This is a letter to an older version of me. One who had so much to learn- especially in the realm of love and marriage. This is also to anyone out there who thinks that all they need is a boyfriend or girlfriend to just be happy. To just have someone to love them for who they are. Know that you already do. You are far more loved than you can ever even imagine. I desperately needed to hear these words back then, and I hope they can help someone struggling with the same things I did back then.

Dear 19 year old, you think you know what you’re doing, Ashley:

I know how much your soul aches and I know how much you are misinterpreting the ache for what you think you need. Your desire for a man who will commit to you and want to love you always is so strong. I know how you think that this is what will truly satisfy but I want you to know how wrong you are.

What will ultimately end up satisfying that ache is Jesus. The one you think right now is keeping you from the joy of a relationship. I know you think that if you choose to continue on in your quest for love on your own terms that you think your savior will abandon you- but how wrong you are, sweet one.

Jesus will never abandon you. There isn’t anything you can say or do that will make Him love you any less. This is the kind of love you so desperately are dreaming for, if only you knew. I know you feel that you’re upsetting Him so much. I know all the shame you feel when you make a mistake and chase a guy instead of Him. Please know that there is grace upon grace. There isn’t anything you can do to make Jesus mad at you.

Let go.

Let go of how you think things should be. Let go of who you think you will be happy with. Let go and let God show you the way. It will not be easy and you will white knuckle your control at times, but it will be worth it- that I do promise you.

The most important thing you will learn is that it is possible to be happy without a man in your life. When you feel like the one thing that you need isn’t there, you’ll learn that all you really do need is Jesus. You need to go through that to really understand it and trust me, you will need this knowledge in the future.

If I told you now that God is going to make you wait two years until you meet the man that is going to be your husband, you would think that was the worst news ever. But let me tell you it is worth the wait.

The man God has for you is far beyond anyone you can imagine and far beyond who you think he should be. He is the most loving, caring man you will ever know and everyday that you get to spend being his is a gift. He is patient with you like you’ve never experienced and loves you way more than I think you will ever realize.

He will point you to God in ways you didn’t even know were possible. Everything will go against what you think should happen now though.

Rest in the fact that God has you right in the palm of His hand and He will never let you go. Rest in the fact that He is all you need. 

Xoxo, your much wiser, learned this the hard way, 23 year old self.

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