Join us today for the Saturday Night Special with Laura Warfel, coach for widows...
In this episode Laura Warfel shares how her journey as a widow led to finding her calling to impact other widows...
In tonight’s Saturday Night Special I talk with Widow Coach Laura Warfel. I ask Laura to share how and why she feels called to work with widows. I also ask Laura to share the overlooked needs of widows and how she helps guide them from grief to living.
Join in on the Chat below.
SNS98 Saturday Night Special - Interview with Widow Coach Laura Warfel
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: [00:00:00] Welcome to tonight's Saturday night, special episode 98.
[00:00:05] Laura Warfel: [00:00:05] I'm Laura Warfel. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to realize there's always more that God calls us to is key.
[00:00:24] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this inspired stewardship podcast. With my friend, Scott Maderer
[00:00:32]also, we're such a couple oriented society and being a widow. If somebody pointed out on my, in my group the other day, being a widow is not the same as being single because you lost a spouse that you didn't want to lose. Most of the time. That's what
[00:00:54] Scott Maderer: [00:00:54] it's like. Welcome. And thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:01:00] [00:01:00] If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true calling and the inspired stewardship podcast. We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence so that you can impact. The work.
[00:01:21]And tonight Saturday night special. I talk with widow coach Laura warfile. I asked Laura to share how and why she feels called to work with widows. I also ask Laura to share some of the overlooked needs of widows and how she works with them to help guide them from grief to life. One area that a lot of folks need some help with is around the area of productivity.
[00:01:48] Getting not just more things done, but actually getting the right things done can be really tough. I've got a course called productivity for your passion. That's [00:02:00] designed to help you do this and then to hold you accountable and walk with you so that you can tailor productivity, not just to be getting more done, but actually getting the right things done.
[00:02:14] What's more, we take the approach of looking at your personality and how you actually look at things in the world and tailor the productivity system to your personality. Cause the truth is a lot of the systems that are out there are written really well for somebody with a particular personality type.
[00:02:32] But if you have a different approach to things, they just don't work, but there's tools and techniques and approaches that you can take that will work for anyone. And we help you do that and productivity for your passion. Check it out email@example.com slash launch. Laura is really living out her calling to use the gifts and strengths that God has given her to help others become more than they think or imagined they can [00:03:00] be.
[00:03:00] Laura does this by connecting people with other people, with valuable resources and with the truth indirection found in God's word. She enthusiastically shares her expertise in writing, editing, marketing, public relations, all to help individuals and organizations improve their communications. In 2002, Laura lost her husband gene.
[00:03:22] When he passed away from a chronic illness after spending several years, not wanting to be a widow. Laura discovered God's dream for the next chapter of her life. When she met John Aycock and heard him speak back in 2013, as a result, she joined a group called dreamers and builders who have encouraged her to do more and find.
[00:03:42] Her more today's Laura's passion is to help 1, 2, 3 50 hundreds or thousands of widows to learn, to be more than widows. Her goal is to form an army of churches and resources to provide the help widows need to survive and thrive [00:04:00] along the way she encourages everyone. God sends her way to be more and to do more with his or her life.
[00:04:08] Welcome to the show, Laura.
[00:04:10] Laura Warfel: [00:04:10] Thanks God. I'm so excited to have this opportunity to share with your audience today. And I really appreciate the invitation.
[00:04:16] Scott Maderer: [00:04:16] Absolutely. I'm honored to have you here. And we just talked a little bit about some of your journey in the introduction, and we'll dig into it a little bit more, but I know from talking to you that one of the things, one of the groups you share and you have a heart for is around widows and their journey, and some of the challenges that they face.
[00:04:37] Would you talk a little bit more about your journey and how through that you found this calling to help widows. And I love the way you put it, help widows realize that there's still work, that God calls for them to do.
[00:04:50]Laura Warfel: [00:04:50] When I began 18 years ago, my husband and I had been married for about seven and a half years. We had been friends since [00:05:00] high school days. And I, neither one of us was expecting he had some health issues, but neither one of us was expecting that this was the end of his life. And he passed away on our front porch.
[00:05:12] When afternoon I was the most shocked person of all, both of us were so optimistic. We always held to that hope that he was going to get better. Things were going to get better. He was going to get over this next hurdle of things were going to be better. So I think that's one reason why I was so shocked.
[00:05:30] I was left with a house that we had just bought. We had just moved in about a year before I was working. Part-time we had spent all of our savings to make this move, so had very few financial resources and a lot of debt. So it was really a time when I could have easily said I can't do this. I give up.
[00:05:56] I've never been a person who says I can't do [00:06:00] something. I keep pushing, plugging away, seeking, finding, yeah, what's next? What do I need to do? So I spent, oh, about 10 years thinking, oh, the next husband's going to come along. And my life's going to be perfect once again, but he didn't. And I, after about 10 years, I said, okay, Lord.
[00:06:26] What is it that you need me to do? And that's when God revealed to me more than a widow. And I still have the journal from the start conference where I attended in response to an invitation from one of my favorite speakers and authors, John Aycock I, the first day of the conference, I went back to my room that night.
[00:06:49] Just the Lord. What in the world am I doing here? What is it? You want me to start at this point in my life? And he rebuilds it to me right. Then I still have the journal [00:07:00] where I wrote it all down the plan for more than a widow and what he showed me and what I am working to show other women is that. Just because you lose your life partner, your life is not over.
[00:07:14] You're still here for a reason. God still has worked for you to do. I know it's so challenging for women who have lose their life partner of 50 or 60 years. I know that is devastating, but there's still a reason for us to be here. And our job is to find out what that is.
[00:07:39] Scott Maderer: [00:07:39] So one of the things that it came to mind as you were talking about that is when I think yeah, in our culture and our community something.
[00:07:50] And I've seen this even in the Christian community, which is ironic because in the Bible it says, part of the Christian call is to take care of widows and orphans. And yet we [00:08:00] often overlook the needs of widows in. The community in the wider circle. How is it? How do you see this now that you've been working on this calling yourself and trying to serve some of these needs?
[00:08:14] Why do you think it is that we've come to overlook that, that those needs as a wider community and culture?
[00:08:23] Laura Warfel: [00:08:23] I will admit I was one of those people who ignored widows, including my own mother. She was a widow for 14 and a half years. I still regret all the times that I didn't reach out to her and I didn't offer her help.
[00:08:40] I think our culture. Has several reasons why we make it convenient to ignore widows. One is fear and a lot of people, especially women they're afraid, oh, that might be me someday. So I'm not going, I don't want to associate with her because I don't know. I don't want to know what that's going to be. [00:09:00] It may
[00:09:00] Scott Maderer: [00:09:00] be contagious.
[00:09:04] Laura Warfel: [00:09:04] I was guilty of that. I will admit I. Did not be friend widows very very easily in before I became a widow widows. And then a lot of times people think, oh, widows are so needy. If I help her, once I'll never get loose, I'm hooked forever. That's another common misconception, which is sad because widows, a lot of widows do need help.
[00:09:32] There are a lot of overwhelming situations that may not be overwhelming to you, but to me it might be astronomical to have to deal with something. I had a situation. My husband had been gone for probably three years or so. Had a plumbing problem in my bathroom. The. Plumber came out. He fixed the shower, he tore out the whole wall to do it, but it [00:10:00] was fixed.
[00:10:01] And then he left and as he was leaving, I said, wait, what about my wall? He goes, oh, that's not my job. So then I had to find somebody to fix my wall. I didn't know where to turn. I had a friend from high school. I thought he'll know somebody that, that can fix it. So I called him up and I said, Do you know anybody who could fix my bathroom wall and he paused for a minute.
[00:10:27] He said, I can do that. How about Thursday night? I said, great. So sometimes if you offer a specific offer, one specific way to care or widow asked you for one specific thing, that can be a really good match and a really good way to just help her out of whatever she's dealing with. There are a few other reasons why I think we overlook the needs of widows in our culture.
[00:10:54] And here I'm talking about the United States culture, which is of course very different from how [00:11:00] widows are treated and what widows experience in other cultures that here in the us, I think a lot of people assume that all widows receive financial assistance from the government. And they all have plenty of money to live on because their husbands have left them pensions and life insurance policies and retirement accounts and no deaths.
[00:11:20] The younger widow is the last for that is, is what I found in my experience. So it's good to be cognizant of the fact that a widow may not be independently wealthy, that she may be facing some financial struggles that she might need help with. Also, we're such a couple oriented society and being a widow, as somebody pointed out on my, in my group the other day, being a widow is not the same as being single because you, you lost a spouse that you didn't want to lose the most of the time.
[00:11:59][00:12:00] That's what it's like. So it's very difficult to fit back into. That this couple oriented society, when you're a single, a lot of people who were your friends before, who were couples, all of a sudden may not be your friends anymore because they're not comfortable being around you. And that's very difficult to, and that's just another layer of loss for a widow.
[00:12:27] A lot of people assume that the widow's family is taking care of her. Sometimes that's true. Again, sometimes that's not sometimes when a spouse dies, it creates a rift in the family and sometimes a widow is more lonely than you would ever imagine. Even if she has family around her also widows tend to isolate here.
[00:12:53] I'm making of course a broad generalization. But it's very much easier [00:13:00] to stay at home and sit on the couch and watch TV than it is to try and engage with the world as a widow. So many times we don't even know who the widows are around us because they don't identify themselves. And we don't know that they need help.
[00:13:18]Scott Maderer: [00:13:18] I think that's something too that I don't think we recognize. So you're talking about three years out from the event. And a lot of times I think people think, oh, it's an immediate need. This doesn't necessarily go away in three years or four years or five years or 15 years for one that you're still dealing with grief.
[00:13:34]Again, people talking about you'll get over it. It's no, you never really get over grief. The loss of a spouse, the loss of a child, it's not something that, that really goes away. You just begin to learn to you have more coping skills. You get more distance, but it's not gone.
[00:13:51] Would you talk a little bit about that experience and how, how that plays out? Because I think people don't think about it that way.
[00:13:59] Laura Warfel: [00:13:59] I think the [00:14:00] best way I could describe it is you build your life around that loss. So the loss is always there. You. Don't want to ignore it because it's a part of who you are.
[00:14:12] You also don't want that to be your identity. And I always had a fear of that. I didn't want that to be the first thing that somebody knew about me. Oh, this is Laura. She's a widow. I wanted people to still see me for who I am, but part of who I am is that loss. So I. I think a lot of people will say, oh, grief never goes away.
[00:14:31]Like you said, but that, that can also be a trap, but we can also start using that for an excuse. Oh, I'm S I'm still grieving the loss of my husband 18 years ago. So I can't do X, Y, Z. That's a trap. So it's a very interesting journey. It's different for everybody. I can't tell someone how to grieve that I can help someone through their grief process.
[00:14:54] Scott Maderer: [00:14:54] So as we think about your ministry more than a widow, would you share a little bit, [00:15:00] how do you actually act? We serve widows as they're moving through that journey themselves, like you just said, you can't really, you can't tell someone else how to grieve. You can't sell someone else how to do their journey.
[00:15:11] And yet obviously it's something that, you felt a calling to support as women go through that journey. Can you talk a little bit about what do you actually do in your ministry? What is it looking like today?
[00:15:21]Laura Warfel: [00:15:21] I, it took me about two years after God showed me what he wanted me to do to basically get up the courage to say, yes, I it was, I was dancing around it, but when I finally made the commitment, the first thing that happened, I started a blog and I.
[00:15:41] Put stuff out there that I never thought I would ever share with anybody, let alone shit on the internet. What I found was people were resonating to that. With that experiences that I was having were common experiences for other widows, maybe not the same. [00:16:00] The same dynamics or the same environment, but common experiences.
[00:16:06] So by being willing to be open about myself and what I was experiencing, I think that was a way to help widows. Number one, no, I'm not losing my mind. I'm not going crazy. This other, this is happening to other people too. And also too, I can go on with my life now. I have permission. To move through this and not get stuck in it.
[00:16:30] So those were two important things. I think that happened. Then I approached my pastor at my church and asked, could I start a Bible study for widows? And he said, that's great. Sure. And he's such a wonderful open enthusiastic leader that he was, he thought that was great. So the first thing to do was identify who the widows were in our church.
[00:16:55] We found out. We did not have a complete list of all the widows in our church. [00:17:00] No one knew who all the widows were. So we put that together. We invited with us to the Bible study. We Bible study ran for two sessions and then just, that was it. And I thought, okay, this is over now. I guess I'm done it. I don't know.
[00:17:17] It's an ex. I was praying about it and God, I felt very strongly God telling me to take it on Facebook. I really felt like that was the chicken way out, that I was hiding behind some fake profile and so nice little posts and photos that I wasn't really being the servant that he really wanted me to be, but I took the risk.
[00:17:39] I went to Facebook. That's been almost six years now. It's gone through several different. Logs and dynamics and branding, but it's still going. And what I'm finding is widows who want [00:18:00] encouragement and seek encouragement, also want to encourage others. So that's been really exciting to see how the.
[00:18:09] Dynamics of the group, how the women interact with each other online. And it's been really wonderful. I had early on, I had a few meetups that was really fun, and I've tried lots of different things that what really seems to help is when I, as transparent as I am willing to be women respond to that.
[00:18:34] Scott Maderer: [00:18:34] I think a lot of times the, we don't We don't think of vulnerability, which is sharing, things like that. It's scary. But the truth is also that vulnerability builds connection. You know that Bernay brown talks about that the act of being vulnerable often builds connection. And, because you're a leader within your tribe, you have to go first, which is really the scary part.
[00:18:58]Cause it's like, you can't say you be [00:19:00] vulnerable and all the way, it's like that doesn't work that way.
[00:19:02] Laura Warfel: [00:19:02] Vulnerable while
[00:19:02] Scott Maderer: [00:19:02] I watch. But the fact that you were brave enough to go. First I think is why, people resonated with that as well. Do you do you have some hopes and dreams for the ministry you're going next?
[00:19:13] Where what do you think, how do you think it's going to evolve over the next year? If,
[00:19:18] Laura Warfel: [00:19:18] as this year started, we were having a lot of problems with I'll call them intruders on the page, right? I was shocked at first, then I was confused that I had to realize, I have to figure out what to do about this, because this is not appropriate.
[00:19:38] It's not good for the women who are trusting me with their comments and being involved here. So I moved to a Facebook group called more than a widow. Invited widows from the page to join that group. So we're gradually building that. And what I've seen there is the level of [00:20:00] sharing has just gone to a new depth that has been thrilling.
[00:20:06] We had a post the other day, a woman shared a lengthy post. She said, my husband, I'm not how'd she say? She said, I'm not sure if I can stand to be here. My husband just died two days ago and the outpouring of sympathy and encouragement from the other widows, I just stepped back and it was just amazing to see that.
[00:20:34] So I know that God is still at work, even if. The page looks different. The grateful exterior things look different. God's still at work. I still continue to post on my blog. I started doing some podcast interviews, just any way I can to get that message out there. That two widows that your life is not over.
[00:20:56]Scott Maderer: [00:20:56] What are the questions I like to ask? All my guests is [00:21:00] about the word stewardship. I obviously that's my brand, that's my identity. And it's words, it's a word that I think is overlooked and yet important. So I'd like to ask you what is stewardship to you and what is its impact been on you and your life?
[00:21:18]Laura Warfel: [00:21:18] For me, chip is about using the gifts and talents and skills and strengths and resources that God has blessed me with to build his kingdom and to help others. I've never been a person who says I'm bored or there's nothing left for me to do, or I give up when I can't figure it out. I know God is waiting right there and he's going to guide me on the right path.
[00:21:45] I just have to pay attention and trust him and be faithful. And he takes care of everything else. Another part of stewardship, I know is the financial stewardship and I will admit that has [00:22:00] never been one of my strong points. That's something I've always struggled with. So I constantly have to give that to God and ask him to help me with that.
[00:22:10] And every day I am so thankful when I see how he took this woman from the bottom of the pit and has sent me on such a wonderful path he provides for my needs every single day. And I'm so blessed.
[00:22:27]Scott Maderer: [00:22:27] So now for one of the easy questions because it's not, if I could pick you up today and magically transport you a hundred to 150 years into the future, and you were able to look back on your life, what impact do you hope you've had on the world?
[00:22:44] Laura Warfel: [00:22:44] I hope at least one widow will say because of more than a widow, I didn't give up.
[00:22:53] I have at least one person younger than me will say, I learned that from [00:23:00] Laura.
[00:23:00]Scott Maderer: [00:23:00] So what's coming next for you. As you continue on this journey to live out your call and make an impact on the world,
[00:23:07] Laura Warfel: [00:23:07] I'm going to continue with more than a widow, wherever that takes me. And I'll admit some days I've thought what is even.
[00:23:16] The purpose of this. I don't know where else to go with this. Am I spinning my wheels? And then God gives me one more affirmation. You're doing the right thing. This is what you're supposed to be doing. I want to help at least one more widow, find her more and live for more. And I want to write one more book.
[00:23:42] Scott Maderer: [00:23:42] So you have, what's your other book?
[00:23:44] Laura Warfel: [00:23:44] I have five eBooks that are available on my website at Laura warfield.com/resources. And those are downloadable.
[00:23:54] Scott Maderer: [00:23:54] Awesome. Thanks so much Laura for coming on. [00:24:00] You can follow Laura on her website, as she just firstname.lastname@example.org. That's Laura w a R F E l.com. You can follow Laura on Twitter is L w Wurfel or find her over on LinkedIn as Laura.
[00:24:15] Wonderful. Of course I'll have links to all of this over in the show notes as well. Laura, is there anything else that you'd like to share with the listener?
[00:24:24] Laura Warfel: [00:24:24] I have two things. If you are a widow, have the courage to reach out to other people for relationship and help, you will be blessed and they will be blessed.
[00:24:37] And remember that they will be blessed by being able to help you. And if a widow have occur, have the courage to reach out to her, even if she doesn't respond, because sometimes that's going to happen. Keep reaching out and keep letting her know you care. Those two things are so important.
[00:24:57] Scott Maderer: [00:24:57] Absolutely. And again, I'd like [00:25:00] to encourage folks to check out Laura's ministry. If a widow that needs some support, point them over to the page as well so that they can find that support with Laura and her community. And thank you so much for being here today.
[00:25:14] Laura Warfel: [00:25:14] Thank you, Scott. It's been wonderful.
[00:25:16]Scott Maderer: [00:25:16] thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast as a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode. Please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate.
[00:25:43] All one word iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed until next [00:26:00] time, invest your time. Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact the world. .
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We are such a couple oriented society. Being a widow is not the same as being single. - Laura Warfel
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