a true love story

A True Love Story

I am filled with joy and gratitude to be able to write this post. Today marks new beginnings, a bright future and a new life. I can safely say that 2012 was the toughest year of my life.  Thankfully that is no longer my story. I’ve been given a hope and a vision like never before. I have never wanted our family’s lives to matter as much as I do now. I will forever share the message of Love Wins. Love is a powerful thing.

I Cor 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

I’d like to share a love story with you…

It was 1997 when a young girl who had been saved a couple of years felt a tug on her heart to pursue ministry. She knew she was called but had no idea what to do next. She had never had a minister in her family or knew anyone who had gone to a ministry school. After a guest speaker prayed over her the calling was confirmed. The Lord spoke to her and said stop looking to the right and left and focus on me. I will make your path straight. After sharing the “news”, excitement was not the reaction she received. It was quite the opposite. People were concerned about her future and how she would get a job and support herself. The only ministry college she knew of was the one her pastor had gone to and it was 13 hours away. There was no way she could be away from everyone. She loved being with her family and was pretty dependent on them. After much deliberation, they gave in and allowed it. Knowing 2 people at the school, the bags were packed and the 13 hour trek began. She had no idea that this would be the foundation of her future. As she wiped the tears watching mom and dad drive away she was immediately surrounded by girls that took her in and showed her the ropes. She didn’t have time to be homesick. It would end up being some of the best memories of her life. God knew what he was doing.

As God spoke to her, He was also speaking to the heart of a young man with a bright future ahead. He was living the American Dream playing baseball for his college. He was having the greatest year of his career and began being looked at by scouts. This was a dream come true. Finally, all of the hard work would pay off. He and his family would be set for life. There was one problem. He felt a tug on his heart that wouldn’t go away. As he sat in his room while all of his buddies partied, he grew closer and closer to the Lord, hungering for His word and to know his voice. He knew this was a calling from heaven. How could he tell his family and crush their dreams? How could he tell his coach? The pull and heaviness wouldn’t leave him and he knew what he must do to be obedient. He broke the news to parents and coaches. The reaction was also concern that he was “throwing his future away”. Ministry could wait. What better platform than a MLB player, right? He knew what was right and followed that path.

In 1997 the two would meet in college. They almost immediately knew that their hearts were drawn to the same things and they couldn’t imagine their life without each other. God set up a divine appointment. One thing after another opened up for them. A romance had begun that led to a covenant. They immediately began their life of ministry together and had the privilege of touching many lives and having their lives touched by many. The enemy hated to see a commitment. Even more than that he hates those in the commitment making a difference for the kingdom of God. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Christ comes to give life more abundantly. In 2012 this couple hit a major road block. It would end up being an opportunity to throw in the towel and call it quits. Too much had been done and the hurt was too deep. They didn’t even remember their 14th anniversary. The enemy was close to having a victory. She was crushed and he was dead inside. He forgot a very important detail… they still loved down deep. Their love for each other and God carried them through and made them stronger.

Today that girl and guy will share their 15th Wedding Anniversary. What God puts together, let no person separate. This bond and covenant was put together by God and will continue to reach the lost and hopeless with a story of grace and redemption. It is For Love, For Life. May this love story of my life touch yours. God’s path is not for the timid or faint at heart but for those who want to live a life worth living. Excited to see what God will do with the years ahead. I can’t wait!

Happy Anniversary, Timmy. You are a gift from God.

1Cor13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love Wins, The End.

with love,

Ashley

Further reading

I would love to hear what you think. Please feel free to leave a comment.
  1. Happy Anniversary Ashley & Timmy! What an amazing love story, I know the best is yet to come in your life & ministry. Derek and I are so blessed to have y’all in our life. I am so glad love won, too many times the enemy wins. I know your story will touch many, thanks for sharing.

    Love Donielle

    Reply
  2. Beautiful. God 1/Devil 0 Sometimes life can be hard, but it’s the final score that counts. Love you guys and continue to pray for you.

    Reply
  3. tacey says:

    I love it ashley what an awesome story.You are truly gifted I am so proud of y’all and believe when GOD is the roots of your family tree , it will always stand strong …happy anniversary

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  4. Val says:

    Tears. No words. None needed. Love you both and happy anniversary.

    Reply
  5. Dana says:

    So happy to hear that you will be celebrating 15 years. God will continue to use your lives as a testimony. You have always been a power couple. I remember when you were youth pastors here in Birmingham and I looked up to the 2 of you (though I never came to youth group). I looked from afar and watched the both of you and your passion and love for each other and the youth. I had not ever witnessed a marriage like yours. It was new to me and deep down it was hope for myself. that they can be good and they dont fail. As I read your story, my husband and I are separated. We have been married for just over 9 years and have 2 gorgeous girls. He left almost 2 weeks ago after telling me he had nothing inside for me. Our views of God & our desires are completely different and it has been a very difficult road. I have spent so much time in prayer. I asked God to grow my love for him and give me compassion. That prayer he answered. But now, he is gone and I dont know what will happen. I still have my love for him and I become so fearful of living this life without him in it. But I am standing strong. I am standing in the tower to wait for my answer like Habakkuk. Lord, please let your love that is within me win. I see your story and that you had struggles as well, and again, I feel hope. Thank you for sharing.

    Dana

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    • ashley says:

      Dear Dana,
      It breaks my heart to hear that you are having to walk through this pain. God will give you what you need if you lean on Him. Sometimes we just have to dig our heels in and say, “you will not have my marriage!” to the enemy. There is a spiritual battle happening for the covenant God put together. The union of marriage is a powerful thing because it is compared to Christ’s relationship and love for His church (you and me). I am praying for your husband to turn to Christ. It is not better or easier to divorce. Surround yourself with people who will pray and believe in the power of prayer. You are going to make it! It is amazing what God has done in us in a year. He can do the same for you. Something that helped me survive in the worst times is opening my bible and reading. It was amazing how God spoke through his word every time I needed to hear it. Keep a journal of feelings, fears, things you are thankful for and things God shows you. It will be such an encouragement. Blessings to you and your precious family.
      love,
      ashley

      Reply
  6. Jeff Mann says:

    Absolutely loved this article Ashley! Great job! I was especially moved by this line in your last paragraph: “What God puts together, let no person separate.” Whenever I perform a marriage ceremony I like to declare that as a declaration over the couple. God bless you and Tim!

    Reply
  7. Pat Carlton says:

    Beautifully written. Going through the valleys just makes the peaks more majestic! Happy Anniversary to a special couple!

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  8. Cyndi says:

    Love does win my friend. Anchor to the deepest part of that love and live in expectation of what God will continue to grow, change and deepen. Love you.

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  9. Joni Hawkins says:

    I am always touched when I read your posts! You are definitely one person who believes in “walking the walk & not talking the talk”, as the saying goes. You so inspire me that I tear up every time I read this blog!

    I know, without a doubt, you and Tim are very special people with an unlimited amount of potential! I will be praying for you and your family. May God bless and keep y’all!

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  10. Rhonda Boyd says:

    Hi Ashley, I am screaming Happy Anniversary to you and Tim! Charlie, and Kandis and I were just talking about you guys on Sunday. We miss you all. God is so amazing!!! I am so glad you were able to trust, lean and hold onto Jesus because He will always keep His word and take what the devil meant for bad and turn it around for the good. God Bless you all and we love you all tremendously!

    Reply