It isn't what it is

By: Monica Steely
Posted: November 20, 2014

A Compassion Bag Story...BEAUTIFUL Shirley

Compassion That Compels and Altar'd State were busy in Alabama! A picture says a thousand words but these pictures tell...1125! Sweet Autumn from Altar'd State Birmingham has a vibrancy and heart to "give out and live out" Altar'd State's vision to, STAND OUT. FOR GOOD! BEAUTIFUL Shirley was blessed by her Compassion Bag and you can see the mix of emotions as Autumn shares the why behind each item in her Compassion Bag. We just love the amazing navigation team at Princeton Baptist Medical Center! Thank you Altar'd State for Mission Monday and helping us bless the most BEAUTIFUL and bravest women battling cancer with Compassion Bags. 
Agape,

Kristianne
 

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It isn’t what it is.

When the trees are bare and the leaves are gone, the tree is not dead. When we see empty limbs and spindly branches, we declare it is what it is! and sigh in resignation and believe the leaves are gone forever and the tree will no longer bring shade.

It isn’t what it is.

When our To Do’s outweigh our To Be’s and there’s no time to stop and be still,  we declare it is what it is! and sigh in resignation and believe our stress will be present forever and peace will elude us forever.

It isn’t what it is.

When we visit our families for the holidays and our expectations aren’t met and disappointments fall like heavy snow,  we declare it is what it is! and sigh in resignation and believe that what once was is now gone and relationships will be changed forever.

It isn’t what it is.

This phrase  –  it is what it is  –  it circles circumstances and pops up in conversation and is intended to be healthy.  It’s intended to help you fully embrace the reality of the situation,  not drive you to insanity by expecting different results.

But while I understand the intent in which it’s said,  it seems that more and more it’s said with a defeatist attitude instead of an attitude of victory.  It’s declared as a resignation and a loss of hope.

I've said it myself a million times over and encouraged others to believe it.  And then one day as I watched it escape my mouth I desperately tried to pull it back in.

Because right then I suddenly saw the absurdity in it. I saw how unbiblical it is.  How unbelieving it is.

Because if there's any one thing that God demonstrates the most in the Bible, it's that it never is what it is.

Romans 4:17 says, “Abraham believed when he stood in the presence of the God who gives life to dead people and calls into existence things that don’t even exist.”  

It isn’t what it is

-- No Moses, it isn't what it is.  The staff in your hand will part a sea.

-- No Elizabeth, it isn't what it is.  The barren womb you have carries my Son's predecessor.

-- No Israel, it isn't what it is.  I'm parting this sea so you can cross over.

--No Abraham, it isn't what it is. I've provided a ram in the thicket so you don't have to sacrifice your son.

-- No Mother, it isn't what it is.  I've turned that water into wine.

-- No Daniel, it isn't what it is. Those lions will leave you unscathed all night long.

-- No Joseph, it isn't what it is. Your future is not in this prison.

-- No Adam, it isn't what it is.  I provided a helpmate for you.

-- No David, it isn’t what it is.  You did hear correctly and I will make it happen, soon.

No my friends, it isn't what it is.  Because God has called that which isn't as though it is. You can embrace the reality of a situation without losing your hope in Christ in the midst of it.

Your kidneys aren't failing  -  your body is made whole in Christ.

Your finances aren't dire -  you're rich in Christ.

Your marriage isn't over -  you're the bride of Christ.

You are not alone -  He'll never leave you or forsake you.

Your son is not a prodigal  -  he and your household will be saved.

Your nephew is not an orphan  -  he is a child of Abba.

You aren’t empty  -  open your mouth wide and God will fill it.

You aren’t barren – you are full of life, love and the mother of spiritual children.

It isn’t what it is.  Instead, it is what I could never imagine it would be.  It’s choosing to see the truth of what it is instead of the expectation of what it’s not.
In the midst of our storms of unbelief, hear God whisper,

It isn’t what it is.  Don’t forget who I am and what I’m capable of.  I can bring rain to ease the drought, a child to a virgin, life to the dead.  It’s never what it is.  It’s always what doesn’t even exist in your world right now.

As we enter into this Christmas season,  let your heart prepare Him room to show you it isn’t what it is. Let Him show you the hope  –  Him in the midst of it all, making possible that which isn’t possible. Prepare room for Him to show you a miracle or three – even if that miracle is just softening and changing your heart,  or the opening of your eyes.

Look at the next few weeks through the lens of Romans 4:17,  declaring boldly, “God gives life to dead people and calls into existence things that don’t even exist!”

It isn’t what it is, my friends. It is what He says it is.


Blessings to you this Thanksgiving,

Monica

Monica Steely is a writer, speaker, coffee iv’er and transformation whisperer. She blogs at Elevate Ideas and procrastinates anything related to cooking, cleaning and other domestic activities. She’s also the co-founder of Be Still Be Free…a mindset revolution seeking to encourage women to BE first and DO second. Listen to BE’s podcasts on iTunes or Buzzsprout

 

 

 

Forks on the Left

By: Gwen Plauche
Posted: November 17, 2014

A Compassion Bag Story...BEAUTIFUL Shelia

We had almost finished delivering Compassion Bags at UT Cancer Center in Knoxville, when sweet Lynn tapped me on the shoulder. "I have a brave friend in the middle of her cancer battle. She isn't having treatment here. Can she have a bag?" We sent one out the next day. Look closely at BEAUTIFUL Shelia's eyes. I wish I were there to pray with you, hug you and wipe away those tears. I hope you feel Momma Rosie's prayers of peace and healing each time you cover yourself with your blanket. 

Agape,

Kristianne

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I stared at the stacks of silver cutlery on my mother-in-law’s dining room table and wondered how I had managed to escape the fine of art of the formal table.  I was a new bride and had been asked to set the table for our Thanksgiving meal at my in-laws.  Sensing my discomfort, my mother-in-law opened the linen drawer and revealed a card with an illustration of proper formal table settings - a kind of etiquette cheat sheet.  I quickly observed that one of the best ways to learn the basics of formal table setting is with a memorized pattern. The word left has four letters, so does the word fork.  The word right has five letters, so does knife, spoon and glass.  Could it be that easy?  That guide reassured me that I was not the only one who needed a little help in this area!

Just like those stacks of forks and knives,  there are stacks of emotions that come knocking on your heart’s door along with the family for holiday dinner.  You may be asking yourself,  “How will I ever deal with all these emotions?”

Wouldn’t it be great if you had an easy guide to help you know what to do?  You are not the only one who needs a little help!  God’s word, your Bible, is full of wisdom that tells you the way to respond.  Here is a collection of what I am calling,  Spiritual Place Cards.  The table setting pattern helped me remember to place the forks on the left,  memorizing these will help you remember where to place your emotions and your responses at just the right time this holiday season.

 

When you fear or dread facing that particular person over the holidays...

Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.   Matthew 5:44

 

When that certain relative pushes your buttons and the conversation gets heated...

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.   Proverbs 15:1

 

When Uncle Louie goes there (again)...

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent and discerning if they hold their tongues.   Proverbs 17:27-28

 

When the empty chair reminds you...

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:21-23

 

When the turkey comes out and the food critics emerge...

Therefore, There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  

Romans 8:1

 

When Aunt Sue is inquiring and comparing...

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.   Philippians 1:6

 

When you think you are the only one who has this problem…

You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful.  He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take.  But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it.     1 Corinthians 10:13

 

When you feel alone...

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.    James 4:8

 

My prayer for you is that you feast through the holidays on God’s Word and that the peace of God,  which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.      Philippians 4:7

Blessings,

Gwen

Gwen Plauche, aka Momma Gwen, is married to the greatest man on earth, mom to five (ages 16-26) and loves to find encouragement between the covers of her Bible. Her blog can be found at: www.MommaGwen.com and follow her on Twitter@MommaGwen.

 

 

 

 

 

God Is Enough

By: Sabrina Nelson
Posted: November 13, 2014

 

A Message from Sabrina Nelson, our Alabama Chapter President:

"My sweet friend Leigh Greene gained her precious wings this morning. I will never forget meeting her at the SAMC Cancer Center and sharing about the love of our awesome God with her! She smiled so big and a joyous light shone from her beautiful face! She was so special to me and my life and I am better to have known her! She always had her Compassion Bag with her at treatment. I also enjoyed getting to know her sweet mom Faye Baker and her amazing sister Tabitha Michelle Teal! What an amazing family and full of God's love! Rest in peace, Leigh! No more pain, no more fighting! We will all gather to see you again as you wait for us in heaven with open arms! Please pray for this family during this time of earthly loss and celebrate with them her precious life and new life in eternity!"

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GOD IS ENOUGH...

Have you ever stopped and wondered if God had a bucket list? Would He have made a list that included watching His only son Jesus be tortured, crucified, dead and buried? I am sure if He did make a list it would include all of the wonderful things that He accomplished. Feeding 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish from a little boy (John 6:5-13), parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14:18,31), restoring sight to the blind and the lame able to walk. All just a day’s work for God!

There are wonderful places to visit and things to do, and there is nothing wrong with that. I have decided that a bucket list should actually be a short one for me. I may be able to go places and be blessed enough to do things I might desire to do in this life, but I want my main focus to always be Christ centered and all of the things on my bucket list be only things that would result in His glorification

Sabrina’s Bucket List:

 1. Live for God, solely for Him and have a relationship with Him that HE desires.

 2. Share His name, His word, His works with others. This is something He desires and asks of us.

 3. Lead others to Him. This is what we are called to do as children of God and yet another of His desires.

 I truly want my bucket list to be the things that God desires of me.

I want... to always be one with a servant’s heart, a willing vessel and spirit that will do whatever it is He calls me to do at any moment.

I want…His love to shine from me and for others to know without a doubt that when they see me, they see Jesus.

I want…to share His word with others so that they may come to know Him.

I want…to praise Him all of my days, both the good and the bad for after all, any day given to us is from God.

 I believe if I am able to do all of these things, all of the places I may want to go, or things I may want to see will all just be blessings granted to me by God for being a good and faithful servant. Nothing in life is free and the price Jesus paid on the cross for our sins certainly is the biggest price of all.  How hard should it be for us to attempt to repay such a debt? It shouldn’t be. We should all wish to live for Him just as He was willing to die for us. In my eyes, that is not asking too much at all. In fact, I feel I could NEVER do enough but God is enough!

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.   Philippians 4:13

Why had I waited to really see this now? Due to my own serious health issues and suffering losses all around me, it made me begin to wonder...

Be still and know that I am God   Psalm 46:10

God was writing my bucket list this entire time. I learned to trust Him and have faith that He was working all the while for my good. And I learned to be still. Trusting Him and having faith in His plan led me straight to Compassion That Compels. He brought me right into exactly what He wanted me to be doing. This ministry has become so close to my heart and a huge part of my life that I could never thank Him enough for the trials I endured. I am grateful for those valleys He led me out of, only to lead me straight to Kristianne and Compassion That Compels! He knew what He was doing all along. He only needed me to trust.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

I will never doubt Him again! And in return, my bucket list-my priorities have completely changed for the best! I challenge you to do two things. Sit down and write your bucket list and see where God ranks on that list! If He isn’t at the top, put Him there. At the end of the week, sit down and write your list of things you’ve done for God that week. It may not be a long list but it’s a start! Remember, every page starts blank. Every day with Jesus is a clean slate. It’s up to you to write it and to live it 

God Bless,

Sabrina

Sabrina is a loving wife who is blessed beyond measure. A servant’s heart is woven into her being and her focus is giving to others and leading them to know God. She is married to her best friend, has an amazing mom, two great step-daughters and one precious granddaughter. Follow Sabrina on Facebook or Twitter@sabrinamnelson.

 

 

 

WWJD Wrestling Team

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: November 10, 2014

A little note from me, Kristianne:

 

I texted this to a freind the other day from a Compassion Bag delivery,

"As I hit my knees to the floor in prayer today, something happened to me. I don't know how to explain it but sometimes my heart fills with an equal measure of love and pain that it's only His grace that holds it together."  

Since Compassion That Compels went from something I privately did in just sixteen months, to something I publically do, we've blessed nearly 1100 women battlng cancer with Compassion Bags. All I wanted to do was launch my Bible study and ministry but all God wanted me to do was be obedient. He always has the better plan and today, I have the largest, small group now followed by the most amazing people I could ever hope to add to my heart's collection.

I love to write, talk and pray. As a writer, speaker, and founder of a ministry - Compassion That Compels, I get to do three things I love to do most. When I write, I script life in vignettes of God's unmerited grace. As a speaker, I tell the stories of the ties of God's love. And when I am driven to my knees in prayer, I can glorify Jesus Christ. Many of you have asked me to inlcude the stories from our Compassion Bag deliveries and events on our blog. Starting this week, we'll include a story within a story. Only promise me that as you read these stories, you begin to see yourself in a new way. I challenge you all to let the entire essence of your being --

ALL the things that make you who you are, submit them to God's divine will and you will become more than a noun, you will be a living and active verb.

There are moments I will never forget as we give a Compassion Bag - like when I asked BEAUTIFUL Belinda to describe her best morning. Her face opened with a smile as she told us it was receiving morning hugs from her three precious children before they left for school. Before her cancer battle, she worked and missed those hugs. I tie every prayer to God's word and Psalm 118:24 echoed in our hearts and throughout the chemo infusion room. BEAUTIFUL Belinda I hope you and your sweet mother-in-love, Gail, enjoyed those hugs this morning! My daughter Annelise, and our Altar'd State compassionistas - Erin and Mckayla loved blessing you with your Compassion Bag

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Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.         Colossians 4:12 (NIV)

Beth laid her meal for one in her grocery cart and turned the corner towards the next morning’s coffee beans. Suddenly, an enthusiastic “hello” and the smell of vanilla coffee beans enveloped Beth in a hug.  It was her religious neighbor, Andrea. The one whose i’s dotted with hearts and gushing exclamation points violated all grammar and punctuation rules.

“How are you, Beth?” Beth’s gaze shifted to Andrea’s artfully designed, environmentally correct, reusable bag.  Beth’s own reusable bags were sandwiched somewhere in her trunk between her ex-husband’s love letters, and their divorce papers.  Her need for plastic bags was just another one of Beth’s many failings-just like her marriage. 

Andrea continued without an answer.  “Look, Beth I’m sorry. I saw the “SOLD” sign in front of your house. I’d like to invite you to a small group I lead and I’d love for you be a part of it.”  Beth nodded and as her eyes filled with hot tears, she decided two things: she wasn’t going to Andrea’s religious zealot’s group and she now hated the smell of vanilla.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  Luke 11:1 (NIV)

“Beth, I want to pray for you.”  Beth shifted uncomfortably. “Here? Now?” Why couldn’t she have bumped into Andrea in the frozen food aisle where people had shorter conversations? Without hesitation, Andrea’s words flowed from conversation to prayer. Beth never remembers the exact words Andrea prayed, but today when she shares the story with her own small group, she is grateful for Andrea’s prayers offered in a certain place.

Holy Spirit, show me how to become a prayer wrestler like Epaphras. Teach me to respond to Jesus’ divine nature, continually offering prayers in every certain place. 

 

Agape,

Kristianne is a writer, speaker and founder of Compassion That Compels. Her life of love is filled to overflowing for her husband Royal, and their daughters Grace and Annelise. Collecting people and gardening are among her passions. Painting lives in brilliant hues of God’s love and compassion is her purpose. Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

 

 

 

5 Things to Say to Someone Facing Cancer

By: Nancy Backues
Posted: November 6, 2014

Last month, on our Compassion That Compels blog, I shared what not to say to someone who is facing cancer (or any devastating life event, for that matter).  I didn't want to simply leave you with what not to do. I want to give you some tips to help you know what to do.  

I realize cancer is a delicate subject, and not everyone handles it in the same way.  Responses and reactions can change daily, sometimes moment by moment. For those and many more reasons, it can be difficult to know what to say, particularly if you don't know the person well.  While each person copes differently, the following tips will help you bring hope and encouragement to the person battling cancer.

 "You're beautiful"

Even if she looks tired, weak, or weary. Even if she's lost weight or gained weight. Tell her she's beautiful. She's probably self-conscious of her hair loss or weight gain (or loss), and it took a lot of courage for her to face the world today.  Let her know that when you look at her, you don't just see the effects of cancer, you see her.  (While this is specific to women battling cancer, I assume men would like to be told they are looking good, too...but maybe not "beautiful.") :)

 "You're strong"

Cancer and its treatment takes it's toll on a person's body and emotions.  When your body is weary, your emotions can run wild.  Simple tasks become overwhelming and everyday moments become a constant reminder of your weakness and fragility.  Even if she seems strong, there's a good chance she doesn't feel strong. Tell her she is, because she probably needs the reminder right about now.

 "You can do this." (Better yet, "We can do this.")

Cancer is an overwhelming adversary. At times it seems unbeatable, even in the most treatable cases, and it creates a constant "what if" scenario in the back of one's mind.  Your friend or family member needs to know she can do this and that she doesn't have to do it alone.  Even if the odds are stacked against her. Even if the prognosis isn't good. Tell her she can do it.  With God's help. With your help. She can do this.

 I'm praying for you.

This is easily my favorite thing to hear from people. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that prayer moves the hand of God, so the more people praying for me, the better. I've had people I don't know stop me to say they're praying for me. I get emails from friends around the country telling me their churches are praying for me. I've even had teachers at my children's school stop to ask me how I'm doing and say they are praying for me. Bring it on. I will take all the prayers I can get!

 What do you need?

Early in my journey, many people offered help, but I didn't have much need yet. Those same people were still there when my needs did arise. Some drove my kids to and from school and took me to doctor's appointments. Others brought meals and offered to get groceries or run errands.  Some simply checked in from time to time asking if I needed anything. Each offer was an answered prayer, meeting whatever we needed at that time. If you don't know what to say to someone, offer to do something for them.

  

Nancy is an author, speaker, wife, mother, cancer-fighter, and lover of all things chocolate. When she’s not playing cook, chauffeur, maid, or referee to her family, she can be found writing about embracing grace at www.ThereIsGrace.com. Nancy lives in Missouri with her favorite people in the world, her husband and two children.

 

 

 

HAVING FAITH THAT THE SCARY THING IS THE RIGHT THING

By: Monica Steely
Posted: November 3, 2014

The arena was jam-packed with women wearing their Sunday and Monday and Thursday and Saturday best. Their accessories matched their pocketbooks which matched their shoes which matched their Bible covers.

An arena full of sopranos and altos and even a smattering of tenors harmonized during worship and their heads nodded during the lesson and their wallets poured out money during the love offering. Hands were raised in recommitment to Jesus and tissues were dabbed across blurry eyes and when it was time to break it was as if there was one giant exhale in unison.

We strolled through the lobby deciding what to eat for lunch, my friend and I. We dodged women in their Tuesday and Friday best with their accessories that matched their shoes. Some were impatient with the lines at the food stands, some were frustrated with getting their pocketbooks (which matched their accessories) bumped.

Some couldn’t believe there wasn’t enough lunch-time seating for all seven hundred million women jammed into the arena.

My friend and I grabbed lunch and searched for a place to sit among the bright patterns and matching Bible covers. As soon as we took our first bite, we saw him. He couldn’t have been more than 21 and he was dirty and his eyes were glazed and his shoes had holes and he appeared homeless. He walked the aimlessly amid the maze of nodded heads and tear-stained tissues trying to talk to the women, but was largely ignored or smiled at politely as they turned back to their conversation.

My friend and I looked at each other and I knew what she was thinking and she knew what I was thinking but we were both petrified of each other’s thoughts, afraid to say it out loud. I don’t remember who broke first, but the words rang loudly in our ears,

 “Should we pray for him?”

Being new in our faith, it was impossible to believe that maybe we should actually do it since everyone else was pretending he wasn’t there and seemed largely unimpressed with his presence.

And we expected they would know what to do and be more knowledgeable about matters such as homeless boys crashing a Christian women’s conference.

We stood watching behind a column and played silly games with each other such as, “okay if he goes left then we’ll pray for him but if he goes right we won’t” and then we’d see him go straight or backwards or northeast or even southwest. After several minutes I don’t remember who broke first but the words rang loudly in our ears,

“Who wouldn’t want us to pray for him?”

We looked at each other and immediately knew the answer and then we both said it at the same time. “The devil.” One of us might have even then uttered a “darnit” under our breath, I don’t remember. We were both so very outside our comfort zone and scared to pieces about praying out loud (in general) and for a stranger.

But we sucked in deep breaths that left us dizzy and walked away from our food and went to find him.

We sat with him in the midst of the harmonizing altos and sopranos and found out his name and that he was indeed homeless and was not that much younger than we were. We told him about a ministry nearby that loved on the homeless and told him to be sure to visit there. And before we lost our nerve and let the devil win we spoke the words that had been ringing loudly in our ears,

“Can we pray for you?”

He said yes and she prayed and I prayed and when we were done he was so thankful. And she and I walked away with hearts that grew three times their size in a matter of moments…with a God Joy and Jesus Love that oozed out of every tear that fell and breath we exhaled. 

And when we turned around he was gone and we never saw him again.

I don’t know if the boy’s life was changed because we prayed for him or not, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that our lives were forever changed from that point forward, because we learned that day what it meant to Love God so much, that we couldn’t help but love ourselves enough to do the scary things, and thereby love others and pray for a precious brother.

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Monica

Monica Steely is a writer, speaker, coffee iv’er and transformation whisperer. She blogs at Elevate Ideas and procrastinates anything related to cooking, cleaning and other domestic activities. She’s also the co-founder of Be Still Be Free…a mindset revolution seeking to encourage women to BE first and DO second. Listen to BE’s podcasts on iTunes or Buzzsprout.

 

Photo © thinkstockphotos.com/Justin+skinner

Praying for Sarah

By: Nancy Backues
Posted: October 30, 2014

We overslept…every one of us. Consequently there was much rushing around, random barking of orders, whining of children (because no one likes to be barked at), and a mad dash out the door, backpacks and lunch bags dragging haphazardly behind.

On the way out the door I happened to glance down at my bare toes…my disgusting, chipped-polished, neglected, bare toes. I sighed in complete frustration. “How do those moms do it…the ones with hair and make-up in place, manis and pedis freshly done, children fashionably dressed and coiffed, and arriving everywhere in time?” (As if those moms exist outside my imagination, right? Someone, please tell me I’m right.) I threw some nail polish in my all-purpose purse and headed out the door.

An hour-and-a-half later, both kids had made it to the right school with the proper backpacks and lunches. Milk had been purchased and dropped off in the fridge at home. And I had managed to apply a fresh coat of toenail polish in the parking lot of my first appointment (after I parked). Whew! I had made it!

I glanced around the waiting room for a seat and pulled out my phone, thankful for a few minutes of calm to check my e-mail and Facebook before my name was called.

“You can sit here,” a sweet voice caught me off guard. There were plenty of available seats, so the offer took me by surprise. I smiled, thanked her, and, trying to follow social protocol, took the next seat over.

“Are you here for treatment?” came the sweet voice again. That was the first moment I had truly thought about where I was. Of course I knew where I was…my oncologist’s office. The appointment had been on my calendar for months.

I smiled at her. “I had treatment a year and a half ago. I’m here for a follow up.”

“Good for you!” she gushed. I looked up at a tired, ashen, 80-something face, and that’s when I first noticed it…the smile. That weak and weary, yet determined, I’m-going-to-get-through-this-and-be-a-survivor smile. If you’ve had cancer, or known someone who has, you (hopefully) know that smile.

praying-for-saraMy beautiful, new friend, Sarah, told me about the mass in her side. Doctors had removed part of her kidney and her adrenal glands. Her husband had lung cancer. He was on oxygen now, “but he’s doing good.” Her cancer had returned and she was undergoing radiation treatments. If her radiation doesn’t work this time, “it’s just up to God” she said. “He’s big enough. He can do anything.”

Sarah and her husband had to sell their home and move into something smaller and more manageable. She was never able to have children, but her step-daughter drove her an hour one-way for treatments. They were “holding onto God because He always comes through.”

This woman had a laundry list a mile long of things she could be griping about (the least of which was toenail polish!), and yet she chose to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and bring a little encouragement.

Only a year and a half ago, I had been just like Sarah…waiting for another round of radiation in my sweatpants and T-shirt. I was tired. I was weak. I was working hard to get through my days.

When I completed my treatments, a fellow-survivor told me “This gives you a whole new perspective. You’ll never sweat the small stuff again.” It’s true…cancer changes you like nothing else will. But my friend had no way of knowing how deep my Type-A Personality runs. Not even two years out, and I’m already “sweatin’ the small stuff.”

The all-too-familiar voice came over the loud-speaker, “Sarah Brown to the treatment room.” Sarah leaned over and gave me a hug. “Congratulations,” she said, “and take care.”

As Sarah shuttled off to the back for treatment, I realized she had taught me two invaluable lessons:

1. Focus on the positive. An old song puts it this way: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” Philippians 4:8 says to “think on these things: whatever is…lovely, admirable…excellent, praiseworthy…” Sarah could have easily grumbled about her own health, her husband’s health, or any other trial she had faced in her long life. Instead, she celebrated with me in a victory that had faded for me among the busyness of daily schedules and routines.

2. Take the time to show a little kindness and give a little encouragement. If Sarah hadn’t gone out of her way to offer a seat and strike up a conversation, I would have been content to keep my nose glued to my phone. I would have missed the opportunity to meet a warrior named Sarah who turned my whole day around.

What if we each took time today to focus on, and thank God for, our many blessings? What if we found someone to be a Sarah to? And what if it's just what they need today?

Nancy is an author, speaker, wife, mother, cancer-fighter, and lover of all things chocolate. When she’s not playing cook, chauffeur, maid, or referee to her family, she can be found writing about embracing grace at There is Grace. Nancy lives in Missouri with her favorite people in the world, her husband and two children. Follow Nancy on FacebookTwitter, or Pintrest.

 

Everybody's Love Smells Different

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: October 27, 2014

Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.         2 Corinthians 2:14-16

Grace’s ringlet curls wrapped around her spangly bracelets as she leaned across our bubble gum tea party. She wiggled her index finger in the space between our faces. “C’mere, mommy…real close and breathe big with me” and we did as if together, we could breathe in tiny moments like solid molecules. “Mmmm…I love you. You stink really good today, mommy.” Of course, I completely understood that it was the scent of my perfume but what Grace really smelled was my love.

Everybody’s love smells different.

My Italian grandma was never a gushing geyser of sentiments but I do remember the endless flow of Little Debbies that grew within the pockets of her flowered, polyester housecoat and sent me on cream filling waves across her kitchen linoleum, to the gold shag carpeted guest room. I never knew what treasures waited behind the real imitation wood closet doors with their shiny brass knobs. There were always stacks of toys, games, and primary colored striped clothes that if they were too big for me, I could pass to my older sister and too small, given to a younger cousin.

My grandma’s love smelled like a mix of garlic and mothballs.

In the Old Testament around the time of the battles between the "ites" and the ambivalent Israelites, animal sacrifices were pleasing aromas to God. I’ve read the New Testament starting with the red letters enough to know what Jesus saw, heard, tasted, touched but what did Jesus smell

But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.                                                                                                                                                                                           2 Corinthians 2:16                                  

 Lazarus was dead for four days

A woman with an issue of blood for 12 years

Legion and his tomb dwelling demons

And how about that mid-dinner pedi Jesus did for all of his disciples?

Let’s face it, what Jesus had to smell would leave us gagging. Nowhere do we read about Jesus priming his hand sanitizer bottle or getting into a Febreze spraying frenzy after each encounter.

Not a mention of what He smelled, because maybe what Jesus smelled was love.

Live a life filled with love following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.       Ephesians 5:2

Retracing the steps across and around the decades of my life, I see first my 20’s “if God loved me."  30’s “when He loves me." Now in my 40’s and no longer an “unsecure person," but firmly rooted in faith and realizing that grace isn’t acquired like a scouting merit badge, it’s because He is love. God loves me because God is love and to Jesus, I hopefully stink really good.

Agape,

Kristianne

Kristianne is a writer, speaker and founder of Compassion That Compels. Her life of love is filled to overflowing for her husband Royal, and their daughters Grace and Annelise. Collecting people and gardening are among her passions. Painting lives in brilliant hues of God’s love and compassion is her purpose. Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

After the Diagnosis

By: Dianna Salciccioli
Posted: October 23, 2014

Steve felt a different something in his shoulder, every time he swung the golf club. Hmmm….a pulled muscle, maybe some nerve damage? Making a Doctor’s appointment seemed wise. After some testing the doctor asked Steve and his wife to step into his office. The diagnosis? Lou Gehrig’s disease!  Stunning, shocking, unbelievable. 

Annie Goodman in her blog, so, i have cancer, describes her diagnosis this way. “I’m 30 years old and about to be diagnosed with breast cancer. I get dressed, cry a lot, and head into the radiologist’s office. That’s when it’s confirmed: I am 30 years old and have breast cancer. I made an appt to meet with the surgeon first thing the next morning. I am warned I will need surgery and chemotherapy. I start making the calls and sending the emails. I try to remain calm. It’s not easy." 

A diagnosis changes your life in moment! Feelings of denial, anger, fear, stress, anxiety, sadness, and grief can easily set in. Questions inevitably swirl around in your head. 

What does that future hold?  

How am I going to get throught this?

Can my family handle this and how?  

A life altering diagnosis can leave you feeling numb. You may even have trouble thinking, eating, and sleeping.  

Without a faith and trust in a God who loves you, a diagnosis will wreak havoc in your spirit and emotions. Turning to Him with your fears will bring a supernatural peace and trust that He has you in the palm of His hand. Beliveing and knowing God is in this journey with you is vital for your peace of mind. Scripture tells us, “He will never leave you or forsake you.”  Never. Steve is my friend and as I read his blog he passionately shares how “close” God has been to him, how peaceful he has been amidst the challenge. This is a supernatural work God will do in all of us when a life altering diagnosis has been rendered.

 As a lifecoach, I want to share some very practical steps to equip you to navigate through the diagnosis. 

--Actively communicate with family and friends. Agree on a mode of communication to share updates on your treatment and needs. Create an important team of support and then help them understand what “walking with you” needs to look like.  We all have unique ways of dealing with challenges of this nature.  Help those who love you have the steps to be successful in supporting you.

--Try to keep life “as normal as possible”.  Even though there will be fresh challenges on the road ahead, try to keep your healthy life rhythms flowing as best you can.  Good food, exercise, time spent with the Lord, solid rest, and life-giving relationships will have a profound impact on this season of your life.

--Do your best to stay organized.  Keep all key numbers, appointments, and information in a safe place. Sometimes we can become overwhelmed and become scattered. This will create undue stress which you simply do need in this season.

Remember~ you are not defined by your diagnosis. You are still the wonderful person you have always been but your story has a new and unknown chapter. Take time to connect with others who have “walked a mile in your shoes.”  Laugh with them, cry with them, and link arms as you walk out this new season in your life.

And let this echo in your spirit like a resounding battle cry--

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of it, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 

--Dianna

Dianna Salciccioli co-founded and leads alongside her husband Greg, at Coachwell, Inc.- Coaching & Consulting Company. Dianna's been a pastor’s wife, pregnancy resource director, teacher’s aide, youth pastor’s assistant, and coach in her life but her highest calling is being a quality wife to her precious husband, as well as a hands on mom to her incredible sons!  Over the past five years she's been blessed to add to her “roles” that of mother- in- law to two of the greatest young women she knows! This year, Dianna's role grew to grandma and her heart swells at the thought! Follow Dianna on her blog.

It started with a letter and a sweater

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: October 20, 2014

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 3 They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 6 Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. 7 As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! 8 I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!                                       Psalm 119:1-8 (NLT)

I watched through the day as sunbeams moved across the waiting room like solar spotlights, settling along the length of a piece of furniture, highlighting its occupant’s emotions. The day had passed and I was alone in the hospital waiting room. I’d read and reread my sister-in-law’s letter. Her words were written in red.

 

“I want you to know I’m secure and very peaceful with you being here waiting on me to wake up. So while you’re in the waiting room, you show someone your heart and make their wait a little more peaceful.”

My thumb ran imaginary creases across the folds of the letter. Rather than waiting on a call, I made my way to the recovery room and slipped past the nurse’s station. The chorus of beeps and bleeps emitting from machines guided me to Sonja’s lone bed. 

“Sonja, I’m here.” I watched her fingers pull lightly against the sheets. “Kristianne, I knew you’d come. I kept calling for you but I knew you’d come. I’m so cold.”

I pillaged every piece of wheeled furniture around me for a blanket with no success. My eyes fell to my bag and a wrinkled cardigan sweater. I picked it up and laid it weave-like under and over the tubes that disappeared within the sheets, and into my precious sister-in-law.

I didn’t know it at the time but what started with a letter, a sweater, and my two sisters-in law and sister, diagnosed with cancer; began my Bible studies and ministry, Compassion That Compels.

BAG: Anyone who has walked through cancer or alongside a cancer overcomer has at one time stuffed their clothes into an oversized plastic bag, closely resembling a reusable cold bag.

JESUS CALLING DEVOTIONAL: God’s word reminds you, a cancer overcomer, that you are first an overcomer in Christ.

JOURNAL: To record those thoughts just between you and God.

SCRIPTURE TEA: Because hospital coffee at 6 pm is often thick as glue.

REUSABLE CUP OR MUG: For when even coffee glue can’t be found.

NOTEBOOK & PEN: To phonetically write down all those big, Latin sounding words that confirm this won’t go away with antibiotics and wish you’d paid more attention in science class.

SCRIPTURE CANDY SOFT MINTS: During treatment your mouth is always dry or suddenly becomes dry when you see a doctor approaching with your chart in hand.

SMALL THROW: To cover you with His love and besides, if you’re not freezing, the person next to you probably is.

CHICK-FIL-A CARD: Just to get away from a hospital cafeteria to a land flowing with sweet tea and nugget sauce.

I am a stranger and a temporary resident on the earth; hide not Your commandments from me.      Psalm 119:19 AMP

This life is just a waiting room. So while you’re in the waiting room, do what Sonja wanted everyone to do -- show your heart.

Agape,
Kristianne

  

Kristianne is a writer, speaker and founder of Compassion That Compels. Her life of love is filled to overflowing for her husband Royal, and their daughters Grace and Annelise. Collecting people and gardening are among her passions. Painting lives in brilliant hues of God’s love and compassion is her purpose. Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

 

 

 

Am I Compelled by Compassion?

By: Mark Whittington
Posted: October 16, 2014

For well over a year now my wife has had the special privilege of being part of a ministry to those whose life journey has been invaded by the terrible disease known as cancer.   The ministry is simply called “Compassion That Compels.”  This ministry and its founder, Kristianne Stewart have been such an amazing blessing to my wife that I couldn’t help but express, in at least a limited way, what I believe is at the root of all this. 

It’s the compassion!  But do you know what that word really means?

Now I am not a language scholar but stick with me for just a few minutes. In the Latin, the word compassion literally means “to suffer together.”  This word is connected with the Greek word where we get our word sympathy.  When we read the word compassion in the New Testament it gets even more interesting.  When Jesus saw the multitude on the seashore he had compassion for them (Mark 6:34; Matthew 9:36).  When the Samaritan saw the man who had been beaten and left along the road side he had compassion for him (Luke 10:33).  So what does that mean?

The word that the Gospel writers use comes from the Greek word ‘splanchnon’ which (please pardon the image here) literally referred to one’s bowels.  Are you serious?  What in the world does that have to do with compassion?  You see, for those who were touched by Jesus in that multitude or listening to Him talk about the Good Samaritan, the source location of their emotions was not in the heart like we think of it today.  It was in; you guessed it, the bowels.

Now before you get totally grossedout we do have a modern day figure of speech that will help us make the connection.  How do we sometimes refer to an emotion or feeling that is strong or extreme in nature?  We call it a ‘gut feeling.’  What do we call someone who exhibits great courage in the face of great struggle?  Wesay, “He’s got a lot of guts.”  How do we describe it when something affects us with great emotional strain?  We feel like we have been ‘hit in the gut.’  Do you get the picture?

When Jesus saw the multitudes as sheep without a shepherd He not only felt their pain, HE CARRIED THEIR PAIN

He felt their need in the very depths of His being.  He could do this because He was completely God yet completely human.  And this is the compassion that not only compelled Him to feed the hungry and heal the sick but it is the compassion that compelled Him to carry the weight of the sin of the world in His body on the cross so that we could have a personal relationship with Him right now and a relationship with His Father in Heaven forever (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1Peter 2:24).

So what is Compassion That Compels?  Is it just a pretty tote bag?  Is it just a warm blanket and an inspirational devotional book?  Is it just a box of mints and a journal to write down all those big medical words that make no sense at all?  No, not really.  Now don’t misunderstand me; that bag and its contents have been and continue to be a blessing to women going through what may be the most difficult time in their lives.  But it’s so much more!  The compassion that compels these ‘givers of grace’ is a willingness “to suffer together” with others who are experiencing life at its worst.  It doesn’t mean that they have all the answers or they can make it all better.  But day after day they are willing to feel the pain of those in need in the very depths of their being.  This compassion is what causes the suffering of others to break their hearts and make them feel it in their gut…just like Jesus did.

How do I know all of this?  I know this because my wife who is a cancer overcomer has received it.  I know this because I have had the blessing of seeing this compassion in action from bags being packed to circles of prayer while the chemotherapy slowly drips in.  I know this because I have seen through them the Light of Jesus dispel the darkness that cancer so quickly brings into a life.  Yes, the pain is real, but Iam also thoroughly convinced that the compassion that Kristianne and her army of ‘Compassionistas’ give away every day is also very, very real.  For this and so much more I am grateful, and I would offer a challenge to anyone reading this to simply ask yourself one question: 

“Am I compelled by compassion?”

 

--Mark Whittington

Mark has the incredible, undeserved privilege of being a born again follower of Jesus Christ; the happiest man on earth because he's married to Michele; and the father of Noah (16), Grace (14), and Melody (11) who are the three most amazing kids in the world! Mark has served in various ministry positions from volunteer intern to senior pastor in several churches across the state of Alabama since 1988.  "It is my heart’s desire and my greatest joy to share the Good News of Jesus and to love others just like He has loved me – anywhere, any time, and at any cost."

 

Never Say This to a Cancer Patient

By: Nancy Backues
Posted: October 13, 2014


I get it.  Cancer is one of those words.

No one likes to hear it whether it's about yourself, a loved one, or a complete stranger.  And no one knows quite what to say in response to it. For that reason, I dreaded telling people I was battling cancer.  It was one thing to tell those closest to me who walked the journey with me in faith. It was another thing altogether to tell my child's teacher or the neighbor I ran into at the grocery store.
My announcement of the “C” word was always met with awkward moments of silence. I’m sure that was a result of the other person's mind racing to come up with just the right thing to say.  I’ll let you in on a little secret...there really isn't a right thing to say to someone facing cancer.  Offer hope,  offer encouragement,  offer prayer,  but don't try to find the right thing to say,  because you probably won't.

There are,  however,  some wrong things to say when someone tells you they are facing cancer.  The most shocking response I received was when I told someone I hardly knew that I had been going through chemotherapy.  After I explained a rather discouraging visit with my doctor, the person replied, "Well, I guess we never know when it's our time to go..."

What?!?!  For the record, that is the WRONG thing to say! I would think that would be obvious. Others are not so obvious.

Like this oldie, but goodie: God won't give us more than we can handle.

It’s meant to be encouraging, I know. I've even said it on occasion when trying to lift someone’s spirits.  But we all need to stop saying it. Why?

Because it's simply not true.

God does give us more than we can handle.

Did God allow Satan to ransack Job's life, stripping from him everything he held dear (including his own health), because He thought Job could "handle it"? Job sure didn't think so!

“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?" Job 3:11

Job was in so much anguish, he wished he had never been born. He had reached his breaking point. God had given him more than he could handle.

Even the Apostle Paul begged God to remove him from a difficult circumstance.  In 2 Corinthians, he wrote:

"I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me"  2 Corinthians 12:7, 8

We don't know the details of Paul's circumstances, but we know that they overwhelmed him. So much so that he pleaded with God to remove him from it. But God didn’t. Instead He answered Paul,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (verse 9).

God didn't tell Paul to buck up and get a grip.  He didn't assure Paul that he could handle it. Instead, He reminded Paul that he didn’t have to do it in his own strength. Because God knows when we come to the end of ourselves, that's when we find Him.  And when we find Him, there is grace.

When we receive news that knocks the breath from our lungs....grace.

When our bodies are weak and exhausted...grace.

When we think we can't take another doctor's visit, or more discouraging news...grace.

When we can’t find the strength to do the day-to-day tasks that still need doing, despite our lack of energy or motivation....grace.


My friend, Madi Walker, says it so beautifully in her song  "His Grace"...

When I'm broken, and when I'm fighting...

When the news I hear tomorrow could be frightening...

When I'm scared, when I'm unprepared...

When time goes faster than I'd like it...

His grace is enough for me

His mercy, His mercy is all I need

When my tired heart is heavy,

When I fall onto my knees,

His grace is enough for me.

So we should really stop telling each another that God won’t give us more than we can handle,  because when we say that we’re really saying we don’t need to rely on God.  We can take care of it. More importantly, we need to stop living like we can take care of it on our own. 

The truth is God does give us more than we can handle.  But when we come to the end of ourselves, when we’ve exhausted all of our own strength, God is there.  And when we let go and fall into His grace, He picks us up and carries us through in His strength.

Are you facing circumstances today that are beyond your own strength?  Don’t worry my friend, you don’t have to handle it on your own.  Lean in to God’s grace and receive His strength today.

There is Grace,

 


Nancy is an author, speaker, wife, mother, cancer-fighter, and lover of all things chocolate. When she’s not playing cook, chauffeur, maid, or referee to her family, she can be found writing about embracing grace at There is Grace. Nancy lives in Missouri with her favorite people in the world, her husband and two children. Follow Nancy on FacebookTwitter, or Pintrest.

 

 

 

Discouragement is a Bully

By: Monica Steely
Posted: October 9, 2014

Discouragement is a bully.

It comes at you on the playground as you're running and laughing and enjoying the swings and delivers a sucker punch that brings you to a heap on the ground gasping for breath and crying silently.

Discouragement is a bully.

It interrupts the moments of contentedness and peace and just when you're feeling like the vision is actually a possibility, it throws a ball directly at your head and it knocks you to the ground and impairs your vision.

Discouragement is a bully.

It yells obscenities at you, tells you you're ugly and not good enough and confirms your deepest fears. It preys on those fears and taunts you with them and convinces you it's best just to quit -- quit showing up, quit working hard, quit trying.

Discouragement is a bully, and I just realized it today.

When I was a child and in a heap of tears over bullying taunts and jabs, my parents would gather me up and pray for me. And then they would encourage me to pray too; not just for myself, but for the bully. Not that the bully would receive vengeance, but to pray for love. For peace. That the bully's heart would change.

All the things I didn't want to pray, they told me to focus on.

Discouragement is a bully, but the rescuer is prayer.

The bully showed up unexpectedly yesterday, picking up on me nonstop. Suddenly, everything I saw and read and heard confirmed the bully's lies. I locked myself in the bathroom more than twice to silently cry and was ready to give it all up -- the dreams, the visions, the joy, all of it.

The ball the bully threw knocked me out cold and I just couldn't see anymore.

I believed his lies and I am ticked off today that I fell for it.

Because in my heart of hearts, here is what I know:

He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. (Matthew 10:30-31)

When the bully shows up and intimidates me, God gathers me up on his lap and prays that I would realize how the bully's words mean nothing. He reassures me how much I'm truly worth and reminds me to use my shield of faith to deflect the piercing, untrue words.

But he [God] didn’t let anyone push them around, he stood up for them against bully-kings: ‘Don’t you dare touch my anointed ones, don’t lay a hand on my prophets.' (I Chronicles 16:20-22)

And when the bully shows up and intimidates me, God deals with it Himself so I don't have to. When I'm a crushed heap under the weight of words that feel so real, He jumps in and stands up for me and takes the bully out.

And He reminds me to pray for peace…for love, for a heart change. Not for this bully, because he's unchangeable to the core. But that I would pray it for myself...that I would accept the peace and love God has to give.

And for my heart to change so I will stop believing each time discouragement shows up on my playground.

Yes, discouragement is a ruthless beast, bullying its way into every corner of my life that means anything. But my rescue is in prayer and the One to whom I pray.

My Daddy will always stick up for me.

--

Monica

Monica Steely is a writer, speaker, coffee iv’er and transformation whisperer. She blogs at Elevate Ideas and procrastinates anything related to cooking, cleaning and other domestic activities. She’s also the co-founder of Be Still Be Free…a mindset revolution seeking to encourage women to BE first and DO second. Listen to BE’s podcasts on iTunes or Buzzsprout

Seeking A Vineyard

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: October 6, 2014

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  Proverbs 31:10-13

Proverbs 31...okay, so who can really challenge this gal’s bio? No skeletons in her closet. Her man doesn’t question her value. He knows because it cost him more rubies than he had. She is a half-full, glass kind of woman and an expert in retail products. An early riser, she is packing a healthy lunch and extras to share with others. She has her eye on prime real estate and drives such a good bargain that she can plant a vineyard. That’s where I stumble.  

The vineyard gets me. She had a place of her own from her earnings. Something that represented her intellect. I hold my breath as something stirs in my heart-envy.

I want this woman’s vineyard. I covet and am blinded from what I do have, embracing what someone else has because there are times that my “field” as a wife and mother is defined and measured by repetitive tasking and asking.

How many times do we find ourselves questioning the field, our life God has given us? How will we ever be able to gain any earnings when we just scrape by on what’s in our field? When we are so easily overwhelmed by the day’s challenges and defeated before our feet hit the floor each morning?

In the parable of the sower the seed falls onto different soil, that soil being the condition of our hearts. For a woman, the seeds of envy are found just beneath the soil of our heart. They grow at random and germinate from our insecurities. First as the little girl seeking love and approval, shouting, “Watch me! Want to see do that again? Hold me!!”

Then the thorny stems plucks through our adolescence with, “Do I look pretty? Why don’t they like me?

The plant reaches out, engulfing the blossoming flowers around it. “Why doesn’t he like me? She is prettier than me, more popular. She doesn’t have acne or even body odor!”

This starts the unrealistic comparison game that follows into young adulthood. “I would have had that job if I were smarter, funnier. He would have loved me if I was more spontaneous. My life would be different if only I ______”.

Unfortunately, the insecurity plant’sroots can infiltrate our heart soil when we become mothers. There are times in our life that we try to live vicariously through our children. We celebrate their developmental milestones as infants, their achievements, their victories as our own, and then we brag.

I often think of Mary, Jesus’ mother. Picture Mary and a friend we’ll call Naomi, on a play date. The kids play while Naomi and Mary sit by chatting about the kids activities, then Naomi casually mentions that Benjamin’s ram’s horn and lyre teacher thinks that Benjamin is quite talented and gifted. 

In fact, she blushingly admits, “My Benjamin is a prodigy.” Mary sits there quietly seemingly appreciative of Benjamin’s rare giftedness. Doing that “treasure and ponder it in her heart” thing. Now, don’t you think Mary could have quickly replied, “That’s lovely, Naomi, but my son’s the Christ. You heard me, M- E-S-S-I-A-H: Messiah!” Certainly it would have silenced Naomi. I mean after all, who could top that?

Perhaps that never happened to Mary, but what about to you? Have you felt the sting that you can never measure up? What if you truly believed your field was God’s plan for your life? It’s then we should stop, and consider God, ruler of the universe, who hangs the stars in the sky. He gave you your field and expects you to tend to it.

We can’t be imitators of Christ, aliens to the world system if we define ourselves by the latest trends or others. If we can’t get past the insecurity, we can never allow Jesus to heal the wounds of inadequacy.

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you. 2 Corinthians 10:12-13

What if all the little things in life that we are faithful to; the acts of service which go unnoticed, were to fill our hearts and out of the overflow, the scraps, God began making nutrient rich compost?

Would your bio read, “She has compost but she covets a vineyard.”

Or would you allow the Holy Spirit, the master gardener to till your heart soil changing your bio to, “Out of her abundant compost, she helps other women tend their field-reaping an eternal harvest.” 

Agape,

Kristianne

Kristianne is a writer, speaker and founder of Compassion That Compels. Her life of love is filled to overflowing for her husband Royal, and their daughters Grace and Annelise. Collecting people and gardening are among her passions. Painting lives in brilliant hues of God’s love and compassion is her purpose. Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

The Things She Taught Me

By: Gwen Plauche
Posted: October 2, 2014

Legacy:  This word is frequently used, but do we personally consider what our own legacy will be?  Dictionary.com defines legacy as:  anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor orpredecessor:

Anything is a big word – blessing or curse falls under that, think about it!  What are you handing down by result of your daily choices and reactions to life?

I had the opportunity to share a bit about my dear mom in law at her funeral this week, and realized along the way that her legacy was built every time we got together.  I have been asked to share the list I read at the funeral, so here it is:

Priceless Things I learned From My Mom-in-Law:

  • Write your thank you notes immediately
  • Use your special silver & china pieces frequently
  • Tradition is important
  • Invite all your family & friends (and their family & friends) to your Christmas dinners and pull out the linen, silver & china.
  • Count all your silver utensils after a dinner – before the trash goes out
  • Cats are people, too
  • Ask your mom in law for help with your children
  • A fussing baby needs lots of pats on the back
  • Hungry toddlers need to be fed at bite to eat at 5pm, while waiting for dad to come home from work
  • Every kitchen needs a Cuisinart & a copy of The Plantation Cookbook
  • Red beans & rice are best the second day
  • Hand pound the meat for tender Grits & Grillades
  • Boil the shrimp heads to make the best broth for shrimp creole
  • A great cup of coffee starts with a thick, strong brew
  • Coffee tastes best in a china cup with a saucer
  • Don’t fuss over a broken dish or glass – things happen
  • Schedule times to get together with your friends.
  • Share your favorite places with your extended family & friends – places like City Park, the Zoo, Soutea-cup_1798148bthern Yacht Club, Montreat, & Pass Christian
  • Talk about your past with your family, even if no one is listening
  • Write down your story
  • Hand write your letters & notes.
  • Don’t set your life by medical timelines
  • Impacting others is not just for when you are young
  • After age 80 or even age 90, don’t hesitate to: take art lessons, teach art lessons, buy designer clothes & shoes (on clearance), get your hair cut & colored, get a manicure, wear makeup, go places
  • Go on spiritual retreats with your church friends
  • Pray
  • If a family member calls for prayer, pray harder – even if it means all night. Miracles happen when a Granny prays all night.

My prayer is that this personal list of my recollections of the legacy I received from my mom-in-law will encourage you to work on your legacy today!

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. –Ephesians 4:29

Blessings -

Gwen

Gwen Plauche, aka Momma Gwen, is married to the greatest man on earth, mom to five (ages 16-26) and loves to find encouragement between the covers of her Bible. Her blog can be found at: www.MommaGwen.com and follow her on Twitter @MommaGwen.