One of my favorite things about Don’t Hide Your Light Under a Laundry Basket is that I got to feature the voices of some of my favorite people in the book. Today’s interview is with Heidi Wheeler, a nurse practitioner and fellow Wisconsinite!
Tell us about yourself, your family, and how motherhood and ministry connect in your life.
My name is Heidi and I’m a seeker of beauty and advocate for justice. After suffering a few years of infertility and multiple miscarriages, I’m now the grateful mother of two girls and two boys, aged 7 and under. My wonderfully supportive husband Josh and I got to know each other when we were both musicians on our college’s worship band; friendship blossomed into love and we were married outside Colorado Springs, CO, more than 13 years ago.
I pursued a graduate degree in nursing and earned my nurse practitioner certification just before we moved to Chicago where my husband attended business school for two years. It was there that I learned about human trafficking and sex slavery through our church and God began to grow my heart to take a stand for justice. We continued to move (New Jersey/NYC, Denver, Michigan, and now Wisconsin) for different job opportunities, and in each place met great people, were exposed to new ideas, and witnessed the way God is weaving all of our lives together for his glory.
I began blogging and writing a few years ago in order to generate a passive income from my blog. That part didn’t pan out, but I fell in love with writing and realized God was providing a way to use my gifts and experiences to do ministry right from my computer. I also still work as a clinical instructor two days a week at a university teaching nursing students.
Despite my passions for health care, justice, and writing, the most important thing to me is raising kids with a kingdom perspective. I want to have kids that view life in light of eternity and global awareness and realize their own lives are privileged compared to the rest of the world.
We try to integrate information and experiences whenever we can, from having them watch a video about children in Haiti eating “dirt cookies” when they complained about their dinner to getting plugged in with an organization that supports reintegration of homeless families. We also host house concerts several times a year featuring indie Christian musicians where they get exposure to hospitality, building community, and the value of the arts in faith. Right now we’re mostly doing mostly small things, but hope these things will result in kids who are in love with Christ and want to care for his people and world.
You wrote an essay about stewarding finances for Don’t Hide Your Light Under a Laundry Basket. What made you choose that topic?
I focused on how we can use our finances to God’s glory in creative ways because our family wants to be intentional about meeting kingdom needs that arise—money can be a great source of life to ideas for and established ministries. We can’t claim to be living sacrificially, but try to make conscious choices that are counter cultural and live below our means.
My husband works in finance and has a disciplined and skilled approach to the family budget, allowing us to clearly understand how we use the resources God’s given us. I’ve learned from him that spending money is a moral issue; Jesus said that our treasure is, there is our heart. (Matthew 6:21, NIV) I want to encourage other families to listen to the Spirit when it comes to money; it’s already God’s, and as we’re willing give it back, it has less of a grip on us. That’s really freeing spiritually, and also practically. It’s a joy to find ways to financially support kingdom work.
What stands out in your mind as one of the most encouraging things someone has said to you or done for you as you navigate motherhood, ministry, and living life as a child of God?
A former pastor of mine told me once, “You have the heart of a pastor.” That one statement affirmed a deep longing in my heart to call people out of their misery into the glorious light of the Gospel. It also encouraged me that even though I don’t have a seminary education and plenty of small children to contend with, he saw leadership and teaching gifts and affirmed me to use them.
If you could say one thing to encourage the people who are going to read Don’t Hide Your Light Under a Laundry Basket, what would it be?
Don’t let the hard, tedious, monotonous parts of motherhood close your heart to who you were created to be. God gave each of us unique personalities, passions, and gifts he wants to use for His kingdom. He won’t give you more than you can handle. You might not be called to be a writer, a speaker, or the founder of a non-profit benefitting education for girls in Africa. Or you might be called to anyone of those things.
Your race is specific to you, so don’t look around for the definition of what ministry and mothering are supposed to look like. But also don’t talk yourself out of everything because you are a mom and there’s a lot to juggle. No matter how hard your season, look for small ways to join in kingdom work—you will feel more alive when you’re living out your gifts and depending on the Spirit to sustain you.
What’s coming up in your life, and how can readers stay connected with you and your work?
I’m coming into a season of settledness, I think(!?) Our move to Wisconsin feels like a semi-permanent one and I’m enjoying facilitating a women’s Bible study, writing frequently, and making friends in this community. I’m also feeling the pull to write a book, so we’ll see where that leads in the future. I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself to set a million goals right now, (I tend to want to overachieve) but instead want to be present for my family, especially while my kids are young and impressionable. I blog at www.theblessednest.com and can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in spite of my love/hate relationship with social media.