Deep down most everyone knows they should help a widow but just don’t know how! Volunteers will typically stand by and wait for the widow to ask for help, not knowing that she is unable to ask for many reasons—she doesn’t know who to ask, what to ask for, when to ask, how to ask, feels she has asked too many times, and not to mention she is simply not used to asking for help from someone other than her husband!
There are many ways to proactively help the widow and her family, consider giving one of these gifts:
1. Donated Items:
Giving a widow your gently used items that you don’t have a need for anymore is a great way to bless her! Yes, they say someone’s trash is another’s treasure, but make sure it’s actually treasurable before you donate it to the widow. Consider the condition of the item before donating. New, used/gently used, clean and presentable, should be the condition of the item before donating.
2. Giving Your Time:
It only takes a little time to show how much you care. It only takes a little time to answer her biggest prayer! Without a husband, her days may seem long and lonely, giving your time to meet a practical, emotional, or spiritual need is a ginormous gift! As you consider helping, spend some time thinking about what you are good at and where you would like to serve.
- Practical Needs:
- Clean her home
- Cut her grass
- Make calls to schedule repairs she needs
- Emotional Needs: Spending time to just listen to her or reminisce on memories of her husband will be refreshing to her. For the widowed mom, adult conversation is non-existent, so meaningful conversation or time discussing important decisions is invaluable!
- Spiritual Needs:
- Give your time in faithful prayer. Pray for one widow a day or consider “adopting” a widow to pray for consistently.
- Take time to call her, send her a text, or write her a letter. Ask how you can be praying for her and follow up to see how God has been answering those prayers!
3. Financial Gifts:
Typically, financial strain accompanies the call to widowhood. Statistically, the breadwinner of the home is gone leaving the widow with the need to go back to work or in some cases find a job for the first time ever! While she will have to find a new normal it is a blessing to have provision, especially in the early months. Here are some suggested financial gifts:
- Gift Cards: food and gas are always necessary
- Monthly Support: insert into your budget a financial blessing for a widow. Send the gift without instructions for how to use it. She may need the extra funds to pay for a bill, while having money for the gift of a manicure might be just the emotional support she needs!
- Pay for time away: a special outing or needed retreat
- Assist with the extra expense that comes for the fatherless:
- Back-to-school supplies
- Scholarships to camp or Christian education
- Extra-curricular activities
- Take her children shopping for Mom’s birthday or Christmas gifts
- Holiday Blessings:
- Send a turkey or basket of food if she is having company
- Gift cards so she can enjoy the gift of giving
4. Mentoring and Coaching
God designed families to include two parents—a mother and a father. When Dad is gone, all the parenting is left to one. Even in the healthiest families, inviting a mentor into the mix is a wise decision. Not only does it provide another listening ear or watchful eye, but often the mentor can say the exact same thing as the parent, only the child will listen and respond favorably to the voice of the mentor! The widowed mom needs mentors to speak into her life as well. Perhaps she is too firm and needs to lighten up a bit or maybe grief has turned her life upside down and she needs the voice of reason to offer direction and wisdom on taking steps to positively move forward.
Mentoring is coaching; however, coaches do make good mentors. If you are a coach, teacher, or adult influencing children, take note of the adolescents in your world that might need a little extra tender loving care. It will take time to build a level of trust but over time you may have opportunity to influence changing the entire trajectory of their life. You will be surprised by the fruit that will come from this relationship!