Ainsley, we’d love to hear a little about you, where you live, what you do for a living?
Hi, Fay! I’m a pharmaceutical representative, and I live in a wonderful, older neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri, filled with old growth trees that cover the ground in the deepest hues of red and orange in the fall.
You’re engaged to a man you’ve been dating for five years, and yet, from what I’ve read, it appears you may be having second thoughts. Would you care to tell the reader why?
(deep sigh) Um, I guess. I mean, everyone’s going to find out soon enough, right? If they read the book anyway. Richard and I have been dating for a long time, and he’s… He’s a really great guy. A hard worker, focused, goal-oriented. And he’s super smart. But to be honest, I never asked God what He thought—about us dating or about our potential marriage. It might seem a bit late to start praying now, but…
To be honest, I feel like God’s really doing a lot of shifting in my heart, my life, my world. It started a couple weeks before chapter one. My pastor gave a sermon on being God’s hands and feet, saying we can’t do that if we stay in the church pews. Then he said something that really hit me. He said if we didn’t know any poor people, then we needed to widen our circle. I knew God was speaking to me through the words of my pastor, only I didn’t know what He meant. So I determined to find out! I began asking God to use me in whatever way He saw fit. I had no idea how life-changing that type of prayer could be!
You have some parent issues, too. I’d love to hear about those, and I’d like to know what you would say to grown children who look back on their childhoods and realize their parents (or a parent) made a disaster out of it? How would you suggest they deal with their parents and with the unhappy past they had?
Honestly, I’m not sure I have the answer to those questions. Oh, I know the appropriate, Christian answer: love and forgive. But sometimes that’s hard to do, you know? Especially if the person you’re trying to love continues to hurt you. Then it gets complicated. I guess the only thing I can say—the only thing I know to do—is keep turning to God in prayer.
I think that’s an excellent answer. Sometimes we use God as a last option instead of the only option. Your job as a pharmaceutical salesperson seemed to trouble you quite a bit. I believe that I know why because you hinted at it with your financè and his profession. He really doesn’t have what his patients need. Am I right about that, and would you care to elaborate?
Well, there are many reasons I find my job difficult, part of which is because I’m really not salesperson material. The stiff, business attire, days filled with meetings… I’d much rather stay home in jeans and a big ol’ soft, baggy t-shirt. But then, that kind of lifestyle doesn’t pay the bills, so…
Another perhaps deeper reason, is that I feel unsettled about the whole thing and like God is calling me to something else. If only I knew what that something is!
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We’ve talked about the your engagement, about your past and your parents and about your job. How would you say Romans 8:28 fits into your life?
You know, I’m still seeing this unfold, Fay. I’d say for sure the pain I experienced as a child has impacted who I am today, and I believe for the better. When I encountered that young boy and his beaten down mother in chapter one, I felt as if my heart was breaking! Looking into the boy’s eyes, I felt an instant connection, as if I could truly feel his sadness. I felt this so deeply, I knew I had to do something. I’m not so sure I would’ve empathized so deeply if I hadn’t known that deep sadness myself.
So I guess that makes the pain I experienced and the scars it created beautiful, doesn’t it?
I’d also say, if I hadn’t felt so alone as a child, I might not have connected so deeply with Deborah Eldridge, my former third grade teacher and the woman who not only introduced me to Christ but has remained my spiritual mentor to this day. So I suppose I have my parents to thank for my salvation. Wow. That’s a crazy thought.
Thank you so much, Ainsley, for visiting with us and for sharing your heart on the matters that encompass your story. I look forward to talking with your author, Jennifer Slattery, on Wednesday.
More About Beyond I Do:
Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?
Marriage … it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it at Amazon in the link above as well as CBD.
Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.