People on radio and television are quite the diverse assortment and most media personalities fiercely guard their privacy… that is, until they are ready to share a well crafted, public relations spun story about some special prism in their lives.
Then, it becomes “prudent” to disclose a very personal detail about themselves to their audience. Having hosted local television programming myself, I’ve often pondered what drives them to go public about some issue or challenge they are currently facing. Sometimes I find their moments of vulnerability deeply rooted in compassion for others. At other times, I simply see a promotional opportunity being cultivated and exploited and, sadly, that is how the business typically works. When your career is in media, you cannot remain naïve. That said, in the middle of the sea, I encountered a hidden pearl.
When I met Healing Rain producer and host, Sue Detweiler, I had seen her video and learned about her life as a mother, wife, and pastor with a calling for a ministry in media. Given my background, I was readily intrigued by her quest. The moment she began speaking with me, I was struck by her effusive transparency. Utterly refreshed by how real Sue got with me – in less than 60 seconds – she broke it down to the nitty-gritty fast. I love it when people surprise me!
Which leads to another question that I would ask anyone reaching out to the masses with the intention of deep diving into weighty topics like life, healing, God, and all the meaty variables that go with that territory. Why would I listen to you?
Knowing what is usually coming, I don’t want to be sold anything. And maybe they have nice credentials but what does that really mean to someone who is steeped in challenging waters? Pastor Sue Detweiler isn’t about her Masters degree from Vanderbilt or selling you a Caribbean Cruise. She is about living a life of giving and receiving compassion, pouring God’s love into the next generation, and embracing our role as spiritual parents (not exclusively for our own kids) at levels that our world desperately needs – yet most people are afraid to touch.
Sue has not allowed fear stop her. “I have two adopted boys from Brazil, plus my four biological kids… and counting,” she says playfully. Throughout the years, Sue and her family have welcomed five other young women, from all kinds of backgrounds and needs, to live in their home for periods lasting up to 2-5 years. Each of these girls received the benefits of spiritual parenting, new siblings, and healthy personal development until they were ready to build better lives on their own. An outcome that wasn’t available to them before being loved by the Detweilers.
“In the 3 years I lived with the Detweilers, Sue became a momma in my life who spoke truth, called out gifts God had placed in me, and released me to walk in them. Living life with this family was a pivotal time of growth, healing, and redemption.” – Sarah
The Detweiler family understands the risks of opening their hearts to abandoned children. They did not look for babies to adopt as most people would prefer to do. “We are so against abortion and most orphans in this world are older. Not many people put their faith in action that way because it’s so inconvenient… it doesn’t always feel pretty. [Orphaned] children will build walls of protection that keeps out love. They were rejected so they will reject you too,” Sue clarified.
Their consistent response to this type of calling to spiritual parenting often came at great personal cost to the Detweilers. Sometimes physical health was on the line; they also sold a big house in Brentwood. They downsized square footage but increased in family size. “The body of Christ needs to be a family and a place of restoration and we need to make room in our homes. We have a nice, packed home and this is part of what God has called us to do.” Part of? You mean there is more?
Sue is what I call a FaithDoer. She has dedicated her life to pastoral ministry, as an associate pastor, serving as Principal of New Song Christian Academy and overseeing LIFE School of Ministry, an award-winning Bible teaching institute for pastors, leaders, and members of New Song Christian Fellowship.
Today, her media ministry is growing. Certainly the demand from mom’s, families, and young adults continues to escalate. She is the host of ChristianMomTalk, a weekly podcast. Her program, Healing Rain, is now on 47 radio stations and the Detweilers continue to expand their reach in both in radio and television.
God primed Sue’s heart for a life of courage, to raise her own and adopted children, and to be fruitful in bringing abandoned youth into her home. Sue candidly recounted how she grew up with her parents, her three older brothers, and, at one point, 21 people living in their house. As I listened, I found myself either laughing or silently captivated as she described certain details.
When Sue was in Kindergarten, they took in Mary, a high school girl who came from a very abusive situation. Sue and Mary bonded. When she was in 4th grade, Sue moved into a closet and slept on the floor for a family of five. It didn’t bother her to give up her bedroom. “The hardest one was taking in an anorexic. Having a restorative home and a safe place to be healed, you don’t have to be perfect. It was never planned. It was simply about being willing to be inconvenienced and obedient to God.” Her parents set a powerful example full of life-altering lessons for their little girl and they were not even ministers. Her Father was a successful businessman who was providing work, shelter, and hope for these people.
Sue’s family legacy is rich in God’s “healing rain” and has effectively touched the next generation of Detweilers. You can get more compelling details by listening to Sue’s radio programs. She more than answered my Why would I listen to you question. Her journey is fascinating and convicting so now I can’t resist.
Click here to Watch Sue’s Personal Video Testimony
To learn more about Sue and how to support and participate in their Life-Bridges media ministry visit FaithLauncher.com.