Filed under Biblical Womanhood 52home
5:21 p.m. Where there’s a will…
Today we are excited to continue our conversation with Heather Platt about how God used Hurricane Katrina to bring the Platts to Brook Hills, and about adoption, being a mom, and helping her husband. (If you are just joining us, read Heather’s girl~to~girltalk profile and part one of our three-part interview.)
After the devastation of Katrina, how did God lead you and David to The Church at Brook Hills?
We were not able to return to New Orleans till about 2 months later and found very few things salvageable. I wasn’t able to get anything out of my school classroom. I of course lost my job, David began teaching seminary classes online, and he continued to travel and speak at various churches and events. The first few months we spent trying to figure out what in the world to do with ourselves. Ironically, we had been trying for years to have kids and during this time of complete uncertainty began the adoption process! It was amazing how the Lord opened our hearts to adoption during such an interesting time. I figured, no home, no job, hey, let’s adopt! Seriously, the Lord had been changing my heart to see that He was calling us to this blessing of adoption and that this was how he was going to expand our family. We started the adoption process to Kazakhstan, lived in a condo that my brother in law owned, a church donated two rooms of furniture, and we completed our homestudy! The Lord was so gracious to provide in every way.
Around the beginning of January, David was asked to speak at Brook Hills. It was only for “one time” while the church was without a pastor. After he spoke the first time, they kept inviting him back until finally one day the pastor search team contacted him and asked if we would meet with them. We were pretty set on going back to New Orleans, so David assured me that this was no big deal. At the end of the meeting, they looked at us and said, “We think you are going to be our next pastor.” I cried! Not tears of joy, but tears of sadness and fear. We wrestled with the decision for many weeks, our hearts torn, wanting to go back to New Orleans but wondering if this was a new direction the Lord was leading us. As always, the Lord was so gracious to make us ready for a new adventure! We moved to Birmingham in June of 2006 and have been at Brook Hills for 6 years. The Lord has done far more than we could ask or imagine. It’s not been easy, but wonderfully worth it.
You and David now have two sons, and just recently adopted your little girl from China (Congratulations!), but you faced setbacks and delays along the way. What is one lesson God taught you through that process and how would you encourage other couples currently pursuing adoption?
Adoption is not for the faint-hearted. There are always many ups and downs and twists and turns in the process. We started an adoption to Nepal about 4 years ago that never came to fruition due to the country closing to international adoptions. Along the way, the Lord changed our direction to China where we went this last fall and adopted a 16 month old girl. She is thriving beautifully in a family and is loved dearly by her older brothers. Adoption has taught me many things about the heart of God. In His strength, adoption is not easy, but it’s worth it.
What is one of the greatest challenges being a mother of young children and having a husband who pastors a large church?
Brook Hills has been an amazing encouragement to David and me from the beginning. They have allowed me as a mom and wife to fulfill my roles at home with little pressure to “be at everything” or “do everything” that is on the church calendar. I am grateful for that. Any family in ministry knows the tension that is there between your husband’s demands at work and the need to be available for family. We are constantly working on that balance and asking the Lord for wisdom and grace. Our family is young right now and has many needs. Brook Hills has been incredibly gracious to allow us to embrace these crazy “younger” years, and they are cheering us on along the way!
What is one piece of advice would you give to other pastors’ wives on loving and helping their husband?
Be available. He needs your love, your words of affirmation, and most of all your unconditional support. Be there when he needs to talk, when he needs some TLC and even when he needs to simply veg out and do nothing! He wants to know that you will follow his lead, no matter what. Not easy as a wife, but absolutely essential. We are in a fight for our marriages and husbands, and our husbands are worth fighting for! God’s name and glory are worth it!
Today we welcome back Heather Platt for part one of a three-part interview.
Can you tell us a little about your parents, your siblings, your growing up years?
I have 2 sisters, one older, one younger. We are very close to each other, although we are spread out in age. There is 17 years between my oldest and youngest sister. I had two incredibly loving and supportive parents as I grew up. My dad is a believer and my mom just recently became a believer before she passed away this past August. The Lord was so gracious to save her before she died. Her faith in Christ challenged and inspired me.
We would love to hear your conversion story—when and how did God reveal Jesus Christ to you?
At the beginning of my senior year of high school, my best friend invited me to go to youth camp with her church group. The first night of camp, the Lord began to do a work in my heart that would transform me from the inside out. I realized that I was deep in my sin and I couldn’t change on my own, I needed a Savior to cleanse me from my unrighteousness and fill the empty places in my heart. I confessed my complete surrender to Jesus and asked Him to take control of my life. The Lord began his transforming work in my heart that night that continues day by day.
When and how did you meet David? Can you briefly relate the story of your relationship from the time you met until you were married? Are there any funny or memorable moments you’d be willing to tell us about?
I met David at that same youth camp where the Lord saved me. I thought David was really cute and I was trying to get his attention so he would notice me. I was throwing the football with a friend, trying to get him to look my way, while he was on the stairs behind me memorizing the book of 2 Timothy! Typical! I got him though! We dated through some of high school and all of college and got married the day he graduated from the University of Georgia in 1999.
You and your husband lived in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina. Can you briefly describe your life and ministry there?
After we were married, we lived with David’s parents for 8 months to save money before we headed off to seminary in New Orleans, LA. I was hesitant at first about living in New Orleans. It seemed like such a crazy place, but the Lord changed my heart and made me ready for our new adventure. We LOVED living on campus at the seminary, making life long friends, and ministering in the city. It became an important part of our spiritual journey and marriage. David was mentored by an amazing professor, Dr Jim Shaddix, and I was mentored by Jim’s wife, Debra. The Lord used this family to teach us much about ministry, parenting, and marriage. They are still some of our closest friends. I taught school the whole time we were in New Orleans and truly enjoyed the path the Lord had set us on. David finished his masters then went on to complete his PhD and finally came on faculty at New Orleans Seminary. It was a sweet time in life and ministry.
What are your memories of living through Hurricane Katrina and how did God use the events following Katrina to lead you and your husband to The Church at Brook Hills?
I taught public school Pre-K while I lived in New Orleans. It was the Friday before my kids were supposed to arrive for their first day of school on Monday and my principal made an announcement over the intercom to put all our furniture in the middle of the room. She said there was going to be a storm over the weekend and some of the rooms flooded if it rained really hard. As a teacher, I had spent countless hours preparing for my new students and making my classroom look perfect! I grumbled as I moved all the furniture around saying to myself, “Who cares about a silly storm?” I got home that night and Dave and I watched the weather, questioning if we should evacuate or not. We decided to wait until the morning and make a decision then. By the time morning came, it was clear that evacuation was necessary, but we had already evacuated several times that season for possible hurricanes; this was no big deal. I threw in 3 days worth of clothes, my bag of jewelry, my wedding album, and my school bag to finish up some last minute work. We left Saturday morning, spent the night at a hotel in Lafayette and headed to a conference center in central Louisiana where David was scheduled to preach later that week. I’ll never forget, Katrina hit and all had seemed to go better than predicted. We were serving at a shelter that Monday night and David and a couple of guys were asked to hook up a video feed to the news so everyone could see what was going on. The TV turned on, and the Levees had just broken. We saw immense flooding throughout the New Orleans Metro area. The camera flashed scenes from all over the city, including the gas station a half mile up the road from where we lived. The water was up about 8-10 feet high in our area. We knew at that point that we had lost everything. It was a devastating and humbling time. We were grateful we had evacuated and had a place to go, but we watched in horror as people were stranded for days and weeks, waiting for someone to rescue them. We headed to David’s mom’s house in Atlanta and moved in with the Platt family once again!
(Tomorrow: part two of how God used Hurricane Katrina to bring Heather and David to Brook Hills.)
It’s been a few years, but we’re excited to bring back our girl~to~girltalk interview series. In the past, we’ve been privileged to give you a glimpse into the lives of women such as Noël Piper, Mary Mohler, and Nancy Leigh DeMoss. We have several interviews planned for the next few months and today we are very pleased to welcome Heather Platt to girltalk. Heather is the wife of David Platt, Senior Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills and author of the book Radical. Heather serves David as he leads the church and travels internationally. She is the busy mom of three young children. We have not yet had the privilege to meet Heather personally, but have been so blessed by her godly character that shines through in this interview. We are sure you will be blessed as well. We asked Heather to answer a few brief questions to help us get to know her. More of the interview will follow in the days ahead.
You probably know me as: David Platt’s wife
I’ve been married for: 13 years this December
My children are: Caleb - 6, Joshua - 4, Mara Ruth - 22 months, and one on the way, Lord willing, in November
I was born/grew up in: Atlanta, GA
After the Bible, the best Christian book I’ve ever read: That’s a tough one because I love to read. I have loved many books, but Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp and Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers are two of my favorites. I also love reading Christian biographies.
Currently I am reading: The Well-Trained Mind (it’s a homeschooling book so I can learn what in the world I am suppose to teach my kids for 1st grade!)
The movie I’ve watched more times than any other: It’s a Wonderful Life
The music you’re most likely to find me listening to: praise and worship
My favorite food: seafood
My favorite morning beverage: coffee
The household chore I most enjoy: cleaning and de-cluttering to make things more organized
If I have free time, you’ll most likely find me: reading or exercising
My favorite place in the world: the beach!
The Bible verse I return to most often: Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
It seems that translation issues are causing a more than usual number of funny moments in the Whitacre home of late. Last week Steve overheard Tori introducing Sophie to the characters on the Rice Krispies box. In her sweetest, most sincere five-year-old voice she explained: “Sophie, their names are Snap, Popple, and Crap.”
Our apologies to Mr. Crackle and Mr. Pop. We really love your cereal.
Hope you enjoy your weekend everyone!
Nicole for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
With Father’s Day right around the corner, we put Janelle back to work developing some new products for 52home@home. Check out a bunch of gift ideas below, including two new pictures from the 52home collection. Perfect for that hard-to-buy-for dad or husband!
One of the mistakes we make when we go online is to assume that because it is virtual, it is unrelated to virtue. That because things are out there on the Internet, they have no internal effect on our souls. But did you know there is an invisible yet very real string that runs from our laptop screen to our hearts? The question is, which way is it tugging us?
“Keep your heart with all vigilance,” the wise father urges in Proverbs, “for from it flow the springs of life” (4.23).
In the digital age, we understand vigilance—only we call it “staying connected.” We check Facebook countless times per day to see what our friends are up to or if they’ve left any messages on our wall. We have “push” on our phones to alert us of the latest tweet or message. We have news readers that bring us the most recent posts from all around the world wide web. When it comes to our online habits, we are nothing if not vigilant.
But what about our hearts? Do we have alerts set up to warn us if our hearts are being negatively influenced by our Internet habits? Are we constantly monitoring our affections for the things of God? What springs are flowing from our online activity?
It doesn’t take long for the “springs” of my online life to become polluted. I click on a few decorating blogs and before I know it I’m complaining about all the areas in my home that I wish I could change but don’t have the time, talent, or resources. Or, I log on to check the latest news and end up fighting anxiety over the most recent economic crisis, local crime wave, or political development.
Most often, the effect of my Internet use on my heart is gradual. Almost imperceptible. Over time I can become more in tune with the immediate and less aware of the eternal. More dissatisfied with what God has given me and more aware of what others have. More excited about what I can discover online and less excited about what I discover in God’s Word.
The straight edge of Proverbs 4:23 reveals the crookedness of our hearts. And so we would do well to pray with the old hymn:
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
A few Sundays ago, some friends invited my and Kristin’s family over for lunch after church. Yes, do some quick math in your head and you’ll realize that’s a lot of people. 4 Adults and 7 children. And these friends have 5 children of their own. Tara-Beth, you are a brave and gracious hostess. I still laugh when I think of MJ coming into the living room covered in watermelon (which she was eating in some other part of your house) and you just smiling and saying no-big-deal. I obviously have a large amount of sanctification that still needs to occur in my life.
Along with the wonderful fellowship and the messy children, we enjoyed some very yummy food. Tara-Beth served us a Cobb salad that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since we left—3 weeks ago now. I know, I really have it bad for this salad. It was delicious. She got the recipe from the well-known cooking blog Smitten Kitchen. But more than just being out-of-this world good, it was a fantastic dish for hospitality. Almost all of the parts can be prepared ahead of time so there is very little last minute prep involved. And have I mentioned that it is so so yummy?
Would anyone like to come over this Sunday? Cobb salad is on the menu.