The word “widow” is all about negatives. To qualify, a woman has to lose her husband to death. She becomes half of the whole that marriage had been for her. Her marriage label is withdrawn, and she embarks on a journey characterized by alone-time.
Wives are into togetherness. They understand partnership and burden-sharing. My Mom’s generation used to say, “When you get married, you double the joys and cut the sorrows in half.” Marriage is a joint venture in which one person can bounce ideas off the other, get a second opinion before making a decision, and balance a singular point of view with the opposite approach. Scripture underscores the reality of all this affiliation in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. “Two are better than one… for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falls, for he has not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat, but how can one be warm alone?”
When widowhood arrives, the twosome is pulled apart. She falls, maybe just emotionally, and wonders how she’ll get up or even if she will. One of Webster’s definitions for a widow is “a woman deprived of something greatly loved or needed.” Such a definition evokes raw emotions for me, because like it or not, that’s my life.
But as I move deeper into widowhood, I know I’m not alone. First and foremost I have my Heavenly Father who promises to step in for Nate as God the Husband (Isaiah 54:5). He’s already fulfilled that promise on several occasions.
I also have my fabulous, attentive children and children-in-law, who go above and beyond for me, day to day. I have my fantastic sister and her husband who notice and then respond to my needs in ever-creative ways, ministering kindness (and gifts!) again and again.
Although I used to live with my own lawyer, now I have my talented brother going to bat for me in handling Nate’s law practice and managing his personal financial affairs, no small task for my husband, who was deficient in filing skills! He signs his notes, “Your brother and lawyer.”
I have scores of people backing me up with prayer on my behalf, some every single day.
And if all that isn’t enough, I have my Widow Warriors List. On this list are 14 women who have gone ahead of me into this foreign land, a place to which none of us wanted to travel. Each of these ladies has pointedly told me, “I’m here for you. Call me. Here’s my number. Email me. Here’s my @ address. If you have questions, ask me. Nothing is off limits. I’ll check in with you from time to time,” which they have. And their most meaningful comment: “I know what you’re going through.”
One widow friend has been energized and organized by God to set up a valuable web site for those of us in the widow club: www.WidowConnection.com She works tirelessly for all of us and says, “We’re available even during your darkest night when everyone else is sleeping and you can’t.”
How blessed I am! I feel like someone looking out the window at a wild blizzard, knowing I have to head outdoors but being told, “Take your coat off. We went out there on your behalf, so you can stay in. Come over by the fire and get warm.”
Webster has one additional definition of a widow: “a short line ending a paragraph and appearing at the top or bottom of a printed page.” To me that indicates something came before and something new is coming after, which is the truth of my situation. Life as we know it has ended for Nate, but for me, the half that remains, something new is coming.
“The good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. For you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Timothy 5:25, James 1:27, 1 Corinthians 15:58b)