I’ve walked many miles beside my dear friend Kristen Welch, including over many mountains, literal and spiritual. I count Kristen as one of my closest heart sisters, a spiritual mentor, and a ministry partner, with whom I’ve worked closely for years to bring hope to women. I get to see it first hand again and again, what we can all do together to change the world for women, if we say our brave yes. The ministry she founded, Mercy House Global, does the most remarkable work supporting teen moms in Kenya and other women around the world through dignified work. But maybe most amazing of all is Kristen’s insistence, her deep-rooted surety, that only God deserves credit for what only He could have done to make a way where there was no way, to make a path where we see only an unscaleable mountain. I can testify: Kristen’s radically surrendered life detonates doubt and bears witness to the truth – whatever mountain you are climbing can stretch out into a road because Jesus didn’t climb down from the cross but stretched out His arms and made Himself a way through mountains. Her story will build your faith in a God who doesn’t move mountains to make things easy but moves our hearts to make everything about Him. I absolutely love this woman with all my heart — it’s a grace to welcome Kristen to the farm’s front porch today…
This is what I’ve learned: God moves some mountains miraculously.
We stare down the impossible, and it stares right back at us.
But then God casts it into the sea and makes a way where there wasn’t one.
And some days we face obstacles that weren’t there the day before: a diagnosis, a disaster, discouraging news, depression, or despair.
I’ve dug my feet into a few of these mountains this year, and I’ve spent a lot of time telling God about the mountains in front of me.
Maybe you have too.
But the God who led us to the foot of the mountain is the same God who will lead us over it.
That’s what I have been learning all along the journey of my work with Mercy House Global, especially as we have expanded our work to create dignified jobs for the precious, illiterate mothers of the teen moms in our maternity homes.
We began with textiles and ceramics, though we knew nothing about either, and God opened doors by providing Kenyan teachers for both.
We bought looms and kilns, and we stared down a mountain of impossibilities as we worked to turn very poor, uneducated women into skilled artisans.
Would the women be able to learn this difficult skill? Would we be able to sell rugs? Would this even work?
I doubted. I was afraid.
The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle occurs.
Before long it was time to return to Kenya and stand at the looms and sit in the homes and report on this miracle project.
I walked into a room with nine grandmothers—some of whom had sold their own girls into slavery and others who had watched helplessly as their daughters were abused—and I witnessed miujiza, miracles.
As I watched the jaw-dropping beauty of our women—the most unlikely of weavers—sitting at looms creating masterpieces, I knew this was holy ground.
The weight of the world should have been lifted—it was working, the women were weaving! But I fretted about the next stage, selling the rugs.
It takes five days to weave one rug, and the materials made in Kenya aren’t cheap.
Once we added in the cost of paying the women, I realized our rugs were going to be expensive. Most handmade things are, but we live in a culture that values bargains and doesn’t always consider the hands behind the product.
Becky, a friend who has been wildly generous to Mercy House, was on the trip with me, and she wasn’t at all worried about our ability to sell the rugs.
I wondered at her positive attitude, and she leaned toward me and with tears in her eyes said, “I need to tell you my rug story.” I needed to hear it.
“Three years ago, I had never heard of Mercy House Global. I had just finished reading the Bible through for the first time, and I saw one constant theme throughout: you cannot give God more than He will give you. I was in Colorado on a girls’ weekend trip when I walked into a high-end boutique and saw a gorgeous rug that would be perfect for my living room.
As I stood there, I felt as if God spoke to me. He said, ‘Don’t buy this rug. Hold on to that money, and I’ll tell you where to give it. You will have your choice of rugs.’”
She admitted she didn’t understand it, but she was sure that this wasn’t about money; it was about obedience. She knew the right rug would find her.
Three weeks later, Becky was invited to the Mercy House Gala at which I told the story of Miujiza and we auctioned off the first rug from our looms in Kenya.
“Kristen, that night, God whispered, ‘This is where you’re supposed to give that money.’ I bid on the first rug, and today I witnessed gorgeous rugs being made. So see? I’m not worried about Mercy House selling rugs at all.”
I cried all over my lunch.
Three years ago, God was talking about rugs to someone I had never met and before I knew we would even be making them.
Why? Because God sees us.
He knows where we are and what we are doing. He pursues us. He prepares. He puts people in our paths.
He pushes us out of our comfort zones and puts us in places where we can hear Him.
He does not let our fear stop us from doing what He asks us to do; He understands and says to go anyway. He calls us to a life that matters. When we go, He goes with us.
I believe God can do the impossible without us. He is God, after all; He can do anything.
But He often invites us into the miracle.
He allows us to be a part of it so that our faith will increase, so that people will see the impossible made possible, and above all, so that He will be glorified.
I have wondered how often my refusal to obey, my hesitancy to go, or my action altered by my fear has kept the impossible impossible.
How many opportunities have I missed to witness the miraculous because I didn’t listen or wouldn’t obey?
It’s a lot easier to see the top of one mountain from another.
Some days, we need to look behind us to see how many mountains we’ve already scaled.
It’s too easy to forget that much of what we enjoy today is what we asked God for yesterday.
When we reflect on what God has already done in our lives, our hearts, and our homes and we stop and praise Him for it—our perspective changes everything.
Kristen Welch is the creator of the popular parenting blog We Are THAT Family and the author of Rhinestone Jesus, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Raising World Changers in a Changing World, and her newest, Made to Move Mountains. She is the founder of Mercy House Global and facilitates Fair Trade Friday, a monthly subscription club that empowers impoverished women around the world.
Kristen’s journey has led her through a thousand instances of knowing what it feels like to soar, struggle, stumble, and stand at the edge of cliffs, afraid to step into the unknown and unsure of where we will land. But she has also learned that instead of running away, we are called by God to stand firm, muster up what faith we can, and take a step—not because we are good enough or adequate or able but because God makes a way where there is no way. In Made to Move Mountains she offers heartbreaking and hopeful personal stories, Scripture, and questions for contemplation that will draw you out of fear and into a holy confidence that God uses both our dreams and our disasters to accomplish the impossible.
[Our humble thanks to Baker for their partnership in today’s devotion ]