This beautiful women's name is Ashiley. She is not only a wife to her cowboy Bradley, but also a mom to two beautiful babies. With her daughter, Marlee and son, Tapp she keeps busy along with working at a vet clinic just across the border of South Dakota two days a week! North of Lusk, Wyoming on a large ranch is where Ashiley and her husband currently live and work. You could truly say that living and working on the ranch is a total blessing for them! With continual prayer of one day being able to have a herd of their own built up, God grows them closer to their vision each and every day! This is an amazing testimony of Gods faithfulness in marriage and in life. God led her back to Him. As she walked with Him, only He was able to restore what had been missing! I know this story will minister to lots of women! Here's her Brave Story!
I grew up in Wyoming, in a non-denominational community church. Everything I did growing up revolved around church. I was an active member in youth group, played the piano for Sunday school, and participated in smaller Bible study type groups at school. I don’t think it was until I almost lost my marriage as an adult that I fully understood what it was to have a relationship with God and not just “go to church." After I graduated high school I went on to college, and once I became of legal age (21) I decided there had to be more to life and officially hit the “party scene." I always attended class and did my homework, but by the time Friday evening came around it was time to fill my weekend with “fun." My high school boyfriend and I eventually got married, but that didn’t stop the partying. We continued to have fun. In the back of my mind I would sometimes think about the fact that it had been quite some time since I’d been to church, but then I’d justify it with thoughts of “I’m having too much fun right now," or “I can’t go to church until I get myself back on track again." As hard as it is to admit, back then I think I even thought a time or two that my life was just fine without going to church and that I didn’t really want to get myself back on track. I was in the real world now, and it was way better than living the life of someone who just went to church all the time. I didn’t need God or religion anymore. I had religion kind of forced on me growing up, and as I mentioned before, I didn’t really know what it was to have a relationship with God. I just always thought it was about going to church, and why would I want to go back? Church was boring, full of hypocrites, and “perfect” people. Plus, I was having fun. My life was great, or so I thought. Eventually my husband and I started having problems. Nothing dramatic, just a life of dishonor, disrespect, and discontent. It was like that song, Slow Fade. We just continually kept tearing each other down little by little until we finally decided one day that we’d had enough of each other. We both agreed we just couldn’t be together anymore. We knew we still loved each other, but for some reason we just couldn’t seem to make it work.
I started to feel a gentle nudge from God several months before things got real shaky between my husband and I. I would think about it and talk myself out of going back to church even though I knew God was calling me back. I would justify it by saying, “it would just be too hard," or “what will they think of us, we haven’t stepped foot in a church since we graduated high school." I didn’t feel like we’d be accepted and honestly I just didn’t know where to start. We continued treating each other the same way and things just continued to get worse. Finally, we decided one day that we just couldn’t make it work anymore. We spent some time apart thinking about things. On the phone one day after some time of not speaking to each other we decided to give it one last try. Neither one of us knew where to start or what to do differently, but we both agreed to try. It was also during this time that we were in the middle of a huge transition. We had just recently moved. We were having a horrible time finding a place to live and were staying with friends. We ended up being unsettled for several months. It was during this transition that it seemed like it was just one thing after another and it seemed like my life was just falling apart. I remember driving one day after what seemed like the last straw and I started crying and literally shouting at God. I asked Him what He wanted from me. I asked him what had I done to deserve all this…you know, all the cliché type stuff. Once I got myself calmed down I realized that it wasn’t God’s fault, it was my own. Looking back now I would say that this was when God got a hold of me and shook me. I got upset with Him because it was easier to blame Him for everything than it was for me to accept that I was actually the one at fault. I was completely vulnerable and I would say now that I was definitely at rock bottom. I was on the verge of losing my marriage. We were struggling financially, we couldn’t find a place to live and honestly the list goes on!
We were staying in Wellington, but my husband’s job was in Greeley. While job hunting for myself, as well as house hunting, every time I drove to Greeley from Wellington I would drive by Northern Colorado Cowboy Church. Finally, one day I told myself that the next Sunday I was going to just go and check it out. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t go back. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I was scared, nervous, and just wanted to be invisible. I wanted to go there, sit down, listen to the message and not have to talk to anyone. There’s no way I could talk to anyone there, they would know what kind of a person I am. I guess I thought they would know how badly my life was messed up, and what kind of conversation could I possibly have with a church goer? I had it in my mind that I would go for a while and hope no one noticed me until I could “get right with God again,” and then I could be more involved. With all those doubts filling my mind, I decided to just make myself go and hope for the best. I still had something weighing heavy on my heart though. My husband, while he fully supported my decision to go back to church, he wasn’t really interested.
I was filled with fear. First and foremost, what if they didn’t like me at this church? What if they knew what kind of person I was and what a mess my life was? I was afraid of losing my marriage, being alone, starting over, and what would happen if I continued to go to church but he never did? I knew enough from growing up in church to know that I would probably begin to change my life and rearrange things, but what if he didn’t? What if he decided that we just weren’t compatible anymore? You see, the enemy did his best job with filling me FULL of doubt and fear. He knew God had a bigger plan for me and my husband, and he was doing his best attempt at trying to keep us from what God had for us. After attending church for the first time again in years, I realized that the most important thing I could do was just pray for my husband. After attending a few Sunday’s in a row I asked him if he would come with me. He agreed! He was a little reluctant but he agreed to come, just once. I may or may not have bribed him with the fact that it was a cowboy church and that he could wear his cowboy hat in church. ☺
I look back now and think about what a mess I was. No, I wasn’t addicted to drugs, didn’t do time in prison or jail, and never really did anything that “bad," but man, was I a mess. From the outside looking in, I just probably appeared “normal," but I was far from it. After my husband and I started attending N3C regularly, I would have visions of us just doing something simple like praying together. This wasn’t something we were comfortable doing at that point in our marriage. I would quickly chase those thoughts away. Again, the enemy would try to fill me full of lies and tell me that I would never have a husband who would pray with me nor would he ever be a man of God. I would just pray for my husband and our marriage every single day before I even realized just how important that really was/is. The transformation and restoration that began to take place was incredible. God is sooooo good! God started to show me through some of Pastor Darin and Pastor Lynette’s messages that those visions were visions from God. I can’t even begin to describe in words how my/our lives have changed.
After all I realize that God’s nudging and shaking was the most incredible thing that could have ever happened to me. If it wasn’t for me hitting rock bottom and crying out to God when I did, I honestly don’t think I or we would be where we are today. All those visions that I had in the beginning have become real today. I like to think that our marriage didn't start the day we said “I do," but the day we both decided to recommit our lives and marriage to Christ. We began to realize that in the middle of our mess, we had no foundation in Him. Both in our personal lives nor in our marriage. We were like the scriptures in Matthew 7:24-27. We had a foundation built out of sand. God has restored our marriage and so much more. I am happy to say that I am now married to an amazing man of God and God blesses me so much everyday with him. He has become such an inspiration and encouragement to me. I am so proud of the man he has become, and his obedience to God is incredible. The visions that I would have of him being the spiritual leader of our home are real today! God has also blessed us with 2 beautiful healthy babies and an amazing life. Shortly after we recommitted our lives to Christ and began to seek a relationship with him, we both began to have bigger visions and dreams. One of our visions was to be able to move our family back to Wyoming where we grew up and where all of our family lives. We both began to pray and believe God for this move. When we would sit down and discuss it, we would come up with so many reasons why it just wouldn’t work. The enemy does a great job of sneaking around and making his way in without you even knowing it sometimes. A job for my husband would be extremely hard to come b, and job for me almost impossible, and the list goes on. But we just began to seek God, pray, and believed Him for something that seemed almost impossible to us. We knew that we would never be able to work out all the details, but He could and would, when the time was right.
God answered those prayers above and beyond anything we had ever even imagined. While it has been an incredible journey of faith, it has also been one of the biggest blessings! I feel like I could literally write a book about how much God blessed us and continues to bless us with our move back to Wyoming. In a lot of ways, I still feel like I am being called out “into the waves," and am challenged daily by God in my faith and trust. We know now that our move was not only something we prayed for to get us back closer to home with our family, it’s also the place God has called us to be. We both felt a shift after we moved and realized that God was now calling us to a higher place. His calling on our lives and what He would have us do here became so much more clear. While we didn’t fully see it when we were still in Colorado, God was preparing us for this move all along. He built a foundation in us and it was after we moved that we began to see that we were to bring that with us. I look back now and realize that God had a plan for us all along. It wasn’t in His plan for us to separate. We were meant to be together doing just what we’re doing right now! We are in a season of waiting perhaps for right now. We aren’t completely sure where God is taking us, but we just continue to pray, seek Him for direction, and know that whatever it is that He has for us, it will be good!