Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Widow's Story: Joan Wyrtzen Bagg, part 1

My email inbox should be called a surprise box; I never know what it holds for me. I hear from widows all over the world and from all sorts of situations. Just yesterday I heard from a lady who had recently moved from South Africa to Germany! Moving state to state is hard enough for me. How does one move to a different continent, with young children in tow? That's astounding, isn't it? 
But there's one thing that doesn't surprise me anymore because I see God work it over and over again ---The Bible guides each of our paths! Psalm 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
Recently I was surprised to hear from Joan Wyrtzen Bagg, a lady I've admired from afar over the years; how cool that she'd write to me! And even better---once again I saw how God guided in her life with His Word, and that the Book of Ruth revealed God's guidance to her many times and in many ways. She'll be sharing her story directly with you too, today and tomorrow. Her account is laced with wisdom and God's grace that will bring surprising hope to your heart too.
I have been re-reading Ferree's "Postcards from the Widows Path." It's a great book about a widow's journey and three widows from the book of Ruth. Chapter 7 entitled, "Three Choices" caused me to look back over the choices I have made as a widow. I could relate to the choices that the three widows in the book of Ruth made:
  • Orpah chose to remain with the familiar.
  • Ruth chose to risk an entirely new life.
  • Naomi chose to return to her roots.
When my first husband, Loren Steiner, passed away from cancer I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't understand why the Lord took him home at age 50. One night all alone I asked the Lord why this had happened and what did He want me to do now? The Lord brought to my mind Proverbs 3:5,6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways knowledge him and he shall direct your paths."
The Lord told me that I didn't need to understand why; He wanted me just to trust him and let Him direct the rest of my life. That night I surrendered my life to the Lord.

Image result for word of life schroon lakeShortly after that I was a faced with two choices, like Orpah, remain with the familiar or like Ruth, risk an entirely new life with someone else in a new place. I chose to take a risk on a new life somewhere else. It turned out to be the choice that the Lord, wanted me to make. For the next ten years my life was wonderfully blessed being the wife of my Boaz, Jack Wyrtzen, evangelist and founder of Word of Life Fellowship.

Then abruptly it came to an end when Jack passed on to his heavenly home. And there were those choices in front of me again, stay with the familiar, risk something new, return to my roots. I remember sitting in Sunday School class when the Lord told me to "stay with the familiar" and I did.

Image result for florida mapTwo years later I felt a restlessness in my soul. I was visiting Don, my son, in Lakeland, FL, and helping him in his office. He was starting a new ministry and as I sat there I remember the Lord saying, "I want you here." Then came the choices again, stay with the familiar or take a risk with a new life. This time I chose to take a risk with a new life.  

I moved to Lakeland, FL. I became a part of the new ministry, Wings of Eagles International. It was a very fulfilling time as I worked in the offices and enjoyed my son's family.

After 5 years the ministry was established and I felt restless again. The Lord was saying, "I have something new for you." This time the choices were return to your roots, like Naomi, or stay with the familiar, like Orpah. Returning to my roots had a lot of unknowns as I wouldn't be returning to a familiar place but to a familiar person---close to where my daughter, Kathy, lived. Although 300 miles south of my hometown, I'd be much closer to my hometown roots too.
I made the choice by moving to Oklahoma and there I started to put down some roots. It was nice being within a few hours driving time of more family members, as well as being very close to Kathy's family. I lived there for 7 years when I got that restless feeling I had come to know only too well--- the Lord had new plans for me....

I hate to leave you with this cliff hanger, but return tomorrow for the next surprising chapter of Joan's life! 



  1. No wonder you admire this lady! Her story thus far is so inspiring.


  2. What did she do next? Looking forward to reading the rest tomorrow.


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