Monday Musings – The Home of an Orphan and a Widow

Orphans and widows are oft mentioned throughout the pages of the Bible as God teaches about justice and compassion, revealing His heart of justice and mercy.  As I began to read the Scriptures (280 concerning widows and 105 on orphans), tears welled up in my eyes. As I read, God’s love and cause/plea for justice felt overwhelming, momentarily taking my breath away. I note that foreigners are also often included in these passages of scripture.

I think these scriptures especially garner my attention because it occurred to me—my home is the home of a widow and an orphan, one who is also a foreigner. I tend to discount this because our culture is different today than in biblical times, and many governments have some kinds of provisions. However, one thing is sure. Distress, such as is mentioned in James 1:27, is real. When Wyndham was living, we often spoke of the many ways that more distress accompanied orphans than simply having no parents. Even when/if orphans find adoptive parents or parents find them, distress runs deep and wide. I resist even writing the words orphan and widow, because they are uncomfortable words, especially when describing me and my beloved son.

How much my perspective on life and the ways I view it have changed since I began my quest in trying to understand the underworld of orphans and the effect their lot in life has on their sense of loss identity, rejection, shame, and control. I guess God felt I also needed to understand widowhood, so I am learning as best I can as I live this new way of life.  After learning much this year about deeply embedded racial injustice, justice and mercy have been especially on my heart. I have since been inquiring about ways to interact with refugees in my area, and as soon as the pandemic eases should have some new opportunities for this, which I know will teach me much. I feel growth coming on, which feels exciting and a little scary. I long to live as Micah instructs. Pray for me, as I pray for you.

  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

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  1. carolyn harrell

    Again, perfect and real. Thank you always, Jeanie

    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you. Love you so much!

  2. jerrysprague

    Jeanie, I love your writings both blogs and books! You are very inspiring to me as I wish I could be more like you in your desire to learn. I read a lot and am always trying to grow. But the difference between us is you seem to really love reading. I read out of necessity, not because I love it. I’m slow and have to process information; my cpu is probably much slower than yours. I’m reading your book on Paul’s views on women and I’m very impressed with your depth of scholarship and thoroughness. I’m sure I’ll read it more than once.

    Re your comments today on orphans, that touches me also since I’ve worked with Agape of NC for going on 30 years now and have had much contact with adopted children. And your comment about God’s concern about foreigners is so good; I’ve noticed recently that He often shows love and compassion for the “aliens”, contrary to how the Jewish people looked down on them. The message is a little conflicted in that God warns them to stay away from the surrounding people and their bad influence but He still cares about how His people treat them. A truly loving God!

    thank you again for sharing your insights and writings!

    Jerry Sprague

    • jeanieshaw

      Hi Jerry,
      So good to hear from you. Your words mean a lot. Thank you so much for the encouragement. Love, Jeanie


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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