Years ago, I made the difficult decision to undergo a much-needed hysterectomy. As difficult as it was, God was there. Join me today as I talk about the tender transitions we all make in life, and encourage you that God is in every season.
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Matthew 7:7-8
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- Scripture Writing Challenge
- MomStrong International
- Evangelical Christian Credit Union
- Essential Oils
- Hysterectomy blog post
TICK REPELLANT RECIPE
Add to a jar:
- Witch Hazel – 1 cup
- 10 Drops of Geranium
- 6-5 Drops of Cedarwood
- 3 Drops of Lavender
- 3-5 drops of Lemongrass
Shake up the jar. Divide into your spray bottles. Shake before each use. Spray on skin, clothes, shoes.
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
This podcast is brought to you by our friends at Evangelical Christian Credit Union.
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St John, welcome to the podcast. I’m so glad you’ve joined me today. Today is Monday, June 10th. This is episode number 777. This is also Mailbox Monday. And I’m gonna be answering several questions from listeners today. Everything from seasons of life, to hysterectomies, to essential oil recipes for ticks, and whatever else is on your guys’ heart.
Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
So thanks for everybody who prayed for us this last weekend as our son graduated from our homeschool. It really is…I’m trying to think of a not-emotional way to say it, but it is a very emotional season. This graduating. Even though this is our fourth child, we’ve got now more out of the nest than we do in. And as I’m looking ahead to the next couple of years, because I’ve got two kids in high school now and then I’ve got our little caboose baby who’s going to be in fourth grade. And I can’t help but just be so thankful to the Lord for what He’s done in allowing my husband and I this incredible privilege of homeschooling our children all the way through high school. And people sometimes say, you know—I can’t believe you do that. Homeschooling just seems like the weirdest, most wackadoo thing there is in the world to do.
And that’s exactly how I used to feel 22 years ago until the Lord got a hold of me. And so, if you guys hear my voice crack today, it’s because I’m thankful—I really am. And some of the questions are sort of emotional. So you take this emotional Heidi, and you asked me emotional questions, and you’re probably going to get an emotional response. I’m just warning you. If you’re not following me in the June Scripture Writing challenge, I really want to encourage you to do it. We are in, obviously, we’re to the 10th of June already. I think doing this podcast might be aging me a little bit. Every time I get on here, I’m just like—for goodness sake, it’s like it’s the 10th of June! And I can’t believe it. You know I feel like I just want time to slow down.
The culture is changing so fast around us. Our kids are growing so quickly. We’re seeing rapid-fire changes everywhere. And being in the Word, and listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit, is a powerful thing. Last week I was flying home from Teach Them Diligently in Columbus. The last of the Teach Them Diligently Conferences for this season. Incredible, incredible ministry that happened there, just a week ago. And I was, you know, I’m on the plane, on my way home, and I’m listening to music. By the way, if you haven’t heard Bethel’s song Stand in Your Love—stop what you’re doing. Look it up on Spotify and listen, you guys will be so blessed and so encouraged. But I was listening to that on the plane. Tears streaming down my face. Like—thank you Father, that in the midst of this crazy world that we’re living in, in the midst of such darkness and such depravity, and so much discouragement, we can stand on the truth of Your Word. Thank You that Your Word doesn’t change. Thank you Lord, that everything that we do is seen by You, that You see us, that You know us, that You love us.
It really does help with these transitions in life, the seasons in life. And we’re going to be talking a little bit about that today because of the questions that I’ve been getting lately at Mailbox Monday. But before I get into your questions, I want to just hit on today’s verse of the Scripture Writing Challenge. It’s Matthew 7:7-8. This is an incredible verse that talks about God’s heart for you. So listen in as we sort of look and see—oh my goodness, He loves me. It says—“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
I love that He doesn’t say that the door might be opened or maybe if you do it right, I’ll listen to you. He says, seek and you’ll find, knock in the door will be open unto you. And I think we need to remember that today—is we’re seeking the Lord.
About, I don’t know, maybe it was 10 days ago. I was just kind of hit a dry patch in my life, sort of in my walk with the Lord. And I found myself just alone in my room, on my knees, near the edge of my bed, just saying—Father, I need your help. All these plates in the air, demands that seem to be never ending. I have children who need me at every stage of their life, grandchildren who I pray for and love. And, the Lord in His mercy… and I’m saying this to the mom who’s worn out and weary right now, and it’s just like—I give up. The Lord in His mercy, met me right where I was. No condemnation, no angry chastisement—because the Father knows that when we move away from Him—that dry season comes with us, right? When we stopped drinking from the living water, when we get so busy that we can’t open our Bibles, when we’re not crying out to the Lord in prayer—we can very quickly get parched. That’s why Jesus said—come to me. I’m the living water. We need that living water every day.
And so if that’s you today, I want to just encourage you the way the Lord encouraged me. And that’s just to say—come back to me. You know, ask, seek, knock. I’m listening. I love you. I want what’s best for you. That is the heart of the Father. And so I’m encouraged by that. Always encouraged by God’s Word and what God is doing in His Word—in the world right now—because He’s definitely at work. And so I want to just encourage you, if you haven’t joined me over at the Scripture Writing Challenge, I’ve been doing this for several years. It’s free. You don’t need to pay anything to join up. We write that for you. It’s an English, now it is also available in Spanish. And I want to encourage you, MomStrongInternational.com. We’re also right in the middle of our study on the fruit of the Spirit. And, in fact, on this Wednesday I believe—I’m gonna be talking about freedom from anger out of the MomStrong International Bible Study that’s just about $8 a month. And I’m telling you, your membership goes a whole long way in helping us get this podcast out to you and the team of people it takes to create it. So check it out at MomStrongIinternational.com.
Also want to remind you that we have a sponsor. I’m so blessed to be working with Evangelical Christian Credit Union, and summer’s here, right? And so for some of you it is a great time to just check into some things that maybe you wouldn’t check you into into the fall. So if you’re ready for a change of pace as I am, I just wanna encourage you checkout Evangelical Christian Credit Union. Because I don’t know about you, but if you’ve got kids around your house who are trying to earn a little bit of extra money with their free time, this is a great opportunity to talk with them about budgeting. And so my friends that Evangelical Christian Credit Union have tools that you can use to teach your children about money management. And the summertime is an awesome time to do it. So you can help your kids save or spending money for a family vacation. You can budget for special purchases this fall. You can revisit the way you organize your child’s allowance, or if you don’t do an allowance—our family doesn’t do allowance. What we’ve done is have our children work for things that are outside their normal chores. I don’t pay my kids to clean the kitchen. I figure I give them room and board. That’s just me. And when I do pay them, it’s for things that go above and beyond. Like—hey, would you please clean out the car and and wash it and whatever. If I’m going to go to the car wash and spend 10 bucks, I’m happier to give that $10 to my child to teach them that there is a reward for their work and also teach them how to budget their money.
So we’re never ready for our kids to grow up. And certainly I’m getting a dose of, of that reality as my son is getting ready to go to Bible college this fall. But it is our job to make sure that they’ve got the tools they need to succeed financially. So start them young and I want to encourage you, check it out. You can learn more at ECCU.org/Heidi. I would love to hear from those of you who have been working with ECCU you, I have been hearing from a bunch of you over at the podcast and even on my Facebook page. So I’m excited to see that it’s going so well. So ECCU.org/Heidi.
Alright, something is in the wind because you guys are all about asking me kind of questions that are different than what I’m used to getting here at the podcast. And so I’m going to address some of them. And this one comes from a mom, Alicia. Hey, sweet mama. This is for you. I have actually been exactly where Alicia is right now. And so I thought I would take a minute and just address her question. She said—Hello Heidi. I am a mother of four kids. I’ve recently been having some health issues and had been recommended to schedule a hysterectomy. I’ve been reading your book and saw you had a hysterectomy after your seventh child. How was the experience? Was the recovery difficult? How did you get over the grief of having your uterus removed? The thing that brought so much life.
So first of all, Alicia, the grief is real. I grieved quite a bit over my hysterectomy and it wasn’t because I necessarily wanted more children. It was because all the sudden this season of my life was coming to a very abrupt end. And lots of times people ask me, and they’ll ask my husband—that certainly was the case when we were in Ohio, recently. Jay and I did a marriage workshop together, which we love to do, love to talk about our marriage—the ups and the downs, right? Because that’s life. No marriage has just, you know, this constant high and this amazing, you know—look at our life so amazing. Life is hard, right? And, and I’m always telling people—look, God… He grows us in the deep. He’s not growing us in the shallow places of our life, right? He grows us in the deep. And the hysterectomy for me was a very deep grief. It was a very difficult season. I was having some pretty significant issues. Went in to see my doctor, who’s also a friend of mine. And within five minutes she was like—Heidi, here’s what’s going on.
And there was absolutely no option for me. And frankly, you know, people ask me about it all the time. Are you glad you did it? Absolutely. Oh my goodness. I felt so much better after I got over the recovery part, which was for me on the brutal side because I waited so long to have the hysterectomy—there was a lot more damage done that probably wouldn’t have been had I known sooner. So,the recovery for me was very, very difficult. I don’t know that it’s like that for everyone, but I really want to address—first of all, I would say when you’re done with the hysterectomy, anybody who’s looking into that, listen to your doctor. Rest, don’t be Heidi St. John and decide—oh, I’m feeling better and then just stop your pain medication and try to get your life back.
That was a huge mistake for me. But you know, I learn everything the hard way as you guys know. So I wrote about this, I blogged about it, and I thought I would just read a little bit from that blog post and I’ll link back to it in the show notes today. So this, this blog post was written quite a while ago in April of 2016, and this is what I said. I said—Life is just.so.short. I remember the season well, when my doctor informed me that “changes” in my body meant that I would likely not bear any more children. Here I was thinking I would go quietly into menopause. You know, wait like most women do for those “signs” that tell us we’re transitioning from one season to the next. So much for going quietly. Here I’m being drop-kicked into it. It wasn’t really that we had planned on having more children, either. It was the idea that it had been decided for me—that’s what hurt. That… that was a little harder to take. This new season is requiring fresh faith. And surrender. Trust that God knows the future.
I’ve had a few months to process this news now but here’s the fact. Like millions of other women, I’m entering a new season of motherhood. I’m moving on. Tonight, I felt my unborn grandson moving and turning and hiccuping inside his mother—my daughter. I have been doing a bit of soul-searching as I find myself in this new season of life—this season of in-between. In-between parenting a toddler and mentoring a young mother-to-be. As I was doing laundry, a blanket caught my eye. It boasts a “Daisy Kingdom” pattern from 1990. I love this blanket. I stitched it together in my kitchen while I waited for my first baby to arrive. It has graced seven cribs now—and it’s time to grace a new crib. Time is moving on. I went downstairs and gave the blanket to my daughter. It’s hers, really. But my heart aches just a little for how quickly those past twenty-two years went by. They told me it would go by fast. But I didn’t believe it. The days can go by so slowly, can’t they?
As I went about the house tonight, I thought of other things I wouldn’t need any more, things I had been holding on to “just in case.” A newborn car seat snuggie. A handful of hand-made burp cloths. A breast pump. Nursing covers. I put them in a box and I gave them to my daughter. A surrender of sorts. I glanced up in my closet and saw bins of baby clothes, and noticed that little green coat that baby #7 outgrew too quickly was peaking from beyond the bin. I asked her to wear it so long that the bin it should have been put away in was on the shelf months before I finally put the green coat next to it. It was time to move on. “This is silly,” I thought to myself. Look at those bins, just taking up space in my closet. And in my heart.
Newborn. Up all night. The sound of little feet. Math lessons. Tooth fairy. Grasshoppers. Cricket catching. Driving tests. Graduation. College. Married. Time is always moving forward and the new life starts again. Our kids grow so quickly. I think it’s impossible to grasp the brevity of the life we live and I wonder if we knew how fast time goes, if we would stop longer or linger more. Tonight as I brushed the toddlers teeth and put her dirt stained little feet into the sink for a quick rinse—I had to smile to myself. The world might see motherhood as little more than a stopover on the highway of life, but I want to see so much more. I want to soak up the seasons of my life in such a way that it pains me to see them past.
And tonight I felt that pain a little more acutely. But something something tells me that if it hurts, we’re doing it right. So if it hurts and you’re struggling as you move from one season of life to another, I actually think you’re doing it right. I think when it doesn’t hurt, then we’re probably not appreciating it. When it hurts too much than we’ve lost sight, that God is doing something in the new season as well. But, I just want to encourage you, for those of you who are looking at changes in your life, whether it’s a change—and remember that post was written, oh my goodness I’m almost four years post hysterectomy now. So that post was written several years ago. But I’m telling you what—every once in a while, and probably the last few days for sure. I can definitely feel that that acute sense of loss as we move from one season to the next.
And the Lord wants to be with us in every season—He says he never changes. So even though we changed in our, our lives, change in our seasons change, God will never leave us. He’ll never forsake us. He’s with—Mom, He’s with that mom right now. He’s with you, Mama. As you graduate your child from one season to the next. He’s with you as you get ready to prepare for a hysterectomy or prepare for a life changing a move, or whatever it is—God will be with you. He’ll never forsake you. So I hope that encourages you. Hang in there. There are good things are coming, really good. Things are coming. So I just want to thank you for that letter Alicia, and my heart’s with you today.
All right, next question. And it’s really more of a statement that came from a listener named Amanda. She said—Heidi, after listening to your podcast this week, I signed the petition on the show Arthur and shared it with some friends. A couple of hours later I was driving in the car listening to a children’s podcasts that reads stories. We have listened to a few podcasts like this for years. One particular is called Story Time and it’s by Bedtime FM. I was on episode number 96, The Inventor. I was shocked when the child in this story had same sex parents. We turn it off immediately and I’m disappointed I can no longer trust the content. I contacted the podcast and have included their response below.It’s so sad that our children can’t just listen to the stories without agendas being pushed on them and I wanted to let your listeners know about a great Christian podcast called Kid’s Corner. So there you go—she’s helping you out. Help a sister out—Kids Corner. My kids ages four, seven, and 10 ask for it all the time and if there are any other Christian based podcasts for kids, I would love to know about them. We have a couple of others, but most read Bible stories, which is great, but we would like other content as well that can be trusted to be safe. Thanks for always keeping us informed and off the bench.
So Amanda, thanks for sending me this. First of all, really quickly—you guys know that this world is not our home, right? So when we stand up for truth and righteousness in the culture, we’re going to be persecuted. We are going to be made fun of. That’s what Jesus said, right? He knew that was coming. The Word said that if it hates us, we shouldn’t be surprised because it hated Him first. So we want to be able to speak the truth in love. We want to be able to get off the bench and onto the battlefield. And as we’re doing this, keep in mind that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is by our side. So I’ve been watching a with a fair degree of interest. My friend Ken Ham, who’s been talking about what’s happening in the culture, just like I do. And I loved what he said the other day as he was talking about the next drag queen thing that’s happening in Ohio. There’s an article on Live Site News, and all link back to it today. It says— Ohio Drag Queen Program for kids shut down after families and taxpayers rise up.
And parents, I’m telling you—your voice makes a difference. It matters. We’re not saying that we don’t love people. We’re saying—you cannot indoctrinate our children this way. You cannot teach that this is normal when it’s not normal and it’s not good, and Ken Ham said—beware many forces are at work to undermine parental rights and capture the hearts and minds of the younger generations for evil purposes. This is a reminder not to be complacent and recognize we’re in a spiritual war. Christians must “contend for the faith as we read about in Jude 3 and 4”. I agree with Ken, we’ve got to be contending for the faith and you can contend for the faith in the public square. Absolutely contend for it in your church—but contend for it in your libraries, contend for what God says is good because we know that whether people believe it or not is sort of irrelevant.
All you gotta do is read the Bible and see what happens to nations who decide to walk away from what God says is good. And certainly that is the case in the culture right now. We’re seeing it everywhere we go. So,I want to thank you for letting me know. I love to hear you guys getting off the bench. So when you get off the bench, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know how are you are getting off the bench. And then I would love to feature your story here at the podcast. So if you want to send me a story of you getting off the bench, just go ahead and put #OffTheBench in the subject line. And we might feature your story here at the Heidi St. John podcast.
All right. So the next question came from Sarah, and Jody, and a whole bunch of other listeners who wanted to know about my tick repellent—because I said I’d been using an essential oil tick repellent when we lived in Chattanooga for several months, which I love Chattanooga. Shoutout you Chattanooga, I just loved being there and I miss it. One of the things I don’t miss though are the ticks. And we had issues with ticks until I discovered how to make a tick repellent, like a homemade tick repellent. I’m telling you what—it was incredible. It worked really well and it smelled good. So you don’t have to smell like, you know, deet—to repel ticks. And so really quickly, I’m going to give you a sort of my recipe for a tick repellent. And I hope that this helps you. You guys can write this down. Actually I’ll send the show notes Melissa and Marlene, and we’ll see if we can’t get this in the show notes today. But I love to use a Witch Hazel. So I would start with witch Hazel, which you can get at Walmart— it’s very cheap and you can get it anywhere, you know, basically any grocery store should have it. So I would do, if I was going to put it in several different bottles, I would start with just a jar, put a cup of witch Hazel in it, and then add: 10 drops of Geranium, probably five or six drops of Cedarwood, at least three drops of Lavender, and at least three drops of Lemongrass, maybe five. And so you’re going to put those in your jar, right? Shake it up really good. And then, just pour that into a little spray bottle and then—bam. Shake it and spray it on you, on your clothes. You can put on your skin, you can put on your shoes. And the scent is what helps keep ticks away. And it’s amazing. Trust me when I say it’s completely amazing. Eucalyptus is also a great repellent, but if you use that, you’ve got to use caution around pets, which is why we didn’t do it.
Lavender is kind of like an all purpose insect repellent—and in recent studies, Lavender essential oil has performed well as both a tick deterrent and a method of preventing tick eggs from hatching. So it’s safe to use on babies. Make sure that you’re using a pure essential oil, and not one that’s just a fragrance or an adulterated oil. You guys know, I love Young Living. I’ve been doing that for 10 years probably. And you can find out HeidiStJohn.com/Oils. So Lemongrass —hello! It’s a natural tick repellent. It’s safe to use in soaps and shampoos. If you put it directly on your skin, just mix it with a carrier oil—or better yet, just use the recipe that I just gave you.
Also, I love Geranium. This one’s particularly potent and you can actually apply this directly to you or on your animals collar. So a great stuff. So check it out. I hope that little tip of the day helps you guys.
All right. It’s time for me to go. I want to say thanks for everybody who’s listening. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for leaving reviews for the podcast over at iTunes. We read them every single one of them and it encourages us greatly. Also, don’t forget to check out my friends at Evangelical Christian Credit Union at ECCU.org/Heidi.
Have a great day everybody, and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
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