Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Widow's Story: Lois L.

It’s Wednesday, time for a widow’s story and I’m happy to introduce Lois, a wonderful lady I’ve met through a mutual friend on Facebook.

Lois and her husband, Jim, were married in 1973. Jim was a widower with two small children, and although they intended to immediately go to Ghana, West Africa as missionaries, their mission board wanted them to adjust to their ready-made family before they would also have to adjust to a different culture . . .  Well, enough from me! Let’s hear it straight from Lois!
ferree

Hi, my name is Lois. I was born to missionary parents in Africa so didn't feel it would be a problem adjusting in Ghana, but the Lord used the wisdom of our mission board to direct our steps. During the two years of adjustment we ministered to inner city kids in Muskegon, MI, and we then felt God calling us to stay in the US instead of going overseas. 

Over the next 29 years we moved from Muskegon to Atlanta, GA to Cedar Lake Camp in Livingston, TN to Toccoa, GA. We ministered together, growing together, our love deepening for each other as our love for God grew -- far from perfect -- but always seeking God!  We were blessed with 3 more daughters giving us 1 son & 4 daughters.

In November2001 Jim began experiencing pain in his left side. The result was stage 4 pancreatic cancer with 4-6 months to live.  The Lord took him home June 6,2002.  “Now what?” I cried to the Lord! Jim had been my best friend, my soul mate, my spiritual mentor.  I knew as long as he was by my side I could handle anything! By this time in our marriage we saw eye to eye on just about everything. But now he was gone! What do I do now?

I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.  But God had other plans.  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you." (Jeremiah 29:11-14) It was amazing how God gave me just what I needed right when I needed it!

Someone from my mission generously paid my way to a missions conference in Pennsylvania two months after Jim’s homegoing. God was not allowing me to crawl in that hole! At the conference I was asked to give a testimony how God had brought me through the previous months. 

God also used several people to rally around me and encourage me to continue on in ministry, and then God kept giving ministry opportunities!  In fear and trembling I began teaching Bible Clubs again. Previously, Jim was the teacher; I was the behind-the-scenes person. God asked me to do some hard things, like teaching, but He always provided me with help to do them.  I learned to keep my focus on Him (otherwise things didn't work so smoothly!)  I went from teaching preschool children (my comfort zone), to elementary age to teens. I’ve also taught at summer camps, directed VBS at my small church and day camps in the projects; and now I find myself ministering in Rehabs for drugs & alcohol. 

In February God opened the door for me to go on a mission trip to Romania.  I'll be leaving June 16 and returning June 29.  Who ever thought that at age 62 I would be entrusted with such an opportunity? I am going with an organization called There is Hope Foundation.  

We all deal with grief and widowhood differently.  I found it very healing to cry with my children & grandchildren when something triggered a memory.  At the same time we remembered good times that brought laughter.  Those two were a good mix - tears and laughter!

My prayer is summed up in words found throughout the Psalms, "Lord show me your ways, make Your way straight before me, lead me on a plain path and give me an undivided heart."

Have I done this perfectly? NO! It's a process. You have to always keep before the Lord -- pour your heart out to Him and ask Him for help.  He's a Father to the fatherless and a husband to the widows, and He has never failed me!!

Thank you for sharing your story, Lois! 
If you'd like to keep up with Lois on Facebook, please let me know and I'll send the friend suggestion to both of you. I'm looking forward to hearing about her trip to Romania. God is full of surprises for widows! fbh

2 comments:

  1. Parts of this story are so familiar.Thanks for sharing this.Ferrie,I don't have a super story to tell,but if it can be used I would be willing to share my experience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ruth we'd love to hear your story! I'll contact you soon about it. Isn't it encouraging to hear how others are dealing with things and what the Lord has taught them and the good things He still has in store?

    ReplyDelete

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