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I consider myself a “reluctant caregiver.”

Let me explain. If I were God and I were looking for someone to be “the voice for caregivers” as I’ve weirdly become, I would not pick Jess Ronne.

I’m not that woman who loves everybody’s children. I’m not that woman who oohs over every newborn baby. I’m not even that woman who’s all that fond of my own offspring at times.

I’m not the mom who runs to bandage up boo-boos (that’s the dad in our house) or hurries to urgent care with every fall. I don’t dole out meds unless absolutely necessary or cuddle with sick kids all day on the couch.

I’m more of a “Here’s your movie and bucket. I’ll check on you, OK?” kind of mom.

I would be a horrible nurse. I don’t volunteer for nursery or Sunday school. Nor do I cry during sappy movies, except Benjamin Buttonevery single time.

And I don’t do words without deeds like, “I’ll be praying for y’all” with no follow-through. Not my cup of tea.

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I am the furthest thing from a Karen. I do not give two rips about how you raise your kids, but I sure do give a rip that you also mind your own business when it comes to how I raise mine.

I’m the buck-up buttercup girl! Dry your tears! And just keep livin’!

So odd, this caregiver space I find myself in.

But in his gracious wisdom, the Lord chose me to not only be a caregiver to my dying husband but also to eight children and a son who will require care for the rest of his life.

A Moses situation, for sure. Although, in my defense, I didn’t require a burning bush before I got to work.

Again, I’m not sure why He thought I’d be an ideal candidate for this role, maybe because I was willing? Perhaps because I obeyed and took baby steps forward in faith? Maybe because I’ve surrendered every step to His perfect and holy will?

I really don’t know, but here I am trying to be a voice in the wilderness, trying to obtain support for families, and trying to make a tiny bit of a difference in the lives of special needs caregivers.

What I do know is that being a caregiver has been the most life-changing experience of my life.

It has molded and shaped and broken me in a million ways.

It has literally burned away any pride that threatened to stand in the way. It has taught me that words without deeds are meaningless. It has taught me grace and compassion and mercy in spades.

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I’m a doer, a fixer, a mover, and a shaker, not a dweller, a moper, or a woe-is-me-er.

There’s a problem? Let’s fix it, by golly!

Maybe that’s why the Almighty saw fit to tag me, “Duck, duck, goose!”

And so I’ll continue to waddle my way through this strange terrain of caregiver advocacy. I’ll continue to raise my voice and use my platform. I’ll continue to buck when he calls me to speak, “Not me Lord! Choose my brother!”

I’ll continue to drop to my knees and humbly ask, “What’s next?” And I’ll move forward in faithful obedience and, lest the ego ever get the best of me, I’ll continue to rise, every day, and serve my son who will require this of me until the day I die.

Jess Ronne

I’m an author, teacher, wife, non-profit director, special needs advocate and mom of 8. A few years back, we traded in our Michigan snow shovels for humidity and sweet tea in the South & we’ve never looked back. You’ll often find me on social media chatting about faith, grief, food, simplicity, blended families, gardening, special needs, and everything else in between. 

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