Fatherless, Widowed, and LonelyDate posted: July 9, 2014
“Sing to God, sing praise to his name;
extol him who rides on the clouds —
his name is the Lord —
and rejoice before him.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
he leads forth the prisoners with singing…”
As I was reading my daily Psalm, I couldn’t help but stop and think about all of the children and families we serve in Upper Egypt. In the majority of our children’s lives, this Psalm speaks directly to them. They are fatherless. For the majority of the mother’s lives, this Psalm speaks directly to them. They are widows. For the majority of the people we serve, this Psalm speaks directly to them. They are lonely.
For 160 of our children, this is literal. Their fathers have passed away. The children may have known their father for a time, or maybe not at all, but the position of “father” will never be filled.
For an additional 22 children, this is literal in the sense that their father’s don’t live at home. They possibly work in another city with minimal visits or have left the family completely. Regardless of the reason for their absence, the children know of their father, possibly even have a relationship with them, but live with a hope that someday he’ll return and have a more prominent place in the family.
And then we have the third category of fatherless children. They have a father. He lives at home and they know him well, but he is emotionally unavailable. He is not engaged in their lives. He doesn’t parent, not due to lack of desire, but because he doesn’t know he should and has never been taught how. The children yearn for a father to engage with them. They long for someone to say they are proud of them and encourage them. They want to know they are valued above the animals.
What if we, as sponsors, were being used by God to bring strength and encouragement to our sponsored children? What if we, as sponsors, engaged in the lives of our children and their families? What if we, as sponsors, pointed them back to God as their True Father?
“A father to the fatherless…”
For 106 of our mothers, this is literal. In a culture led by men, and the status and honor of your home being set in place by the husband, a woman without a husband is stuck. She must find ways to provide for her family, often relying on the small pension provided by the government. She is quickly identified by her all-black attire. She is forced to find work, as well as raise the children in her home. While her family or her husband’s family will often step in and help, it is no replacement for the husband she lost.
For the additional 22 families where the fathers are alive, but don’t live at home, the mother’s often feel like widows. They don’t have a husband physically present to help. While he may be providing the income necessary to survive, their presence is missed. They aren’t available to help with the work that needs to be done. They aren’t available to be a protection to the family. They aren’t available to share the pressures of raising a family.
And just like the children above, there are women who have a husband physically present, but emotionally absent. They do their work and come home, but all other engagement is missing.
What if we, as sponsors, reached out to the mother’s of our sponsored children? What if we, as sponsors, encouraged their mother’s in their worth and impact? What if we, as sponsors, pointed them back to God as their True Husband?
“A defender of widows…”
Regardless of whether a parent is alive or living at home, whether the house is filled with people or not, we all have the potential be lonely. We can be surrounded by biological family and yet feel as if we have none. For the children we serve, many of them would claim loneliness. They don’t feel like anyone else understands what they have faced. And culturally, are not to speak of things that could bring shame on the family. They don’t feel like anyone cares about them now, so why would anyone care about their future? They feel unloved, unvalued, and unimportant.
What if we, as sponsors, were to be the family God intended for the children? What if we, as sponsors, reached out to our children and told them how loved, valued, and important they are? What if we, as sponsors, pointed them back to God as their King, Provider, and Wonderful Counselor?
“God sets the lonely in families…”
We are not a substitute for God. We cannot act in place of Him. But, we can be used by Him. $30 a month to sponsor a child. 5 minutes of your day to write a letter and pray for your child. It doesn’t seem like a lot in a world where coffee costs $5 and a communication is done through text messages and hashtags, but to our children, your support, your love, your words, and your prayers are life. They are strength. They are encouragement. And they are hope.
Will you write to your child today? Click here to send him or her a note via our website.