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An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Sunday, July 15, 2012

 Hope For Widows and the Basics of
Kerrville Daily Times Article
July 2012

    About six months ago, I got a phone call  about 4 pm from a woman whose world was suddenly turned upside down. “Kathleen, this is Susie,” she stated. “I need your help.” she continued. This friend knew I worked and normally called in the evening to visit, when she called. I knew in my heart that something must be wrong. “Susie, is everything okay?” I asked. “No, Bill is dead. I just got the call he collapsed and he is gone,” she calmly said. “No!” I responded with a loud voice. I did not want anyone to experience the pain I had experienced as a widow. Since that day when my friend called for help, I have had several other acquaintances  that have lost their mate.  I hate it for all of  them and my heart is tender towards them.
     None of us have any guarantees in life. Bad things do happen to good people and it is in our broken places, that God’s love, grace and hope peeks in to see us through the pain of life. In the mean time, we all have our place in history. For some of us, it is to push through with all we have in us to live life again. For others, we have a mandate that are the basics of Christianity to help those that are in distress or hurting.
     If you have lost a mate and are a widow or widower, take heart. There are some wonderful promises in scripture for us. If you have not, you have a wonderful opportunity to be a doer of the Word of God. 
     This is dedicated to all my friends that have become widows or widowers. Take heart. You are dear to the heart of God! It is easy to feel alone, lonely, and wonder where you fit in now that you are no longer married. All these feelings are natural as part of you, is now gone. Scripture says that when we marry, we become one; therefore, when a mate leaves this earth, part of you is missing and thus the journey of discovering your your place in society and your identity single.
     i have come across several scriptures that have held me together and helped me press on in my own journey as a widow. Psalms 68:5 proclaims God’s character and says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” (NIV) The basic nature of God is compassion and for those that find themselves in ashes.  His heart is tender for those that are fatherless, for whatever reason, he will defend the widow and he cares for those that are lonely. God even has a heart for those that are in prison and will lead them to a place of singing if they follow him. Wow! Now that is good news! I have personally seen how God has defended me in situations since I no longer have my husband to protect me and look out for my best interest. Knowing I have a special place in the heart of God gives me great comfort.
     How about you? Are you a defender of widows and the fatherless? Are you being an advocate for them or praying for them? Are you compassionate and offer to help or include them? You are made in the image of God, so that heart is in you. You just need to exercise it.
     Another passage that is a favorite of mine is Psalms 146:9, which says, “The Lord watches over the alien, and sustains the fatherless and widow...” (NIV) When I first read this passage, I looked up the word sustain to find out it’s meaning. Sustain means to prolong, keep up, strengthen or support physically or mentally. There were times I didn’t think I could make it with having the responsibility of everything all alone after 30 years of sharing everything with a partner. It wasn’t that I could not do tasks that my husband did, for me it was balancing everything alone from work, single parenting, finances, caring for my elderly parents, the house, the yard and the trash, just to name a few. I still wish the trash fairy would drop by my house and take the trash out! Sometimes a kind neighbor will bring my trash cans  back to my house as I am not the fastest on the block in bringing them back to the garage. There were days I when I didn’t think I could make it that I would remind God that he promised to sustain the widows. I am still alive and here to tell you it is true. He has sustained me, kept me up, kept me going, and strengthened me.
     Isaiah 1:17 is another promise and reflection of the heart of God. It states, “Seek justice, encourage the  oppressed, Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Again we see what God has to say about what is important to him. If it is important to God, it should be important to me. For the widow, you can hang on to how special you are to the heart of God. There have been times I have prayed and asked God to send someone to plead my case and help me. I had a situation recently with my dryer being broken and was having to go thru a lot of red tape to get it fixed as it was under warranty. I asked God for help and  the assistant to the president of the company over saw my case and came to my defense after weeks of waiting. Ask God to raise up those that will defend you.
      With Kerrville being a retirement community, there are plenty that need us to fight for, defend and plead their case. How about you? Do you encourage those that are oppressed by sin, discouraged by circumstances, do what is right in business, help the child whose dad is in prison or parent has abandoned them thru divorce or death? Do you help the widow in your neighborhood or church? Have you even asked what you might do to help in some way? 
     Exodus 22:22 is  another reflection of God’s heart. It proclaims, “Do not take advantage of a widow or orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused and I will kill you.” (NIV) It is a good thing we live by grace and not law anymore! This scripture shows us that God hears the cry of the orphan and the widow. His heart is  particularly soft towards them and is a just God. He does not tolerate treating them unjustly. 
      James 1:27 gets right to the point about what is important in our Christian walk. It says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and  faultless is this; to look after the orphans and widows in their distress...” (NIV) It is just that simple. Sometimes in our busy world, we forget to to the basics of life. We can get caught up in all our ministry goals, busy lives, bible studies, committees etc. and forget what God says is pure and what is right. Whom do you need to help in your church or neighborhood? Is there a foster child, a child without a mom or dad, a widow or widower that needs you to include him or her in your lunch or holiday plans? It is something to think about. Looking after these that are right outside our back door is important.
    Jesus said in the new testament, I have come that you may have life and life to the full. If you are a widow or widower, you have a God given right to live life to the full again. Starting over isn’t easy but God is right there with us to help and guide. I haven’t done everything right, have made mistakes and have certainly had to push thru low days, but I can say God’s grace and forgiveness covers me and helps me. Most of all, He has been faithful every step of the way. Know I am praying for you.
     In our retirement community, we are very blessed to have plenty of opportunities to practice the heart of God to the orphans and widows that are down the street, around the corner, in places of business and church.  What about you? Look around and let’s  get busy in the mission field He has placed before us. Will you join me?

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