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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Do you visit orphans and widows?

What does it mean to look after or visit someone?

When I think of "look after", I think of a mom who has little ones she's always keeping an eye on. It's a full-time job.

When I think of "visit", I think of sitting down in their living room, pulling up a seat, sipping on coffee or cocoa, and having a nice long chat and "visit".

Do you visit orphans and widows?
Pure and undefiled religion before the God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their tribulation; to keep oneself unstained from the world. Berean Literal Bible James 1:27

Photo by Stefan Spassov on Unsplash

Acts of Service

Recently, a Widow myself and father of two mother-less boys, I was given the opportunity to receive a Thanksgiving Basket by a local church. A wonderful friend nominated us. I was so grateful for being thought of, it's truly a blessing. But it was very transactional. "So good to see you, here's your basket?"

It reminds me of a lot of our other church-related "ministries". We have a single mom's event once a year or once a quarter. We give food away near holidays. We wash their car once or mow their lawn.

These are all FABULOUS. We should absolutely keep doing them.

But I wonder if we're missing the opportunity of a lifetime.

Community and Relationship

Rather than looking at this act of service as an end in itself... what if we looked at this act of service as an excuse to build community and relationship. What if the point wasn't the act of service, what if that was an excuse to get us into their world and then sit with them.

It was great to get this box. I'm so happy. And we're short on money this week, so this will go a long way toward feeding us.

However, it got me thinking about all the stories I have heard in my Widow/Widower groups about how community for the Widow either remains the same (zero) because they were already isolated or dwindles and lessens.

Why relationship is harder than service

People don't know what to say. It's awkward. They want to "make it better" but nothing you say will make it better, nothing.

Couples that did everything with you and your spouse no longer invite you because you'd be the only one who wasn't coupled and it would be awkward and they don't want to make you jealous of their happiness.

People feel helpless. The Widow/Orphan may even lash out at the person, taking their pain out on them because they're there in front of them.

So gradually, Widows (and Orphans) lose friends.

They also lose family. Family members on the spouse's side can get envious or angry and cut the Widow off. Family members on the Widows side can hurt seeing you hurt and just want you to hurry up and get better.

Although food and money are always key issues for the Widow... friendship, community, and relationship is the hardest hit spot in their lives.

A weekly visit from someone who wants nothing other than to listen, talk, and be present would be worth a thousand gift boxes, lawns mowed, cars washed, or gift cards.

Opportunity to level up our engagement

So then I thought about all of these things, discussed them with a friend... What the Widow needs most, above all else, is community. Friends, family, adopted-family, people to come alongside of them, sit in their living room, and let them talk about life without hurrying them to change.

My friend, Theresa, told me that I'm especially gifted to sit with someone who's going through a hard season and just let it be hard. I can sit with them in their distress and do it in a way where they feel honored, and not rushed to heal, but still comforted.

She suggested I start training individuals, churches, and organizations to embrace a No Hiding culture, and how to sit with someone in something hard.

The idea sparked something inside of me. Something I wasn't expecting to get downloaded. I can see a clarion call on this mission.

I don't know how to go from a guy, struggling to make ends meet, writing because I can't not write, raising two boys, to the place where I travel the nation teaching Churches and Organizations how to "visit Widows and Orphans"... but it certainly has a ring to it.

That mission has a certain "je ne sais quoi", with bigger than I can do type of calling on it. And that's usually a God thing. If it calls to you strongly AND you have no clue how you'd ever accomplish it because it sounds too big for you... God might be in that.

It's the dreams that you can see the path clearly on, the ones that seem easy, that are usually not God's dreams for you. He wants you dreaming bigger than your ability or resources.

So this is it. I'm putting it out into the universe. I'm not sure what that looks like. I'm not sure if it's something I could be doing by this time next year, or if there's five-ten years of building block lessons I need to master on the way. We shall see.

Maybe it all starts with this post.

For now, here's my ask. On behalf of all those who have no voice and don't know how to ask:

Go visit someone today

If you have an Orphan (a child who's lost one parent or more) or a Widow (a person who's lost their spouse or significant other) in your life, church, work, community:

  • Buy them food, absolutely. 
  • Give them money, definitely.
  • BUT... ask if you can come sit with them.
Literally, physically, in their living room, their space, sit with them. Then just listen. Don't preach them a sermon, teach them a lesson, or tell them about the ten steps to healing... Just sit, listen, and share your life story whenever appropriate but keep the focus on them talking.

Guage what they need in that moment. They may just need to vent. They may need to scream. They may need to tell you stories about the past. They may not want to talk about it anymore and they just need to be distracted by hearing some light-hearted funny things you've heard or seen. See what they need. Don't be afraid to ask but don't be surprised if they don't know. Listen to the Holy Spirit.

If it's an Orphan, they may have been used to sharing all the things they were doing, learning, or playing with their Mom or Dad, now they can't. Just let them babble on about school or legos or the latest movies. Be the "presence" that's so sorely lacking.

Make a commitment, this Thanksgiving week especially.

Go visit an orphan or widow. 


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


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