Why create a website for widows? Why create resources? Why travel to multiple countries in Africa, Albania to train vulnerable widows in a self sustaining skill? On becoming a widow, this was not my plan.
However, I am a woman of faith. In the blur of my fresh widowhood, seeking help, I found resources, but none with a spiritual foundation. My faith matters. So can I not lean into it in my loss? Internet, library, I searched. I attempted to visit places my husband had been without me. Yes, we traveled to over 40 countries together. I decided to retrace his footsteps in Burkina Faso. Contacting his radio friend there, she was eager for me to come. ‘“You’re a widow now. Will you teach widows here?” Of course, I had been studying scripture intensely about widows since my loss. 103 verses referred to us. I read of God’s compassion for us, for me.
Outside Ouagadougou I stood under the thatched roof, 103 degrees, open air church, looking into the faces of a few hundred widows, so young, many with nursing babies. Through our translator I stated simply, “I do not understand what you have experienced, I don’t know your culture. But you and I have something in common. We have buried our husbands.” The look in their eyes changed from questioning doubt to trust. They listened intently.
I shared widow stories from Scripture: the widow and her pot of oil, the widow of Zarepath and more. Perspiration dripping into my flip flops, I shared how God showed up in love in their time of trouble. They related to these stories of poor widows in Scripture. Their plight was the same.
The leaders simply commented after my talk, “You’ll be back tomorrow.” Of course! That night brought no sleep. I tossed in my bleak hotel room in Ouagadougou. It was the seven month night anniversary of Bob’s exit to heaven. I had no peace. I cried out to God. I had searched for faith based resources and found none. “God, I have been struggling to hold on to You. Their needs are greater than mine!”
It was as if I felt God’s tender tap on my shoulder and heard him ask, “Miriam, my daughter, what are you going to do about it?”
That night Widow Connection was birthed in my soul.
A mission statement grew out of the needs I had experienced.
- to provide practical, biblically-based resources in areas such as finances, family, relationships, and life skills as follows.
- to encourage, equip, and educate widows
- to strengthen those who have experienced loss
- to reach out to widows internationally
Teaching the next day, the group was larger, engaged, and hungry for hope. I taught from Jesus examples of the widow and the unjust judge, Anna, and Mary, Jesus’ mother. The next days were filled with teaching in villages to churches and one assembly of five churches, each pastor sitting behind me on stage in large beautifully carved chairs. After my teaching, one pastor stated to me, “It is good.” They all nodded.
Returning home, I was on a mission.
Step back with me before that trip to Burkina Faso. My faith was shaken by the untimely and wicked disease that took my husband. I speak of this struggle in From One Widow To Another: Conversations About The New You. I will summarize by saying I did not have the unquestioning, trusting faith I wish I had, as some do. But God took my questions and answered enough of them to comfort me. Even when I pushed Him away with tears, He would not let go.
This priceless lesson of trusting Him was invaluable as I began with a simple website, and moved forward to write books and more. I could not forget the faces of those widows in Ouagadougou. I had to reach out to their need. Tailoring? Why not. Grandma Hatie had taught me that skill on our Singer treadle. Yes!
I had never initiated anything entrepreneurial, global, or started a not for profit organization. My faith became my foundation in every new challenge. Lessons I knew from Scripture meant more in this new adventure. For example:
The ‘sling shot principle’ from David and Goliath. When you use the skill you have, God gives you an upgrade. That means you’re on a learning curve. (I Samuel 17 & 21) David’s sling shot was upgraded to his confident use of Saul’s large sword.
The ‘use what’s in your hand principle’ from Moses. (Exodus 4) When God calls you to leadership, He asks you to look at what you have, do what He tells you to do trusting Him. Moses ordinary shepherds staff accomplished extraordinary things.
To trust God when you do not see or imagine where He is taking you is to embark on days that are miracle sprinkled. Some, others see and some are for your eyes only.
So, my friend, this is a faith based ministry. I lean heavily into God, my Creator, His word, the Bible for my instruction, and His Son, Jesus, my Savior and example.
Note: Widows encouraged and equipped through our resources, meetings, and events come from diverse backgrounds. Some are women of faith, some struggling, some simply searching for help in their time of loss. All are welcome. Widows selected for our global projects meet only two criteria: widowed or abandoned and poor.