Author: Lori Apon
Category: Her Story
All I had ever wanted was to be a wife and mother, therefore I did not feel the desire or the need to attend college, but my father strongly felt I should have a degree and insisted I do so. With reluctance, but obedience, I went to Baylor University, choosing to study Home Economics in the hopes it would well prepare me for the role of wife and mother. To my disappointment I did not earn my Mrs. degree by meeting my husband at school and I ended up with a major in Fashion Merchandising instead.
After 3 years of waiting for my husband, it was a happy day when I met Bobby Apon, one of the founders of NewSong, a contemporary worship band. I went home after the concert and announced confidently to my roommate that I had met the man I would marry. Bobby called the next day sharing he had told God if He let him marry me, he would be a happy man. Nine months later, we stood at our wedding altar both prisoners in bondage—for me anorexia, and my husband in captivity to lust and pornography.
Unknowingly, the enemy had plans to kill, steal, and destroy what we felt was our fairytale romance.
Our heartfelt desire was to trust and obey God, but by the time we’d had our first four children, my husband made a tragic choice that cost him his ministry. I was devastated because we had prayed for God to protect our marriage against unfaithfulness, so when I questioned God’s plan, He encouraged me with the understanding that I was in a season of transition and the pain would be used for my good and His glory.
During those turbulent times, God blessed us with four more children. God certainly took us up on our desire to trust Him with our family size, blessing us with eight beautiful children in ten years.
Unfortunately, just as I was feeling that trust had been restored in our marriage, I learned that my husband had been disloyal yet again. Heart wrenching tragedy struck when my husband chose to believe Satan’s lie, that he would never be free from his struggles and our family would be better off without him.
Bobby’s death by suicide left me in the rubbish of betrayal and grief with eight precious children between 13 months and 10 years old (four boys and four girls). During the transition from wife to widow, I asked God, “Are you kidding me? I’m raising 8 fatherless kids?”
I could not believe this was to be the story of my life, written in a book before time began (Psalm 138), but once again I would find Him to be faithful.
The day the police officer knocked on the door to announce this horrific, life changing news, God was there, ready to prove that He comes to give “life abundant.” Miraculously, prior to my husband’s untimely death, God had whispered hope to me through Psalm 68:5, “A defender of the widow and Father to the fatherless is God in His Holy habitation.” This scripture ended up being the script I used for sharing the devastating news with my children, “You have a new daddy because God is a Father to the fatherless.”
This truly was a holy moment for our family. From that day forward, we would experience the comforting presence of God, in the absence of an earthly dad. Even though we don’t know if God appoints or allows suffering, we can testify that He is with us in difficult times. God never leaves or forsakes us.
Grace, defined as “the divine inspiration upon the heart and its reflection in life,” was the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to do what He called us to do. For me, this was to experience life as a widow, knowing God as my husband, while raising children to know God as Father.
There were the important pillars of grace holding us up: God’s perspective of truth, the body of Christ, Christian education, mentors, and prayer. For the past two decades, God has been everything to me. He fathered my children, as promised, from birth to adulthood. And by God’s mercy and grace, my family has lived “happily ever after.”
God allowed me to experience contentment in my calling as a widow. Although this is not for every woman who has been left alone, I felt deeply the apostle Paul’s encouragement to those who are single and widowed to remain in that position, giving their life to serving others.
As my nest emptied the passion to comfort as comforted grew and Perspective Ministries was founded to meet the practical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the widow and fatherless. The promises of God became the anchor for my hurting family, and it is my desire to share this good news with others.
In the crucible of suffering, His Word shaped our perspective, and His faithfulness was experienced in powerful and tangible ways—a defender of the widow and father of the fatherless is God in His holy habitation.