In preparation for my interview with Kristen Welch, founder of Mercy House Global (Rehema House Kenya), I was given her book Rhinestone Jesus: SAYING YES TO GOD when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough.
If I had to describe the book in two words, they would be:
Honest and approachable.
This book challenged so many ideas that are common to us as 1st world citizens. Things like job security, opportunity, and the American dream. Kristen did this in such a unique and genuine way that it’s hard not relate and empathize with her. Throughout each chapter Kristen shares in detail about her frequent slaps of reality, as her eyes and heart are pierced by the contrast of her life in Texas with the lives of teen mothers in East Africa.
Kristen in no way implies that she has seen the light and been instantly transformed. Instead she chooses to tell the gripping story of how her and her husband navigated the peaks and valleys of infertility, honesty and forgiveness in marriage, difficult pregnancies, opening a maternity home in Kenya, and living out her newly found convictions in a world of Chick-fil-A, on-demand everything, and prosperity gospel. The pivotal point in the book came when Kristen, a new blogger at the time, was invited on a trip and given an upclose encounter with a Kenyan slum in early 2010. It shook her to her core, rocked her safe and entitled mindset, and gave new meaning to “saying yes”. She explains how her faith, once displayed for all to see in a cheap ornate pin, became a solid, in-no-way-sparkly, rough, daily choice to simply serve God as she felt His leading. Kristen shares detailed accounts of the journey she took to opening a maternity home, hiring her first employee Maureen-previously a slum resident, and living (to this day) with one foot in the 1st world and the other in the 3rd.
I highly recommend this book to mothers and female creatives struggling with feeling stuck or without purpose. It would be awesome to read as a group of women too. Each chapter concludes with a reflection and thought-provoking questions. If you’re at all skeptical about reading this book, let me just say that it’s got 200 reviews on Amazon and an overall 5 star rating!
p.s. The morning I received this book in the mail (about 2 hours before), the center opal in this ring Brett gave me when we first started dating, 10 years ago, fell out. Crazy!