Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Guest Post... Ashley @ Simple Beauty!

Today... we get to return to the topic of waiting, purity, and how it relates to REAL life. I'm SO excited to introduce Ashley to you all! She has a wonderful blog called Simple Beauty where she shares from her heart about Jesus, bargain hunting, modest fashions, and so much more. I hope you will make her feel very welcome! She kindly agreed to write a guest post for all of us, and I just can't wait to share it. Her story is very powerful and testifies to an awesome God who is a redeemer, helper, and healer to the broken.

"Before the Rings Came Off"
by Simple Beauty

The man that I once deemed my knight
has fallen from grace.
Where my heart once was,
is now out of place.
Words from lips once so tender,
now break down and bruise.
Why did you leave us?
Could you not chose?
The wife who adored you,
who turned a blind eye,
who would pray in her closet
til her tears had run dry.
A friend who would listen to
your drunken rambling words.
Who would ponder and wonder about this
stranger you had become.
Could you not chose?
A babbling, happy baby,
with sweet bright eyes so blue?
You became a dad who would not hold her for more
than fifteen minutes, more like two.
You left us with fury and yelling and rage.
You left with a wife standing, truly standing in the rain.
When you left your ring behind and I had given you mine,
did you know, did you even wonder why?
I was still hoping still praying that with time,
your once loving arms would come embrace mine.
Now that the rings are off,
they mark only time.
My once tender heart is trying to heal,
and it seem you wish only to come and to kill.
not to kill life for that is not the deed,
you come to kill dreams,
built for me by my King.
More than a year has passed,
and to our darling daughter you are a stranger.
Oh how I wish I could hold you away,
to keep her from your danger.
Today I stand my ring now long off my hand.
I stand as a daughter a sister a mother and a friend.
My darling child will grow to be lovely and tender and strong.
She will grow with God's Truth and GRACE to stand on.
To your hand that goes ring less, now what life will you chose?
One that is endless and boundless?
One that is filled with booze?
Or could a miracle happen and someday we see,
a man that is strong, that is Godly and free?
My prayer still my once darling, please let us be,
a darling daughter and her mother,
please let us be.
Let us live freely to worship our King,
and live out our life,
our small, simple family.
To my someday Boaz what life will you chose?
A ring that's FOREVER,
a daughter that will be yours,
a wife that is loving and tender and pure??
(please do not use this poem without permission from Simple Beauty)

When I was younger I dreamed of being married, being a mother and staying home just like my mother had done with myself and my two older brothers. In high school all of my friends knew my dreams and my passions. I fully assumed that I would meet my prince charming soon after high school, marry, and live happily ever after. Then wavering from the pressure of high school counselors I decided to attend a community college. It was what everyone was doing. Little did I know that veering from the path that God had laid out for me would take me along a journey that I am now still on. Out of this the Lord has brought me great joy, though it was not without great pain.

My sophomore year of college my parents moved back to Kansas. Not ready to live on my own I moved with them. I was going to work and not go back to college, however, that didn't work out either so I ended up studying music at Kansas State University. I did not finish my degree, I was unsettled and knew that though I loved music I was still so far from my dreams. The fall semester passed quickly and my middle brother moved back to Oklahoma. I have always been close to him so I decided to move right along with him. In doing this I moved out of my parents house for the first time. I decided that I didn't want roommates (being the youngest and only child this was just not for me!) so I moved into a studio apartment of my own.

At this time in my life I did not understand what I had actually done in a spiritual sense. Not "knowing" the word of God, and lacking wisdom and understanding, I moved out into this WORLD, into a wild CULTURE without the covering of my father's protection. It didn't seem like a bad idea at first. I worked two jobs and only received one day off every fourteen days. It kept me busy, but I could pay my bills. It also kept me from finding a church home or even looking for one. I was not growing as a Christian. Actually I was still "drinking" the milk of God's word and began truly lacking in my growth as a Christian.

Time marched on, (really not even a year) when I met my "once love," I was 19 years old and full of passion about my life and what was to come. He was a friend of a young lady I had met while working at Foley's Department Store. She never actually introduced us, he sought me out. (This should have been a huge RED FLAG!) So I was too trusting and did not look at his life. I was just so ecstatic that a man found me lovely and wanted to spend time with me. We went on a few "non-dates" and then he moved back home to Georgia. It was a few months before he some how found that I had started instant messaging on AOL (the whole "you've got mail" thing) and I began to be sucked into his web. He had no money, did not work jobs for long periods of time, and had a great amount of debt. He was a Bible school graduate/dropout and always had a reason for the direction his life took without accountability.

It was in these moments that I was so blinded by the "idea" of romance that I was not looking at the plain hard TRUTH. We are to judge a man by his fruit. I didn't learn this until last year! Better late than never,however, I will instill this into my children's lives EARLY!!

When he decided to move back to Oklahoma from Georgia I was on cloud nine. He must have known I had a little bit of money saved because I was the one who paid for the long distance phone calls. He had never lived on his own, paid for bills himself, again had never kept a job, he moved around often and came from a very broken family ( I now lovingly refer to this as the marching band of red flags that I didn't pay attention to!!)

The very first night he was back in Oklahoma he came to my apartment. It only seemed right to kiss him when I saw him (though there was honestly no feeling behind the kiss). I mean what girl would NOT kiss a man who had just moved from Georgia to be with me? (this girl should NOT have kissed him!!) We kissed, we kissed, and though no other physical line was crossed my moral line was gone. He spent the night the very first night. Nothing other than the kiss had happened, we danced and fell asleep with candles going and coffee in hand.

What had happened was that I had placed this man over the Almighty GOD! I had spit in His face about not even having the appearance of evil. And once this fragile line is crossed I guarantee you can not go back. I had no accountability. My friends where all professing Christian's but none told me that I was dancing the dangerous dance (because they too were dancing with the devil in this area of their lives). And my friends that would have held me accountable, well I kept them distant from the truth, as well as my family. It was not long before lines were crossed and my vision became skewed. It was in this fog that we agreed to get married and I began to truly struggle with my faith in Christ and my walk with Him.

I've since listened to a very balanced pastor speak on brokenness. He was talking about how as Americans we walk around taking medicine because we have this gaping hole in our hearts that leaves us numb and under a huge weight. We label it depression and try to medicate ourselves, when it is truly the Holy Spirit warning us, witnessing to us, and we choose to listen to the world and not to God. And instead of realizing we are to be broken in our sin and through that brokenness God can and will show us the wrong and give us the strength to choose righteousness.

In my time of brokenness I chose to listen to the world and follow through with an engagement into a marriage. It was just a few short hours after our wedding while we arrived at our cottage that I realized "he" was not the man I had thought he was. My eyes were opened. Instead of lovingly talking about the amazing covenant we had just made, instead of holding each other in our arms, he sat down on the sofa and started counting the money we had received as presents and talking about what he wanted to buy with it. The remainder of our honeymoon he would sit on the floor in front of the TV in our rented cabin and watch the food network, as appose to snuggling in our bed, or even touching me. We hardly even talked. I was crushed, I so regretted what I had done. It was during this week that I turned my broken heart to Christ and began to seek him. I lifted my broken hands and spirit up to the Lord and begged for him to make everything okay.

Once my marriage started to return to the normal routine of working, he returned to a life style that was relatively unknown to me, the bar scene. Five out of seven nights a week my husband could and would be found out with his divorced and single friends going to bars, becoming very intoxicated and flirting with other women (even when I was only days away from giving birth). He would continue to avoid touching me or showing me any kind of affection. Talk of children, talk of church, talk of a future or even finances were always met with fury from him and tears from me. If I cried, he would tell me that he was just going to leave me. My dears, this is abuse. No it was not a smashing with a fist, it was the smashing of my heart with words and actions and refusal of intimacy and love.

I sought refuge in the Lord, I spent hours crying in my bathroom and closets. I hid, I prayed, I watched ministers online. I read my Bible, I begged for us to do devotions as a couple. Everything that pertained to the Lord was met with utter refusal. How could this be coming from a Bible graduate? That would be because the man I married, who professed to be a Christian was and is actually LOST!

I stood my ground, I trusted the Lord. I wanted children and I wanted to be at home with them. My husband would only say someday. Well as the Lord would have it, he heard my cry for children and in April of 2006 I became pregnant with my darling daughter. I decided to stand my ground with my husband and would not except his lack of desire to steer our family in the ways of the world. Again, the Lord blessed me. My husband did not care if I felt ill, he would not help around the house or even come with me to purchase the baby bed. It was during these times that the Lord gave me strength. I was never ill during the time I carried my daughter in the womb. I had a easy labor and easy delivery, to which I give God all the glory because HE was there for me. My husband did not even hold my hand or leg and left my room almost to miss the delivery of our daughter. Needless to say that when we brought our daughter home my husband began a downward spiral into what he wanted for his life and this was not it. It all ended in October of 2007 when he left myself and his darling daughter (she was only nine months old) to pursue a life of pleasure, woman and alcohol. I was blessed with a Godly family who brought us home and have been supporting me as I am being healed from the abuse.

It has been difficult, however, it has been the best thing to happen in my life! Through this pain the Lord has shown me so many of the lies that I willingly believed. Some from unchecked thoughts in my mind, many lies from entertainment and literature and many from the public school system. All these teamed together with a lack of knowing the truth of God's word and man oh man am I learning a lot.

Now as I was left by an unbeliever I have not followed him. It is now my prayer to trust in our SOVEREIGN LORD and wait for my Boaz, if that is the will of the Lord. In these moments of my life I have been handed a unique gift of getting to live a part of my life over again, while setting an example for my darling daughter. These moments are not easy, and often I forget to look at them with joy until the trial has passed. Some of these moments seem like nothing special from car pooling with my father five days a week to work (I fail nearly on a weekly basis of talking with respect to my father and enjoying loving moments, I am working on this, that rebellious teenager keeps rearing her ugly head and I'm nearly 30!) to not allowing myself crushes on eligible men my age (again more difficult than I would have thought) to not allowing myself to date but to prayerfully prepare to be courted, to be praying about the time when I am courted and the much needed definition of a physical boundary (it will need to be concrete and I will have to have my parents involved as this was were I failed before), to learning about how active my earthly father needs to be in my choice of a future husband. All of this with the desire to set an example for my daughter.

Some of the choices that I have made that are honoring to our heavenly father, that will help me if the Lord allows me to marry again, and also helpful to myself and my mind are the following: daily morning devotion (simple reading of my Bible and time in prayer, and time for the Holy Spirit to instruct me), turning the television off (I do not need to see how the culture views romance and life and divorce ect), I am reading more books on courtship and what to be looking for in a husband and strongly recommend "What he must be if he wants to marry my daughter" by Voddie Baucham (I'm reading it with my dad, eck!) I still listen to music only I nixed country music for the most part and I've never really listened to all of the other kinds and I mainly listen to Christian artists, and when I do watch a movie I look hard at the rating with a goal to stick with PG and rarely PG-13 (because the higher ratings honestly have more visual signs of affection in immoral relationships), I'm also trying to share my life with others as to encourage women who have gone through a similar chapter in life. God is giving me a new song in my heart. And one really important thing I'm doing to protect myself, and my daughter; I live with my parents. It is hard and frustrating at times since I have had my own home and life, however, I can ill afford another mistake or to turn from my Lord. So living with my parents provides for us protection from my father, accountability, 24 hour counseling if needed (and sometimes when I don't want it but need it anyway!) a babysitter for my darling daughter so she does not have to go to day care, family entertainment, and many fun outings together. All of this has allowed me great joy from great pain; great hope from great despair, and great gain from great loss.

I encourage every young lady to remember that when you begin to play in the devil's playground you will get hurt, you will get burned, and you will not always be offered a way "out". The Lord has given us instruction not to burden us, not to withhold something from us, but to protect us and allow in his instruction a way for us to have the greatest fulfillment and joy. So when thinking about dating, will you consider courting? When thinking about kissing, have you considered waiting until engagement? And when thinking about heavy petting have you considered that we are not to stir or awaken love until it so desires!!

Ashley @ Simple Beauty


  1. Thanks Em for letting Ashley share her story. I wish she could speak at High Schools to warn girls,...and guys of the dangers. Nobody sets out to ruin their life,..it just happens when you are not aware of the dangers out there in the world.

    God is the answer. He can restore what the devil took away. I pray God will bring her a Boaz someday.

    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

  2. I commented on her blog about the post...it's very powerful.


  3. Em,

    Thank you for letting me share :O) And yes, this is going to be fun to get to know each other better in blogland!

    God's rich blessings to you!

  4. A really strong post. It got me thinking very much... I know your pain though I have not experience it, but with my mother and my siblings we went through a time where we were left to fend for ourselves by the guy we called husband/father. I would admit I didn't turn to Him until I am alot older, so when all the family crisis happened, I was still a rebellious kid/teenager and turning against my family. 'nuff said, else I would be telling a whole lot of a story haha.

    Great post.

  5. Oh, Emily I read some of your post but didn't want to comment, here I comment to say, "this is a lovely blog and I love your postings. will be coming by more often now :)"


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