The charity and ministry of Team Orphans is completely focused on one thing: orphans. That’s what I do. That’s why I train, race, fundraise, blog, plan 5K’s, Cycling Days, and jewerly shows. It’s basically my full-time, non-paying job that keeps me busy all day. When I’m not working on anything related to Team Orphans, I’m parenting my once-orphaned-but-now-adopted kids! But when I read James 1:27 orphans are only half of the equation. We can’t forget the widows. What exactly makes a child an orphan or an adult a widow?
James 1:27 says that “pure and faultless religion is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Those aren’t easy to do!!! This world is full of junk that will so pollute us if we let it- just turn on the TV and watch one news program. But what about caring for orphans and widows? I think we need to define what they are before we can care for them in their distress. An orphan is a child who is missing parents or has no one to protect him/her. God speaks many times about being a Father to the Fatherless and a Defender of those who can’t defend themselves. The most vulnerable people in Bible times were orphans and single women- women who weren’t married or women who’s husbands had died or left. Both groups had no protection, no one to stand up for them demanding justice. In some ways, I don’t think much has changed in last several thousand years. But I’d like to challenge the conventional definition of widow.
Most of us would agree that a woman who’s husband has died is a widow. But the bigger problem in America today is the astronomical number of single moms! I can’t tell you how many women I know in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s who’s husbands are gone and they are trying to raise their children by themselves. These are the modern day widows and they need our care as much as the orphans! It was just 9 years ago that I was a single mom who had three recently adopted children, a husband who had left, and was working 3 jobs trying to put food on the table and keep our home. I was blessed to have a support network of friends and family who brought me food, fixed my van, took care of my kids after school, bought Christmas presents for my kids, and on and on. But even with that support, it was HARD!
Please join me in my ministry to orphans! The world is full of them and we need your help. But please don’t forget the widow in your neighborhood, school, or church. Talk with her and find out how you can support her. She might need groceries. But she also might need a new computer to help her work, someone to do her taxes, a free babysitter for a night, or her dishwasher fixed.
I am humbled beyond words that for the last two years, my final Team Orphans Ironman sponsor- the one who donated to help me reach my financial goal for helping orphans-was a single mom! God bless those women who, needing care themselves, reached out to care for others. We should do no less.