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Ann Seaman and Jim Pharaoh – Live Deeply

We’re Jim Pharaoh and Ann Seaman (soon-to-be Pharaoh), and this is how we’ve been living deeply.

Jim: “One of our friends hosted a wine tasting party so Ann and I could meet.  There’s not always time to start to get to know each other at couples’ events, so I wanted to try to meet her before the party.  I asked if I could get in touch with Ann to see if maybe she was willing to meet me beforehand. She was, and we had dinner at Aubrey’s restaurant.”

Ann: “It was really good we did that. Otherwise, meeting at the wine tasting party would have been awkward and we wouldn’t have had time to talk. So we sat there for a few hours at the restaurant and learned about each other. My first impressions were that Jim was really comfortable in his own skin;  transparent. I could tell he had a lot of compassion and that he had been through a lot. We really connected through humor. It felt like we would be good friends because we could relate well. We had both lost spouses, so each of us knew where the other was coming from.”

Jim: “Ann made it clear she was largely about two things- to be deeply known and to love her family well. That was my takeaway from that first night. I also knew I was around someone who could understand me- that maybe we’d be friends and support each other.”

Ann: “The very next day after the wine party, we went for a walk and I started to get this feeling that there was more connection between us. For the first time, I wondered if this could be more.”

Jim: “We agreed that day not to see each other for a few weeks. The funeral for Ann’s late husband Scott had been delayed a year by COVID, so we hit ‘pause’ and then a few weeks later, we started talking again.”

Ann: “We were having dinner at Jim’s house one evening and he said, ‘I really like you. I think I’m falling in love with you, and I think we’re going to get married.’ I wasn’t quite there yet, but that was good for me- to see his intentionality, purposefulness, and lack of self-preservation. That was really attractive. And eventually I got to the same place.”

Jim: “I liked Ann because of her joy for life, her joy for her family, her spontaneity, and her consistency of character. As we now look forward to getting married in January, we want a rock-solid foundation for each of us to be known, fully loved, and supported.  On top of that, we’re going to love our families as they grow.”

Ann: “On that, I feel like it’s going to be our responsibility to offer opportunities. All of our kids are adults, so we can’t make them come together or force this. We just want to provide opportunities where we can all come together, if at all possible, and just get to know one another. I think that there will be steadiness, consistency, and a love that grows. We have all these kids between us who have lost their parents. My kids have lost their dad. Jim’s son and stepchildren have lost their mothers. I think that’s part of why we’ve come together. These young adults have had this horrible, incredible loss and we can’t fill that gap for them. We can’t take the place of those who have been lost,  but I feel this incredible responsibility to be there for these kids in whatever capacity they’re willing to have us. Jim always says family is not subtractive, it’s additive. And that’s so true.”

Jim: “As far as the losses Ann and I have experienced, nobody likes these trials or storms. But there’s a lot of life to be lived and spiritual growth to be made during those times. I think that’s part of the hope in our story. When you go through trials, you really can come out stronger.”

Ann: “We as believers have a holy responsibility to press into God when we’re in difficult circumstances. To me this means to reject bitterness, reject fearfulness, reject self-pity, and press into what He may have for you. It’s not easy and it isn’t always neat and pretty.  In fact, I have found it to be a really messy process. But you can be sad and still not become bitter or self-pitying. It’s very nuanced, but I think we as believers do have this responsibility to seek out other believers who can support us, to be in the Word, and to be praying. I have found He will meet you if you make space for Him.”

Jim: “That’s absolutely right. You have to ask, seek and knock.”

Ann: “Losing a spouse is not the first hard thing I’ve been through. It’s not the first hard thing Jim’s been through. But I remember during another situation when my sister was diagnosed with lung cancer…my best friend sent me Bible verses for three months.  She knew I was just sitting on the couch, staring ahead and I was just so sad I couldn’t do anything. She knew I wasn’t in my Bible and that I couldn’t pray. So sometimes it’s just that: telling a friend and being transparent with someone you trust.”

Jim: “One other thing that’s important: When someone is having problems, people will go up and say, ‘If there’s something I can do for you just let me know.’ I know and appreciate that it’s well-intentioned, but we [as hurting people] don’t know what we need. They just need to invite us to go do something, ask us out for dinner, bring us a meal and eat it with us, take us to a ballgame. Just go love on somebody and do something with them. Any reasonable idea is a good idea.”

Ann: “And I feel like that’s going to be part of our ministry. We’re probably going to minister to people who’ve been in the same sorts of situations we’ve been in: spouse is in poor health, spouse is dying, difficult marriage, loss in general. I really believe that’s where God’s going to lead us.”

Jim: “And while people look at us getting married and see it as beautiful and happy, which it is, there’s also more going on. We’ve had to have a lot of hard conversations: how we approach things with the kids, figuring out why a particular moment might’ve generated an old emotion, things like that.”

Ann: “So yes, it’s been more difficult than it may look. But I’ll say this: 100 percent of the people in our lives are so happy for us. The beauty of the community and family we have around us right now is one of God’s richest blessings. We are so thankful and in awe of the graciousness and goodness of God. He longs to create beauty from ashes and turn mourning into dancing. In the midst of our grief we have found God’s grace.”


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