Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Mark 6:34
“When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.”

In 2008, I was visiting a women’s shelter in Sacramento, CA and I was in awe…I could not believe how many mothers with children lived in a shelter! Most importantly I could not believe how many women were turned away.

The same day that I visited the shelter, one woman received what I thought was very sad news. The shelter could not house her, so she was turned away. That woman tried her best to explain her plight. She tried her best to get a warm place to sleep. She tried, and failed. I could not believe what was going on…with my very own eyes- I thought what if I was her. So in response to what I saw I wrote this…

What if I was her?

I heard the meek voice of a twenty something year old woman and it said
I am homeless and I have no bed
I thought what if I was her?

My parents died when I was only age nine- I have nowhere to go-but outside
I thought what if I was her?

My husband raped me, cheated on me, and then he left me…oh I forgot to mention he put his hands on me
I thought what if I was her?

I recently got laid off, living paycheck to paycheck and I have not saved enough- and my bills, I cannot afford the cost
I thought what if I was her?

I am out in the cold, nowhere to go-no job- for money my body I have sold
I thought what if I was her?

CPS just took my son, I have lost my child and to talk to you …I have walked 20 miles
I thought what if I was her?

I have contracted a disease, one that will not leave me
I thought what if I was her?

I heard this woman go on and on about her situation, she was very persistent; yet this woman was ignored as if she was not in existence.
I thought what if I was her?

Finally, I looked up
I made eye contact with that women, I vividly remember the day
However the person she spoke to had no room for her and had to turn her away

I thought what if I was her?

As I re-read the piece that I wrote. I am saddened by how I felt that day. A tear drops down my cheek because this woman desperately needed help, she needed love, she needed shelter, she needed…she needed..she needed. That day I decided that I had to somehow add value to the lives of the women in the shelter…I didn’t thoroughly think through what needed to be done- I reacted. I had a strong desire to alleviate someone’s suffering.

The best way for me to help was to leverage the resources that were within my reach. I was connected to many females based organizations. I decided I would:
Host Sacramento’s Little Black Dress Event- “a clothing drive for professional attire to get the women prepared for the workforce”
Renovate “THE BOUTIQUE” By partnering with local stores that would donate the materials to upgrade the space.
Market the Shelter: It was necessary to connect with the community and local media to help bring awareness of the need to support women that often fall victim to life’s situations.

I leveraged my membership with the junior league and turned vision into action. A section from the article I wrote is below:

“The theme of this event was Celebrate! The event was a women empowering women celebration to dress for a cause in wearing little black dresses. We encouraged women to “Celebrate Life, Style, Purpose, and The Spirit of Giving” by donating wearable professional clothing to The Depot Boutique. Guest speakers addressed each individual theme and the night ended in a fabulous fall fashion show.
In three weeks of planning, we connected with other female based groups, sold over 180 tickets, 10 display tables, and scheduled several radio segments. Most importantly, we received over 200 professional outfit donations, and 2 grants from local corporations!”
I inspired about 10 women to join my planning team. And we successfully reached more than 200 people in three weeks, and awesomely touched thousands. At the time our task was ambitious; but we genuinely wanted to help and we did.
I think back to that situation which examples how GOD shows amazing compassion for the sick, lost, helpless….He shows true compassion for all. Although I like to think that I displayed a great deal of compassion by helping the woman/women at the shelter…My compassion is conditional it often occurs on “my terms.” Honestly I feel compassionate sometimes and other times I don’t. Compassion is an area in which I am weak and I am trying to grow strong. Join me in gaining strength in this area.

What is one area in your life that you know you need to exercise more compassion?___________
What will you do daily to make that change?_________________________________

Read this daily.
God I need to show compassion in this area __________________________ area of my life and I commit to ______________________________________________________________________.

Commit to the change. I DARE you.

~ Lereca Monik