May 31, 2017
The seasons change bringing about a new chapter in life. We all experience the turning of these pages where pillar points are created at these intersections. As I anticipated the high school graduation for Micah, the youngest of my eight children, my time of reflection became a moment of rich worship which grew to an idea . . . A Village Appreciation Celebration.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child which was definitely our experience! Our family began to discuss how we could make such a time of appreciation happen. The question was not could it happen, but it should happen. The entire family put their yes on the table and plans began.
But what would it take to say thank you to our village?
Please take time to view the Village Appreciation video telling the story of God’s pillars of grace.
May 3, 2017
May 3rd is National Widow’s Day. Currently there are 13 million widows in the United States. God commands His church to visit widows and the fatherless in their time of distress. The Apon Family will take time to remember those in our village who have come alongside of us helping me to raise my eight fatherless children as a widow. If you would like to join us on May 18th as we testify of God’s faithfulness, please click on Village Appreciation Celebration for details and to RSVP.
Consider the following on this national holiday to remember the widow:
God is the overall covering for the widow. He takes her under His wings and promises His protection. God delights in taking care of the widow as Husband. She must learn to put her trust in Him. God cares about her spiritual, emotional, and physical needs along with her need for community. When she is walking through the dark “valley of the shadow of death,” God’s promises are of great encouragement:
“Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” Psalm 139:12
“Choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
…is a lady in transition in the context of pain. (Side note: She likes the “r” in Mrs. to remain longer than you might think). She may be young, a mommy, elderly, disabled, shut-in, financially impoverished or inherited a standard of living she is not ready to handle. The widow community is made up of different personalities experiencing a range of emotions. She is sad, distraught, stressed, angry, bitter, confused, disappointed, tired and afraid. We seek to redirect her focus from man to God to bring life after death and turn sorrow into joy. God gives examples of widows who pray, give, serve, trust and sing! It is the desire of Perspective Ministries to disciple widows towards that goal.
God uses people
- The glitter band-aid = friends, family, and even strangers who will rush in. They will act as the antibody that rushes to an ailment in the physical body until healing takes place. This band-aid may stay by her side for the first year, but starts to peel away soon after that.
- Support Squad = the core group of friends who will stick by her side. They are willing to go the distance with her, but may fall by the wayside after the second year. At this time, the widow finds herself in need of Christ to be her everything.
Jeremiah 49:11 “Let your widows trust in Me.”
God uses the church, the body of Christ
The WidowLife team is made up of the people God will use as she settles into her new normal helping to Light Their World. They will act as a gardener with a watering can of refreshment providing resources God will use to care for the following needs bringing growth for all:
- Spiritual – discipleship
- Emotional – grief support, counseling, and mentoring
- Social – helping find fellowship and adjust to her new community..
- Physical – practical needs met in ways that are meaningful to her.
In April, God allowed Perspective Ministries with the help of One Need to pressure wash some of the widow’s homes. It only takes a little time to show how much you care. It only takes a little time to answer someone’s biggest prayer. Thank you for giving so that we may visit the widow. If you would like to donate so that we can make a difference for many more ladies, please click here
Notes of appreciation for the gift of a pressure washed home:
Thank you and Perspective Ministries so much for having my home pressure washed. Words can not truly express how much I appreciate this gesture. We have a pressure washer so I “attempted” to do this on my own last year. I quickly learned that this was a task that I could not do with the angle of my yard. Therefore, I knew that I would have to have this done professionally and added it to a long “to do list.” When, I received your message that this had been handled for me, tears came to my eyes for several reasons. One, it was a burden lifted, but more importantly, I could feel the love of God and see His hand at work in meeting my needs. I also felt the love of my fellow man in reaching out to me to meet even so trivial of a need (there are so many others with much greater needs). I have had several home repair and maintenance issues over recent months and just to have one of these issues handled for me is truly both a relief and a blessing. This is a difficult month, as it is the second anniversary of my husband’s death. You and Perspective Ministries and those who donate their time and services spread the love of God and allow widows, like myself, to see some light in the darkness and to feel loved, cared for, and supported. Thank you so much for blessing my life and for allowing God to use you and your associates in such a beautiful and loving way.
It was a blessing to have my home pressure washed. I have never been apart of a group that ministered to others the way you all have to me. I want to also minister to those in anyway that I can. The blessing that this ministry and you individually have been to me are too many to list. Thank you just seems not enough to say.
Thank you so much for pressure washing my house. It was so helpful and now my house is sparkling and all the icky dirt is gone. I am so blessed!
April 4, 2017
This has been an eventful month in many ways. The Lord allowed us to bless widows in “ways that are meaningful to them.” Your gifts helped us to purchase tires, provide legal help, as well as disciple and mentor young widows.
Notes of appreciation from our sweet widows:
“Thank you for giving me the name of your lawyer. I now have a will! We met today for the first time as well as his wife. They are absolutely precious, and I was so touched with tears streaming down my face. God bless you for reaching out to so many people!
“Thank you for the blessing of tires for my van. When I had maintenance work done, the technician warned me the front tires were bald, but I didn’t have the money. I prayed and informed your ministry of the need even though I wasn’t sure I should ask. It was so wonderful to hear your words on the phone, “Do you still need tires?” My answer was, “Do I ever!” God protected us from a blow-out, but I don’t think we would have made it much longer. My latest memory verse has been, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. Thank you for being an answer to prayer and a messenger of God’s peace.
“Tonight’s food for thought at our WidowLife discipleship meeting was a blessing…will you choose to be bitter or better? Lori Apon did an amazing job once again mentoring to us by sharing widows in the Bible. I’m convinced every day more and more that God’s got a plan although we may not understand. I’m still clinging to my motto, “Never Lose Hope. God’s Got This!”
For me personally, the month has been full of emotions from welcoming my 8th grandson, Ethan Noah Whittinghill, into the family to moving my parents from North Carolina to Woodstock. It will be my joy to care for them in their later years. Pictures below show Ben and Kayla with their five boys, Nick and Abi with their four sons, and my parents. Thank you for your prayers. We are in exciting days as we move closer to the return of Jesus Christ. The enemy is aware of this as well. Aren’t you glad that he is already defeated? May the Lord bless you.
March 16, 2017
We would like introduce “Light Their World” (their = the widow and fatherless). WidowLife exists to meet practical needs of the widow and fatherless providing opportunities for others to do the same. Often, widows do not have the help or resources to take care of simple projects around their homes or to maintain their automobiles. Perspective Ministries, through the program WidowLife, seeks to build a network of resources to meet some of their practical needs. Perhaps you would be willing to offer your skills and services in one of the following ways:
- Donate your services to 3-5 widows this year
- Discount your services to all widows
- Deliver your services with integrity
Don’t have labor skills to offer? Consider giving so that practical needs can be met. We will connect your gift with the widow in need by providing reliable practical help.
As Perspective Ministries “visits” the widow and fatherless as Scripture commands in James 1:27, we learn of ways we can help. Sometimes the gift of flowers meets her need for encouragement, while at another time making a repair on her home reminds her that God is by her side through the body of Christ.
We will share unique opportunities to bless these ladies by sharing the details of the opportunity along with ways for you to respond.
Please consider the first Light Their World opportunity:
This Spring we would like to pressure wash homes for some widows. The average cost for this blessing is $200 per home. Continue Reading
March 1, 2017
WidowLife is to meet the practical needs of the widow. This may include something as simple as changing lightbulbs in a high ceiling to taking care of much greater needs. Soon we will start sending out WidowLife opportunities to “Light Their World” ~ meeting practical needs for the widow and fatherless with the desire to give them hope. More on these opportunities to come. Continue Reading
January 25, 2017
The Lord continues to highlight the key word in James 1:27 and that is to visit the fatherless and widows.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…” KJV.
The Amplified translation reminds us to “visit and look after the fatherless and the widows.”
At the beginning of the year, I laid before the Lord pages of ideas and vision for Perspective Ministries asking Him to give clear direction for 2017. The Lord has been so kind to clearly answer that prayer. God promises that “if we seek Him, we will find Him.” Oh, to live the rest of this year experiencing God in the way I have this month as I cried out to Him and heard His voice! Continue Reading
December 28, 2016
As we pack Christmas away, may the message and power of this true eternal story remain with us. The end of the year lends itself to times of reflection.
Scripture records two occasions where Mary “treasured.” Both times came after experiencing something beyond her understanding and imagination.
Luke 2:19 records that “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” This time of consideration came after Jesus was miraculously conceived, birthed and now she held the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world, in her arms. There are no words to express the joy and wonder felt as you finally look into the eyes of your newborn after months of anticipation, but to hold the Son of God, as Mary experienced, is more than we can begin to comprehend. What a great gift! She had so much to treasure and even more to ponder.
The next time Mary treasured was after her young son, Jesus, had been missing for three days. When she found Him in the temple, Jesus’ response to Mary was, “Did you not know that I had to be about my Father’s house?” Of course she didn’t know. The Bible goes on to share, “…they did not understand the statement He had made to them.” How could she understand why her boy had left her side to teach men in the temple? She just couldn’t. Luke 2:51 states, “…and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Continue Reading
December 21, 2016
When we stop to recall the Christmas story, many characters come to mind. Mary and Joseph, shepherds, angels, wise men, animals, and of course, baby Jesus. Other famous components join together to highlight the beauty and majesty of this great narrative: a star, manger, and the sign.
The sign – oh what an interesting treasure nestled into chapter two of Luke’s gospel:
“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
A sign for who? And what was the sign? These are good questions worth considering.
A sign by definition is “any object, action, event, pattern, etc., that conveys a meaning.”
Right after Jesus was born, the Bible tells us that Mary “wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Oh my, how sad, has been the response through the years when this story is told. Sweet baby Jesus had to be born in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
How could this be? Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. Surely, Father God could have written this story differently. However, God has a way of writing stories with mystery. Beautiful mystery until the last jot and tittle have been woven into a tapestry creating a glorious and unexpected symphony. There are no accidents, mistakes or even unwritten chapters that God can’t use for a purpose. In fact, we are promised that God will work all things together for good for those who love Him. How reassuring. Even our biggest mess-ups can be sovereignly used as an exclamation point of wonder.
That’s exactly what happens right here in the Christmas story. The baby wrapped up in swaddling clothes lying in a manger isn’t there just because there was no room in the inn. There was no room in the inn so that God’s son, the Lamb of God, would be lying in a manger wrapped up in swaddling clothes . . . as a sign. A sign that conveys a meaning. Continue Reading
December 14, 2016
There are many books on the market today addressing the subject of suffering and grief. Often a friend will hand a book to their hurting friend hoping the steps discussed in the read will fix or at least soothe their distress. The gift of a great resource is not a bad idea especially if the book offers hope and discusses topics that are hard to communicate or often misunderstood. Over the years I have discovered books that are truly helpful and want to share these with you over time.
Books to help the friend of those who grieve are so valuable. The friend of the one who is hurting has a very important place on the timeline of life and death for the one who suffers. You will have the opportunity to be their listening ear, their safe place, their reasoning mentor and perhaps the one who may be called to speak truth in love. Most likely, we will know of someone in our personal world who experiences tragedy or unspeakable loss. It is at this point we are given the role of “Job’s friend.” This group didn’t leave a positive legacy for themselves; in fact, Scripture records Job’s declaration of his friends to be “miserable comforters are you all.” Thankfully, my family was blessed with a village of people who were everything but miserable comforters. They were instruments of God’s grace.
You will want to be that same kind of friend as well. Being There, by Dave Furman, is a fantastic new book on the market offering help to those who want to help. Truly it is one of the first of its kind and desperately needed for the body of Christ. Dave’s counsel comes from his own road of suffering teaching him that people need help knowing how to help. Continue Reading
December 7, 2016
December will be tender for those who are facing this without their loved one. No matter how hard they try to focus on the positive, the reality of not having the one they deeply loved by their side is almost more than they can handle. Depending on where they are in the grief process, some will be in shock and denial seeming to be handling the holidays beautifully. Others may be angry and cold appearing to have become anti-Christmas.
Tell them you are sorry for the pain. Tell them sweet memories of their loved one, and ask them to share memories with their loved one. This conversation will most likely bring tears, but will be a sweet gift. Take time to care knowing their journey through the grief process takes time.
“Love those who are hurting not because they’ve done anything for us, but because of what Jesus has already done for us. You will get strength to help the hurting only when you understand what God has done for you in the gospel.” Dave Furman
November 23, 2016
This post is written from the perspective of looking back through the years on a spectrum of holiday memories; some that make me smile while others I’m glad are in my rearview mirror. For the first time, after 28 years as a mom, I am home alone preparing a Thanksgiving feast for adult children making their way home for the holidays with my grandchildren in tow. What?! How did this anticipated season come so fast? Christmas on the horizon (okay, just 32 days away) doesn’t cause a panic attack any more. I must admit; however, during those intense child-rearing years there were times I didn’t think I would make it to the end of the day much less the end of the season . . . but I did.
The song, Christmas Shoes, came out the year after my husband died. The story in these lyrics hit tender places for many causing it to soar to the top of the charts for years. The line that always pulled at my emotions was, “Mama made Christmas good at our house.” If I didn’t already feel the need to meet this expectation in myself and my family, there was now a song to confirm my responsibility. As moms, we are the memory makers. As a single or widow-mom, the weight of this can be very heavy. Stress doesn’t look good on anyone. Grief plus stress can be an emotional train wreck waiting to happen. Christmas will be different without your loved one. There is no way to pretend that it won’t be tender and downright hard. It is with this in mind that I share an accumulated basket of ideas for not only surviving the holidays, but practical ways to prepare so that Christmas really is a special time with you and your children. Don’t try to accomplish all of these in your first year. Pick and choose thoughts that might work for your family keeping in mind that I was making Christmas good at our house for eight children. The best suggestion is to hold on tight to the Lord trusting in His promise to be with you. He will carry you through.
November 16, 2016
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
You could hear bells start to jingle and feel a hint of Christmas in the air. As a mom raising eight fatherless children, this easily turned into the sound of panic. The countdown to Christmas often began a personal countdown to relief – the end of the holiday chaos on December 26th.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year; however, facing it alone with the desire to “make Christmas good at our house” was overwhelming. Over the years, the body of Christ came to soften this reality with touches of love through practical help. A beautifully lit angel guarded our front door one year, anonymously delivered in the night, to remind us that God was our overall protector. Men gave of their time to hang strands of lights on our home so the children would feel that life would go on.
Giving back and comforting as one has been comforted is part of the foundational drive for Perspective ministries.
November 9, 2016
How are we caring for the widow and fatherless?
Perspective Ministries is now 11 months old! I am still pinching myself that the vision is at the appointed time. God has allowed us to accomplish so much; however, each day we realize there is so much to do. Just think about it – there are 21,000 widows in Atlanta! The good news is God is using you to make a difference.
Because of your investment, WidowLife was able to care for the widow helping to Light Her World in the following ways: Continue Reading
November 2, 2016
What if . . .
You began to believe that there really is a “God Account?” This would mean that, by faith, you would begin to take God at His word. For years people have made efforts to invest in the right account whether in the stock market or in other investments offering great interest and gain. Imagine how God could be glorified if we began to see, take and make opportunities to invest in the God Account He has already established.
In Luke 18:22 God says, “Sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven.” What if we knew the day and hour that He was to return? What if His return were in 25 days? What would you do different? Would you be willing to change your investments to those that are lasting? Would you consider transferring funds from the accounts that you can see to those that cannot be seen – to your “God Account?”
Allow God to challenge you to: “Test Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes, says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:10
October 31, 2016
A time for Thanks . . . giving!
There is always something to be thankful for has become a popular challenge to reflect upon daily, weekly, and even in the midst of sorrow and pain. God is good even when our perception of “good” differs. Spend time this month giving thanks.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.” Psalm 9:1 Continue Reading
October 26, 2016
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas or at least it is at Hobby Lobby and every other department store in town. Many families make their way to the pumpkin patch while Michael Bublé sings Baby it’s cold outside sending a chill to the core of your heart.
Whether this is your first Christmas without someone to kiss under the mistletoe or you’ve spent years singing I’ll have a Blue Christmas Without You, the holidays have potential for teary eyes and tender emotions.
“He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” Job 8:21 Joy and laughter will come again; however, in the meantime attempt to insert some laughter and joy in your season of pain. Consider the following to bring light into your dark season:
October 19, 2016
When our greatest fears and nightmares become realities
“I’m sick and I’m coming home,” was the cry of my husband of seven years and father to our four small children on the other end of the phone. As I awaited his return, I felt God whisper, “Your greatest fear has been realized.” Upon his arrival, I learned that he had been unfaithful to me in our marriage, and was sicker than we ever imagined. God spoke to me again saying, “This will be a transition time, but it will be for your good and My glory.”
October 17, 2016
As the holidays approach, WidowLife offers practical ideas to care for widows during the month of October.
October 12, 2016
As the color of the leaves change and the temperatures cool down, signs of a new season are apparent. For many, their loved one is not by their side which can bring tenderness and pain to the holiday season. October, November and December can be difficult for grieving people. WidowLife would like to help you care for those who are suffering. Take time to consider one of the following gifts that will bring light to those who are hurting at this time of year.
“It only takes a little time to show how much you care. It only takes a little time to answer someone’s biggest prayer.”