God Doesn’t Need Us to Say Yes

A magazine for young girls asked me to interview my kids for an article on missions–from their perspective.

My kids wanted to know if it was a paid job.

Oh, writer’s kids.

Their answers were great and enlightening. They talked about the adventures of traveling and trying new foods, about sometimes being scared of the unknown and all the fun that comes with holding babies.

But it was the answer to the last question that made me cry.

Q: Why did your family start a maternity home in Kenya?

[without missing a beat]

A: “Because God asked us to. We don’t always know what we are doing. But He helps us,” said my first grader in a tone that said OBVIOUSLY.

But here’s the truth we must understand: GOD DOESN’T NEED US TO SAY YES.

He’s God. He created oceans and land and the world with a thought. He doesn’t depend on us to say yes. He can accomplish in a second what we labor in for years.

But He invites us to say yes.

He invites us because obedience changes us from the inside out. Saying yes causes us to depend on him because His ask is always bigger than our ability. He wants us to experience the impossible, the miracle in the mess so that He will be glorified.

He invites us in so that He will be glorified through us.

Obedience is the way we communicate our love to God. But obedience is also for us.


Some days I feel like that little kid in the Bible who had just a bit of fish and a couple of loaves in my rolled-up paper sack.

And God says, “Who will say yes? There’s a need, who can meet it?”

I look at my lunch and I know it’s not enough. And I know God can do it without me. He can speak the Word and meet the need.

But there it is: an invitation.

I can clinch that sack or hide it behind my back. Or I can offer my little lunch. It’s not much, but it’s all I have.

Because here’s the thing: your yes may feel small, but God is big and so size doesn’t matter. And we can turn down the invitation. We can walk away and enjoy our little lunch. And we will never know what we missed.

But we will miss it just the same. Because we were created for more. We were created to say yes to God.

Here’s a deeper look into our yes (and our mess):


  1. 1


    This is so beautiful. My heart aches within me to do something beyond the walls of my home — specifically, to adopt — but my husband still isn’t on board. Meanwhile, I wait and work where I can, and take encouragement from you.

    • 1.1


      But you can! Donate your extra pantry items to a food bank, or volunteer for a couple of house a week (or even a month) at a local shelter. Start small. It’ll grow!

    • 1.2

      Meagan says

      you know, we are in the process of being liscensed as foster/adopt parents and it is definitely something you both have to work towards–even if my husband was like ‘you can but your responsible for it all’ there is no way I could get it all done without his help. It is a long hard trying process, simply feeling out the application can stir up feelings that were suppressed with simple questions you just never thought anyone would ask you. I love my family (parents, brothers, sisters) but to be honest, they haven’t always been there for me and I don’t mean that like a spoiled brat but I know I had to feel out one application about them and I remember just calling up my husband crying while he was at work, he wasn’t able to drive home but he did do his best to try and comfort me over the phone, and when he did get home we had a long chat–then he had to feel out his paperwork about the same thing (note, he himself was a foster child after his mom chose drugs and drinking over her kids, it is long and complicated, but she is sometimes back in our lives when she needs something) and I remember that feeling of helplessness as he feeled it out, wanting to give him his space but also knowing I needed to be near enough to remind him that he was loved. It is an emotional rollercoaster of hurry up and wait and yet the entire time you are working on it you just keeping thinking ‘have we come this far just to be told we don’t qualify’ I have often thought they do it on purpose to wean out the weaklings, but sadly I know marriages can become destroyed because it can overcome that one weak link and just peck at it till it breaks

      I am not trying to say it isn’t worth it or don’t do it, I am just saying, do it as a team not as a dedicated person who is dragging along their spouse.

      With that said, I know on more than one application/paperwork we had to fill out it asked about groups we belong to, ways to help the community, if we volunteer, etc……so, I agree, find a way to help out around the community, and even if your husband isn’t ready to adopt just yet, I bet you can find a way to help out at a group home, hold babies in the nicu, etc (I am thinking state kids adoption though, most private adoption babies don’t sit in the nicu alone waiting) get involved, then when he is ready you will have a lot to put on that application 😉

    • 1.3

      Carole Brett says

      Have you ever thought of volunteering as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Your job is to be there for that chi;ld. To support them during a difficult time in their life–sort of like mentoring a child. They are needed every day by the courts, but especially by the kids……..you may be the only person who has their best interests at heart. You can change a kid’s life in a might way.

  2. 3


    Thank you for this.
    Last year, God called us to head to Moore, OK, and volunteer for 3 weeks helping with tornado cleanup efforts. 1500 miles from home. It was a huge leap of faith for our family, and it changed us to our very core. While dad and the big kids were out on chainsaws and at the end of shovels, the rest of us were manning a donation distribution center and sweeping off bare foundations. And ministering to those hurt and searching in the midst of their storm.

    We are just a simple family also. There is nothing special about us, yet God is calling us again – this time to step out in faith and minister in Arkansas. We don’t know how it will all work out, but we do know that we serve a mighty God who works out the details according to His plan. While it can be scary when He invites us to go big or stay home, we hope we are learning that when He speaks in that still small voice, we will be missing out on something big if we don’t obey.
    Thank you so much for this encouraging post Kristen! And for putting it up exactly when I needed it!

  3. 4

    kelly says

    awesome..had tears in my eyes reading this…I know i have difficulty with this as well….and soooo scary..would love some more of the child-like faith and just step forward when God calls…instead of saying maybe next time…or maybe next time…u know?

  4. 5

    Amber Phegley says

    We said yes and God brought us to Brussels, Belgium, to be a part of a church plant. It’s amazing what He can do when you say yes. I love what your husband said in the video…..we aren’t perfect, we argue, we feel inadequate, but God uses us when we say yes!! Thank you for what you are doing.

  5. 6


    What a wonderful story. My daughters experience in international missions began at a young age and shaped them profoundly through their teenage years. What memories you’re creating with them! :)

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