Testimony. You have one. I have one. Each day, we’re living one.
On Sunday, November 4, 2018, I had the opportunity to stand before my church family at Living Springs Community Church, Glenwood, Illinois, and give my testimony at both morning services.
Part of this experience was preparing what I was going to share. When you know you have 5 minutes to talk about what’s been happening in your life during the past 16 years, you have to choose what you’re going to say carefully.
Part of my preparation was actually writing down — in cursive, on paper — what I wanted to share. My mind still connects with my heart best when I put pen to paper.
Giving my testimony aloud was much easier than I ever thought it would be. This was a specific part of my testimony: how God took my pain and turned it into his purpose for my life as a widow.
On a crisp November day, kind of like today, my husband Gene and I were walking across our front porch. On our way to his dialysis treatment at a dialysis center 10 miles away.
Gene didn’t make it to his dialysis treatment that day. He collapsed and died on our front porch.
Leaving me with a mountain of debt and medical bills, a house payment, a car payment, a house with an acre of land, and the part-time job I had. In a small town in southern Illinois.
Just 3 months later, my Mom passed away. That’s when I really learned what being alone is like.
I spent the next 10 years depending on God and working to survive. Yes, it was painful. A kind of pain like I’d never experienced before. A deep, soul-wrenching pain that I was sure would never go away.
During that time, I kept asking God: “Why am I still here? What’s my purpose? What work do you have for me to do?”
He gave me a few assignments, and I did them willingly. But my biggest assignment came in 2013.
I attended a conference called “Start” in Nashville. After the first day of presentations, I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room, asking God to show me what he wanted me to start.
That’s when God revealed to me, in detail, my next assignment. More Than a Widow. I still have the notebook where I wrote down all the details he gave me that night.
More Than A Widow. A ministry of encouragement, hope, and resources for widows so that no widow has to walk alone. A way to help widows live beyond the label and find their more.
I’ll admit that More Than A Widow has been an interesting adventure. Bible studies, meetings, meetups, a website, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, a weekly newsletter, one-to-one caregiving, funeral home visits, home visits, notes and cards, prayer, and so much more.
Sometimes I find myself feeling fresh pain. It’s different now, though.
I feel pain for all the women who are on this journey with me. For the challenges, sorrows, losses I know they are experiencing. No matter how long it has been since they lost their husbands.
Before I began More Than A Widow, I’ll admit that I was stressing out about numbers. How many other ministries for widows already exist. How many books about being a widow are already out there. How many likes I would get on Facebook or followers I would get on Twitter. How many people would read my blog posts. How many widows I could possibly reach.
Then God gave me an attitude adjustment. He whittled down my expectations to
If I can help just 1 widow, then all of this is worthwhile and pleasing to him.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted on my More Than A Widow Facebook page about all the friends and family members God has given me to help me on this journey. A widow named Brenda commented on that post, saying that she has no one. She said that since her husband passed away, all the people she thought were her friends have left her.
Connecting with Brenda that day, reassuring her in my reply that I’m here for her, God is with her, and many other widows are here for her — that makes More Than A Widow worthwhile and pleasing to God.
If you’re a widow or you know a widow, I invite you to go to
and connect with God and with other widows who are on this journey.
I also ask for your prayers as this ministry continues.
What is the testimony you want to share in 5 minutes? Write it down today. Then find someone to share it with. Aloud. You’ll be amazed to see how far you’ve come.
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2018 by Laura Warfel