Jerry: Having been a widower for four years, I felt lonely and began wanting a new wife. I did not take steps to seek her out but started asking God over a two year period to bring me the wife of His choosing, eventually adding, “someone like Jessica Shaver.” My first wife Gretchen and I had known Rick and Jessica casually for 25 years. I had been receiving her group e-mails and praying for her after the death of her husband, which was similar to what I had been through with Gretchen. God did not bring me “someone like Jessica.” He brought me Jessica! I consider her an answer to prayer.
Jessica: Rick had been gone just under two years and I intended to stay single, though I knew better than to close the door if God had different plans. I told Him I was open to marrying again if He could find a handsome widower who liked to cook. I thought that would ensure I wouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Despite myself, I felt drawn to Jerry Renshaw in a way I didn’t fully understand. Literally drawn, as if by a cord around my waist tugging gently but steadily. I had been touched by his godly character over the years as he quietly and faithfully ministered to his disabled wife. But he deserved a sweet wife and I knew I didn’t qualify. Once I even walked up to him in church and asked, “Why haven’t you married again?” I could be blunt; I wasn’t in the running but several of my friends were.
“God hasn’t brought the right person.”
I left thinking, “I’ll help God out. Let’s see, he’d be perfect for Merry.” Then I thought, “Wait, I don’t want her to have him!” What was that about?
On Super Bowl Sunday, 2004, as he stood ushering, I felt led to go to him (in fear and trembling) and ask if we could “get together and talk.” I thought if I got to know him better I’d find some deal breaker and be able to get him off my mind! Instead, I found more and more compatibility between us. And yes, he is handsome, widowed, and likes to cook!
Jerry proposed 12 days later, on Valentine’s Day, and when we each broke it to our grown children that we’d started dating, we also asked them to be in the wedding.
On May 2nd, we invited the whole church (about 300 people) to stay after the service for our Hawaiian-style wedding, complete with luau. There were leis for all the women. Our three children (still in shock) and four grandchildren plus a nephew made up the wedding party.
The next Sunday everyone asked us how we liked our honeymoon in Hawaii. We told them we hadn’t gone to Hawaii, we’d brought Hawaii to them.
Three months later we took a honeymoon.