Do you feel overwhelmed by what you hear and see in culture right now? It’s easy to feel that way but be encouraged! Today, my guest, Debbie Meador will be talking with me about how she got #offthebench and began to make a difference in her area. Let’s talk about the First Amendment this Friday!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- Pastor Phil Hopper Podcast
- Heidi St. John Conference | Lee’s Summit, MO
- Heidi St. John Conference | Fredericksburg, VA (Early Bird Tickets End August 5th)
- Communities for Excellence in Education
- Athey Creek Christian Fellowship
- ORS 329.704
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Debbie Meador is the mother of three and co founder of “Communities for Excellence in Education”. She is a very involved Pastor’s wife at West Linn’s expanding “Athey Creek Christian Fellowship”. She is married to Pastor Brett Meador.
Debbie is passionate about godly parenting, and loves to encourage mothers through God’s Word in her discipleship group called, “Momtime”. Her hope is to inspire women with practical training tips and honest talk regarding the call of motherhood.
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast. Today’s meet my friend Friday. This is episode number 791—today’s Friday, July 12th. And as always, I love to have people on the show who are movers and shakers for the Kingdom. Today is no exception. My friend Debbie Meador is here today and we’re going to be talking a little bit about how you can get off the bench and onto the battlefield of what’s happening for the hearts and minds of our kids in the public school system.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
Alright, so thanks for tuning in today. Lots of stuff coming up on the calendar. Be sure to listen for more information starting next week about some awesome giveaways that we’re doing as we get ready to celebrate our 800th podcast on August 2nd. My friend Ken Ham is going to be joining me on the 2nd and that guy knows how to shake it up. I told Ken last time I was with him that he really lacks a vision—and you can imagine how that went over ;).
Anyway, lots of stuff coming up. I am really excited because this weekend I am in CHEA for the homeschool convention there in Pasadena. I’ll be there until Saturday, so coming out and say hello. It’s a great opportunity. Even if you’re not homeschooling, there’s a lot going on at CHEA that’s going to encourage you to get off the bench and onto the battlefield.
Next weekend I will be in Phoenix for the AFHE convention. Please come out for that July 19th through 20th. And I’m sort of wrapping up my speaking season. I have really enjoyed seeing so many of you out on the road this season. The next thing coming up is my women’s conference. The Heidi St. John Conference will be held at Abundant Life Church. That is the home of my friend, Pastor Phil Hopper. Those guys are doing amazing things just outside of Kansas City. That is happening on August 24th.
And then September 14th I will be in Fredericksburg, Virginia for my women’s conference there. You guys, early bird rates for that end on August 5th, so be sure and register as soon as you can. We’re really excited to see you. Also, I want to just let you know we continue to read your reviews over the podcast. Thank you so much for doing that. It’s just a joy to see what God is doing in your life and hear how the podcast is influencing you.
I’m really hoping that today, as we talk about some of the things that are happening in the public school system, that you guys are going to be encouraged. I have not known Debbie for very long, but I’ll tell you what—she is my soul sister. I’m watching this woman and she is on fire for the Lord and she is off the bench. Debbie is a pastor’s wife. She is a mother of three and the co-founder of Communities for Excellence in Education. She is very involved as the pastor’s wife at Westland’s expanding Athey Creek Christian fellowship and she’s married to pastor Brett Meador. Debbie is passionate about godly parenting and loves to encourage mothers through God’s Word in her discipleship group called Mom Time. Her hope is to inspire women with practical training tips and honest talk regarding the call of motherhood—which you guys know is a passion of mine. Debbie, welcome to the podcast.
[Debbie] Thank you for having me, It’s an absolute joy and thrill.
[Heidi] Well it’s thrilling for me to have you here because you a warrior. You really are. You’re like on fire for the Lord and you’ve been off the bench for quite a while. So since this is your first time on the show, I loved to just introduce you to the audience a little bit. I’d love to know just what your background is and kind of what got you off the bench. And then we’ll move into talking about all things first amendment and why it’s so important for Christians especially, to get off the bench and onto the battlefield. So what’s your story, Debbie?
[Debbie] My story. So I come from what most people would think is completely different than what the stereotype is of a pastor’s wife.
[Heidi] We don’t like stereotypes.
[Debbie] Stereotypes, just throw those out. Everyone always thinks when they hear Brett talk, they think– oh, well, so of course her family is exactly like his family. You know, the nuclear family is in play, everything’s great, you know?
[Debbie] So just below that to bits, I actually have a lot of dysfunction in my background. There’s a lot of wounds and brokenness that I come from, but Jesus made himself clear to me when I was in high school and at that time I was a cheerleader and did all that stuff and I was really—I had an amazing high school experience and a real call swept to our school. There was a real, a real awakening for a lot of Christians and people like me who came to Christ and we took a stand. And it was right during that time, we had started a giant prayer group in our high school and then we had issues with the Supreme Court and they actually banned school prayer for a season.
[Heidi] So, when was that?
[Debbie] It was back in the 80’s. It was back in 82/83.
[Heidi] Yea, I remember.
[Debbie] And so we, as Christians, we were like wow, okay, so we do want to obey the government—for God put it there, that’s what the Word of God says. But it was at that point where I thought—you know, this Christian thing, people are taking it serious. It’s like making headlines. So it’s not, I’m not just like…
[Heidi] They’re taking afraid of us.
[Debbie] … I’m not being, I’m not pretending, you know—like either I’m going to do it for real. So I thought, wow— I’m doing this for real. And my family, you know, they were just like—what do we do with this? And you know, where I come from there are a lot of atheists in my background and all of that. So there were challenges. But I thought—you know what? I think that God has a different path for me. I’m seeing what I’m seeing from my family. I’m seeing a lot of divorce and I’m seeing a lot of things that are leading to a lot of unhappiness…
[Heidi] A lot of brokenness.
[Debbie] Yes, a lot of brokeness. Massive dysfunction. And I just thought when I heard about Jesus loving me, I thought—why in the world would I not take that? So I took it.
[Heidi] That’s awesome.
[Debbie] And I actually, you know, my husband and I came from a church in southern Oregon called Applegate Christian Fellowship. And our pastor John—literally, I started going to church at that church in the first book, the first chapter of Genesis. So I was literally hearing from creation on.
[Heidi] Yea, just going through the Bible.
[Debbie] Literally verse by verse, chapter by chapter. What a time in my life to grow from the beginning. In the beginning, from the beginning, I started being able to see—oh, God has an actual plan for my life in terms of marriage. He actually has an actual plan. So I took the challenge to make a little list of what I thought God would have for me in a godly man. So I had this list that had the attributes as I had seen them taught in Genesis. And I thought—oh, I’ll just make a list, you know.
[Heidi] What could it hurt?
[Debbie] What could it hurt? I’ll just make a little list. You know, what a godly man would be. And I made that list and prayed about it and said—Lord, you know that I would desire to have a man like this with these character attributes and whatnot. But Your will. You know, and I’m good being single. So here I am, all of 18, saying—i’m good being single—you know, for the rest of my life. But hey, I was a kid, I was a normal girl. And like I said before, you know, just the whole cheerleading thing and all that. And low and behold, God can break through all those masks and all of that stuff that kids deal with. And He helped me to just really realize the fullness of my identity in Him and brought Brett into my life. And Brett…
[Heidi] You guys are the same age?
[Debbie] I’m his old lady.
[Heidi]Oh my goodness. That’s scandalous.
[Debbie] I am six months older than he is, yes. And so yeah, he, you know, he is everything everybody thinks he is, plus a million times more. And he is big and strong and he probably holds too much on his shoulders—but he is so capable and God’s gifted him. And his parents raised him… I mean really, you have to go back to their story and their testimony to see why Brett is Brett. But it’s incredible. I mean and cataclysmic in terms of where it could’ve gone in their life and how they influenced the raising of their children. They became Christians before there was a James Dobson, before there were any of these, you know, venues or outlets for people to go to—and literally the Holy Spirit really showed them and it was like line for line, point for point, so many things that we all agree on. And they just poured into their kids…
[Heidi] Turns out the Holy Spirit can really do it.
[Debbie] And their kids are amazing. I mean, I have two of the most amazing sister-in-laws, all of our family is walking with the Lord. I mean, has everything turned out the way exactly someone would have thought in a book? No. But whose story does? You know, we all have wounds, we all have brokenness— but through the years we’ve just learned. I mean, in the end it is Jesus. We serve Jesus. We don’t serve ourselves. We serve Jesus. So Brett and I, we’ve been married for almost 33 years and I’ve always been married to a pastor, right? He’s always had that for his job. In college he was an education major and my mom was a teacher, and my dad was a teacher. My grandfather…
[Heidi] And that’s really what a pastor is. A pastor is a teacher.
[Debbie] And my great grandfather started the first junior high in Portland. So we go back a long, long way of history with educators. So I actually worked for the School of Education Psychology while Brett was in school. So I have that inside look into what teachers have to go through, and administrators and all of the work that runs…
[Heidi] So was this at Oregon State— where were you?
[Debbie] This was a Southern Oregon.
[Debbie] So I worked in Dr. Susan Ropers office and got to see an inside— like, oh, this is what my mom has to go through with certain certifications and all of that kind of stuff. She was grandfathered in. I just saw a lot of issues that teachers have to face when I had that job, and I did that during college. But during college my major was Broadcast Communication, so I not only had the education side while I was in college, but I was getting taught the fundamentals of our speech—which is free speech. It’s the first amendment.
[Heidi] Then just back when they were teaching that in college.
[Debbie] Everything hinges on the First Amendment. The First Amendment says– Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I literally had two professors who called me into their office one day and said—we want you to read this. And they had the first amendment up on their wall and I read it word for word, line for line. And they said, what do you think that means? And I said, my college answer. And then they said–no, no, no. We want you to tell us what this means. And they had me come to the recognition that there should never be a law making it so that we have to abandon our own speech. So through the years I ended up not going down the Broadcast Communication route, which praise God for that because right now in the climate that we live in with the press—I mean it’s just, it’s been taken over by a whole other entity that I don’t want to have to deal with.
[Heidi] Well, it’s unrecognizable.
[Debbie] But God has put it within me to be able to write and communicate. And so I love doing that. I love pouring into the moms in our church, and I love being able to work behind the scenes. You know, I co-founded a group called Communities for Excellence in Education. And that is to help encourage, educate, and equip parents, and teachers, and students, who are in the fray—who are in the battle. But it’s not just limited to people who have their kids in public schools. It is also there to help educate, equip, and inform and really encourage people who are homeschooling their kids as well. Because we are all living in an age where our culture is being changed beneath us. But we can put our foot down.
You know with bullies, the number one thing that you are supposed to do is stand up to the bully, right? So remember First Amendment right—we actually have a right as Christians, that free speech is not to be abridged.
[Debbie] It’s not just for the press, it’s for us too. So I remember when my kids were in public school because as we prayed about it, you know, we thought— you know, our kids should be in public school for this season. There was a season where I pulled them out to do some homeschooling, in eighth grade, to make sure and cover The Reformation, and US history, and include God.
[Debbie] So we did during then. That was a wonderful opportunity because I was able to really monitor them and get them where they needed to be and prep them, you know, for high school. And then our last daughter, as she went through high school—we did end up pulling her. She asked us to be pulled and that was just a really great experience. And she, oddly enough now as a teacher. So the misnomer there is that—oh, homeschool means no school—and all of that. And it’s just a misnomer. She is so educated and her heart is for kids. We have three amazing, amazing kids. But it is because we did not believe the lie that you have to be muzzled as a Christian.
We brought that into our home. We brought that into how we raised our kids. I brought that into my mothering. I married a strong man and he married a strong woman. And the only thing that has saved us is God’s Word. That is it. So for me to stay in my lane though, as a mom, as other cars— metaphorically speaking—arr bumping into me, my children, I had to be a defensive driver. Right? And part of that meant I had to get involved. When our kids were in elementary school, we had a really good relationship with many of the teachers and many of them were Christians and many of them were muzzled.
And as my mom got out of education, as she got to retirement— more and more of her, it’s like a let down effect that I see happen with teachers as they retire. They say— Oh, I was not allowed to do this and this and this.
[Heidi] Well, that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? I mean, what’s happening in the schools, we could have fantastic people in the schools, wonderful Christians, and their hands are tied in many ways. You want to keep your job— here’s what you can’t do.
[Debbie] In many ways, yes. They think their hands are tied. But that’s the beauty of actually opening up the law and actually looking into, in our case the Oregon Revised Statutes, and seeing how much provision is made. And really it’s based on federal law as well. So in almost every state, and this is a topic that we’ll get to, that this is federal and that is— the 21st Century Schools now is called Site Councils.
Site Councils is a federal law. It helps develop the school improvement plan for all the schools all across the nation. They should all have Site Councils. Site Councils in Oregon, it’s the 21st Century Schools Law –and that any administrator should be abiding by that. And if they’re not—then they’re out of compliance. And so being out of compliance with the Oregon revised statutes is like, not cool. You know, you’re not supposed to do that in Oregon or Washington or California or anywhere else. And so as we have sat back and not been off the bench, we have allowed other people to take the place in those little nooks and crannies where we do have influence, and psych council is one of the key elements that we need and it’s easy to do. Nobody wants to be on site council. It’s the easiest thing. It’s a one or two hour a month commitment. You’d go to meetings…
[Heidi] And this is for anyone.
[Debbie] This is for anyone, you can do this!
[Heidi] So one of the reasons why I love having you here is because you know my passion for homeschooling. And just to say to parents— hey pay attention to what your kids are being taught. But one of the things I think is the downfalls, the pitfalls of that is we pull our kids out of the school and then we just disengaged completely.
[Debbie] You disengage.
[Heidi] And what you’re saying, and so many other people, and this is what Jay and I had been doing when we go to the Battleground School… and people are like—why are you guys going to the Battleground school? Your kids aren’t in school, right?
[Heidi] But there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other kids who are being influenced and sexualized—I mean, let’s talk about what’s actually happening. And you’re saying— hey listen, you can be a homeschool mom or a homeschool dad and get onto the Site Counseling. You can have an influence.
[Debbie] Yes, because there’s provision to have community members on the Site Council. So now in Oregon, it’s the local 21st Century School Council. So it’s for those people who are listening in Oregon, it’s ORS329.704 — literally look it up. We have the internet, you can read it. So the provision makes it so that it keeps the control local, which is what school districts are supposed to function as. They are the local government.
[Heidi] Right, which is why the federalization of schooling is so grievous.
[Debbie] Exactly, exactly. With that local control, being on school boards, being on Site Council…. Site Council technically is an elected position but no one wants to be on it. And so literally a principal could just put a notice in the window saying— Hey, elections for Site Council. Most people will walk by and go, who cares? And it’s so easy to get on. Right? But if we don’t step it up and take the position to be on those councils, then what will happen and what we’ve seen in our area, in West Linn area—because let’s just go back to the law… for Oregon, part of what they’re supposed to do, they serve the development of plans to improve the professional growth of the school staff. The improvement of the school’s instructional program, the development and coordination of plans for the implementation of programs under this chapter at the school, and the administration of grants in aid for the professional development of teachers and classified district employees. A 21st Century Schools Council shall be composed of teachers, parents, classified staff, employees and principals— or the principals designee as follows. And the law goes on.
That is a giant opportunity. When you talk about a school improvement plan, what that is, is it breaks down the language arts, it breaks down the social studies component, it breaks down the science, it breaks down the math, it breaks down all of the extracurricular, it breaks down and helps build up the environment of the school.
So when people are a little bit confused, you know— how can I help improve my school? I’m feeling like something’s off. That’s the first place we can go to. When you see that the teachers are needing help navigating how to implement, you know, information that’s being passed onto them from the state, a site council can be huge as a force to help say— you know what, let’s creatively come up with alternatives that will meet the guidelines but not compromise this culture in this local areas faith.
[Heidi] So is it kind of, so help me understand because I think I’m going to be like 99% of the people who are listening to this day who’ve never even heard the term Site Council. So is this like sort of a front door, sort of a gateway to saying let’s review—does this have anything to do with curriculum? Is there anything, you know, is this sort of the front line? And then beyond that, there’s obviously there’s a school council and things like that. But so, I’m trying to really wrap my head—for the parents who are listening to this—around why… just in very, very simple terms: Why is the site council so important and what would the role be? Let’s say there’s a mom listening to this and she’s like— that’s interesting to me, but she doesn’t really get it. What’s the simplest way that you can say what a school Site Council is for and who should try to get involved?
[Debbie] In summary, and this is from an administrator telling me this, it is an in house school board for that school.
[Heidi] Okay. So every school?
[Debbie] Every school is supposed to have one. And there’ve been many, many, many schools who have abandoned this, parents don’t know about it. And so then there goes our freedoms. So let me just give you an example. In a local school that I think I will let it go on named because there are parents that are trying to work to amend this—but literally there was a student who was in the transitioning process, this is a third grader. Okay? A lot of aid, a lot of grants, a lot of things…
[Heidi] You’re talking about transgender.
[Debbie] We’re moving over into that topic now. Yeah. So as it pertains to this topic, in this particular school, 80% were Christians in this community, 80%! But there was no site council there. So that particular administration, which is no longer there now, so this is the past, right? We need to talk about the present moving forward, why we need to capture this again, Site Council. They literally had a professional development day, had a person come in and speak to the entire staff. This was their staff development. This is paid by taxes. This is our money paying for this. And that person who was doing the training, said “the problem with all of this, are the Christians.”
[Debbie] Well, we had two Christians in that audience—those were two teachers. And they were flabbergasted. And not only they should have been, I mean, not only were they being discriminated against, but they were not represented in an equal way. There was no equity in that. It was discriminatory and that is not acceptable.
[Debbie] So what does that teacher do? What does, what does that teacher do? What does that specialist do? They should be able to go to their Union Rep. And that’s the other topic is—unions. I mean, teachers, if you’re a Christian and you’re a teacher, you should be the union rep in your school because you can change the culture of that school. And for those teachers, they can know that they have a true ally. Not agenda driven. I mean, again, going back to the Oregon revised statutes, you know, so many of these topics really, we have laws already in place that are amazing. Any of these topics that seem, you know, for our audience today—if they seem, if it sort of raises in you a physiological response of conflict, those are the kinds of topics that you know they should be taught from a neutral viewpoint.
[Debbie] And I think it’s safe to say right now we have a very…
[Heidi] It’s not happening.
[Debbie] It’s not happening, but what the first line of defense are our teachers. So enabling our teachers to be able to know what their rights are, to be able to enable teachers to understand that they have great, great freedoms. They will not be getting in trouble for doing things that are already legal.
[Debbie] But there’s a narrative out there that gives this shutdown mode. And the shutdown mode is what’s so scary. And how that pertains to me now going back to being a pastor’s wife and raising my kids and staying in my lane— once I have the people who are the major influences in my kids’ lives, the teachers, the music teachers, the art, whoever they are—if they are not bold enough to stand up and say: I will fight back. If they do not have that within them to do it, then we need to help them get equipped. So that is why a group of friends, some on school boards, some not a, some certified teachers, some not, some parents, but we all have different, you know, accommodations or credentials, you know, all of us come to the table with different things. We co-founded a group called Communities For Excellence in Education to try to reach out and encourage, equip, and educate those who need it.
[Heidi] And really you’re asking parents, you’d like to see this happen all over the place, right? You don’t want to, you don’t want to just see this happening in your neck of the woods. I like to see it happening up here in Washington. I mean, goodness knows California is on fire. The schools there are on fire. I’m reading, this is so fascinating to me, because I’m reading a little bit about the role of school Site Councils. And this says that over the course of the year, typical council might consider the goals of the school district and then work with the principal to evaluate the school’s progress toward these goals. So really if a parent is interested or concerned—and I’m thinking of me as a homeschool mom, I am very concerned about what’s happening in the schools. And truly, if when Christians begin to abandon the public school system, and by abandoned, I mean—I’m all for abandoning it by pulling your kids out cause at this point there’s so many things happening that I’m just like… I don’t even know. I don’t I’m not gonna set my kid on fire to keep another kid warm at this point.
I just kinda feel like—at what point do you say the barn’s on fire get your kids out? But it doesn’t mean we abandon what’s here because there are thousands, tens of thousands of kids in these programs who need help. They need representation and really they don’t have it from the Christian community by and large, is what I’m hearing you say. And this is an opportunity to do that.
[Debbie] Exactly. And half the problem is that kids, from whatever background they’re coming from, they feel like no one is there for them to advocate for them. Once kids realize— wow, this person is on my side here, they actually want me to do well, they want me to be successful— it naturally takes care of a whole lot of other things. You know, part of the success in a school is that kids actually succeed. You know, I have one friend that she homeschools her kids and she just got elected to the school board. Over in Canby, and she is going to set that place…
[Heidi] She’s a homeschool mom.
[Debbie] She’s a homeschool mom. But you know, she and I talk often and I say to her: you know, I think 13% for math, passing— that’s actually not, passing.
[Heidi] That’s not passing.
[Debbie] That’s actually failing. That’s terrible.
[Heidi] Yeah, let’s try to work on that. And that’s my district, you know, so I care about those kids because 20 years from now I want kids— I want electricians and I want the scientist…
[Heidi] 20 years from now these are the kids that are going to be taking care of us.
[Debbie] I want the doctors, they need to know math. You know, everybody needs to know about, you know, we all need to be able to communicate and we all need to be able to get along and be kind and accept one another. We all need to do that to have a really cool society, but you have to go beyond cool and we have to go to actual logistics. We will not function. We will not have buildings built. We will not have infrastructure, if people can’t do the basics. So she is after it over there, you know.
But meanwhile, different district, I have another friend who is encountering a completely different mindset in a district that already has really high test scores. But it’s being swept by a culture and a lot of money is being spent to go towards certain topics and electives and whatnot that are not only not useful, but they’re culturally based and they are not going to educate and equip these kids for actually success.
[Debbie] I always find it interesting. To cut electives makes no sense to me because from a public school standpoint—half the thing is keeping the kids in school in order for them to get their funding. And so administrators that I’ve talked to in the past like elective because it helps routine kids, right? So when you start dropping some of these basic things that help kids live like cooking—it’s really good to know nutrition, right?
[Heidi] Yea, right? Hey man, I took cooking when I was in school. I took home economics and we actually loved it because it was an hour out of our day that we could, you know—we had these little… they looked like toy kitchens. I think about it now and I’m just like, that’s so funny. We were just playing house. But it’s things like that that the culture doesn’t like anymore.
[Debbie] They don’t like it anymore. And the problem is, we still have—getting back to how I got involved….
[Heidi] It’s so old school…
[Debbile] It’s so old school to cook. Even if you say, okay, fine, whatever, just go to wherever you want. You still have to talk about the future medical issues they’re going to face. I mean, basic things. People don’t want to talk about the reality, you know— what’s your heart going to look like in 20 years, Hun? So when we skip over into other, possibly more controversial topics as it gets to maybe if we move over to comprehensive sex education, my concern is that we are raising kids in a culture of death.
And in Oregon, I know we sent that. It’s beyond the pale, and it’s teaching kids—and it is from the Oregon Department of Education all the way up—we are not anti-education our, our particular group, we are pro education. We love the thought of having kids be able to go to school and really come out feeling like they’re alive and they can achieve and they can just blow through gaps, and pass tests, and do amazing at these things. But these poor kids are watching their friends die from suicide rates, and it’s so sad.
[Heidi] Well, we’re not even educating kids anymore. Really. Our schools are filled with activists. It’s a lot of activism and we’ve talked about this dozens and dozens of times. I’ve had multiple guests on here, including yourself, who are witness to the indoctrination that’s happening of our kids. And I think one thing that we can do as parents is to go beyond sounding the alarm and sayingæ actually, no, we’re not going to let you do this anymore. Because, as we’ve said many times on the podcast— silence is consent. And so if we don’t get involved, if we don’t say, hey, this isn’t okay. If we’re not willing to stand in the fray, if we’re not willing to stand up. Because really in Oregon, and I love Oregon, I grew up in Oregon. I graduated from Portland Christian. I Love Oregon. My heart beats for Oregon. Oregon’s on fire.
Spiritually, it’s on fire. Financially, for goodness sake, like Kate Brown is— hello! We need a new Oregon Governor stat. Like right now, can we just drop one in? Nope. It’s gonna take awhile. But it’s happened because people don’t vote. People don’t get out there. I’ve seen Christians— one of the things I love about you is that you obviously, I mean your husband’s a pastor, you guys are very involved in ministry and have been all of your lives. And you’re saying these things matter. How about we don’t relegate ourselves to church? How about we don’t relegate ourselves to just talking about this with our kids in our home, but actually get out and impact the culture.
[Debbie] Right. And Brett is just so good about—if you build up the people, then the people are built up and can go out and do what Jesus said. Go and make disciples.
[Debbie] So his focus, his job, and it will not change—verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. That is his goal. Where I step in as a pastor’s wife, and I told them this just a couple of days ago—I said, you know what? I think my primary calling for the rest of my life now is to ensure that you do not go to jail for doing your job.
[Heidi] Right. No kidding.
[Debbie] So that makes me step in.
[Debbie] Because you get in the way of my family and I’m going to knock you over.
[Heidi] Right. Who’s the Mama Bear?
[Debbie] That’s just the way it is.
[Debbie] So that is what got me off the bench when my kids were in public school.
[Debbie] If I saw my kids being stepped over, for instance, bullying, it was a huge, huge deal when my daughter was in fourth grade. She was being bullied on the playground and I went to the fourth grade teacher and I said— hey, you know, I think we might have some interaction problems going on out in the playground. And she said— it’s my lunch. That’s not my job.
[Heidi] Debbie’s like “Oh No, oh no, no.”
[Debbie] So I said— hmmm, how can I creatively fix this? I’m not going to change her. She is not on board so what can I do? And so Brett and I prayed about it and I started in art room in the school—there was not art, there was no Art Literacy. We started our literacy programs. I opened up an art room. There was a spare room in the school. We got PTO, that’s like the parent teacher’s organization. We agreed on a certain budget, I think it was like $1,500, and I filled that thing. And three times a week I had 60 kids coming in and doing art projects, giving them a safe haven, giving them a safe place to be where they were not going to be bullied, where they could be creative. We put their artwork up. And it was just a really great experience. You, and that’s a way to be a problem solver. You don’t always have to be a grumbler or you know any of that.
[Heidi] Well, it’s not helping us. I think it’s just, if we’re sitting here, like we were talking about before we started recording— it’s not enough for us to sit here and go: this is wrong, and that’s wrong, and what a bummer we have. We have to be able to say— here are some things that you can do. You can get off the bench, you can get off onto the battlefield, and there’s lots of ways for people to do that.
I’m going to go ahead and wrap the show up today. Debbie, would you be willing to come back on Monday, cause I really want to hit the topic of comprehensive sex education, and I’ll let you answer a few questions from listeners.
[Debbie] Absolutely, thanks for having me. This has been great.
[Heidi] For more information on Debbie Meador, I will link back to it in the show notes today. You can find HeidiStJohn.com/podcast. Come back on Monday and I’m going to have Debbie here with me and we’re going to be talking about questions that come in from listeners, so we’ll be using our Mailbox money to answer some questions specifically as they relate to getting off the bench and onto the battlefield. In the meantime, I’d appreciate if you guys would leave reviews for the podcast over at iTunes, continue using the hashtag #offthebench and send me your stories. I would love to hear how the Lord is encouraging you to get off the bench and onto the battlefield. Thanks for listening everybody, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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