Augmented Eternality

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: June 30, 2015

    

With each post in the augmented reality of in your facebook, where songbirds are parrots and immediacy grammers need to learn better grammar, we nibble and byte leaving a little trail of cookie crumbs. What if all people knew about you was information they gleaned from your social media posts and your cyber explorations? Every tweet, every blog, every purchase, everywhere you have lived, every aspect of your past and present would determine your future creating this “social background profile." Your transparent social portfolio would assure nothing remains hidden about your past sin, anchoring you to the inanimate cyber world incapable of human empathy and fully exposing human frailties.

Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.  22 I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Psalm 73:21-22 

Cathy’s father was often angry and discipline was found at the end of a leather belt. To Cathy, God is volatile and removed. Not even Cathy’s sixty hour work week can bring God close. Janet’s father left for work and never came home. Her God abandons innocent children. Not all of the good things she does for others can make God love her. Rebecca decided in her 20’s that if God could be found anywhere, then he could be created from anything. Ever the spiritual enthusiast, she believes there are many ways to God. Cathy, Janet, and Rebecca, in an effort to humanize God, have packed their own god box, filling it with childhood memories, disappointments, and experiences. Their concept of God is all sealed with intellectual tape.

Let’s say Cathy is your neighbor, Janet your co-worker, and Rebecca a casual friend. One day, they accept the invitation to your small group. They show up with their god boxes in hand and wait to find out more about this Jesus you’ve been talking about for years. They know for certain you’re a Christian because you’ve got that fish thingy on your car. What if though, over the course of the years as the silver faded from your fish thingy, Cathy’s been watching you habitually lose it with your family? Then there’s Alicia who can’t understand why you won’t give a dollar to the homeless vet outside the office. And let’s not forget about super spiritual Rebecca, whom you’ve shared the intimate details of “Bless their heart, pray for _________ they need prayer because ________.” What if they created the personhood of Jesus from your social media posts and personal experiences by scanning their me phone across your heart like a QR code? In which gospel would they discover an angry, dispassionate, uncaring and gossipy Jesus?

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 

The greatest appeal of Christianity is Jesus’ divinity/humanness. As a Christian, “you are an image-bearer 24/7/365," representing Christ to those you around you. My friends, image is everything-HIS IMAGE reflected in augmented eternality.

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. Email kristianne@compassionthatcompels.org Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

Where there is hope...

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: June 23, 2015

BEAUTIFUL Kristin was blessed by her pastor with her Compassion Bag and became our 1500th Compassion Bag recipeint since July, 2013. The ties of God's love are woven throughout communites like Mandeville, LA and Enterprise, AL and extend across geographical borders to 37 states, Canada, and Scotland. If everyone who has virtually visited Compassion That Compels took five minutes to pray, the chorus to Heaven would last over 130 consecutive days. When you're finished reading our BEAUTIFUL overcomers stories from our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, please stop to pray for them, their families, and those who care for them. "Hello all, how truly blessed I am. Thank you for all my goodies. What a beautiful message you send for such an amazing cause. I don't know if people really know how something so simple means so much to us. Thank you all for you praise and uplifting. Thank you, I know my Pastor and his wife were excited to be a part of this with me. I am blessed by an amazing church family that lift me up in prayer daily. My faith in my Lord will heal me. God bless you all. Xoxo"
To our BEAUTIFUL overcomers and their families, you show us all that hope and the human spirit transcend circumstance. I loved sharing a blessing for the balloon release at Hope Floats Presented by Ochsner Cancer Institute
 

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I enjoyed sharing on, Legacy Scaffolding," at Hederman Cancer Center, Baptist on National Cancer survivors Day and meeting some of our Compassion Bag recipients!  Thanks to our friends at Altar’d State for joining us. 
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
 

"Be Strong and Courageous!" 


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Ties of God's Love

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: June 15, 2015

To our BEAUTIFUL overcomers and their families, you show us all that hope and the human spirit transcend circumstance. I loved sharing a blessing for the balloon release at Hope Floats Presented by Ochsner Cancer Institute

This past week, BEAUTIFUL Kristin was blessed by her pastor with her Compassion Bag and became our 1500th Compassion Bag recipeint since July, 2013. The ties of God's love are woven throughout communites like Mandeville, LA and Enterprise, AL and extend across geographical borders to 37 states, Canada, and Scotland. If everyone who has virtually visited Compassion That Compels took five minutes to pray, the chorus to Heaven would last over 130 consecutive days. When you're finished reading our BEAUTIFUL overcomers stories from our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, please stop to pray for them, their families, and those who care for them. "Hello all, how truly blessed I am. Thank you for all my goodies. What a beautiful message you send for such an amazing cause. I don't know if people really know how something so simple means so much to us. Thank you all for you praise and uplifting. Thank you, I know my Pastor and his wife were excited to be a part of this with me. I am blessed by an amazing church family that lift me up in prayer daily. My faith in my Lord will heal me. God bless you all. Xoxo"

Pray for BEAUTIFUL Brandi, her young son and family. She's far from home and received her Compassion Bag from her Dad as she stared her chemo. Her family, friends and hometown of Enterprise, AL rally around her as, "Brandi Battle Warrior" on FB. There's much hope, love and grace poured out on BEAUTIFUL Brandi and her family.

 BEAUTIFUL Kimberly lives in Ontario, Canada and battles alongside her sister, BEAUTIFUL Judith. Her smile and story squeezed our hearts and sweet Yvonne sponsored Compassion Bags for both these sisters. "Thank you so much for the Compassion Bag. It means so much to see all the beautiful things that it contained. Thank you for your prayers as well. We know that it is prayer that has sustained us as a family throughout this. We never imagined that we would being going through this at the same time or even ever.... She is my sister and one of my best friends." Please pray for these BEAUTIFUL sisters who bravely battle cancer at the same time. Thank you again so much from both of us. Blessings Kimberly"

I listened as BEAUTIFUL Debbie shared her story of love and faith as she battled cancer soon after the passing of her husband from cancer. From that conversation a friendship grew. Debbie told me she wanted to sponsor a Compassion Bag for a brave friend, BEAUTIFUL Sheri (center) and she and her Savi Sister, Peggy, blessed BEAUTIFUL Sheri with her bag.

Our 1498th overcomer, BEAUTIFUL Denise "Sophia" received her CompassionBag during the Baptist Health Systems event. Thank you for inviting us to a part of the celebration! We can't wait to see our friends at Hederman Cancer Center in the fall with Compassion Bags sponsored by Altar'd State Ridgeland's, #‎MissionMonday!

BEAUTIFUL Diana received a Compassion Bag from her sister-in-law, parents In the midst of her cancer battle, she blessed BEAUTIFUL Christina and though they never met in person. When I was in Jackson, MS speaking on "Legacy Scaffolding" at Hederman Cancer Center for their National Cancer Survivors Day celebration, I was able to meet BEAUTIFUL Christina in person. Here she is modeling our new custom Compassion Bag available in the fall!

A special birthday present arrived for BEAUTIFUL Jacquelyn! We are praying for you BEAUTIFUL Jacquelyn as you bravely battle multiple cancers. We hope you feel our hugs, prayers and God's love each time you use your Compassion Bag. Your blanket is a "blanket blessing" from BEAUTIFUL Judy and we just love how you named your blanket, "My Judy." We know each time you use it during your hospital stay, that you'll feel wrapped in God's arms.

BEAUTIFUL Kim received her #CompassionBag from Stacey at  Pilots for Patients. Their Compassion Bags were donated by Altar'd State's Mission Monday in Shreveport. The request for her Compassion Bag came from Brian at HLE Radio who is based in Greensboro, N.C. How did BEAUTIFUL Kim hear about Compassion That Compels and Pilots for Patients? From HLE Radio and their Twitter prayer requests for us all!

BEAUTIFUL Mary Frances was blessed with her Compassion Bag by BEAUTIFUL Joanne! It brings us joy as our OVERCOMERS open their boxes and see everything in their Compassion Bags!

BEAUTIFUL Danielle was blessed with her Compassion Bag by her sweet friend, Christy. "I delivered Danielle's bag today. I am in AWE of her bravery and attitude!! She is both amazing and inspirational! She was so excited to receive her bag!! So blessed to be able to do this for her! Thank you ladies!! She loved her bracelet and wore it right away!"
Christy's mom, BEAUTIFUL Rhonda received a Compassion Bag because the Holy Spirit has taught me these past few years to listen for His voice. Most everyone has been touched by cancer and when I saw BEAUTIFUL Rhonda in a restaurant with three generations of love, I couldn't walk past.

I don’t remember how I celebrated my 25th birthday but it wasn’t spent recovering from chemo treatments like BEAUTIFUL Christine, who at 25, bravely battles breast cancer. Scotland is 4400 miles away from my home, but the love of Christ and her cancer battle put a Compassion Bag in her arms, and a piece of my heart along with it. "Want to say a big thank you to Kristianne at Compassion That Compels for gifting me with a Compassion Bag all the way in Scotland! Everything in it will be useful at some point along my journey."

These three sisters are OVERCOMERS. BEAUTIFUL Tori and BEAUTIFUL Toni shaved their head to honor their sister, BEAUTIFUL Tina. Two months later, BEAUTIFUL Toni was diagnosed and bravely fights her cancer battle. 

We receive Compassion Bag requests everday. Be a part of Compassion That Compels by donating and sponsoring a Compassion Bag. Shop our store for our t-shirts, God calls me BEAUTIFUL ONE and OVERCOMER bracelets. Compassion That Compels is a 501(c)(3) and your generosity is tax deductible.

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. Email kristianne@compassionthatcompels.org Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

 

Legacy Scaffolding

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: June 9, 2015

So often in life, we know what we don’t want to do, but not what we do want to do. We stumble through days and trip over years until a major life event collides with our life, challenging or strengthening our beliefs, our way of doing things and altering life's rhythm.

What if each of your experiences and your reaction to them, became legacy scaffolding - platforms used to build your living legacy?

Look up into the heavens! Who created all these stars? As a shepherd leads his sheep, calling each by its pet name, and counts them to see that none are lost or strayed, so God does with stars and planets!  Isaiah 40:26 (TLB)

Ever bent your head nearly to your back to look up at construction workers on scaffolding, wondering what possessed them to pick their profession?

Well, I have and what I’ve noticed is that workers rely on the scaffolding for their support but never the structure under repair or construction.

My legacy scaffolding started with a foundation of Christianity where I learned to be unshakable because cancer shook me. One of my scaffolding platforms started with my sister-in-law’s cancer diagnosis, a letter and a sweater. Scaffolding has guardrails but I think legacy scaffolding has both guardrails to keep us from far flung pain that pushes us to the outer realms and bumpers to insulate where we’re vulnerable.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

Your legacy is never built alone because we're not called to do life alone. Like scaffolding is braced by triangles, the most rigid geometric shape, so is our legacy scaffolding. It’s reinforced vertically with cross braces aligning and keeping it central, unwavering because without the triangular brace, the platform collapses.

To sound really credible here, let me use a big word that I had never heard of before but will pretend it’s a part of my everyday vocabulary - generativity.  A psychologist, Erik Erikson, defined generativity as the “concern for establishing and guiding the next generation,” for passing on cultural traditions and leaving a legacy. As he described it, generativity is “I am what survives of me.” That is, your legacy after you’re gone.

I ask you to challenge that today. Whether it’s triumph or tragedy, it becomes your legacy scaffolding; a living legacy of what you have survived because through Christ, you are greater than what you've overcome.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4  (NIV)

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. Email kristianne@compassionthatcompels.org Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

 

 

 

Through the Storm

By: Nancy Backues
Posted: June 2, 2015

A loud crash and blood-curdling scream jolted me from a deep slumber. I leapt from bed, my feet instinctively carrying me up the stairs toward my daughter's room. My mind raced to process what was happening.

Thunder + Lightning + Screaming = Thunderstorm.

storm

Having grown up in Kansas, Midwestern thunderstorms are nothing new to me. However, after eight years of parenthood, I am still not accustomed to being awakened by middle-of-the-night screams.

Why must the worst storms always be at night?!

Fortunately, my feet know their way  to my daughter's room, even when I'm still half asleep. When I finally reached her, I snuggled her close and said in my most soothing Mommy voice, "It's OK, Mommy's here." I settled in as she laid down and drifted off to a peaceful slumber within minutes. It was going to be a long storm, so I might as well stay.

I wish I could say this stay-for-the-long-haul parenting method has always been my modus operandi. Sadly, it has not. There have been many long nights of Ping-Pong Mommy, running back and forth from my room to hers, worrying that if I stayed too long I would sabotage her self-soothing capabilities. (Oh, the things we mamas worry about!)

But this. This was one of those "perfect parenting" moments when I wasn't concerned with how much sleep I was missing or how I might be crippling her independence. This time I was here for the duration, as long as she needed me.

And that's exactly what she needed...me. She just wanted to know I was there. The storm, with it's crashing thunder and flashing lightning, raged on outside. But my girl slept peacefully in my arms.

And in that very moment, snuggled under a teal canopy, God whispered to my heart, This is what I do for you.

The storms look different in our lives. They come in the form of unemployment, disappointment in relationships, medical issues, conflict with family members, financial struggle, or any number of other situations. The thunder cracks, the lightning flashes, and we cry out for help. What does God do? He runs right to us.

"The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry" (Psalm 34:15).

He doesn't grow weary of our cries. He isn't annoyed by our neediness. He doesn't worry about the "other" things vying for His attention at that moment.

You are His child. When you cry, He comes running.

Sometimes He raises a hand and speaks with authority to the storm, "Be still." The thunder quiets, and the lightning subsides.

"He...rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm" (Mark 4:39)

We find a better job. The medical scans come back clear. Conflict is resolved; relationships are restored. We take a deep breath, breathe a sigh of relief, and go on with life.

Sometimes the storms rage on. We lose the job. The tumor does not shrivel. Bills continue to come. Conflicts worsen and relationships are severed.

It's in those times that God holds us tight and wraps His arms around us. He leans in close and whispers, "Be still. It's OK...Daddy's here."

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thank

sgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6, 7).

Our heartbeats calm. Our breathing settles. His presence brings us peace. 

Are you facing a storm today? If so, cry out to your Father. He will come running for you. And when He does, you can snuggle into His arms...and rest.

 

Nancy Backues is an author, speaker, wife, mother, and two-time cancer overcomer. She lives in Missouri where she relies on God’s grace and good coffee to live out authentic faith in the midst of a mostly messy life. Read the rest of her story in Unshakable:Finding Faith to Weather the Storm and connect with her at www.NancyBackues.com.

 

Mommy, Mommy, they sent us a blanket!

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: May 27, 2015

Cancer is an unchosen battle with conscripted soldiers whose bravery and heart make them BEAUTIFUL warriors. We have a simple mission at Compassion That Compels, to reach every woman battling cancer with God's love and compassion. BEAUTIFUL Marlene battles metastatic breast cancer and when I found her on IG, I just knew she would be blessed by a Compassion Bag. She had her treatment and then went home not to rest, but to thank us with pictures and this email. I share this with you and hope you feel the ties of God's love weave across your heart, like it did mine.

"Hi Kristianne:

I hope you are doing okay. I receive chemo every Monday, due to the holiday; it was so nice to come back from the hospital and a box at my porch door with lovely letters " BEAUTIFUL Marlene".

You have no idea the feeling of it, I know the love, time and money behind it, so I wanted to feel the right time to open it. After chemo, I just wanted to hit bed, but I didn't want to end this day with out opening it! I really want to thank you and all your team behind this lovely ministry.

Not only is the actual gifts, which trust me, each one individually comes in handy and remind you of God's love, but also knowing of the many people that care without knowing you, that has to be God. I thank God for your ministry. As I was opening the box and touching each gift, my heart was pumping itself out of my chest, it was an overwhelming feeling, felt so loved. 

My daughter helped me, jumping up and down: "Mommy, Mommy, they sent us a blanket, how they know you are always cold? Look Mommy, the candy says something. Read it Mom, oh remember sharing is caring!"

Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thanks!

Marlene"

 

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.

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

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

REUSABLE 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 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.

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. Email kristianne@compassionthatcompels.org. Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

 

Beating my head against the wall...

By: Martha Bailey
Posted: May 26, 2015

Take a look at this video and see if you can relate.

For the past three days this bird (at least I think it’s the same one) has been beating its head against my windows.  What’s so strange is that this feathered friend doesn’t fly into the window from a distance like other birds do from time to time. No, this one flies to the window sill, chirps a few measures then relentlessly flutters its wings against the glass like he’s trying to get inside.  When each attempt is foiled he moves to another window.  I have videoed him doing his puzzling behavior from eleven of the thirteen windows downstairs.  He is quite loud.  Actually, quite annoying after a while.

What’s so funny is that after he bashes his beak a few times, he falls back to the window ledge,  flutters his feathers like he’s trying to get his wits back after he has just about knocked himself out—like he’s seeing stars or something—and shakes his head.  But has it stopped him? Nope!  He’s back every morning and does his same ritual until about lunchtime.

It appears that the bird’s goal is to get inside and if it is, someone needs to tell him about the meaning of the idiom beating your head against a wall—literally and figuratively.  No matter how hard he tries he’s not going to get through the window.  This bird has done the same thing for at least three consecutive days and gotten the same result.  Somebody needs to tell him, “Little buddy, it ain’t gonna happen.”

Do you have a situation in your life that you think you can change if you try hard enough?  Have you persevered for days, weeks, months, or even years and gotten the same result—miserable failure?

Much to our dismay, sometimes there are situations in our lives that cannot be changed.  We can beat our heads against the wall, but nothing will change our circumstances apart from a miracle from God.

There are times when we have to accept the fact that that’s just the way life is.  We can wish it were different but the reality is that it’s not.

The apostle Paul knew what it was like to have a situation he could not change.  According to him, the Lord gave him a physical handicap to keep him from becoming conceited about his encounter with the Living God.  Although Paul begged the Lord to take his thorn away, the Lord chose not to.

5.6.15 picture 1Instead, the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9a NIV).  “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness” (MSG).

Paul then chose to change his attitude toward his circumstances—to look at his situation as an opportunity for God to work in his life.  He said, “I just let Christ take over!  And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become” (v. 10).

I wish I could say that I’m right there with Paul—that I have changed my attitude toward my circumstances—that I now view all adversity as a gift from the Lord and an opportunity for growth, but I can’t.  I want to, but I’m still not there.

5.6.15 picture 2So presently, I’m praying that the Lord will help me to know when I am beating my head against a wall by begging Him to take away something that is His will for my life.  I want to trust Him—that He is sovereign, that He knows why He allows or causes certain painful circumstances in my life, and that He “works all things together for our good” (Romans 8:28)..  I want to surrender to His will and let Paul’s motto be mine:  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Dear Father, help us to know when it’s time to stop beating our heads against the wall and accept the things we cannot change.  Help us to trust that You cause or allow adversity for a reason because we know that You “work all things together for our good”.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

 

 

Martha

Martha Bailey is a pastor's wife, author of two books--Putting My Dress-up Clothes Away and It Hurts but I'm Okay (available at Amazon and insight Press)--and blogs Wednesdays at marthabailey.com. To find out more about Martha's: Treasures, Past, Christian Service, Publications and Passions, visit her blog or follow her on Twitter.

The Gift of Perspective

By: Michelle Marullo
Posted: May 19, 2015

In an instant, she has clarity, vision, realization of her purpose. Opening the unexpected door ushers her into a new room of the soul, the place where faith is tested, character is revealed.  She stares from the window and sees people driving during the lunch hour, as if their lives are in a state of panic. Wasn't she just on the other side of this glass?  If only the busy people could see their lives from this perspective.

The waiting room table is covered in pamphlets, brochures... "State of the Art Cancer Care" reads one. "The Importance of Diagnosis and Treatment" reads another.

Nothing happens by chance, she remembers, I am still on a mission for God wherever He leads me.  Today and maybe even tomorrow and the next, this is her mission field. God's promises begin to counsel her thoughts, a lifeline at a time like this:

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."- Isaiah 40:29

and then this one...

"Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." --James 1:2-4

A "joy"--really?  How, God?  Why me?

And now, she has a choice to make.

Is God who He says He is?  Is His word true? 

She would soon take her greatest test, the one she had prepared a lifetime for, but always thought she would be exempt. Would she have the level of faith that she often assumed in times like these?  Would she trust in God's love above the doctor's facts, knowing that He still had a plan in the midst of the pain? It was much easier telling others to trust God, but today, it was her turn.

"Mrs.... the doctor will see you now."

Dear friend, are you, too, in that waiting room, where your greatest fears are battling your greatest faith?  Are your current circumstances looking "half-empty" when God still sees them abundantly full? Has the enemy planted weeds in God's beautiful landscape of your life?

 What portrait of your situation are you seeing today?  Are you looking at the facts or are you looking at God's truth?

It is a fact that we will have adversity on this side of heaven; it is the truth that God has already made a plan to use our adversity for goodHe is still in control even when we're not.

Perspective--the eternal ability to see, know, understand as God does, not as the world interprets.

"We know that in all things God works together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." --Romans 8:28  This means that in every trial, God transforms our adversities, our "weeds" into beautiful flowers--meaningful, purposeful lives.  "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." --Genesis 50:20 

Will you receive these promises right now, whatever you are going through?  Will you trust that God is up to something really big in the midst of the confusion?  I believe you will.

She left the office on a mission, determined to make the most of this unexpected detour.  The birds chirped, the wind blew; creation had come alive to her birthing senses.  She was captivated with an eternal awareness of her purpose, a knowing that this "weed" was meant for more. No longer would she question how or why, but instead she would claim, it is well with my soul!  The weeds that were once growing along the side of her road were suddenly popping up daisies--she had been given the gift of perspective.

Love,

Michelle

Michelle Marullo’s calling is to inspire teens and adults to discover God’s plan for their lives, especially in the midst of challenging situations. She blogs at Intentional Living where she encourages her readers that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  Follow Michelle on her blog and Twitter, Her stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul and Lifeway’s Homelife Magazine. She is the creator of the high school elective course, Discovering God’s Plan for College & Career and was recognized for a declaration written to high school seniors at the Southern Christian Writers Convention.  When she isn’t writing early in the morning or late at night, Michelle’s number one job is being Momager to a busy teenage daughter. Sharing life and a cup of coffee with Mark, the handsome boy from her youth, Michelle is passionate about her family and filling life to the brim.

 

Grace like confetti...

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: May 12, 2015

It was my simple prayer for God to show me His goodness through His people.

 I don’t know if you’ve ever had someone speak a blessing over you, but  that’s exactly what Jack did for me. Jay and I had just finished our conversation when Jack, his special needs son came back to the table for his dad and to bless us, the especially needy. He turned the full attention of his pure heart and after reminding me that I needed to stop somewhere (an errand I had already forgotten) said, "You are a nice lady for what you do for women with horrible cancer.” There was more but as my eyes clouded and my heart squeezed, all I could see was a celebration of Jesus’ love in a spacious place where God’s mercy is festooned like ribbon, and grace rains down like confetti. Then Jack took off his baseball cap, angled it across his heart and bowing his head, honored his mother who had battled cancer. 

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”    Luke 7:47

Forgiveness releases God’s love for others within us. His agape (love) wipes out pride and eclipses our fear. It invites us to worship with a wild abandon of self, before His throne of grace. Agape is a fierce love without limits. 

And later, after a trip to our Compassion That Compels mailbox, two letters. I am certainly not unused to the power of a letter as one from my BEAUTIFUL sister-in-law written to me, started Compassion That Compels. On this particular day, as I read those letters in my car, the Holy Spirit tied me forever to a moment. Both were letters from parents opening their frailties, their tragedies, and reminding me again that God’s love writes our untold story. His sovereignty is written like invisible ink across the pages of our life. His goodness is revealed through His people. 

My prayer for anyone reading this, is that you as His children, will feel the full force of His love in an embrace of your uniqueness, created for His purpose and good pleasure.     

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. Email kristianne@compassionthatcompels.org. Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

 

 

 

From My Head to My Heart

By: Michelle Bollom
Posted: May 6, 2015

Have you ever been so badly wounded by someone that you grieved at the same depths you did for a devastating death?  A betrayal so hurtful you just could not ever imagine a rainbow ever reappearing after the soul-damaging storm?  That long road to recovery is brutal.

My head knows that no one is perfect.  We are all fallible and fall short. We all say and do things we regret. My head knows people will disappoint us, but God never does. 

My heart wants an instant miracle - I don't want to walk this long road to recovery from these woundings. I want to do like my kids did when they were little and grab God’s face with both my hands and give a deep eye-to-eye stare.  I want to say to God:  "Look at me! I need You!  I am drowning here! I am hurt.  It is not well with my soul!  I am trying to forgive, I am trying to forget.  I am trying to pray for those that hurt me and love them and live life but right now I am anything but fine!  If You are counting all my tears and saving them in a bottle, I think You got more than you or I bargained for on this one."

My head knows that You restore every heart that is broken. Your word promises that.  However, healing takes time and restoration comes only in Your perfect timing.  But right now, my heart is not too excited or happy about it.  My heart is aching and I am just plain miserable. 

 I know we are to forgive even when sometimes we don't ever get the apology we deserve. 

 I know You are the only one that rights my wrongs. 

 My heart wants this situation changed, but My head knows You sometimes put them there to change us.

 The journey from head to heart is not an easy one…  

 The head knowledge that has to come first is this: forgiveness is the ultimate act of obedience to the Father.  He forgave us freely and commands us to forgive those who trespass against us. The journey from head knowledge to heart knowing is a much longer and more tedious process.  It is a long, winding and, at times, unsteady road.  It takes time, tears, much prayer, and a constant surrendering of our jumbled-up, raw emotions to God.  There will be days you will feel like you can barely grasp enough air to keep breathing or the strength to even stand.  That’s okay.  The fragments of your shattered and wounded soul, like the potholes or deep grooves on a rough road, are in the process of being slowly filled and smoothed away.  But forgiveness is a process, not an instantaneous feeling.  It can't be rushed. Just as you have to take a rough road slowly, so is the same with the road to forgiveness.  Each encounter with rough terrain can only be navigated from God’s perspective and with His help. The restoration in the forgiveness process is something that only He can do to heal you properly.  Eventually, the road to recovery and to forgiveness is complete when the head knowledge is now your heart-knowing that God is the Great Restorer of all things broken. This rough road must be traveled in order to reach wholeness again.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.  Psalm 56:8

It is true that you planned to do something bad to me. But really, God was planning good things. God’s plan was to use me to save the lives of many people. And that is what happened.  Genesis 50:20  ERV

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV 

I will make their going easy, level the mountain road and smooth the path that leads them home.  Isaiah 49:11

 

~ XXOO Michelle 

 

Michelle Bollom is the founder of Restored Ministries www.restoredministries.org. She's the wife to Joe for almost 20 years and mom to 16 year old twins, Connor and Curran.  

"I believe the words of our testimony is us being truthful about the issues that we have struggled with so that others can be set free from theirs. We at Restored Ministries believe wholeheartedly in and use God's love letter (the Bible) to teach of His kind, loving intentions towards the lost and broken. God's love is the opposite of the pain people find themselves trapped in." Connect with Restored Ministries on Facebook  Twitter 

Become a part of Compassion That Compels!

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: April 30, 2015

 

Become a part of Compassion That Compels!

 

Since July 2013, 1460 BEAUTIFUL women blessed with Compassion Bags in 37 states and Canada

 

Help us spread the word that when you shop Amazon Smile you can support Compassion That Compels! Here's how:
 



 
 

Support Compassion That Compels when you shop at Kroger grocery stores. Read More

 

A special thank you to Altar'd State!

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BreathE life...

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: April 27, 2015

When I was a little girl we used to take long road trips in the big family car.  My parents would get us up early; often before the sun was up to get on the road with the promise of syrup covered pancakes further down the road. Sometimes we would return from our trips late, late at night; everyone would seem to fall asleep~ except me (I can’t sleep in moving vehicles!) and my father who would always drive. As a little girl,I had anxiety that my dad would also doze off as the driver so I would sit behind him and try to continually engage in conversation with him. I needed to know he was wide awake!! I think I thought I was somehow doing him a favor~~I am sure I must have driven him crazy!!  I remember one particular time that he turned to me and said “You just talk too much!!”  He had every right to say that; but my little heart was wounded that day. The OUCH of words. My father is a wonderful, wonderful man, one of my greatest supporters in my life, but he must have been so exasperated with his chatty daughter!! Interestingly enough though, I still remember how it made me feel as a little girl and had left me wondering if what I said held value.

Our words.

I can remember as a young mother mindlessly making statements to my sons in frustration or weariness. These words were irritable and negative. I am sure these words hurt their feelings. These words did not bring “life”. Looking back I probably owe them many apologies for things I said in haste!

Our words.

It’s funny how our words can impact lives so deeply, for good and for harm. Statements like ” Don’t be stupid”, “You’re just not good at that”, “You’re a pest”, or “Can’t you be more like  ___________” are so harmful!  These words cannot bear fruit in anyone.Sadly enough, sometimes we say these things to ourselves long before anyone ever says them to us. These hopeless words cause us to become downcast and insecure.

Hawk Nelson has a new song out called “WORDS” where some of the words say:

Words can build us up, words can break us down, 

Start a fire in our hearts or put it out!

Let my words be life……………….

Life giving statements like, "Yes, you can!”, “You are full of potential", “I enjoy being with you”, and the “Sky’s the limit for you!” are equally as powerful! These hope-filled words breathe life into dreams and we believe in the possibilities.

How do you speak to your spouse, your children, co-workers, or extended family?  Do your words bring life? Are you intentional and mindful about what you say? That little old “Golden Rule” still applies “Do (say) unto others as you would have them do (say) unto you! :-)

But if you need a little more back up the Bible is full of verses on the power of the words we say so it must be an important issue for us all to address.

Proverbs 16:24      Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Matthew 15:18       But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

Proverbs 25:11       A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Colossians 4:6       Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Life is full of challenges for us all and we want to be around people who breathe life with their words….so let’s BE those people! :-)

 

Love,

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 x2 and her heart swells at the thought! Follow Dianna on her Blog, Facebook and Twitter

Soul Dimensions

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: April 21, 2015

Our soul within the confines of our body is bound by geo coordinates wherever we are but one day, our soul will have celestial coordinates unbounded by latitude and longitude. I sometimes set my soul’s coordinates based on what is before me. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gratitude and the depth of my own “soul dimensions.” By faith, my capacity to praise and glorify God regardless of what I see before me.

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32°4′42.08″N 87°16′49.33″W are the geo coordinates to Gee's Bend, AL and the town where Arlonzia Pettway was living when she asked the Lord what He wanted her to do in His vineyard. He told her to sing.  She stopped praying and asked Him again, because she loved to sing but really wasn’t a singer. God showed her again “standing singing” and sing she has for over 40 years, along with her quilting group, “The White Rose.” Singing, quilting and praying with a community of women whose slave and share cropping heritage quilted out of necessity for warmth. Made from dress and shirt tails - parts of the clothes not too worn, and flour and cornmeal sacks bleached with hand picked cotton for inner lining. Whatever they had, they were thankful for. They, “Didn’t buy nothin, ‘cause we didn’t have nothin’ to buy nothin’ with.”  (The Quilts of Gee's Bend).

So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  John 11:41

Jesus had expectant gratitude, anticipating the miracle as the stone before Lazarus' tomb was rolled away. Gratitude wasn’t a polite, “Thanks God, that was a close one back with the demon possessed pigs.” Jesus displayed His gratitude by a a total glorification of God whether through a prayer of thanks for bread and fish meals multiplied, defying any potluck dinner. So, it’s safe to say that Jesus expressed His gratitude outside of a meal, a church service and a miracle. 

At a distance, ten lepers spent their days shouting, “Unclean” for anyone and everyone to hear until they saw Jesus enter their village.  Until the ONE, Jesus Christ, heard them.

“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

One healed man whose geo coordinates had been set by his disease. But when he saw Jesus, his soul dimension of faith, repositioned him ready to glorify God. Today, I pray we chart our soul coordinates on the unseen and through faith in Jesus Christ, we can stand confidently becoming all that He has in mind for us to be and do.

For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.  Romans 5:2

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. Email kristianne@compassionthatcompels.org. Join Kristianne on Facebook Compassion That Compels. Follow her on Twitter Kristiannefaith and Instagram

Want to know more about the Gee's Bend quilters? Click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support Compassion That Compels when you shop at Kroger grocery stores

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: April 17, 2015

TO USE THE KROGER COMMUNITY REWARDS PROGRAM TO SUPPORT COMPASSION THAT COMPELS:

  • Register online at krogercommunityrewards.com
  • Be sure to have your Kroger Plus card handy and register your card with your organization after you sign up.
  • If a member does not yet have a Kroger Plus card, please let them know that they are available at the customer service desk at any Kroger.
  • Click on Sign In/Register
  • Most participants are new online customers, so they must click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box.
  • Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account by entering zip code, clicking on favorite store, entering your email address and creating a password, agreeing to the terms and conditions
  • You will then get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email.
  • Click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step.
  • Click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number.
  • Update or confirm your information.
  • Enter Compassion That Compels and select organization from list and click on confirm.
  • To verify you are enrolled correctly, you will see your organization’s name on the right side of your information page.
  • REMEMBER, purchases will not count for your Compassion That Compels until after your member(s) register their card(s).
  • Do you use your phone number at the register?  Call 800-576-4377, select option 4 to get your Kroger Plus card number.
  • Members must swipe their registered Kroger Plus card or use the phone number that is related to their registered Kroger Plus card when shopping for each purchase to count.

Roots Come First -- Sabrina Nelson

By: Sabrina Nelson
Posted: April 15, 2015

Have you ever compared yourself to a tree? Most will answer, “no” unless they do a comparison on a much deeper level. 

 

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.  Jeremiah 17:8 

A tree isn’t a tree without roots. Our spiritual roots keep us grounded when we are grounded by God and His word. A tree's root is stability and steadiness like God’s word is for guidance and strength. A tree's root seeks water to survive just as we search and reach for God’s word. When we live our lives dependent upon God’s word and guidance, our leaves will always be green. If we will stumble, just as drought comes to a tree and its roots, we should seek the help from God just as that tree reaches out for water. 

So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Matthew 7:15-20

Christians are fruit bearing trees that flourish when we build and expand His Kingdom. God’s word challenges and charges us to bring others to know Him. It’s difficult to convince someone to join you to be a Christian if you bear no fruit. It’s important to bear fruit of the spiritual kind.  We should strive to bear the beautiful fruits of the spirit that God so desires in us.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.  Galatians 5:22

People sometimes come to me for prayer, counseling and just a shoulder to lean on and I am certainly not perfect.  But I want my “spiritual fruit”, my life witness, and the very essence of who I am to shine God’s love on others.  We may be the only taste of Jesus, the love of God that someone feels that day.  A willing vessel is one that bears good fruit.

The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life.  Psalm 121:7

Spring is here and as we all love looking at the beautiful blooms and flowers that God created, we should be reminded that they require water and nurturing to survive. Just like we need God’s word to keep our own roots saturated with His guidance to flourish with His love.  Remember, you can’t be a tree without roots!

Blessings,

Sabrina

Sabrina Nelson 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 Jesus on an intimate level.  She is the Alabama area coordinator for Compassion That Compels; a ministry and non-profit organization that reaches women battling cancer with Compassion Bags. Sabrina is married to her best friend JP.  She has an amazing mom, two incredible step-daughters, and one precious granddaughter. Follow Sabrina on FacebookTwitter@sabrinamnelson or Instagram sabrina.mixson.nelson