In my world James 1:27 is a prominent verse. "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."
This verse is used to support the FACT that we as Christians are called to care for orphans. It's not something you "put to prayer." It's not something you "wait for the Lord's leading" on. It's a command. Nobody (including God) says we all have to adopt, but He does say we all have a responsibility towards the orphans of this world.
Oh, but what's this? What have I NOT said? What do we folks immersed in the adoption world often leave out? The other half of the verse! WIDOWS. We are called to look after them in their distress, just as we do orphans.
Widows aren't as high-profile. There are no big homes for widows where you can send your monthly donation. But there ARE some good organizations out there that haven't forgotten about the WIDOW in all of our push for the ORPHANS.
Earlier this autumn my sister was made a widow very quickly and very unexpectedly. Yesterday, someone in our adoption community was made a widow after a tragic military accident. And maybe the present day widow is the woman who is used and abused and then ultimately abandoned by her husband. I have a friend dealing with that sort of "widowing" right now too. I have a dear friend whose husband fights chronic disease that will most likely take his life long before his prime is over. And it's no secret that I am married to a wonderful guy who will be lucky to see his oldest married or his youngest graduate high school.
"What's on your mind?" Facebook asks me. Widows. Being a widow. Caring for widows. That's what is on my mind today.
What am I doing to care for widows in their distress? That would be a big fat goose egg. What are you doing to care for widows in their distress? Hopefully more than I.
HERE'S ONE WAY TO HELP RIGHT NOW. The mom who was widowed yesterday had recently stepped out with her husband to adopt a child with significant special needs. The adoption was just finalized last week. Now, she will be parenting her four children without her rock, her husband, and is left with $11,000 in adoption fees still yet to pay. Money won't fix what she's going through right now, but it may take some of the pressure off of her as she figures out how to care for her family alone. [You can read this family's blog HERE. As you can see, they already had their hands full (in a good but challenging way) before this accident.]
My sister Amy is 4 months into widowhood. There seems to be a statute of limitations on how long we pour out our condolences on those who have lost loved ones. It's human nature. At 4 months in, Amy isn't receiving cards or flowers or "How are you doing" phone calls. People have gone on with their lives. But she is only 4 months into the rest of her life without Dan. She is still trying to figure out how to survive on one income (that wasn't even the primary income!). Please, LIFT UP my sister. Her grief is still very raw. PRAY for her. She is still in the midst of "distress" only 4 months after Dan's death.
I'm sure that hearing about another friend becoming a young widow may affect me a little differently than most. I might be that young widow long before I want to be. When that happens, I won't ask anything of anybody. I'll be doing good just to wake up each day, I'm sure. But I'm telling you now, my Christian friends. Inside, I will be hoping that you won't forget about James 1:27. I will need you when I lose my husband. And these women (among millions of others) need you now.