I am excited to welcome Ashlei today as she shares about how God brought her to Himself and also to the man of her dreams. God truly does write a beautiful love story. Read part one of her story today and come back tomorrow for part two. You can read all the other young wives stories in our Share Your Story: Young Wives series.
“Oh my goodness, that guy is so annoying! I don’t understand why he doesn’t just get the hint that I don’t like him. *Sigh*” I grumbled to my friend in the bathroom at church. Little did I know my future mother-in-law was in one of the other stalls listening to my complaints about the man I would one day marry.
In 2006, my mother and I, both not living for the Lord, made it a point to attend a church as a way to escape my grandma’s pleadings for our repentance. We quickly decided on F.B. and settled into our waste-of-time routine. It was clear to most that we were not thrilled about being there; clear to everyone except one scrawny, bucky beaver teethed boy. Each Sunday after church he made a habit out of coming up to me and, in a way only a home schooler can, bashfully asking if I was going to come to youth group.
The answer was always no, of course, but that didn’t stop him for one minute. He persisted every single week. Soon I began to get up ten minutes before the service ended and rush out to the car in the hopes that he wouldn’t find me. It never worked.
After months of being badgered I begged my mom to switch churches, and sensing my sheer desperation she willingly complied. We started up at C.H., a luke-warm world-friendly church where conviction was unheard of and hit music was the new best thing. I was just getting settled in when, wouldn’t you know it, that same bucky beaver teethed boy came waltzing into the sanctuary, grinning ear to ear. Naturally, knowing what my response would be, he asked my mom if he could sit with us. Before I could make a side-swiping motion across my neck she invited him to take the only available seat, right next to me. This continued for a while when, still running from the Lord, I stopped going to church altogether.
Some time later a friend invited me to a youth group in C.F. As I walked through the front door I stopped dead in my tacks and gasped at what I saw; you guessed it, “that boy.” I quickly took a seat and was soon enough accompanied by him, against my wishes. We made small talk back and forth, followed by him sharing an entertaining text message he had received. When I asked him to send it to me as well he looked up with an awkward grin and stated that he didn’t have my number. Without thinking I took his phone, typed in my number and began handing it back. My eyes bulged, my breathing quickened and my head screamed, “Noooo!” But it was too late. I had just given him freedom to contact me whenever he pleased. It didn’t take long before, as I did with church, I discontinued my youth group routine.
One day while at school I was taking a test when *beep beep beep*, my phone received a text message. It was from “him” and it read, “You’re beautiful and Jesus loves you.” Anger raged inside of me, after all, I had been doing my best to avoid his texts, but there was no doubt that the words touched my heart. In October of 2009, I attended, what I didn’t know at the time, was my last party. (See “Beauty from Ashes”). When everything was said and done I gave my life back to the Lord and begged Him to forgive me and make me new.
I painfully began the process of separating my old life from the new, starting with my phone. I deleted 99% of my contacts, and soon only a few numbers remained: my grandma’s, my mom’s and “his”. With tears streaming down my face I sent the most terrifying text message I ever have, telling him I had gotten right with God and asking him to forgive me for the terrible ways I had treated him. He did and so the start of a new found friendship began.
Please come back tomorrow to hear part 2 of Ashlei’s Love story!