Morning Glory

Ps 30:5b (niv) “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Everyone who knows me almost immediately thinks of the color purple. My purple feathered pen. The name of my production company, Purple PenWorks. My insistence on wearing purple practically every day of my life.

Outside my apartment is a rather stunning display of Morning Glory flowers. They’re deep purple and blue, and they look like trumpets, ready to herald good news.

When they are open, that is.

They seem to blossom in the morning and especially when it’s sunny. They can go into hiding by nightfall or on cloudy days. Sometimes, a few of them refuse to come out, even when the rest of the flowers around them are showing off their colors.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wanted to go into hiding? You didn’t want anyone to see your face because they’d be able to read the distress all over it?

There were seasons of my life where I felt like I had nothing to “trumpet,” nothing to shout from the rooftops or celebrate. Every day started the same and ended the same, with me closing up into myself—just like those flowers that hide their beauty.

I knew in God’s Word it said that while weeping may remain for the night, joy would come in the morning. I often wondered which morning and on what calendar God was referring to. I felt more like I was in mourning: mourning the loss of dreams, hopes, time frames, and progress in life. Where I wanted to be by that time in my life. Many mornings came with tears still on the brink. That lump still near my throat. Where was this joy I kept reading about?

This was a long season I call waiting.

It was a season of longing.

A season of trying to cling desperately to hope but finding it short in supply.

When I was in my early twenties, God made me a promise that one day I would get married. I thought that sounded awesome because it had been my desire since I was a young teen. I was happy to hear this was something God had for me.

What God failed to mention was that it would take 16 more years of waiting before His promise would even become a remote possibility, that I would be almost 40 years old when love would finally show up in my life and I could take that long-awaited walk down the aisle. God didn’t warn of the trials, the heartbreaks, the journey to come. While I felt ready to blossom much sooner, God would have me in the shade for over a decade and a half of waiting.

Yet still, God wanted me to hold onto hope.

Often, He reminded me of that precious promise from many years ago. Sometimes, the reminders hurt. When I managed to keep my heart in a place of contentment, any reminder of that missing promise-to-come would kick up that desire like wildfire; contentment would be out the window. I would assume if God were bringing up the topic that the time was imminent. Oh, how many times I would be wrong!

And yet, God still asked for my faith; He still asked for my hope.

It was through the fire of waiting that God refined me, built my trust in Him, prepared me for marriage, taught me to love unconditionally, and showed off His extraordinary sense of impeccable timing.

What God wanted from me was absolute surrender. A surrender of my purple pen. (The pen I would use to write in my journals from a very young age about how I thought my love life should go. I made that purple pen a character in Never the Bride. I used that purple pen to write Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting. And waiting. And waiting.)

God didn’t want me stealing back the pen once I gave it up to Him, during all those times I didn’t like what He was writing.  He was definitely not taking any of my suggestions—for timelines, for specific guys I prayed about, for the changes I ached for.

Instead, God surprised me by writing something completely different. Almost seventeen years after God first promised me that one day I’d get married, He reintroduced me to a friend from long ago, Chris Price. I’d met Chris just barely a year or so after God first made me that promise of marriage. We lost touch after a few years of being causal friends, then reconnected over a decade later in 2010.

Chris knew right away there was something to this connection. (Though wise man that he is, he kept that tidbit to himself and waited for God to talk to me about the future of us.)

With Chris, instead of me trying to convince God like many times past to “give this guy to me,” God was trying to convince me to say “yes” to this man. So, what did I do?

I said no.

For six months, I said no.

I had my ideas about what I wanted, and this idea of God’s didn’t fit my plan. But God wanted me on His plan. Slowly, He worked on my heart. He revealed to me what His best was.

Once I was willing to walk through the door and give Chris a chance, everything moved rather swiftly. Once I started cooperating with God’s plan and stopped fighting it, I stepped into the best, most loving relationship I’ve ever experienced. (Well, outside of my Heavenly Father, that is.) For the first time in my life, I fell in love with someone who actually loved me in return. Completely and unconditionally. That had never happened to me before, in almost forty years of life.

I could have continued to say no.

I could have missed out on God’s best.

What’s funny, in hindsight, I see so clearly why God chose this amazing man for me. In the beginning, I may not have been able to see it. But now, having just hit my one-year wedding anniversary, I see the extraordinary gem I could have missed out on, had I continued to say “no” to God’s perfect plan.

Do you ever get impatient in the waiting seasons? Do you get distressed? I had no idea, during the wait, why God had me “on hold” for so long (also known as “the holy pause” button). But as sappy as it may sound, my husband was worth the wait. He was worth the pain and anguish those years of waiting brought into my life. When I think back on the people I wished God would have given me, I have no doubt now why God said no to me every time.

When God says, “It’s not time yet,” trust that He knows what He’s talking about. He knows what He’s saving you from.

Whenever I get impatient for God to move in other areas of life, I try to remember how He had my best interests in mind with the timing of my marriage. He can still be trusted with the timing of the rest of my life.

If you are in a waiting season—no matter what you are waiting for—try not to give up hope. Hope can only make your heart sick when it’s a hope we have given up on. Trust, that if what you are waiting for isn’t here, it’s either not for your best or it’s not the right time. I can attest that though weeping may remain for a night (or even many nights), joy will come in the morning.

In the meantime, do not hide or shrink away, like those flowers that refuse to show off their colors. The world needs your beauty, that unique contribution that only you can make.

Even while waiting, you can still shine.

Blog photography by:

Christopher Price Pix

Blog originally written for and published on:

Southern Belle View

***

To purchase Finally the Bride on Amazon, click the Paperback or Kindle link below:

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Paperback):

*****

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Kindle) :


Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

FTB FF Cover FINAL

The fictional version, Never the Bride, is available in paperback, ebook, and audio book at various book retailers:

Never the Bride at Randomhouse
Never the Bride at Barnes & Noble
Never the Bride at Books-A-Million
Never the Bride at Amazon
Never the Bride at Christian Book.com

Never the Bride

Finally the Bride Front Cover Photo by Lisa Crates of Lisa Crates Photography (lisacrates.us)

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How to Plan a Day Trip

San Diego ToPrint-6196

(Coronado Island, San Diego, CA, Dec. 2012)

One of our favorite ways to bond and enjoy some fun is taking day trips together, or an overnight weekend getaway. We prefer to go places that we can get to within a couple of hours by car, if possible, unless we have more than two days. Therefore, a lot of our travel blogs will include areas around or outside of the Los Angeles area, that we can get to without spending an entire day in the car.

Early on in our marriage, we talked about how we’d like to celebrate certain holidays or special occasions. Since both of our birthdays are in December—and we could still give Christmas gifts to each other—we decided to make it a yearly tradition to take a weekend getaway to celebrate our birthdays instead of exchanging gifts.  We also like to do the same for our anniversary in May. Those occasions call for overnight stays, normally two nights / three days. And it’s a fun thing to do two times a year, when we can swing it.

There are also times when we just want a day out of town, even if it’s not an overnight. Our goal is to take one day every other month and go on a day trip somewhere.

Our love of traveling together started when we made the long trek out from North Carolina to California, moving Chris from NC to Los Angeles after the wedding. I didn’t know that I would enjoy trip planning so much, but since that time it’s become a hobby. The funny thing is, from the moment we knew we’d do that cross-country road trip, Chris was excited about it.

I was not. I thought all that time in the car sounded boring. I was never a fan of being in the car as a kid (but my idea of a road trip was taking a whole day to drive from NC to MA and that’s a long time in the car for a kid. It wasn’t about stopping along the way to enjoy various touristy areas. It was about getting there.) That’s kind of how I pictured our cross-country road trip.

I saw Chris’s enthusiasm and wanted to find some for myself. We decided we wouldn’t be in a hurry to get to California, and instead try to enjoy the sites along the way. So I decided to start investigating the locations and map out a route. I found places to stay along the way and needed to plan reasonable mileage intervals for each day. We decided to make the trip like a second honeymoon. Planning it was a blast, and it was the beginning of a new hobby for me. We did that trip in eleven days, ten nights, driving no more than about 400 miles per day, so we’d have energy to enjoy the places where we stopped. (We will do a separate blog about that trip, for anyone thinking about taking that sort of trip.)

Chris & Cheryl Arkansas-2393

(Bed & Breakfast in Little Rock, AR, Day 4 of 11 on cross-country road trip, July 2011)

For those of you out there who “don’t get out much” (like I never did), I wanted to share some suggestions on how to plan a day trip or a weekend getaway, and how to make the most of your time, especially since, by nature, time is very limited when you only have one to three days to play with.

Take a look at a map of the areas surrounding where you live that you could get to within a couple of hours. Make a list of all of the places you may like to visit. Then start working on an itinerary for the trip.

How to plan a day trip:

  1. When you choose a destination, take a look at any of the cities or towns on the way to determine if there are any stops worth checking out.
  1. If there is more than one way to get to the place, determine if you should go two different routes, one on the way and one as you return so you can see different sites each way instead of retracing the same steps. Choose the prettiest route when it’s light out if it will be dark on the way home, unless there’s a stop you really want to take on the way there of the other route.
  1. Once you choose the destination, use a travel site that has a list of the best things to do with traveler reviews and ratings. Use them to decide which ones you would like to try that would be fun for both of you, or trade off and pick an activity one would love then one the other person would love. (When I plan our trips, sometimes I love to plan a surprise stop that I know my husband would enjoy, but I keep it a secret from him.) Trip Advisor has become one of my new best friends! It’s my favorite site for getting travel ideas.  It has a great system divided out by the best hotels (for weekend trips), restaurants, and things to do in a particular area. The reviews are very useful because people who contribute to that site give you tips that may not be obvious if you visit the official websites for the attractions. A site like Trip Advisor will rate the best things to do by most popular / highest rated. Most people will let you know costs, parking information, anything helpful like how to find a location if there’s something about it that makes it challenging. Knowing all of this information in advance has helped us tremendously to have a really smooth trip. When you only have one day or one weekend, you don’t want to waste time looking for things. They also can give you great information about the best times of year to go and why. (For example, certain flowers or animals / mammals may only be around during certain times of the year, so if that’s important to you, you can plan your trip to that destination accordingly. We have looked into trips based on butterflies season, or when elephant seals and whales are visible, or poppies and lavender are in bloom.)
  1. Make a list of all the potential things you’d like to do, then find the official website for each activity so you can get current information on cost, parking, and hours of operation. This will help you plan your trip. If it’s based on something beach related, closer to your trip you may want to check for the times of low and high tides, if an activity like tide pooling is on the agenda (where low tide is important).
  1. Create a schedule of what you will do and in what order. Naturally you can leave room for flexibility. Have enough planned but don’t be afraid to drop something off your list if you are enjoying a location so much you want more time there. You can always pick up what you missed on a separate trip. (And believe me! We have lists of things we didn’t get to.)  Just don’t make being in a hurry a detriment to enjoying where you are.
  1. Next, print off maps and address information for every place you want to go. (Don’t assume you’ll have cell phone reception in every area or even GPS signal.) To save us time, I would program all the main addresses into our GPS before we left town, so I wouldn’t have to mess with it once we were on the road. This way, when it was time to go to the next place, I just hit the address already found.
  1. Try to mix your activities up between outdoors and museums and give yourself a nice variety of things to do.
  1. Do a search for coupons if you plan to visit any museums. We often found buy-one-get-one-free or a few dollars off just by searching for the attraction or museum name and the word coupon on the Internet. Print those off. Every little bit counts!
  1. While you can’t always plan where you’ll be when you’ll want food, definitely research a couple restaurant options in each place you may be around mealtimes. A restaurant that sounds good maybe not be well reviewed. People may also review a place that is good for local flavor if you’re looking for something unique. You can also look into pricing so you can choose places within your budget for the trip. Also feel free to bring a cooler of drinks and a picnic lunch if you know you’ll end up in a place that would be good to have a picnic, early in your trip.  Sometimes, to save money, we’d bring lunch but eat out for dinner.
  1. Take photos! Track your trip in pictures or videos. I love to scrapbook our travel adventures. We also try to find fun places to take photos that aren’t your typical pose and smile type photo.

Chris & Cheryl Arizona-3426

(See what I mean? Wacky photos. 🙂

This was in Williams, AZ, about one hour below the Grand Canyon, on Route 66.)

In the future, I will be blogging about particular trips we’ve taken and some suggested itineraries for that place.

The focus of this site, Finally One, is also about bonding and finding ways to create intimacy in marriage, which sometimes comes just from getting out and having fun together. “Finally One” is a phrase that came to us, not only because of our books that start with the word “Finally” or out of the concept of being “one” in marriage, but being of one accord, in agreement, on the same page, or in peaceful harmony.

Every trip we’ve taken together we feel has been an investment in our marriage.  It’s not “money wasted”. Sometimes we’ll forgo eating out for the month to put our whole entertainment budget into one day trip. It’s worth it to us because of how meaningful these days have been.

I strongly encourage married people to take some time away together like this, because it gives you some focused, concentrated time to spend together, to talk, to enjoy each other’s company, and get away from regular distractions and technology.

In Jan. 2012, I had gotten pretty sick, and it lasted for almost two months. So Chris and I had very little we could go out and do for an extended period of time. When I started feeling better, I was aching for a day trip. We chose Newport Beach. Not for an overnight, just for a day. I can’t tell you how healing that day felt. To be outside, to breathe, and to get some focused time away with my husband where we just got to play and have fun together. It was so good for my soul and for the two of us.

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(Newport Beach, Balboa Island, on top of the ferris wheel, Feb. 2012)

I think too often, married couples forget to have fun together. So I am suggesting, if you haven’t tried incorporating this type of activity into your marriage, give it a shot.  It’s so fun to experience new places together.

If you aren’t married yet, find a friend who would enjoy travelling with you. When I was single, I stayed home far too often. I never ventured out much to enjoy the places around me. I had no idea how much California had to offer in fun places to see until Chris came into the picture.  But there is absolutely no reason to wait for that! It’s safest to travel at least in pairs. So find a friend who wants to enjoy an adventure!

I got to take one such trip with one of my best friends, Caroline, before I got married. We road tripped from Niagara Falls, to Ontario, to Montreal, the east side of Canada, across New England (New Hampshire, Vermont) back through New York and home again. It was the trip of a lifetime, for me. I remember being so surprised by how awesome everything looked, how colorful, how unlike where I lived day to day. I was so fascinated by things, like leaves. (It was October. Having been in Los Angeles for the ten years prior, I hadn’t seen a real autumn in so long.) That trip made me realize I had stayed home too much in the so-called “comforts” of home and forgot there was life out there. I am thankful to my friend for encouraging me to go on that adventure.

Sample Canada Trip Photos (Oct. 2010): 

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I hope everyone is encouraged to get out there, experience life, and enjoy the trips along the way, whether you are single or married!

Stay tuned for future blogs about specific places you can travel.

One move can change your whole life

Have you ever done something that had a huge impact on your life? Sometimes, one move made without thinking can have disastrous consequences. Making a wrong turn. Giving into a certain weakness or addiction. Choosing not to walk through a door. Walking through the wrong door. Sometimes, I wish we had that ability from the movie, Sliding Doors, to test out how two different versions of our lives would turn out based on our actions. Naturally, life doesn’t work that way, and we have to take it as it comes. We can try to make the right decisions along the way.

The good news is, some moves we make can be good. Sometimes, what seems like a simple move can have a ripple effect upon your life that can change everything for good.

For me, one of those moves, was sending the following Facebook friend request to an “old friend”, almost three years ago now:

Final FB request pic

I can promise you: the day I sent that email, I had no idea this man would turn out to be my long-awaited husband a little over one year later. No idea what–so–ever. (And I do mean LONG awaited.)

God had a plan. I had no idea at the time my actions were God led. It took a while for me to figure that out. (Six months of stubbornness, actually, but who’s counting?) There are any number of actions I could have taken that could have stopped this blessing from coming into my life. In fact, I almost missed it completely (through such actions as rejecting what was before me, putting my original desires for a different situation above what God was offering to me.)

I’m thankful God was able to get through my stubbornness and original preferences and show me why what He was offering to me was so much better for me. Plus, God wanted a lot for me and my future. But for those things to happen, I needed to cooperate. I do not believe that God controls our actions; we are capable of making mistakes that can derail “the best” for our lives.

Are you facing a decision today that could affect your life, for good or bad? Have you prayed about it to see if God will give you a sense or a leading one way or the other? I believe God still speaks and is willing to guide us today when we ask. Are you ready to ask, and then obey what He asks of you?

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If you’re interested in our full story, check out my book Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting, a book I wrote mostly  while I was still single and waiting (waiting, too long, in my opinion.) It’s a story of God’s faithfulness in the midst of mistakes, delays, choices, frustrations, anger, and ultimately true friendship with Him.

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Paperback):

*****

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Kindle) :

Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

FTB FF Cover FINAL

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From our “engagement photo shoot” by the ultra-talented, Lisa Crates, photographer (lisacrates.us).

This was taken about one hour before the actual proposal.

Finally One

We’re excited to launch our new website, Finally One. It’s been on our hearts for a while to have a ministry to help other people, whether single or married. We both had a very long journey to find love and marriage. You can read a bit more about our story in the tab called “Our Finally: A God-Written Love Story”.

We’re not so removed from singlehood to forget how challenging it can be to wait to find love. This site is being set up so we can keep people up to date about our books, speaking opportunities, and blog about everything from love, singlehood, marriage, and travel. Yes, travel. Under the “Finally Fun” tab we talk about our plans to share fun day trip ideas, itineraries, and other bond-building activities the build healthy and strong relationships.

This site, hopefully, will grow as we have time to write new content. We’re excited about our non-fiction book ministry, as well, that allows us to reach many people we don’t know. Currently, we have books out that deal with singleness (Finally the Bride) and panic, anxiety, and fear (Finally Fearless & the accompanying Workbook). We are also going to be penning a marriage book, Finally One. (Are you sensing a theme?)

Thanks for visiting our blog,

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Father Knows Best, Right?

(This article originally written by Cheryl McKay in Sept 2009, revised June 2010, before her “wait to find true love” had come to an end. It was written after the release of the novel version of Never the Bride and some parts are excerpted from her book, Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting. It was originally published by In Touch Magazine, Feb. 2011.)

Learning to Let God Write Your Love Life Story

By Cheryl McKay

Lord, there must be a reason that You want me alone. You must be shaping me for something. I’ll be honest; I’m sick of it. But as I always say, You know best. I know it will be special when You finally bless me with marriage and a family. My future is in Your hands. I don’t know where it’s headed, but I’d like for You to use me for Your sake and glory.
Cheryl’s journal (June 1994)

When I wrote that journal entry, I had no idea that over 15 years later I’d still be waiting. I had no clue I’d still be taking up the challenge to say, “Lord, You know best.”

Now, if I had been the one writing my “love story,” I would have been married in my early 20s and had at least two children by now. But obviously, that wasn’t God’s plan for my life this far.

For those of you who, like me, still aren’t married but want to be one day, consider asking yourself a few questions. What would you do if God showed up in person and asked to take control of your “love story”? What if He asked you to surrender your pen to Him? You know the pen (mine is purple!)—the one you use to write your version of how you think your story should unfold. Would you need to know exactly what He had in mind before you handed it over to Him?

And if so, what would you do if His answer was “no,” “not now,” or “you’ve got 15-plus more years to wait, kiddo”? Would you still believe that He knows what’s best for your life?

The real question is, Can He be trusted with this part of your life?

Dear God, Please bless what I want—right now.

While I don’t know if every individual out there who desires to be married eventually will be, all of us can take encouragement from this: At the end of the day, God is worthy of our trust. I know now that I’d rather be single than in the wrong relationship because I simply got too tired of waiting on the Lord. Often, when we decide we’re sick of waiting for Him to show us what He wants, we jump into the best-looking (and often completely wrong) situation in front of us—and then ask Him to bless it.

It can become so easy to convince ourselves that God orchestrated a certain relationship for us when it couldn’t be further from what He really has in mind. It may feel great for a while. But eventually, we can pay serious, lifelong consequences. (I have more than one friend who married an unbeliever and now knows by experience why Scripture urges us not to do this.) Have you tried to “help God along” to speed up the process? He needs our help about as much as He needed Abraham and Sarah to hurry the whole “promised heir” story along. (We all know how well that worked out!) Though I have to say, I do understand why Sarah laughed after the Lord told them she was finally going to get pregnant and have a son within a year. Oh, sure, God. Now that I’m 90, You’re going to bless me with the thing I’ve wanted forever?

One thing we can glean from this story is that God really did deliver. They might have waited many years to see the fulfillment, but He gave them their promised son, Isaac. I don’t want to believe the lie that God can’t be trusted simply because, thus far, marriage hasn’t been part of my life.

Dear God, What are You trying to give me— right now?

So what’s our role in this story? And how can we discern what actions the Lord is directing us to take? If we believe that He’s active and involved in our lives and loves to communicate with us, we can’t not ask Him for direction about His will in this area. When we put our whole heart into building a close, honest, and communicative relationship with Him, we’ll see how He’s teaching us right now the way we’re to love—and recognize the love He’s offering us on a constant basis so that we can receive it. Right now we also have the opportunity to learn that God is enough for whatever voids exist with or without a spouse—no matter how big or small. When it comes to meeting all our needs, He surpasses anyone we could find, and that wouldn’t change even if we were married.

But for those practical, tangible things we need human hands and feet to help with, He can provide the right community to fill in those gaps, if we’re willing to be a part of one. Recently, I had to have foot surgery, which I knew would make me dependent on others—try not being able to drive for two months when you live alone! I was fearful about going through it as a single person; my family lives 3,000 miles away, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get enough help. I even said to a friend, “Remind me next time I have surgery to be married.” My mindset was that having someone obligated (by vow, at least) to take care of me would make the process less difficult than having to go through it “alone.” But a very different reality unfolded during my recovery.

The first week or so, I couldn’t cook for myself, get drinks or ice packs, do laundry, wash my hair—pretty much anything. I needed rides to the hospital, people to grocery shop for me. Plus, I really did need company and prayer. But I have to admit that God came through, providing through friends (married and single alike) in wonderful ways. It didn’t matter that I had no husband to support me through that time. When I was honest about my needs, I saw an outpouring of love from so many people who really did want to help.

There was one afternoon that the friend who’d planned to help me had to cancel. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to feed myself. Feeling helpless, I used crutches to hobble to the fridge to see if there was anything I could reach without falling over—but couldn’t stay up. Frustrated, I prayed, “Lord, help me!” Right at that moment, someone knocked at the door. It was a neighbor I’d told about my situation, and she was holding a warm, home-cooked meal—enough for lunch and dinner.

I realized that even in those situations that seem to particularly underscore our singleness, the Lord is there, offering us all the grace we need—if we’ll simply receive it. (My recuperation also reminded me to keep my eyes open to the needs of other single people in need of extra help. Remember: just saying you’ll pray for someone going through a trial isn’t enough!)

It’s true that waiting is never easy, especially since God’s ultimate plans are unknown and can never be second-guessed. And surrendering control is a daily choice, not a one-time thing. But waiting with Him is so, so much better than being outside of His will. It may not feel that way when the temptation to write our own story is so alluring. But I’ve learned that merely seeking His quick stamp of approval on what we want, when we want it, never pays off—even if it temporarily satisfies. But no matter what God chooses to do with my life in any area I yield to Him, I’ve come to experience this: regardless of how it initially feels, my perfect Father really does know best.

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Finally the Bride is available on Amazon.com. Never the Bride is available at most book retailers.

Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

FTB FF Cover FINAL

Paging All Singles: There is Nothing Wrong with You

June 29, 2009

(This article originally written by Cheryl McKay and published by Crosswalk.com, before her “wait to find true love” had come to an end. It was written during the release the novel version of Never the Bride and some parts are excerpted from her book, Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting.)

The first time I witnessed a kissing couple at a wedding, I scrunched up my nose and vowed, “Ew, I’m never getting married.”

I was five.

The first time I caught the bouquet at a wedding, I didn’t get why the ladies around me were so annoyed by a girl getting flowers (or why their dates were so relieved).

I was eight.

The first time I doodled “Cheryl loves ?” in my notebook, I was twelve.

Many romantic sunsets later, I still doodle the same question. I’ve come to terms with the fact that if you catch a bouquet at a wedding, it’s not likely you will be the next bride. Also, I’ve prayed that my five-year old declaration, “I’m never getting married,” is not prophetic.

Instead of getting married, I write love stories for books and movies. Instead of walking down the aisle of a church in a white dress, I walk down the aisle of books at the store (in jeans), choosing a romance novel through which to live vicariously.

But at least I found out the real reason I’m in my mid-thirties and still single. (I’ve been given this privileged gem of information because the world likes to offer its unsolicited diagnosis.) Did you hear I’m still single because God hasn’t finished preparing me yet? Yes, in all these years, I haven’t managed to become mature enough for marriage. Apparently, there’s something wrong with me that God needs to fix. So it seems.

If you are anything like me, your self-esteem has been battered by the question, “Why aren’t you married yet?” It hurts—whether you ask or someone else does. It’s hard to remain in this “not chosen” state and not have our self-worth take hits. We have to fight the belief that we are somehow defective because we’re not married yet. In truth, our marital status is not an indicator of our worth or lovability, even though it feels like it is. Have you been where I am? I’m here to tell you:

There is nothing wrong with you!

Again, I repeat:

There is nothing wrong with you!

Keep reading that phrase until you believe me. Sometimes, I need to hear it too. We all face similar insecurities when we’ve been single much longer than we ever wanted to be. We’re often unsatisfied with our weight, our hair color, our thighs, our wrinkles, our body fat percentage. We blame superficial attributes for why—on that new apartment application or that high school reunion survey—we still have to check the box that says “single.”

If you think your marital status has anything to do with your worth as a woman, you don’t see yourself the way God the Father sees you. Let God heal you of this, or you will always feel “less than”—less than the beautiful girl at work who seems to turn the head of the guy you like, less than supermodels who’ve been airbrushed to perfection on magazine covers.

I encourage you to learn who you are in Christ. Study Psalm 139, beautiful chapter about how God formed us exactly right. Have you ever stopped to think about how your destiny is tied to who you were crafted to be—by the God of the universe Himself?

Quite honestly, if guys reject us for superficial reasons, why would we want to spend the rest of our lives with them? Instead, let’s trust God to bring us real men who are submitted enough to ask, “God, who is my wife? Who should I invite to share my life with me?” Don’t we want men who will obey God when it comes to this all-important question, men who will listen to God’s voice, men who will care about the attributes God desires for them?

Just think: There is a man out there who needs you to step into the door of his life with confidence and be who you are. (He’s waiting for you too!)

I encourage you to actively choose to trust God with this area of your life. Trust Him with the pen to write your love story. He’s the only Writer who can be trusted to scribe the right character traits, jot down the perfect introduction, the best story twists and turns to bring the two of you together. God is also the only Director who can cast the right man for the role.

Trust that if you are still waiting, it most likely means it’s simply not time yet. Meanwhile, as you wait, ask God to show you who you are in Him.

Never the Bride is available at most book retailers & Finally the Bride is available on Amazon

Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

FTB FF Cover FINAL