When she felt the gun in her back, forcing her into her apartment, Ashley Smith thought of all the wasted opportunities, all the times she’d told God that she was going to live a better life, but never did. “God is tired of my empty promises and now it’s too late,” she concluded.
This past Saturday I had the privilege of sharing the platform with Ashley, who, in 2005, convinced serial killer, Brian Nichols, to surrender to authorities after she read to him excerpts of the book, The Purpose Driven Life.
Over 600 women were spellbound by her story: a life of drugs and broken promises to family, friends, God and herself until the night she thought she had run out of second chances.
She hadn’t finished the book yet and asked Nichols if she could read it to him. He agreed.
“God deserves your best. He shaped you for a purpose, and he expects you to make the most of what you have been given.”
Nichols interrupted her reading, asking her what she thought her purpose was. “I think it’s to serve others, to help others,” she replied.
Then he asked, “What do you think mine is?”
“Maybe it’s to minister to people in prison”, replied Ashley.
Nichols encouraged her to tell others what had happened to her and that it’s never too late for a second chance with God. Ashley says that was the night God freed her from the pull of drugs. Her life is quite different now, sharing hope with others about the new beginning God gave her.
The event was a benefit for “Promise of Hope“, an incredible rehab ministry for women located on peaceful farmland in Dudley, GA. In spite of it’s unlikely location, Promise of Hope has one of the highest success rates in the nation. Hearing the stories of the women and the freedom they’ve gained from leaving drugs behind is wonderfully inspiring.
A big thank you to my talented friends Robin Henning, Angie McGukin, Jim Blanton, Greg Shellnut, Mike Farris and Hector Rios for leading in worship with me. You guys are fabulous!