Confessions of a Hospitality-Phobe

Confessions of a Hospitality-Phobe ~ And a + giveaway!

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I have a confession. It’s not something I’m really proud of, so don’t tell anyone.

The word “hospitality” tends to make me break out in a cold sweat.

I blame Pinterest. Pinterest and I have a love/hate relationship. Most of the time, I love it. But then I encounter the recipes, cake decorations, and party throwing posts, and I realize that I’m really kind of failing this whole Christian housewife thing. I mean, I don’t host dinner parties, I’m practically allergic to streamers, and I tried to make one of my kids a cupcake solar system once. We just don’t talk about that party in our home. Ever. It’s been like six years and I’m not sure my youngest has really forgiven me for ruining the galaxy yet.

And as a hostess? Whoo-boy. I’m not quiet, demure, or sweet. No, I’m loud, I say the wrong things, and I sometimes make people uncomfortable rather than setting them at ease.

When I start to feel really weird about my sanctification in any area – parenting, marriage, homeschooling, working, or – yes – dinner party throwing, I find that looking to Christian history really helps me get out of my 21st century American Christian box, so I can understand how believers throughout history have lived out their faith in a biblical manner.

Katie Luther, a Master of Hospitality

In pondering homemakers who rocked in the hospitality department, I can’t help but consider Katharina von Bora (1499-1552), a nun who married the “Father of the Reformation”, Martin Luther (1483-1546), at the age of 26. Katie Luther went on to bear six children (losing two of her daughters, one as a teen), and to take in up to 11 additional children (the counts on this are a little fuzzy, but 9-11 seems to be a reasonable number historically). She maintained a large garden, as well as a separate farm with livestock and a fish pond. She fed her family with these animals, slaughtering them herself. What’s more, it’s said there were rarely fewer than 30 people at her table. In addition to her large family, Katie nightly fed students, theologians, and visiting pastors. She kept the books for this large enterprise as well.

Katie Luther was nothing if not loud, bossy, and a little rash. She once hid a vase which her husband intended to give a life-long friend as a wedding gift. When he demanded she return it, Katie refused flatly, saying she needed to sell that vase to pay the bills. How did the great Reformer – the man who took on the whole Roman Church and the Roman Empire at the risk of his very life – respond? Martin Luther lost the vase, and the bills got paid.
What does the Bible have to say about hospitality?

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. ~ Romans 12:13 (ESV)
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ~ Hebrews 13:2 (ESV)

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. ~ 1 Peter 4:9 (ESV)

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. ~ 1 Timothy 5:9-10 (ESV)

What is hospitality, really?

Perhaps it’s not important that I can’t seem to fashion an acceptable cupcake solar system. Maybe I don’t need to feed my family fresh fish from my own pond like Katie Luther did. Maybe I just need to love others with my life.
Perhaps feeding the poor, giving freely from the giftings the Lord has given me, and making my home a comfortable and pleasant place to live (albeit not a dust-free place) is a good start. Perhaps having a good comfortable couch available for a pregnant youth is more important than any dinner party I could ever throw. I can rest comfortably in the knowledge that if I love and serve others with all I have, hospitality is a given.

That kind of hospitality may be a lot harder than making planetary rings out of melted candy, but it’s a hospitality I can succeed at. It is, after all, what I was made for.

A Giveaway!

Speaking of Katie Luther and giving and all that jazz, I have something I’d like to give away before I return to my little corner of the blogosphere. My new young adult novel, When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther is available for purchase November 1st. (Check out my book page and save 35% on pre-order!) I’d like to “host” (haha) a giveaway for Proverbial Homemaker readers. Here’s what I’ll be sending one winning entrant sometime in late October / early November:

When Lightning Struck! is the exciting story of Martin Luther for young adults by Danika Cooley.

  • One Playmobil Martin Luther (Special Edition for the 500 Years of Reformation – Thank you to the Tourism Board of Nuremberg for supplying the figure!

Win a Martin Luther Playmobil figure as well as a copy of When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther by Danika Cooley

  • One digital copy of Cobblestone Path Church History Research Journal ~ The Reformation Age – A 289-page notebooking journal. Perfect for middle and high school students looking to explore the history of the Christian Church from 1350-1648 AD.

Cobblestone Path Church History Research Journal ~ The Reformation Age

{Giveaway Over} Enter the Giveaway!

Giveaway ends at 9PM PST on 9/14/15. Winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

Martin Luther Package

Author Danika CooleyDanika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (Christian Focus Publications, 2016), Bible Road Trip, and Cobblestone Path. When she’s not homeschooling the two youngest of her four children, Danika loves to write, garden, and hike ~ anything but creatively decorate baked goods. You can find Danika blogging at Thinking Kids, on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest (she really does love all the cool printables there).
All Scripture taken from the ESV® Study Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright ©2008 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Image: Little Housewife, 1854, Johann Georg Meyer von Bremen (1813-1886), Public

This Post Has 79 Comments

  1. Carrie

    This looks like a perfect fit for our history class.

  2. Momtofour

    Looking forward to a family read aloud with my kids.

  3. Laura

    Wow! What an amazing Playmobil figurine. We love Playmobil here at our home, and we love studying about the Reformation. Thanks so much.

  4. Shannon

    I am domestically challenged too. Thanks for the encouragement to do better.

  5. Theresa L

    Honestly, I’m most excited to read it myself! I’ve always been fascinated by Martin Luther.

  6. Deana

    Would love to share this as a read aloud with our 9-year-old. He’s very interested in Martin Luther.

  7. I really enjoy hospitality b/c I love people. But I struggle more these days because I have such an ugly house and I don’t like cleaning very much. So I often have to talk myself through the process and emphasize what is important and also dig in an clean to a reasonable level.

  8. Dee

    Would love to read your new book! Martin Luther has always been an inspiration. Love knowing more about his wife!

  9. Katrina

    Neat giveaway – and congrats on the new book!

  10. Susan M.

    Thanks for the giveaway! But most of all, thank you for pointing out what is REALLY important!

    1. Susan M.

      Sorry–missed the question! What excites me most about the new book is how it can help my daughter realize that these important events in history REALLY happened–and to real people!

  11. Tara H

    I love learning more about people in history! And if I win, I’d love to have it autographed! 🙂

  12. Audra

    We are learning about reformation in our homeschool this year. This book would be an awesome addition. I am always excited to find youth books on church history as the more my kids read about it, they have a better understanding of where we came from. And a strong foundation to take into the future!

  13. Charity

    Thank you! I am also not a Pinterest quality host. (Or meek and quiet). Well said. I would love to read more about Martin Luther, I’m just beginning to get books that I can use to teach the kids that are interesting enough to read as novels, this sounds like it is exactly that.!

  14. Kimberly

    Thank you for sharing your heart! I so appreciate your honesty!

  15. Lori Williams

    What most excites me about “When Lightning Struck” is that I have heard so many little wonderful tidbits about Martin Luther, but I have never really read about his whole life story and have always wanted to.

  16. Holly

    Great post!

  17. Donna

    Thank you for this opportunity!!

  18. Rebekah M

    Thank you for this post. Sometimes I get into the same thinking that I have to impress ad wow people. What I should be doing is serving others and helping the needy. Be more Christ like with all around me.

  19. Judy

    I love for my teenagers to read about church history and get to know the people better as it makes it more real to them. Thank you for writing this book.

  20. Candra

    Very thought-provoking, Danika. My home needs LESS stuff so I can be a better hostess, and that’s what I’ve been slowly working on. Your post today is motivating, and I need to pick up the pace so that my home can be open and welcoming!

  21. Jana

    would love to read this with my kids

  22. Karolyn K.

    I like the fact that it make Martin Luther come alive and let’s you know who he really was. When history comes a live, my kids cannot get enough of it. This looks great.

  23. Agnieszka

    Sounds like I need to host a party! J/K. Looking forward to digging into the book. Thank you

  24. Jeri thompson

    My kids and I love to read historical novels together. It’s such a great catalyst to real-life conversations with them.

  25. September West

    Thanks for the great post. Hospitality can definitely seem overwhelming in this Pinterest Age. I’m no Martha Stewart, either, but I’ve found that when I let go of the picture-perfect expectations and just invite others over, they always appreciate it (and our family enjoys it, too.)

  26. MH

    Books like these make history accessible early to the generation that needs to know their heritage ~ thank you!

  27. Dawnita

    What fun information. I love showing hospitality, unfortunately we have few opportunities. When we do, I end up quite worn out. I have had to learn to pace myself and that hospitality is so much more than a clean & decorated house & tons of homemade food. I’d be grouchy if I had to do as much as Mrs. Luther! LOL

  28. Jen L

    Can’t wait to read the books with my kids.

  29. Carrie

    This is encouraging to my heart. Thank you!

  30. Cosette

    Thanks for the post! I also get convicted over my lack of true hospitality. I like how you worded that as sanctification, sometimes I forget growing in those areas is part of that. I have also never really thpught to look at historical figures for help with modern problems, but I love your example! I would love to read your book and learn more! Thanks for the opportunity!

  31. Nancy

    Congrats on your new book and I totally understand about the whole Martha Stewart/Pinterest hospitality standards we’re reminded of online.

  32. Silver Moon

    I’m most excited about my kids getting more familiar with Luther like they would the founding fathers of our country. There just aren’t that many kid friendly options that are *interesting* to bring church history alive year after year.

  33. Ern

    Not only could I use this in our homeachool, but I could also read it with my 5th-8th grade Sunday school students!

  34. Judy G

    Your new book sounds great! Can’t wait to read it.

  35. Lalia Harris

    Hospitality isn’t one of my strengths either. I can cook for a crowd if I expect a crowd to be coming but not on a whim.

  36. Kristal

    I am going to read this blog post to my Bible study. Perfect for our devotion time. Thank you!

  37. MJ Moore

    I’m hoping to instill a love of history in my kids, and I think “When Lightning Struck!” is a perfect intro to the Reformation!

  38. Julie James

    I’m a horrible hostess myself 🙁

  39. Nicole M

    I’m hoping lightning will strike in my heart, and the hearts of my family, when we read When Lightning Struck together! Thanks for the giveaway:)

  40. Marilyn

    Congratulations on your book. Looks like a great read. Thank you for the generous giveaway.

  41. Keri

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway! I’m excited about getting my children engaged and interested in those historical figures who had such important contributions for the kingdom and I think these resources would be a great help in doing that!

  42. Wendy

    A book combining action, fiction, history, and biblical theology sounds like a marvelous way to engage any child!

  43. Amy

    Thanks for the chance to win this set on Martin Luther! I’d love to read out loud at night during our family reading time.

  44. Carla

    Hospitality is sometimes hard. This summer we picked a few ideas to be more intentional in this area and it was a big blessing for our family.
    Thanks for your post and your giveaway.

  45. Melinda J.

    LOVE the post and the little figurine! How cute! Thanks!

  46. Holli T.

    Would dearly love to win this!

  47. Kristin

    Looking forward to learning more about Martin Luther with your book.

  48. Rachel

    Hospitality is my passion! The only problem is, we live in under 900 square feet right now. An apartment makes hospitality hard, but not impossible. Praying for opportunities to love on those around us and to connect people in Christ that they might encourage one another.

  49. Heather H.

    Most excited about reading it myself and then going through it with my kiddo to learn together.

  50. Joy

    Martin Luther is a fascinating man! My husband and I watched a movie about him on our date night. I would love to share the book with my children.

  51. Martha

    I enjoy reading books about the Luther, because you never know what new things you will learn so I am sure I would find this interesting. MY children would enjoy it too.

  52. Rhonda

    Trust me. From a woman who has turned away her own family members because the house was such a wreck, I know a thing or two about struggling with hospitality. What I strive to remember is that hopefully I can make people feel welcomed and loved by my conversation and listening, rather than my lackluster housekeeping or cooking skills. I am excited to read your new book because learning more about real Christian men and women can only serve to strengthen our resolve to focus more on Jesus.

  53. Valerie B.

    I’d love to have this for a read aloud and learn about Martin Luther too. Thank you for this contest. 🙂

  54. Michelle

    This should be fun for history time!

  55. Marissa W.

    Wow! What an amazing looking book. The aspect of the book that excites me most is here is a book written about a historical man that brings excitement, adventure, and heroism to life. My boys can relate to the action and feeling and look up to him and even (hopefully) emulate his character, seeing the truth of God’s word lived out in Martin Luther’s life.

  56. C. Kreider

    Can not wait for a read-a-loud! Thank you for your ministry!

  57. Jenny

    I love biographies of the faithful.

  58. Shelly

    Great article and giveaway thanks!

  59. CabotMama

    One of my favorite quotes I came across years ago:
    “If you won’t practice hospitality when all you can afford are hot dogs, you still won’t when you can afford steak.”

    Martin Luther was an amazing man. Many of our modern day Evangelical churches have lost sight of who he was and how the Lord used him. I want to instill in my children a better understanding of this man – to give them courage to stand for God’s Word when all the rest of the culture isn’t.

  60. Tracy T.

    Boys are in great need of men to look to as godly examples.

  61. Sarah

    My babies are little yet, but I’D love to read your book. Love biographies of those influential in our faith!

  62. Jene

    So great to hear your thoughts on hospitality. It’s the little things.

  63. Susan W.

    Your book sounds great. Would love to win.

  64. Judith Martinez

    I love biographies! The playmobil figure is so cute!

  65. Lori H

    Thanks 🙂 This looks like a great addition for our history studies.

  66. Melinda H.

    I can so relate to this! I love the IDEA of hospitality, but my house is such a wreck most of the time from spending every minute of the day schooling, that I’m overwhelmed by the prospect of getting it presentable first!

    So excited about your giveaway!

  67. Jennifer Stone

    I would be so excited to win this giveaway because we celebrate Reformation Day every October 31st instead of Halloween. We attend a reformed Baptist church so Martin Luther is one important historical figure around here! Thanks!

  68. Julie

    I can so relate to your post. And the giveaway looks fantastic!

  69. Anna L.

    My middle school-aged daughter and I are in a Bible study this year and we are studying the book of Romans. We know that Romans 1:17 was a pivotal verse for Martin Luther in terms of his understanding of faith rather than works being what saves man from sin. We’d love to learn more about Luther in light of what I learn from my Bible study and this book looks like a great resource.

  70. Tanya

    This sounds like a book we would all enjoy!

  71. Rebekah Brown

    I would love to win a copy of this book for my boys and they love playmobiles too!

  72. Matt Fields

    This book will be a blessing to our families resources for home school. library.

  73. Rhoda

    Have heard bits and pieces of Martin Luther’s life, but never have read his biography. He made such an impact on Christianity, it probably would be good to read about him more. Thank you for making this book available–not just as a giveaway–which is great too.

  74. Lisa B

    My girls love missionary stories and we will be starting to study church history on a deeper level soon, so this will be a great resource. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  75. Deanna S

    I’m excited to read this! We love to read history, and I know nothing about her. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  76. Shelby

    It is always great to find books that my boys will be interested in. This is one of them!

  77. Rebecca

    Great article! For me, a huge gap exists between entertaining (getting together for mutual entertainment) and true hospitality. I don’t hesitate to use my home to minister, but entertaining isn’t something I enjoy or pursue.

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