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If you have lost a spouse and are now widowed, or you have a friend who is a new widow, then today is the perfect show for you. We’re going to talk about what it’s like to become a widow or widower, how to help a grieving widow, and how to support a widow in such a trying time.
Seven years ago, Lisa Appelo went to bed happily married to her high school sweetheart and woke up a widow and single mom of seven. As she navigated grief and shepherded her children through their own grief, God not only mended her broken heart but reshaped it. Before this happened to her, she didn’t know how to help a grieving widow, but now she shares from her experience to help us understand how to help a widow who is grieving.
In this episode, we are going to discuss what it’s like to unexpectedly become a widow. Lisa shared from her experience how to help a grieving widow. We discuss what to say or do that is helpful, as well as things to avoid saying because they aren’t helpful and may, in fact, be hurtful. And we also discuss things a widow can do to help themselves during the grief process.
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Quotables from the episode:
Sometimes the hardest part after the death of a spouse is the loss of a future together. There are no more plans or dreams or time together.
Nobody ever teaches us how to grieve. It takes us by surprise, and everyone’s experience is a little different.
Two things anchored us during the grief process: getting away alone and reading the Bible, and keeping a gratitude journal of the things I saw God do for us and around us.
God does not take the pain away from us, but He is present with us in the hard times.
The second year, in many ways, is harder than the first year after a spouse dies because by then the fog has lifted.
One of the hardest aspects of grief is the loneliness we experience. The person we most want to share life with is gone.
Grief is a deep loss that we will never get over.
When you have a grieving friend, show up and be present. Don’t wait for them to call you and ask for help.
Say “I love you,” “I’m praying for you,” “I’m here for you,” “I’m so very sorry for your loss,” and “How can I pray specifically for you?”
Follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting and do things to help without being asked. Send a text during the day, take their children out with yours, mow their lawn, take their car for its annual inspection, etc.
Others’ words can’t change anything, but God’s Word can change everything.
When you have a grieving friend, be careful of saying “I understand how you feel” because everyone’s experience is different from yours.
When someone is grieving and crushed in spirit, we need to be okay with just sitting with them and letting them lament.
Job’s friends came and sat with him in silence in his grief. They didn’t get in trouble until they started talking and hypothesizing about why God allowed him to experience such hardship.
James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
Psalm 68:5 “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-this is God, whose dwelling is holy.”
1 Timothy 5:5 “The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.”
“A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life” by Jerry Sittser
“A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss” by Jerry Sittser
“Widowed: When Death Sucks the Life Out of You” by Fran Geiger Joslin
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award.
Hope Prevails Bible Study by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award.
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Connect with Lisa Appelo
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Guest: Lisa Appelo
Seven years ago, Lisa Appelo became a sudden widow and single mom to seven. Having walked through this life-altering loss, Lisa inspires women to deepen their faith in grief and find hope in the hard. She’s passionate about rich Bible study and teaches a weekly ladies Bible class at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville. Lisa is a former litigating attorney but her days are now filled with parenting, ministry, writing, speaking, and running enough to justify lots of dark chocolate.
Hosted By: Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Audio Technical Support: Bryce Bengtson