Surviving Widowhood:  A Primer

"The Lord will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow." Proverbs 15:25
Most of you know that I lost my beloved husband of 15 years in 2004 to a massive hemorrhagic stroke. We had a happy marriage, grounded in the Lord, and it took me totally by surprise that God would call him home at so relatively young an age.
I praise God that the foundation of my faith had already been established many years prior to my losing him or I don't think that I would have been able to survive my grief or the many trials that the enemy actively worked to throw my way during that time.
Since then, many ladies, both young and old, whose own husbands were called home have asked me what I learned during my experience that would help them get through their own time of testing. I assume that if you're reading this now that you have the same question.
In considering my own trial and speaking with others who've experienced the same, I've identified five areas that are significantly impacted during the initial throes of widowhood. I call them the five 'F's. I present them to you so that your knowledge may be increased and that you can prepare yourself in Him to weather the storm:
  1. Fear. Even with a strong foundation of faith, whether your husband is called home unexpectedly or his death is anticipated due to known factors it's human nature to experience some degree of fear. Many questions will go through your mind: How do I go on without his companionship? How will I handle the business of the home alone? How will my finances be impacted? Let your fear be a catalyst to your cleaving even closer to God and abiding in the protection of His Word.
  2. Finances. If you both were working, then, of course, your household income is now cut in half. If he was the only one working outside of the home, then now you have no income. Barring any proceeds from life insurance (which should be managed both prayerfully and prudently), you now have many decisions to make. My advice is to handle your finances very conservatively during this difficult time. Don't minimize the cloud of emotion that surrounds you right now. Don't make any major financial decisions for at least one year. Give yourself time to come back to yourself so that you can see your business through the eye of objectivity and not emotion.
  3. Family. This can be a season of both great blessing and deep disappointment in this area. As fire burns away dross, you will find out during this time who really has your best interests at heart and who doesn't. Be mindful of this as you allow others to offer you counsel or assistance. Not everyone who expresses their sympathy and goodwill has a pure motive. There may be those of your own household who you never thought would be revealed as an enemy who will be emboldened to show their hand during this time. Conversely, there will arise a faithful few whom you never envisioned as a right arm of support who will be a source of great comfort, encouragement, and strength, and will act as a buffer against some of the more challenging tasks that you will be called upon to carry out. Ask God for both a spirit of discernment and endurance.
  4. Friends. The same insight applies as with family. In addition, you'll find in a general sense that now that you no longer have a husband that your social standing has changed. Where once you were invited to numerous social functions with your companion, you may find these invitations becoming more scarce now that you're living solo. Unbelievably, some female friends may now view you with suspicion and as a possible competitor for their husband's attention and will minimize contact with you simply on the basis of the change in your marital status. On a brighter note, those friendships which are truly true will reveal themselves and these friends will act as conduits of unimaginable blessing in your life.
  5. Faith. This is what's going to get you through. Let nothing that I've said before this cause you to panic. As I stated earlier, make this a time to cleave closer to God's Word. Read, meditate, pray, and fast. If you draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to you just as He promised. God can take your grief and give beauty for ashes. If you let Him, He'll manifest miracles in your life like you've never seen before as you develop an even more intimate, personal relationship with Him. He'll fill the void of loneliness and will make Himself known to you as both a provider and a protector. He'll endue you with a degree of wisdom that you never thought possible and take your life to an entirely different spiritual level.
I pray that what I've shared with you will help you or a loved one get through what's ahead. Know that God is faithful and He will get you through this. One day you'll be able to reflect back on the memories that you shared with your husband with joy and thanksgiving over the time that God allowed you to spend together. I know, I promise, I'm a witness.
Angela Lane Woods holds a B.A. in English and an M.P.W. in Creative and Applied Writing. She's done freelance commercial writing on a part-time basis for many years but until now had put her own personal writing projects on hold in order to accommodate a series of life challenges, not the least of which was the loss of her soulmate and beloved husband of 15 years, Danny, in 2004 to a massive hemorrhagic stroke. She founded DAP, Danny's Angel Publishing, in 2009 in loving memory of the span of life that they spent together. Visit her blog at
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*Reprint of original article written in 2010.