Raw Miracles in Real Time Part 2: From Brokenness to Breakthrough

 In General

“You’ve failed.” This dark thought whispers to me when I feel overwhelmed. The accusation of my human insufficiency slithers around my mind threatening to suffocate my joy. That’s when I purpose to offer my fears up to God in prayer.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Failure is part of being human, but God is always faithful. Easy to say, but is it real? Is God really faithful enough to provide for our everyday needs? Is the Lord of All simply our please-give-me-a-convenient-parking-spot-God, or is He actually faithful, powerful, and intimately involved in our lives? Is He really able to heal our hearts, give us new purpose, while also providing food, housing, and other very real needs in a timely way as we serve Him?

Can God be trusted? My daughters and I were about to find out.

Today’s post lists a series of trials, challenges, and miracles that end with a God-sized surprise! Please click on the active underlined links throughout this post to see additional videos and materials.

Please join me with a cup of tea or coffee and relax for a moment while I share our story of how God has provided in amazing ways. I encourage you not to skim the details. Portions of our family journey are humbling. I share those details with you because this is our testimony of God’s real healing & provision as we trust Him and walk by faith.

God is there for you too, Dear One. My hope in sharing the arc of our story is to demonstrate God’s Spirit taking our mess and making into His hopeful message. In our weakness, God’s strength shines. So, SHINE ON, LORD!

I’ll share our God-Adventure in 5 parts.

  1. Know WHO’S You Are: God’s Promises as our Foundation of Peace
  2. Raw Miracles in Real Time: Wild Stories of God’s Faithfulness
  3. The Blueprint: Simple and Profound
  4. A Life of Powerful Prayer: Real Life Resources
  5. What’s Next: Coming Up!

1. Knowing WHO’S you are is part of knowing WHO you are.

When I feel overwhelmed, I see myself as a widowed mom, a solo parent, limited in time, energy, and resources. But that’s not the whole picture. Not by a long-shot. I am a daughter of the Most High God. There is a vast, powerful, spiritual inheritance associated with my ultimate identity. Just like I have an identity associated with my earthly parents and family, so too, I have an identity and power as God’s daughter.

God, as a super-personality, explains His multifaceted love for us as attributes that can be understood through our earthly relationships. Generally, speaking, God comforts us like a mother, defends us like a father, loves us like a husband, stands by us like a best friend, etc.

His promises outline how He sees me (my ultimate identity) and how He loves me (my ultimate security). When I trust that His promises are actually alive and true, my spirit can rest in His unfailing love, and I can walk through anything with Him. This perspective is how circumstances don’t have power over me.

Trusting in God’s promises, I can choose peace even when times are hard. Does that mean I am immune to loss or trials? No, it doesn’t. It does mean that God gives me the capacity to be transformed by trials into the best, most empowered, compassionate version of myself.

Not that I always get this perspective right. It’s a daily spiritual practice. Here are a few Biblical promises to whet your appetite regarding God’s love for you!

God’s Promises are Active, True, Relevant, and Yours Today

God Loves Us: Psalm 52:8
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

God is our Father and Defender: Psalm 68:5
A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

God Protects us: Psalm 91: 4
He will cover you with His feathers. Under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

God Defends and Provides for Us: Deuteronomy 10:18
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.

Taking Advantage of a Widow or the Fatherless Arouses God’s Anger: Exodus 22:22-24
“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused…

God Will Renew our Strength: Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

God is Our Husband and Maker: Isaiah 54:5
For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is His name –

God Comforts us as a Mother: Isaiah 66:13                                                                                                                               As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

God is the Provider of the Widow: I Timothy 5:5
The widow who is really in need and left alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.

God will Restore Us and Make Us Strong: 1 Peter 5:10
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

God Sees Me “El Roi”: Genesis 16:13

So Hagar gave this name to the LORD who had spoken to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “Here I have seen the One who sees me!”

It should be noted that Hagar is the only woman in the Bible that gives God a name.

God Want’s to Show Himself Strong on Our Behalf: 2 Chronicles 16:9

For the eyes of the LORD roam to and fro over all the earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him.

God Blesses Our Work When We Bless Widows and the Fatherless: Deuteronomy 14:29

Give it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all your work.

2. Raw Miracles in Real Time: Wild Stories of God’s Faithfulness in our Lives

My uncle once said, “When I’m about God’s business, He’s about mine.” I never forgot that. To me, this means that when I focus on what interests God, He takes care of my needs. Empowering widows has become a joy for me. For the last eight years, it has been my privilege to serve our widowed community through what ultimately became our nonprofit, Widow Strong. As a widowed mom, as time went on and the challenges increased, I wondered if God was able to actually provide all our needs as I continued to volunteer full-time while also raising my daughters.

Here are some of the details of God’s wild provision. I’m including a brief synopsis of 2007, when my sweet husband passed away, my girls lost their father, and I became a widowed mom. Then will time-hop to 2012 when I decided to answer what I sensed to be God’s call to widows’ ministry. By 2012, I still had a significant portion of life insurance funds and also worked in the news. Funding wasn’t a pressing issue then. From 2012 – 2015 God was laying down the framework of our ministry. From 2016 – 2020 God has been ramping up my training to trust in Him with larger challenges and more intricate details.

On a few occasions, I’ve been promised a modest salary as a ministry leader: once in 2018, and once in late December of 2019. Excited for predictable income, I planned around those anticipated funds. To date, those particular offers have not yet materialized. (I still hold out hope!) Nevertheless, God has shown me that He alone is responsible for my provision and that He is able and willing. Okay, here goes…

In 2007: Ground Zero

  • April 2, 2007 our family lost my husband, Jason.
  • While I was at the GA Aquarium, Jason, who was also my best friend, left home without telling me where he was going.
  • He left me a note that he would we back in 3 days.
  • He was gone for 5 days.
  • 7 months pregnant, I prayed fervently day and night for his return.
  • I also called everyone I knew that might have a clue as to where he was, including the police.
  • I also looked anywhere I thought he might be.
  • Because my husband elected to leave home, as stated in his note, the police would not pursue him until he was missing for 24 hours.
  • By the time Jason was legally missing, I would later learn, he had passed away.
  • Instead of his safe return, the police informed me on the 5th day of his absence that I lost him to suicide at a campground in north GA.
  • My healthy baby girl, Sophia, was born in June of 2007…Thank God!
  • My mother lost her battle with breast cancer in September of 2007
  • As a result, it was very hard for me to pray fervently or trust God completely for quite some time.
  • Was God absent? Did He ignore my prayers? What’s the point of praying? I had lots of questions.
  • Trained as a missionary years ago, I knew that staying in a relationship with God was still the safest place to be for me and my children.
  • I chose to trust God and respond in love to Jason’s passing even in the midst of extreme sorrow.
  • Meeting with a financial planner four weeks later, Joe, a believer, prophesied that I would be in ministry one day.
  • He also encouraged me that I would write books and speak about grief.
  • 8 months pregnant, and struggling with depression, I thanked him and said I would have my hands full raising a new baby and toddler as a widowed mom.

Given the traumatic loss of my husband, it is miraculous that God enticed me back to living a life based in radical, trusting prayer. Here’s our story.

In 2012: The Calling

  • At an outdoor church revival service in 2012, I answered an altar call to enter ministry.
  • I had felt a pull towards ministry for several years.
  • Trained as a missionary with Youth With a Mission in my 20’s, I did not enter into missions at graduation.
  • Instead, I ultimately joined my father, an NBC network cameraman, and we worked together as a father-daughter news crew on national network news shows.
  • I worked in the news for over 20 years.
  • Back at the outdoor revival meeting in 2012, church leaders prayed over me at the ministry altar call for God’s direction.
  • Later that same day I was told that my father, now retired, had a stroke in FL (We certainly didn’t pray for that).
  • Due to my father’s stroke, he had to move from Florida and live full-time with me and my girls in Atlanta.
  • My father, now living in my house, gently challenged me on a consistent basis to start a widows’ ministry.
  • My father also challenged me to write a book on grief recovery.
  • Because my father lived with me and participated financially, I could stop working in the news and focus on starting a widows’ ministry.

In 2013: The Grief Experiment

  • On January 7th of 2013, I started Team HOT Widow: Healthy, Optimistic, Thriving.
  • I led 7 widows to train for a triathlon together for five and a half months.
  • Click HERE to our “Hot Widow” story on USA Today.
  • We completed the Callaway Triathlon on Father’s Day of 2013.
  • Pairing health and wellness with grief recovery had tremendous results for all the widows and their children.
  • I personally funded the costs for this endeavor from my life insurance proceeds from Jason’s passing and documented the results by hiring a media manager to make videos of our journey.

In 2014: The Deal

  • I planned to move back to Costa Rica to live and raise my family. (My oldest daughter was born in Costa Rica).
  • My father refused to come with us, threatening to remain in a retirement home State-side.
  • My father was my best friend and I wouldn’t think of leaving him behind.
  • We argued about this. Many times.
  • My father countered that if I wrote a book, he would consider moving to Costa Rica with me and my daughters.
  • I had never written a book before and was scared to try.
  • I started the second season of Team HOT Widow and added a second team of divorcees (Divorced Divas) and a third team of women recovering from sex trafficking.
  • There was no written plan so the teams bottle-necked, depending solely on me for leadership.
  • Still raising small children, I became overwhelmed.
  • I had to write the process down for others to us…in a book.
  • My neighbor who was also my dear friend lived one block away from our home. Dr. Bridget Heneghan taught literature at GA Tech, and I asked her if she would help me write a book. She said yes and worked with me for nearly three years on spec.
  • I also discovered that no church wanted to replicate a HOT Widow Bible Study.
  • We needed to rebrand.

 

My fabulous neighbor, dear friend, and editor, Dr. Bridget Heneghan

2015: The Book

  • I stopped leading groups and focused exclusively on writing this fresh, healthy, Biblically-based grief recovery process down in a book.
  • That one book became a series of three books: the main book, journal, and leadership guide for small groups.
  • I prayed for and found a New York Times best-selling book shepherd: Dr. Larry Keefauver.
  • I needed to raise $24,000 to edit, publish, and market my new series of books. How?
  • After praying, I ordered a 16×8 foot storage container and had it parked in my driveway.
  • I asked friends to donate their stuff to help raise money. We filled and emptied this container and my garage with things to sell THREE TIMES.
  • I sold my minivan and other personal items.
  • All $24,000 were raised.

2016: The Launch

  • The three-book series of 180 Your Life was launched March 28th, the day my husband left our home 9 years earlier.
  • Many, many miracles happened to birth these books. Many friends, family, and colleagues worked together to make this dream a reality. Too many to name here…Thank You!!
  • April 2nd, on my husband’s angel anniversary, my daughters and I left for the London Book Fair to promote 180 Your Life.
  • Neighbors and friends pooled their Delta SkyMiles to fly my girls and me to London roundtrip for the book fair
  • My girls and I took a victory lap in Europe. We only had $2,000 in cash ($2,000 pre-spent on Eurail passes and $2,000 in cash for food/lodging/entertainment) with us for 24 days.
  • We planned to lodge at YWAM missionary bases in multiple countries for discounted rates.
  • I woke up the day my daughters and I were flying out of Atlanta to London in a panic because I didn’t think we had enough money for the trip because, in the natural, we didn’t.
  • We left that day anyway.
  • We traveled to London, Paris, Milan, Venice, Warsaw, Krakow, and Vienna.
  • After 24 days, we had only pennies in multiple denominations leftover on our way back to the airport in London to return to Atlanta, but we did it!
  • Arie, then 11 years old said, “Dreams really do come true but it takes faith in God and lots of people working together.”
  • Upon returning, I prayed and then sold my house to fund creating the companion video series for the 180 Your Life books.
  • To sell my home, I needed to fix a leak in my master bathroom. The shower pan was cracked and leaking into the family room ceiling below.
  • I prayed and a widow in another state called within five minutes and offered to help with whatever I needed.
  • She paid for the leak to be fixed and for my master bathroom to be gutted and repaired.
  • With the bathroom fixed, the house was put on the market and under contract in 5 days.
  • I thought it would probably take $40K to create the video series.
  • I was wrong.
  • I discovered, over time, that it would require all the money I had from selling my house.
  • October 30th, 2016 we moved to a larger rental house in Marietta for 18 months, paying the rent in a lump sum.
  • We created the video series using the huge basement at our rental home as a production facility.
  • I could easily attend to my children and father upstairs and then return to work in the basement all in the same house.
  • November 1st, Arie, whom I had been homeschooling, started at East Cobb Christian School in 6th grade.
  • All tuition paid in full by a ministry partner directly to the school.
  • Sophia needed tutoring for an eye-tracking issue that was affecting her ability to read.
  • The cost of Sophia’s tutoring was nearly $20K.
  • This service was paid for by a ministry partner directly to the tutors.
  • With focused tutoring, Sophia lept three grade levels in one year.

2017: The Companion Videos / The Widows’ Center / The Farewell

  • We finished and launched the 180 Your Life Video series in June of 2017 at the International Christian Retail Show in Cinncinati, Ohio
  • We created a 12-month and 10-week curriculum
  • With up to 11 people working in the basement, my landlord requested that we move the production and ministry to another location.
  • Where?
  •  We started renting the Widows’ Center two miles away in July of 2017.
  • We had to re-hab the 100-year-old building and worked through the summer.
  • My cousin owns a mold-remediation company and volunteered to travel to Atlanta with his work team from South Carolina to rid the widows’ center from any mold.
  • The Widows’ Center opened on October 8, 2017 with a Fall Festival Fundraising Fair.
  • There was a huge tropical storm on our opening day.
  • We had to move all our events inside the church gym next door.
  • Only one new widow braved the storm to come to our opening day (as did several regular attendee widows and supporters).
  • Due to the tropical storm, we didn’t make the finances needed at the opening day fall festival and I had to let all but one person on our staff go.
  • I slowed down and worked from home for the next six weeks.
  • My father passed away in his sleep at the end of those six weeks on November 22, 2017.
  • Thanksgiving was two days later.

 

Before July 2017

After: Food distribution in 2020

Sweet Papa Porembski in the Summer of 2017

2018: Falling and then Flying

  • Having lost up to half our family income with the death of my father, my girls and I had to move residences by May 31st, 2018.
  • With 50% less income and volunteering full-time at the Widows’ Center, once we moved, I could not afford more than $300 per month for our rent and utilities combined.
  • We launched our first 180 Your Life small group in January of 2018 with 8 widows.
  • We raised $49,500 for the annual expenses for the Widows’ Center.
  • It was not enough to include my salary.
  • I put out a request for a basement flat on Facebook…and the one new widow from our grand opening answered!
  • God had been laying on her heart to allow my girls and me to live in her 3-bedroom basement flat.
  • She offered us her large basement flat in a beautiful neighborhood.
  • Without knowing how much I could afford, our widowed host offered that she would accept $300 a month for our rent and utilities combined! Exactly what I could afford!
  • In the summer of 2018 when my 1995 minivan (23  years old) was beyond repair, God provided another minivan for free within 5 minutes.
  • October of 2018, Arie, my oldest daughter, received a FULL scholarship four days before I almost had to withdraw her, due to lack of funding, from East Cobb Christian School, She had attended 6th and 7th grade and was now in her 8th-grade year at ECCS.

2019: Stormy Weather & Strong Purpose

  • In January of 2019, we lost 90% of our ministry funding, dropping our monthly nonprofit income to only $300 per month in recurring financial partnerships.
  • By early February of 2019, I looked at our bills and we needed $2,200 that very day or we would have to close the Widow’s Center for good by 5:00 PM.
  • I told no one and simply prayed.
  • I checked our mail at the Widows’ Center at 4:00 PM and there was a check from a new donor for $2,200!!
  • By the end of the following 12 months, our annual giving partnerships had risen by 50% to $74,000 from the full annual income of 2018. Praise God!
  • Funding widowed programs and fundraising efforts first, I still didn’t have a salary.
  • Widowed leaders emerged from our first 180 Your Life widowed small group in 2018.
  • We launched our first widows’ leadership retreat at Promise Point in Blairsville, GA.
  • Jason, my late husband, passed away at a campground in Blairsville, GA 12 years earlier.
  • We held our first out-of-state widows’ retreat in Texas.
  • We launched three additional Widow Strong Chapters.
  • We trained Widow Strong Chapter leaders.
  • We launched an exclusive app for widows.
  • We launched monthly Widow Strong Gathering Events in September of 2019.
  • We partnered with Life University and started an internship program so college students could take on leadership roles while helping our nonprofit.
  • I was a chaperone on Arie’s 8th-grade trip to Washington, DC. I needed $600 for the balance of her trip expenses.
  • The day it was due, I received a check for $600 five minutes before I left to pick her up from school at ECCS!
  • Arie and I had a wonderful time with her graduating 8th-grade class in DC.
  • Arie graduated with her 8th-grade class from East Cobb Christian School surrounded by over 20 widows and their children that came to celebrate her special day!
  • Even Arie’s new graduation outfit was an answer to prayer. A donor called from another state and gave Arie a generous shopping allowance and salon appointment as a graduation gift from her Daddy-God. Arie beamed with joy and felt surrounded by love!!
  • Arie even went to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip right after her graduation, funded by donations she alone raised.
  • An out-of-state widowed mom gifted our family with a puppy on October 28th.
  • We named him Finn.

 

2020: The Struggle and Surprise

When it Rains it Pours

  • My girls and I had to move again on January 12, 2020, because our kind widowed host needed the basement flat for her incoming family members.
  • It was not possible for me to buy or rent a home without W2 salary verification, even if I offered to pay cash for rent months in advance.
  • We celebrated Christmas at the Widows’ Center because our home was full of moving boxes.
  • With 48 hours’ notice, we invited widows and other friends to join us on Christmas day.
  • Nearly 30 widows/friends/children showed up at the Widows’ Center to spend Christmas day with us.
  • We shared food, made tie-dye t-shirts, and set off fireworks at night. It was a lovely Christmas.
  • My daughters and I didn’t know where we were moving to even 48 hours before having to leave on Jan 12th.
  • We continued to pack our things in faith waiting for a door to open.
  • 36 hours before having to move, we were offered a petite, well-appointed, 650 sq ft, one-bedroom, Airbnb in-law suite with a kitchenette that was 20 minutes from Arie’s high school.
  • With the new promise of a ministry salary the day after Christmas, December 26, 2019 from a donor, my daughters and I were assured that we would stay in the Airbnb for probably 2 weeks and then move to more stable housing.
  • Instead, due to unforeseen financial delays of support, we lived in the Airbnb in-law suite for the next six months.
  • We lost all our savings in rent.
  • In early January of 2020, my van also needed major repairs and there were no funds to fix it. It shook when I drove The windshield wipers also stopped working.
  • I drove with my head out of our minivan window in a downpour so I could see the road clearly as I took Arie to high school.
  • I told no one and simply prayed.
  • A widow in our group called me that same day to donate her 2010 Honda Odyssey with the leather package for me to drive! I received the minivan within 3 hours.

The Minivan Giveaway

  • Now I had two minivans.
  • I asked my mechanic, Greg, if he would volunteer his time to fix my old minivan so we could give it away to a deserving widowed mom.
  • Greg agreed and replaced an AXEL that was about to give way in our old van. Huh, that’s probably why it was shaking so much.
  • Greg at Steve’s Automotive Center donated at least $2,000 in parts and labor to refurbish our old van.
  • Our community voted and gave the van to Heather Clemmons, a widowed mom in our Atlanta Widow Strong Team, in early March of 2020. Still raising children and going back to school herself to become a  counselor, Heather hadn’t owned a car for 10 years. Watch the Give-Away Video Here

The Pandemic

  • Money got so tight that after paying our Airbnb rent and tithing, we had $50 left for my family for the entire month of March.
  • Miraculously, we never missed a meal and always had gas for our car.
  • In late March of 2020, due to the pandemic, we also lost 80% of our small business giving partners. I prayed, “God, what would You have us do?”
  • Within an HOUR, we had thousands of dollars in Whole Foods facial products donated.
  • We distributed those products in over 300 gift bags for widows and their children through Easter/Passover, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and widows’ birthdays.
  • Two days after receiving the personal care products, we were contacted to start a food distribution partnership.
  • Our rent at the widows’ center was provided for the next 9 months.
  • In the first 6 months of 2020, $55K was donated, more than was raised in 12 months in 2018.
  • We had food, shared food, and all the widows’ skincare was never better!
  • Since March 28, with a team of less than 5 people, including widowed moms that have lost their jobs, housing, and still show up to volunteer, we’ve been able to share 6,000 meals and over 350 gift bags with widowed families.
  • We offered online workshops, prayer group, and grief support zoom meetings to widows.
  • Watch our 90-second video HERE highlighting the beginning of our food distribution partnership with Operation Meal Plan.
  • Wondering how to host retreats in a COVID-19 environment, we held a mini-retreat at Callaway Gardens to test the process.
  • The retreat expenses for a military widow were covered by a donor.
  • Watch a 2-Minute Video about our mini widows’ retreat here.

Daddy-God Pays for Schooling

  • In June of 2020, Arie requested to change schools from Kennesaw Mountain High School to Johnson Ferry Christian Academy, a private school.
  • I had an extra $450 in my account, just the amount required for the application fee. Nothing else.
  • We applied to JFCA anyway. I prayed for God to provide Arie’s tuition as her Heavenly Father.
  • On August 24th, exactly ONE DAY before Arie started school on August 25th at JFCA, through a partial scholarship and, without my asking or mentioning that Arie was changing schools, a donor called me to partner with her tuition and it is now PAID IN FULL FOR A YEAR AND A HALF!!
  • Sophia needed tutoring. My amazing friend, Lori Apon of Perspective Ministries, a sister widow ministry, helped coordinate the partial scholarship for Arie and partnered with Sophia’s monthly private tutoring expenses! Thank you, Lori, at Perspective Ministries!

My dear friend, Lori Apon, of Perspective Ministries and Widow Life. She is also in our 180 Your Life Video Series.

Sharing Meals: 

  • I applied for and received a grant from the United Way for food distribution for June/July/August of 2020.
  • Our food distribution grew from single-serving restaurant meals to providing poultry/veggies/fruit/dry goods/juice for a family of 4 for 7 days for up to 36 families per distribution!
  • Through the United Way grant, I was able to start a modest W2 salary only for June, July, and August of 2020.
  • My daughters and I needed to move out of the Airbnb by July 1st
  • Without funds to move anywhere by July 1, I asked God to provide again.
  • I applied for a housing grant through the Center for Family Resources and received it!
  • The grant was enough to pay three months of rent.
  • I was able to rent a home without W2 proof of income for a six-month lease.
  • Widowed, married, and single moms helped our family pack and move.
  • On June 26th, 2020 we moved to a 1,200 sq ft rented house in Marietta located in a neighborhood in economic and social transition.
  • After the widows have their fill of food, our team now distributes the remaining food at the trailer park that’s walking distance from our current home.
  • The United Way grant finished on August 31, 2020
  • Back at square one with no salary again, I asked God what He wanted me to do next.

A Cracked Crown: 

  • One of my dental crowns cracked four months ago. I didn’t know what to do
  • It would be expensive to fix
  • A donor recently offered to pay all of my dental expenses
  • The dentist I went to charged $500 less than I was told he would
  • Crown fixed!

Created for Such a Time as This:

  • This article on the July/August 2020 edition of Goodlife Magazine shares it best regarding how Widow Strong shares grief support in a pandemic environment.

Home Sweet Home: 

  • Our current housing lease is up this December 31, 2020. I prayed, “Do we move, Lord? Again? Please God, let this next house be a home that we can settle into. How do we do this?”
  • On August 18th, Finn, our French bulldog mix puppy that gave our family great joy when we were really struggling, passed away two days before his first birthday on August 18th.
  • Finn was a gift to our family and the Widows’ Center from a widowed mom. Sophia, my youngest daughter, prayed for years to receive a puppy and she felt that Finn was a sign of a God’s direct answer to her prayers.
  • Finn was the victim of a hit-and-run car in close proximity (20 feet) from both of my daughters and me. It was awful and we were devastated.
  • The next day, August 19th, without any prompting, we received a call from a church partner in another state. They felt led to specifically support our housing salary.
  • We will have enough to buy a home or rent in a more established, safer area!

Rebuild and Restore:

  • I’m honored to join a docu-series production as the recurring, on-camera, widowed/grief expert for an upcoming reality show entitled Rebuild and Restore which will be featured on the streaming network PureFlix.com!
  • Rebuild and Restore is a streaming series on PUREFLIX.COM. This is a home-makeover concept, specifically benefitting widows and children. Half-hour episodes. Each episode, a team of volunteers and PURE FLIX subscribers work to rebuild the home of a widow in need.
  • The first episode was shot in May of 2020 for Mother’s Day.
  • This show will launch by Jan 1, 2021 in the US and Canada to an audience of 400K subscribers on Pure Flix.
  • Rebuild and Restore inspires local communities to support their widows and fatherless children in practical ways.
  • Click Below to watch the intro and trailer!

Turning Tragedy into Triumph:

God is ALIVE and HE LOVES US! He is willing and able to provide in very practical ways as we reach out to Him and walk in His purpose.

3. The Blueprint: I believe there’s a blueprint for God’s provision imbedded in Matthew 6:33

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

  1. “Seek first the kingdom of God above all else” I believe this means make spending time with God the top priority. Not that it has to take up your whole day, just that it’s very important to seek God for direction and connection.
  2. “and live righteously,” I never really got this one. Was it a list of rules or my personal perfection? No. I believe this is partnering with God’s Biblical purposes: love one other, help widows, help the fatherless children, etc.
  3. “and he will give you everything you need.” God’s provision is connected to His purpose as we walk it out.

My interpretation of Matthew 6:33 is this: if we spend time with Him, step out in faith to accomplish in His purpose, then He commits to giving us everything we need for our God-Adventure! Each person’s purpose is unique to them and the Lord. There are also general purposes like being a good parent, working for your family, and helping others.

This is my cheat-sheet of purpose. What’s yours?

Isaiah 1:17
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

I Timothy 5:3
Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress –

4. A Life of Powerful Prayer

This past Labor Day morning, I stumbled upon a book about George Müller and his ministry style of living a life based in prayer and trust in God. It is entitled, George Müller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge. This historical account details Pastor Müller’s God-adventure in the 1800’s. In his lifetime, George  serves over 120,000 orphans and raises today’s equivalent of over 100 million dollars simply through prayer and following God’s leading. He does not take a salary. There are so many amazing lessons I’m learning through these resources! Check out these print, video, and audio resources on George Müller.

5. What’s Next: 

  • Will you please pray for us as a family for God to make clear our next steps both personally and with Widow Strong?
  • Our goals for 2021 is to expand our live, online grief support programs and local chapters that serve widows in their communities across the US and to start chapters in Canada.
  • Miraculously, my family will have enough to buy a modest home and pay the monthly mortgage (which could be less than rent)! However, without a W2 proof of my salary for two previous years, securing a mortgage loan is the next prayer challenge. God is able!
  • Please join us in prayer that God opens the door for where He wants us to move next and how He want Widow Strong to proceed as we serve our widowed community.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

I cannot say THANK YOU enough to those that share their time, talents, and resources with us at Widow Strong. Your generosity makes a HUGE difference to widows, their children, and our family.

God is trustworthy and can be depended on for our needs. Is it easy? Does it feel safe? No, but WHAT A RIDE!

I hope this account of God’s faithfulness in our lives encourages you on your journey.

As we seek God for His direction for our next steps at Widow Strong, feel free to join us this Wednesday morning, September 16th, at 8 AM as we pray together in-person, outdoors at the Widows’ Center. If you are not able to make it in person, please consider praying for us individually. Thank you!

Our address is Widow Strong: 2105 Lower Roswell Road in Marietta, GA 30068.

If you would like to learn more about Widow Strong Programs and/or feel led to partner with us – please click here to give.

If you’d like to shop to give, please check out our additional links here. 

We are #StrongerTogether,

Mishael Porembski

Founder, Widow Strong

WidowStrong.com

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