“I feel overwhelmed… I used to want more kids but now I just want to be DONE!” This question comes to me a lot here at the podcast—so let’s look at God’s Word as we talk about this and a few other questions. Be encouraged! God’s got this.
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- 2 Corinthians 5:15-17
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
Scripture Mentioned in Podcast
- Corinthians 10:13
- 2 Corinthians 9:8
- Psalm 127
- Genesis 1:28
- Jeremiah 1:5
- Deuteronomy 6
All things Heidi
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Hey you guys. Happy Monday! Happy Labor Day! Today is Monday, September 2nd—this is episode number 813—this is mailbox Monday. I’ve got a lot of questions to answer and I hope that when we do that, you’re going to be centered in the truth of God’s Word and refreshed and courage in the process.
So stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, so a couple of things going on me tell you guys about. First of all, on September the 14th I will be in Fredericksburg, Virginia for my women’s conference Faith That Speaks. This is the last time I’ll be presenting Miracle Worker, and we’re just two weeks away. It’s going to be a sweet time of fellowship, so if you’re in the Fredericksburg area, that’s right between Washington, DC and Richmond, Virginia—come and spend the day with us. Baltimore, Charlottesville— that includes you guys too. This is the only time I’ll be out in your area for their foreseeable future. So September 14th it’s a one day event and I promise you it’s going to change your life. So come on out. We’re really excited to have you. My next event will be here in Vancouver, Washington. If you want more information on where I will be checking out HeidiStJohn.com/podcasat.
Today is mailbox Monday and one of the things I love to do is talk to you about where you are in your life right now and hopefully steer your heart and your mind back to God’s Word. Lots of questions come in to me for Mailbox Monday. There are a lot of struggles that we’re facing today and many of them have to do with the shift that we’re seeing in the culture. Lots of questions come in about sexuality, and transgenderism, and marriage, and education. All of these things are things which the Lord has really put on my heart and I am passionate about encouraging you. One thing I want to just encourage you to do, I’m really glad that you send me questions at Mailbox Monday—keep doing it, but I also want you to know that if you’re listening to this and you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, meaning you have said: Lord, forgive me for my sins, I know that I’m a sinner, I cannot do this thing without you, I need your forgiveness, I want to spend eternity with You. And you ask Him to be the Lord of your life and to forgive your sins—then you become a born again believer and the Bible says that you then have access to….you do have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
So when you have a question, and again, I’m not trying to get you to stop sending me things because I love the conversation, I think it’s important—but I don’t want to cripple you. I don’t want you walking away from it thinking that you can’t find some of these answers on your own. I think we need each other and the conversation is good and the conversation is helpful. But ultimately, if there ever comes a day when you don’t have a mailbox Monday or you don’t have somebody that that can answer your questions, I want to encourage you to go to the Word. This is why I am so passionate about MomStrong International. This is why we started the Women’s Bible Study over there and I hope that you’ll check it out at MomStrongInternational.com. If you’re not a mom, you can still benefit from that. It really is a Bible Study that’s taking you a verse by verse, line by line, to the Scriptures as it relates to a particular topic.
So whenever we’re talking about anything, we want to take our hearts and our minds and make them captive to the Lord Jesus. In other words, we want to take everything and we want to filter it through the grid of God’s Word. And so that’s what I’m going to be doing today as I tackle some of your questions here at Mailbox Monday. That’s also what we do at my women’s conference. So if you ever see that I’m in your neck of the woods, one of the things I love to do is take an hour and we have people submit questions and then my staff helps me kind of go through them. I think in Kansas City we had several hundred questions and I maybe had time for 15 or 20 of them— but I’ll sit down for an hour and just talk to you and we’ll chit chat about what God is doing and how we can know what a wise and godly answer would be to any given situation.
Now, some of these situations are more in more gray areas and others, but most of the time we can look to God’s Word and find clear direction. So that’s what we’re going to try to do today.
Heidi, I am a young mom of three under the age of four. Moment of silence. You got it, Mama. She says at times things feel pretty overwhelming. I’m from a family of nine and I love having a big family, but I don’t know if I see that many from my life. My question is— how do we as Christians, knowing God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, decide how many children that we should have? At times I feel like this is enough, but then I’m too young to make that decision. Thanks, Angela.
All right, Angela. So a couple things. First of all, I’m going to encourage you, if you’re young, please don’t make a permanent decision. I cannot tell you how many parents I have met over the years who have said to me that they wish that they hadn’t had a tubal ligation, wish they hadn’t done a vasectomy. They’re making, in some cases, irreversible decisions to really put a stop to their fertility. Fertility is something that the Lord gives us for a very small window of time. And I know it feels like a large window, because we (women) all can think about when we started our period to where we are now. But, it really is a very small window of time in the grand scheme of our life.
I’ve told my daughter, who’s married now and is expecting her third baby — so we’re super excited! In the spring, I’m going to have a little grandbaby. I can almost smell the newborn. I’m so excited. But I told her, as she and I were talking about having babies and what that means…. I said: it is, to my way of thinking, and I’ve had a hysterectomy now and cannot have children anymore—but, it’s a miracle. It’s miraculous. I said it’s like magic and I don’t need nobody emailed me. I’m not talking about magic like spells and stuff like that. I’m just saying the feel of it, the miraculous, beautiful, amazing thing that a husband and wife can come together and create a child—it’s just amazing. And in the culture we don’t value children anymore. So, hold off on the permanent decision. That’s all I’m trying to say.
There’s a couple of things in your email though that I want to address. First of all, this wasn’t something that you asked, but I noticed that you said that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. And that’s kind of a half truth. So that comes from a verse in the Bible that we hear all the time. 1 Corinthians 10:13— no testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. But with the testing, He will also provide a way out so that you would be able to endure it.
So a lot of believers think that this verse says that God’s not going to give you more than you can handle. First of all, the statement is not true. There are lots of godly, mature, wonderful Christians that I know who have been diagnosed with horrible illnesses, who’ve been wound up in car accidents, who have lost their homes to financial crises or whatever. And we need to have a really good understanding of what the Bible means to be able to break it down. The words in this verse have lots of different meanings: temptation, testing. So we want to look really closely at the verse. No temptation, or really—it’s test, because it’s the same word if you look at it in the Greek. So no test is overtaking you that’s not common to man. God’s faithful. He’s not going to let you be tempted or tested beyond your ability, which is beyond what you are able. But with the temptation or with the test, He will also provide a way of escape. So when Paul says that God isn’t going to give what is beyond what you’re able, he means: not beyond what you’re able with the help of God. So we always have the help of God, that dependence on grace. 2 Corinthians 9:8 God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you can abound in every good work.
So then the question isn’t — what are these hard things going to be that come to me? The question is— will God’s grace ever just disappear up and leave? No. The Bible says no. God’s not going to give his people trials that he’s not going to walk alongside us with and sustain us. So that’s what, that’s kind of what you need to to know.
This idea that we will never be tested, that God’s not going to give us more than we can handle— It doesn’t mean we’re not gonna walk through really hard things. The other thing that I kind of want to point out to you gently is that when we look at children and we say— well God isn’t going to give us more than we can handle. I think sometimes we throw our hands up in the air and we say(I’ve talked to people on both sides of this discussion and there are good people who will disagree)— we are not going to use birth control, and that means I’m depending on the Lord.
Well, the truth of the matter is we as women, have cycles. We have a pretty good idea of when we can get pregnant, right? So we understand how our cycle works and we sort of figured that God is a God of order, not chaos. My mom got pregnant with me when my brother was three months old. So Aaron and I are less than a year apart. We’re 11 months apart. My mom has told me repeatedly that that was the worst year of her life, just having us so close together. But guess what? She survived. And you will too. I think a lot of this is really looking ahead and not being bound to a set of rules, but rather trusting the Lord. And by trust in the Lord, I’m not saying—don’t practice birth control. I think there are good Christians who can disagree on this, but I am saying I think we need to see children the way that God sees them. The world says children are a burden. God says children are a blessing.
And I always tell women— I never talked people out of having babies. Jay and I never anticipated having seven children. But I can tell you right now that the biggest blessing in our lives, one of the biggest blessings by far-and-away: are our children. We made a decision to pour into those kids very early on and now, half of them are in their twenties, the other half are coming up really quickly—and I got to tell you, you’re in a really tough season right now because you’re a mom of three under the age of four and you can’t see that it’s gonna get easier, but it is going to get easier.
I would encourage you, don’t make any permanent decisions. Don’t live by the law, but rather with your husband come before the Lord in prayer. The Lord may say—you know what? Take a break. You don’t have to have six children under seven. So take a break. The Lord knows your body. You know what you can handle. The Lord has given you insight into your own body and into your own emotions. So partner together in prayer with the Lord and talk about it with your husband. If at some point you find yourself expecting again and you weren’t ready for it, then we want to embrace what God says is true about children. God says that children are a blessing. They’re a blessing. We know this because that’s exactly what God tells us in His Word over and over and over again.
All you have to do is look at what the Bible says about having babies. I feel like that’s where the world is messed up. But we can make it a legalistic thing and then we have people in the church arguing about having seven children versus having three children. I just think— man, what a waste of time when we argue about this stuff. Let’s talk about what’s really important and what’s really important is viewing children the way God says that we should look at them. So Psalm 127 starting in verse three, children are a heritage from the Lord, they are a gift. The fruit of the womb is a reward like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed it is the man who fills his quiver with them. That’s an incredible promise that you’re blessed when your quiver is full of arrows!
Genesis 1:28 God bless him. He said: be fruitful and multiply. Jeremiah 1:5 before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. There’s so much there. I mean, we could talk about this all day long, but what I want to just encourage you to see your children as a blessing, as a gift. We’ve got almost 20 years between our oldest and our youngest, so I spaced our seven out quite a bit. So I didn’t have any kids that were 12 months apart or 15 months apart. Most of our kids are at least two years apart, which I think kind of helped me a little bit because then I didn’t have five kids under five, kids under the age of seven. I spaced them out a little bit. But the trick always is — Lord, help me see these children the way that you see them. Then labor with your husband in prayer.
It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing that the Lord has given us this ability to have children and to raise them for His glory. I just want to encourage you to see it that way. You are doing awesome. You’re doing awesome. You got your hands full.
Another question came from a mom in Lee’s Summit and I want to address it today because it kind of goes along with Angela’s question. She was saying she really wants to get off the bench and onto the battlefield, but she’s got five kids at home. She’s homeschooling them— her oldest child is eight and she just feels like she’s not getting off the bench. And I was like— Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, you, you got all these children at home— you’re off the bench! You are encouraging them. I mean there’s emails that you can send.
There are seasons for us to be super engaged on the battlefield. And then there are seasons when we play a more supporting role.
My point in telling you guys to get off the bench is never to say that being on the battlefield is more important than raising your children. That would defeat the purpose 100% . You are doing that as you’re raising your children to love and serve the Lord and to walk in His ways. That’s the promise in Deuteronomy 6 where we’re instructed to train up our children when we rise up and when we walk along the road and when we lie down. You take every opportunity that the Lord gives you and you train your children in righteousness and in so doing you are on the battlefield. It’s going to feel like more of a support role and as your kids get older, God will give you opportunities.
I think the main thing I’m always trying to encourage people is don’t just go— well I give up. Or— it’s not that important and it doesn’t matter, I can’t affect the culture. That’s not true at all. You can affect the culture. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. God’s given you a voice and He wants you to use it. That’s the reason behind my women’s conference Faith That Speaks. It’s why I wrote Becoming MomStrong—to encourage you to fight with all your faith and your family. There are seasons and those seasons look different.
Next question comes in from another mom and she says— Heidi, I write this with a heavy heart. I am so disappointed as I found out that my daughter who is in kindergarten was kissed by another girl in her classroom. I was very triggered by this due to my own abuse in the public school. My husband is talking to the teacher and the principal about the issue because I don’t think I’d be able to keep my cool in the situation. I want to pull my daughter out and homeschool her immediately. My husband does not want me to pull her out as she is doing well, other than starting to have potty accidents. I’m trying to pray about peace in this decision, but I continue to have horrible thoughts and dreams about possible abuse that my daughter could be encountering. I know he is coming from a place of love, but his view of public school is blurred with it being a safe place for children. Is this a matter in which I should submit? Or is this an issue I push as we have the means to homeschool.
I get this question a lot. These are a little bit different circumstances, but the bottom line question that you’re asking is— is this something that you’re going to really get into a knock down drag out with your husband over? And I would say do not get into a knock down drag out with your husband over this. Pray about it. Ask The Lord to soften his heart. Ask Lord to soften your heart. And I can’t tell because I don’t know anything about the situation, but you said that your daughter was kissed by another girl in the classroom—25 years ago that would have been a nothing. So I’d want to find out what was the motivation. If you know for sure this was a sexual thing, that the child was making an advanc…. unfortunately, we’re sexualizing our children and so it is happening. I would say don’t jump too hard to the worst case scenario because you have been abused. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and then pray, pray, pray for your husband, love your husband. You want to walk in unity together and so pray that he listens to you. If you feel like you have something that you’re trying to get across to him and he’s not hearing you, ask the Lord to help you speak it to him in a way that he understands and can hear your heart. If you feel like he doesn’t understand the dangers of the public school system look up my interview with Dr Pesta—that’s a great one. Google that one and listen to that one on what’s happening in the public school. I would never encourage you to fight with your husband over something like this. I would say pray for him, love him or maintain United friend, especially in front of your children.
They need to see that you guys are a united front and that you love and respect your husband. This is walking in right relationship with the Lord and then the Lord —He’s going to protect your daughter. Pray for her. God knows your situation. He knows what’s going on and you can keep telling your husband that you’re concerned and show him that you have the means to homeschool, but the moment you let it become a wedge between you, the enemy will have won—so don’t do that. You can do this. I will be praying for you.
I get so many questions like this every single week and just so you know, we pray for you guys. It really matters to us.
I’m out of time for today, but I want to thank you guys for listening.
I also want to encourage you, if you’ve not left a review for the podcast over at iTunes, my goodness, we really appreciate it and we really want to see the reviews grow over at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the books I’ve written in the Becoming MomStrong series. If you’ve never done that, it would sure bless and encourage us if you would do that. We really love you guys and we’re praying for you, praying that you get off the bench and onto the battlefield, off the sidelines and onto the front lines. But more than anything else, our prayer is that you would stay faithful. Thanks for listening you guys—have a great day and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
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Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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