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Living as a widow – despair & triumph

Sometimes when we feel lonely, the best thing to do is to use that loneliness to reach out to others who are lonely. Being a widow can be very lonely. My friend Kari Miller has an amazing ministry to widows in Uganda. She writes the following about them: The life of a widow is an exercise in …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Sometimes when we feel lonely, the best thing to do is to
use that loneliness to reach out to others who are lonely. Being a widow can be very lonely. My friend Kari Miller has an amazing ministry
to widows in Uganda. She writes the
following
about them:

The life of a widow is an exercise in patience,
persistence and deep disappointment, especially in Uganda. First comes the
grieving. The deep, deep sadness in losing the one you love, the one you
committed your life to, the one you had your children with.

The memory of that exceedingly happy day when you got
married now only serves to deepen the sorrow of your loss. It seems as if a
part of your soul has died with him. If only for the children, you keep on
surviving, you keep on living. After the intensity of the grief lessens, you
realize that it is up to you to feed them, to clothe them, provide school fees
for them and to love them into maturity. You go to the market every day and
sell whatever you can, but it is never enough. You heart breaks every time you
have to tell your children that there will not be anything to eat tonight. Then
you go into your room and cry yourself to sleep.

How long can you survive like this? The weight of all of
it feels as though it might crush you completely. Your only hope is that God is
real and that he hears your cries for help.

Jane’s bony arms were resting on her bony thighs. She
lifted her head slightly to meet my gaze. As she began to speak, she mentioned
her children then broke down into sobs. Joyce comforted her, and then proceeded
to speak for her.

Jane has HIV and TB. She has had TB for over a year now
and has gone through treatment twice. I remembered providing the money for her
first round of treatment 6 months ago. I was so fearful then that she wouldn’t
survive the treatment, but to God’s great credit she is still alive. Jane is
unable to work due to the severity of her sickness, so she relies totally on
her fellow widows to share their small amounts of food with her and her
children. Two days ago, Joyce found Jane collapsed on the floor of her home.
She rushed to her side to help her. She was still breathing, but very weak.
Joyce spent hours at her home watching over her, giving her tea and talking to
her when she was conscious.

She had collapsed because she had not eaten for couple of
days, instead wanting her children to eat the small amount of food given to
them by her fellow widows. She had also been emotionally overwrought when she
found out that her children’s school fees would not be paid by a local charity.

She had applied to this charity on behalf of her children and had not received
the help. Now she was devastated, knowing that her children now had no hope of
attending school, no hope of a future. She is dying and is desperate for her
children to be able to go to school.

Jane will not live. There will be a day when I hear of
her death and I go to her burial. Her children will be orphans. I sat there for
some time trying to seem okay, but I wasn’t. Deep sorrow had come and rested
itself inside my heart.

After leaving Jane’s home, I walked with Rosemary up to
the market in order to catch a bus.

“It is hard,” she said. “I have made so
many beaded necklaces hoping to create a business to support myself and my
children, but there is no market. I can’t sell enough of them.”

She was quiet again and this time not moving. In the
darkness, the light of a motorbike caught her face and I saw tears streaming
down her face. I put both my arms around her and held her very close. “You
are not alone,” I said. She then cried as she told me that her youngest
boy now has ulcers because she has not been able to feed him regularly. He kept
her up all night last night crying and asking her, “Mommy, why don’t you
feed me?”

She then began to sob. “What can I do?’ she asked
me, “What can I do?”

*
* * * *

What can widows like Jane and Rosemary do? Their options are so limited. That’s why God says that true religion is to
take care of them in their distress (James 1:27).

If you want to help, please contact Kari’s friend Lisa at the email address below and help her
make a difference in these ladies’ lives. Here’s what Lisa writes:

Thank you for your interest and concern for the Dorcas
Widows. If you (or anyone else you know) would like to make a
contribution to the fund, please make the check out to Dorcas Widows Fund and
mail to the following address:

Dorcas Widows Fund
574 Prairie Center Drive #135-109
Eden Prairie, MN, 55344

You will receive a tax receipt for your donation mailed
to the address on your check. If you have any other questions, please
don’t hesitate to contact me 952.944.9297 or [email protected].

Comment

  • Thanks Seth for another good reminder of God’s heart and our responsibility as Christ followers. My mother has been a widow for almost eighteen years. And when other “causes” have tempted me because of their public acclaim or popular engagement (particulary in the press) I have never lost sight of the fact that widows, orphans and prisoners were viewed as the “ministry troika” by the One we serve.

    I haven’t always supported widows I know, well. But it’s never been a matter of debate that God expects that of all of us.

    Thanks for the discomforting encouragement.

    Butch

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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