Full of exciting times, and full of difficult times. Full of up’s and down’s, struggles and victories, high’s and low’s, joy and discouragement, transitions, and moments that make memories. Right now, I sit here thanking and praising God for what he has done in the life of my sister. I can hardly type this blog, because of the emotion, excitement, and thanksgiving that God has given me. As a big brother, some can imagine the adjustment that I have gone through, in “letting her go”. Not near as much as my dad, but there was still a sense of “letting go” that I had to wrestle with and struggle through. Not because I wasn’t happy for her, or didn’t approve of the guy that swept her off of her feet, but because I didn’t want to loose my best friend, and of course there is a protective component as well (which is somewhat normal as a big brother, and only sibling). Me and God had more than one conversation about that, and he has humbled me, and turned my heart to a posture of praise, surrender, thanksgiving, and upmost joy for what he is doing and has done in the life of my sister, particularly with her finding the one she will spend the rest of her life with.
About two years ago, I was sitting in my room, in Milledgeville, GA, during my last semester of college. My buddy Ryan Wood walks into the room. This a guy who I have come to love and treasure as a friend. I remember him coming to the BCM as a terrified freshmen, during my senior year. Little did I know of the friendship and influence he would have on my life, and my sisters life. He walks into my room, sits next to me, with this serious face, looks at me, and begins to slowly and cautiously tell me that he has feelings for my sister. How did I respond? Of course deep down I thought, “Yes, couldn’t be a better guy.” but my words were very simple and to the point. “Go for it buddy.” The semester continued, I graduated, and guess what he did? He pulled the trigger and asked her out. As soon as I graduated haha.
I was in Spartanburg, SC, and for the first time, from a distance, I worked through supporting and encouraging my sister during her relationship. Although I didn’t do the best job at first, she was patient with me, and also helped me realize some things I needed to work on. I mean this is my only sister. Little sister. The one that I grew up with, have shared memories with. Who rode with me to school, hung out with me and my friends, enjoyed hard times together, and great times together. This was tough for me. But deep down, I knew that my sister enjoyed the best, and this would be it. Ryan is also a dear friend to me, which makes this more exciting. I had the privilege of discipling him, and pouring into his life during college, little did he know, he would disciple and pour into me.
Earlier this summer, our family was at a lake house, relaxing and enjoying time with each other. One night I was out on the dock, and Ashley came out. We had a “moment”, and I began to pour my heart out to her about some things, in which she did in return. After that, we prayed for one another, specifically in the area of marriage and what God has in store for both of us. Of course, I already knew that in just a few weeks, Ryan would be proposing to my sister. But what an incredible moment that was, and I’m so thankful that Ashley prays and encourages me constantly.
I have thought through some things that confirm and show me that Ashley and Ryan are God’s match and perfect for one another. They both deserve the best, and here is why:
He deserves the best:
[He is a man of conviction]
I have never known Ryan to settle, or put aside any conviction that God has put on his heart. He is a man of the Word, and bases his life on the expectations and authority of God’s Word. This is an incredible quality that we don’t see too often in younger men. He sets the bar high, and sticks to it.
[He is a selfless servant]
Ryan is a servant, and he seeks to serve others. He puts others infront of himself. If there is a need, Ryan will be in the front row. But most importantly, he serves Ashley, whole-heartedly.
[He has a heart for people, the nations, and the gospel]
Ryan loves people, of all kinds. He takes the time to listen to people, meet them where they are, and love them. Ryan loves missions, and believes in missions. He knows that God calls us all to the nations, and to live missionally. Therefore, he has a heart for the gospel, and for the good news of Jesus Christ to be made known to everyone. Missions is his calling, as well as Ashley.
[He is a diligent worker]
Ryan never gives up, and he works 110% at everything he does. He sees the task and accomplishes it. Whether this is school work, his job, ministry, or helping someone. I have never seen Ryan give up, and he is a man of sacrifice, until the task is done.
[He is more than capable of leading my sister, and setting the example to others]
[His eyes have been fixed on the main thing, Jesus]
In this world of sin, trouble, temptation, and pressure, Ryan is proving to be a man after God’s heart.
[He loves my sister in the way that she deserves]
My sister deserves the upmost best, and I know Ryan is that. He serves her, loves her, treasures her, and puts her first. Thank you Ryan.
She deserves the best:
[She is a woman of conviction]
Since Ashley has been a Christian, she has stood true and followed her convictions, based on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. She never settles.
[She has a selfless heart]
If I’ve learned how to serve, or seen anyone serve, it’s Ashley. She is a servant of servants, and meets needs continuously. She pours into others like no one else I know, and models this well.
[She has a heart for people, the nations, and the gospel]
Just like Ryan, Ashley loves people, all people. From every race, culture, and personality, she sees nothing but God’s creation. She has a huge heart for missions, particularly internationals, more particularly, Asia. Her time in Thailand last summer did nothing but confirm this calling, as well as Ryan. She knows the urgency of the gospel, and lives it out. The calling that God has placed on her and Ryan is parallel, which is an incredible thing.
[She is a diligent worker]
Ashley works hard at everything she does. She never gives up, and completes the task at hand. No matter the task infront, it is eventually behind her, because she has completed and succeeded.
[She is consistently joyful and encouraging]
Often times, when I’m not joyful and encouraging, she remains, and reminds me. I’ve never seen Ashley stay defeated or down. This is a huge encouragement and challenge to me, because God has used it countless times in my life through her.
[She will always look for the good in a circumstance] Enough said.
[She has been patient and her eyes have been fixed on Jesus]
Throughout the waiting period, Ashley has been patient, hopeful, and expectant. Her perspective is beyond herself, and filled with joy and purpose. The hopes and promises of Jesus and God’s Word have been the focal point of her life. This is an encouragement to me, as I pray, expect, and hope for the day when God meets my hearts desire in this area. Ashley has been a constant encouragement, and challenge to me in this area of my life.
[She is an incredible friend to others, daughter to my parents, and sister to me]
Anyone that has known my sister is better for it.
[She reflects what a biblical woman approaching marriage should look like, and she loves Ryan as he deserves]
Just as Ashley deserves the best, so does Ryan. They are both created in the image of God, and should receive the incredible blessing that God gives us in this area of life. They both reflect God’s Word, and are such a role model to many people. They have been faithful to the Lord, and he is faithful in return.
They are receiving the best. Gods best.