• A widow’s deepest pains last longer than a year.

Immediately after a death, the church community is adept at responding with flowers or a casserole but far less gifted in maintaining a ministry to her long-term. Her experience can feel like major surgery—a radical amputation, to be specific.

  • A grieving widow who lives alone may go several days without hearing another human voice, especially months after the initial funeral.

  • A grieving widow’s pain is unique and volatile.

What encourages one woman may be painfully unhelpful to another. Grief is like a virus that waxes and wanes with intensity. Emotional mine fields such as these may require intimate knowledge of the bereaved.

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  • A grieving widow is often physically and emotionally exhausted.

Don’t call her late at night or early in the morning. Be patient if she is slow in responding to your acts of kindness.

  • A grieving widow loves her children.

Watching her children suffer is a misery that compounds grief and one in which the body of Christ is uniquely suited to offer comfort.

  • A grieving widow often feels second (or third) to everyone else.

A grieving widow’s life is not a tragedy but a gift. When she is ready, encourage her to serve. In many cases, the death of her spouse did not hamper her gifting. Quite the contrary, it is part of how God heals her. Don’t look at her through the lens of her loss, but rather chose to see God’s faithfulness as she deepens her trust in her Savior.

  • A grieving widow’s finances may dramatically change after the loss of the primary breadwinner.

  • God loves a grieving widow.

He does not despise her tears nor shudder when she doubts her faith in the darkness. The widow knows much of Jacob’s wrestling with God. He walked with a limp the remainder of his earthly life, but gained a changed heart.

  • Grieving widows are not husbands’ snatchers.

To our married women, please stop seeing a grieving widow as a threat to your marriage. A grieving widow needs gospel-drenched compassion and not pity.

While compassion walks beside the bereaved, pity stands off at a safe distance. To offer compassion in any circumstance is to share in another’s suffering, and in so doing, we mirror the suffering of Christ on our behalf.

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