Wonderful Words From Joan Smith (Lifehouse Louisville)

Joan Smith

I have had the privilege of reading “Polishing Jade” and could not put it down once I started reading. As the Executive Director of Lifehouse Maternity Home my day is filled with stories of young women just like Jade. How I wish every young woman could find a Miss Renee!! Daily we receive calls from young women who are frightened and need help as they realize they are going to have a child and there is no loving individual to support them and lead them to healing. Lifehouse is here for that reason.
All of our residents will be reading “Polishing Jade” and Tekoa and her husband Jeffrey will be joining us for dinner in the near future, as our residents will have the opportunity to meet this talented woman and talk with her personally about her career, her life’s journey and her faith in God.
What a joy for me to meet this amazing and talented woman. I know that God has sent her to our doors for a reason!!

 

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LifeHouse is Filled With Miracles

 

 

Albert Einstein once said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

I want to share with you a ministry that is running on miracles, one miracle after another. Lifehouse is injected with so much faith it tips over and flows through the hallways like a cool stream inviting you to take a sip. There’s laughter, hope, love and the drumming of tiny feet and feet that are still encased in the womb there.

After being accepted to the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort, I was left with a case of the first edition of Polishing Jade. As you know, we at ItsallaboutHiminc put all the money from our book sales back into the ministry. So we had a donation to give as well. If you’ve read Jade’s story, then you’ve gotten a glimpse inside the mind and heart of a young, scared, abused, pregnant teenager. My husband and I had begun to search organizations who help women such as Jade. One day it was my hap to land on a website called Lifehouse Maternity Center. I had already viewed several other organizations, but nothing had tugged at my heartstrings until I began to read about a place that doesn’t enable women but empowers them.

It didn’t take me long after calling and speaking to Shannon Zimmerman, Lifehouse’s development director, to realize that this was the place for Jade. Lifehouse is just what the names states it is. It is a place where life happens and new lives that may have never tasted the sunshine, drink it in, all because of one woman’s devotion. If you haven’t met Joan Smith the founder and executive director yet, I hope that after reading this blog you decide to visit her because she will inspire you. Yes, she will cause you to want to put action behind your faith. Babies aren’t just born at LifeHouse and turned loose, they are raised by women who become whole, educated, empowered, and full of God’s light. And so about a week ago my husband and I stepped inside the house that houses unborn LIFE, and we could feel His breath blowing through the rooms and the people there.

Joan doesn’t just want to give you a tour of her facility that houses up to 12 pregnant women and 12 women who have had their children; she wants you to dig your fingers into the fertile soil and become part of the solution. Lifehouse has seen over fifty-five babies born. If you’re wondering what you can do, go to the website and take a look around. My husband and I were given a tour, and we were blown away. Upon entering our eyes were mesmerized by a hand-carved wooden mural of a tree of life, thanks to artist Dan Diekhoff. If you study the pictures, I posted closely you will see that he incorporated life in the leaves and branches. Many have donated furniture, installed windows, painted walls, laid floors, dry walled, and another did landscaping; each room held a story of what God had done. We were encouraged by the many who volunteer their time to teach the women about Jesus-Yeshua and the love of the Father. Others who take time each week to teach life skills, like how to cook, clean, financially plan, learn job skills, drive the women to appointments and the list goes on and on.

Just before leaving we have ushered up the stairwell where hung a beautiful picture painted by a woman contemplating abortion, underneath was her story written in her own words. She had started painting the baby in her womb, and all the darkness was overpowered by the light from her paintbrush and ultimately her art has become a staple for every woman whose feet land there on that landing. If they are standing there, they have chosen life. The artist Linda Kovacik Maassen wrote these words below:

“I painted this image while living in an indigent neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. I worked in a basement studio with dim lighting. I was a ‘starving’ artist at the time, subsisting on cornbread and peanut butter, looking for work and painting every spare moment I could.

“Such a humble, raw offering at the time. As a young woman, I was wrestling with the implications of the pro-choice stance. What did it mean to choose to end a life growing inside — a glorious life full of light?”

“It hung in a hotel art show on skid row in 1983, and now decades later and 2000 miles away, here it is in such a fitting home exquisitely framed — something only God could do!”

Yes, God speaks even through the walls at LifeHouse. What stood out to us was the fact that The women at Lifehouse don’t just have a baby and then get turned out into the world. They can stay up to 4 years after the baby is born and work on getting a degree or job training along with wisdom from counselors and God’s Word to help them prepare for this new life. I am looking forward to heading back to LifeHouse to meet the women there and hopefully plant some good seeds, dig my fingers in the soil a bit.

Does this sound like a ministry you’d like to give back to? If you go to their website, it says this, “Whatever your talents, there is a need for them at Lifehouse. A little of your time can make a big difference in the lives of the women and babies at Lifehouse.” If you are looking for a ministry that’s making a difference and saving lives and changing the future, look no further. Pray and ask The Father if He would have you volunteer your time or give a donation. Miracles live here.

God created life, and He knows how many hairs are on our heads when we sit, and when we rise, our thoughts from afar and the Bible says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalms 139:13. He also knew when Abel’s blood cried out from the ground. Won’t you help save a life today? I think Jade has found a good fit. If you feel led to donate your time, talents, or monies you can contact Joan and Shannon below.

http://www.lifehouselouisville.org/administration

 

Blessings!

Tekoa

Author of the Month

charlie

It’s an honor to share this month’s “Author of the Month,” and it couldn’t be a more fitting day today because it’s her 72nd birthday. Happy birthday Charlie! I am so thankful that this kind soul came into the world and my life. Charlene Manning, no relation, came to me at a time when I needed a friend, mentor, and even a mother figure and she filled all spaces. About six months before I met my husband, Jeff Manning, I met a woman named Charlie Manning, thanks to a good friend on Facebook, who said she felt led of the Lord to introduce us. Mary Merth thank you for your obedience. Soon I was receiving emails from a lady who I’d never met, and she was slowly and charmingly giving me a peek into her world and tearing down the walls I had built to protect me. Little did I know that this woman once led a congregation, wrote weekly Shabbat blogs and had also published a book. All those things were exciting enough, but it was her strength, love, and prayers that carried me through some of the most challenging times in my life.
After two devastating church hurts, she shared with me her own story and how the people in her town would cross the other side of the street when they saw her coming. She told me of how she poured her heart into her ministry only to be shattered. Not only had this woman been through church hurts but she had lost her breast to Cancer as well. She knew about pain and suffering. I soon found out that her wisdom and compassion was like a cool compress to my heart and shortly after meeting her my world collapsed. I missed my church family where I did ministry, I was battling an illness, and then my mother died of Colon Cancer. Again, Charlie was a sounding board and a true friend.
During this time I had just gotten disability and moved into an apartment after being homeless and times were tough. This woman sent me checks in the mail when I had no money for electric or food. Not because I hinted that I was in need, but because she felt led by the Lord to bless me. Before I knew it, I looked forward to my mornings so I could read her notes and hear her voice. When it was time to publish Polishing Jade, I felt led to send her the manuscript to look over and add anything she felt might brighten the pages. She breathed new life into Ellen Cotton and soon informed me that “Cotton” was a family name. Once the books were printed, my husband told me one evening that I should deliver the book to her in person and before I knew it we were headed to Texas to meet the other “Manning’s.” When I hugged this woman’s neck for the first time tears began to well up in my soul. Would she ever know what a blessing she has been to me?
Charlene Reams Manning is a native Texan. Most of her life was spent in her hometown of Del Rio on the Mexican Border. If you met her, she would give you a good handshake and might say, “Call me Charlie; most everybody does.”
Charlie has a great affection for the State of Texas. From a young age, she spent a lot of time outdoors. She says she is “outdoorsy” and not afraid of what she calls “man work.” She was always very comfortable with farm life. In her younger days, she learned to swing a hammer like the boys. At age nine, with her Mama, she carried her half of 5-gallon bucket of sour milk and food scraps out to the pigs. She rode her horse around the dusty roads and cotton fields every chance she got. In summer, she mostly wore shoes only on Sunday. She is a real country girl.
Charlie served as pastor to a small church in Del Rio for five years. Some of that time she was on the speaker circuit, traveling a couple of times a month to speak to women’s groups, churches, and camp meetings. As time moved along, her life underwent some significant changes. After several years of living single in San Antonio, Charlie remarried and began to write. At last, she found her true calling. She enjoyed the preaching and counseling and fellowship that goes with being a pastor, but she LOVES to write.

At the moment, she writes a weekly ‘column’ publishing it in e-mail and on a website. Each week she sends a brief Bible teaching, or testimony, or editorial opinion/life observation from her ready pen (or fingertips). She has written poetry and short stories, none of which have been published. She has published an inspirational devotional book. It is a testimony, history lessons, and Bible teachings. Teaching articles written by Charlie have been featured by other ministries on their websites. She lives in Georgetown, Texas now, with her retired mail carrier hubby Tony Manning. He owns a clock repair business. Charlie helps him with that. They have two Boston Terriers and a beautiful flock of chickens. Nearby are both her sons, her daughter-in-law, and all three grandchildren, ages 20, 14, and 9.
I hope this excerpt from her book, Memories of My Earth Home: 40 meditations on our natural world blesses you. Here’s Charlie in her own words, “There were friends over the years who encouraged me to write. But I never felt like I had an idea for a book. One day, the Lord Himself showed me the format for a devotional book that would be a compilation of my experiences, my home state, my faith, Bible truth, and other things that I find important and of interest to me. Once I got the go-ahead, I began to write. The Lord was the inspiration. Some days I typed almost like taking dictation the words flowed effortlessly chapter after chapter. It was (is) my hope that this book would encourage Believers and maybe lead others to experience God and Jesus for the first time.

I have a couple of ideas for other books, but old age and illnesses here and there have kept me from focusing enough to get them written. I also have an online ministry, which keeps me writing often. Anyone interested in receiving this can also contact me by e-mail.

Memories of My Earth Home: 40 meditations on our natural world is no longer available in print, but I have a few copies I would sell. Contact me at Redhen1944@aol.com. Cost is $15 which includes shipping.

Excerpt:

At the age of nine or ten, I was already very aware of adult conversations and the BIG DEAL about rain. There wasn’t any. We went to the Baptist every Sunday and always prayed for rain.

In 1954, spawned by a hurricane that made landfall at Brownsville, there was a huge rain north of Del Rio, and the Rio Grande River was swollen to a raging torrent. Although we only got big clouds and a couple of days of misting at The Farm, we heard about the Rio Grande being at flood stage and drove over to Eagle Pass to see. The streets were muddy, and the flood marks on the buildings were halfway up, about six feet high. Store windows were broken out. There were furniture and clothing littering the downtown streets. Also, store mannequins lay around in grotesque poses. I thought they were dead people, but Mama assured us they were not. I stared at them for a long time to make sure she wasn’t just saying that to make us feel better. I determined that they really were mannequins, but still felt very disturbed by the sight of them. They looked so much like real people. Daddy drove slow because the streets were barely passable.

We made our way down to the river. The bridge was still there, but it was knocked off its pilings on the Texas side and sitting kind of sideways in the river. The river was a muddy, boiling mess and still way up above its normal level. Brush and various objects floated by. The bodies of dead cattle came along, turning over and over in the water as they swept by.

Then came the most distressing sight of all. A very large entire tree came floating along branches, leaves, roots and all. Clinging there amongst the branches were three terrified goats, bleating and crying as they went by. I voiced my concern that someone should rescue them. Daddy said the goats were smart and they would hang on until they rode it out and the water got calm enough for them to swim out. I wasn’t sure of that and pictured them drowned like the cows.

I was very quiet on the ride home, remembering the things I had seen and heard: the pitiful looking mannequins with limbs all askew, the deafening roar of the water, and the crying of those little goats. It was all very upsetting.

But nothing has stopped me from enjoying the rain. Even now, when there has been a long dry spell, I sometimes go outside when those first drops fall and feel the sprinkle on my skin, smell that clean earthy aroma and enjoy the thunder and lightening.

There have been times in my life that have seemed that spiritually dry for me—times when the rain of God’s blessings, the water of His Spirit, the cool refreshing nearness of His presence all seemed almost a dim memory. So, we pray for rain, both the natural and the spiritual, remembering that God promised there would be former (Spring) rain and latter (Fall) rain, and even sends a few sprinkles in between to help our faith.”

If you would like to be added to Charlie’s list or order a copy of her book just send her a message at Redhen1944@aol.com. Or you can read her Weekly Sabbath devotion at https://weeklysabbathsurvey.wordpress.com/

Blessings!

Tekoa

The King’s Table

By: Tekoa Manning

 

Saul’s grandson, the son of Jonathan, named Mephibosheth was crippled as a child. When he was five years old, a report came that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle and when the boy’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, the nurse dropped Mephibosheth, and he became crippled (2 Samuel 4). Oh, the tragedy if it all!

We don’t hear much more about this boy until 2nd Samuel chapter 9 when David decides to bless anyone left of the house of Saul, the greatest enemy he ever had. David approaches Mephibosheth now a young man and Mephibosheth says, “What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?” How ironic that the name “Mephibosheth” means destroyer of shame, yet his crippled up legs had brought him just that, shame.

Have you ever felt crippled? Ever felt worthless, like a dead dog? Okay, maybe not that bad, perhaps you’ve felt like another Biblical person, a lady named Ruth.

In the story of Ruth, when the wealthy landowner, Boaz, noticed Ruth picking up the leftover crops and grains, Ruth 2: 8-10 says, “Boaz went over and said to Ruth, ‘Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field.  See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them…. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.’ Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. ‘What have I done to deserve such kindness?’ she asked. ‘I am only a foreigner.’”

Have you ever felt like a stranger by people you know and have known all your life?

I can relate to these two people, Ruth, and Mephibosheth. Maybe you aren’t crippled in your legs or feel like a foreigner, but you feel crippled in some other way? Maybe it’s drug addiction that has crippled you, cancer, abuse, depression, or a nasty divorce or break up… whatever your illness is, I know one place you can go where all the hurt and pain disappears. “THE KINGS TABLE.”

Back in 2 Samuel, when Mephibosheth walked into a room he was noticed, not for his beauty or even his heritage as the grandson of a king and the son of a mighty warrior. No, that is not what people noticed; they noticed his hobbling bent up legs.

When David searched for Jonathan’s son, and brought him to the palace and placed him at his table, the Kings table covered his twisted legs that wouldn’t work right. The king’s table hid all his infirmities. He was under the shade of that table, and he was fed delicacies. In one day Mephibosheth went from thinking he was a dead dog, to eating at the king’s table. What a remarkable thing David did, showing kindness to the seed of his enemy!

I hope that if you feel like a dead dog right now, that you can see this crippled man hobbling, needing help up into a chair at the king’s table. Some of us need help climbing up to that table dripping with myrrh. Some of us need a David to come and say, “Mephibosheth, you shall eat bread always at my table,” 2 Samuel 9:10. We must remember that our Father is a King and that we have worth. We are worthy of love, and our Father cherishes us.

Jumping to the other story, perhaps you relate more to Ruth. She felt crippled too but in a different sense. She was a foreigner, a poor woman picking up the leftover scraps of barley; like my mother used to say, my barley was my waitress tips.

Things end well for Mephibosheth and Ruth, though they had afflictions, they were eventually able to climb up to the table and drink the wine Abba daddy had poured out for them. They were hidden by His banner, under the shade of His right hand, and favor was brought to them in their later years.

I pray that whoever is reading this that your later years shall be greater than your former and that you eat at the King’s Table all the days of your life. I pray that you know that Yahweh has a plan for your life, plans not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future. I pray that you realize you are not a dog, but a child of the highest King, the risen MESSIAH, and the Great I Am!

Do you know how important you are to The Lord Adonai?

Climb up to the King’s Table and sit a while, sup with him and taste and see that the Lord is good! “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor,” Psalm 91:4.

Anton Bruehl, Vogue, November 1941

Photo Cred: Anton Bruehl, Vogue, November 1941

about the authorTekoa Manning is the author of two fiction works, Polishing Jade & Walter the Homeless Man. After a neurological illness left her disabled and eventually homeless, Tekoa began to channel her creativity into writing and devouring the Word of Yahweh. She is the wife of a retired police chief and the mother of three sons. Tekoa and her husband reside in a small town in KY. The pen name Tekoa means Trumpet, the instrument that unites people at a sudden impulse.

You can find out more about Tekoa and her writing endeavors at tekoamanning.com