HS  #226 — Kristen Welch — Moving Mountains as a Family

HS #226 — Kristen Welch — Moving Mountains as a Family

Links and Resources:

Show Notes:

Episode #226 — Kristen Welch — Moving Mountains as a Family

May 5

DESCRIPTION:

Life is an incredible journey with ups and downs. We soar, struggle, scale and stumble, and often stand at the edge of cliffs, afraid to step into the unknown, unsure of where we will land. But instead of running away, we are called by God to stand firm, muster up what faith we can, and take a step. Because we were made to move mountains.

In today’s podcast interview, Kristen Welch calls us to step out in faith and climb the mountain right in front of us — not because we are good enough or adequate or able, but because God makes a way where there is no way. Of course this applies to our homeschooling dreams, to our families, marriage and raising children. But what else can God called you (and your family) to be part of out in the world today?

This episode is about all that, and so much more. It’s a joy to have author Kristen Welch with us on the Homeschool Solutions Show.



TODAY’S GUEST:

Kristen Welch loves sweet tea and is mildly obsessed with globes and maps. She loves color and words and her house has a lot of both. She is parenting teens and a young adult with her husband slash best friend of more than 25 years.

Kristen is the founder of Mercy House and Fair Trade Friday and the author of multiple exceptional books! Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World and Raising World Changers are both incredible books and I (Wendy) read them aloud to my own family. Her latest book Made to Move Mountains: How God Uses Dreams and Disasters to Accomplish the Impossible is sure to be another favorite!

RESOURCES:

Made to Move Mountains: How God Uses Dreams and Disasters to Accomplish the Impossible by Kristen Welch

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch

Raising World Changers by Kristen Welch

Service Projects to do as a family can be found at mercyhouseglobal.org

Find out more about Fair Trade Friday, a monthly membership site where you’ll monthly boxes full of HomeGoods, art and clothes, created by artisans around the world.

QUOTES:

  • Parenting upstream is the way to raise a family. (Kristen Welch)
  • One of the most precious commodities we have without children is time. (Kristen Welch)
  • I strongly believe that God has a mountain for each one of us to move that requires faith and courage and an unleashing of the Holy Spirit. (Kristen Welch)
  • We can’t give up… life can be incredibly wonderful or terribly hard… Jesus is with us in the highs and lows. (Kristen Welch)
  • We have the opportunity to invite our kids to serve. (Kristen Welch)
  • Obedience makes Jesus the hero of the story. (Kristen Welch)
  • Across the board, around the world… when I ask women what they want most they say that they want a job… we provide women the means to meet their own needs.” (Kristen Welch on Mercy House Global)

CONNECT WITH KRISTEN:

http://wearethatfamily.com

http://mercyhouseglobal.org

http://movemountainsbook.com

Show Transcript:

HS EP Kristin Welch

Wendy -

Welcome to the Homeschool Solutions podcast, brought to you by Sonlight Curriculum, and homeschooling.mom. I'm your host, Wendy Speake. Here on the show every week, you'll get to listen in on some great conversations with wonderful guests, all designed to equip us as homeschooling moms. And then once a month, we'll be opening up the Bible together, applying God's Word to our long, blessed, but often challenging days.

It is my hope that as we gather together in this space, we will encourage one another with some practical, Biblical solutions. I'm so glad you're here. Before we start the show, I'd like to thank our sponsor, Sonlight Curriculum. Complete homeschool curriculum you're guaranteed to love.

And now, enjoy the show.

I have had the privilege of talking with some extraordinary women and men on the podcast. But I have to tell you that today's guest is someone I have admired from afar for a long time. I have read her books, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, and Raising World Changers. And that second one, I actually read it aloud to my family on a road trip.

I've also listened to her podcast and forced my kids to listen to a couple of episodes as well. She is the founder of Mercy House Global and the mastermind behind Fair Trade Friday. We will talk about all of it today if I have my way. I am inspired by the quotes that she shares online and the love that she shares around the world.

I tell you the truth, because of Kristen Welch's influence and example in my life, I am more bold in my giving, more generous in my living, and more intentional in my parenting than I would have been without her.

I don't think that I've ever shared an introduction quite like that. Kristen is a joy to have on the show today and it's my joy to welcome her to the show now. So, thank you for being here, Kristen.

Kristen -

Thank you, Wendy. I think I have never almost cried hearing an introduction. Thank you so much for warmly welcoming me today.

Wendy -

Yeah, and it's really cool that I get to introduce you to others. I know that many around the world know you, but I'm just imagining some people are getting to know you for the first time. And so that makes me very happy because of the influence you've had on my life and my family. So, would you actually start things off by introducing yourself to us? Tell us a bit about your family, who you guys are, and what you're about? You can keep it as introductory, as you'd like, and we will go deep later, or you can just dive right into all the deep places. But go. Take it away.

Kristen -

Well, my name is Kristen, and I'm in my late 40s. Been married to my best friend for 25 years. We just had our 25th wedding anniversary. We have three kids. A 20-year-old who's in college. Our oldest who's a daughter, and then a son, who's a senior in high school right now, who just decided to attend the same college as his big sister. And then, we have a 13-year-old baby of the family who is, I think, about 50% ready for her, all of her siblings to leave and 50% heartbroken.

And we started Mercy House Global in 2010, actually, this week is the 10th anniversary of my trip to Kenya with Compassion International.

Wendy -

Wow.

Kristen -

Yes.

Wendy -

That's huge.

Kristen -

It is. It's exciting. That trip resulted in our family starting Mercy House Global in 2010. And I guess they say the rest is history. That trip wrecked my life and really realigned me as a believer. And redeemed me in so many ways. I've spent the last 10 years just wildly obeying everything Jesus says. And I'm really... yeah.

So that's a nutshell...

Wendy -

And we could camp out on Mercy House Global for the entire hour, and really, everything you do flows out of that wrecked life and rebuilt life, aligned with God's plan for you. But can you give us a nutshell, what is Mercy House Global? What is it that God called you to?

K -

Well, as a writer and blogger, I... 10 years ago, I was writing a blog and really loved Jesus and had what I would call living an intentional Christian life to the best of my knowledge. But when I was invited by Compassion International to take my blog on a blogging trip in 2010. I was really searching deeply for purpose, and I wanted what I did to matter. I wanted what I wrote to matter. I wanted to fill some of the empty places, really.

And not knowing that that trip was going to answer a lot of those questions and fill those needs. I said yes and Mercy House really became a response to having my first world normal just really collides with a third world normal. And when I realized how most people live around the world, I knew I could not live the same way.

And so I don't think you ever set out to have your life wrecked. And so, really, the first couple of years were just trying to reconcile what is God asking me to do? And what does that look like?

But we landed on something called Mercy House Global and that is basically... we started in Nairobi, Kenya with maternity centers. And we have three maternity centers now, run by indigenous staff in Kenya. We've primarily work in women's health care where we have a very specific target and those are girls between the ages of 12 and 16 who have gotten pregnant through trafficking. Most of the girls, about 75% of them, were put into trafficking by their own mothers out of desperation. It's a term called "survival prostitution" and basically, mothers asking their daughters to prostitute for food as a way to provide for the rest of the family.

And so, we initially began bringing those girls into the residential centers that we have there and helping them to become moms. And connecting my blog readers who are moms, who have a lot, with these young moms who really needed a lot.

And so, that's how we started in 2010, and Mercy House is really stepped into a lot of other places since then. Because we realized when you take away an undignified with a job, you're helping. But if you don't replace it with dignified work, then the potential of returning of the unending... the life is very high.

And so, we realized pretty early on that we had to replace what we...what was, you know, we were rescuing these girls from, we had to replace it with something that was dignified. And so really, job creation became a huge part of what we do at Mercy House. So we train artisans around the world. We actually have seven artisan groups in Kenya. A lot of those have spun off of maternity centers so family members who were stuck in generational poverty, extreme poverty, less than two dollars a day, have become a skilled artisan.

They sit at looms and at kilns, and at sewing machines and we move a lot of their product through a subscription called Fair Trade Friday. And we're basically, you know, training unskilled women to become artisans. And then making room in the market for them through a subscription. We have a couple of retail stores. We're actually opening a third brick and mortar store here in Texas and we sell a lot of Fair Trade product, in Jesus' Name to provide hope and dignity for these women.

W -

Incredible. Well, I had a plan for this conversation. And I think that we're going to get there, but I really wanna follow the Lord's lead in this, that you might be tuning in to this podcast because you know, you wanna get something out of it to apply to your own life. And I trust that we will. But if you feel your heartbreaking because of the desperate need around the world, and you hear Kristen's story and say, oh, that's my story. I want to... I want my life to matter. I want my giving to matter. I want my writing or my homeschooling or my whatever it is I do to matter.

One of the things that my husband and I have tried to learn to do over recent years is, if somebody presents us with a need, throughout the world, and we are in a place where we could meet that need, we try to just say yes. And so I wanna invite you, even here at the very beginning, if this has touched your heart, do check out MercyHouseGlobal.org. Because you'll learn all about the products that they have been training these unskilled workers to become artisans to create, and there's so much beauty there to be purchased. But also, the real beauty of it is dignity of having a job that matters where you can provide for your family and bring them up out of poverty. The Lord is so kind to allow us into the story of so many when we become givers in this way.

And what I love, Kristen, about what you're doing is, one of the reasons why it's so dignifying is because you are enabling them to have a sustainable way to support themselves, rather than be dependent on the contributions of people. Because, you know, they wanna partner in care and support, but yes, dignity really is the word.

K -

It is. And you know, I've been able to travel to many countries in the world. And I love meeting with women. Because I find that we have so much in common. It's shocking how they have the same desires for their family that I have for mine. For their children, you know. We're so similar in so many ways. And everywhere I've been, and the women I have talked to, I always try to ask them, what is it you need most? You know? I mean, there are days that I want my husband or my kids to ask me, Mom, what do you need?

And across the board, women around the world don't say what you think they might say. Which would be money or provision, or, you know, a physical item, a house, or food. Almost every time I've ever asked it, women respond, they want a job. And we learned early on that we can give women those physical needs, or we can provide them an opportunity and let them meet their own needs. That's really when dignity happens is, we don't pay people's rent, we don't buy people houses or, you know, we provide opportunities for them to meet their own needs. And there's just a lot of empowerment when we're able to do that.

And so, it's a great partnership because we're able to invite women in North America, who are going to give gifts and gonna shop and fill their home and their lives with beautiful things. We get to provide them with an opportunity to come alongside a skilled artisan and empower her with a purchase.

W -

Yes.

K -

And we take all the proceeds from all of that product and we support our maternity centers where we actively rescue eight to ten pregnant girls every year. And then walk with them through the next four years of their life until they're able to step out on their own again.

W -

You share a story in your book, Raising World Changers, that is the story of your daughter having a... gosh, I just teared up even thinking about it... having an encounter with a young woman there. A girl about her age who, I believe at the time she was pregnant, maybe she had already had her child. I think she had already had her child. Do you know which story I'm talking about?

K -

Yes. Are you talking about Violet?

W -

Yes. Yes, would you share that story with us here?

K -

Yes. We were actually on a trip to Kenya, and that's been one of the most, I think, something that has revolutionized my life in such a profound, is the way Mercy House has given us a world perspective and changed the way we parent. And so that's kind of how I stumbled into writing a few parenting books, not because I'm a professional parent or have any licensing to do so, but because I realized that we had entitled our kids, and really just become so much like the world in our parenting. And so when we started really trying to change the way we parent, in turning that boat the other direction, it was profound and made a profound impact on our home.

But we had the opportunity to take our kids to Kenya, especially when they were younger. And we were celebrating a graduation of some of the girls who had finished the residential program there. And we were... so it was graduation day. We're sitting on the lawn having this outdoor, like a picnic lunch, with all of the babies and the girls. It was just a beautiful day. And it's one of the homes there is just... every kind of tree imaginable. There's avocados and bananas growing, and it's just very beautiful. And the wind was blowing and I was sitting there, and I looked up and my daughter, who was about 14 at the time, had another girl next to her, from the maternity home, and they were holding hands. And I remember just, you know, looking out in front of me and thinking that's so sweet. And the little toddler of this teen mom was toddling around me, and it was just one of those moments, where, as a mother and as a woman, I just really felt so... I was so glad that we said yes to God.

I haven't always felt that way, ‘cause it's been a very hard journey. But, I really was just thankful. And I caught a bit of the conversation between Violet, who was the teen mom, and my daughter. And I heard Violet ask my daughter why do you think you were born in America and I was born here in Kenya? And the minute she asked the question, my heart started pounding. And I did not know how my young daughter was going to answer probably one of the most difficult questions ever asked. Because you have to understand Violet's story to know why it was so challenging of a question. Violet had been burned over 40% of her body from the waist down. We actually read in a newspaper article in the Nairobi News about this young girl who'd been victimized. She was actually owned as an indentured servant of someone else. She didn't know her age. She couldn't read and write. She had never been to school. And she had been violated by a caretaker and had been burned. And the newspaper article basically was asking if anyone wanted to care for her. And we brought her into the maternity homes because, while she was in an induced coma recovering from her burns, they discovered she was also three months pregnant.

And so she ends up in our maternity centers where we raise money to several surgeries that would allow her to walk again. And this is the girl who's asking my privileged daughter about really justice and fairness. Why were you born in America and I was born in Kenya? And it's a question that has haunted me, and I leaned in, held my breath, and this is what my daughter said. She grabbed Violet's hand and she said, Violet, I don't know why you were born here in Kenya, or why I was born in America. But I think it's because I'm supposed to help you. And when she said those words, you know, tears just poured down my face, because, in her simplicity and innocence, she had captured the very essence of "love one another" and why do some have so much and some have so little. It's so that those who have much can share with those who have little.

And hearing my daughter say that, it was profound because it was exactly what I needed to hear. And I think what we need to hear as the Body of Christ, that the purpose we're looking for, the emptiness that we wanna fill, we look in every direction. You know, from social media to the American dream, all of the things. You know we're trying to fill something, even as believers, and I believe that we find what we're looking for when we simply love another person. And we share what we've been given.

And so, even to this day, that was so many years ago, I think about that story often because I thought, I'm feeling down or needy or, I mean, some of the best self-help I can give myself is find a place to serve and who needs what I have? And then something to live by, for sure.

W -

Yes. And not just live by, but you invite your family to... I mean it doesn't just shape their lives, Kristen, you get to live it as a family. What a privilege to live in other-centered rather than a self-centered way while they live with us and the hope of Christ is to launch them out into the world to live as a living sacrifice for the benefit of others and the glory of God. And I think we would all say to some degree, yes, I want that for my child. And yet, and not all of us are going to start a ministry and do what you've done. But are we living it out in various ways right here with our family?

And you have done that. I believe I've heard you say, and you can take over from here again, but that part of the reason of bringing your kids home to homeschool them was so that you had more freedom to go and to serve and to love and to do and to give. Because it's really hard to do that when we're all tied up with our traditional school system.

K -

Yes, definitely. So, we're in our fourth year of homeschooling. And I can't imagine doing anything else now that we've tasted the freedom of homeschooling. And we had done public school and it had worked for us. And, you know, we sort of got into this, once we started Mercy House, we had the opportunity to serve in different capacities. And so, the freedom to do that was really being stifled by the structure of the public-school system.

And also, there were, as my kids got older, doing something... really parenting upstream and living upstream, which I really believe is the Gospel way to raise a family in our culture. You know, we have to lookdifferent in the world and be different in the world. And the more that we did that, and of course, starting a nonprofit that took us overseas, just made that more evident and obvious. My kids had a more difficult time fitting back into American culture, the more we exposed them to the world.

And we had a season there that was difficult for them. And so, we had always said we would just take one year at a time and do what was best for our kids. And so when my older two kind of, I don't know if it was an intentional ganging up on their parents, but they just said, you've always told us that we would take one year at a time. And we both, we wanna homeschool. And it was the first time our kids had ever asked that question. And they were old enough, you know, we talked about the pros and cons, and what that would mean, and we had to let go of some things you know. Just some of the structure that we had loved, you know. Football games in the city and some of the things that, you know, prom and homecoming, and things that I think we all looked forward to. That we hadn't participated in yet. But we decided that we were gonna really just take back some of the freedom that being in a very structured environment had really robbed our family of that precious time together.

And I know that parents listening would agree that one of the most precious commodities we have with our kids is time. And it's more important than money or success or anything else. It's just that, we just have such a small window of time with them. And I have not regretted it one day. That we let our kids really kind of I guess they sort of made the decision. And then we allowed them the freedom to figure it out, you know? The first year was kind of rough, trying to figure out what that looked like. And a lot of my friends were like, you're doing this backwards. You know, cause so many of them had homeschooled young elementary, and then in high school, they put their kids, you know, Christian or public school in high school.

But I'm so thankful that we did it this way. Because the public-school environment really taught my kids, and at an early age, very good study skills and how to take tests and now, as they're older and they're home, they're so intelligent. And we get to pursue their own personal and individual passion, that's my favorite part of homeschooling. You know, what are you passionate about? What do you wanna learn about? Okay. Let's figure that out together. We'll get books on it, and so I love the freedom that that allows, and provides for us.

W -

Absolutely. You have an archer, he's now into musical theater. And now he's off to college, I just saw that you had announced on social media that he was accepted into the school that he had wanted to. But he also received a handsome academic scholarship and that's just so worth celebrating. So, well done, John Avery, well done God, well done, you. Those are all really, that's just really worth celebrating.

I'd like to take just a moment to thank another one of today's sponsors, Medi-Share. An affordable and Biblical healthcare alternative. Find out more at mychristiancare.org for their ongoing support of homeschooling families just like ours.

And now, back to the show.







And I love how you've also, during this time with them home, not only has it freed up the space to go on adventures as a family and serve around the world, but you've also, right there, been able to invite them into the daily work of what you're doing. They're around, seeing it, being part of it. Even in your books, in this last one, they...you... they took turns writing application and asking questions at the end of each chapter, which is really great if you're looking for a really challenging book to challenge your priorities as a family, and you wanna read it aloud as a family, it's wonderful. Because the kid's voices are in there as well. I thought that was wonderful.



So, I would love to move on to this next book that I have not read yet. Because I think the main theme of it is going to segway off of this conversation and into the next part just beautifully. It's hard for me to not camp out right where we are, but I wanna move on. I'd love to talk about this idea of being made to being created to move mountains. What does that mean, what does that have to do with our lives? What does it have to do with our children's lives? And would you tell us why this message is so important?



K -

Yeah, this has been, probably two or three years in the making. And I don't know if I've ever had a project really got me. It's... so well. But it's probably the most raw book I've ever written, because, what I thought the message would be, and it is definitely part of it, is the dreams that God gives us. And being bold and stepping out and pursuing those dreams. They're unique. There's only one of you, one of me, and with the skills, the talents, the opportunity, where we are placed on this planet in the families that we are in. I mean, it's just, we're all so unique.



And I strongly believe that God has a mountain for each of us to move that requires faith and courage and an unleashing of the Holy Spirit to just step into what He's called us to do. Whether it's making the best chocolate chip cookie on the planet, that needs to be tasted by all the people so that in some way, and shape and form, He's glorified in that. Or it's, you know, starting a nonprofit or writing a certain book or, whatever it is. I mean there's so many opportunities to really pursue the dreams that He places in us. And the ultimate goal of all of those dreams is to glorify Him.



And so when I wanted to write a book called Made to Move Mountains, it was really, it came from this place in me where over the last 10 years, people have... I think it's, you know, we look for heroes in our culture, and people that we can put on pedestals. There are, you know, certain people that God created to do something for Him. But it's not everyone. I mean, this is, I think, something we deceive ourselves with. And I've had so many people say, oh, you know, I love what your family's doing but I could never do that. And so I really just wanted to be a cheerleader and challenge readers that there is a mountain God has specifically for you. And it is begging to be climbed, and He wants to move it. And He wants ???.



So that's the dream part of this book. Just really pursuing the dreams. In the process of writing this book, I also discovered there are other kinds of mountains and those are disasters. Mountains that we would never choose. We would never want to climb them. They could be diagnosis; they could be disease. They could be destruction. So many things that we would not choose. And in the writing of this book, I experienced that as a mom, just, and walking with one of my kids through it. A heartbreaking diagnosis, very unexpected, and it...I had to, I guess just see God in that mountain too. Because that's what life's about. We don't know what's beyond the next mountain, you know, if it's gonna be something we want to climb or something we don't. But He is glorified in all of it. He's glorified in the disasters and the dreams and so, this really became a journal of the last 18 months of climbing mountains I don't wanna climb and climbing mountains that I do wanna climb. And how both glorify God and how I'm finding Jesus.



W -

The subtitle of the book is How God Uses Dreams and Disasters to Accomplish the Impossible. So, you've... we've had a little insight into the dreams that God has put on your heart. And you have alluded here to some recent disasters in the last few years. Is there any main message that you would give to us then, as listeners today?



K -

I think it's that, we can't give up. You know? We just have to keep going and life can be incredibly amazing, and it can be really hard. And I think Jesus is with us in the highs and lows. And, you know, I wasn't able to wrap this book up with a neat tidy bow. And I really wanted to say there is a miraculous healing at the end, or I can see exactly why God has me on this journey, but I can't. And I don't know, but I trust that He uses everything.



And there's also just this, like, opportunity to see how the mountains that we want to climb, I mean, really being a part of Mercy House, it's been really, really challenging. But it has given me this endurance and grit to face mountains I didn't know I was going to face. And I think that's what obedience does. It makes Jesus the hero of your story, and so, yeah, I think its... I hope and pray it challenges people to take that first step whether they want to or not. Whether they have to or not. Because life is full of things we wanna do and things we don't wanna do. But, when we step back, we find Jesus in the middle of all of it.



W -

I really hear the theme of perseverance there. I'm scribbling down notes as you talk. Cause I love putting specific little quotes here and there on the show notes page of the podcast. And I wrote one down and then I looked at it and thought, no, there needs to be another word that you had said before that sentence, so you had said, you were talking about perseverance, and then, the phrase that you used was "obedience makes Jesus the hero of the story." And then I had to remind myself, okay, obedience in the midst of the mountains. The perseverance really is the theme and there are so many times...I mean, we can just talk about, we can just camp out on the hard days of homeschooling. That can be a mountain in and of itself.



But then, you put the struggles of marriage, and you put, yes the diagnoses. We've had a few ourselves. And there really is that flesh nature of that just longs for ease, and longs for throwing up our hands and yet, the call in Philippians 3:14 is to press on to win the prize. What do you think that prize is, Kristen? What's the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus?



K -

Well, I think pain and suffering on earth, it's just quoting Randy Alcorn. He wrote this in the book, Heaven, but, the pain and suffering of earth tethers us to Heaven. And if we didn't have our struggles, then you know, we might think for a moment, that we get our heaven on earth. But, we have this eternity waiting for us.

And really, for me, I was grieving while I wrote this book. And it was... it's a journey of grief for the dreams and disasters that haven't gone my way. Or you know, the disappointments in life, it's just giving ourselves permission to feel and to let Jesus wipe away our tears and meet us in the hard places. And perseverance is definitely just running that race and not stopping and just crossing that finish line. And to me it's ultimately just to be with Jesus. And I think that the longer I live, the more I see the greater my desire my desire for heaven becomes.

There's just, you know, especially working among impoverished people around the world. But even my own poverty of spirit. I long for heaven. I long for Jesus. And I think that's the ultimate reward. But there's just the joy in this life, and there's laughter and purpose and generosity and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

At one point, I share the story made to move mountains, but I was lying in bed one night and I was just really wrestling with God. I mean, the kind that you don't want people to know just how human you are and the doubts and the fears that you're dealing with. And I just, I couldn't sleep, and I was wrestling with God. And I really felt like, by saying yes to Him, ten years ago, that somewhere along the way, we had made some deal. And God doesn't make deals. But in my heart, I think I really believed, I'm gonna obey you, I'm gonna climb this impossible mountain. I'm gonna believe for the impossible. I'm gonna do what You've asked me to do. You keep my family safe and You keep us whole and happy and healthy. And when that didn't happen, I was so angry at God. And just really wrestling with His sovereignty and I woke my husband up that night and I just needed to say to him, I needed to say it out loud. I wanted easier. I want some easier. And I wanted my husband to say, Honey, you deserve an easier.

But that is not what he said. He sat up in bed and he really spoke God's heart to my heart. And he said, we have purposefully made our lives difficult to make others’ lives easy. This is the path that we're on, and it won't be easy until eternity. Until we're with Jesus, and I was kind of mad at him. And I, you know, argued a little. But I was finally able to sleep because I was like, that's it. I... my expectations are inaccurate. You know? I'm not gonna have an easy life here on earth. Because the kind of Christianity that the Gospels show us, it's not about ease and comfort. It is about denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following Jesus. And that is not a popular message in our current Christianity. But it is a Biblical one.

But if we have a comfortable, easy life, we probably need to talk to Jesus about that. Because a Biblical life is denying ourselves and taking up our cross and we do that, we decide to say yes to those mountains, and we take those steps because He uses that for His glory. And He uses that to draw people to Him, and to comfort and maybe make the lives of others just a little bit easier.

And we get to be part of this great story. But I think, it's just so easy to lose sight of that in our socially, or our social media driven world, where we filter out things and we don't value vulnerability, and so, really, that's the story here. It's this vulnerable, peel back the curtains, and you're not gonna... and this is really the truth behind someone who is called a world-changer. It's raw and real and it's very messy.

W -

Yeah, I really appreciate you sharing that. I had a similar moment where I broke down to a girlfriend of mine. And it was some intense writing, speaking, season. And I just said, this is too hard. I don't wanna do it anymore. And she is specifically my prayer partner. Not just partnering in all things, but she really prays me through the big things that I feel are the mountains that the Lord has called me to. Climb, move, and you know, do all the things with. And I remember so clearly that Amber looked at me and she said, yeah, I don't think I'm gonna pray that way. I was like, ohhh, okay. I'll get back to you on that one.

But it was just, I mean it was in love. She's like, yeah, I don't sense that's God's will to just be done because it's too hard. And the life that Christ came to live, was hard. And we are to live like Christ. We are called by the Father to do things that bring Him glory and bring others to Him. And that's not an easy road, I mean, just all throughout the Scriptures, yeah, they're not gonna like you. They didn't like Me. The world will hate you.

And yet, and yet, I think that what our culture values most, if I could sum up one word, is comfort. And so, we value money and so we value things, and so we value hoarding not giving. But really we just are so obsessed with our own comfort. And even in child-rearing, even in ministry work, in all of it, the thing that keeps making it so hard to persevere is that I'm just so tired of being uncomfortable.

For the benefit of others, though, shifts the focus beautifully. I appreciate your husband's response to you because it's a message that we all need to hear. That we make ourselves, we allow ourselves to be uncomfortable for the comfort of others. We allow ourselves to serve so that others can be served. We have received and so we generously give what we've received. And none of that is easy. But my goodness, is it ever like Christ, and that's the life I want to live.

So, I'm so encouraged by you today. And I know that the other families who tune in will be as well. And I want to say again, listeners, that all of these books, they share hard stories. Because it's a hard world and it's a dark world. And yet, Kristen has invited her own family to be on this journey with her. And so if you do pick up a copy of Raising World Changers or, I'm assuming this next one though, it hasn't come out, so I haven't been able to read it yet. As you read it, look for sections, if not the whole thing, to share with your older children. It really has been a wonderful way for us to bring our children into what the Lord is doing around the world. And I'm so thankful for that.

Would you tell us, Kristen, just some way that we can partner with you in what you're doing? And then would you pray for us as we say goodbye?

K -

Yes, I would love to. I think one of the most important things that we do at Mercy House is we educate families. We really feel like that's a calling that God has given us and an opportunity to come alongside families. Not just educating, as we consume and purchase things, but really becoming a part of a much bigger story that provides freedom for people around the world. And locally, we have a lot of volunteer opportunities for families. We also have service projects that are available online at MercyHouseGlobal.org. And subscription clubs that you can be a part of that provide dignity and opportunities for women.

I think it's amazing to bring our kids in on these kinds of stories and I know that personally, when I said yes a decade ago, I had no idea that it would change my parenting in such a profound way. And it hasn't always been easy. There have been times when my kids, in anger, said I wish that I didn't have a Mercy House childhood. And then those same kids as they've gotten older have called and said thank you for giving me a Mercy House childhood. There's really perspective is something, it is a gift we can give our families. I know that it's so tempting to live in a bubble, to really create a bubble of safety and comfort for our families, because, obviously, we want, we prize our security. And we really promote comfort. But even inside the church. But if we are raising kids that are gonna make a mark and leave an impact and being aliens in this world, we have to really help instill grit and determination and that comes through exposure to truth.

And so we have this amazing opportunity to invite our kids in, and to become people who serve and give. And live a little uncomfortable, whether it's... I always tell my kids, every open seat at our table, empty seat in our van, bed in our home, that is empty, if... you know, maybe that's to be filled by someone in our community or in our lives. And my kids have taken me up on that and they're always the first to suggest who can fill that space. And so, those have been some of the richest experiences we've had in our life, because it's changed our perspective and made us a little more grateful for what we have and what we don't.

So I just encourage you to look for opportunities to bring your kids into a story that's bigger than your family. One that involves loving others.

Let's pray. Father, we thank You so much for the opportunity to be mountain movers. To stand and look at an impossible situation or insurmountable obstacle. Or something so big and so scary, and yet You beckon us to take a step. We thank You God, that You do the impossible with weak and inadequate yes-sayers. And so, God, to whoever's listening today, I just pray that they would be bold in their parenting and in their homeschooling, that they would really step out of their comfort zone and the ease that we are so tempted to stay in in this life. And to lead their families wherever You're calling. And so that we thank You for opportunity and for Your Word that is a light unto our path. And we just ask that you would help us to be bold mountain movers in Jesus's Name. Amen.

W -

Amen. Thank you, Kristen, this was a real joy for me. Hard joy. Isn't that much of what life is? I love that you said when I asked you what is the prize that we are striving toward, and you said, Jesus. And I know that that's not just Jesus in Heaven, it's Jesus walking with Jesus daily now, and what a joy it is, what a privilege it is, to invite our children to walk with Him as well. And so, thank you for encouraging us, thank you for sharing your stories, thank you for sharing your life. And thank you for inviting us to join Christ in the world, and to do so generously. And then invite our kids to come along. We sure do appreciate you.

K -

Thank you, thank you, Wendy, for the opportunity.

W -

What a privilege it is to have these conversations with you each week. You are so busy, and I don't take it lightly that you tune in with me here for a weekly shot of encouragement. As a reminder, you can subscribe to the Homeschool Solutions podcast through Apple or Google Play. And your positive reviews always help other homeschool families find us online.

Before we say goodbye, I'd like to thank Sonlight Curriculum one more time. Not only do they support homeschool families, they are also big supporters of the Homeschool Solutions podcast. Another supporter is the Great Homeschool Conventions. I don't know if you've ever been to one, but I heartily endorse that you find one near you. Every year they host multiple conventions in various regions throughout the US. Find a location at greathomeschoolconventions.com. With dozens of incredible speakers, hundreds of curriculum exhibits, you will leave blessed, refreshed, helped, and encouraged.

I will be in Texas, South Carolina, Ohio, and, of course, my home state, California this year. I hope to see some of you there. Until next week, visit homeschooling.mom for blog posts to encourage and support you along the way. Remember Galatians six verse nine. Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap if we do not give up. That's a promise that I take to the bank every day and I hope you do too.

This is Wendy Speake and I look forward to chatting with you again next week.

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