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“The first year is to learn each others personalities, desires, and dreams. The second year is to love each other for who they are and to help each other fulfill those desires and dreams.” (CB)
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Chris & I often talk about our dreams, desires, and hopes. We also often end up in long waiting seasons to see our dreams come true. This was definitely the case before we found each other (as shared in Finally the Bride). Waiting for dreams to come true has continued after marriage. Thankfully, we can “wait” with each other. But we also can help facilitate each others dreams by our support, encouragement, and making room for the other to work toward achieving that dream. Sometimes that can mean time or money invested into the dream itself. What’s really fun is when our dreams cross each other and we can prepare together. (For example, one of our big dreams is to make a film together, so we’ve been taking a low budget, independent film making crash course together.)
(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.
Finally the Bride is available on Amazon.com. Never the Bride is available at most book retailers.
Now available as a two book set:
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: