It was a Saturday evening, May 14, 2011. Steve had worked that day, just like he did most Saturdays. He started his Saturdays fairly early with clients, and then I would go in to the club and we’d workout together.
After working out we went to his townhome to relax and spend the day together.
The plan was to go to church at 6:00 and then meet our friends Ben and Alyson at Stella’s Fish Café in Uptown.
We had one of those lazy Saturdays; lounging around, watching TV, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.
“Babe today we have to get to church early at 5:00 to meet up with Pastor Alan to pray before church,” Steve informed.
“Okay,” I said, glancing at the clock. “I need to get ready then.”
I wasn’t quite sure as to why we had this special meeting with Pastor Alan, but I’m all for prayer so I didn’t question it. I went upstairs to his bathroom to change, freshen up and fluff my hair.
Steve eventually came upstairs to get ready. He put on Christian music from Pandora as we got ready.
I finished one last touch, walked out of the bathroom, “okay, I’m ready.”
He looked so good. Steve always looked so handsome. He had on a red polo shirt, his hair was done just how I liked it and as always, he smelled so good!
Steve had a cologne collection, and I’m not talking about four bottles of cologne. I’m talking more like twenty. I had asked him about it, and where the cologne collecting came from. He told me growing up his parents were smokers and he hated the smell. In order to try to cover it up, he would cover himself in cologne.
Gone were the days of living with his parents, but this cologne thing still carried through. Not going to lie, I wasn’t mad about it. There’s something about the way a man smells that makes me melt. If there were a love language for smelling good, I’d add that to my list!
Steve turned down the music. “Babe, we need to pray before we go.”
Pray before we go? I thought that was strange. That wasn’t ever part of our routine before, but I wasn’t going to question what he was requesting. I thought, if my man wants to pray, we’re going to pray.
I fell more in love with him in that moment. I had always wanted to be dating a guy who was a spiritual leader. I have a tendency to want to lead, but I know that in marriage, the wife is not supposed to. That doesn’t make her any less important, that just makes us different. We were designed to have different roles for a reason. If one tries to take on the role of the other, the divine purpose of each spouse within marriage is diminished and your relationship has/will probably suffer as a result.
I know there will be people reading this that might get all “huffy and puffy” hearing me say that. The Bible says: Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18) and it goes on to say Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
I’m a natural leader, but truthfully, in a relationship, I wanted to be led. I don’t want to the leader in my relationship. I want to be cared for, adored, loved and cherished.
There we stood, hand in hand in his bedroom with our eyes closed.
“Dear God, I want to thank you for today, and Lord I want to thank you for Ashley. Thank you for bringing her into my life…”
As I stood there I thought, I like this. Steve is really growing in his faith, he’s praying over our relationship…I melted…
“And Lord I ask that you bless our engagement…”
My eyes popped open! He just said ENGAGEMENT….oh my goodness!
I don’t even remember any of the words after engagement because I was so shocked that came out of his mouth.
He reached into his pocket, took out the ring and he got down on one knee and said, “Will you marry me?”
My heart raced, I looked into his eyes with slight panic, palms sweaty…
As he was on his knees my hands embraced the back of his head as I pulled him in for a kiss. He got teary-eyed and attempted to put the ring on my finger. He couldn’t quite get it on, so I put it on.
I paused for a moment, “Holy smokes we’re engaged!” We kissed again.
“Are we really meeting Pastor Alan?”
“We are supposed to, but it’s okay if we’re not there at 5:00.”
It was after 5:00, I grabbed my purse and we headed out the door. We called our parents on the way and told them briefly that we were engaged! We didn’t have time for long drawn out conversations about all of it because we had to get to church.
As we pulled in, Ben and Aly were driving out of the church parking lot. They were in on the plan and I waved at them and Steve stuck his arm out the window shaking his fist in victory and followed it up with a thumbs up.
We didn’t have time to pray with Pastor Alan before church. By the time we got in praise and worship had already started.
I have to admit I was distracted the whole time. I kept looking down at my new rock and I kept replaying the highlight reel of the whole thing in my mind. I glanced at Steve, we exchanged excited smiles, as he held my hand.
There we were, singing praise to Jesus, embarking on a new adventure as an newly engaged couple.
I glanced over at Steve as he poured out his heart in worship.
Thank you God. Thank you God. THANK. YOU. GOD!
What about you? Did you have a moment when prayer changed everything? I’d love to hear about it.
Share it below!
It was May 6, 2011 and it was a sunny day. Both Steve and I worked and then I went over to his townhome after work.
I looked forward to days like today because we’d get to spend time with JT. My sister Mel would also be coming over today. Steve, Mel and I spent a lot of time together, and since he was dating me, my sister was part of the package deal.
Mel is a speech language pathologist and she works with 3 and 4 year olds. Any day that Steve and I would have time with JT, Mel was automatically invited. JT loved when she was there. Mel has a gift with kids. Not only did she play with JT, but she’d teach him at the same time.
Steve and Mel had several nicknames for each other. Steve called her doctor, because her initials were MD, but that wasn’t even the best one.
When I was training for a competition Steve was on a similar diet regime. He was doing the same amount of carbs I was on any given day. My sister was my roommate so she knew that this particular day was a zero carbohydrate day for me, which meant no complex carbs.
Mel had just arrived at Life Time to workout and saw Steve sitting in the Life Café She went into the café to say hi and he was eating eggs and had a stack of toast on his plate.
“What are you doing? You’re not supposed to be having toast!” giving him a “gentle” reminder as if he forgot. “You’re on a zero carb day!”
“Don’t tell your sister,” he said with a smirk.
Of course my sister didn’t keep that from me. When she got home she told me all about it and Steve knew that she would.
The next time I was at Steve’s house, we invited Mel over. She walked in the door and greeted him “Hi toast.”
“What’s up Judas?” he joked. She had busted him for eating toast and Mel had narked on him for not following our diet. Those two nicknames stuck from that moment on. Mel wouldn’t let Steve forget that he got caught, nor would he let her forget she was a nark.
There was so much joy when all of us were together. Our time together was always lighthearted and we were either laughing with each other or at each other.
Today Steve, JT, Mel and I went on a walk. I loved going on walks with Steve. He worked very hard at his job and it could be very stressful, so walking was a great way to spend quality time together and he could decompress after his day. Of course we loved it also because we could take JT to the park and get in more exercise.
We walked up to the park and Steve took JT out of the stroller. He couldn’t walk yet so Steve brought him over to the swings and put him in one.
I loved playing with JT, but I also loved to watch the two of them together. I couldn’t help but fall more in love with Steve every time I got to witness him in daddy mode. JT filled Steve up with so much love. He was such a proud dad and he talked to JT so tenderly even though JT couldn’t respond in complete sentences (obviously). It was still as JT knew what his daddy was saying to him. He hung on every word and action of his daddy. He showered him with kisses and told JT that he loved him.
The giggles were contagious. JT squealed with delight shoving his hands in his mouth as Steve pushed him in the swing.
I found myself reflecting in that moment, as I often did when the three of us were together. I thanked God for blessing me with my boys. I was thankful that he humbled me when I thought there could be no way this life could be right for me.
There I was, blessed to have this sweet baby in my life and his daddy.
I couldn’t believe how right Steve was for me. I had dated guys before who I thought they were right for me, and then things changed. I either ended up being broken hearted or realized they weren’t the one for me.
Steve and I shared the same passions and values. He understood my stubborn and quiet side, or maybe he just learned how to deal with it. I loved how he was so selfless in everything he did. Whether it was at work, a random stranger, friends or family, he would do whatever he could to help any one who needed it. I couldn’t help but love his giving heart. He was my biggest cheerleader. He never set limitations on what he thought I could do but supported me in my big ideas and dreams.
For the first time I had felt like I was with someone who appreciated me, all of me. He didn’t try to change me or forced me to be someone I wasn’t. Simply by being Steve Toms, he inspired and helped me to be the “best me.” I loved this man and I had no doubt that he felt the same way about me because he told me every day.
The person you’re with and the person you choose to spend your life with should make you a better you. They shouldn’t detract from who you are or cause you to be less than the person God designed you to be. God didn’t intricately design you so you could pretend to be someone else. God already knows your potential and we need to wake up and realize how amazing He thinks we are.
How Steve made me feel reminds me of one of my favorite motivational movie speeches by Coach Carter, in the movie Coach Carter:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
My challenge to you today is for you to get out of your box and let your light shine! Stop downplaying your God-given gifts and talents. The world needs you to be you. You are ONE OF A KIND.