Melanie Shankle remembers her grandparents and the way they loved her through the small things. There wasn't a parade or lots of fanfare. It was walking down the street in the afternoon for an ice cream. They made regular moments special because they loved her in them. The small things held meaning. In her new book, Church of the Small Things, Melanie considers the everyday elements of significance that make up a simultaneously ordinary and incredible life.
No surprise, we laughed our way through this interview with Melanie Shankle. From grey roots to Chris Tomlin as her college worship leader, to the recent increase in the tooth fairy's payout and overall game, we cover the everyday moments that make up Melanie's life. Her wit and willingness to laugh both at and with her own routines and decisions endear her to us. We are confident you will find a girlfriend, yes a sister, in Melanie Shankle.
For the woman who needs a lift in her day. For the woman who finds herself in a life of small things. For the woman who knows a little lighthearted sisterly talk would do her good, this episode is made for you.
Sally Clarkson is a woman who loves the table. She knows that it can be an anchor for families and friends to gather. It can be a place of tradition. It can be simple or elaborate, but it must always be welcoming and safe. A trusted voice on areas of parenting and homemaking, our conversation with Sally is one that will inspire you to make your table a place of refuge for those in your home.
We at once felt as though Sally understood us as women and moms. Both what we hope for and our current realities. We talk about her young adult children coming back to the table, the recipes they request when they’re home from their lives abroad, and the conversations that linger into the evening because they started at the table. We hear the beginnings of Whole Heart Ministries and what they are doing today.
You won’t want to miss this encouraging and insightful conversation. From Christmas Eve dinner to getting kids to sit (or not) at the table, you’ll find a trusted fried and mentor in Sally Clarkson.
Service is a great antidote for the self centered culture in which we live. Most of us want to help nurture this in our children, and give them a heart for a world, but often we don't know where to begin. How do we start? What do we do? Should we help globally or locally?
Tricia Goyer, author of the new book Walk It Out, joins me on the podcast today to talk about these questions and more. She offers fresh perspective on how to use experiences from our past to help others, why giving away crockpots to teen moms makes a difference, the best story series she reads with her kids to learn about the world, and how her daughter ended up as a missionary in the Czech Republic.
Service has the potential to truly change and transform us in multiple ways. Let's learn from this master teacher together.
It's fall! And for many families that means football. This special episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast features two women with similar stories that surround family and football. In both cases it's about reaching out to a young man, a football player, offering him a safe place to live, and in the process changing their family forever. In fact the details they share may sound eerily like a movie you know. We are calling this our special Blind Side episode.
Jolene's story started with her husband who is a high school football coach in Washington state. As coaches do, he developed a relationship with a player, Roderick. When Jolene's husband learned Roderick was in crisis, homeless with no support system, he invited him to come to their home and live with them. It quickly became evident to Jolene and her husband that Roderick was meant to be part of their family. He is finishing high school this semester headed to Washington State University to study and play football.
Emily's story started in their neighborhood. She joined together with some other moms to care for a young man needing support, Garett Bolles. Each of the moms took a night once a week to offer him dinner and some homework help. Emily's family's relationship with Garett grew and when he became homeless, Garett came to live with them. They got him ready for junior college and then he transferred to the University of Utah to be close to home. Last spring Garett was drafted by the Denver Broncos and is beginning his NFL career as a husband, father and son.
At The Open Door Sisterhood we point women to be world changers right where they are. There is no question these two women are. They looked at a young man within their circle of influence and opened their hearts in ways that felt risky, but they would now say were with immeasurable reward. How does one measure gaining a son? A truly inspiring special episode of the podcast just for you.
Katie Davis Majors did an extraordinary thing as a young adult. Right after high school she moved from Nashville to Uganda and eventually adopted thirteen girls. Her story was chronicled in the New York Times Best Seller Kisses From Katie. But much has happened in her life since that book came out. She's gotten married, had a son, and the ministry she started to support Ugandan children and families has grown. But she has also experienced great loss. In this interview we pick up where Kisses From Katie left off.
In this interview we hear about Katie's life today, how God has shown her to trust him despite prayers not being answered in the way she'd wanted, and what it's like to get close to someone after loss. We learn about the ministry she started when she first moved to Uganda, and how it has grown over the years. You won't want to miss this episode with an amazing woman who does radical things with a humble obedience because she hears God's call.
In a culture of comfort it's important for us to hear voices like Katie's. We may not be called to go to the other side of the world or to adopt a number of children, but we are called to a humble obedience. Katie's story is full of next steps, hard things that she tackled in order to be a world changer right where she is. She didn't begin her journey to Uganda at 18 knowing her life would look like it does today, she simply took that next step.
If you've ever wondered if constant exposure to social media is having an effect on teenage girls, the answer is yes. While we can't be sure of the depth of the impact, we do know that it contributes to feelings of low self-worth, the desire for approval, and perfectionism. These, in turn, can lead to other self-harming behaviors.
After realizing that her daughter had an eating disorder, Kristen Hatton decided to investigate what lay beneath the surface of her own child's issue, and along the way discovered that the feelings her teen was battling was a common experience for many teen girls.
We discuss how story can lead to better conversations about important topics in the home, how enabling differs from helping, and why it's important to create a culture where it is OK to fail. Don't miss this important episode!
Rachel Swanson was coloring with her daughter and searched for a devotional coloring book they could do together. She didn’t find anything on the market and decided to create one of her own. We hear how God prompted her to pursue this project and her journey became one of taking the next step, doing the hard thing, in order to be a world changer for good right where she was.
A woman who encourages other women to pursue their dreams, is doing the same in her own life. Hear how Rachel, a life coach, urges women to identify and carve out time for the things that give them the most joy. We also hear how she tells her identical twin boys apart, what she is willing to give up precious sleep for..
Rachel invites us into her process as if we were sitting across from each other. A warm, lighthearted episode, we hope you’ll find one sister’s story of walking through the doors God is opening to be both inspiring and encouraging for you to do the same.
In a world where bigger, louder, and more seems to be the goal, Sara Haggerty is on a quest to find the quiet, unseen places. Or more specifically, to meet God in those places. It’s hard to do when you have a house full of children. And yet even when we are surrounded by people we can feel unseen. It's these moments of feeling misunderstood, invisible or overlooked that we can find God has not forgotten about us.
This interview is in a word: delightful. Sarah’s humor, combined with her earnest pursuit of God’s purposes for her, are both endearing and inspiring. She shares about feeling invisible along her journey of infertility, her adoption story, and then surprise pregnancy process, and her new book Unseen. A beautiful reminder that God knows us and is with us when it feels the world has forgotten our pain.
You won't want to miss this sister interview. It is both practical and inspirational, just how we like to do it here at the sisterhood. And don't forget to find Sarah's newest book.
Art and creativity can be powerful tools when we are wading through difficult emotions and a journey of healing. Today on the Hey Sister! show we discuss how art can help us look at scripture in fresh ways, how visuals can be a form of prayer, and how the act of practicing all forms of creativity can foster growth and strength.
Gayla Irwin, author of Creative Moments of Grace, explains what major life event thrust her into a deeply painful place and what role art played in her own life as she dealt with her overwhelming grief.
In the show notes on theopendoorsisterhood.com Gayla provided a helpful list of extensive resources for anyone looking to use art on their healing path.
Shauna Shanks' life changed in an instant. The moment her husband told her he didn't want to be married anymore. No surprise, everything stopped. And in her cries out, God gave her a clarity to fight for her marriage by focusing on 1 Corinthians 13, a chapter in the Bible about love. Her discipline to display love to her husband became a spiritual journey of obedience, then developing into a deep intimacy with God. A beautiful example that even the most devastating of circumstances can be used for God's good.
In this interview we hear Shauna's marriage story. How she felt they were doing before her husband dropped the bomb of news on her, why she stayed and tried to work through it, the people that held her up along the way, and how her husband's heart softened over time. We talk through the feeling of love versus the action of love, how Shauna was able to quickly forgive her husband, and what kept her going in moments of discouragement. Shauna knows not every story of infidelity works its way to reconciliation, but because hers did, she wants to share that reuniting is a possibility.
At The Open Door Sisterhood we are cheerleaders for women who take that next step, do that hard thing in order to be world changers for good right where they are. Shauna's story of obedience to God's specific direction in her life is a great example of what we hold dear at the sisterhood. May it be a story of inspiration to you, regardless of your circumstances or marital status. Let us be clear, we know there are often valid and honorable reasons for a wife to say enough when it comes to infidelity and broken trust. Sometimes reconciliation is possible, and often it isn't. This is Shauna's story. As it turns out Shauna's marriage survived. We celebrate restoration when we find it.
What does it mean to honor your life? In this episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast we dive into this question with author and speaker Chrystal Evans Hurst. She starts by asking "Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered, 'Where did I go? Whose life am I living?'" After hearing from many women, Chrystal believes this is a common feeling. That we are disillusioned from our daily purpose and need to get back in line with how God made us. That somewhere in our journeys we drift from that little girl and the spark she had for life, to a woman disappointed with where she is.
In this episode we talk through expectations, disappointment, changes big and small, and how to get to "ground zero" of our lives. Crystal shares the acronym GAIN (Gifts, Abilities, Interests and Nature) as a tool that can help women reconnect with, or discover for the first time, who God created them to be. We talk through facing feelings head on versus stuffing them and the behavior that results from both. We also hear about Chrystal growing up the daughter of church planters and what Sunday suppers looked like in her house.
A dynamic conversation, Chrystal does not disappoint in either the laughs or the wisdom. Her journey has included being a single, teen mother, homeschooling her kids, serving at her church, and writing her first book with her father. We welcomed Chrystal with a wholehearted podcast hug into the sisterhood and we know you will find her a kindred spirit in this journey of living out our faith within the context of our circumstances. This episode is all about taking that next step and doing that hard thing in order to honor the life God has given you.
Are you someone who has to move a lot because of a job? Or maybe you are a military family who has to continually plant, and then uproot. Or maybe you have recently made a decision to move because you want to be closer to family or friends. Whatever the reason, today on Hey Sister! we are discussing how to create home wherever you are -- whether you are choosing the place, or it's being chosen for you.
My guest today is Bekah Di Felice. After years of moving as a military family, Bekah decided to write about her journey to create home amidst the transience in her new book, Almost There: Searching For Home in a Life On The Move. We talk about how we create a new definition of home, what it means to be a pursuer of people, what the first thing is that a person should do when moving into a new house, and practical ways we can make a new geographical location feel more familiar.
We also touch on how people can help others create a sense of home who are moving into their area. Too often, when we are the ones who are rooted in a place, we forget to keep reaching out and inviting others into our comfortable circles.
This interview will offer fresh inspiration as you strive to make home wherever you are!
Michelle Warren swears she's not political, that she simply wants to help her neighbors. It was this drive that thrust her into the advocacy arena. As the Advocacy and Strategic Engagement Director for the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), Michelle directs national advocacy around platform issues: immigration, mass incarceration and education equity. Her desire to advocate for policies on behalf of her neighbors took her on an unexpected path, back to graduate school to get her Masters in Public Administration, and now traveling around the country speaking to groups about these issues.
Michelle's community work started locally in Denver where she continues to be involved in her church, and works to fit in laundry and grocery shopping for her family amid her busy travel schedule. Michelle's proximity to those living with fewer resources inspired her desire to be informed. This in turn pushed her toward action, believing that God calls us to act when we see injustice played out. Whether immigration reform or incarceration, Michelle sees beyond the issue as purely theoretical or theological, but to the people impacted by the topic at hand.
A quick mind and a passionate resolve combined with a desire to follow God's call to justice, you'll be fascinated to hear how each step in Michelle's journey led her to where she is today. For the woman who wonders if she should take that next step, for the one who is willing to do the hard thing, for the Jesus follower wondering if God is calling her to get off the bench on an issue and into the advocacy arena, this episode is a must.
Movement is healing according to Edie Littlefield Sundby. So when she was diagnosed with stage 4 gallbladder cancer, Edie began to walk. Her journey became a pilgrimage. A long and hot one along the El Camino Real Mission Trail. First through California and then through Mexico, making her the first person since the 1770s to walk the sixteen-hundred-mile mission trail. But our interview with Edie starts at the beginning, her beginning. One of 12 children on an Oklahoma cotton farm, no electricity, working from an early age, then putting herself through college and moving up the ranks of tech companies and starting her own, she had nothing to prove when the cancer diagnosis came.
A pilgrimage is often a journey to the past. Edie Littlefield Sunby hiked the El Camino Real Mission Trail as a way of dealing with her present. However as she took step after step of gratitude along her journey, she connected to many of her childhood lessons of grit, gratitude and God's provision. This sister interview gives us a peek into Edie's childhood on an Oklahoma cotton farm, her rise in the corporate tech world, and her pilgrimage of miles and miles through the desert with only one lung. We hear about the vaquero cowboys who guided her through the Mexican portion of the trail, how her husband could follow her progress through the desert, and why she felt compelled to take this journey.
Truly a story like none other we've highlighted on the podcast, you will not want to miss Edie's tale of grit and healing. She is a woman of deep faith and strong character. Her determination to live paired with her acceptance of her diagnosis is inspiring.
Have you ever gone through a season that knocked your confidence? Or maybe you've never figured out how to harness confidence at all. Whether you are struggling with getting confidence back, or striving to discover it for the first time, this interview will give you fresh insight into what creates confidence and how we reclaim it for our own, despite our circumstances.
Using her own story as a starting place, Tricia Lott Wiliford shares how she lost all confidence and joy after watching her husband suddenly die in her arms. As a widowed single mom, she was thrust into a two year darkness. The trauma birthed a deep depression from which she was not sure she would recover.
In this interview we discuss how to grieve well, what confidence is, and how we can lean into joy even in the midst of adversity. We also dig into courage journals, the "I'm too much" syndrome, why it makes all the difference to smile first, what her brother taught her about jealousy, and her unbreakable rule in the dating world.
You will love Tricia's honesty, warmth, and wisdom in this interview!
Nicole Johnson knows busy. As a mom of two and a dramatist with Women of Faith she was maintaining a steady pace. And then a life event sent her in a downward spiral she couldn't escape. She realized she needed to find internal calm in the midst of external crazy. This episode is our conversation with her about this journey.
Nicole explains what it means to react verses contemplate in stressful moments, why fear and avoidance of being still can cripple us, and how facing hard feelings is often not as hard as we think it will be. We talk through the Prayer of Examen, what that has meant for Nicole and how she makes a quiet space in her home when she needs to recenter. This is a conversation that challenges us to stop in order to be in the difficult places. Not something we often want to do. But as Nicole explains we can find a richness of God's presence and care for us in our brokenhearted places.
You will want to listen in to this conversation. In a world of busy we can intentionally and unintentionally avoid our pain. In our attempts to mask the difficult we miss how God can meet us in all circumstances, feelings and fears. We don't need to keep moving sisters. We can stop and feel the pain and hurt. God meets the brokenhearted right where we are. He is already in our grief and fear. We need to stop long enough to recognize and settle into his presence.
Candice Curry's story has had its share of heartache. From a father who was a con man and battled mental illness, to divorce and infidelity, to unexpected triplets and financial strain, she knows what it is to live under pressure. And yet she walks through life these days with a freedom she attributes to God's restoration of her spirit and her marriage. A refreshing straight forward storyteller, Candice is frank about her past and her current freedom, giving Christ credit for the drastic change that happened in her family.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to have three infants at once, to have a father who stole cars and gave them to you as birthday gifts, to celebrate your daughter's step-mother because she is both beautiful and kind, then this is the episode for you. Candice talks about healthy co-parenting, the gift of step-parents, and God's use of a broken air conditioner to save her marriage. As a mom of five, she cooks for a crowd and an age span of kids. We are certain you will find her a kindred spirit as she finds true refreshment in God's provision.
At The Open Door Sisterhood we are committed to highlighting women's stories. Women who say yes to God in all kinds of circumstances. Candice has a unique story, one that in some ways none of us can relate to and in other ways all of us can. We walk the same road toward hope, no matter where are steps land along the way.
As our teenagers grow, we do our best to set them up for success for life. We teach them to drive, set up a bank account, help them learn about car insurance and credit, and offer support for college applications. But what about an issue equally important, that could profoundly affect the rest of their lives? Do we spend the same amount of intentional energy and time talking to our teens and young adults about sex?
Tracy Levinson, author of Unashamed - Candid Conversations about Dating, Love, Nakedness, and Faith, joins Hey Sister! today to speak candidly and directly about the most pressing issues surrounding this topic. You will be surprised, and maybe even blush a little, as we dive honestly into issues not frequently talked about in a public space.
Whether you are a parent of young children, looking to prepare and equip, or you are in the midst of the teen/young adult years, this podcast will embolden you with courage and hope.
Sharon Miller has found herself in some public conversations in recent years. As a PhD, writer, and soon to be author, her voice is one of encouragement to women pursuing Jesus. She sifts through Scripture to discern if particular expectations and behaviors are cultural or are indeed directed by God's word. Sharon holds a posture of listening to learn. Whether with friends who bring difference to the conversation or her own Bible, she wants to know what is, so she can better understand and walk through the doors God is opening.
We talk with Sharon about her research, the impact of speaking to others about their potential, and the value of having a support system cheering you on. We hear why she started writing years ago, how her writing platform has grown and created some interesting online interactions, and how asking for help is one of her must haves in life. We learn a little about her new book, Free of Me, and the difference between diminishing ourselves and right-sizing ourselves to God's greatness.
Sharon's warmth comes through in this interview. We are sure you will find her to be a woman on your side as you pursue a life of following Jesus. She is humble in her accomplishments, takes a posture of learning both in the classroom and the living room, and points us all away from ourselves and back to the greatness that is God. You will feel her gentle nudge to pursue Jesus with a sincere heart after listening to our conversation.
What happens when life changes suddenly? Gari Mitchell was living her regular life in 1988. She was taking her two kids to school, enjoying tennis with her friends, when she had a routine sinus surgery. She woke up to debilitating depression that lasted for ten years. And then a phone call a few years later from the FBI changed her new normal even further. The following months resulted in her husband, Bo, going to prison for ten months while Gari tried to hold their life together.
A woman whose life was turned upside down a few times, she found an intense intimacy and dependence on God. With years now since those events went down, she can see with a clarity that time and perspective offer that God’s presence was palpable and her own growth exponential during those difficult years. She talks about her children's journey, how she was spiritually prepared for the difficult when it came, and how those years impacted her marriage for the better.
Gari’s story is one of life changing dramatically and quickly, of feeling as though the rug had been pulled out from under her. It is a story of clinging to Jesus in the middle of the darkness, wondering if life will ever feel good again. It is one of perseverance, and ultimately victory, because God was right there in the middle of the heartache. Yes, Gari’s story is one for the sisterhood because it is about those doors we must walk through and find God on the other side.
Like a sleeping giant, anger can sit dormant or relatively calm until we become parents. Then, suddenly, it can feel like it wakes up and takes over. If you feel that parenting triggers anger, on any level, this podcast is for you.
My guests for this episode, Amber Lia and Wendy Speake, are the authors of Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. We discuss common parenting issues that cause us to explode inappropriately at our children. Moving beyond simple parenting tips on how to change your child’s behavior, Amber and Wendy offer biblical insight that gets to the deeper internal places of the heart.
From setting reminders on your phone, to coming up with new plans for old patterns, to affirming positive behavior, we discuss practical ways that parents can break the cycle of anger and emerge more patient, kind, grace-filled and effective.
What happens when prayers aren’t being answered? At least in the way we are asking God to answer them? When the circumstances we desperately want to change, don’t? In this episode we talk about this with our guest Ann Swindell. Her new book, Still Waiting, is birthed from her own experience of moving through life within the context of unanswered prayers. Where she has been still waiting.
We talk with Ann about living with trichotillomania, postpartum depression, and years of unanswered prayers. This is a conversation about calling out what we hope for and trusting God regardless of his timing. This is not a faith for the faint of heart. But one that believes God is good regardless of circumstances because that is his nature. There's no question this is the part of life that is hard. We are here to talk about the difficult places.
For the woman who is crying out to God and waiting for his answers. For the woman who wants to be compassionate to her sister on that journey. For the woman who needs to be reminded that God’s promises are dependable, but don’t always arrive in the packaging we expect. This is the sisterhood.
Lisa Whittle is a woman who gets to the bottom of things quickly. She calls herself a bottom line person. So she tells it as she sees it, but always with a humble spirit. This combination of self disclosure with honest (and sometimes uncomfortable) truth makes her a voice worth listening to in this noisy world.
A mom of three, we cover Lisa's latest adventures of moving, and then moving a year later back into the same house, feeding high school football players, holding to her own family's plans loosely while trying to discern God's voice and direction. You will be inspired as she talks about getting tired of her own comfort and pushing toward Jesus regardless of the cost, letting go of her own ideas of how his plan should go, and recognizing her change is sometimes God's intended outcome. We hear about Lisa's new book Put Your Warrior Boots On, what opening her home looks like now, and what she thinks it might look like in the future.
Lisa's straight forward style seasoned with humor makes her both endearing and relatable. You won't want to miss this conversation with a trusted sister. A great one to share with any woman who is tired of living a flat faith and is willing to put sensible, reasonable options aside in order to follow God to unexpected places even if it might seem crazy by the world's standards.
Change is an inevitable part of life. Whether we are looking at personal or cultural shifts, dead end roads, a strained relationship, or a season of crisis, we will be forced to deal with transitions. What we get to choose, however, is how we navigate that challenge.
Ken Wytsma, author, speaker, innovator, and social entrepreneur, shares with us how we can explore various aspects of creativity and imagination that lead us toward a healthy, confident, more innovative life mindset -- one that helps us harness creativity to take charge of our lives, navigate changing times, and ultimately, flourish and succeed.
You will walk away from this interview with countless nuggets of wisdom that you can apply to your life today, in whatever situation you are facing. Personally, the concepts discussed in this episode have been life-changing for me and came at the perfect moment in time.
Our prayer is that this will be an interview that will come to you at just the right time as well.
Catherine McNiel found herself in the middle of mothering. Pregnant, with two small children already underfoot, she was forced to tackle the question, what happens to a mom's spiritual journey? Do exhaustion and distraction prevent mothers everywhere from having a deep and meaningful spiritual life? Or does God perhaps have a rich spiritual journey available to moms right here and now?
In her book Long Days of Small Things, Catherine tackles this question by discovering the spiritual disciplines already built into a mother's days. She shares some of those practices with us on this episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast, (along with her favorite apps and go-to drink.) An encouraging conversation for any mom who has ever wondered, can I connect with God during these minutes, days, years of caring for small people and living in the middle of the mundane?
A great episode to share with your mama friends and to take this episode with you as you complete your everyday, not-so-glamorous, tasks. A conversation for the laundry folding, swim team driving, kitchen sweeping activities. Because these small moments are the doors that God has opened for us, and no door is too small, or too insignificant, for his purposes.