Episode 59: Heather Jonsson on Jesus on Your Mom Team

you May 10, 2022
Heather Jonsson Knows Jesus on Your Mom Team

Who's on your Mom Team? We have lots of conversations about how people, systems, and even gadgets can nicely fill spots, but we don't often talk about the most important member - Jesus.  

Heather Jonsson from the Bold Mercies Podcast is with us today toshares her experience of digging out of overwhelm and giving Jesus a leading role on her Mom Team.

Resources Heather mentioned:

Kay Arthur and Precepts Studies

Connect with Heather on FacebookInstagram, her website, or listen to her podcast Bold Mercies.

Heather's favorite system is how she does laundry!  Need help on a laundry system for yourself?  Check out this post on doing laundry and some great tools to make laundry fun and easy. 

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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 59

Jennifer Uren
Heather Jonsson is mom to five teens and tweens, mostly teens, and a proud Air Force spouse. She and her husband have been married for 21 years and currently call Florida home. When she's not nurturing her children, you can find her teaching, writing, or podcasting. In all she does, though she desires to shine a spotlight on the glories of God and His enabling power to walk in faith. So welcome, Heather.

Heather Jonsson
Thanks, Jenn. So good to be here with you.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, thanks for being here. So that gave us a high level view of of who you are and what you do. But, you know, where did you grow up? And how many different places have you lived in your marriage?

Heather Jonsson
Yeah, so I grew up in the northeast, in Pennsylvania, Maryland area. And I, I didn't- never envisioned myself marrying into the military and living this adventure that I'm now currently living in as a military spouse - but I am a product of what I like to term a quasi-arranged marriage. And so someone who knew my husband from the Air Force Academy also knew me from an officer's Christian fellowship to step military ministry fellowship that my dad spoke for, and they're like, "We need you two to meet each other. You guys are awesome." I was studying in London. And he was studying at the Air Force Academy currently, and, and we wrote letters, I mean, this was when you would have to go to an email lab and wait forever principle up. And so we wrote letters fell in love got married after pilot training, and we have lived 13 places in about 21 years and moved a lot. We've moved a lot. We're about I would say we're about on a two-year rotation. Although some - two of our assignments have been very short. And so that's what kind of bumps us up a little bit closer to the 13 mark.

Jennifer Uren
So you must be a pro when it comes to packing and unpacking.

Heather Jonsson
You know, Jen, I love when people say that because it just makes me chuckle because I think that I can attest with most military spouses, like we get better at it. But is it something that you can really become a pro at? Like, I don't think so. And the reason not is because there's always a glitch, right? Like, one truck arrives and the other one doesn't, or your movers don't show up when they're supposed to. Or for us, it was COVID. And so it was like we they were working with very limited staff, this move coming here into Tampa, and we were delayed getting our things and delayed getting our things. And so anyway, there's so many glitches when it comes to moving that I'm not sure you can become a pro. We just become really, really good with flexibility.

Jennifer Uren
There you go.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah.

Jennifer Uren
Well, today we're going to talk about we talk a lot about mom teams here. And we're going to talk about having Jesus on your mom team. But in 30 seconds or less, maybe tell us what your blog and your podcast are about and who you serve through them.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah. Okay. So the high level view of the blog, the podcast, it started about three summers ago. I was going through - it was really born out of a lot of pain and hardship that I was currently at that time, three years ago, walking through. And I spent that entire summer with sisters and cousins and sister-in-laws and friends who were who were, honestly, they were walking through these very, very difficult seasons also, and just being with them and hearing their stories, hearing their stories of grief and suffering, but how Jesus was near to them, the brokenhearted just really inspired me to offer these stories to other women to women of faith. And so that's who I that's who I serve. They're stories of women. It's called Bold mercies. And so it's stories of bold living in light of God's rich mercies. And some of the women are, are living bold journeys that they've chosen. Like, for instance, I've interviewed a woman that has adopted nine children. And so that's a bold journey that she has chosen. And then other women, we can all relate are walking a journey that we have not chosen for ourselves whether, um - I interviewed a woman who, for instance, whose child was diagnosed with cancer, something that none of us would choose for our own lives, and so, but they're all walking their journeys with just such faith, and boldness. And so I share those stories on the podcast, and then the blog. Really, it just needed a place for those podcasts to go.

Jennifer Uren
Got it! Yes.

Heather Jonsson
You probably know this Jenn, so I started the blog, but I also am a Bible teacher and so it is a great place for if I'm teaching us a certain portion of Scripture. It's a great place to put Bible teaching as well. So that's what I blog there as well.

Jennifer Uren
Excellent. Well as you and the moms who listen regularly know, my story starts from a place of overwhelm. And I know yours does, too. So why don't you tell us a little bit about the early years of your marriage and how your reality looked different from your expectations?

Heather Jonsson
Sure, absolutely. So as I told you, I, my husband, at that time, my boyfriend, and then my fiance was at the Air Force Academy. And I just, as we were getting serious, I just think I had some pretty romantic ideas of what it was going to be like to be married into the Air Force. He was training to be a pilot, he was super handsome in his flight suit, and I knew it would be a lot of moving and adventures. And that kind of suits my personality. And so I just think I had really romantic ideas of what it was going to be like. This was also before, very, very shortly before 9-11. So we, we didn't really understand the the close touch of war. And so when when 9-11 happened, my husband was actually not home at that time, he was international flying in the air force. And I think when those twin towers fell, my dreams of what it would be like to be an Air Force pilot just came crumbling down alongside of them. And, and my husband over the next few years was, was constantly gone was was gone much more than he was home, home enough for us to have babies. We did have kids. We were our first assignment was in Charleston, South Carolina, he was gone all the time. And I was having little babies. And I was so overwhelmed by having small, small children. And being a single parent whose husband was overseas flying in and out of combat in harm's way and not, you know, communication was better, let's say than it was in World War II. But still not we didn't have FaceTime. I mean, we're just depending upon a payphone - the 10-minutes he got on the payphone to say he's okay checking in and things like that. So just just that weight of anxiety. So that's really where that's really the story of my overwhelm. And, and knowing that, that I really had to figure this out, because if this was going to be my life for the rest of my days, we didn't know right, like in the Air Force, I didn't know that if this was going to be my lot forever, I really wanted to live this life well. I was given one life and I wanted to live it well. And I didn't want overwhelm to be the song of my heart.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah.

Heather Jonsson
And I needed to find a way to step out of that.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Well, and five kids in seven years and a husband who is deployed... now, I know that right now four of them are teenagers, will you have a time where they're all five teenagers at the same time?

Heather Jonsson
So you had shot me that question and, in the prep, and I had to think and so you know what? No, because so my, my oldest is 19. And my baby is 12. So when he turns 13. So he's like a tween, right? Yep. So my son will turn 20 Just shortly before my 12 year old turns 13. So I will not really have a time where they're all five teens.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Yeah. I met a mom the other day who has eight kids, and they're all teenagers right now. There's some twins in there. But I was like, that's crazy.

Heather Jonsson
That's a full house and I think teenagers also they just take up a lot more space.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. Yeah. And the physicality of it is a little much sometimes.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah. When we were little I could, you know, we had two bunk beds. And then like a little toddler sized bed, and all five of my kids would sleep in one room. Now we would, you know, probably one of the bigger, biggest rooms in the house, houses as we were moving. But that's just we could put them all in there. And then they became like big people. And you're like you know, they can't squeeze small spaces any longer.

Jennifer Uren
No, no. Well, I also have five kids, but there's a 16-year span between my oldest and my youngest. So I feel like I'm always parenting multiple stages at the same time. And sometimes that's exhausting. Because you know, when they're little they're physically demanding. And when they're older, they're emotionally demanding. But, are your kids, being this close in age, do you feel like the stages were a little more similar? And you do like you didn't have quite as much creep between the stages that we're going through, or does it just not matter? Because kids are so different?

Heather Jonsson
Yeah, that's a good question. I think it's both I can I say it's both like I think in one sense, it doesn't matter. Because each par- I parent each child a little bit differently, because of their personalities and their gifts and their struggles. And so I do parent each child a little bit differently. But at the same time, yes, it's, it's very, like I could take all five of them to the library, and all five of them were in the children's section of the library, right? Like, I didn't have to go find the young adult section and play with the toddler toys like we were, so in that sense, very much. Yes. And I come also from a family of five. And so my age range in my, with my, with my siblings is, is 20 years. So I get the other side of that is, well, I'm 19 years older than my youngest sibling. And so we just have a different relationship than I do with my sister who's just three years younger than me.

Jennifer Uren
Yes.

Heather Jonsson
So I think, I think an answer to your question, it's both that it I parent differently, because each child is so different, but at the same time, they're kind of, like clumped together.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, you're not you're not stepping on the baby toys while somebody's trying to work on college courses, you know.

Heather Jonsson
God Bless the woman that is doing that, and there are, and obviously, you've done that.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Yeah. Yes. That's a whole other story, though.

Heather Jonsson
A whole other story, which, hopefully, you will get to share on your own podcasts, and the joys of that.

Jennifer Uren
So as your kids get older, though, did your husband was he stationed at home more? Or was he still continued to be deployed frequently?

Heather Jonsson
Yeah, definitely at home more

Jennifer Uren
Good

Heather Jonsson
I didn't really realize how that would play out. And for sure, he has been separated from us, because of the military - deployments or other trips. So he definitely travels and has done deployments as my kids have gotten older. But it's not the constant that it was about the first five years of our marriage where it was more of a constant, you know, gone and deployed. So he has done deployments since then, and then gone, but not the constant that it was.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. So when you compare those toddler years to these teen years, and I, I don't just mean with the kids, I mean, like in your marriage, all all the components there - which, which were really harder, which were easier, and how do you compare those, those years?

Heather Jonsson
Yeah. So I love to tell when I see young moms, I love to tell them, "You know what, it gets easier. Like, it really does." And I think most of the time young moms with toddlers and infants will will often hear, "you know, it doesn't get easier, it just gets different." And while I 100% agree with the second part of that, and Jenn, you've already alluded to this, like the parenting just looks so different. It does get easier. And if for the only reason that you're sleeping through the night, right, I mean, we can face so much more in life when we are rested. And so if alone for that, like, it gets so much easier. So I love to tell young moms that like it does get easier, like you are physically exhausted and pouring yourself out, when you have those toddlers and those newborn and that kind of phase of life. I would say, you know, it's so, such a beautiful thing as you know, to, to traverse this journey with your kids and to watch them grow up and mature. And I think that doing the hard work of a mom, when they're toddlers has huge rewards when they're teenagers. And for me, teenagers have been so much fun. Is every moment fun, like no. It's really hard parenting. But when I think about like the toddler years as like, you know, all encompassing the toddler years, I just think the teen years are so much fun because they talk to you and they can relate to you and you can kind of do things - you know, when you're toddlers, you're chasing them on the playground and playing tag. But when they're teenagers, you can take you know you can go out with your girls and you can get your nails done together. I mean things like that, right? And so I would so for me, I think teenagers, for me have been really, really fun, so fun with my kids. But I also am a type of person that I really like to give moms just like all the grace, just like tons of grace, because if we're being very honest, my prayer journal right now is full of teenagers who are just walking a really, really rocky path, a hard path for them. And to, honestly, it's, it's just breaking their mother's hearts. And so I know, I know that that is a reality in this world. And when, when, when we were teenagers, for instance, like to get into trouble you and I had to like, wait till our parents were asleep and like creak the window open and climb out the window. And you know what I mean? Like, yeah, that's how we would be like, that's how we would get into trouble. But with the introduction of the phone, our kids don't even have to do that anymore. Right?

Jennifer Uren
No, they can sit in their room and get in trouble all by themselves well,

Unknown Speaker
All by themselves, and you don't even you don't even hear it

Jennifer Uren
Right

Heather Jonsson
Because they can put an earbud in or, or whatever. And so I think that I think in offering grace to moms, I think when I when I look at my own life, my teenage years are so different than what I'm parenting my own teens through. And I honestly think it was hard then - parenting teenagers was hard when I was a teenager, but I think it's so much harder now because of the temptations that they just have available to them. And right, honestly, right at their fingertips instead of having to, like, sneak out.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, the dangers are so much more invisible now. I mean, you just can't find them quite the same as when you knew we're gonna have a lock and alarm on the window. Because if you open it up, then we'll know. But it is it is just it is different.

Heather Jonsson
So different.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. So we did talk a few minutes ago about how your reality was different than your expectations. But I know that through that time you found Jesus in the book of John. So tell me more about that.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah. So I, well, let me just first start by saying I grew up in a wonderful Christian home. And so that faith has, has faith has always been a part of my life. And so when I was living in this overwhelm, I wasn't walking away from God. Right? Like, I still had faith, I honestly was still reading my Bible. Like I just I was, it wasn't like, I was like, rebellious and so I found myself in this, this overwhelm. It was the I was still walking, I was still walking with Jesus. And I remember it was I had two children 18-months apart, and my husband was gone on a deployment. And I was in the book of John, and I read John 10:10. And it says, there that the thief or Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus has come that we might have life and have it more abundantly or have it to the full. And I remember reading that verse and thinking, I have anything but life. Like I felt so deflated. And I wanted that, like, I read John 10:10. And I said, like, I, I want that, like, how am I going to get, get there and not get there and change my circumstances, because I couldn't like I was married to an awesome man. And he just happened to fly planes in the Air Force and was gone all the time. That wasn't going to change. I had two small children, parenting them being up all the time, in the middle of the night, chasing them on the playground, like that wasn't going to change, right? Like my circumstances, I couldn't be like, Oh, I'm gonna find life because I'm gonna, like change my circumstances, because these were my circumstances that God had given me. And so I said, God, please show me how to find this life if nothing else changes. And he was so faithful as he always is. He was just so faithful to show me how to walk in abundant life. And I'm going to just put this little parenthesis after that, for the listeners and just say like, abundant life, like I said, before, abundant life is not going to be found because you remove yourself from a certain situation. It is true, sometimes that might and should happen. But for me, in my situation, I needed to find abundant life in the chaos of my day to day. And so I was studying in the book of John, as I said, and I began to Study the I am statements of Jesus. And so I'll just give a quick, quick brief of the I am statements of Jesus. So they actually come from the book of Exodus when God told Moses at the burning bush, I AM who I AM, that is my name. So then Jesus comes to earth. And there's seven I AM names of Jesus that are talked about in the book of John. And as I began to study these names of Jesus, I saw this word repeated again and again and again. And it was the word life, the same word, Greek word, there repeated again, and again, and agai, and again, it's the word Zoe. So if you have a baby named Zoe, that's probably what this is drawn from. So it's that word life. And I began to be just hunger and thirst for that, in my own journey, in my own overwhelm. I, we had a German Shepherd at that time. And he, we- my husband, like painstakingly put in a big fence and a big backyard for our dog. And - where he could chase birds and lay under the tree and it would be beautiful. But instead, what my crazy dog did is decided to sit in our porch, which was old base housing, Air Force Base housing, and it had a like a kind of was like always wet outdoor rug, in the porch. And it was like a little bit moldy, probably underneath there. And he would just choose by his own design to sit in this porch and just watch the birds go by and watch, you know, the tree. And I'd always be like, go out there, buddy, go, like run, play, have fun. And yet, there he was in like my moldy, wet porch. And I began to see like, that was that was me, like, I was like my dog like I was, I was in this little enclosure, when God had told me I have, I have painstakingly built a pasture for you to be able to chase the birds and lay under the shade. And I'm opening these doors for you. And I need you to walk through them. And so if I can just give you an example of one or two of the I AM's of Jesus, that really, that they all spoke to me, but just one of them really spoke to me or two, depending on how - depending on if my time is like ready to be cut short. So after Jesus feeds the 5000, he says, I AM the bread of life, He who comes to me will not hunger, and he who drinks from me will never thirst. And I remember reading that passage and thinking like Jesus is the best feast I'll ever have. I remember like, when my family was young, and we were my so my parents, not not my family, my siblings, they took us out on a sailboat and they - up on Block Island in the Northeast, and my dad went and they bought, I'm assuming we bought I don't really remember, I don't think we caught them. I think we bought them - lobster, and we ate them on a sailboat. And it's like one of my favorite food memories that I have. And that that is what the Word of God, Jesus in the Word of God, seen in the Word of God is for us. And if we can learn to feast upon the Word of God, it will become the nourishment and the satisfaction that our hearts and our souls really crave. Because we all do crave to be filled. To not hunger and to not thirst. And so that was one of the the seven I AMs that the Lord spoke to me.

Jennifer Uren
Well, that's a great segue, actually. Because we talk a lot here about building our Mom Team. And you can build a Mom Team with, you know, peoples and tools and resources. But we don't often talk or think about Jesus as being on our Mom Team.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah.

Jennifer Uren
And for many of us, you know, he is definitely part of our life. But, you know, based on what you just shared, you know, share what that looks like, in your everyday life, how you, you know, include him and and lean on him.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah. And that actually is a great segue because, as I said earlier, like I like to give all grace to moms because moms have the hardest job that - in the world - and so I like to give all grace to moms. So, for me personally, let me let me just say this through my stages of life feasting on God's Word has looked very different. And I can remember when I had infants and I was up in the middle of the night nursing. I remember a Bible teacher, her name was Kay Arthur, she said, And I heard it somewhere, I can't remember where I heard it. Like, what venue, I heard it. But she said, if you have nursing babies at home, I, under no circumstances think that you should be waking up early to read your Bible, setting your alarm and waking up early. And so that just really freed me from a lot of guilt. That if I wasn't really, you know, if I wasn't in my Bible 20-minutes every morning, then I'm not being the Christian that I should be. Now, I heartily believe that we should be in God's Word, but it's going to look different over stages. And I want to give that grace to moms. And so with newborns and nursing babies, I listened to God's Word. And that was all I could, that was all I could do and pray throughout the day. And, and then as the kids progressing, got older, you know, now I can set my alarm and get up and have a quiet time because my babies are not babies anymore, and they will sleep in a little while. And so that's really just changed over the time. But for me, it's really having that dedicated time and whatever that looks like in your season of life, to really be in God's Word. And I love devotionals - I actually write devotionals - so I love devotionals. But not I think if I would have one word of advice, it would be read God's word for yourself. If you're going to do a devotional, read one that just asks some good questions to what you're reading.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah.

Heather Jonsson
But read God's Word for yourself, and let him he trust him to teach you from it. Because he will just like he did with me in the book of John. And so trust him to teach you from God's Word.

Jennifer Uren
And it sounds like what you're saying is that consistency is more important than a formula of what it looks like. That that consistency will breed that quality and that depth of relationship more so then whether you underline or, you know, have a cup of coffee and a special chair.

Heather Jonsson
Yes, yes, exactly. Although I always do recommend a cup of coffee with it. It's how I get my morning going every single morning.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes

Heather Jonsson
But I think I think consistency, and you're absolutely right. And when we think about feasting, and we're talking about feasting on God's Word, what do we do when we feast? Like we are we are our bodies are resting at that time, like we are sitting with people we are - well, we're not always sitting with people - but most of the time we're sitting with people and our body is being fe- fed, our spirit is being fed by those conversations that we're having with people and we're resting physically. And I think that we can view our quiet times as the same way like it is the spiritual rest of the communion with God, that we need to really fuel our faith in order for us to walk as He asks us to walk.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, that's excellent. Well, somewhere along the way, though, you did make the jump to be a mompreneur. And you started writing and teaching and podcasting, more formally than you may have been doing before. So share a little bit more about that journey. And the challenges that you faced with integrating that into life as a mom.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah. So um, I think it's funny to be called a mompreneur because I actually love podcasting. And I don't make a penny off of it. It's just so much of what I love sharing these stories. I think that as I said, it, it came from a very, very hard place. It was born out of a really hard place in my life. And so for a long time, listening to these women's stories of faith were were my lifeline. And so I just pray that they are the lifeline for other people as well, if they are walking through trial, that they can look at these stories and say "if God was faithful to them, in that time, he's going to be faithful to me." And so fitting it into I have no tricks of the trade fitting it in. I say that my podcast and blogging and writing is a little bit like Jesus's mana for me like it's going like I'm going to be able to do it because he has ordained this and gives me the time to do it every week. It just comes week-by-week and step-by-step and nothing that's been big or grandiose plan, but just by God's good provision.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, that's excellent. Well, there is a mompreneur listening. I know who's here who's you know, hearing this idea of grace, especially grace in her parenting, and she's thinking about her own overwhelm and her feelings of not being or doing enough - which we all relate to, right?

Heather Jonsson
Yeah, for sure.

Jennifer Uren
But what is one thing that she could do today to begin to practice grace in her own life?

Heather Jonsson
Yeah. I would say, to embrace your limits. I think that, you know, I think that being boss lady, is, is is so tricky. Because while I would like to wake up and be boss lady, by 11am, like, I've received a phone call from my daughter that she forgot her laptop at school, and my dog has thrown up on the carpet, and now it's stained. And my, my husband needs something at work. And so I find that there are so many detours. And those detours are honestly, currently my priority. And so, just embrace, embrace those limits, and then trust that God will be all that you need within those limits and the priorities that you set. I've learned that my to do list needs to be pretty short, because I'm pretty limited in my, in my five hours, I guess, that I have without the children during the day, because they are currently all in school. I used to think I could be like Superwoman, and get it all done and do all the things and then I would be just frustrated when I couldn't. And so what's given me a lot of peace is just to embrace my limits and just say, "Okay, this is, this is a short amount of things that I can get done", because honestly, this I am a limited person with a limited amount of energy and resources, and time on my hands.

Jennifer Uren
That's excellent. Well, this has been a great conversation. And as we wrap up, there's one question that I love to ask every guest, which is what is your favorite time saving gadget, system, or tool? I am a gadget girl. So this is...

Heather Jonsson
right up your alley

Jennifer Uren
...add things to my arsenal, right.

Heather Jonsson
I love it. So that question when I saw it, it just made me chuckle also, because I am the polar opposite of anybody that is good at systems or gadgets or tools, because and I think that, you know, God knew this about that I was going to have to be in the military and flexibility was going to have to be my number one strategy. And so, I when you sent me that I had to wrack my brain, for one thing, and I was like, what is it? What is it okay, and so I found something one thing, I when I was a young mom, a friend of mine recommended this system for laundry and it's worked. She said, and this was when my kids were helping me with laundry, but too young to do their own laundry

Jennifer Uren
Yes, okay,

Heather Jonsson
She said, do all your choose one day, stay at home all day, you do nothing else, and you do all your laundry. That one day, you wash it, fold it put it away. So that is I have stuck with that. And now that my kids are old enough, every single one of them does their own laundry. I still do that with my husband and my laundry one day a week I get it all washed, folded. I don't like I told you I'm not awesome systems. And so they end up in a laundry basket in my closet, and we get them put away for the next day or so. But that's my laundry system

Jennifer Uren
You know, of the whole laundry process. Putting the clothes away when they're folded and done. That is the thing I despise the most and I don't know why like, I will fold them I will sort them but I just don't want to put them away.

Heather Jonsson
I'm totally there with you. That is me 100%.

Jennifer Uren
So funny. Funny. Well, Heather, how can people connect with you and find you your podcast and yeah, connect with you further if they'd like.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah. So I you can connect with me at Bold Mercy's podcast, I am on all streaming platforms. And also at HeatherJ.Jonsson. It is my handle on every social media. And also the website is easy to remember because it's also www.HeatherJJohsson.com. And would love I love connecting with people. So thank you for asking that question.

Jennifer Uren
Absolutely. And I will put links to all those in the show notes because Jonsson is spelled differently. So...

Heather Jonsson
It is! I should have mentioned that - I just forgot and so yes, it is spelled different. That's right.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. Well, excellent. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Heather.

Heather Jonsson
Yeah, Jenn. Thanks for having me.

 

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