Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)
I was settled comfortably in a waiting room chair when I heard sniffling and looked up.
“Oh, this is embarrassing,” the receptionist said, dabbing her eyes. “I’ve been doing this for days, and I can’t stop.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, putting down the magazine.
“No, it’s okay. But it’s weird. I’m that woman that never cries. But I can’t shake the thoughts of what just happened to a friend.” She grabbed a tissue and blew her nose. “She was going along with her life, just like I do. Then, out of nowhere, her husband just died.”
I took it in. Just the mention of that scenario and a wave of bad memories flooded in as though they were yesterday. “Heart attack?”
She nodded. “He was fifty-one! I can’t imagine what she’s going through!”
I can, I thought and then took a deep breath. “Kids?”
“Three of the sweetest you can imagine. Her thirteen-year-old plays baseball with my thirteen-year-old.” She clenched her fists, fighting more tears, and shook her head. “Just like that—her life is changed forever.”
“Yes,” I said, my eyes meeting hers. “Completely changed forever.”
She thought for a moment. “I don’t know what to say to her. I’ve always been a tough woman. Stubborn. In my zone. I only focus on my world—my husband, my kids, my job. I’ve lost touch with so many people over the years as though no one really mattered.”
We both sat quietly for a moment while we thought about what she just said.
Then she added, “but she matters.”
And here is where I break from the story to speak to each of you sisters on this widow journey. I’m amazed at God’s goodness to bring my meeting with the receptionist in the waiting room together. It wasn’t an accident—her being struck with sadness about seeing the exact same tragedy I had once experienced and me hearing her gut-wrenching story that was exactly like my loss.
Isn’t God’s purpose so clear in these moments? Paul talks about this when he writes to the Corinthians. He tells them that when God comforts us in our struggles, we are then able to turn around and comfort others. My conversation with this receptionist happened almost ten years since losing Tom—long enough for me to have so much of God’s healing and joy restored in my life, and long enough for me to be prepared to send that healing and restoration through this woman to help the new widow in her life.
All these thoughts ran through my head as I listened to her describe the impact of her friend’s loss on her heart.
“I’m just a baseball mom acquaintance,” she said. “She never really mattered to me before, but now she matters, and I’m thinking about people I’ve neglected and ignored over the years. I’m not close to anyone but my family.”
I nodded. “People matter. The older we get, the more important it is to recognize it before it’s too late.”
“I don’t know what to do for her. I can’t imagine what she’s going through.”
Silence for a moment. Should I tell her I’m a widow? Yes, I should. God brought this moment for a reason.
“I can imagine what she’s going through,” I finally said. “I lived it. I was her.”
She looked puzzled.
“I was her age with four little boys when my husband died with no warning whatsoever. I was exactly where she is right now.”
She stared in my eyes, seeming to try to connect her friend’s situation to me. “I would have never guessed. You seem happy.”
“I am. It hasn’t been easy, but my life is good.”
“I can’t imagine what she’s going through.”
“Parts of being a widow stinks, but she will need a friend who can show her she’s more than a widow. She’s going to need a good friend.”
And as she began to ask how to be a good friend, I found myself making a new friend.
That was something I couldn’t imagine. Who could imagine His infinite wisdom and power—how the Almighty Counselor knew that only someone who had walked in my shoes could counsel this woman.
Lord thank you for bringing me comfort so that I can be used to comfort others.
Kit Hinkle is an author and speaker. She was an original writer of A Widow’s Might in 2008, and after four years with that ministry, expanded it and founded A New Season Ministries, Inc. Once the ministry became established, she turned the leadership over, yet continues to contribute articles while she focuses on her finest career as a mother to two high school boys, two boys in college, and a grown son and daughter whom she helped her husband raise before he passed away. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now enjoys walks on the beach with her chocolate lab. She loves to sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ. It’s an honor to participate in His kingdom.
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If you are looking for more to read about comforting others, consider these posts from our team: