Ten Ways Your Small Yes Can Change the World

April 28, 2014 | 48 comments

Sometimes your yeses feel impossibly small. Other times, they feel impossibly impossible.

Sometimes, you wake up one morning and don’t know how you’re going to do what you said you would do. And then you remember: You can’t. You really can’t do this. But He can. You remember that this is His project, for His glory, in His strength, by His “doing.”

So you put your yes in your shaking hands, and you raise it up to God. Again.

That’s how it went down on Sunday morning with Lydia.

Lydia came to me, nearly in tears, with a check in her hand — part of her answer to a “yes” that started two years ago on a Haitian shore, when she said told me that “didn’t want to live an average life” anymore.

I’ll let Lydia tell you, in her own words, about what went down yesterday:

As a 12-year-old girl, it’s pretty obvious I don’t make a lot of money. There’s only so many things I can do. I babysit my sister and neighbors. I clean the house. I help my dad with pig chores. I work in my grandma’s candle shop.

 

So when I pay for Romario and Amalisa (my sponsor kids) every month, I spend a lot of that money. Often I spend more than I make. I can’t buy things for myself very often. So what do I do?

 

This morning I wrote a check for Romario and Amalisa for the months of March, April, and May. The total amounted to $210. I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately about this issue. I try to make a few extra dollars every chance I get.

 

As I told my mom about my struggles, she told me this:  “God will find a way to provide always, if it is for his glory.” I tried to believe her, but I couldn’t help doubting.

 

During church, my friend’s young daughter was getting restless. She was getting frustrated because her daughter was being obnoxious while she wanted to pay attention to the service. So I brought her daughter to the playroom in back and babysat her for the rest of service. (And no, I wasn’t skipping church because we were over halfway through the service and I had gone to a different church with my friend the past night.)

 

After church, my grandma walked up to me, and handed me a 10-dollar bill. She told me she saw me go in back to babysit the girl and thought it was very nice of me.

 

God will provide. And God did provide. 

 

That $10 meant more to me than just a 10-dollar bill, though. It reminded me that God always keeps his promises. It reminded me that God will always provide.

 

And just earlier that service, I stood up on a step-stool to peek over the top of a podium and spoke into a microphone these words from John 20:

 

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

 

I am like Thomas. I doubted because I did not see. I did not see any signs that God would provide. I doubted that God would not come through. But God is unchanging, and like I said, he ALWAYS keeps his promises.

 

(Photos of Lydia with Romario, and with Amalisa.)

Lydia blogged about her experience, and quite frankly, she made me sound far more reasoned and faith-filled than I really was. Truthfully, on the inside, my own spirit quakes with my daughters’ faith-filled Yeses. At times, their plans have seemed impossibly difficult.

But together, our family is learning what it means to say Yes. God has repeatedly told us this:

“You are in charge of obedience. I am in charge of results.”

God is also reminding us the truth that shimmers so beautifully in Kristen Welch’s new book, Rhinestone Jesus. Kristen writes:

“You might be thinking right now, I will never be a world changer. But I want to encourage you to change the way you see the power of one action done for someone else. When it’s combined with the power of one big, God, your small yes can change the world.”

This summer, our family is committed to small yeses and big yeses, knowing that each #yesinmymess has the power to change the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

Ten Ways Your Small Yes Can Change the World This Summer

1 — Collect toys and pencils and erasers and toothpaste for Operation Christmas Child gift boxes all year long, browsing discounted sections of big-box stores. It adds up! Each year, our small rural church packs more than 125 shoebox gifts.

2 — As a family, select a country this summer, and then pray every day for God to move among its people. We are praying for Haiti. Considering “Googling” a map image of your specific country, print it out, then tape it on the inside of the door you use most. Then, pray for that country every time you leave the house.

3 — Read a book together this summer that encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone. We are reading Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch. And today, Lydia and I are giving away two copies of Kristen’s book!

4 — Commit to sponsoring a child as a family, where everyone contributes a percentage. We sponsor children, individually and as a family, through Compassion International and Touch of Hope in Haiti.

5 – While spring-cleaning your closets and drawers, set aside gently used items for the consignment store. Then, commit to using all profits toward the charity of your choice.

6 — Take all your spare change, and buy food for the food pantry. But instead of buying only canned vegetables (which are usually overly abundant at food pantries) consider also purchasing fun snacks and cookies. People who are struggling to make ends meet would love the extra treat.

7 — Dream big as a family, and watch your small yes turn into something BIG for Him. Two years ago, the girls adopted a motto, “Every kid deserves to play.” Then, they raised $8,000 through the sale of candles and Vi Bella Jewelry to build a playground and basketball court at a village in Haiti. At least 75 percent of those funds were raised through your jewelry purchases — yes, YOU, the readers of this blog!

8 — Lead a game of Bingo or put together puzzles with residents at a local nursing home. Not only does this bring joy to the residents, it also teaches our children to interact with the elderly, and to understand the aging process. Today, if we wanted to, we could avoid the realities of aging — both the beauty and the pain of it. It’s so easy to segregate ourselves by finding neighborhoods and churches that cater only to people our own age. But in doing so, we shield ourselves from the mutual benefit of knowing how we fit into a life cycle that rings time and space.

9 — Look for ways to purchase and promote job-creation ministries like Vi Bella Jewelry or Mercy House. Even if you can’t afford to purchase an item, you can spread the word on your social-media channels.

10 — Do as Kristen suggests in her book, Rhinestone Jesus: “Give what you have. Share it, even if what’s in your hand is ridiculously tiny. Give it away. Ask God to multiply your gift … whether it be a talent, a desire, an open door, an opportunity, or a dollar.”

 Rhinestone Jesus Giveaway

We are giving away TWO copies of this wonderful book by Kristen Welch. Winners will be notified next week by email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

by | April 28, 2014 | 48 comments

48 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Stewart

    I am in awe of your girls and God’s work in and through them. World changers!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks, Elizabeth. Love you.

      Reply
  2. Becky

    Hearing the call to foster care and adoption … and saying “yes.”

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Oh, wow, Becky! That’s a life-changing yes! Cheering you on. Praying for God to lead and guide you. xo

      Reply
  3. Kelly Greer

    Jennifer – I love your family’s heart for others and the way you are growing in faith together. Let us all be givers of what we have been given. “Give” is my word this year, and the year is quickly getting away from me without that intentional daily giving. But even in my unintentionally giving, I know God is increasing the intent of my heart. Because He is ever faithful to increase. To God be the glory. I think I have to read this Rhinestone Jesus book now…..so many good words out there these days.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Give. What a great word for the year. And this: “God is increasing the intent of my heart.” Very cool.

      Yes, add Rhinestone Jesus to your list. If you don’t win it, I highly recommend making a stop at the bookstore!

      Reply
  4. Halona Luna

    Wow, what an amazing blessing!!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you for stopping by, Halona.

      Reply
  5. Beth Richardson

    For my birthday this year (I am turning 40 in May), I told my husband that instead of a gift, I wanted to sponsor another little girl from Guatemala through Compassion (we already sponsor one). It’s mot a whole lot, but I pray that God is able to do BIG things in their lives, through my simple intervention.

    Thank you for sharing your stories here, that keep encouraging me.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      That’s fantastic, Beth. What a great birthday gift. That is a BIG yes!

      Reply
  6. Kim

    Rejoicing with you and Lydia over God’s provision! I’d love the opportunity to read this book. I’m more than halfway done with yours, Jennifer. I “had” to do some underlining today! 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Kim! Thank you for stopping by today. And thank you for reading Love Idol. I enjoy hearing from readers, and love to hear how God is speaking to them through the book. Feel free to email me any time, drop a comment here, or tell us what you’re learning over on the Love Idol Movement page on Facebook! God bless you!

      Reply
  7. Jennifer

    Thanks so much for the post and encouraging words on little ways we can help! Would love to read the book!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      It’s a great book, Jennifer. If your name isn’t drawn in the random drawing, I highly recommend finding the book at your local bookstore or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or any of your favorite retailers.

      Reply
  8. Jeri@got2havefaith

    Lydia is awesome! I have a 12 year old and she is very thoughtful of others, but she would have a hard time letting go of that much money. It’s a struggle sometimes. Right now I am saying yes to stepping out of my comfort zone. I am praying on how to bring a documentary to our women’s ministry at church. I put the idea out there to ministry leaders. And we are praying as to how God may use this yes of mine.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Jeri ~ The documentary sounds like a very exciting yes. Is it something you want to show, or something you’re creating? Praying with you.

      Reply
  9. Mary Bonner

    The faith of Lydia…beautiful. Just beautiful.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      A child will lead them, yes?

      She both frightens and inspires me.

      Reply
  10. Sarah

    Inspired by Lydia! My small yes this year is to actually pay attention to the people God has placed in my life. My everyday life.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      That’s a BIG yes! I love it. Thank you, Sarah. xo

      Reply
  11. Hazel Serra D'Beloved

    My semi-big yes is… when I accepted the offered work at a State College. I was real scared to accept that since I hate working with all boys around me. I wanted to run away for the first time when I first gave my YES to my boss. But lately I felt like God is into something in my life.

    I am a man-hater. Boys can talk with me casually, but I always make it a gap for them not to come into my life. It is real scary to give this YES but i leave it all in the Loving Father’s hands. Thank you Jennifer for this blog posts. It’s really an encouragement! God bless your commitment in reaching out people thru writing. 🙂

    Xoxo, Hei

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Praying for you, Hazel. Thank you for sharing you yes with us.

      Reply
  12. Sandra Heska King

    I just read this to Grace. And she agrees. Lydia, you’re awesome. Because God made you that way. And you’ve said yes to Him.

    Reply
  13. Kate

    Just a beautiful testimony of the Lord’s provision for your daughter, Jennifer! Thank you for the ten tips, too .. I am *so* eager to read Kristen’s book. Love her worldview and perspective. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

    Reply
  14. KristinHillTaylor

    God has been teaching me to see opportunities to say yes to people and not just projects. That love idol journey is stil happening … 🙂

    Reply
    • soulstops

      Great insight, Kristin 🙂

      Reply
  15. Nikki

    Lydia, I aspire to be you… <3

    I've been realizing in my own life that I needed to say a lot of no's first before I can say the yeses He's asked of me. Still can't figure out why that's so hard when you've witnessed the freedom that follows! But I'm striving and learning and am finally able to start saying some yeses! ::GULP:: First up: a local women's mentoring ministry…(where we will be using LOVE IDOL!):)

    Reply
  16. soulstops

    Oh, Lydia…thank you for sharing your story and your heart 🙂 Thanks, Jennifer for hosting the giveaway and for the great ideas. I said yes to sponsoring Jefferson in February last year then yes to visiting him in Guatemala in October of last year….trying to say “yes” as God leads even when I’m scared.

    Reply
  17. Kessie Gummersall

    Loved this post, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  18. Amy Hunt

    I’m emailing this to myself at work and printing it out. LOVE this!!!!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you so much, Amy! Grateful for you.

      Reply
  19. Debra Holloman

    This is beautiful! Our family has also decided to say yes in the midst of our mess. We have had the privalege to help make lunches for a homeless shelter once a month through the winter months to be sure they have a good lunch during the cold days. We have also collected clothing and purses for the women and children’s shelter. My prayer is that these acts are teaching my children to see outside our home and family to the world that desperately needs Jesus. I can’t wait to read this book!

    Reply
  20. Jone

    What a great story/lesson for your daughter and all of us. That’s a good list of things to do as well. You don’t realize how much those “little” things can mean for someone until you live in a country that doesn’t offer those kinds of things even with though a great need exists and you are not in a position to do anything about it. 🙁 We will be getting back involved in several of those activities when we return to the States.

    Reply
  21. Jolene Underwood

    All great ideas! It’s so important to engage our children with us as we show the love of Christ to others. Doing so can take many forms. In the end, our following Jesus & being used by Him for His purposes changes us as well as the others we impact in the journey.

    Reply
  22. pastordt

    Lovely story telling – from both of you. Thanks, Jen.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Grateful for your kind words. Thank you, D.

      Reply
  23. Nancy Ruegg

    God DOES keep his promises. He DOES take our small yeses and multiply the impact. Familiar truths, yes. But when expressed and exemplified by a twelve-year old? Oh my. Tears of joy well up–joy in the faith of one little girl, joy for the touch upon my heart from the Spirit as he says, “See? Just obey, day by day, and let me astound with the results!”

    Thank you, Jennifer. You are ALWAYS a blessing! And give that sweet Lydia a hug of appreciation for me!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Always appreciate your smile and your words here in the comments, Nancy.

      Reply
  24. Jen Daugherty

    What faith your daughter has! It’s amazing how absolutely children can believe-what a blessing. And to think, I wrote about saying yes just this morning on my own blog…here’s to all the Yeses in our messes! 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Jen, and thanks for sharing about this on Twitter. Kristen’s book releases today, and I’m so excited about the ways it will inspire others to offer up their Yeses.

      Reply
  25. Sarah Jo Burch

    “Give what you have. Share it, even if what’s in your hand is ridiculously tiny. Give it away. Ask God to multiply your gift …” I love this! Just yesterday I gathered a couple of bags of “what we had” to donate for victims of the Arkansas tornado (I heard the sirens and lost power, but didn’t lose anything else) and I was feeling kind of small and what’s-the-point about my little offering. But it was “yes” — thanks for the reminder that God can use the little yeses, too! <3

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      That’s a perfect kind of small yes … multiplied exponentially by the power of God.

      Reply
  26. Eileen

    Your daughter has a beautiful heart.

    Reply
  27. Laura Rath

    “You are in charge of obedience. I am in charge of results.” Amen!

    Reply
  28. Debbie Brainer

    Learning about obedience is amazing. From reading in your blog and the experts here and thete, I am truly excited to hopefully be considered in this book give-away!! God Bless. <3

    Reply

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  1. Wednesday WOW: Look Who’s Saying Yes, Yes, Yes In Their Messes {Win Book #3} | Kari Gibson – On A Journey To Love Big - […] Ten Ways Your Small Yes Can Change the World by Jennifer Dukes Lee […]

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