How to Turn Your Life Around

“I used to be hungry. I didn’t know where to get my next meal. My life was so hard. And then I became pregnant and I was kicked out of school. I was so hopeless.

But God found me and I moved to *Rehema House. I have so much food now; I have a chance at education. I love God so much and I understand the Bible and his love for me. I have clothes and I am a mother now to my baby. I love my life.”


Rose’s story is just one of many. They all sound different, but they are the same.

This is my story, too.

I was living for myself, pursuing the American Dream of having bigger and better. But I woke up in a slum and found rich people among the poor. And discovered a spirit of poverty in my rich life.


God has the final say and He showed me how to give my life away.


And that’s how I found it.

God turned my life around.

And He will do the same for you.

How to Turn Your Life Around

1. Accept Who He Is: God commands our destiny. When we accept His power and purpose for our lives, it throws open the windows of the impossible. He is I am.

2. Acknowledge What He Can Do: If anything, I pray my life will show you that God can do anything with anyone. He can make a way where there is no way. He delights in the impossible. Try Him.

3. Agree to Give Your Life Away: When we lose our life for His sake, we will find it. When we put God first, others second, ourselves third, we find true peace, happiness and wealth we cannot imagine.


“I now have hope.

God has turned my life around.” -Rose, age 17.


*Rehema is Swahili for mercy.

Thanksgiving on the Other Side of the Globe

Thanksgiving Menu:

Flour chapatis






Kenyan Pantry


Meal Preparation is an all day affair:



Everyone has a job:


Family Devotion Time:


Talking about dinner manners:


A beautiful table setting:


Full tummies:


After-Dinner Naps:

(how many babies can you find?)


Decorating for Christmas:


It’s a lot like your day!



Thank you God that it’s not about giving on one day. It’s about giving our lives away.


For When You Wonder if You’re Valuable

Once there was a prince and he was looking for a wife. He searched the land and found a farmer with two daughters. When he asked about the dowry for the young maidens, the farmer explained that for the educated daughter, who was beautiful and smart, pure and above reproach, the dowry was ten cows, a small fortune. But for the second daughter who was uneducated and not as pretty and broken, the dowry was one cow. The prince left and said he would come back the next day with his decision.

And he did.

He presented the father with ten healthy cows and the farmer brought his firstborn daughter.

“No,” the prince replied. “It is the second daughter I want.”

“Oh, you have paid too much,” the father protested. But the prince gave the ten cows. Because he saw beyond her appearance or situation.

He saw her for who she would become. He knew what love could do. DSC_1717 He recognized her value.

This Kenyan Proverb was shared at our very first Mercy House Graduation today. The first four girls brought into the maternity home, almost three years ago now have completed Phase 1 of the Rehema House program. And now they move into Phase 2, a halfway house of sorts with more independence and outside education as they are slowly reintegrated back into their homes if it’s a viable option.


They were rescued when they were most hopeless.

They were redeemed when they were destitute.


They have beautifully transformed from broken, desperate girls into glowing new creations.

They have been given hope.

And a future. DSC_1593 Every resident has a unique situation and while some may stay three years, others may stay longer. But the ultimate goal is to make disciples and send them out into the world as a light, a new generation of Esthers.


It was humbling beyond words–to be in this place for such a time as this.


As I shared how all this began, one small yes, that’s grown into a God-sized dream, I could only give God the glory and thank Him for the good work He has done.


For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. -Psalm 139:13-14


As Terrell and I knelt on our knees before these beautiful new creations, robed in royalty, we washed their feet.


And not for one minute did these girls wonder if they were valuable.

They knew they belonged to the Prince of Peace.


That’s what love will do.

(in)Mercy LIVE from Africa

Teen-aged laughter and baby giggles.


Heartfelt worship songs and dancing feet.

Red dirt and colorful laundry hanging on the line.


I’m in Kenya this week with my family at Mercy House and this verse is alive in my heart:

“O, Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.’ -Psalm 33:9

Sometimes when we give money, we wonder if it really goes to what it’s asked for. I’m your eyewitness today, testifying of mercy.


Maureen, Kenyan Director

We have a little more wiggle room for our 24 residents now and in our new-to-us van.

new van

Two new classrooms are already in use…


As a skills room


and a computer lab that will take our students to the next level of learning.


Click to continue to read all God has done through (in)mercy at DaySpring….

Growing in Mercy

The funny thing about a house full of babies is they don’t stay babies long.

It’s a universal thing, huh?

Healthy babies grow. And it’s a poignant journey for all mommas across the globe.


It’s a lifetime of firsts. It’s what God created all of us to do–grow up.


Every time I visit Mercy House, it’s the first thing I notice. Chubby thighs, double chins, heavy babies who were bundled the last time I held them and are now peekaboo-playing toddlers running through the house.


I’ve also noticed with each visit, there’s less for me to oversee and advise on, less dependence. It’s more of me watching like a proud parent.  The maternity home is growing and maturing and developing far past anything I could have hoped or dreamed.


It’s a beautiful thing for a mother to witness, these first steps.

When my family said yes, nearly four years ago, to this baby of an idea, we had no idea what God would do. We simply offered our meager offering.  And I am the first to tell you, what I’m witnessing this week is Divine. Watching traumatized girls powerfully healed, holding babies who were botched abortions, watching God make something from nothing–this is holy ground. Listening to the girls worship this morning, brought such deep gratitude and reflection for the countless miracles.

I look at this big baby that’s a growing, changing ministry and I stand back–half excited, half terrified–of what’s coming next, more of the unknown, bigger dreams and scarier yes’.

And I sort of feel like just a little girl. And so, I look up to my Father. My big Daddy in Heaven who says, “I’m going to keep growing you, too, daughter. Hold my hand. I’ll lead you.”





And He says it to each of us. You sitting there with a babe growing in your body or a grand baby growing in your grown baby. . .We all keep growing. Keep giving all you’ve got to those children in your life, those without, those who don’t have what you do.

It’s the best way to live Thanksgiving.

It’s the best way to grow.

give thanks

We keep adding to our family here in Kenya. It’s growing in size and grace and we want you to be a part of it. Help us help more girls, more babies, turn this heartbreakingly beautiful country upside down for Jesus? We are asking God for 100 new families to join this growing family in 2014.

2014 Family Picture


WFMW: {Guest Post} 5 Ideas to Make This Year’s Thanksgiving Your Best Of All Time


Hi, I’m Robin! When Kristen invited me to step into her space while she and her family are loving on those babies at Mercy House, fistpumping I thought, “Thanksgiving Week?  Yes!!  I know exactly what I’ll write!”

And then she wrote most of it for me in her WFMW last week. ~ smile ~  Wonderful thoughts on taking back Thanksgiving, her ideas embody my soul’s cry for the holidays.

So I re-grouped, incorporating one or two ideas in a new way and adding a few others, and today I’m happy to share What Works For Me this week:

5 Ideas to Make This Year’s Thanksgiving Your Best Of All Time

1.  Require a ticket to the table.

When I host our family Thanksgiving meal, I require a ticket for admission for everyone.  We do this by way of our Thankful Box, and it’s as simple as writing down at least one thing for which you’re thankful and slipping it into the box before dinner.  After we’re done eating, we pass the Thankful Box around, taking turns reading the slips of paper and trying to guess who said it.  It’s a great conversation starter, it holds us together just a little bit longer, and it serves as beautiful reminder for why we’re together.  If you’re interested, I penned a little poem to go with mine, and one year gave it as an inexpensive but priceless Christmas gift, tucked inside a pretty box.

2.  Establish Your Signature Dish.

Can you think of specific dishes made by members of your family, the ones that are as eagerly anticipated as the holidays?  Well, if you don’t already have one that everyone is begging you to cook, make that your goal this year!  Mine is apple pie; it’s a definite labor of love because I have to make two to have enough (four homemade crusts!)…but the lip-smacking and declarations that I make the best apple pie in the world are big paychecks.

3.  Do Something Different.

As host this year, I was thinking through details for dinner when it occurred to me I couldn’t remember a single specific Thanksgiving meal with my parents.  Horrified and wanting to make sure this wasn’t the case for my babies, I asked my youngest (the only one still at home) for ideas.  Though I don’t think I’ll take the advice of my teenage son, I’m cooking up some surprises to go with our turkey.  Feel free to offer YOUR suggestions in comments–I’m listening!

4.  Give Surcies.

Wanna fill your family’s and friends’ cup to the overflow?  Gift them a little something that demonstrates your anticipation of their arrival.  Among family, this kind of thoughtfulness is unexpected.  It’s a way tangibly to express I love you, and can be as simple as a scripture verse rolled in a tiny bottle (I received one of these and it MADE MY DAY!), after-dinner mints (or if you have time,  hand-pressed buttermints) wrapped in a little bag to freshen post-turkey breath.  Love notes at each table setting don’t cost a thing, but they’re word treasures.

5.  Remember Others.

It’s likely you have family members too far away to visit, those who have experienced great loss since last year (through death of loved ones, marital strife), and others who are struggling through difficult circumstances (illness, financal, etc.).  Pick up the phone and call them.  Drop a card in the mail.  Serve with your family at a local ministry.  Don’t feel like you have to talk an hour or write a dissertation–the act of remembering is a beautiful expression of love, and it could be the very thing someone needs to hear.

Heartfelt thanks to Kristen for allowing me to share Wednesday with you, and if you’ve never visited my blog (or it’s been a long while), I’ve just unveiled my new design and I am thrilled to the moon!  Pop over for a visit?  I’ve got a few surprises waiting :).

Sweet [Exhausted] Mercy

We made it.

And I’m almost too tired to type another word.

30 hours and mostly still smiling (not one meltdown, so clearly miracles happen).


We landed at 7am and hit the ground running. We arrived at the home and got reacquainted. Everyone is shy at first, babies tentative to white strangers.


Well. Most.


We shared gifts with all the residents and staff and took a tour of our new home and the recent additions.


It’s surreal being in Kenya again. Loving mercy, being eyewitnesses to all God has done.


Also: What happens in Kenya stays in Kenya


One of my kids got stuck in a bathroom for half an hour and we had to break the door down. That was fun. You can take that family out of the USA, but you can take THAT family out of us. Apparently.

I’m so glad you’re here with us!

P.S. Don’t you love my Team Mercy shirt? Our new Team Mercy Advocacy Program starts in 2014. It’s the perfect way for families to join our team and help reach more girls in Kenya for Christ.

Last Minute

Our bags are packed, weighed, rearranged, unpacked, repacked ready for Africa. (And I have a large supply of chocolate and Xanax for my travel anxiety. And all the other passengers said AMEN).


We leave on a big plane tomorrow and layover in Amsterdam. Since our kids are traveling with us this trip, I was on the hunt for cheap plane tickets a few months ago, which should explain the 12 hour layover in Holland and the 9 hour red eye to Kenya. And also the cranky exhausted kids I’m expecting.

Remind me of that okay?

I’m always excited SLASH nervous when I travel to Kenya. It’s like stepping into a completely different world where you lose control and expectations. I’ve gone half a dozen times now, but this trip, this trip will be like no other. 

12 babies, y’all. 

I want you to come with me. I want you to taste, smell , hear and see. I can’t wait to show you what you’ve helped create. I can’t wait to show you joy only God can bring.

I can’t wait to show you miracles.

Would you pray for us? (Specifically for peace and wisdom, endurance and grace over the next 12 days)

I’m praying for you, too.