I was “that girl” in high school – the one who attended Bible study before school, who handed out “Jesus loves you” balloons on Valentine’s Day. I was the one arguing absolute truth and the existence of God at the lunchroom table. While other girls obsessed over pop stars, I counted down the days to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert.
Kristin Welch wore a Rhinestone Jesus pin to high school every day. I think we had a lot in common, wearing our faith on our sleeves. This week, Kristin is publishing a book about a faith that is more than surface level, more than cultural. Rhinestone Jesus is a book about saying yes to God even when it’s terrifying.
Rhinestone Jesus challenged me and made me cry often. Kristen tells the story of a young boy she met during a blogger trip with Compassion International. Vincent was an orphan, parenting his little brother, living in a shanty in a Kenyan slum. She asks him why he was so peaceful, and he said – “Because I have Jesus”. Oh, to have such a deep understanding of all that Jesus is to me!
It’s easy for me to follow Jesus when I’m at church, when I’m with my Christian friends, when the kids are being sweet. And it’s a whole lot harder to say yes to him when I’m overtired and emotional, when the kids are fighting and our new puppy wants to go out for the fifth time this hour. It’s harder to say yes when I won’t slow down to hear the passions He’s placed on my heart, the needs He wants to meet through me, the glory He’s accomplishing in the everyday mundane.
When I was in high school, I thought that the best followers of Jesus must go into full-time ministry. And a lot of incredible Christians do – but sometimes our “yes” is serving Jesus in less obvious ways.
Sometimes following Jesus is going to the same job every day for seven years and doing my best to serve and learn and love. It’s bringing home a paycheck that feeds my family and allows us to give to missions. It’s changing diapers, reading bedtime stories, and getting one more glass of water. Because “the Kingdom of God is revealed in sacrifice and service in the small places, especially to our children” (p. 20).
The crosses He asks us to take up come in all shapes and sizes, and our journeys are sometimes hard to understand. To be honest, I’m not sure why God has me in the job I’m in right now. But God used Kristen’s words to give me hope:
“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. There are valleys on the journey to the mountaintop.” (p. 55).
Kristin’s “yes” led her to open a maternity home for at-risk young mothers in Kenya, after reading about the back-alley abortions that often take the lives of young pregnant women and their babies in the very slum she visited with Compassion. She’s a normal mom with a blog who just chose to keep saying yes to God – researching how to set up a non-profit, how to run a maternity home, how to fundraise and bookkeep.
Mercy House Kenya is now bursting at the seams with twelve mamas and their babies. And this week, they are purchasing a second house to make space for more moms and their babies. Mercy House doesn’t just take in moms until their babies are born – they make a long-term investment, until the babies are at least two. They help the moms learn to be mothers, and teach them a trade.
God has provided for Mercy House in miraculous ways as many have joined in their vision, but it hasn’t been easy for Kristen and her family. Kristen makes it so clear that she is just one ordinary person with fears and anxieties, who said yes to God. Rhinestone Jesus gave me hope that in spite of my own fear and anxiety, I can keep saying yes too. And whether my work for God is behind-the-scenes or in the spotlight, it’s not about who sees me – it about who sees Jesus.
“When we live for Him one yes at a time, He rewrites our story.” (p. 58)
Rhinestone Jesus releases tomorrow! You can get a copy at the following retailers; part of the proceeds benefit Mercy House: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com, Dayspring. If you pre-order the book by midnight tonight, you will also receive Kristen’s ebook, Saying Yes to God as a Family. If you buy two books, you’ll also get a Love Mercy prayer bracelet, and if you buy four books, you’ll also get a Jesus necklace from Vintage Pearl!
I’m excited to be giving away a copy of Rhinestone Jesus to one of you! Leave a comment below, explaining one way that you’ve chosen to say “yes” to God. I will randomly choose a winner on Monday, May 5 (please be sure to include your email address on the comment form so I can contact you!). Giveaway has been closed.
Update: The of our Rhinestone Jesus giveaway is… CraftyBookSheeps! Please reply to our email and we will send out your book right away.