Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough

Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough


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Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch

In high school, Kristen Welch wore a big, sparkly rhinestone “Jesus” pin to school every day and carried her Bible wherever she went. (Yes, she was that girl.) But she didn’t realize her faith, though sincere, was shallow; much like her artificial accessory, it would one day tarnish, no longer a true fit for who she was. As real life catapulted Kristen into places and situations she’d never imagined, there came a day when she stood shocked in the slums of Africa and realized in one desperate moment that Jesus wasn’t enough for her. At least . . . she wasn’t living like He was. On the brink of a risk bigger than any she’d ever taken, Kristen knew she didn’t stand a chance—unless she was willing to put aside the rhinestones and get branded by the real thing. Rhinestone Jesus is the story of one woman’s journey from comfortably living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say yes to a bolder, more authentic, more dangerous way. This story of spiritual adventure throws the doors wide open for any woman who’s ever thought of herself as “just a mom.” Kristen will inspire and empower you to say yes to God right where you are—and stand amazed at how your life will shine.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414389424
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2014
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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rhinestone JESUS

SAYING YES TO GOD when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough


Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Kristen Welch
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-8942-4



People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.


IT WAS MY FIRST DAY of tenth grade at Deer Park High School in Deer Park, Texas, and I sat in Algebra 2, the class right before lunch. But I wasn't thinking about equations. I was trying to figure out where I would sit in the cafeteria during lunch, a heavy question for most socially awkward introverts. I looked around the classroom. I don't recognize anyone here! My mind wandered back to my imminent dilemma. I could picture myself, tray in hand, searching the mass of students, looking for an empty spot. It was one of my recurring nightmares.

Just then I looked up and made eye contact with the girl sitting across from me in class. She smiled. It took more courage than I care to admit to whisper, "Where are you sitting at lunch?" I was glad to see a look of relief cross her face, and we made plans to sit together.

Meagan and I were an unlikely pair, but from that day on we shared a lunch table with a few other girls, all of us looking for a place to belong. I liked her, but I quickly learned we were very different.

I was an introverted good girl with a passion for thrift shopping, boys, and Jesus, not necessarily in that order. I lived in a Christian home, and church was a huge part of my life. I was that good girl: the one who carried her Bible to school and wore a rhinestone lapel pin that spelled out in sparkly letters J-E-S-U-S. (It was the late eighties, so it's not nearly as horrid as it sounds.)

It wasn't easy for me to talk about my faith; it was easier to let Rhinestone Jesus do the talking for me. Sure, there were days I wanted to fit in and be like everyone else, but I forced myself to pin it on because my desire to be known as a Christian kept me on the straight and narrow.

Between the Jesus pin, my Bible in my backpack, and my good-girl choices, I pretty much alienated myself from the popular kids. I was a different kind of nerd than the classic geek with taped glasses and a pocket protector, but I was a misfit nonetheless.

Still, in most ways I was a typical teen: I loved Friday night football games; hanging out with my twin sister, Kara, and friends at youth group events; and shopping. But my desire to act like a Christian made me completely atypical. It was uncommon for kids in my school to tuck their Bibles in their backpacks, lead the school Bible club, turn down dates with boys whom their parents didn't know, and have a closet full of T-shirts with Christian slogans or verses. I never missed youth group on Wednesday nights, and I always looked for opportunities to invite a friend to go with me.

After a couple of lunches, I learned Meagan was on the drill team and loved dancing, and although she wasn't quite as shy as I was, we had similar personalities. There was one big difference between us, though. She had quite the potty mouth.

A lot of kids in my school cussed, but I usually just ignored it. Still, I knew if Meagan and I were going to be true friends, I was going to have to speak up about it sooner or later. That day came pretty quickly. My cuss quota was at an all-time high, so I made one small decision that would ultimately alter my life in an unbelievable way. I rudely stopped Meagan midsentence and said in a rush, "I really want to be your friend, but do you think you could try not to cuss so much around me?"

Y'all, that was so hard to say!

"Why?" Meagan's question wasn't asked sarcastically or in a mean way. I took a deep breath and thought, Because good girls don't cuss. But what came out of my mouth was something uncharacteristically bold. "Because I'm a Christian and it makes me uncomfortable."

Meagan shrugged and said something like, "Okay. I'll try. I've never been to church."

From that moment, she made a conscious effort to clean up her language. But even better, Meagan started going to church with me. Before long, we were inseparable. I'll never forget the day, a couple of months later, when I led her to Christ on the right side of the sanctuary where the youth in our church sat. It was a Sunday night and she seemed fidgety and nervous, and so I came out with it: "Do you want to ask Jesus into your heart?" I remember hoping I was doing it right. I prayed a prayer and she repeated it. It was surreal, and it changed my life. All of the Sunday school classes and church services I'd attended since birth couldn't compare with the amazing experience of praying with someone to receive Jesus in her life for the first time.

Meagan became a student of the Bible. She kept me on my toes. She would call and ask me question after question: "What will heaven be like?" "Is hell real?" It was work to stay one step ahead of her. One day she called and said excitedly, "I've been reading the book of Job [she pronounced it like the synonym for employment], and that guy was amazing!" I distinctly remember I hadn't even opened my Bible that day. She was teaching me with her hunger for God. It didn't take long for me to realize that having a new believer follow in your footsteps was challenging, like nothing I had ever experienced before. It put to the test all the knowledge I'd received and stored in my head, and demanded action.

* * *

Somewhere between leading Meagan to Christ and witnessing her getting baptized in front of our church with her family attending, something deep and profound happened in my heart. I got it. Christianity wasn't about all the things I did for Jesus; it was about coming to know Him better and making disciples. Being a believer in Christ wasn't just an identity; it was a relationship.

I decided I wanted to change the world. I dreamed of lighting it on fire, doing something big and leaving my unique mark. I wasn't alone; there was a small group of us—my sister, Meagan, and a few others who also attended our church or school Bible club. Over the next two years, Meagan's faith continued to grow, and so did our friendship. (A few years later she came to my wedding, and ten years after high school we spent hours catching up at our class reunion. Today we are friends on Facebook and follow each other's lives closely.)

By my last year of high school, I was pegged as a hopelessly Christian girl. I lived by a long list of things I didn't do (cuss, drink, attend parties, have sex). But I also tried to be different from the world and the rest of my peers; I was the person many friends would turn to when they needed prayer. I still wore my pin most days. My theater arts program gave out silly "Napkin Awards" every year (awards printed on napkins). I received the "Rhinestone Jesus" award my senior year; it got a big laugh from the crowd, which stung a little. But for the most part, I was proud of my reputation.

Oh, and dates were rare. I can't blame the guys, really. I must have terrified them. I had my fair share of crushes on church boys and went out occasionally. Once I dated a darling boy from high school for three weeks. Luke was wildly popular and a terrible flirt. He invited me to the school Valentine's dance, so I invited him to church (missionary dating at its best). He came with me a few times (I can still remember his confusion as a Catholic boy visiting a Pentecostal church.) At the Valentine's dance, we danced one or two slow dances and ended up back at his empty house afterward. I'm still not sure if that was his plan, but I broke up with him a couple of days later, even though I liked him a lot. He was a nice boy who respected me, but I decided I wasn't the type to play with fire.

I was happy with who I was. I helped edit the school newspaper and discovered a deep love for writing. I owned an Apple Mac Classic, so clearly I was cool before my time. Writing quenched a natural hunger to express myself. I loved graphic design and using my new skills on the newspaper. I had an idea to create a T-shirt that featured a picture of the world turned upside down. The shirt would read, "I want to turn the world upside down for Jesus." I never made the shirt, but in my heart, it's exactly what I set out to do.

I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge that choosing this path made high school even harder than it already was. Exhausting. I was just a normal girl, and a part of me longed to fit in and be included. But in the end, I survived.

Meagan was the only person I led to Christ during high school. One girl. But I had put my faith into action and lived it out loud.

* * *

When I was a junior thinking about college, my parents suggested two choices: San Jacinto College, which was a local community college, or Southwestern University in Waxahachie, Texas, a small private Bible college a few hours away. I applied to the Bible college, jumping at the chance for some freedom, which is funny, considering their strict 11 p.m. curfew and the demerits doled out for being closer than six inches to a boy. But I wanted to be in my element—a place where Rhinestone Jesus was expected to sparkle.

I loved attending a small Bible college. It was exactly what I had hoped it would be. But I was anxious to finish. So I attacked my studies like I did everything else: I overloaded my schedule with semester hours so I could finish my bachelor's degree in Christian education and my minor in English in three years and get on to world changing. I think that's called crazy.

On the second day of Bible college, I met a very interesting young man. I quickly noticed his tan, muscular legs on our intramural volleyball team and fell for his contagious personality. He was also one of the nicest people I'd ever met. Terrell was going to be a pastor, and that fit right into my plan. We ended up hanging out with the same circle of friends, playing cards and volleyball together. The college had a TWIRP (The Woman Is Required to Pay) Week, and I recycled an old deck of cards into an invitation and TWIRPed Terrell a few weeks after meeting him. I took him to a rowdy western restaurant, and he taught me how to two-step. Even though there were definitely sparks, he was a couple of years older than me and the timing felt wrong. A former girlfriend of Terrell's, who lived down the hall from me, started college the same week, and he realized he still had some unfinished feelings for her.

They started dating again, and she and I became dear friends, and Terrell and I began an amazing journey to becoming best friends. I dated one of Terrell's buddies, which turned out to be a painful on-and-off relationship. I would cry on Terrell's shoulder and he would share the disappointments of his relationship. After two years, we both ended up with broken hearts.

It took us four years to realize we were in love—and then suddenly, we were. (That's what happens when best friends kiss.) Terrell was in graduate school hours away from me, but our friendship grew only stronger over the years and miles. I graduated from college and my parents offered me a plane ticket to go on a trip. As I was telling Terrell over the phone one night about the gift, he invited me to come visit him at his parents' home, where he was working over the summer. That first night together, he kissed me on his parents' back porch, and I can still remember the fireworks. We got married ninety-eight days after that passionate first kiss.

So there we were—newlyweds, fresh-out-of-Bible-college newbies ready to start our lives together at a forty-year-old, troubled church in a small town in Arkansas. He was going to be the youth pastor and I the children's pastor. We moved hundreds of miles from anyone we knew and right into the parsonage next to the church. We were armed and ready with plenty of Bible knowledge to turn the world upside down—or at least a town of twenty thousand.

And then life happened, and things didn't go as planned. Instead, the world slowly started sucking the dream right out of us. In the first few months of work, we learned the hard part of ministry was a lot like being pelted with popcorn. If someone throws a piece at you, it's irritating but basically harmless. But when they keep doing it until you're covered in popcorn, it can be hurtful and suffocating.

One Friday night, we fell into bed after a late-night youth event. The next thing we knew, someone was banging on our front door in the wee hours of Saturday morning, before the sun was up. In his haste, Terrell grabbed the first thing he found, pulled it on, and stumbled to the front door. There was a church member with his enormous RV parked in our driveway, demanding we open the church so he could fill up his ice chests with free ice from the church. My husband obliged, not realizing he was wearing my lace shirt.

Popcorn avalanche.

During our first year of marriage as youth and children's pastors, we discovered all the things we didn't learn in Bible college. Oh, you know—things like the fact that we would be poor and would need to work extra jobs like cleaning the church to pay our bills; and that people are mean, even Christians. I wasn't prepared for ministry to throw us into a glass house where everyone could see in and offer opinions on every area of our lives, from what I wore on Sundays and Mondays to having a pet in the parsonage. Our first job was a battlefield between a controlling board of elders and a heartbroken pastor, and as the new youth staffers, we were constantly caught in the middle.

We received a quick education in conflict, confrontation, and control. There were situations that left knots in our stomachs and ulcers in our mouths. We loved the kids we taught each week (and remain in touch with many of them to this day), and yet it was a very stressful, difficult beginning to our life together. We had some good days mixed in with the bad, but our first experience at "world changing" left us more broken than we could have dreamed. After two long-short years, we moved across the country to New Mexico to do it all over again in another church.

This time around, we expected the worst. I think that's just how we are as humans. We have high expectations about something or someone, and when we are disappointed, we adjust. In an attempt to protect ourselves, we put a guard around our hearts, and without realizing it, we began hardening them.

* * *

In New Mexico we met people who would become lifelong friends, which turned out to be providential. Just as Terrell and I were discovering some fulfillment in ministry, we discovered the heartache of infertility in the midst of a church baby boom. I entered a dark season of depression.

Once our struggle got out (glass house, remember?), we were bombarded with advice from baby-makers. Everything was offered with good intentions as a way to support and encourage us; instead we felt embarrassed and isolated. I might have tried a couple of suggestions, but I drew the line at coffee enemas and standing on my head. I sank deeper into an emotional pit with every passing month.

It didn't take long for us to exhaust our financial resources. As church staff members, we didn't have infertility insurance coverage. We paid a couple of out-of-pocket expenses with the help of some family members, but when those options failed, we turned to adoption. I'd love to say we pursued adoption because of our desire to help a child in need, but in my fog of despair, I only saw my own need. Terrell and I endured a home study, completed mounds of paperwork, and answered hard questions on open adoption and teen birth mothers. Then we learned a girl we loved in our youth group was pregnant. She was keeping her baby.

This was a hard blow for me and nearly sent me over the edge. By that time, we'd been married five years. I ranted and raved and questioned God. Why is life so difficult? I've been a good girl, a giving servant, a wannabe world-changer. When life doesn't go according to our plans, we often turn on the divine Planner. In my pain, I couldn't see His hand. In my desperation, I didn't even know where to look for it.

I got to the place where I couldn't hold a friend's baby, and I would send gifts to baby showers rather than attend. I would hide in my church office during baby dedications and sob my way through Mother's Day. These were hard days for Terrell, too. While he felt the blow of each passing month, he mostly struggled to encourage me. He felt powerless. But in my pain, God was present. I didn't have answers, but I did have a friend who was experiencing the same pain of infertility. God used Robin to remind me I wasn't alone.

We finally got a call from an interested birth mother, and to make a long story short, she wanted her baby to go to a childless couple and asked if I would take a pregnancy test. Of course—no problem! I had peed on more sticks than I could count in my quest for a baby, so I knew the drill.


Excerpted from rhinestone JESUS by KRISTEN WELCH. Copyright © 2014 Kristen Welch. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Ann Voskamp xi

Introduction xiii

Prologue xvii

Chapter 1 Rhinestone Jesus 1

Chapter 2 When Motherhood Becomes You 13

Chapter 3 Finding Beauty in the Broken Pieces 25

Chapter 4 The Sweet Spot 45

Chapter 5 The Day I Woke Up 61

Chapter 6 Giving Birth to a Dream 79

Chapter 7 The Yes That Changed Our Family 95

Chapter 8 That Messy Peach Pie 129

Chapter 9 I'm Not Going to LieDoing Good Is Hard 247

Chapter 10 Power of One 259

Chapter 11 Just Another Rich Mom 171

Chapter 12 Defeating My Biggest Foes 189

Chapter 13 Start Small Today 205

Chapter 14 What Really Happens When We Make Jesus Enough 223

Epilogue: Kenya, Winter 2013 235

Acknowledgments 245

Notes 247

About the Author 251

What People are Saying About This

Myquillyn Smith

A delightfully honest read for anyone who ever wondered if her small yes matters.

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Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great read! It is an in-your-face kind of book and gets you motivated to not just live comfortable like the American Dream tell you. A must-read for those looking for more in life!
Christy5 More than 1 year ago
Rhinestone Jesus, written by Kristen Welch, shares the story of what the Lord has done with one ordinary woman’s “yes” and how He brought about the extraordinary work of a maternity home in Kenya. This book is about to hit store shelves, and you will want it. Ever since I finished reading it, I’ve been contemplating its message. This idea of being willing to say “yes” to Jesus, no matter what that means. In the big, in the small, and in the not so pretty. You see, I’m just an ordinary mama, with no major ministries going on or maternity homes across the ocean that I’m trying to build, and that means I could easily dismiss Kristen’s story in this book because it’s not mine. But I’d be missing the point of the entire book. You see, no matter where we are in life, we are being called. Called to offer our “yes” to a Father who knows what is best for His children when we don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. And that’s a really scary thing sometimes. Kristen’s “down to earth”, honest voice throughout the book will help take away those fears, and encourage you that it’s God who is waiting to do the work, and He will do it in ways we can’t even imagine if we are just willing to offer Him our “yes.” Much easier said than done, isn’t it? That’s why I needed this book, and I believe every other woman does too. I am one weak woman, fully dependent on the Lord and always needing to rely on His grace and strength to help me in my mess each and every day. But when you read someone else’s story of saying “yes” and it’s presented as beautifully as Kristen’s, doesn’t it make you long to say “yes” more often? And don’t you feel a little braver when you know that others around you have been willing to say “yes” too?
RachelLundy More than 1 year ago
In Rhinestone Jesus, Kristen Welch tells her story and shares about the journey God has brought her on. She shares about high school, the early years of marriage, and the challenging days of motherhood. She shares about the hard things God brought them through as a couple and as a family. She tells the story of travelling to Kenya with Compassion International and her heart being broken there. The time in Kenya shook her awake from her American dream, and soon a dream for a maternity home in Kenya began to grow. I loved reading Kristen’s heart in these pages. She is real and honest in Rhinestone Jesus. She will be the first to admit that their family isn’t perfect, but they are striving to glorify the Lord in all they do. In the process of telling her story, Kristen also shares practical tips and ideas for nurturing our own families, growing closer to one another, and keeping our family focused on glorifying God. Throughout the book, Kristen encourages other Christians to follow the Lord and say yes to Him in whatever He calls them to do, no matter how “big” or “small” it is. She says, “Saying yes isn’t really about doing it all. It’s about saying yes right where you are. It may seem small or insignificant, but any time you love someone or care for another person’s needs, you’re changing their world, and yours, too. It’s about looking up from your everyday life and seeing opportunities around you to make a difference. It’s about loving others as we are loved.” Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of Rhinestone Jesus. All opinions are my own.
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
“Rhinestone Jesus” was simply beautiful. It was a compelling story that left me in tears and a heart to say yes to God no matter what it might “cost” me. I hardly ever read non-fiction, but this is one I would reread again. As I was reading, I felt the Holy Spirit convict me on many things concerning my personal life. Numerous times I had to place the book down and enter into a heart-to-heart with God if I was saying in a certain area that I knew He was leading me to say yes in. In many ways, I felt Kristen was a companion in my own life story as her story from Kenya to now as she continued to say yes. She didn’t beat around the bush with words, but plainly told of her fears and joys as a Mom and wife. I so related. Never once did Kristen write in a way that brought me down. Instead, she encouraged me as she never lost hope in times of darkness. I’m so grateful that she wasn’t afraid to share how in those times she was angry with God. Yet, each time with that situation she shared how it was Jesus who was the working in her to keep going and saying yes. This book comes very strongly recommended to any reader. It’s one that will make you think as well as reflect on your own life concerning your journey with Christ.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes you understand that there is room in life for following Gods plans in an imperfect manner.
kristen4mk More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I found that the author and I have much more in common besides the "proper" spelling of our names, :) -we've also been married for about the same amount of time (and to pastors or former pastors) AND have daughters named Madison - who are about the same age! Who knew! :) Described as a "spiritual adventure story" she writes consistently about how her "YES" to Jesus continues to turn into much more than she had ever bargained for. It is written much like a memoir, and she seems very honest and transparent - telling story after story of her real family that is simply trying to do what they believe that God is calling them to do. Their "path" may not be everyone's; but it is inspiring regardless. She gives practical advice but primarily, it's very much a memoir of her journey to date. Inspiring and touching, I can easily recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BeccaCarter More than 1 year ago
Great read! This book reminded me of Jennie Allen’s Anything. Both were intense, uplifting and challenging. Kristen writes well and I had to follow her blog after reading some of her family’s adventures. I was also prompted to keep my eyes open for opportunities in my own life where I could set aside the societal desire for possessions and instead focus on helping others. I would definitely recommend this book for all mothers, for all Christians and for anyone who wonders where their mission field might be!
KMarkovich More than 1 year ago
Oh.My.Goodness! What a fabulous book! I thought this was going to be another mommy blogging book when I stared it. And it was good – “My youngest child told me the other day that she wanted to be the president of the United States. ‘Really?’ I asked. ‘Because you want to change the world?’ ‘No,’ she answered. ‘I want to be the boss of you.’” And Kristen confesses that her family is THAT family – the one whose children throw tantrums in Target and the one who the emergency room nurses know by name and the one who struggles living godly lives, where the husband struggles with pornography and the wife struggles to not shop too much. BUT THEN Kristen took a trip to Africa with Compassion International that rocked her world. What could she do to change her world, she, just a mom with dirty laundry and dust bunnies galore. This is what she did and her response to other moms is “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.” What I loved about Kristen’s book was I didn’t leave it feeling guilty for not doing what she did or feeling like I should. Instead I felt like she was saying do something that is my passion that honors God. Fabulous book and I really want my book club and all my friends to read this one! Wish I could give it more stars than 5!!!
BeachNana8 More than 1 year ago
Rhinestone Jesus is a delightful story that will encourage all families on how to live a purposeful life honoring God and growing strong Christian children. Kristen, the children’s ministry leader, realized something was wrong when her husband Terrell , a youth pastor, asked her what happened that stopped them from being the dreamers they used to be. When he brought home a laptop and encouraged her to write, she began to see what purpose God had for her life that would enable her life to count. Although Kristen wanted things her way, she found she couldn’t be the Mom she wanted to be without God’s help. Even her marriage needed God’s help, for Terrell confessed he was addicted to pornography. For a while they suffered from infertility. Then Kristen was asked to go to Kenya with Compassion International and to blog on the poverty and needs there. What she saw changed her, caused her to cry even when cooking or bathing her children because in Kenya there isn’t much food, if any, for the poor to cook nor is there clean water to drink and to bathe in. What did her family start to make that could be sold to help Kenya’s poor? When the Kenyan post office wanted a large bribe to give Kristen the box that had been mailed to them, what did they do to get it? Did their family have arguments, dirty rooms, and meltdowns like most families? What were the twelve areas they decided their family should focus on to help them live counter culturally? What five points did she indicate help create a strong family? Fantastic book!
SophiesMindset More than 1 year ago
God *can* use you, but you have to be willing - will you say "yes"? Real life, real struggle, real victory, real mess, real hope. A well written book recounting Kristen's (& her family's) journey to an impossible dream. Because she said yes. The beautiful thing about this book is she knows her "yes" necessarily looks different than my "yes" will or your "yes" - because we are different people. Because God has equipped us differently - and serving God wherever he has placed us is what makes us authentic. When we stop trying to fit Jesus in our life, and start fitting our life into Jesus.  If I have the leisure of nit-picking, I'd knock the book a half star to 4.5 because she quotes The Message paraphrase of the Bible is what is commonly used, not an actual translation. Since the half-star option isn't available, the overall content and message of the book definitely deserves 5 stars. Highly recommend.
thedeena63 More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I feel so sorry for the people who have to write what I affectionately call 'back cover blurps'. Somehow he or she has to find a way to take over 200 pages and smooshed it down into three or four paragraphs, and that is much harder than it looks. Truthfully, it was the front cover of the book that captured my attention first. I thought it looked fun and cute and like something I'd enjoy reading. I had no idea that life-changing pages awaited me. I had no clue just how deep this 'cute book' was going to take me, or how far I would travel as I journeyed with Kristen. You'll be astonished as you see what God has done through and with Kristen and her precious family. In fact, you'll be reading along, learning all about the Welch family, and you'll blink and find yourself in the midst of some of the most exciting and challenging world-changing work I've ever read about. But the beauty of it all is this: Kristen is just a mom and wife who passionately loves Jesus, and she's just married to a guy who is a husband and father and he also passionately loves Jesus. Her kids are just sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who passionately love Jesus and their mom and dad. Just regular Christian people with a passion for Jesus. My favorite chapter had to be "That Messy Peach Pie", because that absolutely took any guilt the enemy was trying to pile on my shoulders and shoved it down his lying throat! Kristen is genuine, real, and she's just like you and me. Follow her as she follows Christ, and do what she's encouraging us to do... ...find our own Kenya. I found mine seemingly by accident, when I agreed to be a mom to a young woman in crisis who had no living parent. I just became a mom again yesterday to a 20 something young girl who's been abandoned by her family. God is showing me my Kenya, and while I'm scared witless, I'm also so excited about where He's taking me. Get Kristen's book. Read "Rhinestone Jesus" for yourself. Then find your place to serve, and give it your whole heart for Him. My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. "Rhinestone Jesus" is a life-changing read, and I highly, highly recommend it. Now, I'm off to sign up for Kristen's blog, We are THAT Family!
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
This is a very powerful book! It is part blog, part devotional, part true life story of following Jesus. Kristen shares her struggles with juggling life - her life as a mom and wife, and also as someone who wants to make a difference in the world. Her description of visiting Kenya was so real that I could imagine it. I always love reading books where the author addresses the things I struggle with as a woman, wife, and mother, things such as guilt, authenticity, and balance. I think it is refreshing and wish that we could all be so honest with each other about the things we struggle with. I really enjoyed reading about the reality of starting up a charitable organization in Kenya and how the author and her family struggled to stay the course. It is the first book I've read that really gives the backstory of how difficult it is for family life when they undertake the challenge. I also think that the questions at the end of each chapter are excellent in encouraging readers how to make service to others a bigger part of their lives, and also in internalizing the lessons the author shares from her own life. It elevates the book from simply a story to a devotion-type book. The only small criticism I have of this book is the description of Americans as the wealthiest in the world. I do agree that in comparison, most Americans are better off than in other parts of the world. However, there are many, many people in American who do not have enough to eat and are living in terrible conditions, such as homes without electricity and without running water. We also have a massive homeless population that continues to increase. If you are looking for a book to challenge you to a more authentic life, this is it. It will challenge you to make changes in the way you view your life. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Angie_Casto More than 1 year ago
This book made me laugh and cry, sometimes both on the same page. I love how Kristen is honest about the things that go on in her life. She doesn't sweep it under the rug, but puts it out there for all of us to know that we are not alone! This book is also convicting to not try and do everything! Pick your 1 thing and stick to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I learned about the wonderful ministry of Mercy House just this year. How amazing to read the story of how God brought it all together! The book is more than just the story of Kristen's journey. She wrestles through so many things that I wrestle through, too. She talks about loving the poor and yet living in rich America. How do you buy a couch when people around the world are dying of hunger. She talks about bringing her whole family into service together. She talks about the highs and lows of trying to follow Jesus with her whole heart. I was challenged and inspired by this book. It is very well written and well worth the read.
Jennis More than 1 year ago
This book wrecked me in the best possible ways. When the book came I was in the midst my yes- well this one. I was planning and packing for a three month mission trip to Zambia, Africa with my husband and five year old daughter. I've followed Kristen's blog for years and "know" the story of Mercy House Kenya. In reading Kristin's story I feel like I lived it with her. From ministry, motherhood, marriage, and everything in between. The words resonated with me. It's a beautiful story of how Jesus is changing the world. Don't say no to God based on your circumstances! Say yes right there in your mess! Philippians 4:13. I can't wait to see how God continues this story! It's powerful stuff! Pray for your yes (even in the everyday) and follow hard after it. You're not alone in that.
jgumm More than 1 year ago
I've read Kristen's blog for the last few years but this book is a glimpse into her story beyond what you get on the blog. The story of her faith, her marriage, her family and her passion is encouraging and uplifting. There were many times when I whispered "me too" while reading. If you've ever felt scared to say "yes" to God, you need to read this book. You'll be encouraged, not because Kristen and her family are perfect, but because you'll see what God can do when we say "yes" no matter our own mess. (Because we're all messy.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE sparkly, but Rhinestone Jesus bright above the rest. During the adoption of our daughter, Zoie, one of my adoption friends encouraged me to read her twin sister’s blog saying…it’s kinda a big deal. That’s when I started reading Kristen Welch's blog, We Are THAT Family and it quickly became one of my favorite places to go. I have loved watching her journey as a struggling mom (aren’t we all) having the courage to say yes to God in her mess. God turned her ordinary into something extraordinary. What an honor joining her on this crazy adventure trekking through mommyhood madness, marriage restoration, loving big in Kenya and serving refugees in her community! Y’all this girl is CRAZY! I love crazy. Kristen has millions of people stop by her blog and runs her nonprofit, Mercy House in Kenya, which rescues pregnant girls in extreme poverty supported by bloggers. That’s crazy, too. I started reading Rhinestone Jesus as part of Kristen's launch team and loved it from page one! It revealed the behind the scenes about the girl who lived a sparkly, safe faith. I connected with her desire to be a "good girl", but never quite living up to the expectations I set for myself. I was 40 years old when I finally said yes in my mess… I did it afraid! I have never regretted a single second living the God-adventure He planned for my life…the moment I said YES! God has that for you, too! I wanted to share with you 3 reasons you should RUN & buy this book. Get ready for God to do something extraordinary with your yes. 1. If you are wanting to do more for Jesus whatever season of life you are in. You can say YES! 2. If you are in that in-between place, desperate to say YES to God but no knowing the exact question. 3. If you want to let go of everything that is holding you back and start a God-adventure and really start living. I hope this book makes you laugh, and cry, and opens your heart to love big. Your small yes can change the world! Kari Gibson, blogger at My Crazy Adoption #yesinmymess #rhinestonejesus
JViola79 More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story of a mom with a dream to open a house for moms & children which began with saying "yes". This is an inspiring read which will make every reader stop making excuses & work towards their dream. Kristin helps us to realize that God can work through each one of us if we will just say "yes" and let Him do the rest. I was given a copy to review for my honest opinion. This book will move you to laughter, to tears and most importantly...to action. I loved this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are you in that group that says "I'm just a mom, what can I do that will really matter?" Me too! But Kristen Welch shows you how just a simple "yes" where you are right now can make all the difference in the world. In a world where people are losing their focus on Jesus and what he wants us to do in this world. Have you ever felt like God was asking you to say "yes" to something but you just ignored it or said that there was no way that you could do that? Well, this book is definitely for you. And if you have ever heard about Mercy House Kenya and wanted to know more- this is how. Highly recommend this book for everyone.
Hanessa More than 1 year ago
I've followed Kristen's blog, "We are THAT Family", for years and was so excited when she announced the upcoming release of her latest book, "Rhinestone Jesus". As a member of her launch team, I received a complimentary copy and was able to read this amazing book before the official release, and I was so enthralled with its contents that I finished in no time at all. Kristen encourages us to live courageous, messy, bold lives for Christ and to be open to stretch our faith by being willing to say yes to God. Kristen and her husband, Terrell, are so transparent in writing about the struggles they faced in their marriage and throughout the process of starting and continuing to run Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya. She truly speaks what she feels God is calling her to share with her readers... There is so much encouragement contained in the fourteen chapters and one of my favorite quotes is on page 152: "The bad in our lives gives God ample room to show up and prove His goodness. He doesn't promise we won't have hardships; He promises us we won't be alone in them."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heartily recommended for anyone desiring to dip even a toe into the stream of possibility to dream of what God could do in and through them! With compassion, the written words allow one to glimpse into how God can show up in ones humanity and invade hardship and destitution for His glory. Having first met Kristen in 1992, when we shared the same dormitory hall in undergraduate school, her character even then was graced with a sincere passion to write truth and make a profound difference. Having just finished the book, the pages encapsulate her faith in God and obedience in the midst of sincere humility and transparency. One can see the beautiful transformations take place in multiple situations where to the human eye, it resembles nothing more than a "mess". In obedience, the theme of "yeses" become a beautiful portrayal of humanity and God's redeeming transformation and provision in a God-sized task and the story of His work of drawing others with like-minded hearts to make an eternal and global difference. It is practical embracing motherhood, marriage, family life, and reaching beyond the borders of home. It is profound in that Kristen's story, when given to God, becomes a profound example of what He can do with a "yes," even when that yes comes with personal cost and undeniable joy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rhinestone Jesus is a peak into Kristen's heart as she shares candidly how God turned her from a teenager on fire for God but content to live a "safe" Christian life, into a woman broken through life's challenges and unexpected experiences, now willing to say "yes" to God and trust Him in each moment, regardless of the outcome. The book is a call to authenticity in the Christian walk. She challenges us to push through the fears of "what if" and instead to ask "what next God?" as we move forward one step at a time in faith.  Kristen shares her personal struggles in ministry, motherhood, and marriage and paints a picture of God's incredible redemption through it all. Not just a memoir, the book walks the reader through his or her own journey of learning to say "yes" to God's call by providing thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter that beg for reflection and action.  She reminds us that "saying yes isn't really about doing it all, it's about saying yes right where you are."  This book is for you if: You've ever wondered if your ordinary life can make a significant difference in God's kingdom You're not sure if God can use your broken life for His glory You need some encouragement and a reminder that world-changers have sticky floors & dirty laundry on the floor too You want to be inspired by someone who said "yes" to God and it changed everything {in a good way!} Note: I received a complimentary pre-release copy of the book for review from Tyndale House Publishers.  All opinions are my own & I'm proud to recommend this book, as it had a powerful effect on my own journey of learning to say "yes" to God.