One Girl's Redemption Story

By Jenny Bennett | managing editor,
Posted: Mon, 11/23/2009 - 17:09

album promo image for One Girl's Redemption Story

Last year, Stephanie traveled with Compassion to El Salvador to visit her sponsored child, Mariela.

By Melissa Riddle-Chalos, senior content strategist,

Twenty-five-year-old pop-rocker Stephanie Smith is the kind of performer who lays it all out there – no-holds-barred. She writes compelling songs about her own struggles, and she more than holds her own with performers like tobyMac, Relient K, and B. Reith, all of whom happen to be her tourmates on the 20-city 2009 Winter WonderSlam Tour.

To get a free download of "Superstar" from Stephanie Smith's 2008 Gotee Records' debut, click here.

She's so bent on being real with others that she's writtena book to help teen girls navigate those tender years: Crossroads: The Teenage Girl's Guide to Emotional Wounds (Zondervan/Youth Specialties). As much as any young artist today, Stephanie has taken the heartaches of her childhood – to read more about Stephanie, click here – and turned them into a live of service and devotion to helping others.

"I first heard about Compassion at a Steven Curtis Chapman show in 1996," Stephanie says. "I remember it having an impact on me even then at 12. Years later, it is my privilege to partner with them and encourage other people to get involved."

Just last year, Stephanie traveled with Compassion to El Salvador to visit her sponsored child, Mariela. That experience has impacted her life in powerful ways. "The more I've been involved and worked with Compassion, the more I've realized what a legit and honorable organization they are," she says. "Their heart is truly to be the hands and feet of Jesus, advancing His kingdom by meeting practical needs like food, clothes, education. Beyond that I've seen them inspire hope and encourage dreams in God's beloved people. Each person has value in this organization – that inspires me to live that out in my day-to-day interactions, work, business and relationships."

And she takes that day-to-day mission seriously, also investing her time and efforts with other outreach organizations such as Souls4Soles, a Nashville-based nonprofit that facilitates the donation of shoes to the hurting worldwide, PeopleLovingNashville, a local outreach to the homeless. And she's an advocate for Pure Freedom, an organization that promotes sexual purity among teens.

Sounds like a lot for one person, but Stephanie wouldn't have it any other way. On stage, she's as vibrant and relevant as a rock-chick gets, but even there, she's serious about living out the gospel, being the hands and feet of Jesus at home and abroad. She uses her platform to encourage others to get involved.

"I have no reason to stand on a stage and promote myself," she says of how compassion is as much a way of life as music is a way of expression. "I'm a sinner, liar, and a failure who has experienced hope and redemption from a living God. My encouragement to people is also to myself: 'Let's live out this great love story we are honored and humbled to be a part of.'

"One way I do that," she continues, "is by partnering with Compassion in sponsoring a child, Mariela, and another is in serving the homeless in my own community of Nashville once a week on Monday nights."

It's her own redemption story. And it's a mission even more important than the music that she makes.

You can make a difference by sponsoring a child through Compassion today! Share your story of Compassion and enter to win a trip with Compassion International in 2010. Click here for more details.

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