Shonah Marie had a fairly sheltered upbringing, and would now admit that she was quite removed from what she would call real-world issues. However, it wasn’t too long before some very real issues invaded her life.
I don’t know how people get through tough things like that without community and without Jesus. I just don’t have an answer outside of those two things. – Shonah Marie
It was the tough times that helped her to become the person that she is today but the lessons she learned during those times haven’t been easy.
I could feel God’s heart breaking for what was going on. I could feel his sorrow for what we were going through and learning to sit with Jesus in that empathy was probably the greatest gift. – Shonah Marie
As part of our conversation, we opened a window into her life, discussing her early years living in a very protected environment before finding herself facing struggles she had no idea how to navigate.
I feel like I remained in that childlikeness for quite a long time, which I feel benefited me in some areas in the long run, but also left me somewhat naive and innocent towards how to handle navigating real-world circumstances. I kind of call it the bubble. – Shonah Marie
You can hear Shonah’s story by listening to Bleeding Daylight, wherever you find podcasts, or by clicking play on the audio player below.
Have you got a few minutes for me to ask you a slightly odd question?
Have you ever stared evil in the face and thought, “this is unacceptable, this can’t go on”?
I have. I’ve been face to face with extreme poverty and its shocking human consequences in several countries, and while it’s been my job at Compassion Australia for over seven years to speak up for the people I’ve met and share what I’ve experienced, it’s not always easy.
I’ve seen horrors that will haunt me for the rest of my life; things I’ve never shared, even with those closest to me.
How can I stop those things becoming a burden too great to bear? I have resolved to be an agent of change and healing and you can too. If I can make even a small difference, I’ll know that I’ve spent my life well.
That’s why I’m taking part in Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast in September and October this year. I’ll be cycling 4,200 kilometres across Australia from Perth to Newcastle to provide desperately needed assistance for children and their families who live in extreme poverty.
Of course, I can train hard, and I’ll certainly have to do that, and I can ride all those kilometres, but it won’t bring worthwhile change without your help.
You are the key to my success.
It’s when you join me in saying no to the evil of poverty and stand with me to say that it’s unacceptable that together we can start transforming lives.
While we all face the very real effects of the current pandemic, the World Bank has estimated that COVID-19 will push 150 million people into extreme poverty this year. It’s the first rise in global extreme poverty in over 20 years. That’s unacceptable.
Your generous donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world through Compassion’s work around the world, including those ravaged by the pandemic.
I am personally seeking to raise $25,000. I really need your help to make that a reality.
I don’t know if you can manage to give $50, $500 or $5,000 but I do know that your contribution, of any amount, will put me closer to my target of $25,000.
Please don’t delay. While the ride is still some months away, your donation today will go straight to work against the unacceptable.
Another way you can help me reach my target is by sponsoring a child through Compassion. Every child that is sponsored via my fundraising page will be counted as $1,000 towards my $25,000 target. There is a button on my fundraising page that will allow you to meet your new sponsored child today.
Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to be known, loved and protected.
If you want to know more about donating to Compassion, or about Compassion Child Sponsorship, please get in touch. You can leave me a message in the comments section of this post or head to my contact page.
Thank you for joining me in telling poverty that we won’t let it win.
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Life for Suzanne Burns went off the rails when she left home as a young woman. From a very sheltered upbringing, she soon found herself using drugs and alcohol and shortly afterwards becoming a single mother.
Suzanne has spent the last 20 years serving others. Part of that service includes being the founder and executive director of Foundation House, a maternity home for pregnant and homeless women, which offers educational and job training programs.
Her story is inspiring and she is this week’s guest on Bleeding Daylight. Find Bleeding Daylight wherever you listen to podcasts or at listen by pressing play on the audio player below.
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According to a large section of the world’s population it’s been the worst year in our lifetime. 2020 started with such promise but with 20/20 hindsight, we realise it was not the year we’d hoped to experience.
While shopping a couple of days ago I noticed a distinct difference in the ‘new year’ merchandise on offer. In previous years there’s been a range of decorations and party goods emblazoned with the year that was about to begin. There was no end of items with 2020 printed across them in December 2019.
This year, I’m seeing items with bold print saying, ‘GOOD RIDDANCE 2020’.
While the end of every year sees social media cluttered with posts about how bad the previous year has been and a keenness to move into the next, the hatred for 2020 is palpable. The mood has changed from one of looking forward to something new to one of ‘give us anything but 2020’.
Sadly, 2021 isn’t a reset button.
Replacing the zero at the end of the date with a one won’t magically make everything better. Of course, we know that, but sometimes we’re so keen to throw off what has been that we act as if the chime of midnight on the 31st of December will jolt us back into normal life, whatever that is.
The first of January won’t bring an end to the pandemic or natural disasters like the floods, fires or earthquakes that have recently filled our news feeds. It won’t repair relationships that have fractured or bring back the loved ones we have lost during the year.
There won’t be a universal reset as we drag ourselves out of 2020 and into 2021, but there’s still hope for better days. We can each make changes that will transform our year, no matter what that year may throw at us.
While many people don’t believe in such things, I reckon that any time we can sit down and take stock of our own lives and make plans for the time ahead is time well spent.
As with every year I’m sure that many will set all the usual resolutions about losing weight, getting fitter, quitting smoking, reducing debt and all the rest but I wonder what 2021 would look like if we made resolutions and goals about improving relationships with those close to us and then asked those people, or others, for help in staying accountable to those goals.
I wonder how things would be if we made resolutions about helping those we may not even know but who need a hand up.
We know that there are still very tough times ahead for us and for others. It’s been estimated that around 150 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty around our world due to the pandemic. I wonder what difference we can make for some of the most vulnerable in our world.
How would 2021 shape up if we determined that family was more important than the demands of work and then structured our schedules accordingly?
What would it be like if we decided that 2021 was the year that we would look beyond the physical and material things of this world to discover deeper spiritual meaning?
Surveys suggest that there has been an increased interest in spiritual matters and the bigger questions of life in 2020. Maybe 2021 is the year to seek answers to some of those questions.
2021 won’t bring the reset the world is yearning to see but it may bring a personal reset if we’re prepared to be open and honest about our search.
My hope for the year ahead is that you might be able to agree with what King David wrote thousands of years ago.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4
The good news is that while trouble still swirls around us, the past can be over. Your past and its heartaches don’t have to determine your future. There is a way forward that will bring you a hope that stretches beyond this life and into eternity.
If you’d like to explore that hope, please feel free to contact me. It would be my honour to walk beside you on the journey.
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During the past week, I had the opportunity to speak to a former cult member who underwent deprogramming by a world-renowned expert. Even after his escape from the cult he battled to find acceptance and belonging.
These days Brian Steele is a pastor and has recently become an author, publishing his first book in a series focussed on one of the parables told by Jesus. The book is titled The Kingdom Field Guide.
He has a passion for people to discover a really real kingdom as described throughout the Christian scriptures.
Are you ready for your life’s priorities to be turned upside down? The journey begins with seeking God’s kingdom, hidden like a treasure. But it’s hidden in plain sight—right at your feet.
In this hands-on Field Guide and accompanying Small Group Guide, Pastor Brian Steele will encourage you to:
– Seek God’s kingdom—because you can’t find what you aren’t looking for.
– See God’s kingdom—because it is really real.
– Live out your purpose and glorify God with the smallest details of your daily life.
Brian is my guest on my podcast Bleeding Daylight this week. You can hear our conversations wherever you listen to podcasts, or click the play button on the audio player below.
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