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Jenn and I met at a friend's wedding. I was the videographer and Jenn caught the bouquet. We got married in June 2002 while in our early 20s.
In 2003, Jenn became pregnant with Erin and Jenn's parents started encouraging us to attend a Weekend to Remember conference. I didn't even know the conference was Christ-based.
I told Jenn I would only go if I didn't have to talk to anyone but her. She agreed, so I went to the first night just to listen and thought, "This is non-confrontational, so this is okay."
I had never heard the gospel message until that conference. I remember being in our hotel room at the conference and all of the sudden it made sense to me. I looked at Jenn and said, "I need Christ in my life."
Jenn wasn't even a Christian. She had been going to church, out of obligation, not because of a relationship with God.
But she knew what do to and said, "All you've got to do is pray and ask God into your life." That night, in our hotel room, I did. I asked God to be Lord of my life.
This confused Jenn. She thought it was her job to bring me to Christ, but I had become a Christian before her. A few weeks later, though, Jenn prayed to accept Christ because she saw how it changed me.
At the Weekend to Remember conference, I learned that I needed God. But I think God was telling me that because He knew what was coming down the road. In just two years, our son Isaiah would die two hours after birth.
The hardest part was the time after the funeral when Jenn and I stopped talking to each other. We didn't want to bring each other down, so if one us of was having a bad day, we didn't tell the other. We were drifting apart.
It wasn't until another Weekend to Remember conference that we agreed if one of us is having a bad day, we want to help carry that bad day.
If I hadn't become a Christian, I don't think my marriage would be intact. God models how I can be a servant leader for Jenn. Just seeing how Jesus has loved us makes me want to love my children the same way.
Jason Dudley is married to Jennifer and they have 4 children: Lauren (12-years-old), Eryn (5-years-old), Isaiah (in heaven) and Emma-Jenne (2-years-old). For fun they go geocaching or swimming. The Dudleys live in Stanford, Maine, where Jason is the custodian for Sanford Junior High School. They volunteer with FamilyLife by leading the prayer team for the Weekend to Remember events in Maine.
When we put words to the hard parts of our stories, we can give those around us a new picture of who Jesus is.
Read about others who discovered their hope was misplaced and how they found a hope that lasts.
The time I spent with my father throughout my childhood is mostly an angry blur of yelling and crying.
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