I remember this story….. it was powerful when I first heard about it, and it’s still just as powerful to me. In case you don’t remember the story, it’s from an incident that occurred in Atlanta in 2005 when a woman was held hostage in her apartment overnight by an escaped prisoner. She read portions of Rick Warren’s book, Purpose Driven Life, to her captor and he ended up releasing her. It was WILD! I recently had the opportunity to read Ashley’s book, Captive, in advance of the movie of the story that releases in theaters on September 18th!
Ashley’s captor’s name was Brian Nichols and he escaped from an Atlanta courthouse, killing several people in the process. He then held her hostage in her own apartment for seven hours, and she talked him into surrendering peacefully by witnessing to him about her family, her faith, and her life turnaround. At the time, Ashley was a 27 year old widow, whose husband had been murdered as a result of a fight about drugs. As a meth addict herself, Ashley was beginning to get her life together and trying to get things together for her 5 year old daughter, whom she hadn’t had custody of for over two years. She as given a copy of Purpose Driven Life, threw the book away, and the woman who gave it to her pulled it out of the trash and gave it to her again. God definitely wanted Ashley to have that book as a tool for her immediate future as well as her life generally.
In the book, Ashley Smith shares that she believes that God led Brian Nichols specifically to her door to hold her hostage, so she could stop him, and at the same time, so that she could finally give up her addiction to drugs. She firmly believes that God was in control over every single thing that happened that night, and I loved the fact that she could see that He IS the one in control. From an interview I found on the internet, Ashley Smith says:
“I think I began to apply a lot of the things I was reading in The Purpose Driven Life. I definitely was using it as a tool to let God speak to me and begin to guide me in the right direction in life. So yeah, I definitely tried to apply some of it and still when I think about it it’s easy to let things slide in life, but it’s good to have book or song or movie to remind you it’s easy just to get back in with it.
I honestly just want people to know that it’s never too late to turn their life around and that there is nothing that they can do that God won’t love them for. When I completely surrendered to God and gave Him every part of me, He just gave me this amazing life. If I would’ve continued to listen to the world and everyone who told me that God wouldn’t love me unless I was a certain type of way – perfect, or as close to it as I could possibly be – then I think I would probably be dead today. So, we just have to remember that God is the only perfect person that walked this Earth and that He’s going to carry us through no matter what. He’s going to carry us through everything we ask Him to.”
What I really loved about this book was the gut wrenching honesty that shows us that God can use anyone for His glory. His Word is just as relevant and real to people who are addicted to drugs as it is to an everyday churchgoing Christ-believing person. This book isn’t neat and tidy just like our real lives aren’t neat and tidy. Ashley Smith’s strength and faith are an inspiration in this incredible true story.
You can listen on this Audio Byte of Ashley Smith reading a portion of Chapter 1 of the book! You can also connect with this story and the upcoming movie by going to their Website, or check out Facebook and Twitter. I’ve been authorized to do a giveaway for a copy of the book – if you are like me, you like to read the story before seeing the movie, so following the movie trailer below, be sure to enter the giveaway for the book!
Okay so here it is – if you would like to enter this giveaway for a free copy of the book, be sure to enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”