Does Anyone SEE Me Now?

Widows often find themselves wondering what they should be doing with their time and energy. Especially if they were active working in ministry or their local church, or even if they were active volunteers in community organizations, this can be where the absence of a spouse feels most acute. Over the years of working together on volunteer projects or ministry assignments, couples develop a “division of labor” approach – he does some things while she does other things – all contributing to the final outcome. They are SEEN as a couple, and the results of their partnership are visible to those in their circles.

But what about when that partnership no longer exists? What if he was the more assertive and she was his partnering assistant? Does the church or volunteer community even SEE her anymore? Or has she become the invisible remnant of what used to be a partnership? Recognizing that her strongest gifts are probably not the same as his were, do those around her expect her to continue on in the ministry he led, or are they sensitive to help her discover and use her own strengths and abilities in this new season of life?

This time of transition for a widow is full of challenges and uncertainties. She suddenly finds herself in the role of “half of a couple” – a role that most churches are not equipped to respond to. The majority of churches have programs for families, couples, youth, and single adults (many of whom are divorced or never married). The typical widow finds herself in a situation where she is a “married single person”! She doesn’t fit with the couples’ ministries, and she feels married and therefore doesn’t fit with the singles’ ministries! She must learn to think and live as an “I” when she still thinks and lives as a “We”.

Many widows have expressed to me that they find going to church to be one of the most difficult things that they do since losing their spouse. Those who have never been widowed tend to be a bit shocked by that, as many of these women have been in ministry for decades. The thing to understand is that this is where they feel the absence of their husbands most keenly! They arrive alone, often sit alone, and many times no one even talks with them! Very often, the pastor has never even called to check in with them! The songs about God’s faithfulness and going to heaven are wonderful, and worship can be an intimate time in God’s presence. But for the widow, these often lead to a place of sadness: “heaven is wonderful, God is there, my husband is there, I will go there eventually – but now he is there and not here. I am alone. Why did God take him? My heart is breaking…. Why didn’t God answer our prayers for healing?”

When widows are not overwhelmed with grief, they know the truth of God’s word, his love, and his faithfulness. But there are those moments when going to church is a mountain too high to climb! She simply doesn’t know where she fits in that whole picture anymore. Doors for ministry that used to be open may no longer be available to her. She feels largely invisible.

The biggest questions on the heart of a widow have to do with her purpose for living and where she should be serving. She is often highly aware of her gifts and strengths, and she knows where she would love to serve – but there’s no opportunity presented for her. On the other hand, she may never have explored how God has gifted and prepared her, and there’s no one who is willing to help her discover that. She wonders, “Does anyone SEE me?” Or even more, “Does anyone CARE about me enough to help me find my new purpose?”

There are many things we could suggest that a church do in order to raise awareness regarding the widows in their midst. Truly it is a loss to the Body of Christ when we neglect to tap into the many resources that widows in our congregations could bring to the table. However, that’s a discussion for another time.

If you are a widow reading this, and if this situation has been part of your experience on this journey of life, then I’d like to move your thinking into a new path. Many of us partnered with husbands for much of our adult lives, and now he’s gone. We don’t know what to do without a partner. I’d like to suggest a new perspective for you: Partnering with God in Ministry.

When I teach on Hearing God’s Voice, or Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts, I’m often met with blank responses. Some have never considered that they could hear God’s direction for themselves during this season. Some have never had teaching on the spiritual gifts, and thus have no idea what they may carry from God. In thinking about how to help widows discover purpose and direction, I find myself taking a new approach.

Ministry opportunities present themselves, and God’s goal is always that the needs are met, and the Kingdom is advanced. He brings to the table his character attributes that never change, and we bring to the table the skills, abilities, and spiritual gifts that He has put within us both at our inception and throughout the course of our lives. He gives us the opportunity to PARTNER with Him in order to see needs met in the lives of those around us. We’ll discuss this a bit more next week, but meanwhile take some time to think on it.

God may have taken your earthly partner home, but He has left us the Holy Spirit – a heavenly partner who will never leave us or forsake us. He has given us the opportunity to work with Him to accomplish His heavenly goals here on earth. Surely that is worth discovering! Join me next week as we explore this a bit more.

As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome either here or email me at

1 Comment

  1. Diana Abbott

    This is a huge verifier of my feelings. Three years ago, I lost my “perfectly healthy” husband of 30 years at age 51 very suddenly with no warning to a heart attack and no previous symptoms. He was an evangelist and I traveled with him and our kids for 15 years in this capacity. Instantly our lives changed, and this article really rings true for me. I have asked God if he could use me somehow still in some way. After 28 years of being a stay at home mom/homeschooling mom, God gave me a job as an Office Administrator at a Christian radio station—much different but still involved in helping in a different way. Church is great, and have some great friends there, but still feel so alone without my husband. Thank you for the encouragement.. I try to stay upbeat most of the time, but Somedays I’m up, and somedays I’m down, but always need encouragement!! Thank you!! You are helping because I feel like you “get it”!!

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