Give 2X the Families Hope

Double your gift for struggling families!

[Click Here to Help Families]
Yes, I will give families hope this Christmas!
Give Hope!

Save 2X the moms and babies!

[Click Here to Save Lives]
Yes, I will save TWICE the babies this Christmas!
Focus on the Family
Give 2X the Families Hope

Double your gift for
struggling families!

Save 2X the Lives!
Double your gift
to save babies!

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Fueling Motherhood Through Spiritual Discipline

Fueling Motherhood Through Spiritual Discipline

As a mom of seven, Heidi St. John explains why you as a mom need to stay spiritually disciplined in your relationship with the Lord. She looks at ways to place your confidence in God, especially when you just want to give up on parenting. She discusses how you can be more intentional in your mothering and why it’s best to press into God’s love, grace, and mercy. With relatable stories, practical tips, and inspiring encouragement, you’ll be motivated to connect with God on a daily basis.
Original Air Date: November 17, 2023


Heidi St. John: Mom’s need to know that every day is a new opportunity for God to show His grace and His mercy, and it’s everywhere. It’s everywhere. Have you had a win today? Thank the Lord for it. Are you struggling? Are you discouraged? Turn on the praise music, and let the lover of your soul actually love your soul, that part of you that’s gonna live forever. We need to be able to feel how near He is.

John Fuller: Well, that’s Heidi St. John and she joins us today on Focus on the Family. Thank you for being along. I’m John Fuller and your host as Focus president, and author, Jim Daly.

End of Preview

Jim Daly: Let me say, moms that are listening and watching, we see you. You are doing such an important job in raising that next generation. You don’t get enough credit. You don’t get a big paycheck, but I think it is the most important contribution that any human being, I don’t care what gender you are, that you’re making, and I think we need to support you as best as we can, and we’re gonna do that today, to talk about, uh, MomStrong. I love the movements that are occurring in the U.S. right now. You see these mama bears stepping up saying, “No way. You’re not gonna do this to my children.” Hopefully, dads are coming alongside now and saying, “Yeah, I’m with her,” (laughs) but it seems to be growing. You know, people are finally kind of putting their foot down saying, “We’re done. Enough is enough,” whether it’s public school or just about any facet of the culture right now. They are pushing far too far. And finally, people are responding, and we’re saying, “No”.

John: Well, we have a lot of encouragement for you in the day-to-day work, as a mom, that you do, and we’ve got Heidi St. John with us here, uh, to help us. She’s known as the busy mom and she is a busy person. She’s offering reassurance and hope. Heidi runs MomStrong International, which is an online ministry for women, and she and her husband, Jay, have seven children, four grandchildren, and uh, she’s a popular speaker and author, and her book, MomStrong 365: A Daily Devotional to Encourage and Empower Everyday Moms, is the basis for our conversation. Uh, get a copy from us here at the ministry. The details are at the website.

Jim: Heidi, welcome to Focus.

Heidi: Well, hey. It’s nice to be back.

Jim: Yeah, it’s always good to talk with you. Uh, you’ve been a mom, like I’m really telling you this.

Heidi: (laughs)

Jim: You’ve been a mom for a little while.

Heidi: A little while (laughs).

Jim: And uh, you have created this ministry, MomStrong, what does it mean to be MomStrong?

Heidi: You know, I think we’re looking at a different generation of mothers, and they are being asked questions that previous generations weren’t being asked.

Jim: What’s an example of that?

Heidi: So, we didn’t realize, so my oldest daughter’s in her 30s now, and I have a young- my youngest is 12, so we’re still like, kind of in the- the- the-

Jim: 30 to 12.

Heidi: 30 to 12.

Jim: That’s quite a spread of age.

Heidi: Yes, it is. Jay and I are coming up on our 34th anniversary here.

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: Uh, but I am raising my 12-year-old daughter in a much different world than I raised my 31-year-old, 32-year-old daughters in.

Jim: Hm.

Heidi: I’m having to answer questions from her that I would’ve never even considered asking when our 30-year olds were in our home, and so I think a lot of moms feel blindsided by it. They feel like they’re having a hard time answering the questions, and so I like to point moms back to truth. The truth never changes, right? The Bible says that the grass will wither and the flower will fade, but the word of God will stand forever, and so I wanna point moms back to the word of God to say, “Listen, the shifting sand of the culture, and we feel it now. It’s hard to maintain your balance in it. Uh, that may be happening, but God’s word is an anchor and we can hold onto it.”

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: And so, I’m pointing moms back to the truth every day, and we’re tackling really tough questions. Uh, the questions that the culture are asking. We’re talking about sex and gender. We’re talking about what it means to raise children in a culture that has largely abandoned the Judeo-Christian values that the country was founded on, and I think as these moms are entering into the culture right now in the midst of really, is a hurricane, a cultural hurricane, I am trying to steady them by saying, “Hey-”

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: “The Bible remains the same. God remains the same. Jesus still says, “Peace be still.””

Jim: You know, you think of that MomStrong idea, I like the idea, in the book you’re, you tell your good, bad, and ugly stories-

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: … which are really great. You had a- a morning back when, it was feeling like, oh yeah, MomStrong-

Heidi: Right (laughs).

Jim: … but you had, had a late night with the kids. You didn’t wanna get up. When you got up, the kids were arguing. Something happened that morning. What- what happened?

Heidi: I think I realized that I had gotten up and done the one thing I’m always telling moms, I had refused to do the one thing I always tell moms to do, which is start your day, if you can, ahead of your children, right? And so, I know for the mom who is listening to this right now who has a newborn baby and she’s been up all night, just plug your ears ’cause I’m not talking to you.

Jim: (laughs) Right.

Heidi: I’m- I’m talking to the mom who has had, uh, you know, she doesn’t have a nursing, or an infant that she’s taking care of in the middle of the night, but you wake up in the morning and I feel like, you know, as a homeschool mom, especially, you know, I’m telling you what. My feet hit the floor in the morning and I’m all crockpots and curriculum until my husband comes home from work, and if I don’t spend just a little bit of time centering my own soul, uh, we can get what I call, soul burn. It’s like, you know, moms tend to send their kids out to the pool and they slather sunscreen on everybody but themselves, and then who ends up getting burned? It’s the mom who does ’cause, right? I remembered to put sunscreen on the five little kids-

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: … but then I went out to watch them by the pool and forgot, I need sunscreen also.

Jim: (laughs) Right.

Heidi: And the word of God is like, sunscreen for your day, right? The word of God is what centers us. It’s what, um, and I like to tell the Lord, you know, “Father, I don’t know what’s gonna happen today, but I can already tell you I’m frustrated. I’m discouraged. I’m pretty angry. It’s 8:00 in the morning and my kids are fighting, and they just spilled, you know, Fruit Loops all over the floor for the third morning in a row, after I said, “Please don’t open that until I come downstairs,” and the Lord says, “Peace be still.” I feel like, for me, it’s been a reminder every day, and I’m always amazed at how God speaks to my heart, and he wants to do that. I mean, you guys have had this experience, right, where you read a passage that you read before, but God shows you something-

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Heidi: … new about it. The Bible says that it’s living, right? It’s active, sharper than any two edged sword, and so we can open the Bible and say, “Father, point my heart in the right direction today.” That’s why I wrote a 365 day devotional. It’s just, uh, five minutes with the Lord in the morning to say, “Hey Father, put my heart on the right track because I know my kids are gonna try to derail me (laughs).”

Jim: I thought you were gonna say-

Heidi: And I wanna be on the right track.

John: (laughs) Yes.

Jim: “The Lord said to you, put the Fruit Loops higher up in the cupboard.”

Heidi: He did say that. I just wasn’t listening.

Jim: (laughs) That’s funny.

Heidi: (laughs)

Jim: Uh, you walked into motherhood thinking, your confidence was pretty high, maybe unshakeable. Uh, what changed that? (laughs)

Heidi: Kids.

Jim: Right.

Heidi: Kids do that.

Jim: That’s true. You manage pretty well. You kind of pat yourself on the back.

Heidi: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: We’re doing a good job.

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: And then, kids come along. You’re going, what has happened to me?

Heidi: Well, and I think each one of our kids are different, right? It’s so easy to read a parenting book and think, oh, if I just follow this, this, this, and this, and my kid will turn out, like this, and the angels will sing.

Jim: Yes.

Heidi: But we know because we’ve raised a lot of children, between the three of us, and they’re grown now, most of them, and we recognize that what worked for child number one may not work for child number three, and I started asking the Lord when our fifth child arrived. I started asking the Lord to help me understand the currency of each of my children. And so, I would be able to speak to that child, whether it was a correction that was necessary or speaking love to that child, I wanna be able to speak in a way that they can hear me, ’cause I can speak in the same tone of voice to my oldest daughter. My youngest daughter is not gonna under- she, that’s gonna go-

Jim: Right, different personalities.

Heidi: … different personalities, and I, and it’s okay.

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: And I think, motherhood, I love to tell moms, “Listen, if motherhood hasn’t driven you to your knees yet, you’re doing it wrong.” (laughs) You know?

Jim: There you go (laughs).

Heidi: Because it’s meant to. I think it’s sanctifying.

Jim: Mm.

Heidi: Right? God’s using these beautiful children that he gives us, that really belong to him, and he said, “I’m gonna loan these children to you for a while, and you’re gonna get to teach them and train them, and while we teach and train our children, the Lord of heaven’s armies wants to teach and train us,

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: Motherhood is what, I think God uses to show us where we’re weak and then come back to him and say, “All right, wow.” You know, I love to tell moms who are on the precipice of homeschooling, you wanna find out how completely wicked you are? Homeschool your children.”

Jim: (laughs) Yeah.

Heidi: You know? You’re gonna know inside of five minutes, right?

Jim: How patient you are, how much joy you have.

Heidi: How patient, that’s right.

Jim: Or not.

Heidi: And then you go back to, then you go back to the word. What, where do we get our strength? The joy of the Lord is our strength, and it doesn’t mean, I mean, I certainly don’t wanna come across as I’ve never had a bad day, and if anybody’s written, or read anything that I’ve ever written, they know that I’m very honest about my struggles as a mother, uh, particularly when it came to anxiety. I came into motherhood with a lot of anxiety because of childhood trauma and all kinds of things, and I really had to learn to set my expectation of motherhood aside, and ask the Lord to write the story.

Jim: Well, and I- I hear that, but that was the next question I was gonna ask you because so many moms particularly, struggle between that confidence in the Lord, the right thing to do, fear not, be anxious for nothing.

Heidi: Sure.

Jim: All those right scriptures, but they’re anxious. They fear quite a bit. They catastrophize something. They take it to the nth degree. You know, he didn’t come home at curfew. He’s gonna be an ax murderer.

Heidi: Captain Anxiety.

Jim: (laughs) I mean, and-

Heidi: Able to leap to the worst conclusion in a single bound.

Jim: Yeah.

John: (laughs)

Heidi: Yes.

Jim: Yeah, and I think that is a unique characteristic to some women. I’m sure some fathers have that as well, but I really have seen it in moms.

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: So, describe that and how- how does a mom unwind that to have that confidence in the Lord, and to trust that hi- you know, her kids are actually in his hands.

Heidi: Well, I think it’s important to say, “I think we’re gonna struggle with that until we go to heaven.”

Jim: And it’s okay.

Heidi: And it’s okay.

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: It’s okay. The disciples, right, in the midst of a storm, they have Jesus on the boat with them.

Jim: Sleeping.

Heidi: And he’s asleep.

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: Why? Because he trusts. He understands, right? He- he’s like, “Listen, this is in the Lord’s hands.” And so, I think it’s okay to say, “Lord,” bring your worry to the Lord. You know, when our first daughter went off to college, I was like, oh, for goodness sake, you know? What’s gonna happen? And when- when the kids start dating and they start, they bring home the guy that you’re like, oh no. (laughs) No, no, no. I was praying, but I don’t think I was praying for that one.

Jim: Right.

Heidi: I don’t think so. You know, I think we recognize that the struggle is common to man, right, and that, we’re gonna struggle with it until we go to Heaven, and to continue to go back to the Lord. I think moms tend to beat themselves up. “Well, I thought I would have a handle on this by now,” but I think as we mature, at least this has been true in my life, uh, as we mature, we start to realize how little control we had in the first place, you know? And the whole time, from the moment that, that baby was conceived until that child leaves home, and until the child goes home to be with the Lord, really they belong to the Lord, and so it’s a constant surrender, isn’t it?

John: Mm-hmm. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and our guest today is Heidi St. John, and the encouragement you just heard is, uh, reflective of what’s in her book called, MomStrong 365: A Daily Devotional to Encourage and Empower Everyday Moms. Give us a call for your copy. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or you can stop by to find more.

Jim: Heidi, you had a funny story in the book, and the- the stories are good because moms listening can relate to these. You, I think you were frustrated about the dinner table, and you decided, you know, I’m gonna create something different, play a little jazz music in the background, give the kids some, you know, stimulus, and it didn’t go so well, and you ran out of the house and sat in the car if I remember. Fill in the blanks on that (laughs). What was going on?

Heidi: Well, I think in- in, you know, every mom has an ideal in her head-

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: … of what she wants the day to go like, or maybe we have an idea of what it’s gonna look like to raise our children, and for our family, sitting around the dinner table was very, very important because we’re pulled in a hundred different directions, and Jay and I, my husband’s a musician, a very gifted guitar player. In fact, when I met him, he was in a Christian rock ‘n’ roll band, so music in our family is very important, and so-

Jim: How did your mom and dad feel about that? (laughs)

Heidi: Oh, man. You know what? My mom was like, “Go with that guy. He’s- he’s the best one you brought home so far.”

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: She was right. Uh, so we have a high, uh, we place a high value on dinner and music in our home, and so I lit candles that night. I thought, we’re gonna have a fantastic evening. I made something different, and I sit everybody down. There’s pro- I think we had six kids at the time. We sit down around the dinner table and the first one takes a bite and goes, “I don’t like it,” which of course, is a chain reaction.

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, right.

Heidi: And I’m think- I’m sitting there thinking, listen, Linda. I just spent, you know, six hours of my day, I dimmed the lights, the candles are- are lit. My husband was trying to encourage me because I think he could tell at that point like, oh dear, there’s about to be Mount Vesuvius. Bad things are gonna happen.

Jim: (laughs) Expectation not met.

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: And that’s, really, you just nailed it, Jim. It was the expectation, right, that I had, that everything was gonna go fine, and I did what I often did when this happened. I went out in the car and just, you know, just sat there, just try to let the voices in my head stop talking to me, and my husband in, uh, later on that evening was like, “Heidi, what do, where do you think we went wrong?” And I was like, “Uh, having children. That’s where we went wrong.”

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Heidi: “We went wrong when we had children,” and we had this opportunity to- to just talk it out and realize that the expectation that I had for the evening, um, wasn’t necessarily (laughs) a realistic expectation, but what I felt the worst about that evening was I had blown up at my children, and I don’t think there’s a mom on the planet that can’t relate to that. You know, I blew up at my kids. I can’t even remember what I said, but I’m sure I couldn’t write it in a book (laughs).

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: And I remember just feeling so defeated that night-

Jim: Mm.

Heidi: … and my husband coming back to me and saying, “Hey, let’s start over again tomorrow,” and I think moms need to hear that. It’s okay, right? You know, I look back at my children and they’re growing up now, and what I find so fascinating about the whole thing is, a lot of those things, they don’t actually remember. Grace covers so much of it, and I’ve become the bud of a lot of jokes at our Thanksgiving table now. There was the time that I spanked the wrong child, and now they all laugh about it at Thanksgiving.

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: You know, “Pass the turkey. Remember when mom spanked Summer and it was really Sydney?” Ha ha ha, and I’m like, wait.

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: What? You know? I’m looking at my kids-

Jim: I don’t know how you wiggled out of that one, but you know.

Heidi: (laughs) No. Well, it’s just so fun to watch because the Lord’s redeeming it.

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: Right? All of those mistakes. All those bad days. That’s why I tell moms, “A bad day doesn’t make a bad mom. Keep coming back. Uh, God’s got good things for you.”

Jim: But in a practical way, that recalibrating for the mom, I like that idea. Your husband did a great job.

Heidi: Yeah. Recalibrate.

Jim: Let’s just start over tomorrow.

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: That’s good, but are there some more practical ways for her to catch herself emotionally before she beats herself up too much?

Heidi: Well, I think we gotta talk about what’s happening. For me, friendships were really important. You- you gotta have a friend that you call up and say-

Jim: A girlfriend.

Heidi: A girlfriend.

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: You gotta have a friend that you can call up and say, “Hey, listen.” You know, “I need a mocha with sprinkles.”

Jim: Do boys normally act this way?

Heidi: You know, right? Exactly.

Jim: That was a phone call Jean made.

John: Yes. Yeah.

Heidi: Right (laughs).

Jim: Is this really the way boys behave?

Heidi: Is this normal? We need this.

Jim: Call a friend (laughs).

Heidi: Yeah. Yeah. You gotta have- you gotta have that phone a friend. I am a huge fan, and I’m just gonna keep saying it, we have to be real about the ups and downs of the journey, because I think if we’re not real, then the expectations continue not to be met, moms end- tend to spiral into depression and discouragement. She feels like, hey, I’m alone in this, but if you’re just honest and say, “Hey, you know what? Dinnertime didn’t go very well today. I- I screamed at my kids. I’m having a hard time in my marriage.” Whatever it is, you’re gonna find very quickly that there are other women who are gonna come along side you and say, “Hey, I’ve been there, too.”

Jim: Yeah. I- I like the concept. As you’ve been talking, I’m just thinking of a graph. You know, so many things we graph. Uh, the stock market-

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: … as an example. You- you don’t expect hitting it every day-

Heidi: Right.

Jim: What you wanna see is a general trend upward, and then what becomes important is what’s the goal? So, with our children, I mean, it’s to raise them in a healthy, spiritual environment to maturity, so they can manage the terrors of this world and the enemy, and if that’s your graph, you’re gonna have a bad day. So, you’re gonna see a market slump on that day. You’re gonna lose 300 points.

Heidi: Yeah (laughs)

Jim: But hopefully-

Heidi: 400 points.

Jim: Hopefully, over you know, 18 years, you’re seeing that graph-

Heidi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … continue to go up into that healthy zone.

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: I like that concept.

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: Because again, you can- you can swirl out on a bad day.

Heidi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: A single bad day defines who you are, and I don’t think that’s what the Lord intends at all.

Heidi: No, it isn’t, and I think it’s important for parents to know, um, I think both moms and dads need to understand this. When you blow it with your kids, go back and make it right.

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: When you say the thing that you wish you hadn’t said, when you compare your child for the 400th time to the sibling that is easier maybe than that child is-

Jim: Never.

Heidi: Never.

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: Uh, we wanna go back and make it right, and I- I think sometimes, in the apology, in the going back, there’s actually more work that is done to strengthen the relationship than would’ve happened if you had not made the mistake in the first place and gone back and corrected it. There’s, years ago, uh, when I think we had six, I was, probably our sixth baby, brand new one, and the- the kids had the whole youth group over because I was like, “Absolutely have the youth group over-

Jim: I can do it all.

Heidi: I can do it all.” Well, I couldn’t do it all, and I’d asked the kids to be quiet, which was a really stupid request of a bunch of 15 and 16-year-old kids who are making cookies in the kitchen, and after the third time of going out into the kitchen and telling those kids to be quiet, I lost my cool in front of everybody. And I mean, I’m the leader of the homeschool cooperative, the whole thing-

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: … and I was just like, “Get out of my kitchen!” You know, the baby’s asleep and the whole thing, and I went back and got in bed, and Jay was like, “How’d that go for you?” Be quiet, you know, we don’t wanna talk about it, and I just heard the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit, “Go down and make it right.” If you’re gonna yell at your kid in front of their friends-

Jim: Ooh, yeah.

Heidi: … you need to go down and make it right in front of their friends. And so, man, I put my bathrobe back on, I tuck my tail between my legs, and I walk downstairs and knocked on the door, and I said, “Hey Savannah, open the door.” You know, she’d, now they’ve hidden-

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: Like, in the farthest reaches of the house.

John: Yeah.

Heidi: You know, get away from the crazy mom.

Jim: Run from your mother.

Heidi: That’s right (laughs). I looked at all those kids and I was like, “Hey, can we just keep this between ourselves, you know?” And they were like, “Oh, sure. Sure, Mrs. St. John. We’ll absolutely do that.” And I looked at Savannah and I said, “Listen, when I was a young mom, I thought, you know, the highest aspiration I had was that you would have all your friends over here, and the youth group would come over, and we’d have a ping pong table, and air hockey, and everyone would wanna hang out at our house. I didn’t realize I was gonna get older and get cranky and get tired,” and I said, “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I embarrassed you. I’m sorry-”

Jim: And this is in front of her friends.

Heidi: In front of her friends. I said, “I’m sorry. I- I apologize.” I looked at my 13-year-old who’s like, you know, 13, and she (laughs) the world is coming in around her. I said the same thing to her, and then I looked across the room, and one of their best friends was sitting on the floor and she was crying.

Jim: Mm.

Heidi: The 16-year-old girl, uh, one of seven, homeschooled kid whose parents are in the middle of a divorce, and now I just feel like garbage because I- I’m like, I made this kid cry, so I went over to her, and I said, “Sweetheart, I, please, I am so sorry. Accept, please accept my apology.” And she said, “Oh.” She said, “Aunt Heidi, you don’t understand. I would give anything to hear my mom apologize just one time.”

Jim: Wow.

Heidi: And I’ll tell ya, in that moment, I knew why the Lord had asked me to go down and apologize and make it right. She needed to hear it as much as my own children did.

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: And so, moms need to understand, God will use your failures. He’ll use every, we bring it to him, and our heart is to say, “Lord, I wanna follow you.” It’s amazing what God will do.

Jim: Oh, it’s such a tender story really.

Heidi: Mm.

John: Yeah.

Jim: I remember apologizing to Trent. He’s probably like, five or six, and he was in the bunk bed, and he of course, was the oldest so he had the top bunk.

Heidi: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: So, we were kinda eyeball to eyeball, and I said, I just you know, “Trent, I wanna say, I’m sorry. I didn’t manage that well,” and he smiled and looked at me, and I’m going, okay, what’s coming? And he goes, “I didn’t know parents had to apologize.”

Heidi: Oh, my.

Jim: (laughs) Isn’t that sweet?

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: I said, “Of course, we do. We make mistakes.

Heidi: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Just like you’re gonna make.”

Heidi: And you’re modeling that for him.

Jim: Hey, Romans 12:2 tells us to not be conformed to this world. It’s a great scripture referenced frequently. Uh, what are some ways moms can stay true to that and embrace that?

Heidi: Well, I just wonder what’s, I mean, it’s easier to think of it the opposite way right now because there are so many ways that we are conforming to the world, right?

Jim: Oh yeah.

Heidi: Um, and-

Jim: Or again, guilt.

Heidi: Yeah. It’s really true, and I think, always coming back, we wanna model the savior, right? So, how did he walk on this earth? How did he treat the sinner? You know, what did he say to the women at the well? And I think we recognize that God wants to extend forgiveness to us, and I want our kids to see him that way because they’re gonna make mistakes, and so, um, I think one thing that we wanna do as mothers, uh, and as fathers, too, I mean, I know there’s gonna be dads listening to this, too, and I think it’s so important to pray for your kids by name. Pray for your children.

Jim: Mm. I like that.

Heidi: Ask the Lord. Each one of our children is different, and I’ll tell you what, my prayer times are getting longer and longer-

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: … because my kids are getting married now, right? So, I’ve got, you know, in-laws and I’ve got grandchildren, and to say, “Lord, I’m gonna lay Savannah before you today, and her husband, Ryan, and Noah and Wesley and Juniper and Thatcher. Help them to be successful today in raising these children to love and follow you,” and we’re constantly taking it back to the Lord because it’s so easy. The enemy likes to come in like a thief, and the first place he does, it’s the battle of the mind, right? That’s where these seeds are planted, and so we ask the Lord, “Lord, help my mind be conformed to your heart for me, so if I make a mistake today, I wanna hear your forgiveness. I- I wanna hear your conviction, the general conviction of the Holy Spirit.” Uh, we need to understand that there’s a very big difference between the enemy-

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: … and the voice of the Holy Spirit. When we sin, because we all sin, right, but the enemy, that voice of conviction will always push you down. Look what a mess up you are. Wow, you screwed up today. You’re never gonna fix that. Your kids are never gonna forgive you. Um, you said this, but you did that.

Jim: Kind of more accusatory.

Heidi: Accusatory. That’s the accuser of our souls, right?

Jim: Right.

Heidi: The accuser of the brother in which is the enemy, but the voice of the Holy Spirit, just like what I was just saying, when I yelled at those kids and the Lord said, “Go down and apologize,” the voice of the Holy Spirit will lift us up. That’s the voice we wanna listen to. If you’re listening to a voice that’s pushing you down, that’s the accuser. The voice of the Holy Spirit is a strong voice, but it’s a gentle voice, and he’s gonna say, “I love you, walk with me, you can do better than this.”

Jim: Mm.

Heidi: Right? It’s the same way that we wanna parent our children, that’s the way the Holy Spirit parents us.

Jim: Yeah. Heidi, you- you mentioned your childhood. I’m sure that brings a lot to bear on your feelings of insecurity, especially getting married, the first child-

Heidi: Oh yeah.

Jim: Can I be enough? I had a similar, you know, orphaned kind of background, so being a dad for the first time, I had all those insecurities, too, but in that context, and I think again, I don’t mean to be stereotypical here, but so many women struggle with knowing the love of God for them.

Heidi: Mm.

Jim: They always look to themselves first. Men, we have too big of an ego. We point to the other person (laughs) you know?

Heidi: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: That’s his problem.

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: But women have an incredible capacity to say, “What did I do wrong?”

Heidi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: How come my child is doing this? It must be me. Father’s going, “Yeah, it must be you.”

Heidi: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs) You know, we don’t look at ourselves.

Heidi: (laughs)

Jim: And that’s our problem, but speak to that woman that doesn’t, that struggles to feel the love of God for her, that he really, he loves her amazingly, but she doesn’t feel that.

Heidi: You know, uh, you’re right. When I went into motherhood, I told you a few minutes ago, I was pretty broken in many ways, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and when I was just about to give birth to our first daughter, we went to childbirth classes. You know, those are the ones where they lie to you, and they tell you, if you breathe a certain way, it won’t hurt.

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: (laughs) That one.

Jim: We were attending together, so I know that-

Heidi: (laughs) Right.

Jim: Help her to learn how to breathe.

Heidi: Right. Oh, okay.

Jim: Right.

Heidi: Oh, all right.

Jim: I wanna do that.

Heidi: This’ll be great. Right, right (laughs). Let me see how that works with my next headache.

Jim: You’re breathing too fast. Be quiet. (laughs)

Heidi: Exactly. So, Jay and I have gone to these series of- of classes, you know. We’ve learned to put the diaper on the little baby doll and done all the things, and on the very last day of the class, I’m, everyone had left and I’m sitting there and I mean, I just, this ginormous belly sitting on my lap. My husband is with me. We know the lady whose teaching the class, so she was a dear friend from church, and I just started crying, and all of these insecurities, I’m gonna do to my children what my dad did to me. I’m not gonna be able to measure up. I don’t know what I’m doing, and all of a sudden, all I could hear was the voice of the enemy.

Jim: Mm.

Heidi: And Nola came over to me and she’s like, “Why are you crying?” She said, “You’re gonna be fine.” She thought I was scared of childbirth. Well, I was too naïve to be scared of childbirth. I had never had a baby. That came later.

Jim: (laughs)

Heidi: Um, and I said, “No,” I said, “I- I don’t think I can be a good mother. I don’t know how to be a good mother.” And she said, “Oh Heidi, you don’t understand how loved you are.”

Jim: Mm.

Heidi: She put her hands on my, I could cry thinking about it. She put her hands on my belly and I could feel Savannah, who’s now this beautiful 32 old mother of four, right? She put her hands on my belly and I could feel Savannah kicking, and she said, “God’s doing something new. He’s doing something new. He wants you to know he loves you and everything that’s gonna transpire in the life of this child is gonna show you who he is, and how much he loves you.”

Jim: Yeah.

Heidi: You’re new. You’re new. You’re not the person that the enemy is telling you, you are. You’re not this person that’s ridden with shame over the things that have happened to you as a young girl. I wanna do something new.

John: What a beautiful message from Heidi St. John today on Focus on the Family, and I hope as a mom, you’ve been refreshed and encouraged by the conversation.

Jim: Heidi has such a great way of connecting with moms. Of course, having seven kids, she knows what she’s talking about. It’s always nice to know there’s someone in the trenches with you, and here at Focus on the Family, we’re walking alongside you, too. We’re here to help you through parenting struggles and offer direction and tips on how you can be a strong leader and guide your family. We have lots of great resources, one of those being Heidi’s fantastic devotional, MomStrong 365: A Daily Devotional to Encourage and Empower Everyday Moms, and you can get that right from us.

John: Yeah, it’s full of biblical wisdom and inspiring thoughts to help you as a mom, better understand your essential work for the kingdom as you’re raising your children.

Jim: And as this year is quickly, uh, coming to an end, it’s a great time to pick up a new devotional to kick off 2024, and when you donate today, a gift of any amount, we’ll send you a copy as our way of saying thank you for supporting the ministry of Focus on the Family. We have thousands of people reaching out to us by phone, mail, and email and they are in need of help. Couples with broken marriages, parents struggling with their kids, and many other difficult situations. You can come alongside those facing challenges and give families hope through your support of Focus on the Family, so it’s a win-win. You give generously to help others and get a copy of Heidi’s wonderful devotional.

John: And even better, right now, a special matching opportunity has been provided by some generous friends of the ministry, and they’ll match your gift effectively doubling it, so twice as many families will receive the help they need, so donate today as you can and request your copy of the book, MomStrong 365, when you’re at the website or when you call 800-232-6459, 800, the letter A, and the word, FAMILY. And of course, you can always give us a call, if you’d like to donate over the phone or have any questions. Our number is 800-232-6459. That’s 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Have a wonderful weekend, and uh, enjoy some time with your church family as well. Join us on Monday. We’ll hear from Dr. Kathy Koch as she shares ways to instill character in your child’s life.

Dr. Kathy Koch: We celebrate a transformed heart relying on the Holy Spirit, which means we better be praying for our kids.

Today's Guests

MomStrong 365: A Daily Devotional to Encourage and Empower Everyday Moms

Receive the book MomStrong 365 and a free audio download of “Fueling Motherhood Through Spiritual Discipline” for your donation of any amount! Right now, you can DOUBLE YOUR DOLLARS to GIVE FAMILIES HOPE through our YEAR-END MATCH provided by generous friends of the ministry.

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Best of 2023: Seeing the Funny Side of Life

As a full-time comedian, Kenn Kington works hard to see the funny side of life. Whether he’s traveling by plane or by car, situations arise that can produce frustration or laughter, and Kenn tries to choose joy whenever possible.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Celebrating the True Meaning of Advent

Gary Thomas explains the meaning of Advent, “God with us,” by using a true story about a visit to a ranch where he saw a great word picture: a lone horse and a lone sheep who wouldn’t leave each other’s sides. The rancher explained that there used to be an entire flock of sheep, but they were all picked off by coyote. This one sheep figured out that as long as he stayed near that big horse, he was safe. And he remains there to this day. And we, like that sheep, are safe because of Advent – “God with us.”

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Best of 2023: How Godly Moms Can Raise Godly Sons (Part 2 of 2)

In this best of 2023 broadcast, Rhonda Stoppe and her son Brandon provide practical advice and encouragement for moms raising sons. The pair discuss discipline, equipping sons for independence, talking in ways that sons will listen, and giving boys a vision for manhood. (Part 2 of 2)

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.