Inside Out 239: Comfort in Widowhood

03.07.12 | Martha Manikas-Foster

godashusbandI was waiting for a seat in the amphitheater in Chautauqua, NY when the woman ahead of me in line struck up a conversation. It was 1999. I know this because one of my friends had just died, and I was thinking about what to say to his wife—also my friend—and now his widow. The woman in line, it turned out, was a widow, and in the hour or more that we waited together she introduced me to some basic truths about talking to widows. 

One truth about connecting with those who are in mourning, she said, was to do just that . . . connect. Overcome the inclination to be vague. Make specific plans. Go for walks together. Extend dinner invitations. Talk to my friend about her husband—she would want to know that I remembered his melodic accent and his stories of surviving the bombing of London during World War II. And the woman warned that if I, myself, had never been widowed--and I had not--I should not pretend to understand what my friend was feeling. But I could listen to how she was feeling.

I thought about this conversation when I ran into Mary Elliott’s book Living Isaiah 54: Your Maker is Your Husband. The book is not about widows or widowers, but is it is about the companionship that God offers those who are feeling abandoned, isolated, or companionless. In the US, in the year 2002 alone, that could have included the 800,000 men and women who were newly widowed. According to the US Census in the year 2000, of men who were age 55 and over, nine percent were widowers. Of women who were 55 and older, 32 percent were widows. That’s a lot of people who could be feeling companionless.

In this Inside Out podcast (click the icon above to listen) author Mary Elliott gives us a brief Bible survey on how God’s protective care is like that of the best of husbands. God’s comfort, of course, extends beyond the widows and widowers among us.

If you are a widow or a widower--or divorced or feeling isolated--perhaps Mary has just the words that will comfort you today.

For a preview of Mary Elliott’s book, click here:


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 03.08.12 Steven Rhodes, Faith Community Nurse commented

I know Mary Elliott being from the same congregation.
This interview resonated with me as a widower. Besides my unexpected loss, my wife was pregnant at the time too. My wife had brought me back into the church and I was saved before she left. I can't imagine how I could have coped without my Christ connection. Now I have the Biblical connections to pass on to my parishioners I care for. Thanks Mary and Family Life.

on 03.08.12 Martha commented

Thanks, Steven, for listening and for telling a part of your story. May God continue to be your companion and bless you even as you bless others.

on 03.09.12 Terry Noble commented

I have known Mary for a couple of years now, and am always amazed by how God works and speaks through her. I am a man who has read her book Living Isaiah 54 and am very glad I did. I do struggle with man pride and have some difficulty in viewing myself as the bride but Mary's book is helping to bring me to a more intimate relationship with my Maker. I truly enjoyed the interview I just listened to here and pray that through it many people find their way to love, peace, fulfillment of their longings, cure for their lonely feelings, and joy through a wonderful relationship with their Maker/Husband.

on 03.09.12 Carolyn Williams commented

I listened to the interview with a friend who has been widowed for several years. As the interview progressed, she became more aware of her own need to connect with our Maker on a more intimate level, something we have been discussing for many months now.She has expressed a desire to get this book and use it as a guide to walk her through this painful time in her life. Personally I fund this book to be insightful; an opportunity to explore my relationship with God through this anointed work thatI know is commissioned by Him

on 03.11.12 Ro commented

Mary's my friend and her book and interview were, as always, deep and full of right on info. Having lost my soulmate a little over a year ago, and having studied with him prior to his death - intending to prepare for the aloneness I would experience, the promises God makes to us in scripture at the time seemed doable. But it wasn't until my husband was actually physically gone that I "got it". Being happy for his new life in glory with the living Jesus is the best part of all this. God's love is filling the void left by an awesome, God-driven partner and fun man. God is our comfort-joy-hope. It's not the same as my cheerleader next to me everyday loving and encouraging me and our family, but God is filling that void and restoring my broken heart...just as Mary describes. Go girl! I am so proud of her for finishing this book God called her to share.

on 03.12.12 Mary Elliott commented

Wow- I am humbled by the comments left here and continue to realize that our Lord God wants us to realize the scripture, "Your Maker is your Husband." HE truly is for the broken-hearted and wants to fill up the void those broken pieces have left in our lives. I pray I am up for the task as I'm asked to minister to those whose lives have been turned upside down. HE has never let me down as I listen and try to minister His heart to others. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement and God Bless always!

on 03.17.12 Donna Bates commented

Thank You Mary!




Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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