We sat on the lush green lawn next to the sprawling manor and let the sun warm us.
July in Kenya is cold.
The Mercy House babies toddled and giggled offering us flowers from the nearby bushes, while their teen moms finished lunch.
It looked like just another Thursday in Africa. But it was more. It was miraculous.
The wind whipped through the willow trees and blew petals from the flowering plants and it was as if nature itself bowed down at the holiness of what God had done.
A houseful of transformed residents. Six new pregnant girls. New babies coming in the fall. Two beautiful homes paid for by a bunch of mothers. Glorious. For His Glory.
The task still seems more daunting than ever–our first HIV case, 12-, 13- and 14-year-old pregnant girls, reaching beyond our walls into the neighboring slum to help a dozen more teen mothers. But God can do anything, even the impossible. And He is.
I looked up from the baby in my lap and saw my own teen daughter talking intently to one of the older Mercy House residents.
The wind carried words and I caught bits and pieces of their conversation.
“Why do you think I was born here in Kenya and you were born in America?” Violet, 17, mother to 2-year-old Maureen asked my daughter.
“I don’t know,” my daughter said after a long pause. I could tell she was thinking.
It’s a hard question.
These Kenyan girls only know of America from the news and movies. We are mostly the only Americans they interact with once or twice a year. And while they’ve never visited and probably never will, they long to. Because they understand how much we have. They know how much we’ve been given.
And then I heard my 14-year-old daughter whisper to her African-born friend, “Maybe we were born in America so we could help you in Kenya.”
They grabbed each other’s hands and held on. I swallowed the lump in my throat.
Because yes, this is it. The honesty and purity of one child’s words to another were holy.
Because maybe this is why we have so much. Maybe this is why we were born where we were born.
Maybe this is why we are where we are today.
I don’t know where you are right now. You might be in any country in the the world. You might be in the middle of your house, in the middle of suburbia folding laundry. You might be reading this on your shift break at your job in the hospital on floor 2. You might be standing in line at the pharmacy, waiting on medicine for your mother who is very sick. You might be in the lowest season of your life or the best. I don’t know. But it matters.
Because you are where you are for a reason.
Someone in your world, at your job, in your neighborhood, on your path needs to know that you are where you are because you can help them where they are.
Someone is waiting for you to share your money, your time, your life with them.
We were created to reveal the glory of Jesus to others.
And you might question where God has you today. Why here, God? Why this hard, broken place?
I have thought about my daughter’s words over and over. They remind me of my purpose. I was created for more than surviving, getting by, moving to the next thing in life.
We are where we are for a reason.
Let’s find it.
by Kristen Welch, author of Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Safe Faith is No Longer Enough and founder of Mercy House Kenya.
[linebreak]Leave a Comment
Thank you so much for these words that speak right to my heart.
Mornings like this, when I sit down to read my daily devotional and find a message that seems tailor made for my soul at that moment, I know God is orchestrating and creating something I cannot see, but with faith will get to live.
Thank you for your words today.
Holly Barrett says
I needed to hear this today, Kristen. Thank you for reminding me that God uses everything that he allows or ordains in my life. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for what He has for me in this place and in this season.
I am really finding myself in a tough place right now – and i am so tired. its hard to really know how God is using this – I am usually such a go getter – and I feel too tired to try – I pray that God uses this for His glory and shows me how to cooperate…
Angie, despair not. Fight the good battle in “Spiritual War”. This requires knowledge and practice. Start now. Get all the information on how to fight the Spiritual War against the evil spirits who attack us constantly. After you become knowledgeable – practice what you’ve learned, until it becomes “second natured”. Then face the demons disturbing you – and make them RUN!
From Lima, Peru.
Thank you for timely sharing as i was mediating on the same
“Praise God and Bless is Holy Name!”
TITO, that saw a great message we need those Constantly in our lives
Have a Blessed Day…..!
I’m sorry to hear that you are in a hard place right now. I have been in a really hard season too. But God has revealed to me over and over again “do not worry….I will be faithful”. I wake up praying just to get out of bed and face the day. But prayer asking for God’s help and to build my faith gets me going. I am reminded that we are here on earth for a reason, to do the job that God has given us. It’s definitely not a walk in the park, but when I am feeling weak I think about the job that Jesus was given and his faith in His and our father in heaven. When the Bible says all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed, it’s because God will do the rest. All we have to do is believe in Him and his almighty power. I will pray for you that God will strength your faith and He will give you strength to face each day.
Sarah S says
I know it’s true. Lord, help me to do your will and walk in your ways right here, right where you’ve placed me. In Jesus name, amen.
Missy Robinson says
It’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in my own world when God is pressing me to lift my eyes above the keyboard and the laundry basket to see those near and far who are waiting for me to say, yes.
Kate @ Songs Kate Sang says
This is beautifully written! I love what your daughter said.
Precious words spoken by your daughter with love…and hope. God has placed us where we are at this very moment for a reason. Thank you for the powerful reminder of that truth.
thank you Kristen…not had the best mornings…THIS puts things more in perspective…
yes..yes and yes..have lived for years serving others because God had shown me very early on in life that Im blessed and so my prayer is that that conversation was a gift too to your daughter from the Holy spirit that she had with the young girl and she will know from that young age to serve with all her might and be a helper..this is a tough world of “me and I ” lets break that off and serve fully…well written !!!!!
Thanks for this message, it confirms what The Lord brought to my mind dis morning. God bless you.
Beth Williams says
Thanks for the reminder Kristen! I find myself in a job that I should have left years ago. Dread coming to work most days, but I know this is God’s will for me now!! Prayerfully that will change soon!! 🙂
I have used my time here to encourage others. When God whispers I send/give cards or e-cards to my co-workers to let them know I’m praying for their situation. Sometimes they reciprocate and that is very much appreciated!!
This was so uplifting to me! Sometimes I wonder the same thing. Why am I here? What is my purpose? I know that it is for a reason and that God is watching all and will make provision for me when all seems impossible. Thank you for this wonderful written testimony! Press on!
Perfect reminder I needed today! Our world is so full of garbage and confusion. However, God is never either of those.
I’m speaking out today on my blog about the fascination with the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer release. I can’t help but think……women are so influential in all the wrong ways!
Thank you so much for this sweet reminder! I am in a difficult season and find myself crying out to God literally every second. He is so good
Even in my severe health brokenness. May I remember as I read this today that I am here for a reason!
Your words touched deep and brought the tears flowing for I have been in a very hard place for a time now and wonder what the reason is… but your words ‘you are where you are for a reason’ give me hope. Though I don’t know how or when my trials will be a help to others I have to believe at some time they will, and so I hang on another day and pray for God’s mercy. it’s reading encouragement like yours that helps get through this season of life… and so I thank you for writing and sharing and pray blessings for your life!
With love and hope that my difficult season will be worth it in the end… to God be the glory.
Amen…..! God is with us always no matter what just keep the Faith & Hope Always..!
Glory, Glory, Lord of Host.
Vanessa Rakestraw says
Thank you for the great post! We all have something to share if we just allow ourselves to be open and willing. I wrote about sharing our “treasures” with others inspired by a lesson my nephew who passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer taught me.
Speaking to me right where I am today. The Lord moves in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?!
I just happened along to your piece right now. It’s 7:15 pm California, USA time. I’m in the middle of a real live breakdown. Yes, I mean the nervous kind. Haven’t stopped crying for days. Yes, thinking unthinkable thoughts. I know Christ is here. I’ve never doubted His presence, or His love. But I don’t feel ANY of it. His words are like eating wood right now. The physical and mental pain are bigger than Him, or so it feels. I have the love and support of several friends, family, Dr.s, etc, etc. you say I am at this place for a reason. I sound like a petulant child, compared to the stories of those precious African mommy-girls. I have EVERYTHING anyone could possibly want. And still, weeping lasts for the night and no sight of joy cometh. WHERE is HE???? Where are all three of the trinity right now??????
He is there with you now. Even when we you can’t feel Him. But I’m praying you do tonight. You aren’t alone.
The pain is real. The deep, dark place that you are in is very real and is all consuming. It feels like nothings exists outside of it. Please know that the morning does exist. Often it is a gradual lightening that we dont notice until we realize it is no longer dark. Perhaps you are in this place so you can help others that find themselves in a similar place. It may not be clear for many years what the purpose is. For now, just hang on.
Lori– thinking of you and hoping you are in a better spot this morning. I know about depression and anxiety and panic. I’ve been there. Please know you are being lifted up in prayer.
Lori, have you ever heard of the long dark night of the soul? It occurs when we desperately need God’s presence in our life, but can’t seem to connect with Him. I have lived through it. It does get better. The fact that you still seek Him int he darkness is proof of your faith. Hold on to that! Hold on to His promise never to leave us alone in the darkness. He is there with you. Be strong. I will pray for you.
Kids are so smart. They just tell it like it is. LOVE this reminder. 🙂
Law Domasig says
I work with a ministry that works with men struggling with pornography. Thank you for sharing your story. Your husband is blessed to have a godly wife willing to fight along side her husband and give God the glory. We can’t fight our temptations and sins by ourselves. We all need The Lord.
God’s continued blessings on your writing of books and your ministry with Mercy House.
She’s got it, Kristen! She’s got it! We’ve been given so that we can give. God’s plan is so simple & we complicate the mess out of it!!! We demand that God meet needs that He’s already given us the resources to meet.
So proud of your girl! And you for teaching her what it takes most of us a lifetime to grasp.
Bawling. Just bawling.
“We were created to reveal the glory of Jesus to others.” YESSSS. Thank you for this reminder!
I love this post. We can’t be reminded enough that someone is waiting for us to share our money, our time, our life with them.
Thank You Kristen. This might be the start of an answer to our prayers. Me and my husband are in our mid 40’s and only a couple of years away from empty nesting. And God put a thought in my husband’s head…to adopt a little 2 year old girl in foster care right now. Me, my husband, and our teen daughter have been praying and praying, waiting for an answer from God. And we have not had a response yet. Then I read this and maybe we are where we are right now for a reason…this reason. We are still seeking God’s guidance but thank you so much for this, for helping God whisper a little more clarity into my heart right now. We just want to be in the center of God’s will for our family and most importantly, for the life of this precious little girl. Thank you!
This is just the reminder I needed today! Thank you!
I know I am here for a reason~~I’ve found it. Twenty-two years ago God spared my life. Why? I knew at the time there must be a reason. In the last few years I’ve finally realized why. I’ve been doing the why but just didn’t know it. God has directed my path~~I thank Him for this.
I am sure there are other reasons also~~so I need to discover them with God’s help.
Needed this! I love this so much! I’ve often wondered why I was blessed so much and why I wasn’t born somewhere else. Why I was given so much opportunity and others are not… You have a wise girl! Love love love this. Also, is there a way to serve there?
Nancy Ruegg says
Thank you, Kristen, for this reassurance. There is such contentment and peace, knowing each of us is exactly where God wants us to be, to fulfill a unique part of his plan. To that end I pray for a willing spirit, wisdom, and perseverance to follow through to completion whatever he has for me.
Here I am on my break on the 2nd floor at a hospital reading your blog, taking care of 4 brand new mommies. I had to laugh as I read! Thank you for your inspiring words. So good to be reminded that we are here to help others….right where we are at!
I began reading this hoping for a bit of encouragement. I head back to work tomorrow, I am a school secretary, and I have to admit dread has been taking up residence in my heart. I was hoping to leave my job at the end of last school year but was not able to do so. I have been mouthing the words “God must want me here for a reason” all summer. After reading your post, those thoughts have finally reached my heart. I finished reading amidst tears but with a thankful heart.
You are such a blessing, many times your posts have reached me right where I was and with exactly what I needed. Thank you for all that you do and for teh amazing example you are to so many.
I am also blessed to see the beautiful spirit of your daughter through such and honest conversation.
Love and Prayers,
We are where we are for a reason, praise The Lord. Hold on to your faith, just hold on. All will be well, there is a season for everything good, bad, ugly, and blessed. There is always a lesson. We are so special to Jesus He loves us no matter how you feel right this minute the sun will shine and answers will come always. Just believe in Jesus….if you don’t understand that’s ok, you may never truly know why things are happening. Jesus loves you so very much..you are His child let the love in and know you are not alone. Love and blessings …I will pray for you Lori …never give up…..
I just received your email…so on time!! Confirmation from God!! I’m going through a difficult season but I’m believing God is going to bring me out better and stronger. I’m where I’m suppose to be for a time such as this. My trial is not for me but for someone else…it doesn’t feel good yet I must continue to press forward.
My wife is a victim of sexual abuse and had an alcoholic father. This has greatly affected her ability to show intimacy and affection to me even after many years of marriage. I have struggled with this over the years often reactively being made to feel like the perpetrator when I have sought to have my needs met. My wife is a Christian and, as such, I have had even more trouble understanding why she has been unable to overcome this as she is very close to The Lord. So I have asked many times why I am in this place at this time. Your words have helped to realize that it is because she has needed me to help her make it through. Just when I sometimes humanly ready to give up He reminds me that even when it is so hard to do it giving up myself, my needs, my hopes is part of his bigger plan to make me a better man for Him and to see this as my place in His plan, at this time. Thank you for the reminder.
Thank you for these words, sometimes as Gods child with so much, I complain too much! My 19 year old left for college and I cannot seem to get it together!! But God will direct my path right where I’m at, I know He will and others will be blessed because of my struggle and God will get the glory!!
Thank You Kristen for this post! Definitely your daughter has gotten the reason for us to be where we are! What a beauty ! From the mouth of babes comes the real truth!!
I am in one of the lowest seasons of my life and many times lately I wonder where God is or what He is doing ! It’s hard to feel His love right now …. And yet I stopped at your post and felt He was speaking to me – just ME- reminding me of a simple truth – I am where I am because God has put me here or allowed me to get here so that I can serve His Purpose of Him being known!! Yes, in the mist of uncertainty, ugliness and unknown God does the impossible to show the world (my world) that through a broken vessel like me, He can be seen, heard. Not because of how great or little I am but because of who He is – GOD –
Chris malkemes says
Yes! You are so right, my sweet sister, we are where we are for a reason, we are who we are for a purpose and in all this He is Sovereign.
I would like to encourage anyone who comes into money unexpectedly to share some of your bounty with others. I was able to do this in the past two years and it has really been a blessing to some people I know who have been going through some difficult times financially. It is very easy in a case where you have “extra” money to want to spend it all on yourself and I am not saying you shouldn’t take care of some of your own needs but look at the big picture and see if there is at least some amount that you can give to others. I got some very nice birthday cards this year from people I blessed and I know that everyone appreciated it and it really felt good to do it and if God places it in your heart, make sure you listen to Him!
Gillian Armstrong says
Thank you for these words of challenge and encouragement.
Louisa Apeawin says
Thanks Kristen for this heart provoking message; it has spoken a lot to me and encouraged me greatly. Yes, there is more to life than we do think most of the time. God bless.
Mama T says
At this very moment, God has placed me into a situation I didn’t understand why I was here, but glory be to God, now I understand. When God orchestrates a plan in our lives, just go with the flow and let God do it. If you can believe that this is God’s doing, then there is a blessing in the pressing, let go and let God!! 🙂
Thank you for a positive article from my home country of Kenya. What you are doing is uplifting the lives of the children of God and uplifting the nation.
Iinspite of all the bad news about Kenya I am glad that for the Glory of God you are lifting the banner of his love and righteousness.
Prove 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation …..”
Mama T says
If you believe, then you shall receive, you have to trust and believe God, bottom line, God bless.
Adetona Carolyn says
Great is your reward in heaven for this labor of love you’re showing to this african girls
Susan Gruener says
Thanks for this great reminder! No matter how long we are saved (48 years for me!), we can always be reminded why we are here where we are… and watch every day for the opportunities He brings our way to tell others about Jesus. He does have a plan for each of our lives, and we have ‘something’ to do that no one else can do, because of the place we are in.
I needed this today…
Bless you for your Spirit filled words!
Rufus, from Nigeria says
Thanks, Kristen for this post. Many of us believers have been praying for our nation and continent. Yet, we are continually faced with the challenges of Boko Haram, industrial crises and now the threat of an Ebola epidemic. Many times, I wonder why I’m here having had opportunities to visit and trajn in Europe and North America. I am encouraged by your post that I am here at this time for His purpose. I am confident in His word that Light overcomes darkness. Therefore, I see hope for Nigeria, and indeed for Africa………… Maranatha! ! !
Thank you for this beautiful message. I now understand, I am where GOD wants me & I pray for His wisdom, courage, and strength that I will be obedient to His purpose for my life. Thank ypu God for Your eternal Love…in Jesus Name…Amen
Adeola Odutola says
It’s more than uplifting, tells me I haven’t shipwrecked. Jesus sure knows where we are
He assures when we say in our hearts did we hear well or was it all a mistake.
Sandra Da Rocha says
This is a beutiful message , very heartlfelt it brough tears to my eyes and reminded me …. we are God’s body on Earth! god bless you and your family and ministry with the Girls.
After spending the most beautiful holidays in Calabria,before driving back home to Rome, one more thought about the God Almighty,praising and glorifying Him on the hilltop looking down the tyrenian sea.pleading Him for a long journey mercy
And an hour before reaching home the car stopped on the highway,somewhere…We had to used our broken italian for an emergency towing after 2attempted calls.It took us 4hours to reach home,travelling in the towing truck while the family in the broken car high on the deck
Life with our Lord is an adventure.Exciting and always full of surprises.He means it when He says “ask and it shall be given unto you.trust in the Lord!Our life is all about showing God’s purpose:it is ALL about Him
at some point in our lives we are faced with difficulty and struggles. I for one lost my spouse 2 months ago. The journey has been tough and it’s taking so much from me. I’m lost at how i am and what i have become. Yet everyday I face the world . God has His reasons of which I am not aware as of yet. Often times I feel so empty and alone and the only thing i cling on to in prayer. It seems there is no cure to the grief I am facing . They say Time and Faith will see me through.
Celine, I am so sorry for your loss. Prayer is all we have, but it is enough in the one who created us. God will sustain you. I will be praying for peace for you to make it through this very difficult time.
Elmer L says
I too just lost my husband. Now I’m trying to figure out why I’m where I am. For a reason? I want to believe that. Please, dear God, use me and Celine.
I Thank God every day, because without him we are nothing and with him we are everything only
believe all things are possible….!
olabisi oyedotun says
I took my time reading thru every single message posted before mine and am truly blessed by each and every message. He knows how to make a message out of our “mess”….and all thanks to this wonderful 14 year old who has brought us the age long truth of God: “give and it shall be given unto you” and ” fret not for tomorrow”- in these perilous times in my nation, Nigeria, it is our only glimmer of hope: the eternal promised word of God
Thank u 4 your honesty,unconditional love & perseveranceto your wife! Jesus sees it. I and many other Christian men & women I know struggle w/the damage of childhood sex abuse affecting our marriages. I was faced with my childhood abuse triggers in my marriage. Love bears ALL things..28 years as my husband looked for love in all the wrong places & god became the father to my 2 children then. He’s not returned to Jesus since, despite our prayers. Hang on to your marriage in Jesus mighty name! She is not rejecting YOU but her past. It does not mean she doesn’t love you!
Thank you…God knew I needed to read this today…last night at church the Pastor had said basically the same thing – God knows where you are at the moment and He wants you to take the opportunity to reach out to others in the place He has allowed you to be, even if it is not where you think is the best. God does not make mistakes…
Thank you Kristen. You were writing this piece for me to read at this exact moment. I am preparing to go for a biopsy later today. This is after 9 months of taking care of my husband after a stroke. I pray daily to accept the cup that God has given me. I don’t know why, or how, or what but He does.