front of the television at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning because your parents were sleeping in. I loved to watch the superheroes, right? So remember The Wonder Twins powers – remember they would get together and they would say “wonder twin power, activate!” and he’d be like, you know – “form of the…” you know, “a wash”. No, that’s all right. It’s been a while since I watched them . “Form of a mop” and she might be a bucket – but whatever it is they complemented each other, right?
And I know I’m dating myself just by talking you guys about this, but the analogy for marriage is so good that I’m actually willing to risk it. So if you’re wondering where I’m going with all this, here’s the point. And this might be the only redeeming thing that ever comes out of all the hours I spent watching The Wonder Twins. So according to Hanna Barbera, The Wonder Twins amazing superpowers could only be activated when they did two things. They had a touch each other and they had to speak the phrase “Wonder Twins Powers Activate!” right?
Listen this is cool and I was 10, so bear with me. Now as nice as it sounds, it’s not just enough to say the phrase “Wonder Twins Powers Activate!”, the physical contact was required. So if The Wonder Twins were out of reach of each other they were unable to activate their powers. Now I know some of you are disappointed as you were really wishing I was going to give you a really great Biblical analogy – but I really think this comes back to embracing God’s priorities! Because you see without being connected to each other – in these two very crucial ways – meaning communication and connectivity – they were just like ordinary people. And the swamp monster could beat them. And that would be terrible, right? So if you’re still wondering how this applies, keep listening because Jay and I have a little Wonder Twin joke.
So whenever we feel depleted or unable to function effectively as a team it’s usually because, like The Wonder Twins, we’re out of reach of each other! In either one or both of the ways that the dynamic duo couldn’t survive without.
And I wrote an entire book dedicated to the topic of marriage so I’m gonna touch on that in the next in the coming weeks also. But I think it bears repeating – that when it comes to relationships within your home, your marriage has got to be the first relationship that you nurture. Your marriage is the primary relationship in your home. Years ago I wrote about this on my Facebook page and I thought the moms to be so encouraged I said – Hey Mom, marriage comes before mothering. Your marriage comes before homeschooling. And man I was amazed at the backlash! People were angry.
They were frustrated. They said – hey your kids need you more than your husband. You guys listen — nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible says that the marriage is the priority relationship in the home and whatever it is that God does in your marriage we pour into our children from the overflow of what God’s doing in our marriages. Have you ever been at odds with your husband for very long? I have.
There have been seasons in our lives – and Jay and I’ve been married, like I said, for almost 30 years – and I’m telling you there have been seasons in our lives when we have been so frustrated at each other. And we have allowed the pressures that we were facing as parents, as home-educators, as a pastor and his wife, financial pressure – all kinds of things – to come in between that sacred relationship. I mean there were times when my husband was so frustrated that he’d come straight home from church and go to our room and leave me to wonder what was going on and feel helpless to do anything about it. Does that sound familiar? Yeah.
You see God created marriage so that we would come together as a husband wife a sort of dynamic duo for The Kingdom. And God is in the work of doing something with your marriage. And God is in the business of doing something with your marriage. And if you think that the enemy doesn’t know that full well – you don’t know the enemy. He knows that if he can create a little bit of distance between you and your husband it’s going to go a long way in undermining your marriage.
It’s amazing to me how lack of communication can affect a relationship between a husband and wife. And I mean oftentimes I am frustrated with how discouraging, and disorganized, and chaotic our days seem when a simple conversation with my husband reveal a side of the problem that I’d failed to discern before.
We need each other. Sweet mom, communicate with your husband. Men who are listening to this – communicate with your wife. She needs to hear that you love her. And by the way, this applies across the board – but is particularly important for husbands whose wives are homeschooling. When you come home at the end of a long day and the house is a mess, and your wife hasn’t gotten dinner on the table, and you can see a math book is still open on the kitchen table – that’s the wrong time to say — what did you get done today? Just a little something I learned. I’ll just let that sit right there.
Your husband, mom, can meet you halfway. So moms communicate with your husband, let him into the places that you’re uncomfortable to talk about. Talk to him about your lack of organization, your fear of failing your kids. Talk to him about your discouragement – your husband can’t meet you halfway if he doesn’t know the road you’re on, right? So communicate – communicate with each other.
Another thing that we can learn from The Wonder Twins is the fact that it’s not just enough to communicate – “Wonder Twin Powers Activate!” doesn’t do any good if there’s no what? – physical contact. And I think sometimes we’re so busy that we don’t notice the distance that creeps in between us simply due to a lack of physical intimacy. And being a mom is challenging enough, and you add homeschooling to it and it takes it to a whole new level. And I think it’s easy to let homeschooling take priority in your life.
But you know what? Listen to me carefully – it’s dangerous to do that. And I’m not just talking about homeschooling – it can be anything that you have allowed it to take priority and push away that time that you should be setting aside for your marriage. And as much as you want to learn to manage your day — an even greater responsibility needs to come first. Your marriage needs to come first. Women, please do not neglect the sexual aspect of your marriage. Talk to your husband about it. Ask him to tell you honestly how he feels your marriage is doing in this important area. You guys you might be surprised by the answer that you hear.
I remember one time I asked my husband – you know, I’ve told you before – every once and a while while Jay and I will sit down and we sort of assess the state of our union. A long time ago this was an area in my life that we were really struggling with. We had several little kids at home and it was such a physically demanding job that it was easy for me to push my husband’s needs to the side. Because I was too too tired and I was practically comatose at the end of the day. AI remember an an older woman took me to lunch one day and it was a kindness that she sat me down and asked me how my marriage was and I said – well I’m doing okay. And she said – “How would your husband say that your marriage is doing?”. And it wasn’t that my husband talked to her. I really feel like the Holy Spirit was like – “you need to go talk to Heidi”. So she said – “go home and ask him”.
So I remember sitting down with Jay after dinner, all the kids were in bed, and I said – “so Jay, how would you rate our sex life say on a scale of 9 to 10”. I didn’t give him any room to say – “well it’s a four or it’s a six”. I just didn’t think I could hear it. I was afraid of being criticized for it – just one more thing that I wasn’t doing right.
And I want to just encourage you – talk to your husbands, open up that conversation. Think about what attracted you to your husband when you first married him. Ask him – what attracted you to me?
The first book I wrote called The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance – which in hindsight I wish I hadn’t called it The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance – because if you want to read a great book about marriage, that really is a wonderful book. The Lord just gave that to me and I wrote it from a place of pain in my own life. But God really used it, and I wrote about a girl that I used to know. I called her “That Girl”, and she was the girl that my husband married.
She was the one who couldn’t wait to romance her husband, to make him dinner, to dress beautifully for him. And busy mom – I just wanna encourage you you are still that girl . And that girl still needs to be part of your life and your marriage. So nurture your relationship with your husband. Husbands, nurture your relationship with your wife.
You don’t need to have money for a babysitter to nurture your marriage. You know there were many times my husband and I were on such a tight budget when our kids were little. He was a pastor and we were single income family, homeschooling. We’d made this incredible decision to homeschool – which I couldn’t believe that I had actually said that I wanted to do — it’s totally the Lord. And I remember my husband just coming home from work and just said – hey, let’s put on four hours worth of vegetables on for the kids, and we’ll sit upstairs at the kitchen table and just have dinner, and get to know each other again. It’s so important.
I can honestly say that that effort that you will put into your marriage will reap dividends for years to come. Your marriage is the primary relationship in your home. This is the first of God’s priorities that we embrace outside of our relationship with Him.
So Monday we’re going to come back and I’m going to talk to you a little bit about how to nurture your relationship with your kids – even through busy homeschool years – but also how to kind of manage your home. When you’ve got a lot of kids around you – so important. This is the time of year to do it.
Also I want to just remind you that we start a brand new Bible study at MomStrong International on Monday. And so this January, we’re gonna be talking about finding balance in your life. The study is called Find Balance and Breathe. God has balance for you. And we’re gonna be studying the book of James – starting in James 3.
It’s a great time for you to join the Scripture Writing Community which is free, and also for two dollars a week -you can support the ministry of the podcast by simply joining the Bible study. We’ll take you even deeper into the things we’ve been talking about here on the podcast.
All right I hope you guys will join me there. If this podcast is an encouragement to you, it would certainly encourage us if you would leave a review. Rate this podcast over at iTunes, share it on social media, let people know that we’re here and we want to encourage you.
And one last thing before I go – I know I said I would give you your address – if you wanna write to us. We love to get things in the mail. The address is:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir
Vancouver, Washington 98682
Have a great day everybody and I’ll see you back here on Monday.