A Tale of Tornado Relief

Yesterday, two friends of mine and I were on the road to Amory, MS.  What exactly we were going to do?  Even as we drove along Highway 45 North, we didn’t know the answer to this question.  All we knew was this: our neighbors in Northeast Mississippi were in trouble after the tornado, and we were ready and able to help.

Although Smithville–a town completely destroyed by the tornado–was blocked from even willing volunteers, we were not discouraged as we pulled up to the  First Baptist Church in Amory.  This was the home of all the Red Cross operations to the town of Smithville.  Then again, we would have been fine setting up a lemonade stand… we just wanted to help.

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, I’ll just show pictures to show how much help and donations had already been given!  It truly was humbling to see all that had come in after only a day…

Cases and cases and cases of water, boxes of toothbrushes, other hygiene supplies, and food: the gym of the church was being filled even as we waited to sign in.  Volunteers, townspeople, even children brought in bags and boxes of however much or however little they had.  Size didn’t matter though; they were all donations given with a happy heart, and that is what made them special.

The most amazing part is that in those first five minutes, we hadn’t even seen the majority of donations.  Shortly after arriving, we went over to the clothes area: the place in need of a quick transformation in order to become the area where victims would pick up all necessary items other than food.

After five long hours of unpacking, rearranging, sorting, accepting donations, helping 3 families, and preparing for the expected hundreds of families to come throughout the weekend, here are some pictures of our work.

I will write back later with more details about the families that we met and feeling the joy of being God’s hands and feet yesterday.  After all…

“We are ambassadors for Christ!”

2 Corinthians 5:20

Please continue to be praying for ALL areas affected by the devastating tornado, even those towns less-mentioned by the media–Smithville, MS especially.  Pray for the families of victims as well as workers and volunteers.  Please check back, as I will post ways to get involved and stay connected in ways additional to the much needed prayer.  🙂

Have a God-blessed day!

Compelled’s Leap of Faith: A New Look and Style!

Would you like to hear some exciting news?  Compelled is over a year old now!  With this being said, it’s time to take a step out into “the blogging world.”    It’s time for a new look and a new style!

While this blog will still have devotionals and testimonies of God’s work in my life and the lives of friends and family, there are so many other ways that He is present in our lives.  There are many ways in which God’s love compels us–through music, art, quotes, books, photography, cooking for others, funny stories, etc.  In this new era of my blog, these are the areas which I will explore.  As you continue to visit (please 😉 ), you’ll discover that I will be posting more regularly, too!

Thank you so much for following me and Compelled while I have been testing the waters of writing and blogging.  It’s going to be much more work now, especially while balancing work and school, but I trust that God will provide!  Now that I am diving in headfirst, I pray that you will enjoy and feel compelled by God’s love in the ripples that follow this leap of faith.  What a leap it will be!

Thanks again so much.  Always remember that God is love, and He is always good.

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

sweet sarah 🙂

Happy Easter

“I have been crucified with Christ.

It is no longer I who live,

but Christ who lives in me.

And the life I now live in the flesh I live by

faith

in the Son of God,

who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

“Have you believed because you have seen me?

Blessed are those who

have not seen me and yet have believed.”

John 20:29

Today I’m 20!

Today I have a big “Thank You” to say…..

Thanks, Mom, for bringing me into the world 20 years ago today!

Thanks, Dad, for being my father and also my daddy!

I keep that picture in my journal at all times 😉

Since I guess today is supposed to be a relatively selfish day for me, I’d love to share some of my favorite things with you!

Another of my favorite pictures:

How I checked off an item from my bucket list:

(I’ll try to put videos up later)

  • Playing 2 songs in a bar last night!  (Open Mic Night!)
  • Messing up on the first one, making a fool of myself and totally laughing about it
  • Singing the second and feeling so at home on stage 🙂
  • Dream come true!
A Favorite Passage:
“O God, you are my God; 
earnestly I seek you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, 
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, 
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”
Psalm 63:1-7
Recent, Favorite Quotes:
“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the Light gets in.”
-Leonard Cohen-
“If you’re doing something that you really care about,
you don’t have to be pushed.
The vision pulls you….”
-Steve Jobs-
“I will love the light for it shows me the way,
yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”
-Og Mandino-
Latest Lesson on Life:
Freedom is found when we turn to Christ and lose ourselves,
being rendered speechless at his glory,
and as a result,
“are transformed into the same image of glory.”
-from 2 Corinthians 3:4-18-
——————————-
Thank you so much for reading my blog.  Your support, in and of itself, is such a great gift and a joy in my life.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,
Sarah 🙂

For freedom

“For the creation waits

with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God…

in hope that the creation itself will be

set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom

of the glory of the children of God.”

Romans 8:19-21

What is freedom?

There are so many things that keep us from freedom, that seem to hold us in bondage.  Deadlines, expectations, grief, regret, anger… Our bondage to decay is the sin that grabs us by the ankles and weaves its darkness into every nook and cranny of our lives.

It seems that our heart feels the pain and frustration of sin, and our head reasons that the Gospel is worthy and wonderful, but not truly complete.  After all, how can someone be relieved from a debt without paying it?  Can we truly be forgiven from our sin?  So we walk away after reading the Good Word, but wonder deep down…Could I ever truly be free? Will I ever be free?

“But their minds were hardened.

For to this day when they read the old covenant,

that same veil remains unlifted, because

only through Christ is it taken away.

Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read

a veil lies over their hearts.

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

Now the Lord is the Spirit,

and where the Spirit of the Lord is,

there is freedom.

And we all with unveiled face,

beholding the glory of the Lord,

are being transformed into the same image

from one degree of glory to another.

For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:14-18

There is a veil that covers our eyes.  Whenever we continue to look to the Law and see it as a grading rubric or checklist of Godliness, we are missing the point!  Jesus Christ fulfilled it, and that is a miracle!  The first time he came to deal with sin, but the next time he comes, Jesus will save those that have been waiting eagerly for him (Hebrews 9:27).

So what is freedom?

Freedom is living in Jesus Christ.  Freedom is looking to Christ and feeling the veil fall from our eyes and from our hearts.  Freedom is beholding Him and being transformed in the holy reflection of his glory.

Is this Light living within you?  Is it transforming you and me as we look away from our own selves and just see Jesus?

Look to Jesus with eyes wide open.  Feel the veil fall from your eyes and be free.

“For freedom Christ has set us free;

stand firm therefore,

and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

Be free.