The Difference Between Their Daughters and Mine

She is 14. She longs for adventure and freedom. She loves to learn and is at the top of her class. She helps her mother with her siblings and she doesn’t mind it. She snatches her mother’s bright shirt from the laundry and twirls as she holds it to her chest. She has dreams.

She is not my daughter.


But she could be. 

The only difference between that girl and my own is where they were born.

One was born into freedom. The other oppression.

My daughter will live adventure. She will know freedom. She will continue in school and work to stay at the top of her class. She will help with her brother and sister and she will dream.

The girl born in the red dirt of Africa will be kidnapped from school in the middle of the night and held at ransom, probably abused or worse. 


Every time I read that females are the most oppressed people group in the world my stomach knots and I feel sick.

Because I have daughters. And I am a mother. And I love God and He loves them. And I long for things to be made right in this world. For the girls to come home, to be free, safe. It’s the compelling force behind Mercy House. It’s the story behind the story.

In our world of sky scrapers, hand-held computers, busy schedules and lovely Pinterest, it’s too easy to think this good life we lead is normal. It’s not. This is not how most people in the world live.

And my girls painting their toenails and giggling in the bathroom is a luxury. They do not know oppression. They do not fear being taken in the middle of the night.

Do you know what the number one fear in the slums of Africa is? It’s not starvation or lack of water. It’s not provision. It’s violence. Girls fear being violated. Because the odds are they will be on their way home from school…by strangers, by their fathers and uncles, policemen. It’s a thought so sickening, it keeps me up at night.


How do we help these girls?

How do we stop the oppression of women and girls?

How do we put an end to the violence against them?

We pray.


And we pray some more.

And we continue to pray until they are rescued. Until they are redeemed. Until they come home.

I was sitting in church the other day. My eyes were closed as I sang. I lifted my hand in surrender and when I did, the twine on my prayer bracelet snapped and the little heart fell onto my lap. How fitting. Holy hands. A Holy God. A Holy Fight to remember girls all over the world from Nigeria to Kenya to South America to the brothels in Thailand to the elusive massage parlors in my city, to the refugee moms we teach to crochet.

We feel helpless. But when we pray we unleash the Great Helper.

We feel inadequate. But when we pray God is more than adequate.

We feel defeated. But when we pray Jesus defeats the enemy.

This week, today, now, the staff at Mercy House are talking to helpless, hopeless pregnant girls who will be our next in-house residents. They are setting up a mentoring group in a nearby slum for those who won’t be residents. We are taking Mercy House to them. It’s overwhelming, heart-breaking work. The stories-oh, Jesus-the pain the girls in our world endure. We pray. It’s the one thing we can do.

3 Things We Can Do Today For the Most Oppressed People Group in the World:

  1. Sure, go ahead and light up social media with #bringbackourgirls. But at the same time, do battle. Shine a light on the darkness of terror that will draw attention from every corner. It’s time we fight on our knees.
  2. Wear a love mercy prayer bracelet. Every time you see it or touch it or feel it on your skin, whisper a prayer. It’s a constant reminder not to forget them and to pray for oppressed girls everywhere.
  3. Most of all, pray. Right now, wherever you are. Whisper this prayer to God on their behalf:

“God, we humbly seek your face and lift up the girls and women in our world who suffer in bondage and fear violence. We ask that you would set these captives free. We pray they would feel your strong arm of love in the midst of their suffering. Please give me the courage to stand against oppression. Bring back our girls. Amen.”

Do you know what the difference between their daughters are and mine?



[Does your church have a bookstore, coffee shop or do you own a restaurant, boutique or know someone who does? We are now offering our love mercy prayer bracelets at a low wholesale cost to help spread awareness. Please email for details.]

It Matters. {Giveaway}

Updated with randomly chosen winners: Please check your email!

Congrats to Amalia, Valorie M, Melody B, Jodi T, and Brandi

Every load of laundry.

Every spill wiped.

Every hug given.

Every phone call made.

Every note mailed.

Every meal cooked.

Every dollar given.

Every day lived.

Every time you say yes to someone other than yourself, you are changing another person’s world.


You have changed mine.

You have changed theirs.

Thank you for saying yes with me.

Your yes matters.


Thank you for buying my book, for reading the story, for saying yes to Mercy House.

Mostly, for saying yes to God.


We had a little YES party this past weekend. So many local friends have served faithfully, quietly for years. I got emotional seeing them all in one place.



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These are the some of the volunteers behind Mercy House USA.

They are the package-stuffing,










I love you, friends, real-life and online, all the same, I love you deeply.

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And to those reading from California to North Carolina, from Canada to Mexico your yes is changing the world and today we celebrate that.

I’m giving away FIVE copies of Rhinestone Jesus with FIVE ‘Your Yes Matters” leather bracelets and FIVE “We change the world” prints.

Because your yes matters. 

Leave a comment to win.



bracelets available here | prints available here | books available here


Tell Her You Love Her {Giveaway}

She wipes down the kitchen counters and wipes up the spilled milk.

She wipes away the stains and the bad days.

She wipes all the tears and all the rears.

She is a mom. And whether she’s your wife or your mom or you’re hers, she needs to know all the wiping is remembered and appreciated.


And we have a beautiful way to celebrate mothers all over the globe this year for Mother’s Day. It’s just over a month away and we’ve made your shopping easy this year.

Introducing our brand new LIMITED EDITION gorgeous paper bead mother’s necklace in green and pretty pink handcrafted  beads made by our young mothers in Kenya at Mercy House. This is a beautiful, meaningful way to bless your mother, mother-in-law, mother friends as well as young mothers across the ocean:


The first 50 sold also receive an adorable FREE Mother’s Day Card and all the proceeds go to bless mothers in Kenya!


Inside card: Hope your Mother’s Day is loads of fun!

Back of card:


Today, we are giving away two of these very special necklaces. Click over and read more about them and leave a comment on this post to be entered. (We are also selling them on leather cord necklaces instead of paper beads).


Get yours soon because these won’t last.

But a mother’s love will.

When It Falls Off, You Know You’ve Done Your Part

Do you know who the most oppressed group of people are in the world?


All around the world, girls long to receive an education, to live without the absolute terror of violent sexual crimes committed against them at home, in their neighborhoods, as they walk to school. The cycle of poverty and violence and the unbelievable injustice in our world runs deep and we cannot ignore it.

Simply put, in many countries, it’s life-threatening to be female.

At Mercy House, we seek to break this cycle in the name of Jesus. And I’m convinced, this is done through prayer.

And so, we invite you to pray for the endangered girls in our world today with this simple idea:

It’s a bit of twine.

And a single heart.


It’s a simple reminder to pray.

It’s an easy way to share their story.

It’s a bracelet that’s supposed to fall off.


Get yours today. They are $10 each, free shipping and 100% of the profit benefits endangered girls in Kenya. 
How to pray for the oppressed girls in our world:
1. Pray for their salvation.
2. Pray for their safety.
3. Pray that the cycle of violence that goes hand-in-hand with extreme poverty would be broken
4. Pray for the end to corruption of governments that are unjust and oppress girls
5. Pray for the shattered, violated hearts of wounded girls around the globe
6. Pray that the strongholds of violence, oppression and hopelessness would be broken in the name of Jesus.

This is the perfect service project for you and your kids, family, and groups.

Order a Love Mercy Bracelet Kit (Makes 25 Bracelets):

This idea was inspired not only to raise needed funds to help more girls in Kenya; it was also inspired as a practical hands-on service project activity for families, kids groups or Bible studies to do together.

If you’d like to do a service project with your family, a church or children’s group, you can order a kit of 25 for $10 (to cover expenses and shipping) and serve Mercy House by putting the bracelets together. You can return them for us to sell or you can help by selling them to friends and family for $10 each. Kits are available here.

Service Project: Easy 3-step instructions and supplies to make 25 bracelets are included in each kit. We’d love for you to sell the bracelets to family and friends and we ask that any unsold bracelets or funds are returned within 30 days of receipt.

This instruction guide is included with each kit:

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Prayer is the most powerful tool we possess to empower oppressed girls in our world.

Spread the Love {Feb. 10-14}

STL_FBbannerv2*Congratulations to random winner, Spread the Love participant Sarah Hess!

I love a good love story.

I’m a sucker for a hero and damsel in distress.

And for the past few years, I’ve witnessed an epic love story that even Hollywood couldn’t write.

It has scenes of desperate broken-hearted girls, born into unthinkable poverty, used and abused by this world, fighting to survive…

But then, the Rescuer comes.

And He takes the bruised and shattered lives, expectant with hope and a child and He speaks healing and a future into their lives.

Mercy House is a beautiful love story. It’s a social media love story that started right here on this screen with a simple yes. It shouldn’t be a success story. But our Hero uses weak and inadequate people in the middle of their mess to show his ultimate glory.

Think about the best movie you’ve seen. What happens after you see it three times? You tell people about it.

I’m not asking you to buy anything or donate a penny today. But I am asking you to share this love story and bring awareness to this cause. Because here’s the thing: this story is still being written and you can be a part of it.

Would you consider spreading some love this week? It’s super simple and there are lots of options–

How to spread love: Feb. 10-14

Tweet one of these:

FacebookLike Mercy House Kenya

Use one of these as your status:

  • I believe in the work of @mercyhousekenya. Check out how they are changing the world for moms #spreadthelove
  • I’m helping bring awareness to a beautiful love story @mercyhousekenya. Share this post and #spreadthelove

Pin one of these pictures:

Meet Edith. Tell her story @mercyhousekenya #spreadthelove

Meet Sarah. Tell her story @mercyhousekenya #spreadthelove

Baby Maureen is a @mercyhousekenya miracle baby #spreadthelove

Win this epic basket-of-love-from @mercyhousekenya.jpg #spreadthelove

Instagram-take a picture of any Mercy House product you own (t-shirts, jewelry, or even a screenshot of this page) and tag it: I love @mercyhousekenya #Spreadthelove

Share one of these videos on your social media platform or email it to friends.

And every time you share about Mercy House this week, you’ll be entered to win this:

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The basket contents include (plus a few extra things not mentioned) more than $500 from The Mercy Shop:

One very lucky winner will win this amazing basket of goodies (over $500 in value) to keep or share. Every time you SHARE about Mercy House–through your blog, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ you get an entry. Click here to list all your entries on this form. (You can earn up to 17 entries by sharing)

basket of love

It’s a week of love. Please help us spread it!

Thanks for loving mercy.

 [Click FB SHARE below]

Why I Really Need You on My Team

Nearly every Thursday night for the past couple of months, I’ve sat on the sidelines watching my 8th grader play on her junior high basketball team. I’m the rowdy mom on the front row of the bleachers screaming her lungs out.

(I did not know this about me).

That is, until my daughter started playing on a team and then I was ALL ABOUT THE TEAM. I learned the other girls names and figured out their strengths and weaknesses. I came to cheer for my daughter, but I ended up rooting for everyone on the team.

Because I understand that one person really can’t win a basketball game. It takes the entire team, working together. When one person gets hurt, the game stops. When one girl scores an outside shot, everyone rejoices. A team consists of everyone doing their part, sacrificing and giving their best.

And y’all, I really need you on my team.

(Thankfully, you aren’t required to sweat or return to junior high).

When we said yes nearly four years ago to starting Mercy House (remember that?), I had no idea where that would lead. I mean, really, NO IDEA. And many of you who joined me, probably didn’t either.

And where we are headed in the next four years is even bigger. I don’t have all the answers  (thankfully, I do have an amazing Board of Directors), but I do know this dream will expand to empower more mothers with opportunity.


This isn’t just my family’s story. When God assembled the characters and wrote the plot, He included you. Yes, you. If you’re here on this page right now, you are a part of the Mercy House story. And your yes–no matter how big or small it feels-is critical. There is no small yes in this family.

Because when  you bring Mercy House to your church, you are altering the future of a hopeless pregnant girl in Kenya. And when you and your kiddos host a garage sale for mercy, you are impacting young single moms living in the slum. When you wear your (super cute) Team Mercy shirt and tell the story to those who ask, you are causing ripples you cannot see. When you share one of our videos on your FB wall, you are scoring points on this team.

When you say yes, you write yourself into this giant God-sized dream.

And we cannot do it without you.

The best thing? Every yes counts.

There is no small yes in this family

Team Mercy is a new initiative to involve your family and it’s a great place to start. If you aren’t already a part of Team Mercy, please consider joining ( minimum of $3 a month monthly commitment). It’s really not about money, although that helps. It’s about sharing something beautiful in our broken world. This is an amazing love story of how a Holy God will use a bunch of mothers to change the world and I want you to be a part of it. Not just so that the team will grow, but because it will change you.

V-ohoHfY2ndoUfR_3IfXGPyUc48TV3jfhPCcC2Vu_ZQ,3SG57Yc92zZcEQ0SSdRRXyTO94B9w02CkHbIKRC3tDEMy daughter’s team has won and lost some games this season. Most of them won’t go on to play high school ball. But do you know what’s better than scoring points, defending, rebounding and dribbling? It’s doing it together. These girls learned to depend on one another, step in when they were needed and think of others before themselves.

This journey has taught me the same thing.

Be a part of Team Mercy today.

Serve with Your Family: Introducing Team Mercy

Serving with my family has changed my life. It’s impacted my children, our home, in ways I could have never dreamed.

Finding opportunities that are kid-friendly and actually doable can be a challenge.

I’m excited to introduce something very close to my heart: Team Mercy.

What is Team Mercy? Sign your family up and become a team member and advocate for moms and babies at Mercy House Kenya and single moms in surrounding communities by bringing awareness through fundraising events and sharing this amazing God story in your local community.

What is an Advocate? Definition: a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.

Why join Team Mercy:
Not only will you be supporting a worthy, grassroots cause, you will have the opportunity to serve alongside your family. Being a Team Mercy member gives you opportunities to change the world! There are practical ways for you to link arms and serve with your family. If there are local church events or conferences in your area, you could even represent Mercy House.

Read the Team Member Requirements Here.

How do I become an advocate? Get started by filling out our online application. It’s free!

Wear your support– Get your Team Mercy Shirt here! (all Team Mercy Members can get the shirts HALF-PRICE with a completed application!)

Click to discover all the opportunities we’ve created for Team Mercy members…

Together, we can change the world.