The Great Wedding Ring Giveaway Finalists

My wedding ring appraised at $3500 by Gray’s Jewelers in Minden, Louisiana

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago I announced that I was giving away my wedding ring. My heart is a believer in grace and all things redemption. I believe old houses, people and even a wedding ring deserves a new beginning and a second chance. It’s time to part with mine, and allow a new, redemptive journey to unfold. We had 223 total entries! WOW! I personally read through each one. ALL are deserving of this great prize. However, here are the top FIVE finalists (because I couldn’t choose only three) that tugged on my heart strings the most.

And now, the winner will be chosen by you! Please read through each entry below. Then, head to this form HERE and vote on the couple you think is the most deserving to win my Great Wedding Ring Giveaway prize package. You can vote once per email address. Entries may have been edited to remove any distinguishing factors. I’m trying to keep this an anonymous and fair as possible. Voting closes on March 15th at 10 pm CT and winner will be announced on or before April 1st.

These responses are lengthy, but it’s important the stories be told. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, and get ready to read some amazing love stories.

Entrant #172 (Married since 2016, known each other since 2014)

My wife chose me over wealth, security, and family relationships.

Growing up she was raised in a Southern Baptist home where you do as your parents say and never question their judgement. When we met in 2012, she was coming out of a tough time in her life and her parents allowed us to date thinking that it would be a summer fling and that we would go our separate ways. However, it didn’t end there. It made our bond stronger because we focused on emails, texts, letters, and intentional visits.

When they realized I wouldn’t give up, they demanded she end it. For four years, we endured private investigators, hacked devices, constant scrutiny, and even kicked out of the house for a summer. But, they couldn’t shake us. Our faith and love were deeper than their attacks. From the night we started dating, I promised her mother that we wouldn’t even get engaged until she graduated. I held up my end of the bargain.

In June of 2016, I went to dinner with her father to ask for his blessing, not his permission. I knew the answer, but she wanted me to ask so we made sure to continue doing the right thing. When I arrived that night, her father and brother walked up. I immediately knew that he was prepared for the reason I was there. For the next two hours, I would be belittled and berated like never before. They proceeded to say things about both me and my wife that I will never repeat.

After they finally stopped, I asked the question I came to ask. “Will I ever be good enough to marry your daughter?” “No, you will never be good enough for my daughter and there is nothing you can do to change my mind!”

I thanked him for his time and as I pulled out of the parking lot, immediately called my girlfriend to tell her every detail of the conversation before I forgot. As I finished, I offered her an out if she wanted to because I didn’t want to propose to her and then have to tell her. She didn’t want out, so I went on preparing for the proposal.

At midnight on July 14th floating in the river beside the dock where we had that first magical conversation, I asked her to be my wife. Just us, the same as it was four years prior. I proposed with my grandmother’s ring, a ring that signified a strong bond and a long love story. We waited several days before we told her parents and when we did, all they could say is “I’m sorry to hear that.” They then proceeded to tell everyone we knew that I didn’t even have the decency to ask for her hand.

They had recorded that conversation the night I asked but left off the part where I asked the question and the infamous response. We then took her car back to her parents’ multi-million-dollar house with everything in it they had ever given her and she walked away with nothing but the clothes on her back.

For the first time in her life, she had nothing. But we were so rich in love and loved by those that truly knew us. Her old neighbors offered for us to have our wedding at their house. We decided not to wait to get married and set a date just before Christmas. We picked everything out, and I spent too much on credit cards because I still believed she deserved a fairytale wedding. The day of our rehearsal, she called her father and asked if had decided to support us. He kept saying that he would support her but not us. She made the decision to walk herself down the aisle if he couldn’t support both of us.

Our wedding day was the most beautiful December day I’ve ever seen. 80 degrees, no clouds, a light breeze off the water, it was magical. We even had a bald eagle swoop down and grab a fish as we said I do. One part of the rehearsal and the wedding I will never forget is how I felt. I cried and cried at both because of all she had endured and for us to finally be together, forever. It was truly a storybook moment. Her mom’s best friend still tried to steal the joy of the day by sending a multi-page letter saying how she could tell that God was against us and wasn’t present at our wedding and the bad energy she felt the whole time.

Our marriage has been tough too. Moving several times for jobs and chasing family relationships that we have come to realize never will be. Our children have been sick a lot and have had to deal with horrors of daycares that you think only exist in parents’ nightmares. But, our love has remained steadfast. We have two wonderful children and a third on the way. We are rich in love and have an amazing community around us. Our world has continued to shake but we haven’t crumbled because we also share in God’s love.

Everything seemed manageable until May 2022. We found out the grandfather that gave me that diamond ring was a horrible person who had done awful things and his past finally caught up to him. Rightfully so, my wife decided to take the ring off and never wear it again. Because of the financial burdens we have faced, I have been unable to give her another ring. She never asks, never wants, but deserves a proper diamond ring to signify our story. That ring you are giving away, it’s exactly what she has been looking for.

One lucky couple will win a 2 night stay at The Villas at Spanish Court in Minden, LA

Entrant #69 (Married for 3 years, but known each other for 10 years)

I’m actually entering for my daughter-in-law.

She and my son have been married for three years but together for 13. They have been through so much together and as soon as I saw this Sara, I knew I had to enter. First, they are an interracial couple and the hurdles that this entails are obvious. They both had family members and friends who were opposed to their relationship. My daughter-in-law left her beloved church because her own pastor counseled her against marrying a white man. Her brother tried to intimidate my son in order to keep them apart. Then, while she was in college studying music (she’s an incredible singer) she began having symptoms of, and was later diagnosed, with MS. My son was advised by many close to him not to marry her, telling him he’ll be “stuck” taking care of her. His devotion never wavered for a moment.

On their honeymoon to Vancouver, which they had scrimped and saved for, she had an MS flare, her first, and they had to come home for treatment. He constantly works overtime, saving for years in order to afford the small house they bought two years ago and when they married, she bought a “prom” dress to wear as a wedding dress and they simply went to a justice of the peace, even though I know she would have loved a real wedding. My son could only afford a simple wedding band because they were buying the house and needed every penny.

I have offered many times to help financially but he always refuses. They have two rescue cats that want for nothing and they are always willing to do for others when asked or needed. He has twice collected clothing, warm coats and supplies to send to the people in Ukraine suffering in that awful war and donates every month to help the abandoned dogs over there.

Oh Sara, I would love to see these two get a break in life!! A lovely wedding ring that I know she would love and a much needed getaway for them both. God knows they desperately need it. As I end this, I realize that even if they aren’t chosen, I’m glad that I got to share their story with you. They are such a special couple and I’m so proud of them both!!

Hector Manuel Sanchez photo by: Misty Swilley Photography The winner will also receive a free outdoor photo session with the nationally renowned Hector Manuel Sanchez.

Entrant #181 (Married 14 years, Known each other 16 years)

As a young girl, I only wanted to get married, be a mom, and live happily ever after.

Every girl’s fairy tale, right? But with all fairy tales, there is a villain. At the tender age of 5, my childhood innocence was shattered by the darkness of sexual abuse. I soon learned that fairy tales seldom mirror reality. I grew up with a confusion about what love really looked like. As a result, I was very promiscuous in my teen years and would seek that “love” in all the wrong places.

At 17, I thought I had met my Prince Charming. We married less than a year later. We didn’t have a penny to our name. The ring he gave me was one that had been traded into his father’s car lot in exchange for semi-reliable transportation by a recently divorced woman whom I had never met. I always thought I would make her proud.

My dreams failed me again. My Prince Charming turned abusive. It should not have come as a surprise because I saw the red flags beforehand and chose to ignore them. I wanted to believe in that childhood fairy tale dream. A heart yearning for love will make you see things as if they aren’t.

Our first daughter was born ten months after our wedding day. Baby girl number 2 would enter the world two years later. They were my light in this dark world. I remained in this loveless marriage for 18 years, paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. I felt stuck with only a high school diploma, no job, no car, and no way to care for my girls.

It was year 15 of our marriage when I summoned the courage to pursue a different path and enrolled in college. After all I had been through, I found nursing school to be the hardest thing I had ever done. But it was also the most rewarding. Graduating at the top of my class, I emerged victorious, a testament to the strength that lay dormant within me.

Yet, my heart still yearned to discover what true love felt like. What started out as a friendship with my best friend’s husband ended in an affair. We both left our current marriages and married each other shortly after graduation.

This is the part of my story I am not proud of. We were both so lost and broken. With a heart of stone, I thought this was finally my chance for Prince Charming to sweep me away just like I had always dreamed about.

He even took me to pick out a brand-new wedding ring. I remember feeling that I had finally arrived. It seemed like my warped dream was finally coming true. Everything felt shiny and new.

Only a few years into the marriage, it began to fall apart, too. The new and shiny started to look more tarnished and rusty. Why had childhood filled me with all those stupid fairy tales? My heart became harder.

One night, after a big fight, he left. I knew he would come back and tell me to leave. I had already seen it coming and had been “talking” to another man to rescue me when he did tell me to leave. However, shortly after leaving, he returned, looked me in the eye, and said, “I don’t want to leave. I love you, and I want to work all this out.”

Love me? How could you love me after this? Those three words cracked my heart of stone that night. Cracked it just enough for a small amount of light to shine in. I went to my closet, shut the door, and cried out to a God that I barely knew.

I had attended church my entire life but was never interested in Him. Why had my life been such a mess if He was so good? But that night, I was at the end. I was tired of being the person I had been. I wanted someone to love me like I had always dreamed of.

They say He had the answers. So I was asking for them. On my knees on that closet floor crying out, I heard Him speak to my desperate and broken heart: “I have been waiting for this moment. I have been pursuing you all along. The change you seek can only be found in My love. I can love you like that!”

I felt a peace come over me. From that night on, little by little, He loved me back to wholeness, and I now live with a completely healed heart. My marriage was redeemed. My life was redeemed. I found my Prince. My Prince of Peace….and I am living my happily ever after.

I now mentor women coming from prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. Women that may have been misunderstood for the life they once lived. I teach them about the deep, never-ending love of Jesus through my own love story. Most recently, I started a non-profit. The vision is to have a 2-year program for these women. They will live at a our center free of charge as they heal and get back on their feet with education and counseling during year one. In year two, they will have the opportunity to continue working in a social enterprise setting, getting paid fair wages, and learning job skills to continue their journey upon graduation.

Like you, I love the stories of turning something broken into something great. My husband and I have discussed getting new rings to commemorate our redeemed lives. Yet, I thought, why would I deserve this after my own story of a broken marriage? The truth is, I don’t. But that’s what His love does. It gives us so much more than we deserve. If I won your ring, I would make you proud.

Caney Lakes in Webster Parish. A stop the lucky couple could make on their visit.

Entrant #111 (Married 9.5 years, Known each other 12 years)

Our story is not what you’d call traditional in any sense; but it’s ours, and I wouldn’t trade it!

There’s no fairytale lines, no serendipitous story book plot –but rather heart wrenching valleys and God’s unwavering grace and redeeming power to create beauty from ashes.

June 7th, 2014: We exchanged vows in a small ceremony on what I firmly claim to be the hottest day in history. Maybe it was the nerves and the Louisiana summer, or maybe it was the fact that I was 5 months pregnant and it was an outdoor wedding. (see, I told you it wasn’t traditional).

Those first few years were a blur of raising children, starting/changing careers and just trying to figure out how marriage is supposed to work. But little by little, like a car with too many miles—parts of our marriage started to break down.

For years, we applied bandaids to open wounds in our marriage…so many “How do we fix this?” and “if we could just (fill in the blank), it would be fine” talks.

Over the following years, though, those “bandaids” weren’t holding and things like resentment, distrust, and indifference began to creep into those wounds. So much time spent on trying to figure out how we got here, and how do we turn it around.

I felt powerless…like being buckled into the backseat, being driven to a place you desperately don’t want to be. I found out, though, that he was in the backseat with me. The driver…….addiction.

On March 11, 2022 my husband texted me in the middle of the day: “I need to go to rehab. It’s a lot, I will tell you everything.”

My world stopped. I remember reading, and re-reading that text to try to make sense of it.

You see, I knew about his drinking to some extent, but in the days to come as he explained everything, I learned that there was so much that I had been oblivious to. Him telling the truth simultaneously meant uncovering years of lies he’d told to protect his addiction; so many things came crumbling down around me.

As I processed this new reality, my emotions were on this roulette wheel that just kept spinning… hurt, shock, disappointment—even validation for finally understanding why things had become like they were. While he hid his addiction well, there were no confines to it.

There were no boundaries to the effect it had on our lives; it touched everything. Like an invisible wave of destruction crashing into our lives—our finances, emotions and marriage: casualties left in its wake. The veil had been removed, the curtain pulled back to reveal a man broken to addiction, weary of hiding it all, but also the unbridled strength of a husband and father that wants more for his family.

March 15, 2022 he entered into over a month-long, inpatient rehabilitation program–away from family, only brief phone calls allowed as his schedule permitted. I still can’t fathom how incredibly hard that was for him…emotionally, mentally, physically. I will never forget seeing him on the day we picked him back up: whole, healing, glowing.

March 16, 2024 will be 2 years sober for the love of my life. I am daily in awe of his resilience, his humility, and his drive to use his experiences to help others. The past (almost) 2 years have been incredible for us. Don’t get me wrong, we still have to work at our marriage every day; but, my goodness, I love doing this with him.

There is something so intimate and precious about the brokenness of where we were…everything stripped away and, by God’s grace, rebuilding something beautiful. It almost knocks the breath out of me to think how close we were to missing this; this gift that we have in each other. Our 10 year anniversary is this summer; June 7th.

We will be celebrating that by having an intimate vow renewal with our family and closest friends later that month. I think I am more excited about that day than I was our original wedding day, because while we say “for better or for worse”–I think we all enter into marriage thinking it’s going to be more of those “better” times.

But I stand now in certainty, in complete assurance that while I know we will face hard things..I will face it with him. We have walked through absolute fire and are stronger for it. If I knew then what I know now; if I knew everything we’d go through–I would still choose him. I will choose him every day. I said from the beginning that our story is no fairytale, so I can’t end this with “and they lived happily ever after”–because “happy” isn’t always guaranteed.

But I will end this with…

And they lived intentionally ever after..
Intentionally growing together.
Intentionally loving each other well.
Intentionally in pursuit of Jesus and of each other.

We had considered exchanging rings because neither of us have our original wedding rings, which is part of why I decided to enter this. The other part is for the opportunity to share our story and just how good God is! We never went on a honeymoon; we’ve never even stayed away from the kids–so the 2 night stay at those stunning villas would be a first for us. Thank you for your time in reading our story!!

The Annie villa where the lucky couple could choose to stay.

Entrant #132 (Married since 2011, Known each other since 1999)

My husband and I had the picture perfect childhood.

We grew up in loving homes with the best parents imaginable. We were academically successful through high school and in college. We were active in sports and extracurricular clubs. We received numerous scholarships to the college of our choice. We grew up in church, knowing and loving God. On paper, we were “perfect”. We had the ideal life and we’re set for success.

However, in college, we were presented with the opportunity to experiment with drugs and we took it, as we felt like this was a rite of passage for college kids. We assumed we’d experiment then eventually grow up and leave it all behind.

ut it didn’t happen like that for us because drugs grabbed us very very quickly. What initially started out as partying on the weekends quickly turned into a deadly habit.

Nevertheless, we graduated college and went on to be successful in our careers as a registered nurse and a chemist. We got married. We started a family. We bought our dream home and began to remodel it. We were active in our kids’ schools and in our community. We showed up to family events. We took expensive vacations.

We did all of this as addicts in hiding. We were living a double life. The thing about secret addiction is that it always catches up with you at some point. God gets tired of chasing you down and trying to get your attention. So out of mercy, He allows you to hit rock bottom so that you will finally look up to HIM.

And that’s what happened to us. We were functioning addicts for nearly 15 years until what we thought mattered began to crumble. Our marriage was in utter turmoil because of the chaos and destruction that we had invited in. Our precious children were caught in the middle of all of this darkness. My husband was laid off from his job of 15 years because they knew he wasn’t doing well and wanted to show him mercy by not firing him.

Only 4 weeks later, I lost my job as a registered nurse because I was caught stealing drugs from the emergency room in which I worked. After that, we quickly lost our home, our children, and each other.

Over the next 2.5 years, we grew further apart from one another as our addictions worsened. We lived with different family members and we eventually signed over custody of our children to our family because they expected that they would have to bury us due to our addictions claiming our life through overdose.

The people that we loved the most witnessed the most terrifying and painful moments because of our addictions. The enemy had us in his grasp and wanted us dead and we were tired of fighting and ready to surrender to the darkness. BUT GOD! In our moments of despair, hopelessness, and emptiness, God looked down and chose US!

In 2019, we both entered rehabilitation separately, with no hope of a future together. But God had much bigger plans for us, our marriage, our children, and our family. We got saved and radically set free from addiction. Fast forward to present day, we have graduated and have the privilege of serving the ministry that saved our lives. We get to spend the rest of our life giving men and women who are bound in addiction the hope that they need to believe that God has something much bigger in store for His promises are more than we could ever imagine.

The ring set that Kenny bought me in 2011 is very dear to me. It’s been through many years of life and has several diamonds that are broken and missing within the band. We aren’t in the financial position to have it repaired, nor are we able to have a weekend getaway just for ourselves. So THIS entire experience would truly be a blessing for us. We plan to allow God to continue to use us and work through us.


Now it’s your turn! And I KNOW it will be hard. Head to the form HERE and choose one couple to win the Great Wedding Ring Giveaway package. And/or if you feel led and would like to bless one of our finalists, please email me at sara at and I can put you in touch with them. Thank you for taking the time to help me find the deserving winner.

Share the ♥︎
  1. Peggy Terrell says:


  2. JoAnn Babineaux says:

    Very proud of you’ll huge accomplishment u both made an amazing recovery an can now share you’ll story to the entire world you’ll have made survived you’ll addictions an today you’ll are very successful….love you’ll ❤️❤️🙏🏼

  3. Jane Frye says:


  4. Linda Glover says:

    I vote for #172 !!!

  5. 172 would be my choice. She gave up her family for true love. Money is not everything and they have had hard times but love has endured.

  6. Bette Mathews says:

    Wow! How do you choose?

  7. Beverlee says:

    All are deserving
    The first one touched me more
    I believe it would mean so much for him to do this for her. The Lord bless and keep them.

  8. Sherri Kessler says:

    I vote for #181

  9. Kate Varnell says:

    I truly enjoyed #111 it was a sincere and devoted story. I can’t imagine a better couple.

  10. Dawn says:

    All great stories! My vote goes to entrant #69. Best of luck!

  11. Brnda M. Johnson says:

    I vote for #69…it touched my heart the most.

  12. Andrea says:

    172– the first couple.

  13. Becky McCann says:

    I liked them all, and my vote is for # 111.

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