Amber Gallagher always considered herself to be a hopeful romantic.
“I’ve always loved a good love story, imagining my prince would one day come,” she said. “I got caught up in that story, finding myself longing for something extraordinary.”
It took a long time and some difficult journeys but Gallagher’s Prince Charming finally did arrive. What she found and what she writes about in her new book, “Searching for Happily Ever-After: A Companion for the Lady Who Waits,” are the virtues of being patient and showing character, integrity and purity along the way of life.
Gallagher will be in town this weekend promoting and signing copies of her book on Saturday at Shield of Faith, 109 Sixth St., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. She will also be speaking on Sunday at two area churches — Rose Hill Baptist on Sunday morning at 11 and Cannonsburg Baptist on Sunday night at 6.
Gallagher, who is 35, recalls when she was in her early 20s of a life-changing moment. Her pastor’s wife had died from a heart attack and it was devastating because she looked at them as the inspiration of a perfect couple.
“I was invested in the story,” she said. “I remember being at a youth camp. It was really difficult. I just thought ‘Why did someone have to go?’ Their love story was so inspiring.”
It was the kind of love story of which Gallagher had been searching but then she had a God moment. “It was like He told me, ‘Amber, I want to have that love story with you.’ It blew my mind. The Lord got a hold of me and taught me some things. Be part of your love story before Prince Charming ever comes. Fall in love with the first love, develop a love affair with Christ. Live all your God-given dreams.”
So Gallagher did just that. She began writing and traveling, going to 11 different countries.
“Be a part of your love story before your prince ever comes,” she said.
Gallagher wrote letters and said prayers for her “future husband,” whoever that was going to be. She journaled those prayers and found later they were “word for word what he (her future husband) was going through, which is wild, because I didn’t even know him.”
Gallagher’s Prince Charming (Brian Gallagher) came into her life and they were married three years ago. When she showed him the journals, it was eye-opening to the couple. She even wrote about praying for his mother, who died in 2007 from breast cancer, before she knew him.
“I happened to work with a lady who went to church with his mom,” she said. “One of the most difficult times of my husband’s life and I got to pray for him and pray for what would have been my future mother-in-law.”
Gallagher’s book tells her story and the choices that she made and temptations she faced.
“It is totally a God thing,” she said. “You don’t have to settle if you want something extraordinary. There are decisions you have to make along the way. At 11 years old I decided I was not going to do the party scene and I was going to save myself until I got married. I was 32 and a virgin on my wedding day. It was totally by the grace of God.”
Gallagher has worked the past 12 years at a teen pregnancy center and speaks often to students at schools in the Middleton, Ohio, area where she lives about making the right choices.
“It’s tough when the world completely urges you to give in and settle,” she said. “Our culture urges young ladies to give themselves away.”
However, Gallagher said that shouldn’t be. She deals daily with young ladies who are full of regret and brokenhearted over poor decisions they made resulting in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
“God is in the business of doing something extraordinary,” she said. “Our heart is that this inspires anybody who is waiting for something.”
Gallagher has many ties to the area. Her father, Jim Williams, worked with youth at Rose Hill for several years and she attended Rose Hill Christian School and Russell Middle School while living here. Her grandmother, Loretta Litzenberger, also lives here. Her father graduated from Russell High and her mother, Nancy Hill Williams, graduated from Ashland Blazer High School.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.