Intention: Show mercy
In a wooden farmhouse, somewhere in rural Ohio, there once resided a palpable hope. Everyone entering my BEAUTIFUL sister in-law and brother-in-law’s home felt it envelope them like a warm, familiar hug that squeezed out the hurts and pressed in the love of Christ. My Pam showed us all, when we trust Christ, there’s no blind faith because believing was her only way of seeing.
Pam felt that everything could be solved with prayers, hugs and a cup of tea. She had a way of making you feel that God loved you the best! There was joy in her salvation and she spread that joy to others. With hands of love, one by one, Pam blessed our family and friends by individually praying over them and anointing them with oil. That’s Pam’s mercy legacy. If you were a homeless person or a tag less animal, you had a home at the Stewart’s. I never quite understood this. One day, exasperated and guilt ridden over my lack of mercy, I blurted out to her. “I know God is going to punish me by putting me in charge of homeless people in Heaven.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen her laugh so hard. Pam smiled and responded, “Kristianne, there won’t be any homeless people in Heaven!” I missed this fact that our eternal home is guaranteed, prime real estate but Pam never had. Through the years, I watched in awe as Pam invited people into her home and Christ’s mansion. The day she went home to that mansion, a piece of my heart went with her.
In the weeks following her passing, I learned of her strength and resolve. She had metastatic breast cancer and as a former hospice nurse, she knew that if she went on hospice, she was precluded from any clinical trials. Her only daughter was pregnant and she longed to see her grandchild born. In her lifetime, she had fought three different types of breast cancer. She had her lifetime dose of chemo and targeted radiation to already radiated skin. This third breast cancer spread to her skin and at night, she’d debride her own skin. I cry even now.
January 28, 2015 was one of the last times that Pam and I were together, walking out of Providence Cancer Center in Mobile, Alabama. We had delivered Compassion Bags and somehow, I ended up in the lobby alone. Probably lost, no mystery there. I heard a voice and in the message was this, “Compassion That Compels was bigger than my Sonja, my Pam, and my Vikki. And yes, even greater than me. 10,000 women would be blessed with Compassion Bags.”
This is a picture of my BEAUTIFUL Pam holding the sign from that day with our Compassion Bag count 1266 bags delivered. I think you might have guessed my response to God and his promise of 10,000.
God moved as he always does. Generous hearts joined the Compassion Movement and this tiny spark of compassion became an all flame of God’s love. A women’s clothing retailer, Altar’d State and through their Mission Monday program, we formed a partnership. From 2014 to today, this outstanding company and their chain of boutiques have brought hope to thousands of women not only through Compassion Bags but our On Your Feet, self esteem program and Sister 2 Sister mentoring program. Brownlow Gifts manufactured our custom totes, journals and notebooks. Each year since then, they donated a thousand of our custom totes. Chick-fil-A corporation donated thousands of meals cards for our Compassion Bags. My incredible surgeon, Dr. Sullivan and the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery have been there from the beginning. Other corporations like Tanger PinkStyle and Kendra Scott joined and along with thousands (and yes, I mean thousands) of fundraisers we continue to reach women worldwide. And thousands of the most beautiful souls who have financially supported and prayed for us equals up to this. In God’s economy, 10,000 was only a ripple in the ocean. My Pam would have reminded me to be patient and let God’s mercy flow. I write this to remind me of God’s goodness but to encourage you. God isn’t finished with you yet.
I commit to:
Praying and asking God to restore the joy in my salvation and through this, that I know he loves me best. I want to share that joy and God’s love, so I’m asking God to give me a gift of mercy. What passion have you put on a shelf and need to take out again. God is a restorer of hope and dreams!