"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
I've been very burdened lately, that it is time to get back to the one promise I made Layne that I have not kept--to write the book "Our Journey In His Hands". It's time.
I have put it off for so many reasons. I know the inner strength it will take to go back through Layne's journals and my own, and to re-live that time when cancer dictated so much in our lives. I also know that when I begin to write it, I'm going to face a lot of challenge from Satan, and let's face it, the past few years in my life have had enough trial and tribulation without calling out the enemy for face-to-face combat. I also know the time commitment, and I run a business and a household. Last but not least, who knows if I write it, if anyone will ever read it. Can I get it published?
But I realize that it's time. I know it was God who laid the book on our hearts. It was Him who put the love of writing and tools for that in my heart at a young age. I know also, that when He gives you talents, He expects that you will do more than court reporting or writing about the local diners with the gift.
But most of all, I'm realizing there is a gap that is not being filled by our churches. It's a huge gap, because it's the essence of pure religion according to the writer of James. We aren't serving our widows.
There are ministries for everything: Promisekeepers is for men, Women of Faith for women. There are youth ministries, homeless ministries, ministries for those with addictions such as Celebrate Recovery. There are so many ministries, but this one thing that the church barely mentions. Yes, there are grief ministries, but they don't really "care for" the widow.
I know that we are overlooked as a group because the women who are widowed have begun to care for one another. There is an amazing blog called "A Widow's Walk" and another "One Fit Widow" that reach out to thousands of those left behind to finish their walk on earth alone. Yet there is no church-wide movement to care for those mentioned so often in the Bible as the charge of the church.
Why should the church care for widows? Because we simply cannot preach that women should take the biblical role of a help-meet, making her primary job caring for the household (though many women today also work) and then, if her husband is taken before her, kiss her on the forehead and wish her well.
In my own experience, most churches and Christians are at a loss as to how to handle a widow. They aren't sure how to care for them, and when you call on Christian men to step in, they struggle to find the time. In addition, we really aren't preparing Christian men to think about their wives--and what happens if tomorrow, the Lord calls them home? Preparing for the possibility that you are not here, through journals so that your children can know your heart, education of your children in the ways of the Lord, and of course, financially, is of utmost importance.
Cancer has a way of making you a "widow" or "widower" even before your spouse is gone. You lose the ability to share openly with them--most spouses don't talk about their fears with the spouse who has cancer, as they have their own fears. You may lose their income, and their true personality due to some of the drugs that they must utilize in the fight. We really need, as a church, to be reaching into homes where there is cancer, and serving them in so many ways, most of which cost nothing.
In addition, there is so much to say about the journey...how God did indeed show up, and that death is not "losing" or "lack of faith." It is graduation into the arms of a loving Savior.
So, it's time to write about our journey. You can help in so many ways:
1. Prayer--this needs to be a book about what God did and what He can do
2. Support by sharing the blog
3. Encouragement --hold me accountable to write, and encourage me. Writing is a lonely occupation and it is very easy to say "Oh I'll do it tomorrow, who will know if I don't write?"
I hope that this book will help so many reach back to their Savior, who is the great physician and the husband to the church. I hope that any opportunities to speak will help to provide for widows of the future, and provide hope to those with cancer, that God holds their journeys and knows their tears.
With much love,