Eric and Leslie Ludy (Part 1 of 3)
“Faithfully, I am yours
From now until forever
Faithfully, I will write
Write you a love song with my life
‘Cause this kind of love’s worth waiting for
No matter how long it takes I am yours” Faithfully lyrics
In most Christian circles, Eric and Leslie Ludy aren’t household names. Those who have heard their story and the message it holds, though, are a living testimony at the incredible impact they’ve had on a generation who’s desperate for real, authentic love. Love that’s pure, righteous, honorable, full of valor, and strength. As of today, countless media platforms have shared their amazing love story including Focus on the Family, Moody Broadcasting, American Family Radio, CCM magazine, and CMN magazine. Eric and Leslie have combined to write eighteen books, including the best-selling, “When God Writes Your Love Story,” that is revered by many as one the top Christian relationship books of this generation. Eric and Leslie are founders and directors of the Ellersie Leadership Training based in Windsor, Colorado. They currently have four children, two sons and two daughters.
The following story is a condensed summary from their autobiography book, “When Dreams Come True”. It’s a true story that is so breathtaking that it’ll probably inspire a feature-length movie one day! For the full story–pick up a copy of this book today! We’ll begin with Eric’s story up to when he meets Leslie and then vice versa. Then we’ll pick up the story from their friendship to their wedding day in three separate parts.
This Profile will be split up in three parts due to the length of material presented. The first part will cover their early years growing up, how they came to know Christ, how they meet, and the early part of their friendship. The second part will provide you with how they came to fall in love with each other and all the details leading up to their wedding day. The final part will take you through their lives up to the current date, include their Illuminating Impact, Lessons from their Legacy, videos, pictures, trivia, and more! Here’s Part 1:
Setting the Stage: Eric Ludy
Eric Ludy was born in Hinsdale, Illinois on December 17, 1970. His parents, Winston and Barbara were strong Christians who were hungry to live out an authentic Christian life. At the age of five, Eric gave his life to Christ, but never completely yielded his life over to Him. Growing up, Eric was more interested in girls and football than the Christian faith. He wanted to fit in with his friends and treated his faith as nothing more than a duty. Simply put, it was fire insurance from Hell. Eric describes his feelings toward his faith this way:
“Christianity was a duty. We (his friends) attended Sunday school and went to youth group not because we wanted to, but because it was a requirement of a Christian teenage who wanted to have a peaceful home life…I learned how to please the culture in which I lived. And amazingly felt no guilt. There was definitely not the slightest concern that anyone could possibly ever think that Jesus Christ was more than just a cuss word in my life.”
Eric’s Turning Point:
Soon Eric began to choose his friends over his family including his older sister, Krissy, and younger brother, Marky. In the Christmas of 1989, at the age of 18, his sister gave him a book titled, “No Compromise–the Life Story of Keith Green.” Eric was highly critical and dismissive of the gift since he didn’t read; but held on to the book as he headed off to college. Before he left, Krissy insisted, “Eric, I think you’re gonna like it.(the book)” In January of 1990, at Whitworth College, Eric began to get the inclination he needed to read this book. Then one day he finally gave in and read the book cover to cover. It was in this moment that everything began to change as he writes:
“Almost like waking up from a dream, my eyes opened and a whole new reality came to life. My heart was pounding and my palms were sweaty as a I felt an intense longing within my heart…something beautiful was taking place inside of me.”
On February 2, 1990, Eric fully dedicated his life to Christ letting go of the life he had once known. After years of prayers from his sister, he finally made the phone call she had been waiting and praying for. He had given his heart over to Christ.
Over the next several month, Eric began to mend the relationships he had severed with his family; including with his brother, Marky. It was a humbling, but redeeming time in his life. His family and especially his brother became close again. But Eric’s love life was still clinging to his old habits. He dated a girl in college for several months. They got to know each other through going to Bible studies and prayer groups together.
Eric’s passions, though, were guiding his relationship with her. After an “overwhelming sense of guilt” he parted ways with her and then decided it was time to change. He was scared of handing over the pen for God to write the love story of his life, but knew He had fully surrender every part of his life over to Him–including his love life. He was finally willing to be single. And in late 1990, he promised God: “The next girl I date, God…will be my wife!”
Eric soon after left college to become a missionary in Sofia, Bulgaria with his brother; dedicating his life to the cause of Christ in early-to-mid 1991. He constantly wrote love letters to his future wife. Little did he know that he would meet her just a few months later….
Setting the Stage: Leslie Ludy
Leslie Runkles was born on December 15, 1975 to Rich and Janet. Her parents both became Christians when she turned two years old. They raised their daughter in a strong Christian home as Leslie accepted Christ as she was very young. At an early age, Leslie dreamed of being a princess and meeting her prince in shinning armor. Of a “happily ever after” romance. But as she began to enter her teenage years, her innocence began to slip away. She was laughed at and mocked for her looks in sixth grade as she moved to a new town in Colorado. She quickly learned how to fit in with the crowd by having the right friends and wearing the right clothes. Leslie goes on to write:
“The enemy of my soul must have noticed what I didn’t see. I was vulnerable, and it was the perfect time to set the first of the poisonous seeds in front of me to see if I would bite.”
Slowly Leslie gave into compromise to fit in, eventually questioning her faith. She began to have tension between her parents and believed they were out of touch with reality. At the age of fourteen, she began dating a fifteen-year-old sophomore who was a “solid, nice” Christian young man. He shared her commitment to abstinence and was a highly popular athlete. Their relationship was full of physical passion, but she didn’t back down from giving him her virginity. A majority of Leslie’s friends were already having sex with their boyfriends and made it well-known to her. Eight months into their relationship, he broke it off with Leslie because they weren’t having sex. Leslie felt dirty and used and “actually felt sorry for him” because she didn’t give away her most prized possession. She was heartbroken and began a cycle of dating guys to feel secure and worthy in her friends eyes. Each one ended with remorse and sorrow. Leslie writes:
“I became a master in the art of flirting and seduction, a master of the haughty attitude, the gossiping, the lying, and the filthy language…And amazingly through it all, there was a God watching me fall, watching me break His heart, and loving me still….”
The Ludy Friendship Story (Part 1)
On December 15, 1991, Eric and Marky headed off to their new church home at Creekside Community Church. Since arriving back home from missionary school in Bulgaria, they had looked high and low for a church home. They found Creekside and it was very close to their parents home. As Eric sat down for a Christmas play, he saw a “princess” whose voice captivated his heart…Leslie Runkles. Meanwhile, it was Leslie’s 16th birthday and her thoughts were more on the birthday dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant her parents had planned. She was excited for a fresh, new start; hoping that this was the year her life was going to turn around. After the play, Eric introduced himself to her and they chatted about the possibility of meeting together for music lessons. It was a friendly conversion with no flirting, no games, just heart-to heart interaction that gave Leslie the impression that Eric was no ordinary guy. Little did they know that a budding friendship between the two of them was about to take place and their love story would begin to be written…..
The two families, the Runkles and Ludys, became well acquainted with one another over the next few months. Leslie began to intrigue Eric with her beautiful voice and songwriting. Eric would describe his early impressions of Leslie this way:
“This little girl was different. She was intellectual but not ostentatious, she was confident but sweetly humble; and she was not sassy but more mysterious and dignified. I found myself fascinated by this young woman.”
But immediately he kept his heart from falling for her. He was twenty-one, she was sixteen. As far as he was concerned she could be no more than a friend. In early February of 1992, as the two families were spending time together, they joined hands in prayer. With their heads bowed, Eric looked up at Leslie and heard a small, quiet voice to his heart say, “Eric, this is her.” Eric dismissed the voice as not God’s, but of the enemy’s. As he was headed home, Leslie’s Mom called for his attention asking if it was okay to talk to him privately. She told him, “I think that God wants you to know that what was spoken to you tonight was from Him.” Eric was a quite taken back from this, but refused to believe it.
Leslie’s Turning Point:
In late February of 1992, Leslie and her brother joined Eric and his brother to go on a road trip to Texas to help out their old missionary school(Ludys). Leslie began to draw a deep appreciation and admiration for Eric and his commitment to Christ. She wanted what he and his brother had–sold out devotion, radial abandonment to Christ. An intense longing overcame her for complete surrender. Over the next few days, Leslie’s heart began to soften and through befriending a young missionary student, Jessie, she began to realize that major change needed to happen in her life. High school was where Leslie’s life was revolved around and she knew what she had to do. Leave high school behind. As she told Eric and Marky that day:
“I’ve tried to fool myself into thinking I could focus on both God and my social life at school. But He wants to be first in my life. And if I’m really going to make Him first, I have to get away from everything that distracts me from Him.”
A few days later, she walked out of her high school, Ridgewood High, and completely surrendered her life over to Christ. As she writes:
“All at once, life was so much bigger than my meaningless little reality here at Ridgewood High. God was so much more than a concept I heard about in the youth room on Sunday nights. He was the Creator of the universe. And He had an amazing plan in store…just for me.”
Little did she know just how amazing God’s plan was in store for her life!!…. To Be Continued!
Eric’s Love Letter Written on August 15, 1991
Excerpted from “When Dreams Come True”, Page 95
I’m sitting in a quaint little room overlooking the enchanting city of Sofia. I wish you were here. The view is spectacular, but more than anything I wish we should share this moment together. I’m realizing that every moment we spent apart adds even greater beauty to the time in the future when we will spend our lives together as one.
I want you to know that I’m waiting for you. I try and pray for you every night. I ask God to protect you, mold you, and prepare you as my wife. I know He’s crafting me into a godly man who fears the Lord and how will be sensitive to His spirit. He’s breaking me now, I’m certain, so that He can build me up strong as a leader and as a true gentleman.
I love you even now. Even before I meet you. Even before I lay eyes on you. And no matter how long it takes, I will be here, faithfully waiting for you to discover that love that is yours already. My heart longs for the day I can read this, and the many other letters I have written, to you.
He is perfectly faithful!
Eric and Leslie Ludy, When Dreams Come True. Multnomah Publishers, Inc., Printed in the United States of America, 2001, 2004, Pages 17-21, 28-29, 34-39, 45-48, 54-56, 58-64, 66-69, 72-75, 76-79, 88-90, 91-94, 103-108, 109-111, 112-116, 118-122, 126-129