Helping widows and Orphans
For 10 years, my husband fought brain cancer. At every crisis point — and there were many — our friends embraced and sustained us with love, presence, and practical help. Almost two years ago, he passed on to heaven, and our dwindled family began a new chapter — as widow and orphans. (Although many assume “orphan” means the loss of both parents, it includes loss of one parent, or merely “abandonment” in general.)
Is the trouble facing orphans and widows that important to God? Strongly, yes. The Bible addresses Christians’ collective responsibility to care for widows and orphans. starts like this: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction . . . ”
So, how do you “visit” widows and orphans in meaningful ways? (Here, I’m including single parents who might not technically be “widows, ” but are effectively just as alone.) First, notice them. They are all around you. Then, don’t ask them what you can do — just do something. Here are 10 easy starter ideas:
1. Bring them a meal
This is the most common thing to do for families dealing with illness. But single parents are looking at years of imagining, making, and cleaning up meals. It’s relentless and unforgiving. If you don’t cook, send a restaurant gift card or fruit basket. Whatever it is, it will get eaten — and it will lighten a heavy load.
Even the most loving of single parents need oxygen, time alone to do something fun. Money is usually tight, so they avoid babysitters whenever possible. Watch the kids for free, and you can help a tired and empty mom or dad fill his or her tank.
3. Do (or pay for) the housecleaning
There is not enough time or energy in my day to keep my house clean. But I crave order, and I avoid things I hate doing. Taking this huge chore off my list is better than a box of chocolate.
4. Buy them a birthday or Christmas present
For the most part, single parents don’t receive gifts anymore. Especially when a spouse has died, your birthday and Christmas are especially lonely and sad. Any little remembrance sends a powerful message of love and encouragement.