I remember exactly where I was… sitting in the waiting room at a doctor’s office and filling out the new patient intake forms.
There it was... the question... Marital Status - with a checkbox labeled ‘widowed.’
The word seemed to leap off the page and grab the very breath out of my body... my heart raced, and time stood still.
Time stood still.
As I regained my composure, I realized it didn’t change anything. It was only a description of something that was already more than real. A word to tell the world my husband was dead. It didn’t make it more or less real. It didn't change the pain. It just was.
I often hear widows say how much they dislike the word ‘widow.’ The reasons are as diverse as the ladies who speak them... most commonly the reason sounds something like this: “It’s a ‘sad’ word with ‘sad’ and ‘lonely’ connotations.”
Nobody would ask to become a widow if they had a choice. And... the first time you realize that word describes you, it is overwhelming.
As I’ve thought about it, I think the word is a reminder of the reality we face every day as widows. The reality doesn’t change with or without a word.
I can honestly say I didn’t really like it at first either, but I’ve come to realize we are giving too much power to a word. A word with five little letters that is simply a factual and descriptive word... like ‘blue eyed.’
The word does not define us. It just tells one fact about us; albeit a very important fact.
We put our own connotations on the word and then we live up to the expectation we’ve put on it.
We should always be taking any anxiety to the Lord; including the anxiety that this word causes. We must take anxiety captive to the obedience of Christ... and not let it have power over us.
I've come to see the word as much more of a good thing now - because it is a description to help others in widowhood know we can relate to what they are going through. It says to other widows, “I have experienced your heartache. I know your pain. I will understand when others don’t.”
We must not let this word be our identity. Our identity is always to be found in Christ, regardless of our marital status. We find joy in the Lord as Christians, which means we can still find joy in the Lord as widows!
I am praying we can stop letting one small word cause so much turmoil and have so much power.
The only five-letter word we should allow to rule our hearts and minds is J.E.S.U.S.
2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
1 Peter 2:9
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
” For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
— Robyn Alsip Arce, © 2021
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