S1:E17 Being a godly mother and wife
Updated: Apr 12, 2020
Ohhhh how awesome was this interview with Heather Johnson from A Catholic Mom's Life?! She brought the heat with practical tips for being a godly wife and mother. To hit the main tips, lean on prayer, the rosary, and so much grace! You can find Heather's vlog "A Catholic Mom's Life" on YouTube and follow her on Instagram.
I'm trying something new for this blog post. Not sure if this will stick, but below is a transcript of the heart of the interview! Read along while you listen.
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Now here's the podcast episode transcript...enjoy!
Kristen—"We're going into this interview now with Heather Johnson. A little bio about Heather, she is a Catholic wife, a mom of three boys and baby girl, and she uses her YouTube channel to inspire others to grow more in love with God. She shares all kinds of videos from faith testimonies, lifestyle, NFP, family, fashion and so much more. She has been doing YouTube for three years and it is her God lead purpose here. She prayed about it, she acted, and you can hear more of her story…
Heather--“Hey, it's so nice to be here. Thank you for having me. So, I have a Catholic mommy YouTube channel that I started almost three years ago. So, I love talking about God, about the Catholic faith, and motherhood so I started the Catholic Mommy YouTube Channel and a Catholic Mom's Life in hopes to inspire other women and other people who wanted to grow in their faith.”
Kristen--“Awesome so three years, you're an expert now at YouTube, right?”
Heather--“I feel like I’m getting comfortable now. It's funny it took me a long time to get really comfortable with it. It's so awkward because a lot of the time you're just talking to yourself, like it's like a monologue, you know? That was the weirdest feeling at first. I'm getting used to it now.”
Kristen-- “Same thing with podcasting it's like talking to the wall sometimes. So cool thank you for coming on, can you tell me how your YouTube channel came to be? What was your motivation? Where were you in life? Were you a mom already? What's the background?”
Heather-- “Yeah so actually around three years ago I was in a new town. My husband moves around every two to three years, so we were in North Carolina at the time. And the church that we belonged to didn't really have any like “mommy groups” and everywhere that we were before always had “mommy groups” and until I went to the lady and asked if I could start like a Catholic mommy book club, she straight up said no. She said no there's a lot of women who really want that, plus no we don't have any room for you. The church was huge, like there was plenty of room it was clear to me she just didn't want to deal with anything else. So, on my way home I felt so discouraged. So, I said to God, “you gave me these gifts and talents to start small groups and women’s groups. I just don’t know what to do. In what way can I serve you? What’s something that I can do to minister to other women?” And almost immediately I felt like he told me to start YouTube. I never watched YouTube before that starting, I didn't know anything about you know videoing or editing, I didn’t know any of it. It was so so crazy but almost immediately I had this zeal for sharing the gospel and figuring it out almost became an obsession. It's really neat because I really didn't think much would come of it. But I went on YouTube to what other Catholic moms are out there, and there really wasn't anything at the time. So, I'm like okay I guess I'm going to have to kind of start from scratch and try to figure out how to do this. And how to inspire other women to grow in their faith or other people. It's all been organic growth and everything, but just starting from nothing, knowing nobody would watch at first and just slowly getting better at it, after three years I feel like I'm getting there.”
Kristen-- “That’s awesome, I love that. It's God calling you, you prayed about it, he answered, you’re here that so cool.”
Heather--“Yeah and what came with that was a great zeal. I asked my husband, you know if it was okay with him, its that's kind of a big deal to put yourself out there on social media like that and he's a very private person, and I am too ironically, so I said God if my husband says it's okay then I will know it's from you. And my husband came back and said it was okay. It took a little bit of talking, but he was okay with it. It was really neat to know that God behind the whole idea.
Kristen-- “I love that because that mirrors my story exactly. I'm just kind of spiraling professionally, thinking I have to do something more worth my time, find my calling. I'm praying about it here and then I hear this Christian podcaster talking about how I can do these things today. I take it to my husband, actually he was gone so I sent him a little text… like I want to do a podcast. I'm thinking the same way you were like let's see if he's okay with this. He responds with absolutely you need to do this because you need this in your life. It's all these confirmations. So that's really cool.”
Heather--“Yes, it's so awesome how God gives you that zeal too, like I really want to keep doing this and I'm passion for it and just spreading the gospel it's so awesome.’
Kristen-- “You're such an inspiration. So we were mentioning our husbands so let's go to being a godly wife. That's one of the principles that I saw throughout a lot of your content. Being a godly wife, what does this mean and how do you live it out? Can you just talk to that a little bit?
Heather--“Sure, that is one thing that I'm really passionate about, because in the home I really feel like having a strong marriage is vital for children and their security. Ultimately, I, like you, say that you're going to spend the rest of your life together and being a godly wife, I think it so important. You know it's very different from what the world says, because the world says that it's all about us. It's all about how does their husband make us feel? We are ME ME ME. And that is the total opposite of what God says. God says that we should be servants. That we should love and serve and yeah, your husband should serve too but in a marriage you're the only person that you can control. You can’t control your husband. I've noticed that the more I am loving and gentle towards my husband the more loving and gentler he is to me back. Meaning being that wife that Mary was to Joseph, just loving him and loving our family. I think that is what a godly wife is. It is serving and loving and putting our family before ourselves.”
Kristen-- “I really like that. What you're talking about is the goal how do we incorporate that? How do we get there? What do we do to become a godlier wife?”
Heather-- “Oh yes, it is a lot of dying to yourself, which is very countercultural, but ultimately Mary is our example.She is the woman of all women. How she surrendered, I think those little things are where we surrender ourselves to God. There are times that we naturally want to be selfish, but when we can see it, we can catch ourselves an do the opposite. I think that is where the godliness part comes. When we can instead of all these vices, we can turn to the virtual, and trying to find the holiness that we can do throughout the day instead of focusing on ourselves. So, it takes a lot of work a lot of practice and I think it's something that we have to work on our entire lives. It's not just okay, I figured out how to be a virtuous wife, and this is it, because you're constantly dying to yourself and you're constantly giving to others and loving others and just little by little it becomes a little bit more better because there's the grace that comes with it. Obviously, a lot of prayer and just being really honest with God. Saying to God, “I'm struggling with this aspect of my life, I really need your grace and your help,’ and he will help you. Through the rosary definitely, I have just learned, Oh my goodness, the rosary. There's so much grace there and I have grown tremendously through the rosary. I notice the times in my life where I'm praying the rosary there's a lot of grace there and when there isn't a lot of grace there, I’m like “Oh yeah, I’m not really praying the rosery right now.” I know mother Mary is helping me with that; with growing in holiness in my marriage.”
Kristen-- “So prayer, grace, and the rosary. Those are some of the three things, I mean none of its tangible, because it's so much more than anything we can actually hold. It's all internal. You have to find the zeal. The zeal to pursue being a godly wife as well as dying to yourself. That is very insightful, and helpful because sometimes it is easy to want a quick fix. Hey Heather, help me become a godly wife, what do I do? Well pray say the rosary and just give yourself some grace. So, I appreciate that perspective. Okay so the next let’s talk about being a godly mother. It's probably along the same lines following our mother Mary as a role model and her example but can you talk about this a little bit more?”
Heather--“I think you said a lot of the same things. A lot of prayer and asking God for the grace because our children, as amazing as they are, they all are a little more difficult. I have two who are in their terrible terrific twos as I like to call them. You can't really talk them through things, they just have their fits and all of that. So, you have to turn to a lot of grace. I mean there are times I just have to breathe and walk away. I know that anything I do at that moment is not going to help. So just truly praying and asking God for the grace and asking Mary to help as well. I think that we need to set ourselves up as well for being a good mother. I think just kind of trying to be more organized in our thoughts. For us we have a schedule that we follow. It's loose but having a schedule I think it's really important for the kids, because they know when it’s time for lunch and naps, and it’s not something we have to fight about. So, I think having a schedule, it can be a loose schedule, but I believe little things like that help us in motherhood. Family prayer is huge in our marriage and our life because we were struggling quite a bit after our first born. We were married two years before Thomas came, and that’s when we had to realize that we couldn’t be selfish anymore. There was a mutual feeling of oh he is being too selfish and oh she is being too selfish. We both wanted each other’s time, we felt like one of us wasn’t helping enough. It was a lot of tit for tat. So, we started a family prayer and just adding that to part of our routine, was a game changer in our life, in our family and our marriage. We end the prayer with thanking God for the other person, which was so great because I think a lot of the time in marriage, you're not necessarily affirming the other person, but we notice it through prayer. So the last thing that we say is something like “Dear Lord Jesus thank you so much for Eric and all of his hard work that he did today,” “Thank you that he did the dishes I know he is so tired.” I can tell that it has helped. From where our marriage was to where it is now, our children have been able to see it. They have been able to see that we love each other and we're encouraging each other. The children pray as well and then we create a decade of the rosary on top of that. That was another way that our family has grown so much. And just teaching our children to pray was key as well.”
Kristen-- “Okay, so let's breakdown your family prayer time. You end it with thanking the other person, your spouse, for all the hard work and effort they're putting into the marriage, into the household and into raising your children. You add a decade of the rosary. What other foundational things do you include in family prayer time?”
Heather-- “So, all the kids get to say one or two things that they want. So, kind of a popcorn prayer. They used to go on and on, so we had to limit it. We we start with the youngest and move up to the oldest. Bella always prays that I have another baby, she's our little 2-year-old. Then the others will go, and then I'll go and then my husband is left. We will end that with a decade of the rosary. We used to do it where we ended with the Glory Be, Our Father Hail Mary, Glory Be, and the Saint Michael prayer, but we updated to a decade of the rosary and then a Saint Michael at the end of that. So, it's pretty simple. We have little kids, so I feel like at that age you got you kind of have to go simple.
Kristen-- “Are you doing this at bedtime?”
Heather--“Yep, so we do it right before bedtime. They already took a bath and all of that so it's a right before bedtime.”
Kristen-- “Awesome I like how you said you have to shorten what the kids say, because they totally go off on a tangent. Thank you for my teddy bear, thank you for the wall, thank you for my hair, all these things. It’s like Oh Lord, give me patience because they're doing so good. Another thing I wanted to touch on that you had just said was you take a timeout. You pray and you walk away from those terrific 2-year old’s that are just wearing you down, I want to know, do they ever follow you into the other room or when you're hiding in the bathroom? My kids are there banging on the door and I'm like go away, I’m in my happy place.”
Heather-- ‘Yeah, I always say mommy needs a time out and I'll go in the bathroom and they're right there, talking through the door, but I'm like okay this is the phase I'm at in my life right now. Lord give me grace. I feel like it's gotten a little easier. we have four. At first it was so intense, and I feel like the more I have the more… I don't know if it's the more grace or what, but it's become easier like the terrific twos and all of that. It's been like okay this is part of the system for us. We know it lasts about a year. It’s the cycle of life. I think because I know it's not going to be forever; I think I can cope with it a little better too. But yeah, I definitely give myself time outs.”
Kristen-- “Alright so let's roll into the final topic that we have planned. Being a Catholic in today’s time or being a Christian in today’s time, and especially as we are doing this interview, we're in the middle of this Coronavirus pandemic. Can you talk about being proud to be Catholic, just getting out in front of people and attesting to your faith? Tell me a little bit about that.
Heather-- “Yeah well I think a lot of it had to do with the way I was brought up. So, my mom had a conversion when she first got married. She has never been the same since. She was kind of rebellious before that, but she had a great conversion and through that just grew in the Catholic faith. She learned to love this and would read about the Saints, and would share the stories, would pray the daily rosary, and she had a group of friends who loved Catholic faith and they had conversions as well. Through that, through reading the Saints as a child, my mom would read same stories to us, I just knew I wanted to be a Saint. I knew that would come with people making fun of you, people will disagree with you. It's not what the world says is cool, but I didn't care because I saw the Saints and I saw that they didn't care. They saw something better beyond what the world saw. I think that's carried on throughout my entire life and I've been really blessed to have amazing Catholic friends wherever I've been. I traveled with a team called Net Ministries and it was great. It was for a full year and they just pretty much spread the gospel. They would do high school retreats and stuff and it was pretty awesome. Just through each stage of my life God has really deepened my faith and help me to grow and I knew that being a Catholic YouTuber would come with its challenges, but that’s why I chose the title a Catholic Mom’s Life, because I wanted people to know right away where I stood. Like, I'm Catholic whether you like it or not, this is a Catholic channel. There are quite a few people who you know are very Anti-Catholic and they'll come on, but thankfully you can just laugh and delete them. It is hard there have been nights where I lose sleep over it because there's some pretty mean people out there. It's just one of those things you have to find strength in God, and you have to know that our true goal is heaven it's not being with the world but being with God that's what's truly the most important thing.”
Kristen-- “Awesome! I totally appreciate that perspective of; it doesn't matter what the people are going to say, it doesn't matter who you are, what your messages even is, if it's Catholic or not, Christian or not, whether it's diet related, or if you're talking about planting your garden, somebody is going to come out and have something bad to say. We have to just be able to brush it off, because when you're doing God's work there's so much more beyond that those little snippets are going to chisel away from. The littlest remark can make you upset, but when you're doing God’s work there's so much more to be done. You're bringing good into this world and we just have to pursue that regardless. That’s encouraging for me, and I hope that’s encouraging for listeners as well. Whatever your hobby is, whatever your goals are, your aspirations, your professional career or whatever it may be, it’s your mom style. Just stick with it, feel confident in it, pray about it and know that if it's God lead, and God driven that it's going to be okay. Like you said that ultimate goal is to get to heaven. I love your goal of wanting to be a Saint, like yes!
Heather-- “I feel like it was such a gift from my mom. To teach me at an early age that that was my goal. Thankfully my mom taught me that as a young girl. I learned about the kids of Fatima and about Saint Bernard and all these Marian apparitions, I was on fire. I knew from an early age that I wanted to please God, live my life for God and I feel like that was through my mom and so that's why for me I want to be a mom like that. One who encourages my children to get to heaven, because that is the ultimate goal because of why God chose us to be the mother of these children. To bring them to him that's the ultimate goal as a mom.”
Kristen-- “Real quick, I might have some listeners who aren't Catholic, can you touch on what is a Saint? What do you mean by becoming a Saint?”
Heather-- “Okay so technically a Saint is somebody who is in heaven. The Catholic Church does a lot of different tests and they go through a whole process when somebody dies. If you think someone is a Saint, you can bring it to the Vatican and present their story. Then they do a lot of investigation and miracles are usually involved and it's actually quite a big process. I mean there's a lot of Saints who aren't even acknowledged, just because we acknowledge him doesn't mean that those are the only ones in heaven. Living the beatitudes, living for God, following Christ, loving God with your whole heart, mind and soul that is ultimately what a Saint is. It is what Christ calls us do and I think ultimately it means that you're in heaven.”
Kristen-- “That's what I was really hoping you would say. There's a whole lot of steps to become a publicly officially recognized Saint, but on the level that I am striving to become a Saint and sounds like the same level that you are, is the goal is to get to heaven. So I wanted to clarify that for maybe somebody who's a little confused.”
Heather-- “People are like “oh a Saint, they die, they were murdered,” they think they do all these crazy things but no there's so many Saints that just aren't even acknowledged that just lived such beautiful simple lives for God. It’s nothing scary, it just means that you're in heaven.”
‘That's a beautiful thing! You want to be a Saint, you want to be in heaven, which is cool. Is there anything else you would like listeners to take home, or a final piece of advice, anything you want to leave us with?”
Heather-- “I mean this is a Mama channel so I would just encourage you moms to teaching your children faith is the main goal of motherhood, because someday we're going to have to pass these cuties on to the world and they should be ready to take on the world. And still be able to live a devote and holy life beyond our homes. The ultimate goal is to get them all in heaven because people are the only thing, we can take with us. Trying to get everyone’s souls to heaven, not just our children.”
Kristen-- “I love that. Thank you so much, and where can we find you? How do we get ahold of you?”
Heather-- “I have a YouTube channel a Catholic Mom's Life, so you can just subscribe there, I also have an Instagram, you can follow me on a Catholic Mom's Life, and I have Facebook, Catholic Mom's Life.”
Thanks for reading, friend. Have a blessed day!