...AND I'M GLAD.
James 1:27: External religious worship (religion as it is expressed in outward acts) that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need...
After my divorce in summer of ‘84, moving back to Omaha from Oklahoma to gain the support of friends here from previous years, I struggled... BIG TIME. I felt I had failed.
I had a daughter and a son.
I had a good job, but could hardly meet the basic bills. My kids had breakfast and lunch at school, for free, which was really good, because I could afford few groceries.
In January, 1985, I was asked to write a series for Lenten services. It was a different church than I’d been at before, but had friends in it; I’d previously written much for churches before leaving for Oklahoma and was known for it.
At the Lenten services, I rather upset people. I told them that I was very aware, both personally and by observation, of the "less than" treatment which those who were divorced experienced, in our overall Christian culture. I told them I hoped that the moms and their children, instead of being treated as outcasts and unclean, would be received as spiritual warfare "widows and orphans". And, surprisingly, the Lord led me to join this church.
That's how Dave entered my life. He was a youth leader and I had youth. A series of events occurred, and through them we were put together, surprisingly and rapidly. We both say the Lord did it, have never thought otherwise.
I told a lady that we were engaged. She looked at me and said, "You have the most giving man in this church." And, believe me, those missions-oriented people didn’t have a cheap attitude.
I had already seen he was a giver. Another mom who also had two "youth" told me that one night Dave showed up at her low-income apartment. On his motorcycle, he had carried a gallon jug of coins. It provided approximately $200 for her rent. She was amazed – and appreciative.
When Dave and I began dating, he started putting cash in my hand. He always bought groceries for me, gave the kids money for movies or fast food jaunts with friends. If he saw me look at clothes or shoes or anything else and noticed that my eyes sparkled, he always bought another gift. I had “never, ever, ever, in my long-legged life” experienced this joy, this kindness.
You see, Dave strongly felt that widows and orphans do not have to be women-without-husbands and children-without- parents in only the physical realm. Spiritual warfare may have occurred and they ended up alone, outside the box, struggling, and, in some ways, both physically and spiritually, starving.
And this is a ministry that has been buried in our hearts for all these years. We have done it in our area, in other parts of our country, and the world. Not a big thing, maybe just finding some clothes or food for a family, or giving a few dollars for their basic needs.
Knowing his heart, I did something.
I was in Soroti, 2004, and had just spent time praying for a woman. She was dying and had six kids with her on the veranda where she'd been living for months.
Dave was very happy when, on the phone that evening, I told him what we had provided for this lady.
That is his life. He does it today, any time, any way he can -- fixes computers, provides low-cost piano lessons, repairs homes for next to nothing. I often say that he would have been giving more and more to single moms and their children IF the Lord hadn't given him a single mom and her children and had to provide for them on a moment-by-moment basis. [But I’m an extremely blessed lady, believe me!!]
Most of the women and children we have helped have truly been widows and orphans. Their husbands and fathers abandoning or abusing them, even when the husband/dad was a Christian. My case, too. My only safe thing to do was leave... but being a single mom, totally responsible at all times, nearly crushed me with depression and fear.
Dave was dropped into my life with a heart for “widows” and I became extremely jubilant, through this godly gift, and, since then, our main heart ministry is what began this story: James 1:27.
[BTW, "widow" can be a "widower".]
--Drop to Peter Pollock's Word Carnival which is "Jubilant" today. A good way to feel, doncha think? --