Most of you are probably familiar with Kristen Welch and her wonderful blog, "We Are That Family".
If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time you know that I love her and her amazing ministry to expectant moms and their babies in Africa, Mercy House Kenya.
Kristen has written a book called Rhinestone Jesus, SAYING YES TO GOD when sparkly safe faith is no longer enough . It tells the story of how she went from a young, naive Christian to a broken and useable woman of God and it is truly inspiring.
She sent me a preview copy and asked me to read it and share with you my thoughts as part of her launch team, and at first, honestly, I felt I couldn't even do it justice.
It's an amazing story of what God can do when we just surrender to Him.
I cried my way through most of the book.
There are so many deeply moving moments in Kristen's story over the last three decades, but the theme that stood out to me most can be summed up in this powerful excerpt from the book (emphasis mine):
"I knew I needed to write this book the day a mom from church rang my doorbell. When I opened the door, she was standing on the porch with serveral garbage bags. "I hope you don't mind my dropping by," she said, "but I wanted to give these things to you for Mercy House." I gladly accepted her generous gifts of baby clothes, toys and accessories.
And then she said the words I hear nearly every time I speak to a mom about this God-sized dream. "I really want to support what you're doing. It's so inspiring! But I could never do anything like that. I'm just a mom."
When I heard those words, I wanted to say, "I'm just a mom too." I deperately wanted to point out the piles of laundry, to show her the dirty floors and mounds of dust bunnies that multiply, well, like rabbits. I wanted to confess that I hadn't started dinner yet and I had no idea what I was making. If I had invited her into the house, she would have seen one child in a time-out and another one rolling her eyes at me. I wanted this mom to know that God didn't wait for me to get my life together before I said yes--He accepted my willingness in the middle of my mess. I wanted to sit down and tell her the broken pieces of my story--not to receive glory, but to show His glory.
I wanted to blast these words into the sky:
Dear moms, love God; love others. It's a simple response to His great love for us. You don't have to do something big for Him; just do something because your yes matters! He can make something beautiful from your life too."
Throughout the book Kristen encourages us, as moms, to just say yes to God no matter what is going on in our lives and then stand back and watch what He does.
She tells us, "Your yes won't look like anyone eles's" and "You don't have to figure out what to surrender to. Just surrender your heart to Jesus. Every single ounce of it."
"Whatever you find yourself doing," Kristen says, "mothering, being a wife, or chasing a career--do it unto God. Because where you're living today is the place where God has put you. He orders our steps, even when we misstep. Sometimes this place isn't where we want to be. It's uncomfortable and challenging, and it doesn't feel like our dream."
As I read this book, I laughed out loud, cried, highlighted furiously and had to stop and talk to God (and my husband who was usually trying to fall asleep, ha!) about every three pages.
I feel so blessed to have even the smallest part of helping with Mercy House and after reading the story of how God made it happen through Kristen and her family I am left with a sense of awe at how He moves through us and a renewed hope that He could move through me that way too.
I encourage you to read this story and let that soak in to your heart. You can say yes to God right in the middle of your mess and when you do He will do something incredible through you.
I'll leave you with Kristen's own words about who should read this book,
"if you have a dream
if you have stopped dreaming
if you need more time
if you have too much time
if you want to slow down life
if you want to speed it up for better days
if you long for a family dinner together
if you long for a moment to yourself
if you want your kids to recognize the needs of others
if you believe God has a purpose for your life
if you want your life to count
if you want what you do to matter
...this book is for you."
Learn more about Kristen, Mercy House Kenya, and Rhinestone Jesus here.
"The most important commandment is this:..."You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength." The second is equally important: "Love your neighbor as yourself." No other commandment is greater than these.
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