I think I married one of the sweetest men on Earth, if not THE sweetest. He has a local plumbing company, and he goes out on service calls all day, every day. Many days, he has a list of things to get to that is far longer than humanly possible to accomplish. Many nights, he will come home just as we are finishing up dinner, sometimes later. But, no matter how long his list is, or how late he may be to dinner that evening, he always takes extra time at the homes of older widows and widowers just talking with them. Every week, he brings me a list of people that he wants the kids and I to visit or start writing.
He tells me so tenderly about how lonely they seem, how much they have to think about and take care of by themselves, and how much he wishes he could help more. His compassion for widows is what completes the second part of one of my favorite verses:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Today is National Widow’s Day. In our own country, widows are sometimes overlooked. We forget that widows and widowers are many times lonely and need more help than they are getting. We forget to reach out to them. Today is a great day to remember. Here are a few ways to look after those who have lost their mate:
- Take a meal. Sometimes when people are alone, they don’t cook as much. They would sure appreciate a home cooked meal…or any meal shared with a bustling, busy family.
- Pen Pal: I began writing an older woman at our local nursing home about a year ago now, and we have become great pen pals. I keep her up to date on all that’s happening in our family, and she sends the kids coloring pages and letters. It is so fun for all of us. Sometimes, when you are being a blessing to someone, it’s YOU who ends up feeling blessed!
- Regular Visits: My kids and I go see my grandmother every other week. We go down and spend a couple of hours with her, just visiting. My sister and I used to visit an elderly woman when we were young. My mom would take us over, and we would talk and then because she was losing her eyesight, but loved books, my sister would read aloud to her.
- The Gift of Time: Don’t make the mistake of assuming all widows/widowers are older. Many are young…too young. Many have children. For younger widows with small children, the gift of time might be just what they need. Take them out to coffee, or baby-sit their children. Also, ministering to their children can be a huge spirit-lifter to a weary parent trying to do it all. They worry about their children, so help ease their worries by investing into their children. Be a pen pal to their kids, spend time with their kids, etc.
- Home Care: House maintenance and lawn care is difficult for those living alone. See what you can do to help.
- Make them part of your family: We get way too caught up in “blood family” sometimes. I think anyone can minister to and take care of others. The proof of that is in the many families around the world adopting children. (Isn’t it interesting how God’s Word always mentions widows and orphans together?) You can take people in-even into your home-and care for them as if they were your family even if they are not blood-related. So do that if you feel lead…invite widows and widowers to your home often and on special holidays. Help to take care of them.
It’s tough being a widow in our country, but it’s brutal being a widow in Asia. For over 40 million widows in South Asia, life is a daily struggle for survival. In Asian cultures, widows are many times blamed for their husband’s death, so they are shunned from their families, and despised by their community.
“Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” -Isaiah 1:17 (NLT)
This is a short video about a widow in South Asia, Netramani. Hear her story, and lift her and all the other widows up in prayer as they face their reality each day. If you can help to lighten the burden, please do just that.
To pray for widows in South Asia:
1. Pray that they will know Jesus as their Savior.
2. Pray that they will draw their strength from the Lord
3. Pray that other Christians will come alongside them and minister to them
4. Pray for God to meet their needs