You know the kind of friend, who, when you spend time with them, leaves you feeling closer to Jesus? Well, today’s guest, Kelly Hostetter, is definitely that kind of friend. After listening to today’s podcast episode, I’m sure you’ll agree. In this conversation, she talks about her life as a wife and mom of 8 children and her passion for hospitality. She also shares a faith story that will certainly leave you feeling encouraged about obeying the Lord. Additionally, we chat about Kelly’s favorite Scripture passages and how she practices soul care while caring for so many in her home.
This conversation was incredibly encouraging to me personally, and I hope it inspires you as well. If something you heard in today’s podcast resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it. Comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page. Also, please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!
My husband’s 40th birthday was last weekend. Forty is a big milestone and deserving of a worthy celebration. His original plan for celebrating his birthday was cancelled due to Covid, so I threw together a new birthday plan at the last minute. I pondered and thought about what he would most enjoy and settled on a weekend getaway.
Years ago, my husband mentioned that he would love to drive the whole Blue Ridge Parkway. So, armed with good intentions and a downloaded phone app, I began to plan his grand adventure. I even bought a portable DVD player for our van to help keep our kids occupied for the long journey. My idea was to drive him through Virginia to the northernmost point of the Parkway, then announce my grand plan, giving him the driver’s seat to explore the Parkway to his heart’s desire.
It’s a “choose your own adventure,” I told him. “You’re in charge of where we stop, where we hike, where we linger, and how fast we get home.” Truly, at this point I meant every word. My altruism was high, and I was looking forward to a fun, social-distanced, mini-vacation.
Five miles into our journey down the Parkway, my husband stopped at his first chosen destination: a picnic area with a scantily-mapped trail. We decided to take a risk and hike it. Because the trail was not well marked, my ever-techy husband brought his phone along to track it with GPS. We hiked until our pathway met up with the Appalachian Trail, and I figured it was time to head back. Instead, my husband, staring intently at his phone, announced that it looked like there was a small gravel road just through the trees to our left. He decided that it would be fun to try to find the gravel road and use it to hike back to our van.
Oh no. I seem to always forget that the Detweiler family doesn’t hike trails. They like to walk off-road, take short cuts, and blaze their own trails. Although I don’t like to think of myself as a rule-follower, when it comes to hiking, I generally feel safer following marked pathways.
“Are you sure you want to leave the trail? How can you tell there’s a gravel road?,” I cautiously asked my husband. He whipped out his phone to show me the directions. At this point, our children were whooping with glee, taking off through the woods to the aforementioned destination. Only I remained hesitant.
“Okay,” I gave in. “I did say it was your weekend to choose your own adventure. I just didn’t know it would come so soon.”
As we hiked through leaves, briars, and over an old stone wall, my boys and husband were delighted to explore. They were off on a grand adventure. Meanwhile, I felt my own attitude souring with anxiety and annoyance.
My beautiful trip idea had just met reality. It turns out I am not quite the adventurer that I wanted to be. I quickly discovered that when I am not the one in control, adventures are less fun and more anxiety-provoking.
I feel exactly the same way about my faith walk with Christ. Signing up for a life of faith is reminiscent of being on a “choose your own adventure” story where Someone else is deciding the adventure. In my heart and with good intention, I usually think that I’m ready for an adventure with Jesus. Then, when reality hits, when adversity hits, or when I can’t see where the trail is headed, I find myself questioning Him rather than trusting His plan.
Are you sure, Jesus, that this is what you called me to?
Is this really the path you’re leading me down?
What if it isn’t safe?
What if your plan doesn’t take me to the place I thought we were going?
What if this is harder than I thought it was going to be?
Oh, friends, I have a long way to go in my trust journey: with my husband and with the Lord. I have known both of them long enough to understand that they have my best in mind. They always have my back. Maybe this struggle says less about my husbands choices, or God’s plans, and more about my own heart? My own anxiety? My own discomfort? My own desire for control?
The life of faith is rarely a mountaintop experience. When our faith walk does happen to lead us up for a beautiful view, the climb is often arduous to get there. No, most of our lives will be spent on scantily-marked trails, walking step by step in faith through the mundanity of ordinary life. Either way, in the mundane or in the extraordinary, the Lord has a plan. We can trust Him. After all, He writes the very best adventure stories.
Pause, Renew, Next: As you look back over your faith journey, when have you found it hard to trust? How did those adventures turn out? Journal about the times that the Lord was faithful even when you weren’t sure exactly how the situation was going to turn out. Looking back at the Lord’s faithfulness gives us the ability to trust Him for the next adventure.
May we trust the Lord’s plans and may He make our paths straight.
I can’t wait to introduce you to today’s podcast biography subject: Katharina Luther. Her husband, Martin Luther, is one of the most famous men of church history. There are books and books written about his life, but his wife is written about much less often. However, she was incredibly important to the Reformation as well. So, in today’s episode you will hear plenty about Martin Luther (believe me, he is definitely a fascinating character), but we are really going to dive into the life of his nun-turned-wife, Katharina. Her faith and bravery are inspiring.
Katharina was important because the Reformation Movement may have looked very different were it not for Luther’s marriage to her. She and her husband are perhaps the most famous couple of Christian history. Katharina’s relationship with her husband helped him live out his theology and learn how to love. She was a bold woman who came from hard places and continued to have difficult circumstances her whole life: abandoned as a child, ostracized by the church and gossiped about, living through the death of two children, and then widowed as a young woman. She raised a family and held a property together at a time when women were not respected or left in charge. Still, through life’s adversity, Katharina’s bold faith sustained her.
Today’s biography episode came from the following resources:
I am encouraged by Katharina’s story, and I hope you are too. What stands out to you about her life and her faith? I’d love to hear about it! Drop a comment under today’s show notes or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.
This fall I have found a new favorite show to enjoy with my husband: the History Channel series, Alone. If you haven’t seen it, the show is all about wilderness survival in harsh and desolate climates. Ten contestants are dropped off in remote locations with limited supplies, and they compete to see who can live off the land longest using their own survival skills. They do all of this, you guessed it, alone.
The fact that I like this show is surprising given the fact that, for me, being alone anywhere for days or weeks at a time sounds like a nightmare. This extrovert enjoys alone time in short chunks only, yet there’s something almost therapeutic about watching people use their skills in the beauty and majesty of nature’s wilderness. Without having to leave the comfort of my living room, I can vicariously experience a little piece of nature. A few moments of solitude. (Nevermind that there are wild animals, starvation, and injuries…the idea of the wilderness is therapeutic anyway!)
The Lord keeps bringing me back to this idea of quiet and solitude. In some ways I find myself craving it. However, practically the minute that I find myself in silence, I immediately begin filling the space with noise or busyness. There’s always a to-do list to accomplish, a podcast to listen to, an email to write, a playlist to create, a message to respond to, or a social media app to check. Quiet and solitude just do not come easily to us humans, especially not in the modern age where there are distractions at every turn.
I’m coming to realize that the practice of solitude is something I’ll have to cultivate.
Jesus lived many years before cell phones or social media, yet he was a popular and wanted man. Everywhere he went, crowds gathered. From the time he woke up to the time he went to sleep, busyness could have enveloped him. Really, if anyone had an excuse to be busy, it was Jesus. After all, He understood that He only had 3 years to accomplish His ministry on earth. Still, in Luke 5, we see that He intentionally took time to slip away to quiet places to pray.
Jesus cultivated solitude. He carved out space and time to commune with His Father alone.
In no way can I relate to crowds following me from town to town like Jesus experienced. I can however, relate to four children needing me from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. I can relate to being present for clients who are in crisis. I can relate to writing and podcasting for the edification of others and sometimes feeling depleted myself. That’s what servant leadership is all about: being poured out and continually refilled. It seems that a key part of the refilling process which keeps us from burning out is the practice of solitude.
In the quiet hours with Jesus, He restores my soul.
In his book, The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen writes: “We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord. Without such a desert we will lose our own soul while preaching the gospel to others.”
As a mother, I can attest that there have been seasons when I have had little to no solitude. When you are the mother of littles, naptime may be the only quiet time you get the entire day. The days of caregiving can be long and exhausting, and the few moments of quiet you have may easily turn into a short snooze. Yet, even in those quickly snatched moments of rest, the Lord has restored my soul. Sometimes solitude may look like rest.
In no way am I writing this blog post as an expert on solitude. Far from it. I am at the beginning of learning how to cultivate solitude in my own life. As I embark, I hope you will join me in turning off the noise when it becomes too much. In going outside and taking a breath and enjoying nature. In talking to Jesus in the quiet spaces of your day. I can’t wait to hear the creative ways you incorporate solitude into your life rhythm.
Pause: Take a deep belly breath and slowly exhale. Take a moment and consider Luke 5:16. What stands out to you about Jesus setting aside time to be in the wilderness to pray?
Renew: What is hard for you about solitude? Is it the idea of being still and quiet? Is it the demands of the day? When you are able to sit in stillness, what do you notice about your prayer life?
Next: Consider ways that you might carve out moments of solitude in your daily routine. Get creative! Mrs. Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, famously put her head under her apron to escape her 12 children and pray when she needed a break!
May we learn to quiet our minds and hearts in the quiet places of solitude.
I am always happy to have my favorite person on the podcast: my husband, Derek. He and I watched The Social Dilemma recently, and on this podcast episode we talk through some of the thoughts and concerns presented in the movie regarding gaming and social media. As a computer programmer and game designer, Derek has a lot of working knowledge about the ways that games are produced and how they make money.
We discussed our concerns about the amount of time we are spending on our phones, as well as the addictive qualities of many of the apps we use. We also chat about how social media is causing us to spend more time in our own echo chambers. Conversely, we talk about some of the benefits of social media.
At the end of the episode, Derek and I share some of our own soul-care practices in guarding our minds and time on our phones. I hope you find this podcast episode encouraging in working out your own technology boundaries and soul-care practices.
If you you enjoyed this podcast episode, please share and subscribe. You can comment below today’s show notes, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.
Last Sunday afternoon, our church small group met at a park. As our children played on the playground nearby, the adults circled around in our lawn chairs and cracked open our Bibles. We are reading through the book of Mark, and that afternoon, the end of Mark Chapter 1 grabbed my attention. In that passage, Jesus healed a leper and then firmly told the newly-healed man not to tell anyone that he had been healed by Jesus. Of course, the man did the very opposite of this and went around proclaiming everywhere that he had been miraculously healed by this man, Jesus.
But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.
Mark 1:45 NASB
Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city. His fame preceded Him, but He had actively tried to prevent it. What kind of a leader subverts his fame and authority by asking people not to talk about him? What kind of platform builder stays in unpopulated areas? What kind of King comes to announce himself by healing the marginalized: the women, the outcasts, the sick, and the demon-possessed?
The kind of King who comes with an upside down Kingdom, that’s who.
Much of my adult walk with the Lord has been spent carefully inspecting what I’ve been taught about Jesus and the Gospel and studying the Scriptures to discover who He is for myself. I am especially captivated with the imagery Jesus uses to describe who He is and what His kingdom is all about. He seemed to do this most through the questions He asked and the stories He told. Most of the time, it seems He left his disciples with more questions than answers, and it’s no surprise. His Kingdom is perplexing. It is upside down. It absolutely flies in the face of everything we as humans are taught about greatness, leadership, fame, and reward.
In God’s Kingdom, power is perfected in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
In God’s Kingdom, the last shall be first. Matthew 19:30
The Kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3
In God’s Kingdom, losing your life is the way to find it. Matthew 10:39
In God’s Kingdom, neighbors love each other like they love themselves. Matthew 22:39
In the Kingdom of Heaven, humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33
Members of the Kingdom of God save up heavenly treasures, not earthly ones. Matthew 16:20
In this upside down, unexpected Kingdom, the King arrived as a tiny baby in an outskirt town, raised as a carpenter’s son. He chose twelve unqualified disciples to mentor. He was wrongfully arrested and didn’t fight back. He was crucified, and rather than staying dead and buried, He had the audacity to resurrect and beat death at its own game.
The Kingdom that Jesus ushered in is by all standards a paradox. It is a Kingdom of alreadyand not yet. His Kingdom cannot be shaken, but remains invisible to the naked eye. It has been at work for 2,000 years, but is not yet glorified in its fulfilled, tangible state.
I often pray that the Lord would give me eyes to see and ears to hear His Kingdom at work.
Because it is, you know. It’s at work all of the time, whether we are aware or not.
Its evidence is rarely obvious. It doesn’t often show up in signs and wonders. Rather, we more often see it in the wide-eyed, innocent trust of small children. We can see it in the endurance of saints persecuted around the world. We can see it in the hard choices of loving difficult people. We can see it in the beauty of adoption. We can see it in lives transformed through the Gospel.
However, there is another kingdom also at work. It is an earthly kingdom where power, fame, strength, and beauty reign. In this kingdom, everyone looks out for their own interests. In this kingdom, one must manipulate or out-perform others to get ahead. In this kingdom, everyone must make a name for themselves. In this kingdom, lust and greed are not just everyday occurrences, they are glorified. Do not be deceived. These are the lullabies that rock us to sleep on our TVs, our smart phones, and our social media feeds.
As the kingdoms of this world contend for our attention, let’s not forget there’s another Kingdom at work. It’s coming is sure. We can bank on it.
Pause, Renew, Next: Take a quiet moment and consider: how does God’s kingdom differ from the way normal kingdoms are run? Where do you see His Kingdom at work around you?
Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to see where Your Kingdom is at work around us. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Any long-time PRN listeners know that I love the Enneagram, so I was thrilled to chat with guest and Enneagram Coach Melissa Corkum about it on today’s podcast episode. This is the second part of my interview with Melissa. In the first part of our conversation we discussed connected parenting, and if you missed that episode go back and check it out. On today’s podcast we continued our conversation by talking about all things Enneagram.
Melissa became interested in the Enneagram after listening to a podcast a few years ago and quickly dove in to learn more about the Enneagram for herself. She read books, listened to podcasts, and then became a certified Enneagram Coach. In this episode, she gives an overview of what the Enneagram is, how it can be used for personal and relational growth and understanding, and how it applies to her life and family. She also talks about how it can be a helpful parenting tool.
During the episode, Melissa mentioned two books that she found helpful in learning more about the Enneagram: The Road Back to You and The Essential Enneagram. Melissa now serves as an Enneagram Coach and loves to help others grow in their knowledge of themselves and their relationships. She believes that the Enneagram is a powerful tool for family growth and has written a short book on parenting and the Enneagram that you can learn more about at her website.
I had so much fun talking with Melissa, and I hope you enjoyed our conversation too! If something from today’s podcast episode resonated with you, please comment below or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page. If you liked this episode, please share it with others.
Did you know that your interactions with others take place mostly through nonverbal communication? At an often subconscious level, our brains are taking cues from others. We notice body language, tone of voice, shifts in mood, and facial expressions. In fact, our brains process facial expressions and tone of voice before processing the words being spoken to us.
We are designed and wired this way from birth. Infants come into the world primed and ready for attachment with a primary care giver. It is no accident that newborn babies can see 8-12 inches, the exact distance from a loving mother’s arms to her eyes. From this place of feeding and cuddling, the baby gazes at his mother’s face, discerning love and care. From the consistency of these face to face, loving interactions, the infant begins to conclude, “I am precious. I am valuable. My voice matters. My needs will be taken care of.”
Our Creator designed us to take cues from others and to communicate at a deep level through facial expression. How confusing then, that we are unable to see His face. We are for all intents and purposes trying to spiritually attach to a Heavenly Father who is invisible. We cannot see Him.
As a teenager, I remember complaining to my Mom that faith in Jesus would be easier if He would just come and sit down with me. I wanted to see Him and touch Him. She remarked that I reminded her of her friend Robin, who would often say similar things, wishing to see God’s “skin-face.”
Truly, Jesus did have a skin-face. He was a man of flesh and blood who walked the earth. Some lived to see Him and tell the story (I John 1:1). However, for those of us who believe without seeing, faith is necessary to fill in the gaps.
The Lord does describe Himself as our attachment figure. Throughout Scripture, the Lord writes of Himself as a Father and sometimes even uses motherly imagery. He is not distant and far off, but He longs to draw near to His children. He longs to provide for them, to love them, and to care for them. He is the ultimate attachment figure, and He hasn’t forgotten about the importance of His face in expressing this love to us.
I absolutely adore the priestly blessing in Numbers 6. When I was growing up, my pastor would pray it over our congregation as a benediction. I have prayed it over my children and my foster children numerous times over the years. It is rich, deep, and beautiful. The Lord Himself gave this blessing to Aaron, priest of the Israelites, to pray over the people of Israel.
The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.
Numbers 6: 24-26
Did you see it? He talked about His face! With all the words of blessing the Lord could have spoken over His people, He purposely spoke about His face. He wanted to make His face shine on His people. He wanted to lift up His countenance on them. These are signature moves of love and care. He is bestowing favor and love to His children through His face.
I believe wholeheartedly that one day I will see my Savior and Creator face to face and it will be magnificent. I will see His facial expressions, I will hear His tone of voice, and I will get to touch Him. For now, I can hold on to Scripture, the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and the love found in the Body of Christ to help fill in the gaps.
We can also rely on our imaginations, which are God-given resources. Richard J. Foster, author of the Celebration of Discipline, writes about using imagination to help meditate upon the text of Scripture. Although I cannot see God’s face, I can imagine how He might speak to me. I can imagine His facial expression. Many times, I have pretended Jesus was sitting next to me in the car when I was deep in prayer. It helps me ground the conversation to the present in a real and meaningful way. In what ways do you incorporate imagination into your faith walk?
Pause: Take a deep belly breath and slowly exhale. When you’re ready, read back through the blessing in Numbers 6 written above. What resonates with you from this passage?
Renew: How does this topic challenge or change the way you’ve thought about your relationship with God? Have you ever thought of Him as an attachment figure in your life? Journal and pray through your thoughts about this topic.
Next: In the coming days and weeks, try using your imagination to meditate on passages of Scripture. How does the text come alive as you dwell on it?
May we feel the radiance of His countenance, friends!
It was a delight to talk to Melissa Corkum on today’s podcast episode. Melissa wears a lot of hats, including Empowered to Connect parent trainer, Enneagram Coach, and Essential Oil Specialist. Melissa is a mother both through birth and adoption and shares in this episode about how parenting adopted children led her to learn more about connected parenting. She now loves to help others learn to parent using a more brain-based view of behaviors. Her tagline is “laugh more and yell less.” As an adoptive mother myself, I have been a fan of connected parenting for a long time, and I loved getting the chance to talk about it on the podcast.
Melissa is also a co-host of The Adoption Connection podcast. If you’d like to learn more about connected parenting and gain tips and tools for parenting adopted children, you will enjoy her podcast. In addition, Melissa has made her on-demand training library available to PRN listeners. To access these resources, go to: thecorkboardonline.com/prn.
I had so much to discuss with Melissa that we couldn’t fit it all into one podcast episode! So, in the next episode we continue our conversation about one of my favorite topics, the Enneagram. Make sure to come back in two weeks to hear that conversation.
If something you heard on today’s podcast episode resonated with you, or you know someone for whom this information would be helpful or encouraging, please subscribe and share! You can comment below today’s show notes or join the conversation on PRN’s facebook page.
I come from a small family. I have one sister and no cousins. Therefore, I did not grow up going to large family reunions. By contrast, my husband has seventeen aunts and uncles and countless cousins. Family reunions in his family are loud and joyous affairs.
My introduction to this dynamic came a few months after we were engaged. His grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and I was graciously invited to attend the celebration. There was lots of food, family, friends, and stories shared from the past. Near the end of the evening, one particular story began to unfold.
My husband’s grandparents were asked to stand on the stage, as a narrator began to tell the story of their life together. As they reached the part of their marriage story where they had children together, all of their sons and daughters joined them on the stage. Then, their children got married, so all of the spouses joined them on the stage. Then, they had grandchildren and all of the grandchildren joined them on the stage. At this point, there were probably more people on the stage than there were left in the audience.
The narrator announced that their family motto was: “There’s always room for one more.” At this point, they announced our engagement and asked me to also join the family on the stage. It was a warm, welcoming feeling to be included in such a legacy story. It feels good to be welcomed into a family.
There’s always room for one more. This phrase signifies inclusion. It signifies welcome. It signifies an open door. As far as family mottos go, this is a fantastic one. Now, let’s imagine: What if this was not just a family motto, but the message of the church? What if this was the message of our small groups or Bible studies?
Jesus spent his life ministering to and teaching a group of rag-tag disciples. He seemed to collect followers wherever he went. He didn’t seem to be bothered by them. In fact, it seemed he went out of his way to find them. Jesus didn’t even send them away when they ran out of food (Matthew 14). His disciples were afraid at the lack of provision and began to worry. They wondered, will there be enough? The self-preservation instinct will always get in the way of inviting new people in. Jesus, however, took the food that was, and multiplied it, providing enough for everyone. No one was hungry and no one was sent away.
As Christ followers, we are the light of the world and a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14). It’s awfully hard to hide light on a hilltop. It serves as an advertisement to everyone for miles: there’s provision here.
At this moment in history our American culture is divided and fragmented. I wish I could say that it didn’t seem to be affecting the Christians, but it does. Social media is a war zone of differing opinions. Instead of spreading a table for everyone, often we’re guilty of spreading tables for only those who share our likeness or values.
How, as the family of Christ, can we send out the banner: there’s always room for one more? This table isn’t closed. It isn’t ugly, divisive, or hypocritical. It’s where Life and Peace can be found. All are welcome here. We are brothers. We are sisters. We are sons and daughters of the King. Come, join us!
During this season of fear and anger, let us remember: the Kingdom of God is alive and well. The Holy Spirit is in the business of bringing new people to the table. Let us join arms as a family and be ready to welcome them with open arms.
Pause: Take a deep belly breath and slowly exhale. When you’re ready, read through the above verse a few times. What stands out to you about this verse?
Renew: Take a minute to evaluate your own life. In what ways and by what people have you been made to feel welcome? How did this affect you? In what ways and at what times do you try to make others feel welcome?
Next: As we collectively navigate a pandemic and divisive election, how can we go about treating each other with honor and provide welcome to new believers? What could that look like in our churches? What could that look like in your life?
May we remember the joy of being welcomed into the family of God and share that joy with others.