I am so excited to have Roxanne here with me today to share her story. I first learned of Roxanne’s loss through the Faith, Hope, Love writing group and sent her a card of condolence, but I didn’t meet her until 2009 at an ACFW conference. As fellow writers and fellow homeschoolers and fellow matchmaking moms (we both had had children hitting that age *grin*), we hit it off immediately, exchanged emails, and yes, exchanged photos of our children. LOL.
When I saw her again this past fall at ACFW, she glowed as she shared her story of new love. Well, she glowed the entire weekend!
Take it away, Roxanne…
Sandra, thank you so much for letting me be your guest. I love sharing what God has done.
My life reads like a novel, complete with a diverse cast of characters and loads of conflict. My wonderful husband, Jack Sherwood, and I were homeschooling parents of seven children—ages 1, 8, 10, 17, 17, 18 and 20—all living at home. Life was crazy and chaotic at times but satisfying. Then, on our twin daughters’ 17th birthday, Jack suffered a heart attack on the way home from work and didn’t survive. I had to remember to breathe.
I began a new, difficult chapter as a widow raising children alone. Besides normal home repairs, my house had three major incidents of water damage. On top of normal auto maintenance, four cars were totaled—two were not my children’s fault. One son developed Crohn’s Disease, while my preschooler was diagnosed with autism. And that’s the condensed version.
Even the happy occasions were difficult. My oldest son graduated from college and was awarded a scholarship for a Ph.D. One daughter earned her second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. But Jack wasn’t there to share our joy. Until God’s made two become one flesh, then ripped that apart, you can’t understand how alone someone can be in a crowd.
I heard that my high school classmate Steve’s wife had died, so I sent my condolences. A month later, he said thanks. After another month, I asked how he was coping. We sent seven emails back and forth that night. Then, he joined Facebook so we could chat. A couple of weeks later, he called me. I was attracted to his sexy voice, and he said I had him at “hello.” We began talking two and three hours every night, hating to hang up because we’d be alone again. God made us attracted to one another’s voices because for months that’s all we had—a voice in the dark, revealing the depths of our hearts as God knit our hearts together.
I wasn’t looking for a relationship with Steve, who lived 1200 miles away. I was lonely and wanted a friend to keep me company until God might bring someone local into my life. Steve only recently lost his wife after a long illness and had no plans to remarry—and risk loving—again. But we made each other laugh like giddy teenagers. Phone calls weren’t enough. We had to meet to see if our feelings were real.
Steve visited for three days in October. I’d already fallen in love with his heart. Now, I fell in love with the rest of him. J My children liked him immediately. Steve and I met again for a couple of days in November. By December, he’d hinted about proposing. I panicked. My college-age children were entrenched in San Antonio. To marry Steve, I’d break up the family, separating the younger boys from their older siblings. Yet, the boys would gain a father—and my youngest didn’t remember Jack at all, and I would gain everything. In some ways, it was a risk. We’d spent so few days together. But God had handpicked Steve for me—and my boys. We married in June and began living Happily Ever After.
Sandra again…doesn’t Roxanne’s story fill your heart with hope? Roxanne Gray, writes as Roxanne Sherwood, and her real-life hero husband is very supportive of her writing aspirations, which leads me to my question for you today…
Your Turn: What do you/did you or do you think you will value most about your spouse? If happily single, what do you value most in your relationships with friends?
P.S. Congratulations to Anna Lynne Redekop!!! You receive the copy of Missy Tippens’ A House Full of Hope. Please email so I can get this off to you.