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.
Sandra – Roxanne’s story is a fountain of faith and hope. Thank you for sharing it, Roxanne. You’re one strong woman.
Your point – “Until God’s made two become one flesh, then ripped that apart, you can’t understand how alone someone can be in a crowd” really describes the loss of a spouse.
I value everything about Eric (my spouse). He is the other half of my soul.
I love this story … because I’ve watched this story almost from a ringside seat. I’ve known both Jack, Roxanne’s first husband,and I also watched God orchestrate her relationship with Steve. My husband and I were there for their wedding this past summer. Yep, I danced at her wedding!
(I also got to listen to those “giddy phone calls” when we roomed together at ACFW.)
It’s a beautiful privilege to watch an unexpected miracle unfold in a precious friend’s life.
Onto your question: What do I value most about my husband? That he loves me sacrificially. He has truly modeled unconditional love to me in so many ways.
I love watching God at work! Roxanne and Steve’s story is so beautiful.
I remember reading Roxanne’s email that Jack had passed away. It was right before my day job began so I had to dry my eyes and focus on attention on the job.
I remember Roxanne’s pain. But I delight in the Lord for His provision. He brought Steve and Roxanne together. We were at ACFW and a group of yes giggled like teenagers at a slumber party over Roxanne’s and Steve’s blooming romance. I haven’t had the privilege of meeting Steve yet, but I love him already for the joy he brings to Roxanne.
This is a story that has a definite happy ending!
Oh…Roxanne! I LOVE reading your story. It’s so amazing to watch God’s plan unfold in your life. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to see this phase and get to know you. Thanks for sharing.
Ah, “soul mates.” That reminds me of my favorite romantic line. I’m quoting from the book, The Antagonists, by memory, but it says something like: “My wife, Miriam, is like any other woman, made from a man’s rib. But I searched the world until I found the one missing from my own side.”
Looks like your Eric found what was missing.
I’ve seen your husband’s sacrificial love. Beautiful!
Thanks for dancing at my wedding!
I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement and your prayers!
Thank you for always being here–sharing joy, sharing sorrow. Thank you for already loving Steve. I hope you’ll meet him this summer.
God doesn’t waste our hurts. I’m so glad He can use my experience to teach a you–a young woman–how to have better expectations about marriage, how to be more thankful. I love it when God uses me to help others.
Sandra, Thrilled you had Roxanne tell her wonderful story here. I got to watch part of it and you can hear me applauding from here!
What a beautiful story, and an amazing gift from God for a second chance at love. I truly admire your strength and courage to open your heart again. Beauty for ashes. 🙂 thanks for sharing!
What fun this has been reading everyone’s comments. And you’re right Lisa, it felt just like a teenage slumber party…complete with talking about Mr. Right 🙂
Thanks for letting Roxanne share her story. It was so neat to see a romance novel unfold right in front of us. Doesn’t God write a great story???
Yes, he writes the best stories, Jennie!
Roxanne, I’m so glad to see you again!! And I’m so pleased to hear your wonderful news of a marriage. Congratulations!!
As for my husband, I think I most value his trustworthiness.
How lovely. Yes, God has given beauty for ashes.
Dee and Jennie,
Thanks for being my prayer warriors and cheerleaders!
Oh, Missy, you’re blessed. Trustworthiness is essential! Without that, where do you even begin as a couple? Steve and I were in a long-distance relationship, so it was crucial that I could trust what he was telling me.
We became friends before you got the call. I’m so excited to see your career take off! Thanks so much for allowing me to be your guest!
having you here has been my pleasure! Thanks for sharing with us.
A lovely story. Thanks, Sandra, for sharing Roxanne’s inspiring story of hope.
This is such a moving story. I got to hear part of it from Roxanne herself at the ACFW conference this past September and see some of her wedding pictures. I loved seeing her face light up when she talked about Steve and how the Lord had brought them together. She glowed.
I’m blessed to have been a part of Roxanne’s crit group for several years between Jack & Steve. I was always amazed at her strength and resilience. I loved her instantly. Her heart is so dear. I bought her a mug before her wedding that said”” ” my life IS a romance novel!” 🙂
Roxanne, I couldn’t be happier for you & may your own romance be an inspiration to your writing.
I LOVE this story!! It is one of my favorites. I have an amazing husband and I absolutely adore him. Meeting Roxanne in February of 2010 and hearing her story then made me so much more appreciative of him. I went home from that meeting with a rewed desire to make sure he always knows how much he means to me.
I completely agree with everyone else who has commented here: Roxanne is one of those people who deserves to be happy, and it has been a privilege to watch God use her romance with Steve to “restore the years the locust have eaten.”
Thank you, Roxanne, for always being so transparent. Love you!! =)
Thank you, Roxanne for your honesty. I’m a homeschooling parent as well and I worry what would happen if I lost my husband while the kids were young. Or even more, what would happen if I died? I have a friend whose wife died very suddenly, and he took over the childrens’ teaching, but I don’t know if my husband would do the same, or if financially, I would be able to continue without my husband. Not to mention handling things like all those things that happened to you after your husband’s death. God is with you, for sure. And he has blessed you, for sure too.
I pray you don’t share my journey, but if anything happened to you or your husband, God would take care of your children. He loves them even more than you do. 😉 I continued homeschooling for two years after losing Jack, but then I was released from the responsibility. With my youngest son’s special needs, I wasn’t giving the other boys enough time. We were all relieved when they went to school, and they are thriving there. God is good!