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At (in)courage, we empower women to be like Jesus. Our writers share what’s going on in their life and how God’s right in the middle of it. They bring their joys & struggles so that you can feel less alone and be empowered by the hope Jesus gives.

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Reader Interactions


  1. I’ve got a houseful coming for Easter dinner, a combination of family and friends, and I’m thankful that we’ll have to set up an extra table to accommodate them all!
    Looking forward to the encouragement of fresh inspiration from the email series!

  2. I seem to be the only one who wants to plan a family Easter dinner. My husband is resistant because we always pay for everything and do all of the work and in light of the way our lives have been changed in the past year I can’t say that I blame him but I am willing to open the door to our family and invite them over anyway. Thankful for any inspiration I can get!

    • Linda – I love your heart on this and your desire to make room for one more.

      We host Easter and I find that people don’t think twice if you ask them to bring something. I often mention that I am making ham and rolls and many times people ask what they can bring. If they don’t, it’s okay to ask if they’d bring a side or dessert to go along with it.

      Hope it works out. 🙂

  3. Entertaining has always scared me!!! I feel so inept at what to serve how to serve and figuring out what people will enjoy while at my house. Help!! That fear limits my friendship growth immensely.

    • Start small! Invite just a few people over (one to four friends is a good starting place); have small things like chips and salsa or fresh vegetables and ranch dip or something similar for them to munch on; offer glasses of water or tea or coffee for drinks. Or, if you’re still unsure of a menu, ask them what they might like to have–you can even turn it into a small potluck situation! And an easy way to invite others over is for something simple like watching a sports game on TV, or maybe there’s a special showing of a miniseries that you and a few of your friends like–you can invite them over to watch it together; or a show that airs weekly and you can make it a set, seasonal event.
      And if that’s too much, just invite a friend or two out for coffee or lunch and a nice hour-or-so-long chat.
      Hospitality can start out however small you need it to, and it will take on a life and growth of its own!

      • Yes to all this, Kathryn. 🙂 Robin – trust me, you are in the majority but I can guarantee that in the long run, it will be worth it. That’s why in the book, I focus so much on ONE invitation and that can mean one person. I hope you’ll find lots of encouragement in Just Open the Door. I focus on the fear aspect that is sooooooo normal for many of us and ways to overcome that.

    • Robin,

      I’m like you-not good at hospitality. Start small with 1-2 people over to chit chat. Have simple foods like a snack try & drinks. It isn’t about the foods you eat, but about the company. Next try a small pot luck. Have people bring their favorite foods & supply 1-2 items & drinks if needed. Go from there.

      Blessings 🙂

  4. We are an older couple with a blended adult family. I find it hard to get these adults to mingle with one another. They only see each other on holidays

    • Being hospitable is a great way to show the love of God, but from the few comments so far this looks like a difficult subject for many of us – including me. Our lives are so busy and we often aren’t home ourselves. It is also difficult to get other people to commit due to their busy schedules. I wrote a blog on the subject of different kinds of hospitality and found that the Bible isn’t always talking about inviting people to your home or throwing a party.

    • Nancy – this is a very real concern for many and Patrice has some wonderful encouragement too. In “Just Open the Door” I hope to reframe our idea of entertaining into the heart of hospitality and I pray there will be some very practical ideas for you here.

  5. I moved 700 miles from “ home” where I lived and had a bible study and had the ladies in several times a year! I’m not a joiner! It took me a long time to get to the comfort level to have them in. Now, I have to start over! I know He has me, however, He also knows my fears as I timidly test the waters! The neighbors are not friendly, sadly , I am older and they are busy working and have young families! Moving to a small town seemed idea, however, I have found. It is a satellite town and many have moved here from the nearest larger city and aren’t interested in small town living! Ergo, not very conducive for trying to find friends.

    Enough of my sad story, I was hoping for friendlier people, I’m sure there are others here looking for th e same thing! In Gods time! As I continue to pray, I am sure He will place me were I will meet others who will want to gather in His name! Pray for us! Thank you

    • Oh linda – it is SO hard to start over and my heart understands this so much. You’ve hit on a core issue – everyone is so busy and yet more than ever women are aching for community. Often we just don’t know how to express that. I believe that there are women out there who are desperately looking for what you have to offer and you are the one that can meet that need. Praying it’s revealed to you and hope you find lots of encouragement and suggestions on this very topic in “Just Open the Door.”

    • Linda,

      Find a nice church to join & get to know a few of the women there. Join a small women’s Bible study or other group & make a few good friends. Perhaps some of you could go out for tea or coffee & just chit chat. It took me a while to find good groups of friends. God led me to a great church with wonderful friends. I pray God will lead you to such a place as Blue Springs Christian Church.

      Blessings 🙂

  6. I am SO ready to start a journey of hospitality. God started moving almost tangibly in my heart from the very first post about Jen’s new book, and I knew right then and there that I had to get it and study it. On my heart the last few years has been a call to ministry–to serving women (and men, but moreso women) and creating a community of women of all ages who can come together and experience fellowship and hopefully even some life-long friendships. Ultimately, I want to create a community of women from young girls to those far into their retirement who can share the love of Jesus Christ with each other, and with the world. A community where a teenage girl can find a mentor in a 45 yr-old mom of three, or a grandmother of seven or a girl who’s just four years ahead of her but has a little more life under her belt. I want to create something that will go far beyond my reach and spread to the entire world. I want a kingdom-reaching, kingdom-spreading legacy that speaks of hospitality and hope and love through generations! And I honestly believe that this is a step in that direction!

    • Katheryn – your excitement and joy for this is so obvious and I thank you for journeying this with me. It truly is trickle down effect that we can have on generations to come if we just open the door and I pray that this message reaches far and wide to encourage the hearts of women from every background and life stage. 🙂 xoxox

  7. When it comes to entertaining, it just doesn’t come natural to me. I have an inferiority complex in that area. Many of my friends have larger, much prettier homes and I feel like I’m just not in their league. And, when I do entertain (even family), I work myself to exhaustion preparing food and cleaning. By the time everyone arrives, I am tired, nervous, and don’t enjoy it at all. Yes, I do need help!! Thank you for inviting us and sharing your gift of hospitality.

    • Patty – you are in the majority here and this very comment is one that I address in the very first chapter because it’s a very real concern and fear for SO many women. I hope you will find the message in Just Open the Door, the exact encouragement you need to shift from an “entertaining” mindset to that of the heart of hospitality and if you’d like to get started right away, you can sign up for the sampler (in the side bar) where you will get that first chapter for free.

  8. I do have a small condo , one bedroom and a Den . And I do have a 2 job both are short hours but travelling from one another. I love hosting but my time is complicated. I only have one day off and it’s Sunday. My Sunday schedule is church , household chores n buy groceries or a little bit walked at the mall . By the time I go to bed on it’s already after 1am or before 2am. It is just me n my husband. Thank you for the encouragements. We all need that we need to encourage and love one another . Have a blessed faith filled easter resurrection everyone ❤️❤️

    • Paula – I can so relate to this because so many of us are living a dizzy busy life, aren’t we? That’s often how I think of it. I have a whole suggestion in the book on ways to work within our busy schedule without feeling like we are adding one more thing to our already overwhelming schedule. Hope it will encourage you right where you are, with your exact schedule, in your small condo and even ideas to take your hospitality on the road. 🙂

  9. Oh how I relate to this. I am not sure why I hesitate to entertain people in our home. Our home is my most favorite place to be where I feel happy, comfortable and safe. Perhaps it’s because cooking is not my forte or small talk is not something I enjoy. I so want to open our home to neighbors and friends because I love JESUS and I want to shine His light in our home on to others. I am so looking forward to reading about how I can become joyful with the mere thought of entertaining in our home. Hospitality is such a beautiful thing and I want it to be in my wheel house moving forward. Many thanks for this gift ❤️

  10. This feels like a very timely provision. I’ve been praying that God would make a way for me to have a home business and I think he’s answered with the idea of a bed and breakfast. I’m a very social person and love people and have no issues with having people over for a dinner party but this new opportunity takes hosting others to a whole new level and I desire to learn all I can. Thank you, I’m looking forward to the emails.

  11. I must say our culture know about this and have the complete opposite effect. We take it to the extreme when it comes to hospitality. When we invite people over the house, it is not to just chat and eat finger foods. It is a full blown buffet style meal. You will see trays and trays of aluminum foil and food galore as if this was your last meal. It is a lot of work and takes a whole lot of time. My family and friends loves to eat my egg rolls and my hubby’s ribs. There will be at least 100 egg rolls (I kid you not) and at least one full size aluminum large tray of ribs among the many other trays of food. So yes I am always full of anxiety when I host family dinners at my house. Don’t let me make small portions or mom in law will definitely be pulling me to the side and telling me to step up my game on portions. This is not only for holidays but any family gatherings will you find an over abundance of food. It doesn’t even matter how small the house is, how clean it is or if it will hold everyone, as long as there is food, everyone will provide praises. I always joke about the next gathering I host at my house, we will just have cheese trays, veggie dips and that’s it. My kids remind me that if I should do that, that may be my last party anyone will come to at my house. Hmmm… maybe that is a good thing. I am always worried I will scare anyone other than family off by providing over abundance of food and what they must think. Thanks for sharing this today.

  12. I would love advice on how to make people feel comfortable. I feel so awkward offering drinks and asking questions as I’m more of a behind the scenes person. Other people seem to be able to make people feel comfortable instantly, I would love to learn more about how to do this. Thanks!

  13. Jen,

    I’m not the hospitality type person. For me I would rather go grab a drink or meal & just chit chat. My pastor’s wife is great at this. She has people over for Easter dinner. I made a casserole to take with me. My problem is I live out in the country not close to friends. I do hospitality like this: text or call & check up on you to see how you are doing. If necessary I will cook a meal & bring it to you. Mostly I enjoy being alone. At my church people often invite others over for meals if they know you will be alone for the holiday.

    Blessings 🙂

  14. Signing up late…..it’s actually Easter morning!

    I am good at this in some ways and need growth in others. I think what it comes down to is I’m “good” at hospitality when I let go of my pride, fears, and concerns over how things look and what I’ve “accomplished” in my home, and just make it feel welcoming.

    I need this reminder to open up my imperfect home and heart.

    Thank you.

  15. I need so much help with hospitality. I feel inadequate to do this. I am an introvert at times and feel that I will screw things up. I have never had anyone over my house except for my sisters. But I would like to change all this because I know God made us to fellowship with one another. I so want a true female mentor and friend that shares my faith.