I had the unexpected opportunity to visit with my dear friend Fran, director of the Manna House, two nights ago. I was speaking at an event, encouraging women with my story and sharing how to go through adversity in life with peace and purpose. Much to my delight, she was there. Hugging her is like hugging your mama, your long lost best friend, and maybe even an angel.
I asked her, “How’s it going Fran?” She replied with the typical, “Really good!” one would expect from her. But I saw a heaviness in her eyes and I asked her again, “How’s it really going… what do you need?” As the tears welled up in her eyes but never fell, she began to tell me about how hard things are for the Manna House right now.
She explained that the line out of the Manna House is three times as long as normal and filled with people you wouldn’t expect. Whether hit by unexpected medical bills, the increase of gas prices and utility costs, the increase of food prices or the lack of jobs – you name it, people are struggling. And Fran feels their burdens deep in her big heart.
She first asked for prayers, but I said, “Yes, done. I’m praying for answers to your prayers – how do we show up as Jesus’ hands and feet for you today?” As the tears threaten to spill, she began listing the needs. “We need volunteers to come serve the people in line and help give them hope. We need things like toiletries, toilet paper, diapers (especially size 4), saran wrap and plastic baggies…” They just can’t keep enough in stock. “People are hopeless,” she continued. “And I am getting overwhelmed at the great need … I feel like we are headed for really bad times in this country.”
My brain started to spin. How could we help our Shattered Effect partner with their practical needs? How could we encourage the community to step up and do something to be her answer to prayer? Yes, we are supposed to pray, but we are supposed to pray for workers to be sent out to the field – and oddly enough, we are also the ones called to go out to the field. Interesting… if you think about it for a minute, we need to be praying for ourselves to get up and go.
So, I started with my own house. I dug out all of the remnants of hotel visits in the form of tiny toiletries, pantry food, and 1 box of Costco sized sandwich baggies. When I dropped it off to Fran, she poured out her gracious thankfulness for what I had done, as little as it really was. She then went on to proclaim the huge blessings for the day as a farmer had delivered huge containers of fresh corn and squash to help nourish the people who came to the Manna House. Her excitement at this provision exuded her dependence on Christ and her intense joy as He came through.
But let’s face it, one person won’t make that big of an impact, even though each person is an absolutely NECESSARY component of a big impact. It takes a whole lot of people, all choosing to be one person doing something. How can we make that big impact happen?
I’ve always wanted Shattered Magazine to serve as a platform, giving a voice to the workers in the field doing the kingdom work of God. I’ve always imagined the power of words being something that God could use to inspire, embolden and empower His church to stand up and start getting out there and do something for the glory of God – tangibly blessing people in His name and living out our real purpose in our lives.
So, I decided to turn to you all, the people who love God, subscribe to Shattered Magazine and the people who read our articles. Let’s stand up together. The need across the entire country is great. And I am not speaking of just the physical need, the spiritual need is even greater. People are hopeless and they need to be filled with hope. That comes through blessings – physical answers to prayer and the good news of Jesus to accompany it. Wherever you are, in Huntsville, AL or across the U.S., would you become the hands and feet of Jesus? Would you be the workers who are sent, helping to answer the great prayer for help from those who are already doing His work?
Back to the evening event where I was speaking with Fran. Would you believe that she, in the middle of her great need, wanted to do something to bless Shattered? Before she left, she offered to write me a check to support us – what she called a much needed magazine that offers so much hope and Jesus to so many. I couldn’t believe my ears, and the tears then started welling up in my own eyes. She described how they keep the copies of Shattered that they get for free as part of our Shattered Effect and how they hand it out to the different women who come to their shelter. Each woman takes it home to read, inscribes her name lovingly on the inside cover, and then returns it for the next woman to read. Their lives are being touched because God is choosing to use Shattered and Fran together in powerful ways.
Won’t you join us? Right in your own city, would you allow God to use you, use Shattered, and use the other workers for Him for His glory?
There are several ways to get involved with the Manna House. You can donate money to them as they are a 501c3 non-profit organization. You can donate needed items or help serve between 2pm-6:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The Manna House is located at 2110 S. Memorial Parkway Huntsville, AL 35801 or you can call the Manna House at 256-503-4848.