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Meet Danyell Shaw of Widows Voice in Desoto

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danyell Shaw.

Danyell, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a native Texan, born in Galveston and raised in Texas City, TX. I was educated at Texas Woman’s University and I met my late husband who was attending the University of North Texas. My journey as a Widow and Solo Mom began after my late husband Pastor Ronald Shaw Jr. passed away on September 7, 2015, which was six days after my 39th birthday. In November of that year, God spoke to me and said that I would be ministering to Widows. I promise you that I literally laughed. I could not believe that I would be able to help anyone because I was in such a broken place. My sons and I moved back to Dallas from St. Louis in August of 2016. It was imperative that we do so for our well being. We began to get involved at our home church and in January of 2017, God began to press upon me that it was time to do what He had told me to do. That month, I launched my website. Also in that month, I started the WidowsVoice Instagram Page. In June of 2017, I wrote my first blog post on the website. My endeavor is to help and encourage Widows like myself. I want to let them know that they won’t always be in that dark place even though it feels like they will be there forever. I have a special place in my heart for young widows, Pastors widows and widows with children because I can identify with all of these circumstances. On my blog, I write about different issues that Widows and their families face. You can see those here-

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has absolutely not been a smooth road. Anyone who has experienced grief at any time knows that there are struggles. Having to deal with my grief and my two sons (who were 10 and 15 at the time their Dad passed) grief at the same time has been a challenge. Also, believe me when I say it is very true when people say I’m here for you and your children and the next thing you know, they are MIA. After my late husband passed, we moved from Missouri back to Texas and that presented its own challenges- finding a place to live, putting my sons in the best school district for them, finding a job, etc. A big challenge in Widowhood is trying to figure out who you are after your husband passes away. Going from Wife to Widow and Solo Mom suddenly takes a toll on you. Then, add going from Pastors Wife to Pastors Widow- whew it’s a lot. I will say this- if it wasn’t for God’s grace, we wouldn’t have made it to where we are today. I’m extremely grateful to Him and for the people He has placed in my family’s lives who we can count on.

Please tell us about Widows Voice – what should we know?
Well, WidowsVoice is an organization formed to encourage widows or anyone experiencing the grief of any kind. Through my social media following, I offer support, inspiration and encouragement. I receive many messages saying how my posts have encouraged them in different ways. Through my website, blogposts, IG page and events my goal is to shed light on Widowhood and life after. I like to call it “The New Normal”. Unfortunately, Widows are some of the most forgotten about, looked over, not thinking about people in the world.

Amazingly the Bible says in James 1:27-Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

In a lot of places that is not happening at all. Did you know there are approximately 258 million widows in the world and that 1 out of 7 widows are living in poverty? So many women (like myself) were/are unprepared for the death of their husband so I also educate women on being prepared. For example, know where the paperwork is, how to pay bills, etc. Trust me these are real issues that Widows face, No one is looking for their spouse to die but it does happen. Also, the loss of a spouse is considered the #1 most stressful life event. If it’s sudden how does one prepare for that? Widows need assistance in this and that is my goal to help them as much as possible.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
First off, I have to thank God for His grace and love. I thank Him for giving me strength for the journey. Without God, I don’t even want to think of where I’d be.

To my sons, who push me just like their Dad did. They were truly my motivation to keep going even when I didn’t feel like it and I just wanted to die. I thank God for them daily. They are truly my inspiration.

I also have to mention my late Mother. She was an amazing woman. She raised 3 children by herself after her divorce. I think about her strength- in the midst of heartache, she kept going. Even though God has taken her home her influence still pushes me and if I can be half of the woman she was I’ll be doing alright.

Also, for the family and friends who have remained constant in our lives and the new friends that God has blessed us with.

Last but certainly not least, I have to give credit to my fellow Widows for encouraging me, for their inspiration, advice. Widows, in general, provide support for each other. Thank you to all of my Wisters (Widow Sisters) for your support.

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