Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch is a WONDERFUL book. It is real. It is captivating. It gave me a lot to think about & wrestle with God over. Each chapter ends with self-reflection questions. I recommend this book.
“Rhinestone Jesus” by Kristen Welch is the very moving and inspirational story of a young pastor and his family as they struggle through the first ten years of marriage, family life, and pastoring to find it is not where they needed to be. A time of personal crisis in the marriage requires counseling and hard work. Then as they begin to be on a healthy status quo, Kristen, with her husband’s encouragement, begins blogging for Mom’s to begin fulfilling her desire to write. She gains some notoriety in the world of “Mom’s” and is invited by Compassion International to join a blogging tour of some of their children’s homes in Africa. She goes with a team from Compassion and has a life changing experience. As she sees the overwhelming poverty of people living in filth, surrounded by oceans of garbage, no clean water, very little food.....she sees her “rich” life in comparison and winds up on a whole new search for living life as Jesus would. How to reconcile their so little with her so much? Unanswerable questions. Then she meets such lovely children that though living in squalor have come to know Jesus and have a joy she has missed. The journey she begins when she returns from this visit is amazing. She learns to trust God and love Him and her Savior Jesus for real! After months of prayer and talking and blogging she and her husband partner with one young woman in Africa who overcame the poverty she grew up with and was looking to minister to her people. They looked to fulfill one of the needs in the slums of this area in Africa. A need for a home for unwed mothers who often looked to have abortions and ended up dying from them. It took months of planning and fundraising. They used their own personal finances and opened the ministry to the “Mom’s” on her blog. They finally had the paperwork done, enough donations to begin and a piece of property with a good house on it to house Maureen, the African counterpart, with three pregnant teens. The true story unfolds of their triumphs, troubles, tragedies, and constant desire to say “yes” to trusting God to serve Him in this remarkable way. Touching the lives of only a few, but making a great difference one life at a time. At the end of each chapter she asks challenging questions and offers direction for the reader to also choose to say “yes” to God in their own lives. The home is called Mercy House. I can’t tell you how moved I was so many, many times as I read the heartbreaking stories of lives that were turned around. Life at its richest sometimes in the poorest of circumstances. Indeed, looking at the world turned upside down with Jesus love. Her title “Rhinestone Jesus” is reference to a pin she wore as a teen that supposedly showed her devotion to Him. Her story is about putting away the clean, perfect facade of what we think the Christian life is about, and really getting in there to work and serve with true giving, true sacrifice, that costs us something. I do not think I will soon forget the lessons taught by this woman’s story. Many have told her they want to do what she does, but she cautions not to “copycat” but to look genuinely to where you are personally and seek what is the best “yes” our Father has for you. Her family works together and “owns” the ministry as part of their daily lives. They all said “yes” together; a very beautiful picture of how ordinary folks have made an extraordinary difference.
A delightfully honest read for anyone who ever wondered if her small yes matters.