Thursday, July 25, 2013

God’s Protection for the Widow




As I gazed at this lovely picture, representational of Christ caring for the sparrow, my mind was immediately drawn to Matthew 10: 29-31 where Jesus reminds us that not a single sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge. I then read the verse accompanying the picture and thought of the “winters” that many women experience, none colder and more isolating than that of widowhood.

The widow is experiencing her winter of life alone, learning to navigate unknown roads iced over by fear and apprehension. There are the roads of unfamiliarity with many chores now fallen on her shoulders, forced changes in lifestyle, and the sorrow of loss coupled with the isolation of traveling life solo, to name a few. It begs the question, “Does Jesus care?” Dear sister, the sparrow is a very insignificant bird, not esteemed by the general population. In fact, they’re more often thought of as pests. Yet, Jesus used this bird, low on the pecking order, to remind you that not a one of them falls but that He sees it. Then He reminds us that we are of more value than many sparrows. The Scriptures go beyond that and have specific verses relational to the widow and God’s loving care for her and His stern warnings to anyone who “messes” with her. Isn’t that wonderful! Think of some of the widows in the Bible and of how God protected them. Naomi had to walk many miles over dangerous terrain with her young daughter-in-law, herself a widow, to reach her homeland. God provided protection for her and she safely made that arduous trip without molestation or theft befalling her. God sent Boaz into the life of Ruth who, as a young attractive widow, was vulnerable to the whims of the tough, young men who worked in the fields. Boaz, their boss, told them not to bother her…and they didn’t. The widow of Zaraphath was facing a sure death and God sent the Prophet Elijah to her and she had food to sustain her through a drought which resulted in death to many. To make this widow’s story more poignant, she wasn’t even a Jew, but she, just like the tiny sparrow, was loved and protected by God. God led the Prophetess Anna to the temple where she lived and was taken care of for the rest of her life and was rewarded by getting to hold the baby Jesus in her arms. Jesus oversaw the care of his widowed mother, Mary, and entrusted her into the care of the Apostle John before He died. There are those of you who have children who want to assist you and I encourage you to not let your pride disallow their doing so. While it is understandable that you don’t want to become totally dependent upon them, remember that God might just want to use them, as He did Jesus, to help care for you when you are bereft of your husband, thus reaping the blessings of God to those who help the widow. There are countless stories of contemporary widows who have trusted God and He has used His children to help meet the needs of these precious women.

When the cold winter of life envelopes you and its accompanying storms threaten to undo you, remember that God’s love for you is immeasurable and that He has you safely sheltered, keenly watching your every move and He will not let you perish. Rest assured that His care will sustain you throughout this life and extend beyond the grave when you, too, will enjoy all of the infinite pleasures of Heaven. Wear that assurance like a coat, letting it bring warmth and comfort to your soul.

Shari Hervold

In one of my readings I learned that the composer, Mrs. Civilla Martin had gone to visit a bedridden friend in Elmira, New York. Mrs. Martin asked her bedridden friend is she ever got discouraged because of her condition. Her friend replied, "Mrs. Martin, how can I be discouraged when my Heavenly Father watches over each little sparrow and I know He loves and cares for me?" On her journey back home Mrs. Martin completed the writing of the song as have come to know and love and which has been a source of encouragement to many, HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What a Fun Meeting!


Today’s meeting “Christmas in July” was a great success! We had new ladies, and our largest number of ladies for this group since FNF began here in south FL. To God we give the glory.

There was a lot of love, laughter, Christmas songs too and the gift exchange was a lot of fun.

You can click on the photos for a larger view.


This is our Welcoming Committee ~ Ramona and Ellie


We had a delightful story about “What Dogs Want For Christmas”. This little dish that someone received says “Let Heaven and nature sing”. 


Peggy and Dotti decorating the tables in the dining room.


Sue also helped to decorate the tables.


Smiling faces, twinkling eyes.


Gift opening and exchanging was a great fun.



Photo below taken by Bonnie.

(Dotti asked that I include this photo in the post.)


Our scripture reading for today was 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be God,
even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies,
and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort them
which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us,
so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.


Our lunch was delicious, conversations and  laughter flowing.



Thank you all for a lovely

“Christmas in July”.


Have a wonderful week, and we’ll see you all in August.



Saturday, July 6, 2013

Reminder ~ One week til Christmas in July


Good afternoon Ladies ~ Are you ready?  Do you have your gift picked out and wrapped for our upcoming meeting? Are you ready to sing some wonderful Christmas songs? Ready to have good times with friends.

* * * * * *

If you haven't marked your  calendar yet,

do so now,

this is a date you don't want to miss.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

* 15 July 2013 *

10:00 a.m.

Palm Beach National
Golf & Country Club

Come celebrate with us
& bring a friend.

$12.50 per person



Looking forward to seeing all of you.

May God’s blessings of love, peace and joy surround and flow through you.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Silver Anniversary Blessings




Silver Anniversary Blessings




June, 2013, is a special month in the life of this ministry. Twenty-five years ago a newly widowed woman went to her pastor weighed down with grief, frustration, and a degree of anger. She demanded of him a reason for being left to deal with her widowhood by herself now that the funeral was finally over, the flowers faded, and the gifts of food all eaten. He replied that he was now dealing with the next crisis in the life of his congregation. Then he looked at her with a heart of love, coupled with godly wisdom, and suggested that if she felt a need for friendship to aid her in her new state, perhaps she should do something. Thus, FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS was birthed in the heart of Dotti Israel Ackerman, but from the heart of God. FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS, like many organizations and ministries, had humble beginnings. Dotti, with her gifts of organization and creativity, started with only ten women. For years they met in the back room of a New Jersey diner with restroom facilities so lacking in hygiene that one of the attending widows cleaned it before each meeting. Dotti’s pastor, Bruce Sofia, and home church, Gloucester County Community Church, offered emotional, spiritual, and financial support and in the intervening 25 years FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS has thrived. Dotti has kept the programs simple, yet meaningful. Everything is geared to the needs of the widow. Now, twenty-five years later, FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS has two chapters, one in New Jersey and one in Florida. They meet on a monthly basis for lunch, fun yet meaningful activities, an engaging speaker, and special music. Countless widows have made friends with other widows and have received in turn a greater appreciation for the comfort and love toward the widow by God, a lessening of the pain of bereavement, understanding hearts, encouragement aimed at helping each widow to reach out to others in need, and a shared time of fun.

Happy 25th Anniversary to FRIENDS NEEDING FRIENDS! May God’s blessing and anointing continue to rest on you.

Shari Hervold

Director of FNF-New Jersey

What Widows Can Learn from Ruth's Good-Byes





Think back over your life and the many times the word "Good-bye" has crossed your lips.  Good-byes are so final. They always represent someone or something that has left us, sometimes never to be seen again. We say good-bye to people who move, to people who leave our presence, to our pets who die, and to institutions and/or communities in which we've been involved when we graduate or move. Without a doubt, the most difficult of all good-byes is that final good-bye that we say to cherished individuals when they die. As a widow, you have been compelled to say that good-bye and it hasn't been easy.

In the book of Ruth we read the story of, among others, Ruth, a young Moabite woman who had said good-bye to her father-in-law, her brother-in-law, and her husband in death; then, her sister-in-law, her parents and other family members, and her country and customs when she moved with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem. One of the reasons that good-byes are so difficult is that they always signify that our lives will be different, if not diminished, in some way. Ruth had suffered so many losses in her life, including her support for the daily provisions of life. To whom could she turn for help, comfort, and guidance as she began life in a strange country with only her embittered, though loving, mother-in-law to offer guidance? Ruth had to learn to trust the Hebrew God, the god to whose allegiance she had sworn when she told her mother-in-law that "your god will be my god." (Ruth 1:16b) While I don't know what was going through Ruth's mind, I do know from Scripture what she did to start over, to make something positive out of all of the negative good-byes in her life. She got busy. It was she who suggested to Naomi that she go out in the field and glean for wheat so that they might have food. (Ruth 2:2) She worked hard, not just for herself, but for her penniless mother-in-law.  And Ruth was rewarded by God in a way that she could never have thought imaginable.
Keep in mind that when you say good-bye to one thing, it is usually followed by hello to something else. I encourage you to say a final good-by to any anger or bitterness that may be lurking within you and say hello to the many God-inspired opportunities to help others that await you. You may just find that you will find comfort and restoration along the way.

Shari Hervold