Author: Lori Apon
Birthdays offer an occasion to remember. Today, my 60th and Perspective Ministries 5th birthday, provides a good opportunity to share the back story of this ministry with thanksgiving.
When I was 38 my husband made a choice that left me physically alone to raise 8 small children. I still remember weeks later sensing that God had a call on my life to widows even though at the time I barely realized I was one myself. The week prior to my husband’s tragic death, I shared with him that I felt God was preparing me for ministry to women. He wholeheartedly agreed.
In the early days after my husband’s passing, because our family story was somewhat public, I received opportunities to speak and encourage others, seeming to fulfill the call I had heard from God. However, two years into the journey, God gently and clearly spoke, not yet. I knew this was the voice of God and my response was to obey giving my time and energy to raising my children. In that moment, the idea of ministry was tucked away for decades.
At the same time, I came across an interesting passage in 1 Timothy 5:9-10 that mentioned a list of widows who would receive pay when they were 60. I thought, hmm, I certainly might need to be on that list one day, so I jotted down the specific qualifications on an index card I carried with me that were outlined for widows who would make it on that list. Years later I learned that the list was actually for widows serving in a leadership role assisting other widows, not those who would receive beneficiary care.
At that time these qualifications became a goal and standard of daily living for my personal widowhood:
- [Having been] the wife of one man
- Reputation for good deeds
- Has brought up children
- Shows hospitality to strangers
- Washes the feet of the saints
- Assists the distressed
- Devotes herself to doing good in every way
The next season
When an empty nest was in sight, I met with my pastor and mentors to share that I felt God was calling me to give the next season of my life to care for widows. I didn’t envision starting a non-profit, I didn’t even really know how to go about that (Oh, how much I have learned!), but I communicated the vision to connect the needs of widows with those who want to meet her needs.
At that time, I was caring children in my home as a licensed childcare provider. Knowing this new calling God gave me, I sent out a letter as a year-end campaign to raise funds to close the childcare and start my care for widows.
If the necessary funds came in, I would step out in faith.
I did something I had never done before and asked God for a sign that He was leading me. I walked outside to make a quick video appeal, and as I was sharing that I was getting ready to birth another baby, Perspective Ministries, I looked up in the sky to see an upside-down rainbow—a sign, to me, that God was smiling on this next season. Within 30 days, God provided the amount needed—to the penny!
An occasion to remember
It is hard to believe that the baby, Perspective Ministries, is celebrating five amazing years! It is also hard to believe that I am turning 60, an age that seemed so far away when I made note of those qualifications for one caring for widows in a full-time position.
Today, most churches do not have a widow on staff to care for widows and there are speculations as to why the specific age of 60 is mentioned in the Bible. However, we know for sure that God commands us to help widows of any age.
For me, because of the 60 mentioned in 1 Timothy, I have anticipated my sixties with expectation and joy. God has been at work bringing me and Perspective Ministries to this point. My devotion to remain a widow to care for widows is a calling God has given me passion for. It is a great blessing that I get to encourage widows to put their trust in God daily.
So, today my ask is simple. Often people “give their birthday away” for a cause they believe in. Today, I am giving this decade away to the plans and calling God has on my life to care for widows through Perspective Ministries.