Imagine you are a young woman on your wedding day, decked in a festive sari. You have hope and a future. You put on glass bangles, the special symbol of your marriage. You have brought honor to your family. One day, far too soon, your husband dies. You grieve. You seek comfort. Instead, your glass bangles are shattered. Your vibrant sari is taken from you, exchanged for a colorless white one—a perpetual public reminder of your status: widow. Much of the opportunity you had, however small—any chance for happiness or honor—has been traded for a lifetime of desperate survival, of sorrow shrouded in shame.
For many of the 40 million widows in Asia, this is reality. Losing a spouse is never easy, but for many a widow in South Asia, it is the worst kind of tragedy. For her, it may mean the loss of not just her companion and only means of income, but also of the support and respect of her community. Her adult children may expel her from her home, leaving her to fend for herself on the streets. Why? A widow in South Asia is often blamed for the death of her husband and seen as cursed. Many widows face a life of hopelessness and poverty. Some resort to suicide to escape the relentless shame.
The feature article Treasure Hunters, Mental Illness and Hope tells the story of a widow named Tilaka who went through especially horrific heartbreak. Her 7-year-old son was kidnapped by treasure hunters and given as a sacrifice to their gods. Unbearable pain pierced Tilaka’s heart when she discovered what had happened to her precious son. Grief stole her ability to think clearly, and she became labeled as a mentally challenged woman by those in her community. Having lost her husband, her son, her hope and her sanity, how could her situation possibly be restored? Read to find out how Tilaka, rejected and forgotten by the world, found a new and living hope in Jesus, her Savior who binds up the broken-hearted.
The Bible tells us that God, the Defender of widows, sees and loves each one (Psalm 68:5, John 3:16). He longs to give her a garment of praise for her spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:1-3) through His hands and feet—the body of Christ.
You can make a difference by sharing Tilaka’s story on your blog. Allow God’s heart to beat through you as you share with your readers His love for each widow. For this month’s blog assignment, share Tilaka’s story of how Jesus transformed her with His love and compassion.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God,
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”