New Widow Program Director Amy Woody
Amy joined our team in October of 2021 as Stand in the Gap’s Widow Program Director. She got straight to work connecting with potential church partners all over the US! Since Amy began in October, we have welcomed twelve new church partners to our Widow program.
This means 22 total churches are now serving the widows of their communities with our Stand in the Gap curriculum.
As a widow, Amy faithfully connects with this community and serves them with a heart that knows the pain of losing her life partner.
Amy lost her husband Darren in 2016. They had just purchased their dream home, were raising their pre-teen and were involved in worship at a small church. “It was one of our best phases of life,” Amy shares. “I was 36 years old and our daughter Kaitlyn was 12 years old.”
On May 3, 2016, Amy and Darren went to the gym, near their home, after work. Darren mentioned he wasn’t feeling well after working out. So, Amy called her parents who lived nearby, and they came to stay with Kaitlyn while Amy called 9-1-1. “He hadn’t been sick before that day,” Amy shares, “When the medics arrived, they reported that everything looked fine. But since Darren was still not feeling well, my dad encouraged us to go ahead in the ambulance to the hospital to get things checked out.” Amy and her mom followed the ambulance to the hospital and when they arrived at the hospital, they were informed that Darren flatlined and was unable to be revived.
The doctors still aren’t 100% sure what happened exactly, other than it was heart-related. For the next two weeks, Amy and Kaitlyn, stayed with her parents. Amy’s sister and her best friend rotated staying with them for the next three weeks. Amy immediately got herself and her daughter into counseling, separately. She then joined a support group and prayed like never before.
“I was fortunate to process my grief by having people around me,” Amy says. “I quickly learned that most people going through the same thing I was, did not have that. And that is the reason I’m so passionate about what I do with Stand in the Gap’s Widow program today.”
Amy’s counselor suggested she start writing, as a self-help exercise. So, Amy started an online blog as a way to let her support system know where she was in her and Kaitlyn’s grief journey. But her readership grew far beyond her friends and family. Her real-time, honest, and heartfelt words reached other women who were hurting too. They shared with Amy how much they related to her experience and how much they benefited from her constant reminder to turn to God in their grief.
“Ultimately my God is bigger than grief or loss,” Amy shares, “and I know where my husband is. With God on my side, I knew I’d get through this. But it’s not just me – I also have a daughter who relies on me. And that’s where I learned how to parent through grief.”
Amy & Kaitlyn struggled through many things together over the next few years, but they also traveled and enjoyed each other as well. Then at the end of 2017, Brian walked into their lives. Amy & Brian married in 2018 and he adopted Kaitlyn in 2019. It was actually Brian who connected Amy to us at Stand in the Gap!
“I had been praying in this new season with my daughter about to graduate high school, for a new opportunity,” Amy shares. “I have a passion for widows, and I had been involved in a small widow organization in Oklahoma City.” Amy was praying for God to present the right next step when her husband Brian mentioned the opportunity in the widows program with Stand in the Gap. Amy prayed “if this is where you want me to be, God, open the doors.”
While a worship song played in Amy’s car in October before she was hired, God reassured her “You just have to step through and let me give you the strength and ability to serve widows in this new way.”
Now Amy is connecting with existing and potential church partners while developing our long-term, nationwide plans for our widow ministry. “I am so blessed to see how the church is serving the widows in their communities,” Amy shares. “I love seeing the momentum grow every week!”
Our ultimate goal is to continue connecting the local church to our widow program, across the nation. So that when a widow reaches out to Stand in the Gap, they are immediately connected to a local program. Amy knows that when it comes to supporting a woman in her grief, it’s all about relationships and a support system.
Amy wants every widow to know they are not alone. “There are people who care about you and love you,” Amy says. “they may just not know how to show it. And that’s why we are here… That’s what we are working on. God isn’t done with you.”
Amy also wants every church to know it’s time to serve the widows in your congregation. “Don’t be intimated,” Amy says. “We are here to help you, the local church, every step of the way. Even if you don’t think you have a lot of widows, you are missing out on people who need to be loved on.”
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27.
We are so grateful to have Amy join us as we seek to be the body of Christ, together!