Widow Work

Deuteronomy 10:18: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”

This is a sad but true fact: 97% of married women become widows. According to Gitnux Market Date Reports 2024, 7000,000 American women become widows each year. Widows are 30% more likely to die within six months of losing a spouse. And 50% of widows report a decrease in social support within three months of widowhood. Sobering facts when we consider what the Bible has to say about widows:

  • Deuteronomy 10:18: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”
  • Psalm 68:5: “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
  • James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
  • Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.


    Ruth: God’s Love for a Young Widow — Grace Baptist Church

But just WHO is looking after the widows and their children? The US Census Department reports that the median income of widows over the age of 65 is $17,000 annually. Many women stopped working to look after a family and now face a life of near poverty without social support.


I was widowed at 65 but couldn’t receive widow benefits until I was 66. Luckily, I had a job as a teacher and while the first few months were a financial strain, my son and I survived. But it was the lack of social support that was the hardest to accept. The church my husband and I had attended and served at for most of our marriage had a lovely funeral and luncheon. And then? Well, nothing. Oh, the occasional, “How are you doing?” but no real support. I found myself sitting alone in the sanctuary, Sunday after Sunday. My best friend moved away. I made attempts to approach other women. I even set up an appointment with the head of women’s ministries to talk about the plight of widows.

She canceled the appointment and never rescheduled.

So, 18 months after Ron’s death, I left the church where we had raised our children and sought a new place for myself and my autistic son. I knew then that something was incredibly wrong with the way the church and society treated widows. But I was still too raw with grief, too new at widowhood, to be of help to anyone else.

Support Groups for Widows - Heartache To Healing

And now? Now I am stronger. I have not only survived but thrived. I have found a new and wonderful life with my son and I look forward to the next season, which may well include writing for or helping widows.

This is one of my favorite websites for widows. A Widow’s Might: Daily Christian Devotion for Women (

If you’ve been widowed or know someone who has, what did you want people to know? What did you need help with? For me, it’s not having someone who can advise me about who to hire for repairs!

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Linda Cobourn

Linda Cobourn picked up a pencil when she was nine and hasn’t stopped writing since, but she never expected to write about adult autism and grief. When her husband died after a long illness, she began a remarkable journey of faith with her son, an adult with Asperger’s syndrome. The author of Tap Dancing in Church, Crazy: A Diary, and Scenes from a Quirky Life, she holds an MEd in Reading and an EdD in Literacy. Dr. Cobourn also writes for Aspirations, a newsletter for parents of autistic offspring. Her work in progress, tentatively titled Finding Dad: A Journey of Faith on the Autism Spectrum, chronicles her son’s unique grief journey. Dr Cobourn teaches English as a Second Language in Philadelphia and lives with her son and a fat cat named Butterscotch in Delaware County. She can be contacted on her blog, Quirky, and her Amazon author page.