When Your iPhone Gets Stolen… At Church


You’ll probably have just purchased a brand new (not real) gold 5S when your life iPhone gets stolen. You’ll also have no idea what time it is when your iPhone gets stolen.

There are no watches that work in our house, no alarm clocks, no clocks on the wall, no way of telling time. Naturally, as my husband attempted to dress himself Monday morning, I asked him more than twice for the time, to which he finally responded, “I am going to get your laptop so you can see for yourself.”

Well, I didn’t want to be late for Crossfit.

On Sunday, downstairs in our church, I helped a new lady in need of services from our Food Pantry. I bought a few books from our bookstore, chatted with some folks and did what pregnant women do: Pee. While I was on the toilet – the only place of peace and quiet in our lives – I decided to send some text messages and check Instagram. Duh.

I placed my iPhone on the toilet paper holder and left the stall to wash my hands. Suddenly, I remembered my phone was not in my back pocket where I always put it after bathroom quiet time and realized I had left it in the stall.

No problem, I’ll wait for the same lady from downstairs, who walked in as soon as I opened the door to my stall. Except I had a sinking feeling in my gut. I’ve misplaced plenty of items in my adult life. When I get that feeling in my gut, things are not going to end well.

My new friend came out and I asked her if I could grab my phone. Hmmm, its not in there. Well, let me check my purse one more time… Nope, not in my purse and I can quote the texts I just sent from that toilet; let me ask her again. No, she had not seen a phone in the stall and she made her exit.

What could I do then? “Open your purse. Now. Or I am going to call my friends at LAPD and my homies other places who will definitely find my brand new iPhone on your person” or perhaps “Give me that phone or I will cut you…” I had no proof, loads of women watching, and an unfortunate situation. Cody helped me make decisions about what to do next, called the phone, sent a “kind” text message “encouraging” her to do the right thing and I drove home, while he drove to Verizon to cancel our service and activate our insurance policy.

Desperate people do desperate things.

On the drive home, I thanked God for a few things:

  • Thank you God that we are in a church family where our stuff’s not safe. I love that we reach old people, young people, rich people, poor people, every race and ethnicity because that means we’re willing to co-exist and live outside our comfort zone. It means we understand in Christ there are no dividing lines – the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Our church looks like heaven and I believe it makes Jesus proud.
  • Thank you God that we are not so desperate that we need to steal to survive.
  • Thank you God that we have a food pantry to feed people in need. We pray they never stop coming to be fed spiritually and to be fed literally.

I also asked God for a few things:

  • Lord, I ask that you will bless her. I am sorry I didn’t take more time with her downstairs.
  • Lord, I ask that you help me forgive her (I am not a saint, okay – this was freaking hard – I didn’t have a phone or a clock that worked until 8pm Tuesday night).
  • Lord, I ask that the next time I see her, should there be a next time, that I can embrace her and love her and that every time she sets foot in our church home, she is embraced, welcomed and loved. I pray this leads her to into deeper relationship with you.

So, when your iPhone gets stolen, at church, you might as well realize that people are just people. And that we’re all broken somehow, just doing the best we can to live our lives every day. We’re all desperate, whether we know it or not.

What about you? Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there a situation you’re in, where your life would be easier, if you chose to extend grace to your offender? Is there a desperate person you’re overlooking today that you can help? Can you find the courage to say thank you, regardless of your circumstances?

Every time I’ve been at the bottom, grace has lifted me up. Who am I to withhold what I received when I didn’t deserve it?

 “She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” Jesus about a broken woman, who very easily could have been me…





Hey there fellow truth-teller, welcome to our community. I'm so glad you're here. I love to help people take their mask off and tell the truth, and I believe the world needs what you have to give. I write books and blogs, live in Harlem, New York, with my hubby, and two rambunctious boys.


  • I can sure sympathize with you. I had a “Christian” baby sitter that cleaned my clock and even stole a beanie baby from my eight year old daughter, when she refused sell it to her. To this day I am still finding things that ‘disappeared’. Each time I must give it over to the Lord, reminding myself that it’s just things, and find trust in Him, But it isn’t easy to trust when trust has been broken. I like the way you handled it. God bless you as you continue to love through Him. May you always know the time 🙂 when you need to, and have time for Him!

  • This is amazing Ashley! I am…one so excited about the example you just set. For me, this is huge. What a way in love to react! Thank you for sharing as I’m sure many of us have experienced stolen items and oh the hurt and anger that can set in. Thank you so much for being authentic and loving.

  • you handled that so well 🙂 just wanted to share a way to perhaps help you not lose your phone again (among other things you need)… now you can actually wear it, no matter your outfit. this simple and comfy system makes life easier. try http://www.portapocket.com

  • Great post! Just finished Mark Batterson’s book, Wild Goose Chase. He encourages us to impact someone’s life by loving them when they least expect and least deserve it. When people blow it, we have an opportunity to impat their lives forever. Not that it is easy, but I am so glad you are real and a real Christ follower!

  • Wow. Man, I appreciate your transparency. I’m learning it’s okay to have a reaction to things, but that my emotions have to eventually line up with the truth of God. This is a perfect example of that. Love people. Even when they’re buttheads.

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