"How do you celebrate a wedding anniversary with only half of a couple?" asked Margaret Nyman only 26 days short of being wed to Nate for 40 years. Her husband, who had succumbed to pancreatic cancer six weeks after his diagnosis, passed away surrounded by his wife and seven grown children. Like many of Margaret's widow friends had already realized before her, losing her husband to death turned Margaret's life upside-down and brought uncertainty at every turn.

The unwelcome transition into widowhood is traumatic and often misunderstood by those who have not been affected by such a loss. But since most women will outlive their husbands, it is reasonable to anticipate that many of us will be widows in our lifetime. And despite the fact that many mental-health professionals gauge the death of a spouse the number one stressor a person will face in their lifetime, most women are caught unaware of the significant challenges they must navigate once their husbands are gone.

Carol Cornish, in The Undistracted Widow: Living for God After Losing Your Husband (Crossway, 2010), provides hope and direction for widows who desire to remain devoted to God despite the harsh storms that accompany their new season of life. Even though scriptural encouragement for widows is plentiful, Christian widows are often scrambling for resources that speak to their specific pain and heartache. Grief and bereavement groups may provide social support and connection, but the woman seeking to embrace her widowhood from a God-honoring perspective may easily come up short or be led astray by worldly counsel about where to find comfort in a time of loss.

Cornish, who lost her husband to lung cancer, offers widows a biblical perspective that grew out of her own ...

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