Gettin’ Outa Dodge!

Word is getting out. I’m pretty sure the sign in our front yard has something to do with this occurring. Yes, we have put our house on the market, and we are moving; more specifically, we are moving to Tennessee. It’s crazy how it all came about but then again our life is some kind of crazy so what’s one more insane thing the Ronnes do? Right?

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For years one of my favorite movies has been the Johnny Cash story portrayed beautifully in the movie Walk the Line. In the film, Mr. Cash resides at a sprawling ranch in the hills of Tennessee overlooking a wide river below. In one scene he serenely sits on his front porch and breathes in the view all around, content and peaceful. Every time I watched this movie I would think, “That would be my dream setting” but it always seemed a bit out of the realm of reality.

Last summer, one warm night while Ryan and I watched this movie together, I mentioned this very thought to him, and I was surprised to discover that he too had always dreamt of living in Tennessee; something he had also considered his “dream life,” with hunting, fishing, and other manly activities that could be accomplished in a state like this. As the conversation continued it quickly turned from an unrealistic idea that we could never pursue and progressed into a “Why not?” thought. That very night we got out the laptop and began searching for what we considered to be our perfect home. Incidentally, we landed upon it immediately.

Throughout the years I would scan this particular website that offered hundreds of remote homes around the country with lots of land. I always wanted to live out in the middle of nowhere with beauty and tranquility surrounding my every turn. I’m not much of a city girl, and I luckily married a man who is a bit of a hermit as well. Upon reaching the site we were after, we plugged in our search options; Tennessee, 20 + acres, five + bedrooms, and a wood burning fireplace. About three homes popped up. One we were both drawn to immediately, even remarking in that moment, “If that house is as good as it looks on paper, that’s the dream,” up in the hills of Tennessee, overlooking a river, sprawling, beautiful home with lots of land. We committed ourselves to praying about it over the next year, and we also continued to check on its progress often, watching it come down considerably in price over the next 365 days.

As people have heard of what seems to be our rash decision, they have openly asked, why would you want to move? First, we never felt like we were going to stay in Michigan forever. This was a good starting point, Luke was very established in the medical community and in his school here, and it was a bigger town so everyone didn’t necessarily know my story or our story and Ryan could remain somewhat incognito. We had an element of privacy in Michigan that we appreciated. That being said, there have been small issues that have been hard on him while living in my homeland. For instance, everywhere I go with him, I generally have a memory of that place with another man, my late husband. Ryan has been yearning for us to be able to explore and discover something completely new that only we as a couple will be a part of, and I completely understand and respect this issue. I am also ready to spread my wings a bit, get out of the familiar I’ve always known, meet new people, explore unknown lands, and just be a big girl and step out in faith to something I really feel excited about. Finally, I believe this will be a great adventure for us to accomplish together as a family. Until now, we’ve accomplished everything separately. I moved into the house with my four kids, Ryan moved to Michigan with his three kids, now we, the Ronne family, will be tackling this big, grand, scary, new adventure all together as one family unit. We will be forced to rely on each other and have each others backs like never before, and I believe it will only strengthen our bond and resolve as a family.

Back to how it came about….This January, we said to each other, if we can find a sitter to watch the kids over spring break and if the house is still on the market, we are going to drive down and check it out. We reached out to a few people about watching the kids but no one was able to commit. We viewed this as a closed door for the moment and decided to let it go until….

I received a text message from a dear friend about two weeks before spring break, “Hey Jess, do you still want a sitter?”

We accepted her up on the offer and made the 9 hour drive to what we hoped would be our forever home. We took about 2 steps onto the property and both gasped. It was stunningly beautiful, exactly what we had envisioned it would look like. The house was also everything I ever wanted, old, full of character and life, such peaceful tranquility as if we were the only souls around for miles. After a few phone calls that confirmed Luke’s options for care and school, we decided to put an offer on it and it was accepted. Our house went on the market yesterday. Now it’s in God’s good timing. Our kids are excited. There was one child that needed some time to wrap her mind around the idea of moving again but now she can’t wait. If you think of it, pray us through this summer, it’s going to be crazy. We don’t have a date in mind yet and we’d really like our house to sell before we officially move and that task in and of itself is going to be an adventure with 7 kids!

 

Just Keep Livin!!

Who will be my husband in Heaven?

 

We lay my 92 year old Grandfather to rest tomorrow morning. My grandmother passed away one month ago and he was recently overheard sharing with a nurse about his desire to go to Heaven and be with the love of his life. A few weeks later he was granted his wish. They were truly an example of a Godly marriage. 
For 62 years they raised four boys together, pastored several churches, and supported and prayed for eighteen grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.  Together they modeled the fruits of the spirit towards anyone who was privileged to know them.  In remembering their final days, I’ve  often wondered whether or not we’ll be reunited in Heaven with our spouses someday.  Although I do believe we’ll be reunited with them as individuals, I don’t believe we’ll hold the same spousal relationship there as we do here on earth.  
First, from a human perspective, there is some jealousy that arises when I think of my current husband being reunited with his first wife in Heaven while I remain on earth, alone and missing him. Secondly, who would actually be my husband when we all made it there together?  Would I have to pick who I wanted to spend eternity with? Current husband Ryan or late husband Jason? Would they duke it out for my hand in marriage?  Or would neither one of them want me at that point?  The whole situation could get a bit awkward.  Although it’s a romantic thought for some, for others of us, in situations similar to mine, it’s a pretty horrific thought!  It seems like the perfect scenario to incur anger, jealousy, and bitterness – not traits I imagine being present in Heaven. 
I looked to the  Bible for wisdom and  read,
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  Luke 20:34-36 ,
The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question,  saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh.  After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.  But Jesus answered them, You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Matt 22:23
The key verse here is when Jesus speaks saying, “You are wrong…For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”  The verse in Luke also reiterates how those who are resurrected from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  Matthew 22:30
A few things stand out to me about these verses. In both verses our resurrected bodies are compared to being like and equal to the angels.  In neither verse do we hear that we become angels as so many people would like to believe when their loved one dies.  How often do we as a society say something like, “Oh she’s an angel looking over you” or “You’ll always have an angel watching you from Heaven.”  These verses clearly state that this is not the case.  Our new bodies will resemble something like the angels, and perhaps this was the clearest example Christ could portray for our frail human minds to understand and comprehend. 
Secondly, I find it interesting that Luke states that when a person is resurrected from the dead, they are neither married nor given in marriage anymore, because they cannot die anymore. What is it about the fact that because we cannot die anymore that leads to the lack of a need for marriage in Heaven?  Christ compared a Biblical marriage as one where the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her Ephesians 5:25. This is what is portrayed Biblically as the premise for a Godly, loving marriage here on earth, one in which the husband lays down his life for his bride, dies to himself and his own selfish ambitions, sacrifices for her, and loves her and in return, the wife, like the church of Christ, seeks to honor, respect, love, cherish and obey her spouse out of the love that he pours out upon her, She does him [husband] good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:12. It is this dying to ourselves concept that we see portrayed in this example of marriage. 
Therefore, if we have been resurrected with Christ in Heaven there is no longer the need for the earthly example of marriage.  Instead, we will all have perfected what the true marriage relationship was ultimately meant to showcase; Christ and his bride, together forever in holy matrimony, Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:7-9 
Marriage is no longer required in Heaven because the institution will be fulfilled completely through Christ and his relationship with the church.  So it really doesn’t matter who will be my husband in Heaven.  I will be so filled with the love of Christ as my bridegroom and part of the resurrected church, the most beautiful bride ever, that I will have no need for spousal love; for Christ’s love will fill every aspect of that love that earthly need just as I believe wholeheartedly that both of my grandparents are experiencing right now.
Just keep livin!!

 

What NOT to say to a woman married to a former widower

Due to the accessibility of new thoughts, ideas and people that the internet has welcomed into our lives over the past twenty years or so, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with numerous women like myself who have also married former widowers.  The general feeling amongst this group is that they are sick of being treated a certain way because they married a former widower and are now finding a way to voice their frustrations by connecting with similar women through online forums. These women are,  consciously or unconsciously, often viewed as being involved in a default marriage because there was a previous wife, and if she had not died then they would have never been chosen as a wife. In fact, this is the only group of women (I think), who are expected to not only sit by silently and listen to people repeatedly talk about another woman who their husband was intimate with, but they are also expected to sit quietly with a supportive, loving smile at all times. This role can and often is the most emotionally taxing role a woman will ever be called upon to participate in.

I’m sure the same could be said for a man who marries a widow; however, since men generally are not as emotionally charged as a woman can be – generalization here folks – they are not affected quite like a woman is when she finds herself in this new relationship. 

Rita, an online friend of mine who I connected with via one of these online forums for women who married former widowers, wrote this list which made many of us in the group nod our heads in adamant agreement.  This list, although humorous in nature, details the dos and don’ts for speaking to a woman married to a former widower.  This list isn’t written to condemn those who have muttered the words in ignorance nor is it meant to point a finger at the silent pain that many of these comments can cause, it is merely presented here, with her permission, to educate the public on what is acceptable to say and what is really not acceptable to say. Honestly, I have probably been guilty of muttering one or two of these sayings in the past to an unsuspecting woman who married a widower.

General rule of thumb, we are not the late wife. Do not compare us positively or negatively to her. She did not have to live up to constant comparisons to another woman, and we shouldn’t have to either.  We are not seeking to be her in any way, we are comfortable women in our own skin and with our own unique qualities and personalities, and if it wouldn’t be appropriate to say in a divorce situation, it’s probably not appropriate to say in a late spouse situation either. 

Here’s the list. 

10 things NOT to say to a Former Widower’s Wife.

1. I am so happy that He has someone to take care of him now.  Right, because that is the reason I married my Husband, to fulfill the endless chore list left unfinished by the Late Wife.

2. She was his Soul Mate. *sigh*- Generally this word just makes me shudder. But, how insensitive to assume that God would prematurely take away the one true love that he handpicked for a person, and leave them alone to live out their life of grief and sadness for the rest of their days.

3. I don’t think he’ll ever get over losing her, or love anyone else like he did her – Right. He married me for sex and companionship. The Real Love dies with his previous partner.

4. It’s so sad she won’t ever know her “real” Mother. – It is sad that her first Mom passed away without getting to know her daughter. But, what a blessing that God gave her another Mother to raise her in the land of the living.

5. He sure moved on quickly, were you guys cheating on the late wife?? – What an insult to my Husband, and what an insult to me. Just because we haven’t moved on your time line, or what you think is appropriate does not mean we were acting morally inappropriate. Everyone handles grief differently, and some people just take longer to move forward than others.

6. She was a SAINT! – Yes, as is everyone once they die.

7. At least you don’t have to deal with an Ex Wife. – Oh yes, because that is just SO much easier than dealing with a Saint, etched perfectly and forever in the hearts and minds of everyone you know and love.

8. Oh, her furniture looks so nice in your house! – Sorry, but this is our furniture in our house.

9. She is watching over Him, always. – Really? Well, hopefully not in the bedroom, because that would be awkward for her.

10. She is waiting for him in Heaven! – Okay, great! That should be so fun, when we all get to meet up and play ring around the rosy together! The Husband, and Sister Wives!

And a few bonus ones –

His Wife likes it when…. – Actually, I am his wife. And I don’t like that at all.
“She would be so happy for you” –probably not, I can’t imagine any wife being thrilled with me being with her husband.
Thanks for your input Rita!