Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Widow's Story: Joan Wyrtzen Bagg, part 2

I believe that when God wants to move you He makes it clear by a restlessness in your life. I didn't know what it was, but I had grown very lonely even with my daughter's family very close by. They all had lives of their own now and didn't really need a Grandma to care of them anymore. In the spring of that year I visited some friends at Word of Life in Hudson, Florida. While there I enjoyed fellowship with some old friends which lead to me buying a Park Model at Word of Life RV Park to be near them again. Returning to Oklahoma I wondered if my actions were right or not. I thought I might have been too impulsive.
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The following fall I returned to Florida to spend the winter and to see if the Lord did have a plan for me there or if I was just caught up in the moment when I bought the Park Model.

I prayed and tried to get involved with the activities at the Bible Institute and the RV Park, but nothing felt right. Then at the end of February an old friend, Doug Bagg, came to Word of Life in Florida. He had just lost his wife to cancer and came to the park to be near friends. One day he asked me if I could take some time to tell him about grief as he was really having a hard time coping with his grief. We went to coffee and a friendship began to develop between us. Then came the choices again, stay with the familiar, return to my home in Oklahoma or risk a new life again.
After much prayer and Bible study the Lord made it clear that my choice was to be the later, risk a new life again. God's plan was for me to marry Doug Bagg and together start a new ministry teaching people in the church what grief is all about.
That was five years ago and now "Journey in Grief Care" is being used in churches. We have yet to see all God will do with this ministry. We are keeping our focus to the future and asking God to bring Glory to Himself through this ministry.

I feel like Naomi and Ruth now...I am at home doing what God wants of me.

If Naomi had not had the faith to put one foot in front of the other in her journey back to Bethlehem she would have never known the blessing God had in store for her. And the same with Ruth, if she had not been willing to step out and risk starting a new life somewhere else she too would have missed God's blessing for her. I wonder what kind of a blessing, if any, Orpah had with her choice to remain with the familiar. The Bible never tells us what happened to her.

Many times all we can base our choices on are God's promises to us as widows and our faith to follow Him in obedience. It is so true that obedience to the Lord brings blessing, even at the cost of leaving the familiar and struggling forward to an unknown future. It's worth the cost to make the change. I know because I have been on that journey of choices---remain with the familiar, return to my roots, or risk an entirely new future--- five times over the past 30 years.

Copyright 2015 Joan Wyrtzen Bagg. Used by permission.


  1. Joan thanks so much for sharing. I have also been feeling a restlessness lately and unsure about my next steps. Bobby went home to be with the Lord a little over a year ago. For most of my life God has used me as a teacher in the body of Christ. I was very careful the first year not to jump into anything new. I was the Director of the School of Ministry in my church for 13 years. Once Bobby got sick (cancer over 9 month period), I stepped down to take care of him, completely heal and adjust to my new life. During that time I started meeting with a widow from my church and it has grown into four women. I made it clear in the beginning that I wasn't their leader( I'm a deaconess in my church) and wasn't trying to start a widows group. Since they had been widows for 7, 4, 3 and 2 years I was looking to gain wisdom and direction from them. These women have been such a blessing in my life. We are actually looking at redefining widowhood by looking at ourselves as the overcomers God made us. With that said, I have a desire that my experience and life be a testimony for others about how God can and will complete what He has began. Thanks for reminding me that all things are possible with Him even new beginnings. May God continue to bless the work He has placed in your hands. Hugs and kisses from California

  2. Question?
    was there ever a time on your journey you were so paralyzed at the thought and fear of even making a choice and if you did make a choice would it be God's choice for you?
    We hear so much about choices today, karma....the boomerang effect etc...
    So I wonder is this God's choice for my life or my choice?

    Then God reminds me because of Naomi's right choosing the Savior of the world came from this linage.

  3. Thank you for these inspiring and thoughtful comments today. It's so cool to see God at work in each of your lives. Jackie, I love how you are letting others into your life---that's how it's supposed to work within our churches---God steps in and brings people together. You remind me of Philippians 1:6 and the good work He is carrying on in your life.

    And that's a great question from Anonymous today---truly one that has been asked through the centuries. I don't know if Joan will be able to comment here or not, but it seems that for her Proverbs 3:5,6 were key. I can say that for myself, trying to be sure my decision is in God's will, there are a few guidelines I use. 1) Pray and give it time to see if God will open or close the opportunity. 2) Seek advice from godly and wise people. 3) Make sure the decision is not contrary to God's Word or His laws of nature. We can't always see the whole picture, but God will guide us step by step and if we are following Him, He will make sure that we are in His will. Philippians 4:6,7 provides some good guidance too.

  4. Dear Anonymous, I would agree with what Ferree wrote in her reply and with her guide lines.
    I love to do Bible studies. It keeps me in the Word and learning new things about God and His ways. One I did some years back, when I was married to Jack, was "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby. It helped me in making some the choices I wrote about. Henry Blackaby leads you into a deeper relationship and understanding of God. He explains the ways God speaks to you. I still refer to it. If you haven't done it, you may want to. But there is no substitute for a daily quite time with the Lord to be able to understand God's will for your life. I would suggest you read the Word, worship the Lord, pray to the Lord and then journal your thoughts and prayers. I believe you will be blessed and find your answers.


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