BEAUTIFUL Donna's Grace Race

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: July 26, 2015

This week we celebrate the life of our friend BEAUTIFUL Donna, who loved and served at Compassion That Compels. 

October 20, 2013, this email landed in my heart's inbox.

Hi Kristianne,

I just wanted to let you know that I am a recipient of one of your bags. What a lovely thought to help women with cancer and the story behind it was so touching. I have just started my journey with this and with your encouragement and those I met so far, I know I will alright (we met at Mike and Glori 's house a couple of years ago during one of their small groups).

Thank you, God bless you and your organization.

Donna Williams

Donna would be having a really good laugh right now. The night of that small group, she told me she turned to her husband Howell, and said, “Do you think she ever stops talking?” Um…no Donna and I know you’re not here but I want to let our friends know how grateful I am for you. 

Thank you for being my friend and never complaining when I talked too much. I will miss you. I have so many memories of you and our many laughs over why I would never let you use the sharp pink scissors:) AND giving away your apron for the cause. You always teased me about giving up the pink apron, but it was so you to pour open your heart for another person to receive the blessings.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.  Acts 20:24

We are all here today because in some capacity, Donna served us and we ran her grace race with her. For over a year and half, we have all been part of her victory lap. Donna was a quiet hero, facing cancer with bravery, uncomplaining. On Dec. 26, 2013, I received this text from her. “Feel anxious. Really weird. Please talk with me.” I responded with, “On my way.”

I got to her house and she shared with me that she hadn't slept. “I’m afraid to go to sleep because I might not wake up,” she said. 

Those of us who knew Donna know that she wasn’t a talker, especially about her feelings. So we played the movie out. We all have a terminal disease. We will all die. No guarantees that I won’t walk out your door and get hit by a car; adding the importance of wearing my lipstick. 

‘What if Donna, you closed your eyes…where would you be?” Never hesitating, she replied, “In the arms of Jesus."  That was the only time she expressed any fear. That solved, I made a hair appointment for her and took her shopping the next time we were together.

In early 2014, when I asked her if she’d like to pack and deliver Compassion Bags, she responded with, “Are you serious???!!! I would love to help delivering. Any way I can help you out just let me know. Oh man... I am psyched!! Thank you.” I guess she had no idea what she was in for:) That was the first of dozens of times she served other women who were in the fight. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1-3

Donna never lost heart and her life teaches us all how to train for this life and eternity. She wasn’t a lane cutter because Donna considered everyone else above herself. Her faith kept her eyes on the prize. Donna’s life draws us closer to the heart of Jesus — to serve others. She won her race because her servant’s heart taught us that we need only walk and even crawl on our knees in prayer.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8

Donna’s legacy of love and service echoes in my heart and throughout Compassion That Compels and always will. Her last text to me was, “Thanks- love you.” It’s only fitting that her last words to me were, “Love you most.”

I can't wait to see Donna again in Heaven and hear her say..."Love you most.”

Our Donna is looking over the balconies of Heaven cheering us on and knowing Donna, she’s saved a seat for us all because she fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.  Yes BEAUTIFUL Donna, well done, good and faithful servant.

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 

 

Who’s Your Scheduler?

By: Kristine Stewart
Posted: July 21, 2015

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you,

even as your soul is getting along well.  3 John 1:2 

ONCE UPON A TIME, not so long ago, there was a woman who had great balance!  No, not like a circus performer but the kind who could extend grace and never consume grace.  

THEN ONE DAY, she found herself in the middle of saying something and wondered what her point was. 

THE NEXT DAY, she started praying and finished with her grocery list. “What is happening to me? Do I need a multivitamin or more omega 3?"

THE NEXT DAY, she was cramming her vitamins into her mouth and a one minute devotion into her spirit quicker than a two year old with candy, just so she could be early to her meeting... when SUDDENLY she remembered the meeting was yesterday! OH MY!

AND THE NEXT DAY, she drove her car all the way to work and was surprised when she pulled into the parking lot because she didn’t even remember driving there.  She pulled her compact out of her purse and started to call her doctor.  “NO! NO! Not a compact but a phone is what I need, she cried. I don’t have time for a doctor today so WebMD on the way,” she thought.  As she listed her symptoms on the screen, the diagnosis was clear. 

She had a chronic case of TIME SLICING!  A symptom of having a faulty scheduler!

In the techie world, time slicing is where the single processor system or CPU, performs one part of a program and then returns to the first one. Each computer has a scheduler that determines which task is next and how much time to allocate. Think of your brain as the CPU and it’s like working on a report then stopping to text someone.  Time slicing is what allows us to multitask.

  If your brain is the processor, what part of you is your scheduler?  

Take a minute and think of the meanest mean girl you ever knew...mentally frame her and name her. Ouch! It hurts all over again, doesn’t it? But based on my life experience, I’d say her cruelest remarks knifed at your ego can’t outshout your own internal critic. So my friends, I’m going to ask you to leave her, your internal frenemy, wherever she finds you most vulnerable because she is the one relentlessly scheduling your thoughts and actions. Chain her to a fitting room where she forces you to try on clothing under fluorescent lighting and then critiques you in front of a trifold mirror! Ditch her in the grocery store aisle next to the cereal that looks like chicken feed! If that doesn’t work and she keeps on mentally chatting with you, then get your earbuds out and stick the plug in your pocket a la hands free cell phone. Then you can speak out loud and say, “Stop it. I’m not listening,” without anyone giving you a second look. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33 

The Holy Spirt should always be our scheduler.  Most online calendars have a feature that once you schedule an appointment, it allows you to note whether you’re busy and unavailable. Forget the multitasking and start multiASKing, “God what do you want me to do today?”  

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 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith is a Superpower

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: July 14, 2015

and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].  James 5:16 (AMP)

Prayer defies human frailties. As the acoustics of our soul glorify God, faith becomes our superpower; giving x-ray vision to hope for the unseen, superhuman strength to overcome, and amplified hearing to listen for a gentle whisper in the rushing wind. Prayer repurposes our broken shards of pain to forge our armor, readying us for battle.

I’m no stranger to hospital waiting rooms and cancer treatment centers so I get asked to pray— a LOT. It's always an honor. Even before I feel the tug of my denim jeans across my knees as I kneel in prayer, I begin asking the Holy Spirit for a Bible verse to tether my prayer to my faith because cancer’s taught me that faith silences doubt. Great faith amplifies our prayers, transforming doubt to miracles. 

The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.  (John Chrysostom)

Prayer life grows from time spent with God, in the way we best learn and love. I keep a journal of my thoughts and post it notes that I alternately use for lipstick blotting and random musings that leave a sticky resin inside my purse. Our learning styles, love languages, habits, and passions are reflected in every relationship, so why wouldn’t it be the same with God? I’m a visual learner and creating graphics for our social media and website, brings me to an inner canvas where I paint His word across my heart. When preparing for a Compassion Bag delivery or talk, I limit the virtual chatter. I need to turn off the newsfeed and read the GOOD NEWS that feeds my spirit — the Bible. I place a high value on cultivating relationships. Physical touch is my primary love language which means I’m a veteran hugger and consummate collector of people. 

Our lives become extensions of His grace when we show His love and compassion. A holy prayer life is more than the words we speak. It's how we live and built from what we do. When we shine God's majestic glory, people see Christ as we seek to be Christlike.

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 

 

 

Some things are just between me and God

By: Kristianne Stewart
Posted: July 7, 2015

In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:9

Texas summer sweat ran a tickling drip down my spine as the radiating heat from the taxis outside the cancer center melted tar like dough, embedding my sandals to the street. I flagged our waiting taxi driver and reached for the door, only to have an “ungentleman” try to take the cab. My cab - our cab to transport my sister-in-law, Sonja, post-surgery, to the airport. I stepped in front of the taxi and in my most crazy, angry mom voice thundered, “Today, is not the day! This is our taxi and we have a plane to catch. Do you not know what she has been through?” Sonja pulled on the back of my shirt. I look down and at her tear- filled eyes, and her voice crackled from her chest drains, “Who does that?” It was one of many "Sonjaisms" she would share during her battle with amelanotic melanoma.

My head pressed against the doorframe of the oncologist’s office. “I’m sorry, Kristianne, the pathology report shows the cancer’s spread to her lungs.” And our oncologist who could outmatch Patch Adams pulled me into a hug, I let tears drench his Hawaiian print shirt and drop to the floor around his hiking boots and pink socks. We entered the exam room together and as I met my mother in law’s eyes, Sonja’s precious daughter, Melinda and I looked down before I met Sonja’s. She asked two questions, “What am I going to tell my girls and how much time? 

I searched for answers and often questioned Sonja about her thoughts. She would always look beyond my intense gaze and say, “Some things are just between me and God.” Was it possible for me to pray for miracle healing and at the same time prepare our family for her death? 

Grace’s pain tore straight into my heart as her screams filled the house. “Why did she have to die?  Why? I never got to tell Aunt Sonja goodbye!  Mommy, I prayed for her to heal and live and she died.  Why?”  Grace’s warm body formed into mine and her sobs echoed into my chest.  I felt drained and empty of human strength, my spirit wrung dry, grief and pain like liquid concrete began hardening the image of my sister-in-law struggling to breathe as fluid filled her lungs, impressing in time somewhere between a morphine pump lock-out and cries for Jesus to take her.  I could only answer that her healing would happen in heaven.  It wasn’t enough for my sobbing daughter. In her tender heart aching loss shouted over God’s quiet peace.  How could the loving Jesus painted in children’s Bibles and Sunday School songs, arms wide open ready to receive the little children take away someone she loved?  

Her mortal death and eternal life forged a duality in my faith and prayers, leaving me feeling like a faith impostor. Throughout Sonja’s battle, I struggled with my prayers but she didn’t. Quietly recording everything into her prayer journal. At her funeral, her small group leader read from her prayer journal.  “Forgive each other. Love each other. It all comes down to that doesn’t it?” I took the events from Sonja’s passing and rolled them into a dark place in my spirit, speaking to no one about it. An ominous something was rising up, launching an attack of fear that caught me in a quagmire of doubt.  As hard as I tried to free myself, doubt mired my spirit.  I would find myself in the middle of life’s taskings with unexplained tears sliding down my face. A full night’s rest eluded me. The unfamiliar something growing in my spirit was cynicism allowing my intellect to sort answers that could only be found by my faith.  

My struggles threatened to drown me. I reached out and shared my pain with a friend. I found as I whispered and sobbed, the awful fear lifted from my life. It had been a burden too heavy for me to carry and one that God never intended me to carry. I clearly saw I had always possessed the faith to believe in miracles, it was God’s sovereignty I didn’t understand. I made a decision that day forward I would begin to create my legacy.  My life would become a beautiful masterpiece painting filled with an array of colors from my palette with brilliant hues of His grace and mercy. Broad brushstrokes of His love on a canvas of compassion would be evident in my life art. I began to reach out to the hurting and the lost with hurricane force evangelism, His spiritual first responder.

 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Over the next four years, cancer would invade our life again and again.  Touching next my sister-in-law, Pam and then my sister, Vikki. Each time I knelt in prayer, praying for God’s healing touch.  Thanking Him with a heart of gratitude for the healing taking place. I knew my God was at work in all things, my prayers filled with the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Grace was eight when two moles, one on her chest, the other on her back, started quickly growing and changing. At nine, two procedures later, the pathology report showed they were both normal, and we breathed a sigh of relief. Several months passed and the remnants of the moles left behind had begun changing in texture.  A series of specialist visits ensued and a third procedure was required to remove the mole on her back.  Nothing could sedate Grace during the surgery. She remained wide awake, one hand in mine, the other in her Daddy’s. My compassion for sick children and their parents deepened as I watched a surgeon cut into my child.  

This time as the pathology report was read to me, I heard words I was all too familiar with precancerous, positive pathology, all words in the cancer dictionary.  My head began throbbing and I heard an ocean of blood roaring in my ears. I prayed to God to give me clarity of thought. My heart needed to disassociate this clinical diagnosis from my child.  It seemed so very important I understood each word, as if control of the outcome hinged upon my ability to intelligently process what was being said. Only I knew from past experience that it didn’t.  My mind could go numb but not my faith in Jesus. After the fourth surgery, that time on her chest, we received the all clear.

I recently asked Grace if she believed in miracles. She quickly answered, “Yes.”  Then I asked, “Why do you believe?”  She answered, “I believe because I prayed for Aunt Pam and Aunt Vikki and I saw God heal them.” “What about Aunt Sonja?,” I asked. Grace’s faith and God’s sovereignty were intermingled with her reply, “Because Aunt Sonja’s miracle happened in her heart and so it was easier knowing she was in heaven...”   

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16

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 

 

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:
 



 
 

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