Sunday, May 14, 2023

Widows Who Have Learned How to Deal with Grief

        Have you ever seen a widow who was totally paralyzed by grief? I have and have come away wondering what, if anything, I could do to help lessen their pain and brokenness. How do widows live again after suffering such a loss?

       I think back to some widows whose lives are recorded in Scripture. You are familiar with them: Naomi, Ruth, Abigail, Mary, Eunice, Lois, and Anna are some that come to mind. I want us to look more closely at just one of these, as well as a contemporary widow. 

Just about everyone knows the story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. (It’s recorded in the Old Testament book of Ruth.) During a drought in their own country, Naomi’s husband had taken his family into the country of Moab. At some point he died; then, within a short period of time both of her sons died, leaving her a widow in a foreign country with two widowed daughters-in-law. That was an especially tough spot for a widow to be in at that time. She had choices to make. She could have remained in Moab, sent her daughters-in-law foraging for food and
wallowed in her misery. Instead, she chose to make the arduous journey back to Jerusalem and Ruth chose to accompany her. Once there, she was still an embittered and broken woman who could have chosen to remain aloof from old friends and family and die in her misery. What did she have to live for? Yet, she chose to live again, evidenced by her involvement in the life of her beautiful daughter-in-law. She lovingly guided her in the cultural mores of Israel and the ways of God. Naomi could have become jealous of Ruth’s beauty and youth, and demonstrated pettiness by criticizing her. Instead, she did everything she could to help Ruth, and rejoiced with her when she won the heart of a wonderful man, one of her own kinsman. In fact, she played “matchmaker” in their love story. I don’t think it was always easy for her to realize that her life would never be the same, and that love would not come to her again, but she put those thoughts aside and worked for the good of another. And great was her joy when Ruth’s baby was born and she could mother that precious child who grew up to figure in the lineage of our Savior.
       My thoughts are also drawn back to thirty-five years ago when a young widow who, after the funeral of her husband, after the extra food brought into the house was eaten, after the flowers given to honor her husband had died, and after the phone calls of condolence stopped and the last card was delivered, realized she was still grieving with no one to come along side of her. Her pastor, upon learning of her heartache, suggested that she start a ministry to widows like herself. He reasoned that she surely wasn’t the only widow who felt isolation in her grief. Thus Dotti Ackerman, after the death of her husband, Allen, looked beyond her own grief and, with only ten women in attendance at a diner in New Jersey, began Friends Needing Friends.
       Through my association with the many wonderful widows in Friends Needing FriendsI have found that they have learned to thrive after loss by dedicating their lives to causes larger than their grief. These great gals pour their lives into the lives of others: assisting the local directors as greeters at their monthly meetings, assembling newsletters, decorating tables, sending cards to the sick, collecting stuffed bears for shut-ins, making phone calls, collecting food for the food bank, and working in various ministries in their home churches, to name a few. (See pictures below.) These ladies have now taken on an international cause by  “adopting” a group of widows in south India through their monthly support via the Kerusomen Gospel Ministries. Many widows in India are treated as outcasts; even their families desert them. They are motivated by the love and comfort that they have received from Christ and want to share that with fellow widows who have yet to experience the fullness of His grace. 
 Psalm 30:5 reminds you that “Weeping may endure for a night,  but joy comes in the morning.” 

 You, too, have had a “night of weeping,” but God will not leave you there. He is a loving heavenly Father who offers you a way through the sorrow and it is by looking beyond your own grief and offering God’s love to another going through sorrow. Joy is on its way because your loving Father has prepared it for you.

                                                      Message by Shari Hervold                                                                                                                                                                                        

                              Meet our beautiful widows from India that FNF supports. 

These are some of our widows from Florida's chapter. 

Pastor Kathy is the pastor of our Florida Chapter of FNF

                                            God Will Make a Way by Don Moen 
                      A perfect song for every widow to play and sing along with the song. 
I don't own any rights to this song. It's for entertainment and worship song only. 

Do you know Jesus? Here's how:

Admit your sins have separated you from God (Psalm 14:1-3: Rom 3:23)

Believe that God did something about your sins through Jesus Christ. (The final Pascal Lamb/Messiah) (Lev. 17:10: Heb 9:19-22.)

Commit yourself to His righteousness by confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior. (Isa 53:5: Col. 1:22) and do it today! (Isa 49:8: 2 Cor 6:2)

Father in Heaven, I'm sorry for the things I've done that are wrong. I am a sinner, forgive me. Thank you for loving me and sending your Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for my sin. Holy Spirit, come into my heart. Jesus, be my Lord and Savior. I give you my life.  Amen