In 1996 when Kristine’s husband died of pancreatic cancer leaving her with two teenagers, she found herself in a desperate place – a place of “how do you really trust God”. This book is a result of the answers that she found.
Kristine explains three stages a widow goes through after the loss of her husband:
VICTIM – No power, No control, No choices
SURVIVOR – We begin to take full control and power and will interpret every choice as black and white – an “all or nothing” proposition. This need to control comes from the pain we have experienced and the hopelessness that we feel. “…….you might find yourself thinking, It’s just a matter of time before something bad will happen, so I won’t get my hopes up.”
THRIVER – Some power, Some control, Multiple choices.
“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. Like everything else we encounter in life, 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”, Kristine shares. “I thought I had an unshakable faith, but it was to be greatly tested.”
The author talks about how family and friends want to listen to you, but may have unexpected and negative reactions to your thoughts and areas of struggles. She reminds you that you can always verbally unload on God at the top of your lungs because He’s the only one that understands you and has the resources to help you.
God knows that the widow’s nature and needs do not change after her husband dies. He also knows that her desires must be tended to and nurtured for her brokenness to be healed. Dr. Willard Harley says, “The first and hardest loss a widow will experience will not be the sexual relationship but the desire for affection, attention, and the sense of being loved by a man.” Kristine does go on to discuss what a widow is to do if she finds herself desiring a sexual relationship.
In chapter eight this author talks about the widows who are struggling to help their hurting children cope with the loss of their father. She talks about the children’s struggle with death and then goes on to give guidelines from God’s Word for raising children.
An interesting subject talked about by Kristine is identifying idolatry. “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. Idolatry substitutes a dependence on something else–anything else–in place of our trust in God.”
Kristine also shares the Seven Principles of GOIA:
1. God Owns It All.
2. I manage money for God.
3. Every spending decision is a spiritual act.
4. Contentment rules our hearts.
5. Debt is dangerous. Get rid of it. Stay away from it. Use it very, very sparingly.
6. Saving and investing are wise, but we should not put our trust in them.
7. Giving is a gift to the giver.
At the end of each chapter is a study guide with a set of questions designed to help you break down the information that has been given. There is an even more extensive study along with resources for encouragement on Kristine’s website –http://www.widowtowidow.net Listed also are specific verses for you to print out and put onto a key ring for daily review and encouragement.
Pappas has remarried, but continues to minister to widows through her book and her website.
Thank you, Kristine, for sharing with widows what you have learned through the loss of your husband and in your grief journey.