Roberta Balsom is a midwest girl. She was raised in the city during the school months and spent a lot of time on a farm in the summer. Early on, she decided that she wanted to help people, so she became a nurse. She worked on and off as a nurse for over 40 years, in trauma, ICU, OH recovery, head and neck trauma, home health care, pediatric nursing and a camp nurse for 22 years (God love her).
In 1978, after seeing her peers attempt suicide, years of heavy drinking, a broken engagement, and not being able to find truth and joy, she called out to God. And He answered! She studied for many months, understanding that if she started following God, that there would be no turning back. In January, 1979, she became a disciple of Jesus. And she didn’t turn back.
Later that year, she met Jeff Balsom, and they were married in December 1980. They had 2 children, Paul and Susan, in the following years. They grew in their faith, serving as Bible Talk leaders. In 1988, Jeff’s job took them to Chicago,, and they continued to serve as House Church leaders and zone leaders. Jeff was put on staff as the administrator for Chicago in 1992 and Roberta served in a supportive capacity.
In 1999, Roberta’s father died and left her $27,000 so they adopted a 6 year old Siberian boy, Alex, on Roberta’s 46th birthday.
2004 proved to be a challenging year as Roberta was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemo and radiation therapy. This was difficult for her, since her mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 17 and died when Roberta was 30.
Jeff became an elder in the early 2000’s and they became even more busy, but happy to be working together and serving God as a team. He was known for his love and caring nature. It was such a shock when Jeff was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer in 2010. He had always been full of energy and vigor. During the next 2 years, Jeff underwent a series of treatments but died in 2012. His death was devastating to his wife and their children. Roberta really struggled with her trust in God but continued to serve Him, organizing a group of Special Moms of Special Children (their daughter Susan had been diagnosed with childhood cancer at the age of 15 months) and working with Older Women to strengthen their faith, God has been full of love and grace as He helped her to regain her trust as she served others. Seeing God working in other’s lives was just what was needed. God is Good.
In 2016, she moved to Oklahoma City to help her daughter, who was leading the church there with her husband Ben, with their young family of three children. This spring, Susan and family moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, to plant the church there. While in OKC, Roberta helped in different roles and God allowed her to impact many lives and be fruitful.
Roberta recently moved to Nashville, TN to be near family. Presently, she building an online support group for widows across the United States, meeting monthly on Zoom. In the spirit of 2 Corinthians 1:4-6, Roberta hopes the group will be a source of comfort, wisdom, and encouragement, and strengthen those in this unique ministry.
Till Death Do Us Part
God, our Father, has plans for each and everyone of us. We have our own plans too, and from how I feel and what I’ve heard from others, none of us would choose to become a widow. This class is for all the women who have lived through the unexpected surprise death of their man or the frightening diagnosis that ultimately leads to our husband’s demise. I’ll be talking about just the months/years of trying to survive, and then ultimately learning to thrive and discover who God now intends for you to be. Hopefully we can all keep growing and understanding that God still has a useful and productive life in store for all of us. We also need to learn how to comfort and help each other and women who will become widows in the future.