I am excited to share a guest post from Kristen Welch with We are THAT Family today!

I couldn’t believe seven people lived in this stifling, dark room. The heat wasn’t as oppressive as the lack of hope. I slid my camera back into my bag because I knew there would be no pictures here. There weren’t any smiling faces or laughing children. There was a sorrow I can’t explain.

The home belonged to the mother of one of the teen moms from the maternity home our family started nearly a decade ago, and our staff in Kenya wanted us to understand why we needed a transition home for some of the girls and their children. And they needed us to know why providing jobs is so critical.

When we asked how we could pray for her, she shared about the difficult issues in her marriage and the abuse by her drunken husband. We held hands and prayed over her. It was hot and hard to shake the hopelessness that pervaded the room. Just as we were preparing to leave her husband walked in the door—drunk.

And just like that, my little family was in the middle of a heated dispute in a dangerous slum with angry words being flung back and forth in Swahili. We sat back down. I held my little girl’s hand and whispered a prayer for peace and safety as we sat there, unsure of what was being said. I won’t lie—in that half hour I didn’t feel brave at all and longed to return to my normal.

But as soon as I thought it I heard the words thunder in my heart: This is their normal.

I closed my eyes and silent tears slid down my cheeks. My God, this is their normal. There isn’t a fun week of spring break ahead. There isn’t peace and provision. There isn’t enough bread for the day. And as hard as this is to experience for an hour, this is their way of life.

It’s easy to get so absorbed in our own little worlds that we completely miss the way the rest of the world lives. And I can say this because it’s what I did for a very long time. But I dare you, I beg you to hear this truth: your normal isn’t the world’s normal, and the greatest deception is that you believe that it is.

Your full pantry isn’t normal for the rest of the world. Your cold fridge with your favorite drinks and closets with clothes and multiple pairs of shoes—this is not normal for 75 percent of the world. In economic terms the global North (United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand)—with one quarter of the world’s population—controls four-fifths of the income earned anywhere in the world. Inversely, the global South (every other country)—with three quarters of the world’s population—has access to one-fifth of the world’s income.

In other words, a small percentage of us have access to most of the world’s resources while a large percentage of the world doesn’t have enough for one day. God uses people and builds bridges to connect the two worlds. But the life we are building is wasted if it doesn’t take us somewhere that matters. It’s tragic to build a bridge to nowhere. The only thing worse is leading our kids there.

The world and all its sparkling offerings give us temporary satisfaction. But we were created for the real thing. John Piper once said, “If you can’t see the sun you will be impressed with a street light. If you’ve never felt thunder and lightning you’ll be impressed with fireworks. And if you turn your back on the greatness and majesty of God you’ll fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures.”

It’s tempting to think that those with more than enough always rescue those without enough. I have discovered a mutual rescue because I’m just as desperate to see the Son. So with a worldview that acknowledges some have less, others have more, and maybe, just maybe God wants to use us as a bridge—we first need to answer the question, Why do we give?

I know we aren’t working our way to heaven, checking off an eternal list of good deeds to earn our way in and somehow building a bridge high enough to get us there. No, our salvation is only by grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy.

We give because He gave everything for us.

Kristen Welch, blogger at We are THAT family, is the bestselling author of Raising Grateful Kids in An Entitled World and Raising World Changers, releasing May. 1, 2018


New to this community? Start here, friend.

A guest post by Sarah Behen at The Wholehearted Home.

Recently my family went eight weeks without the internet.

Yes, we lived for eight weeks in a temporary home with no internet while our home underwent repairs.

As the day approached for this eight week journey to commence, I felt itchy and unsettled. I just knew I would miss out on so much in that dark void of connection. But God is faithful and good, and now, on the other side of that time, I am incredibly thankful for it. God used it to change my heart in big ways. 

Ultimately, He changed my perception of motherhood and my work ethic around the home.

My Motherhood

As the days and weeks passed free from the pull of the internet, I found myself being fully present in my days. Seemingly little changes – like sitting with the kids at breakfast instead of on the couch checking emails – became big habit changes, and heart changes. And, without many toys in our temporary home, I was forced to do a lot more with my kids in general.

God opened my eyes to see that the allure of the internet was causing me to view my children as the distraction. I realized that the more I gave in to the pull of the online world, the hungrier my heart became for me and my needs, and the more I spent doing those very things.

However, by playing loads of puzzles over and over again, reading countless books, painting, taking big walks together, and, quite simply, spending all our time together, God showed me how much more I could be pressing into motherhood than I had been —how much more I wanted to be.

While down time and creative outlets are not bad things, God showed me that there is a deeper level of motherhood that He’s calling me into.

Earlier this year I re-read Sally Clarkson’s The Mission of Motherhood, along with Susan Schaeffer Macauley’s For the Children’s Sake. Both of these brought me to a place where I had to ask myself, “Am I willing to give even more? Am I able to offer up what God is asking of me?”

In Clarkson’s book, she talks about discipling and teaching our children. She offered Jesus as our example, which is fitting since He is our ultimate example in all things.

And how did He invest in and equip His disciples? He was with them all the time.

How did they learn from Him? By walking, talking, experiencing, and processing life together in real time.

Jesus did not allow any distraction to take Him away from all that God had asked Him to do. Despite the temptation, Jesus actively chose whole-hearted life of ministry with His disciples so they might serve the people He had come to save. Is this not the same for me and the little people God has asked me to raise up in the way they should go?

Since becoming a mother, little by little, the Lord has slowly being prying open my closed fists and bringing down the walls of my heart. He’s calling me to give all of myself to Him, for His service.

My Homemaking

During this season of “online disconnection,” God also showed me how much more capable I am of caring for our home than I have allowed myself to be in the past. Not only am I capable but, in a study of Proverbs 31, I saw how in the original language God has called wives to be strong and warrior-like in their task of managing their homes.

Did I mention that not only did I not have the internet, but I didn’t have a dishwasher? 

I saw that all the gadgets that are supposed to free our time up have actually made our lives more complicated (by raising the standard of cleanliness and by allowing that time to be always filled up with activities and stuff-managing).

Without those two “hindrances” in my life, I set up better routines and found that I gained so much satisfaction at the end of the day when I had worked hard with a full and honest heart. I didn’t have the guilt about how I spent my time pressing down on me at the end of a day. It was wonderful.

I saw how truly abundant a simple life can be.

These challenges may not be challenges in your life. You may already be fully present with your children and working hard around your home. But if you aren’t, I want to come alongside you and encourage you – as God has so gently and firmly encouraged me – to evaluate how you are spending your days as a wife, mother, and homemaker.

  • Is the internet (or, something else) causing you to see your family as a distraction?
  • Are you easily annoyed or resentful when your children require a hug, a correction, or a time of play when you’re involved in that particular activity?
  • Is there a place in your heart that you have closed off to the Lord? Are you, in keeping it closed, saying to the Lord, “Yes, Lord, I give you my life – but please let me keep this part all to myself?” Oh yes, I have.

If you are then, just like me, go to your Father in Heaven. Seek His wisdom and His care. Repent and start working on pruning those things out of your life.

As you can see, I have the internet again (and a dishwasher). We are back home and life is back to normal. At times, I have been weak and allowed myself to get sucked back in. But, I deeply want something different for my life – and God has knocked on that closed door so strongly that I cannot shut myself to Him. So I pick myself up when I’ve failed, cry out to the Lord for strength, and keep going.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbranceand sin which so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set before us.”Hebrews 12:1

In Hebrews 12, we see that it is not just sin that weighs us down and prevents us from living this life for Christ – there are also encumbrances. If you love the Lord, you will look at your own heart and life and throw off what sins and encumbrances are weighing you down and keeping you from loving your God and family well.

Where is God calling you to press deeper into truth? What does it require of you? And are you willing to obey, no matter the cost or “come what may?” Seek Him and He will show you the way. Not only that, He will go with you and give you His strength.

I am proof.


New to this community? Start here friend.

Guest Post by: Kristin Sterk of Only By Grace

We all do it, whether we realize it or not. We have all, at some point, in some way, wished our lives looked like someone else’s.

That is what I like to call:


Have you ever read a post on Facebook, a blog, saw pictures on Instagram, or read a book or magazine, and wished your life looked like that person’s?

I think we can all agree that we have done that a time or two. I see pictures of a vacation someone went on and wish I was there. I look through a magazine and dream about how I would design my own house and replicate the pictures. I see the ideal wardrobe on Pinterest and wished mine looked the same. I look at how someone parents and think that is the “right way.”

Whatever it may be, it is an easy trap to fall into. The trap of life envy.

A while back I was at a MOPS meeting (so thankful for this group by the way) and the speaker said something that has stuck with me ever since: We know 100% about ourself and maybe 10% about someone else. Yet we compare the 100% of ourselves, to the 10% we know about someone else.

I don’t know about you but I do it all the time. I see how someone is living and think “oh, what a perfect life” when really, I do not know them at all. Is the 10% we know of someone’s life, really the “perfect” life that we see or just what is portrayed? Do we really want their life?

What we forget is that they too, have struggles. They too, have an imperfect life. I am actually thankful for the difficult times because it has made me into the person I am today. Would those things cause someone to have life envy? Probably not. All I pray is that when people look at my life, they see Christ. I don’t want others to wish they had what we had – what I want them to wish for is the same Christ who saved me.

When it comes to envying and comparing lives, there are a few ways to combat the lure of life envy:

Be careful with social media.

Why do you look at someone’s Facebook page? Because you want to live vicariously through their life for a few moments? Because you wish you had the same hairstyle or looks they do? Always ask yourself WHY you are looking at something and make sure it is out of care, not comparison.

Have an attitude of gratitude.

When you take a deep look at your life, you will find yourself being thankful for the life you live; despite how difficult it may be. Being grateful for all the things you have been blessed with, helps you realize that YOUR life is worth living; not someone else’s.

Keep a positive outlook.

 It goes without saying that life is not always a yellow brick road. Yet when we keep a positive perspective, realizing there are seasons of life, it makes it a whole lot easier to live. When you realize that those tough times WILL pass, you will not envy someone else’s life, knowing they too, struggle.

Be careful what you invest your time in.

If you are constantly browsing the internet, Pinterest, stores, you name it, trying to find the “right thing” to make you happy, you will not find it. Those instant feelings of happiness will fade. You may spend countless minutes and hours, perusing through magazines, trying to create this “perfect” life, but that perfect life will not happen, no matter how much time and money you invest in it. Happiness cannot be found permanently in material things. Invest in the eternal – there you will find true joy.

Keep the faith.

 This is the biggest one for me. Realizing that my life is not my own, but that I belong to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. Realizing that the life He gave me, is for me to be a steward over and to be thankful for. You may not realize how God is using you to advance His Kingdom. Even when you feel you have lost your purpose, keep the faith, my friend, keep the faith.

I am NOT life-envy free. It is something I am constantly working on and just like every area of the heart, it is a work in progress. The times when I feel the most down about myself or envy someone else’s life, is when I turn my focus from Christ to the things of this world. The only life I should be trying to live up to is that of our Creator – the One who created us in HIS image and no one else’s!

How do you combat Life Envy?

New to this community? Start here, friend.


My name is Kristin and I blog over at Only By Grace. I am a wife and semi-stay-at-home mom to one, and I love to share glimpses into our real and not-so-perfect life through my blog. When I am not busy blogging, I enjoy living life to the fullest with my husband and daughter, but also making and baking, organizing, and simple living. You can also find me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram!

Guest Post by Michelle Carver, Broken is Beautiful Blog

I do not consider myself to be a trendy person. I like clothes, but I do not always like the latest trends. I think this has to do with my age. I feel like clothing trends are a coming of age sort of thing, something we gravitate towards before we figure out what our own style is.

What I have learned about myself is that I like to feel hip. I have always loved to shop and even have an excess of clothes, shoes, and purses. 

I have not always had the luxury of being able to buy the latest trends because there was a time in our lives when money was extremely, and I mean extremely, limited.  We barely had money to feed our mouths, much less buy new clothes.

I am living a life currently where I no longer have to worry about feeding my family, and I can afford to indulge in my shopping habits.  I think, if my husband was writing this post, he would say overindulge.

Shop til You Drop

Last summer at my church, the pastor talked about David’s heart. This really got me thinking about my love for clothes, shoes, and purses.  I can agree that at times I overindulge, and that is what spoke to me the most during the message about David’s heart. 

He pointed out that, as a society, we have placed increasingly value on outward appearances. He suggested that we take a quick browse on the Internet to see who has the most followers, and ask ourselves, what really have these famous people done to be famous? 

The pastor then went back to talking about David, reminding us that David was “a man after God’s own heart.”  David was a shepherd boy that no one ever suspected was going to be the next king.  David was a a Biblical hero who had an inward desire for Jesus. 

Did David make mistakes?  Was he perfect all of the time?  Of course not, and if you know more about the story of David, you know that David committed adultery and was was a murderer, but he was also a man after God’s own heart. 

Does this make his sin ok?  No, David had to repent and be forgiven by God.  But that is all of us.  We all need repentance and forgiveness. 

Ultimately, David was a man with a heart for Jesus.  His outward sins (adultery & murder) and outward appearance (a young shepherd boy that nobody noticed) did not matter to Jesus.  Rather, it was David’s heart that Jesus examined. 

I know the story of David, and it’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible, but it is also a story that I so often overlook. I’ve heard it many times.

As I sat and listened, I felt convicted. I realized that I sometimes focus too much on my outward appearance and lose sight of my heart on the inside. 

“So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”  (1 Samuel 16:12 NIV)

My tendency to try to “fix” myself through outward appearance and shopping needed to be evaluated. I asked myself why I like to shop so much. I dug deep for the answer.

Yes, it is ok to dress nice and like nice things. I am not debating that at all. 

But if we lose sight of our inward appearance and heart, then that is a life filled with much sorrow because a heart that is far away from Jesus is painful. 

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV    

We need to pay far more attention to the heart because God looks at our faith and character not the name brand clothes that we are buying and wearing.

“He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” Psalm 78:70-72 NIV

So my challenge to you is to examine your heart more than you examine your brand of clothes, shoes, or purses. Let your heart and your inward appearance drive you in life.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” 2 Chronicles 16: 9 NIV

What “heart” work could you do to change your inward appearance?