Book Reviews

The Undistracted Widow: Living for God After Losing Your Husband

Submitted by Faith B.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27

When I was home recovering this past fall, I had a chance to read some books that were on my “list to read.” You know, those books that are recommended that you plan to read one day. My list is long, so my motto is “one at a time.” I saw this book title on a blog sometime in the past year, and I wrote the title down as a possible resource for the women at SGCC. It certainly would not be a book that I would automatically pick up on my own because it doesn’t pertain to my life. Or at least I thought it didn’t. The title: The Undistracted Widow: Living for God After Losing Your Husband by Carol W. Cornish.

I am not a widow. And I’m single. Although I can identify with loss and its resulting grief, I cannot understand the pain of such a profound loss as a spouse. My heart aches for women who have known this pain and walked through this loss.

So this is the last book I thought would pertain to me, but what particularly hit me is the church’s responsibility and privilege to love, care for, and pray for widows. The author walks through How to Help a Widow and The Local Church and Its Widows in her appendixes in the back of the book. Even if you are like me, and have not experienced this situation, this is worth the read.

Here’s an excerpt from the book’s introduction:

Marriage is the most intimate of human relationships. When that relationship is severed by death, intense sorrow follows. I was surprised at the uniqueness and depth of this grief. Over a period of five year, I also lost my father, my mother, my aunt, and my father-in-law. None of these losses, however, compared in intensity to the grief of losing my husband.

My husband died in the late fall, and I distinctly remember being surprised when spring came that I was still alive. I never thought I would make it through the winter. I don’t mean that I was suicidal, but each day was so hard that I thought I would just wear out. Now, several years later, I can tell you with full assurance from the Scriptures and from my experience that God can bring you to a place of contentment. You can faithfully endure the winter of your grief if you lean on the Lord for all you need. It is my fervent hope and sincere prayer that this book will encourage your hurting heart and uplift your soul…

I want to tell you enough of my story to assure you of my empathy with your grief. But then I want to step aside and point you to Christ, for he is able to come alongside you by the presence of his Spirit. He cares for you. He wants you to know him better. Times of deep sorrow can produce in us a profound sense of loneliness, but if we set our eyes of faith on Christ and seek to know him in the midst of pain, he will give us a clearer vision of who he is and who we are in him.

The Lord Jesus Christ can give us confidence in him so strong that we can face anything because he is with us.

Someday the torrent of tears will slow to occasional trickles. Someday the pain in your heart will fade. Someday you will look back and see how far God has brought you. May this book help you to find true comfort and real strength to keep walking with the Lord for his glory and your good as you reach toward that day.

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