I first heard Heidi St. John speak at a homeschool convention I attended early last year. Several of my friends had heard her speak a few weeks prior and shared how encouraging she was. I wanted to hear Heidi myself because my friends told me she was full of humor, grace, and honest reality. She did not disappoint. After hearing Heidi speak I went down to her booth and purchased a copy of The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight. While listening to Heidi speak I had been reminded once again that I had been doing a lot of drifting as a homeschool Mom and needed to do more planning. This Spring I had the opportunity to review Heidi's Book, The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance, for the Schoolhouse Review Crew and I answered "pick me, pick me!"
Both books are available from Real Life Press in printed softcover or eBook versions. For this review I received the eBook version of The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance and read it on my tablet. The tagline for this book says "nurturing your marriage through the homeschool years." I liked that thought, and I knew I needed a push to spend some more time focusing on my husband. As Homeschool Moms we seem to have about a million things on our minds everyday, and, as Heidi points out, physical time with our husbands sometimes isn't one of those top things. On the converse, I think husbands must think about the physical side of marriage all the time.
In this gem of a book, Heidi calls homeschooling Moms back to being "That Girl." Maybe you remember her? “That Girl” was you when you got married: flirty, fun, and more interested in sex than grading math papers! Heidi's writing is filed with grace, humor, and heart-felt calls to challenge us to get back to Biblical marriage. Throughout the book Heidi encourages Moms to focus on God first, their husbands second, and then their children. I'll be the first to admit that I've gotten those three out of order a time or two recently. I've not been purposely ignoring my husband, but I'm sure he sometimes feels that way because there is simply so much for me to do everyday. Here is a tip from Heidi - You can't do it all! Can I get an Amen here sisters?!
There is a thought out there that says homeschooling Moms should be SuperWoman and find a way to accomplish everything - everyday. That is a lie straight from the pit of Hell that layers guilt upon us when we fail. God's truth in His Word tells us that we are to come to Him for strength, for comfort, and for provision. What the world tells us and what God tells us are two polar opposites. There is a vast difference between the Holy Spirit’s convicting our hearts and feeling guilty. I was encouraged my Heidi's strong call to return first to the Lord, and secondly to our marriages with an eye on both today and the future. Eventually our children will grow up and move out. What kind of relationship will you have with your husband by then? If you nurture your marriage it should be thriving, but if you neglect your marriage it could be dying. It is a tragedy when we stop following God's plans and start following our own. I have heard of homeschoolers getting divorced. Any divorce is a tragedy, I cannot imagine the grief when children are involved and their world is turned upside down.
Do you miss your husband when he is gone from home? I do! After reading Heidi St. John's book, I was reminded once again that I need to tell and show him that I miss him. Stop assuming your husband can read your mind - he can't. I can't read my husband's mind, and he is often clueless about what I am thinking. That’s just the way it works - we need to communicate! I sometimes get so weary that I forget that I haven't talked with him about a lot of things that are going on in our lives.
Heidi reminded me of something I already knew, but had pushed aside... "I am a daughter of the King!" When I remember Whose I am, I am reminded that He brought us together in this marriage for His purposes. My love for God should overflow and provide a fertile place for my love for my husband to grow. She reminds the reader that “With Jesus it’s NEVER TOO LATE!”
I don’t want to live a life that runs parallel to my husband’s, and I’ll hazard a guess that you don’t want to live parallel lives either. I want mine and my husbands' lives intertwined and held together by Christ! Heidi reminds us to watch out that we are not getting sucked into the ‘homeschool vortex,’ or developing a ‘homeschool headache.’ Have you stopped recently to think about what your husband desires for your marriage? She writes “For most husbands, the greatest pleasure he has in his life is the physical relationship he shares with his wife.” Let’s be honest, Biblical marriage includes sex, and lots of it. The world has tried so hard to pervert sex that we might have forgotten that God created sex for marriage. Let’s search for “That Girl” and get back to physical intimacy that glorifies God. Not all of marriage is sex, but a lot of it is! You’re married, go have a PDA (public display of affection) and kiss your husband like you mean it! When your teens start saying “parents are gross,” and chuckle as they walk away you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Near the end of her book, Heidi shares tableaus from her grandparents’ married life. Reading these short scenes reminded me of many instances I have seen in my own family - my Parents, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles. Truly loving someone means preferring them, respecting them, showing them your love in actions, not just words.
I have a renewed sense of hope for those years after homeschooling. With our youngest a Freshman in High School, those years will be here soon. I want us to finish our journey well. I want to have a healthy marriage where we rest and thrive in God’s plan. I am going to print out some of Heidi’s words from the very last chapter and put them in my Bible where I will be reminded of them often, “Try to see your marriage as an opportunity to be the wife God has created you to be. When you do, it can change your life. Instead of criticizing your spouse, pray for him. Love him. Prefer Him. Grow old with him. The impact you will have by living out and then leaving behind a legacy of love will reach far into future generations. Finish well.”
I want to finish well, don’t you? Get yourself a copy of this encouraging book. Your husband will be glad you did!
Other members of the Crew reviewed The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight and several other books from Real Life Press. Click the link below to read all the reviews!