The Connected Mom

Middle School + Girls. Wow, there can be a lot there! Becky and Sarah talk with author Heather Holleman about her book, "This Seat's Saved." Her book deals with middle school issues in fiction form...perfect for daughters and moms to discuss tricky situations...including rejection at the lunch table. Listen in--we believe connecting with your middle school daughter is SO worth it...and this could be a tool to help. Parenting middle schoolers is not easy...we're cheering you on!

Dr. Heather Holleman is an associate teaching professor with over 25 years of experience in the college classroom. She is a national public speaker, podcaster, and award-winning author of over 8 books, including a bestseller in the inspirational market. Heather and her husband, Ashley, also work with a missions organization (Cru) where Ashley serves as the Executive Director of Graduate Student Ministry. Heather blogs daily at and writes both fiction and nonfiction. She has two daughters, three cats, and a fantastic backyard garden with plum trees, blackberries, and lilacs.

This Seat's Saved
Class schedules, locker combinations, and the play for popularity — middle school is a new world with new rules.

At the start of 7th grade, Elita Brown’s friends enjoy their seats at the popular lunchroom table. Meanwhile, Elita hides in the bathroom. This is not how she envisioned middle school. And her omission from the popular table is only the beginning of her problems. What will she do when she’s terrorized by the meanest girl in school and accused of a crime she didn’t commit? Elita befriends an older couple living in the woods and gains confidence through her project on the red fox. Will Elita find her way and take her seat at the best table? Full of suspense and divine moments, readers will be captivated by this story.

Parents and teachers who loved Seated with Christ can invite their middle school reader to This Seat’s Saved. With great discussion questions and a main character who learns to read her Bible, trust God for the first time, and understand what it means to be seated with Christ from Ephesians 2:6, This Seat’s Saved will help young readers on their journey with Jesus.

(00:00) Connected Mom podcast focuses on helping moms connect more deeply with God and others
(01:16) Dr. Heather Holman is a bestselling author and professor at Penn State
(03:46) Heather wrote Seated with Christ about being rejected at middle school lunch table
(05:21) Heather decided to go with fiction for this book about overcoming rejection
(07:59) Sometimes girls don't open up to their moms, Heather says
(10:33) Heather, another theme that I saw in the book is shame
(18:23) Heather: When we were raising our kids, I always prayed for them
(25:57) You can share stories of how you had to turn to God
(32:51) Do you remember the first passage of Scripture that you memorized and just loved
(35:17) We want our kids to lean into the power of God's Word
(36:14) Heather: I pray for a special blessing over our moms out

Creators & Guests

Becky Harling
Author of How to Listen So Your Kids Will talk and several others. Podcast host of The Connected Mom. A dynamic speaker who is passionate about Jesus.
Heather Holleman
Associate Teaching Professor at Penn State, Rhetoric and Composition UVA / UMich. Books with Moody Publishers. #podcast ”The Verb.” Tweets my own.

What is The Connected Mom?

Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.

Connected Mom podcast focuses on helping moms connect more deeply with God and others
Becky: Welcome to the Connected Mom podcast, where we have real conversations helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. I'm Becky Harling, your host, and I have with me today my amazing co host, Sarah. Hey, Sarah.
Sarah: Becky.
Becky: Hello.
Heather: Hello.
Sarah: So, you know, I am in the thick of raising boys, but I hear from my friends and I may have some personal experience in middle school that that can be especially tough time for girls. Right. I would say if there's any age that I don't want to go back to, it's probably middle school. So I'm not sure why that is, Becky, but it's just a tough time. So we're going to kind of chat about that today.
Becky: Yeah, we really you know, I would echo agreement with you, Sarah. If there's a time in my life I don't want to go back to, it would be middle school, because middle school is rough. And I think in some ways it's a little rougher on the girls. I talk with a lot of moms who are coming to me, and they're saying, oh, Becky, pray with me because my daughter is having a really hard time in middle school, and it is just a really hard time.
Dr. Heather Holman is a bestselling author and professor at Penn State
Becky: So today we have an amazing guest with us. She might be our smartest guest that we've ever had. Hopefully that doesn't insult any other guest, but she's Dr. Heather Holman. And Dr. Heather, heather is, a bestselling author. She's written an amazing book called Seated with Christ. We're actually not talking about that book today, but I do want you to order it and read it because you need it no matter where you are in your spiritual journey. But she is a professor, an associate teaching professor at Penn State University. She is a bestselling author. As I mentioned, she's a popular speaker. She and her husband also serve with Crew, which is a campus ministry. And Heather and her husband, Ashley, have two daughters. And today we're going to talk about her new novel written for middle school girls called this Seats Saved. And it is a fantastic novel. If you are a mama of a middle school daughter, lean in and listen because there's something in here today for you. Welcome, Heather.
Heather: Oh, thank you for having me. This is going to be such a treat. I'm so excited to talk with you both.
Becky: Yeah, well, we're excited to have you. And Heather, you have two daughters. How old are your daughters now?
Heather: Yeah, one of my daughters is 21, and she's at the University of Pittsburgh studying microbiology. And then I have an 18 year old who will be starting at Penn State. So I'm about to be an empty nester.
Becky: Wow.
Heather: Although not really down the road.
Becky: You teach at Penn State, right.
Heather: So it's kind of not fair. I'm already telling know if you come home on Sunday, I'll do your laundry, I'll feed you. I'm literally just 2 miles down the road, so it's going to be a real blessing. But she will be in the freshman dorm, so I think she's going to be so excited to start her college life at Penn State.
Becky: That's going to be so fun. And I do have to say this as a mother of adult children, if you feed them, they will always come. Bear that in mind.
Sarah: That's right.
Becky: And the kids come and the grandkids come, and it's wild and chaotic, but they all love it because it helps their food budget and gives us a time to connect. So there is that. But this book is different from the other books you've written.
Heather wrote Seated with Christ about being rejected at middle school lunch table
Becky: Heather, what made you write this book?
Heather: Well, after I wrote Seated with Christ in 2015, I was speaking at ladies retreats and talking about my journey of God healing me from the wound of rejection at that middle school lunch table. And I would also tell my daughter's story of being rejected from the 7th grade lunch table, and ladies would just start crying. It felt like a universal experience that we all had that moment of knowing we weren't popular. And my publisher, Moody publisher, said, a lot of these moms want this teaching for their young daughters. Would you consider writing a book for them? And I thought about it. I prayed about it. I talked to my daughters, and I thought the best way to reach the heart of a young girl is through a story. So I wrote a novel about a little girl who can't find her seat in the lunchroom, and she realizes she's not popular, but by the end of the story, she realizes she's already seated at the best table with Jesus from Ephesians two six.
Becky: I loved the novel so much. I think it stirs up in all of us memories. I mean, I remember hiding in the bathroom in 6th grade because I didn't want to be in the school cafeteria.
Sarah: Sarah, how about know just yesterday, one of our women that leads a significant ministry at our church was sharing that she used to eat her lunch in the bathroom as just that's so traumatic. But it also is a real thing, and perhaps sometimes it takes a few years to even think about, like, oh, yeah, that happened to me.
Heather decided to go with fiction for this book about overcoming rejection
Sarah: But so, Heather, I'm super interested because you could have dealt with this kind of topic in a variety of ways, but you decided to go with fiction, which is super interesting. So tell us a little bit about the main character and maybe why you decided to go the fiction route.
Heather: Well, to answer the second question first, I remembered two things. The first is my best friend in graduate school became a Christian because of a middle grade novel that she had read. And I forgot the name of it, but I remember being really struck by that, that there was a Christian novel. And she prayed to receive Christ because a character in that novel began her relationship with Jesus. And then actually, my literary agent told me years ago that the reason why she was so passionate about Christian fiction was it was a novel that introduced her to Jesus. And I thought, wow, there's something about story. I also thought that it's rare that an eleven year old, like, think about eight to twelve year old girls, it's rare that they're going to carry around in their hands a nonfiction book about overcoming rejection. And my daughter Kate, yeah, my daughter Kate was 16 at the time. And we were walking in the neighborhood and she said, mom, no little girl is going to carry a book called Seated with Christ get Over Your Rejection in 7th grade. So, I thought to myself, and I thought, you know what, I think that the story that I could tell would feel universal to so many people. And I love where I live in the center of Pennsylvania because it allows you to address so many subtle issues in the book, issues of class. There are very wealthy people in our town and also very underresourced people. And I wanted that to be a subtle problem that my character has in the book. Her name is Alita. She comes from a family where her best friend's very wealthy and her best friends actually grow up faster than she does. That also happens when you're eleven. Some girls are going to mature really quickly. Others are going to still feel like they looked in fourth grade, which is my character's problem. And the character is just a lover of nature. She loves science. She just like everyone at that age wants to know who our friends are. She's trying to figure out even how to connect better with her own mom. And, I tried to write a story that a little girl could relate to that wouldn't seem artificial or too preachy to her. So I've gotten really good feedback from girls that say, this happened to me. I love this story. This is my favorite book. I love how she turns to God. So all of those things are happening in this book.
Becky: I m love that.
Sometimes girls don't open up to their moms, Heather says
Becky: One of the things I loved about the book, Heather, is the way you give the reader insight into Alita's mind and the different thoughts she's know and the way her emotions go up and down. the way she feels like her life is over when she doesn't get that seat at the table. And that's so real because I think for a lot of junior high girls or middle school girls, when something like this at school happens, when there's rejection or a bully or whatever, they feel like their life is over. And yet sometimes, like your character, they don't open up to their moms. And I want to talk about that a little bit. What can our moms do to stay a safe place so that your daughter actually wants to open up to you?
Heather: Well, if you notice the time that Alita finally does open up to her mom, it's when they're taking a walk. I love the idea of going on a walk with your I when I started walking with my girls, you can walk in silence if you want, but I'll tell you what, they will relax. Nobody's staring at them in the face. There's no pressure. It doesn't feel like an interview. And you can open up and marvel together and have casual conversation and real discipleship. You can talk to your daughters about what you're going through, what the Lord is teaching you in the Bible. And sometimes what I love is asking permission. Hey, I learned this thing that God is teaching me. Can I talk to you about it? so that happens with Alita. She finally does go on a walk with her mother. But you'll notice there's a line in that book where she finally opens up her heart to her mother and she says, I don't know why it took me so long. I think young girls don't understand sometimes when they're that age, how to relate to their moms because they feel shame, they feel confusion. They don't know if their mom's going to be disciplining them. And Alita's biggest complaint about her mother is that every conversation is about Alita needing to improve. And that was what I struggled with as a mom. I'll never forget when my own daughter said, mom, every conversation is a teaching moment with you, and I don't want that anymore. And we had a big argument, and it was true. It was true. Becky and Sarah, everything was about, I want to improve you. I want you to have a better life so moms can get out of that narrative of improvement, not give a lot of advice until you're asked and go on walks, especially in nature, with your children.
Becky: I love that so much.
Heather, another theme that I saw in the book is shame
Becky: Heather, another theme that I saw in the book is and you touched on it just now, and I'm just remembering, is shame. How does shame impact these middle school girls?
Heather: Well, I love that you brought that up, because Alita is experiencing shame, and she doesn't have a word for what she's experiencing. And my PhD, I studied the emotion of shame for five years at the University of Michigan. It's the most tormenting emotion a person can experience. And it's an overwhelming sense of inferiority, of wrongness, a feeling that everyone's looking at you and that you're sort of wrong to the core. And that's what she experiences when she goes to this birthday party, and she's realizing that all the girls are beautiful, done up their hair, their clothes, and she's in the bathroom and she wants to hide. So people who are experiencing shame go into hiding. So if your daughter's up in her bedroom under the covers and won't make eye contact with you. She's most likely experiencing shame. she thinks she's done something wrong and that everybody knows it. So she also feels shame about her math grade. She feels shame about where her family lives because they don't have a wealthy home, like a beautiful home. And she feels shame because she wasn't invited to sit at the popular table. Now, I love something you said, Becky, about how, yeah, it is perceived as traumatic, but to us it may seem like not a big deal. Well, you can talk to trauma experts who'll say that moment of rejection from the lunchroom is a wound that people can carry well into their adult life. And that's what happened to me. I was 40 years old when God delivered me from that pain of rejection using ephesians two six.
Becky: M.
Sarah: What is it about that moment, Heather, that is so traumatic? I mean, we can kind of walk through it and we all probably have a idea of how we felt. But what is it?
Heather: Well, as I thought carefully about it, I think it's the first time a young person begins to see herself through the eyes of other people judging her, like she's coming up short somehow. And it's the first time when you become conscious of things like brands and hairstyles and what do you remember being really little, like maybe six years old. You didn't care what anyone was wearing. You didn't care about how anyone was doing their hair or what kind of house they lived in. So that moment when you're eleven and there's a table and you're not invited to sit there, you experience it as a profound rejection of yourself. And I feel like at that moment, you begin to internalize that you are somehow not good enough. You're somehow not going to have a seat at the table. And then from that moment on, you're doing whatever it takes to fight to have a seat at the table. That's why kids get in so much trouble with the wrong peer group or they make what we consider to be really bad choices or bad coping mechanisms. They're essentially trying to find belonging. And so belonging is sort of this fundamental human need. And when you are not invited, when someone says, no, I'm sorry, you can't sit here, this seat saved, it's this rejection. And God made us for belonging and relationship. So it's that sense of isolation and rejection, it begins to torment you. M.
Becky: I'm thinking of our moms out there and as we're airing this, school is starting and some of their girls are going to middle school for the first time and, their daughters may not tell them they feel rejected. Maybe they can't even find the words for that. How can a mom walk through that with her daughter? I mean, I think for me, as a mom, looking back, I often wanted to fix things. So if somebody rejected my kids I wanted to say, well they just don't know what they're talking about. You're awesome and you're amazing. And I would just go on and on. My kids kind of joke about it now. So what kind of response do we give as moms who want to follow Jesus and who want to help our girls deal with this profound rejection they sometimes feel?
Heather: Well if you're reading the book with your daughter there's a couple of things that come up that are helpful. So even if you haven't read the book yet, these might help. The first is one of our family mottos is every rejection is God's protection. And one of the things you can look at is why do you think God maybe wouldn't want you at that table? Now what you'll see in the book know, there's a bully also. The main popular girl, Margot, she's actually not a mean person. She's lovely. She doesn't intend to hurt anyone. So to get into the mindset that you're not actually being victimized, popular people often don't intend to harm other people and that's an important, very complex talked to. You can talk to your know, why do you think there wasn't a place for know? What were those girls talking? You know by the end of the novel Alita doesn't even want to sit at that popular table because when she's there they're talking about things she doesn't care about. And so you realize like I thought I wanted to be there and in my case in 7th grade my two best friends grew up quickly and they were actually talking about partying, drinking and kissing boys as twelve year olds. And I was just getting involved in youth group and reading my Bible for the first time and it was really God's protection. I think I would have taken a different path had I had a seat at that table. The second thing you can do a lot of people wonder is Ephesians Two too complicated to read to an eleven year old? Can the Holy Spirit apply it to a child's heart? So when my daughter came to me she had been crying, her stomach hurt, she didn't want to go to school. She came to me and said, mom, I need to talk to you. I can't find a seat in the lunchroom. I'm sitting alone in the art room and I found out what happened. The girls, same thing. They grew up. They're into things that Sarah wasn't into. They said she was too awkward, she's not cool enough. Well I read to her Ephesians Two and I said, look I want you to picture something that's true about you right now. And it's that God raised you up with Christ and seated you with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. And I said to Sarah, the Bible says that when you walk in that room I want you to think God chose you for his table, you're already seated with him. And we used the image of King Arthur calling the knights to the table to help her picture it. Because she's a child, you want to give them an image of what it's like to sit at the beautiful table. She understood. I could tell that the Holy Spirit was applying that truth and she lit up. It was so powerful that when we went to like a PTO meeting several weeks later and I walked in, I couldn't find my know there's the marathon runner moms, the wealthy moms, the beautiful moms. I had no seat and Sarah could tell I was getting nervous. And she turned to me and she goes, mom, hashtag seated like she knew, like you're.
Becky: That yeah.
Heather: And for her senior photos in our town, the girls do a photo shoot. She had a little necklace that said seeded on it because it became the most important word for her. So you can read God's word to a child. In fact, my character discovers the power of God's word reading the Psalms, applying it to her life. So every rejection is God's protection. The popular girls may aren't intending to necessarily harm you. And let's read Ephesians Two together so you can fortify your heart to know that you're already seated with Christ. And then once you're that secure, you can actually look around the lunchroom and invite girls to your table who don't have a seat.
Heather: When we were raising our kids, I always prayed for them
Becky: M, one of the things that you mentioned in that Heather that I love too is asking your daughter some questions like, why do you know or how might God be protecting you? So that they have to think that through. The other thing I just want to add this in is when we were raising our kids and I didn't know what to pray for them, I always went back to the Book of Ephesians and prayed the entire book for them, because you can just put their name in and you can't get it wrong because it's God's word. And so praying this Ephesians Two Six over your daughter that she's going to understand, hey, she's already been seated with Christ. She has a seat at the table.
Heather: M, yes. And I love the end of Ephesians Two says that God has good works prepared in advance for you and that you're God's masterpiece. That's really important for a young girl to know, like, she is God's masterpiece, exactly how she's made, and God has a purpose for her. So when she is at school feeling really know who am, I what am I doing? If she just remembers, okay, I'm seated with Christ, I'm his masterpiece. And he's actually got a plan for me here. There are people here for me to bless, there are things I need to learn. my character loves her science project and all of those things, but you really do need the voice of an adult person to help journey alongside. And that's why I love having a mentor figure. So it can be you as a mom, but don't forget the power of inviting other moms to speak into the lives of your children, especially if there's a wiser woman. There's a grandma at our church who knows that Kate's going to college and she said to my daughter, I have a Bible study I lead of girls and I'd love to invite you over to dinner. And in my mind I'm thinking, take my daughter, take her and spend all the time you want with know, be that mother or that grandma who's going to take girls under your wing and teach them the way my mentor character, Mrs. Bergley, teaches Alita M. So cool.
Sarah: Well, for listeners that aren't familiar with Ephesians two six, because I was like, okay, which one is that? I want to read it because, it's so good and it says, and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. And I was thinking that when I read that verse to the concept of belonging comes right? Like that whole idea of there is a seat. And I can't help but think to I mean, there's the situation of girls who don't find that seat, but then you've kind of referred to this already having a seat open for someone else, too. Like with bullying, sure, there's the recipient of that bullying, but then also standing up for someone right, that might be seeing that or offering a space. And I think, ah, it's crazy. But for me, once I didn't feel at home at the popular table because there wasn't a seat, I think back and honestly, I was sitting with other people that probably didn't fit in, but were more accepting to me than even some of the Christian kids. And those were the Mormons, actually, I had a lot of Mormon kids at my, school and they were the ones that really stepped forward and loved me. So I think here we are as believers, how do we encourage our kids to be helping others have a seat at our know?
Heather: Well, that's why I love my second favorite verb in scripture is know that Jesus says, as the Father has sent me, so I send you. And he came to seek and save the lost. So I love saying to my family, OK, we're seated, but now we're sent. Once you're secure, you're sent to go be a blessing wherever you are. And one of the ways to take your eyes off of yourself, which I have to do is when I walk into a room, you're thinking, who can I encourage? Who can I bless? what's my purpose here? That is hard to do with eleven year olds because young children are kind of inherently self involved. It's hard for them to take their eyes off themselves. It's just part of development, but you can say, are there people there that you can bless also? What's fun. I don't know if you guys have experienced this. Have you found that the girls who were like the quirkiest oddest girls are the ones that are the most joyful and successful in their adult life?
Becky: Yeah.
Heather: I have found the people that were rejected in middle school are living the coolest lives now. And also I learned that the people I thought I'd never become friends with, maybe because they look different from me or maybe I didn't give them a chance. Those are the people that became my dearest and most treasured friends. So I always tell my girls, it's a classic line. Don't judge a book by its cover. Always go to people where if your first thought is, I'm never going to be friends with this girl, what would happen if you gave her a chance? And what if she becomes the greatest treasure in your life? I love that. Just don't look at outward appearances and just see what God will do as you find new friends in middle school.
Becky: I'm thinking, I have a granddaughter who's eleven, and, this last year, she, couldn't sit at the table in the lunchroom with some of the kids that were supposedly her friends. And I love this choice on her part. There was another little girl in her class who is, on the spectrum and doesn't have a lot of friends. And so Salah went and sat with her and reached out to her, and it really sent such a profound message to, you know, that here was this little girl reaching out to another little girl who might not have any friends because of some of the issues she's facing and reaching out to her and showing the love of Christ. We were so proud of her over that. Took the opportunity to tell her. So I love that.
Heather: That's so powerful. That's such a wonderful and mature thing to do. And I wish we all live that way. Bravo.
Becky: Well, it's not to me, it's to her. But I think, as far as experiencing rejection, I think sometimes as moms, we have a tendency, like you said, to always instruct. And our kids may not realize that this is something we have struggled with. We've struggled with rejection, we've struggled with envy, we've struggled with comparison. And we may still be struggling with that. So how do we open that conversation with our daughters?
Heather: Well, one of the things I'm not an expert, but one thing I love is just inviting my children into my own devotional life and my prayer journal. Like, things I'm trusting God for so they see how I'm growing in the Lord and how I'm grappling with issues. Now, of course, you don't want to invite your child to ever parent you or be a peer, but you can do that as they're older. But when they're younger, like eleven.
You can share stories of how you had to turn to God
Heather: you can share stories of what your growing up years were like and how you had to turn to God and what your own stories of transformation are. I think those are such a legacy to pass on. Now, since I'm a writer, I have those in book form. But what you can do is start compiling your best stories from your own life of God at work, the passage of scripture he's used or is using. And then when you take those walks or when you're driving in the car, just to say, I just wanted to tell you this story of when I was in middle school or this time I made a really bad decision and God had to help me, or anything like that. I think I would have wanted that from my own mom. Just more stories of how God met her, I treasured every time my mom talked to me about Jesus, I hung on every word I wanted to know Him. So I loved anytime my mom brought up what her life in Christ was like.
Becky: Yeah, I love that. and I think doing it authentically. I've had parents tell me, well, I never want my child to know that I made this mistake. But then I think that can be a missed opportunity, right? Because they need to see us as people who are growing in Christ. And the journey is not always easy. Just being free to say, hey, when I was in junior high, this, that, or the other thing, and I had to learn. And then bringing in scripture, because, let's face it, it can be hard to bring up spiritual concepts with our kids without them feeling like, oh, my word, here we go again. You're lecturing me or you're preaching to. So I think there's a little bit of a balance there, don't you, Heather?
Heather: Yes. And as my girls have gotten older, now that they're young adults, I do think the more I invite them into what God's teaching me, that goes much better than if I say, I really think you need to be more spirit filled. Have you read Galatians Six? I mean, that's not going to or Galatians five, that's not going to go well. The other day in the car, my daughter said, mom, did you ever date the wrong guy? How did you know? She wanted to ask dating questions, and I had stories ready to tell her. This is what it's going to feel like. You're going to be so overwhelmed with emotions, so you have to be prepared to know, what are you looking for? What is the purpose of your dating life? I mean, you kind of want to be ready for those conversations, but with middle school girls, I do think telling your own story of the middle school lunchroom and maybe if you began a relationship with Jesus, tell them, when did it start for you? When did you start. Loving God's word. I love when moms share their stories of just their passion for God's Word. And I tell my girls, you can forget everything if you forget everything I've ever taught you. I don't care if you're successful or beautiful, or married or with kids. The one thing I care about is that you are a lover of God's word. That's all I care about. Because if you have that, you have everything. So just be a lover of God's word. So that's what you want to model for them is your love of God's word and they won't feel judged. If you're like, let me share this passage of scripture that God's using in my heart. And do you guys want to apply this as a family? What do you think you should do? Bring them into the activities, the family. How do you guys want to apply this verse? What could we do here? And I think kids love that.
Becky: M. When did you fall in love with the word of God, Heather?
Heather: When I was twelve years old. That scene of Alita reading the psalms comes straight out of my own first time. I cried out to the Lord because I felt I was in a really bad situation. And just like Alita, she doesn't believe that the Bible works or is real. She's not even sure she's a Christian. But she feels trapped and that she has this enemy. And she just happens to turn to the exact psalm where David is know, free me from the trap that is set for me, like help me escape the lies of my enemy. And Alita just feels like God is speaking to her. And so that's when she begins to pray and begin this nighttime routine of talking to Jesus. And what I love is she's really honest with you? know, yeah, there's this boy, but I can only talk about Star Wars for so long. And yeah, there's this girl who I'm friends with, Ali Wu, but she's really busy with all her clubs so she asked Jesus to bring her more joy. And you, get to see a really fun answer to prayer about how God answers that. I don't want to ruin it, but God answers that prayer in a sweet way. But I was twelve.
Becky: What about you guys?
Heather: Were you little?
Becky: I was actually twelve when I fell in love with the word of God. I had same age, 6th grade was awful for me. Yes, I mean awful. And I just became really desperate for God. And so I began that year. I remembered we were promised we would get one dollars if we read through.
Heather: The whole Bible.
Becky: Which isn't really a lot. You needed more, right? Exactly. I mean, the whole Bible for one dollars? Anyway, I grew up in a really legalistic home and my parents that's another whole story for another day. But what happened in me is I fell in love with the word of God as I was reading it through. Now, certainly there were parts I didn't understand, but ever since I was twelve, every day I'm in the word of God because I love it, I look forward to it. I look forward to what he's going to speak to me. And I think it's good that we're having this conversation because I think a lot of times m moms are like, well, my child's too young to read the Word of God. They're not going to understand everything. Listen, this spirit of God is bigger than all of us. If he can reach me as a twelve year old, he can reach your child as a twelve year old. If he can reach Heather as a twelve year old, he can reach your child as a twelve year old. Right. What about you, Sarah? When did you fall in love with the Word of God?
Sarah: Well, I've never thought of it that way, but I think I was a little late because it was 13, not twelve. So I was not far off. Not far off. So there must be something developmentally about that, too. I'm just thinking like, I was raised around scripture so much, but it was actually at a Christian camp, which I think can really be influential in teens lives especially. But it was the time when I realized that all the knowledge I knew could actually transform my heart. Right. M big M words.
Do you remember the first passage of Scripture that you memorized and just loved
Sarah: That's not how I thought as a 13 year old, but it was just like, okay, this is real, this will affect me, this should change how I live. And it was about 13.
Heather: Do you remember the first passage of Scripture that you memorized and just loved? Because mine was, I mean, I was twelve, you guys, and I loved Deuteronomy 31 six. I couldn't even pronounce Deuteronomy, but I had so much fear. And I memorized Deuteronomy 31 six and it says, be strong and of good courage for the Lord your God goes with you, he will not fail or forsake you. And I just walked around school quoting out what do you guys remember your like a treasured Bible verse? It was one of the first I.
Becky: Do for, me at twelve. Again, I remember thinking, I need a verse that I'm going to really focus on this year. And so I memorized Proverbs three, five and six. Trusting God was a hard thing for me. I had a lot of fear. And so Proverbs three, five and six says, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways. Acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths. And I just remember as a twelve year old really leaning into those words like, lord, I want this to be true in my life. Trust feels really hard for me. Help me. What about you, Sarah? What was one of the first verses.
Sarah: You learned it was Philippians, my favorite book. And it's funny because it is a go to. I can do all things through Christ who m strengthens me. But I really did understand that the through Christ was the key part. Right. It's not, oh, I can just do everything because I am a Christian. It really did sink in that he was really pivotal in anything I did.
Heather: Even as a 13 year old, you already understood the Spirit filled life like it has to be through Christ.
Becky: See?
Heather: Yeah.
Sarah: It goes back to Amazing Becky.
Heather: I don't think kids are too young for the Holy Spirit. I don't need his word. When I read Deuteronomy, I had no understanding of the exodus out of Israel. I knew nothing about slavery in Egypt. They were entering the promised land. I didn't know any of that. I just turned to that book and I was like, oh, my gosh, god goes with you. He doesn't fail you or forsake you. So I love that.
Becky: I do, too.
We want our kids to lean into the power of God's Word
Becky: We are kind of out of time, but this conversation has been so rich, and I want to encourage those of you who are moms your child, your middle schooler can know God and the things that they experience in middle school that are just hard. God can turn that around for good in their life. He certainly did that in my life, in Heather's life, and in Sarah's life. And as a result of that, we have a deep love for the word of God and for the Holy Spirit. Because I'll tell you what, you can't live your Christian walk without the power of the Holy Spirit. Right? And so we want our kids to know that. And that may mean for you, you can't protect them from everything. We would certainly like to, but, teach them and model for them what it looks like to lean into the power of God's Word.
Heather: I pray for a special blessing over our moms out
Becky: Hey, Heather, would you close us by praying over our moms that are out?
Heather: Oh, I would be honored. Lord Jesus, thank you so much for every mom that's listening. And I just pray for a special blessing over her, that she would experience your presence in a new and fresh way and that your word would come alive to her and that you would give her all the wisdom. She needs to parent the children that you've entrusted for her and help her know that she is the exact perfect mother for these children and that you chose her for that role and that it's perfect for her. So I pray for an increase of joy and delight and great family memories and a great family culture of celebration and joy for her and her children. In Jesus name, amen.
Becky: Amen. Hey, friends. Thanks for joining us today for this episode of the Connected Mom podcast. And we want to invite you to join us again next week, where we'll have another conversation that's real and authentic helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. Until next week. Bye.