How To Live a Right-Side-Up Life

January 30, 2013 | 5 comments

She tells me she doesn’t know how to go back—not after all that we’ve witnessed. And I tell her that going back might be impossible anyway. We can’t un-see what we’ve seen.

She’s my 11-year-old daughter. And now, we sit in the silence, hundreds of miles from our comfortable life in Iowa, but especially close to our Christ in us. Her skirted legs stretch out next to mine on this seaside porch. We watch the sun sink into that thin line where ocean touches sky. Across the bay, sparse lights begin to light up the Port-au-Prince hillside. The nearly-full moon peeks its round face over our village—a reminder that even in the darkest places, we’re never without light.

In the long shadows behind us, a Haitian boy sings a song, repeating a single word in Haitian Creole that crosses every language barrier: Al-le-lou-ya. He sings it over and over again, in this place where life is a hardscrabble fight for survival, where villages are all bone and sagging skin. This is Haiti: the land of the jutting ribcage, the bare feet, the swollen belly and the persistent Allelouya.

My daughter exhales a long sigh, and holds up the book she’s been reading while we’ve been here. She shakes the book in the air, like a banner. It’s “Kisses from Katie.” The book is about an American teenager named Katie Davis who moved to Uganda and is in the process of adopting thirteen girls.

“Katie says that Jesus wrecked her life,” Lydia tells me. “God turned everything upside-down, and later she realized He actually turned it right-side up.”

I wonder where Lydia might be heading with this conversation. The most human part of me—the part I call “mother”—is scared to know…

Join us on the Haiti shore today, over at The High Calling, to hear the rest of this story. We’re thinking about what it means to live an upside-down life in a culture that clamors for something else … (Click here…)


Haiti Photo Collage

by | January 30, 2013 | 5 comments


  1. Danise Jurado

    Jennifer this is beautiful! It brings me back to a time when my seven year old daughter proclaimed confidently from the back seat of the car one day… “I’m going to be a missionary to the inner city of Los Angeles!” Now, she and her husband work in full time ministry at the Los Angeles Dream Center, she works with homeless children and their parents… She graduated from high school a year early, she moved out right after and went straight into the ministry to follow God’s call on her life… There were many moments of fear for my mommy’s heart as we walked through those years with my Katie… But watching her serve God, I am in awe of the beautiful woman of God I get to call my daughter! Wherever and whatever our Lord has for your sweet one, I can assure you it will be “well with your soul” because Jesus will be there; guiding her and holding you. Blessings my friend ~

    • Jillie

      This is a beautiful story, Danise. You gave her roots—God gave her wings!

  2. Lori Poppinga

    So well said, such insight for one so young…there is much in store for one so willing to see where God is working and join him there. What a treasure to see your prayers for your young daughter answered. We cannot always keep them safe, but we can always hand them over to the one who holds them in His hand.
    Keep up the God work.

  3. Leah Adams

    Your sweet girl has learned something that many adults never learn….that the Jesus version of being wrecked is really the sweetest place to be. You are a good mama, Jennifer. Pointing your children always to Him.

  4. Jillie

    I hear you, Mom, I hear you. I used to fill with fear when my son’s (then) fiance would say, “If God calls me to a mud hut in Africa, I’ll go!” I pictured my son with no mousse for his hair…and wondered. Today, they live in suburbia, with regular jobs. Sometimes, I wish for them the mud hut.


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