As a self-conscious young boy grappling with his identity, Matt Scott began to wonder what it meant to really be a “man.” His personality leaned in different directions than the other men in his family, and, in his insecurity and concern about others’ perceptions, he set about to prove himself by building a life that looked good on the surface but was actually hiding a snarled mess of sin and confusion. Meanwhile, the Lord had awakened sincere faith in Ashley during her freshman year of high school. Ashley’s vision of womanhood was of princess proportions; she dreamed of a perfect Prince Charming who would sweep her off her feet and whisk her into a holy happily-ever-after. When her fairy-tale dreams didn’t materialize, Ashley compromised her ideals for worldly pursuits – and pulled away from God. Read Matt and Ashley’s story to hear how the Lord transformed their hearts, inspiring them with a new vision for godly man and womanhood.
Matt & Ashley Scott
Matt Scott was raised in the church and taught Christian values. He followed the rules, kept up appearances, and played the part of a good Christian boy.
Matt: My understanding of Christianity was that I wasn’t supposed to mess up. I didn’t grow up reading my Bible, even though I heard all the familiar stories in Sunday School. I had a lot of questions, but didn’t know how to get answers. I wanted to look good, but inside I struggled with who I was – even questioning my sexual identity at times. I was a 4.0 student, a respectful kid. But, in my questioning, I also experimented with a lot of negative behaviors. In high school, I partied, used foul language, and got involved with pornography.
Pornography gripped Matt’s heart. Even though he knew the addiction was wrong, he justified his behavior because he didn’t believe that it hurt anyone else. It was a vice he could keep to himself.
In college, Matt continued to live a double life of nominal church-going and academic success juxtaposed against a whirlwind of drunkenness, perversion, and lonely confusion about who he was and what he truly believed – about God and about manhood. Although he graduated with honors from the College of Business at UW, Matt realized he wasn’t passionate about finance. Disillusioned and burnt out, he signed up to teach English in Thailand.
M: I went to Thailand with no return ticket. There, I really saw the darkness and oppressiveness of the Eastern religions. I had accepted Christ as a teen, but without any real shepherding or safeguarding, I was lost in my own doubts about faith. I didn’t have a real relationship with God.
Ashley and Matt had attended high school together here in Cody, but the Lord had different paths for each of them to follow before He providentially brought them together. While Matt was half-heartedly leading a “Christian” life during high school, Ashley experienced genuine spiritual regeneration in 9th grade.
A: I had a sweet childhood with wonderful and protective parents who knew the Lord, but weren’t really training my siblings and me in His ways. I was the middle child, an obedient people-pleaser who feared failure and never wanted to let anyone down. I was an easy and joyful child, but I was also anxious and perfectionistic. I became a Christian at a sleepover with a friend whose dad was a local pastor. It was such a turning point where everything I had been hearing in church with my friend suddenly made sense. But even in that spiritual awakening, I still wanted everything to be “perfect” – the perfect girl with the perfect story.
Ashley had been offered an art scholarship to Northwest College, but, sitting in church one day, the Lord made His calling clear: she was to attend Bible college in British Columbia. Shortly before her departure, Ashley’s aunt (a strong believer) was killed in a motorcycle accident. The tragedy of losing this faithful woman forever altered Ashley’s family.
A: It was the first really hard thing that had happened in my family, but God used it for good, because my whole family ended up coming to Christ through their journeys of grief. I went away to college just after that happened, and then spent a month doing mission work. I came home, and I had all these dreams and plans about doing big things for God and helping everyone in Cody. I was also innocent and naïve in a lot of ways, and I was thrust into a world that I really wasn’t ready for. I had these unrealistic expectations of how my life would unfold. I thought Prince Charming would come in and just woo me, and he would be perfect. I wanted to save my first kiss for the guy I would marry.
I had been trying for so long to prove my manhood by other things, and now I was faced with the realization that the definition of godly manhood was different than what I had thought. I started to really dive into Scripture on my own, and realized that being a man meant living in surrender to God and following His ways.
When the hope of finding a “perfect” future husband proved to be an impossible pipe dream, Ashley’s focus shifted from pleasing the Lord to settling for worldly relationships and standards. Although social anxiety had been a constant struggle for Ashley, she discovered that alcohol lifted her anxiety and turned a shy and quiet girl into the “life of the party.” Drinking and partying swept Ashley into choices she’d never intended to make: breaking the promises she’d made to God about sexual purity. Feeling tainted and unworthy because of her choices, Ashley began to distance herself from God.
When Matt returned from Thailand, the two reconnected and began dating. Somehow, Ashley knew Matt was the man God had for her.
A: We had issues and we didn’t do things the right way, but I knew God was in it.
M: We had a lot of good times together during the first few years of marriage, but also a lot of dysfunction. I was prideful and selfish, and I didn’t consider Ashley’s interests above my own. We were going to church, and were in a life group. But we didn’t experience any real progress or life change. Finally, we just left the church – for three years. We had Lola and then Cal. I was building my construction business and work was my whole life. I provided for Ashley and the kids financially, thinking that was all that was required of me as the man of the house. I was not an emotional or spiritual provider for them at all.
A: Once I had our kids, they became my life. Matt was working so much and hardly there for us, and, finally, during our 7th year of marriage, everything came to a head. I told Matt, “I didn’t sign up for this. Something has to change.”
Matt’s brother Jake, who was involved in the early stages of Outpost, encouraged him to listen to Watermark’s sermons, especially ReEngage. Intrigued by the honesty and depth he heard in the sermons, Matt absorbed lesson after lesson, and his understanding of the Gospel changed dramatically.
M: Those lessons in ReEngage wrecked me. I had been trying for so long to prove my manhood by other things, and now I was faced with the realization that the definition of godly manhood was different than what I had thought. I started to really dive into Scripture on my own, and realized that being a man meant living in surrender to God and following His ways. It meant leading my family spiritually. It meant devoting myself to God and trusting Him for everything. It meant putting God and my family ahead of my job. It meant confessing my sins and letting God remake me from the inside out. God took away my temptation for pornography. He gave me a new joy and delight in my children. And He reshaped our marriage.
A: When our marriage was at rock bottom and we began to rebuild with God as our foundation, that was the first time I really accepted God’s forgiveness for my past mistakes and discovered that I could truly have new life in Him. I used to long for a fairytale life, but I have realized that Jesus is the knight in shining armor who has swept me off my feet and rescued me. His love is so much better than a fairytale.
The Scotts are a couple whose life together has been utterly transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. When a recent construction accident shattered Matt’s foot, it could not shatter his faith.
M: If my business or my health disappear, that’s okay. Everything I have is God’s and He can do with it as He wills. He can send us where He wants and do with our lives whatever brings Him glory.
While the world defines manhood as power, strength, and financial success, Matt has found freedom and joy in embracing a Christ-like vision of servant-hearted manhood. And while Ashley once believed that happiness would be found in a perfect fairytale, she has found a different sort of happily-ever-after as a child of God – and as a woman whose chief aim is to glorify Him. Together, they are joyfully living a new life in Christ.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”