The Word “Widow”

Recently I was in a store looking for an item to give to several new widows.  The store had exactly what I wanted, but they didn’t have the number of items that I needed.  I walked up to the sales counter where two sales ladies were standing, showed them what I wanted and asked if more could be ordered.  As one sales lady began checking into that, another sales lady asked, “Are you buying these for a wedding or a party?”  When I shook my head and said, “No. They are for Widows“, she looked shocked and quietly replied, “I’m sorry“.

What is it about the word “Widow” that seems to suck the oxygen right out of the air?  It is one of those words that jars people to the core and makes them stop and realize that life can be short or pass by too quickly.  It makes them think “This could be me!”  It is a word that scares us as humans.  After all, how many times have you heard anyone standing around making conversation about death?

A “Widow is a woman who has endured the greatest pain that any woman can know.  She is someone who is grieving – not just for days or months, but literally for years. People tell her that she’ll be okay, but the truth is she never gets over the loss of her husband.  She just learns how to live with that loss.  Most people think of a widow as an elderly lady with white hair, but the truth is that a widow can be any age from her teens, her twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and up.

What adjectives come to mind when you hear the word “Widow“?  FOGGY BRAINED    ALONE     BROKEN     LEFT BEHIND (not by the choice of her husband)     SILENT(there’s a deep solitude that comes from losing a husband)    FOREVER CHANGED     DEPRESSED    UNSURE

The truth is that there are some very positive adjectives that describe a widow.  STRONG    FUNCTIONING    COURAGEOUS  DETERMINED    PERSISTENT    CARING    CAPABLE    WISE    BOLD

I looked up the meaning of the word “Widow” and was surprised at some of the definitions I found.

Widowa woman who has lost her husband by death and who has not remarried

Widow (pertaining to printing)a short last line of a paragraph, especially one less than half of the full measure or one consisting of only a single word; the last line of a paragraph when it is carried over to the top of the following page away from the rest of the paragraph

Widow (used as a verb) – to deprive of anything cherished or needed

Even though the word “Widow” pertaining to printing has nothing to do with the woman who has become a widow, it so perfectly describes the widow – one less than half of the full measure or only a single word; the last line of a paragraph carried over to the top of the following page away from the rest of the paragraph. A widow is half of what was a whole.  She’s single. The death of her husband and their life together is the last line of their story.  Her life is carried over to the top of the following page of her story away from the last line of the paragraph left on the page before that. She has been deprived of her husband that she cherished and needed.

God is not afraid of the word “Widow“.  In fact, God draws close to the widow wanting to heal her broken heart. Psalm 68:5 says that He is the protector of widows (Psalm 68:5).  He maintains the boundaries of the widow (Proverbs 15:25). The Lord upholds the widow (Psalm 149:6).  Exodus 22:22-24 says that if someone mistreats a widow and the widow cries out to God, He will hear their cry.  No one ever wants to be a widow, but a widow as well as her children have a very special place in God’s heart.

So the next time you hear the word “Widow” think about these things.  If you are a widow, remember that God is not surprised that you are in this place in your life.  He loves you and cherishes you and wants to heal your broken heart.

10 responses

  1. Candy,
    I am always comforted by the fact that both the Old and New Testament refer to widows in such a loving way. God has specifically spoken to us and He has even given instructions to other about us. I will look up the verses that you reference here. Please let me know of any others in the Bible that I should investigate.
    Thank you for your wonderful post.


  2. Thank you for the time and thought you used to put this post together. There needs to be a way to get this message out to others. I, like others, did not totally understand what a “widow” was until I became one. My mother-in-law was widowed at a young age (my husband was 3 years old), I always saw the sadness in her, but never truly understood. Unfortunately, she died in her early 60’s (in 1984) and we never talked about her being a widow.


    • Teri, I didn’t “get” what being a widow was all about either until I became one. Now I have a burning passion for widows. I, too, wish there was some way to get the message out to others.


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