The year 1998 was the one where Kristina Pappas began struggling with the question “What does it mean to trust God – really?” for that is the year she became a widow left with 2 teenagers at home. In her desperation she looked for refuge in the Bible and stumbled on the promise that God is the husband to the widow (Isaiah 54:4) and father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Yet, she did not know what that meant. She needed steps of practical application because God’s Word was her only hope.
“You are where you are by God’s permission, and even though He had the ability to prevent this from happening to you, He didn’t. Our experiences will always remain with us to some degree because we are defined by them and our identity will rise out of them as the Potter works at the clay. Being yoked in a marital relationship creates a faith oneness, similar in some ways to the oneness we have in Christ. A certain confident faith develops out of that relationship. When we lose our husband, an important element of our faith confidence is also lost. It is not lost altogether, but we have to be aware of that loss as we, as single believers, begin to rediscover and redefine our faith” says Kristine.
In her book, Kristine talks about bringing balance to our perceptions, bringing balance to our roles, the stages of recovery, stage-stuck, balancing our responses to others, co-dependency, boundaries, and establishing our identity in Christ and several more topics. Her writing is filled with scripture references that are written out so that the reader does not have to look them up. This is especially helpful for a widow when having to do another thing is so difficult.
Kristine discusses how many widows have no one to talk to after their husbands are gone and how we need to unload verbally, but must be sensitive about how and to whom we unload. She reminds us that there is one whom we can “shout at the top of our lungs in frustration to or laugh and cry with” and that is God. He can handle whatever we need to say and has the resources to help us with our problems.
The “idol mask” is an interesting part of Pappas’ book and is defined as anything that substitutes a dependence on anything else in place of our trust in God. Kristine shares, “We may find ourselves struggling with the loss of companionship when our husbands die. filling that void outside of Christ is idolatry whether we fill it with eating, shopping, reading, or movies. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities in and of themselves, but they can be used for the purpose of filling the void of loneliness that we should be letting Christ fill.”
At the end of each chapter is a set of questions designed to help you better understand what you have read. This can also be used as a tool with other widows together. There is an even more extensive study available at www.widowtowidow.net along with other resources for encouragement. Additional study sheets can be found on this website as well and can be printed for personal or group study.
Kristine, thank you for giving us more things to examine in our lives in order to help us in time to find our new identity in Christ.