This is a story about rats. This is a story about a heating unit deciding to quit on a 20 degree night. This is a love story.
A few weeks ago, while I was relaxing after putting my four year old to bed I heard RATS! They were in the attic. If you want to know how to trigger a widow’s feelings of grief, helplessness, abandonment and injustice; it is a simple as one scurrying rodent.
Days later, I heard them scurrying in the heat vents on the floor right beside my head, while I was lying in my daughters bed, trying to be a good mother and read her a bedtime story. My calls to the exterminator were being ignored. Constant promises to be there in the morning were broken.
Then, the night it was 20 degrees, the heat quit working. Now, I don’t know if the rats digging tunnels around the heater were the cause, but I have a guess. These are the practical things that can make widowhood so much harder because everything that happens makes you think . . . If he was still alive… If he was still alive, he could have taken care of the rodents. If he was still alive, he could have fixed the heater. If he was still alive, he would have known about the rats before they were in the walls. If he was still alive, he would have taken the dead rats in traps out of the basement and not left them to rot. But he cannot help, because one night while my one year old daughter and I were sleeping, he was killed in an armed robbery while driving for Lyft.
The very next morning Lori Apon, widow friend and Founder/Director of Perspective Ministries, called to remind me that God is the Father to the fatherless, the defender of widows. Lori knows the complexities of a widow’s struggles and grief, because she has been there for twenty years.
But Perspective Ministries did so much more than just remind me of this truth. They let me know they would walk through this with me. They did more than pray. They did even more than cover the costs. They made the phone calls, they made the arrangements, and they made the payments. They made sure we were warm and safe. They were the hands of God as he fulfilled his promise to defend the widow and fatherless.
There was the moment, when the heat finally came back on, that I felt this overwhelming sense of peace and joy. There was a moment of knowing how thrilled Shah would be to be part of providing us with a brand new heating unit. Just like hard circumstances can be doubly hard for a widow, gifts can be a double blessing. The blessing is so much bigger than the generosity, the heat, and the rodent extraction. The blessing is the tangible evidence that God keeps his promises to care for us, his promise to me and his promise to Shah.
Over the last years, I have been blessed by God’s spirit of peace as I have attended the Bible studies with other widows at Perspective Ministries. I have talked with Lori and felt relief as she understood what I was going through. I have been blessed by her faithfulness to remind Zoya that God is her father, so she does not just hear it from me. I knew the heart of Perspective Ministries was to help widows in practical ways, with those big things that our husbands used to handle, but now I’ve been a recipient and I know that gift is bigger than one can imagine. This is a bit hard to write, because there are just not words to do it justice.
Thank you to all who work at and support Perspective Ministries. We are warm, blessed, and feel so very loved by Him.