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Arne's Room

James 1:27


"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."


I was recently able to see my mother and father-in-law live out this verse in their own lives! And while they have been living out this verse for years through loving and caring for their grandchildren (who are not all biologically theirs), they lived it out recently in a different way.


We use this verse a lot in our ministry with "One More One Less Project" and over the past couple of months, through watching my mother and father in law, I have been challenged even more by James 1:27.


I think when we read this verse, we can absolutely be ALL IN for taking care of the orphans! They are children who are incapable at times of caring for themselves and they need us to take care of them when they don't have parents of their own who can properly do that. However, this verse is very clear when it says to look after the orphans AND the widows.


I didn't really think much about the "widows" until a few months ago when my mother-in-law brought her father, Arne, who is 88 years old,  home to live with them!


He and his beautiful wife, Wilheimena, had previously lived in a very nice assisted living home in Florida! However, Wilhelmina went home to be with Jesus in early March. It was a tough time for the family saying goodbye to such a precious woman, but we all knew exactly where she was going, so there was peace in that!



Jeff's grandparents have taught me a lot over the years about marriage, ministry and loving Jesus! I'll always remember them both asking us to spend some time praying on our knees together on our honeymoon night. It may sound odd to some but I know they simply wanted us to start our marriage off the right way and that included putting God first and learning how to pray together.


After Willheimena passed away, Arne returned to his assisted living home alone. This was right before the stay at home orders went into effect due to COVID-19. Not only had Arne lost his wife, but now he was secluded to his room 24/7 in a time when he should be surrounded by loved ones! My sweet mother-in-law (and my father-in-law) made the decision to fly down & bring him back to North Carolina to live with them so he wouldn't have to be alone during this time of grieving the loss of his wife.


I know some argued that it wasn't wise due to COVID-19.  The risk of spreading it or catching it was real, but they chose to be obedient to what God was calling them to in spite of those risks. It reminded me of John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." I imagined when my mother-in-law told me she was going to bring her Father to live with them for awhile, that that's exactly what Jesus would have done.


Once Grandpa Arne moved in with my in-laws, life changed. Life changed for my in-laws as they cared for Arne's every need and life changed for us (myself, my husband and our 4 kids). We learned new songs and laughed at the way Arne would make funny noises while eating! We listened as he read his journal out loud for all of us to hear! We learned that Arne loved dogs and was extra patient with our children! Our children were able to see & witness their own Grandparents take care of their Great Grandpa! 


While life changed for my in-laws as they cared for Arne as they would care for a child, life changed for us, as we witnessed the love of Jesus being displayed right in front of us. 


I took these pictures one day when I was over at my in-laws house and it impacted me greatly! Not only were my mother and father-in-law serving the Lord daily by caring for Arne, they were going above and beyond. 


Going above and beyond is exactly what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross! Jesus laid down his comforts, his wants and desires and simply sacrificed FOR US! 


I was able to see James 1:27 a little differently than I was used to seeing it through my mother and father-in-law caring for the widow. I was able to see a picture of the gospel!


I will forever be grateful for the months spent with my husband's grandfather and the months that I was able to see my mother-in-law honor her Father in the final days of his life. And I'm also grateful I was able to see my Father-in-law honor his own Father-in-law and so graciously and patiently care for him. I'm thankful how God used this time, during a worldwide pandemic, to teach me to not JUST care for the orphan but also the widow.

Here is an old hymn that Grandpa Arne sings on a daily basis and our family learned the chorus by hearing Arne sing it so repetitively.

I know not why God’s wondrous grace To me He hath made known, Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love Redeemed me for His own.

But “I know Whom I have believed, And am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how this saving faith To me He did impart, Nor how believing in His Word wrought peace within my heart.

But “I know Whom I have believed, And am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.” I know not how the Spirit moves, Convincing men of sin, Revealing Jesus through the Word, Creating faith in Him.

But “I know Whom I have believed, And am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.”

I know not what of good or ill May be reserved for me, Of weary ways or golden days, Before His face I see.

But “I know Whom I have believed, And am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.”

I know not when my Lord may come, At night or noonday fair, Nor if I walk the vale with Him, Or meet Him in the air.

But “I know Whom I have believed, And am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.”



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