Read an Excerpt
I Kissed a Lot of Frogs
But the Prince Hasn't Come
By Kathleen Hardaway
Moody PressCopyright © 2002 Kathleen Hardaway
All rights reserved.
A Broken Heart
Has your life turned out like you hoped it would? Do you think possibly you have missed it somewhere along the way? Have you asked yourself the question, "Why am I still single?" Do you wonder when or if you will ever get married?
I cannot begin to imagine how many singles have asked themselves these questions. As these thoughts enter your mind concerning your singleness, please know you are not alone. Forty-seven million American women are currently single—that's more than 44 percent of all adult females. What could possibly be happening?
Divorced, widowed, or never married, regardless of the breakdown, the number of single women continues to climb.
How do you deal with the fact that you are part of this startling statistic? What has happened to our world and our society when it appears that a "match made in heaven" does not seem to be happening like it once did? Has God stopped caring, stopped moving?
I love to read the amazing stories about how God brings couples together. There are numerous stories and books on how God's divine hand brings people together. But does it seem like God has forgotten you? Has He?
I will never forget the night I thought I had possibly found my match ...
A Dream Come True?
It was the evening of the National Religious Broadcasters Convention's formal banquet. On this exciting night, couples dressed in their finest tuxedos and gowns and walked hand in hand to the banquet hall. I finished putting on my last touch of makeup and glanced one more time into the mirror.
I had grown accustomed to going without a date or a mate to this kind of night. But this night was different—I had plans to meet someone for coffee before the banquet. I straightened my black dinner dress, made sure everything was in place, and thought maybe ... just maybe ... I would capture this man's heart. It had been a very long time since I was this excited about meeting someone! As I exited the elevator and entered the lobby of the hotel, I saw him. There he stood, looking as handsome as the first day I met him.
Steve was waiting for me in front of the hotel lobby's fountain. As I walked toward him, our eyes met, he smiled, I smiled, and once again my heart melted. We said our hellos and made some small talk. He then said, "Make a wish," and gave me a quarter to throw into the fountain. My wish, of course, was, "God, after thirty-eight years of being single, could he possibly be the one?" I threw the quarter into the fountain and we walked across the street to the coffee shop.
He was the perfect gentleman. He said all the right things. He seemed sincere and honest, but most of all he appeared to love the Lord. We had so much in common— both of us worked in Christian television broadcasting; both of our fathers were pastors. His passion was to serve God in whatever capacity he was called to. He had even been to seminary.
As our conversation continued, I thought, Could Steve be the one God has kept for me all these years? Many first dates are awkward and uncomfortable, and often I am ready to go home almost before an evening has started. In such instances, I am keenly aware that I will never go out with this man again, much less spend the rest of my life with him. Disappointments in my relationships had become the norm, but this evening seemed very different. We talked and laughed, and I felt incredibly comfortable with him. In many ways, I felt like I had known Steve for years.
It didn't take Steve long before he began asking me more personal questions, and this made me somewhat vulnerable from the start. He said he could not believe I had never been married! He asked more questions about my past relationships. I mentioned that I recently had been hurt by a long-distance relationship, and that I had felt taken advantage of emotionally. I went on to say that I was very tired of the game playing, that if a man was interested in me then he should pursue me, and if not, to please leave me alone.
Steve told me that he would always mean what he said, and he certainly would not play games with me. I knew then he was interested in getting to know me further. I hoped he wouldn't see the excitement I was already beginning to feel. It was rare for me to meet a man who seemed so in love with the Lord.
He walked me back to the hotel and then asked, "Can I write you?" He leaned over and gave me a sweet hug and we said our good-byes. For a brief moment it was like a dream.
In a few days, I received a long, handwritten letter from him. He began by telling me he could not stop thinking about our time together and so he had to write. He went on to say how waiting for a wife all these years had been extremely difficult for him. He only wanted God's choice for him, and that was all that really mattered. He wanted God, his wife, and family to be priorities in his life.
Steve had opened up so freely about his feelings—he had jumped from getting acquainted to talking with me in a very personal way. He was so real, so honest about his life and about being single. He, too, had grown tired of waiting. Steve was thirty-six and had never been married. He was different from many other men I had met. When we talked, it was as if he shared his soul with me, like conversations I have with many of my girlfriends. He came in and won my heart, and I was falling hard.
I was completely smitten with Steve's honesty and deep emotions. After waiting all these years to meet God's man for my life, I began entertaining the thought that it might finally be coming true.
Trusting and waiting on God's best, at times, can be a struggle, and our thinking can be skewed. If we are not careful, we fall into the world's thinking, and the pull to do it man's way seems logical. I had decided in my early twenties that I would walk this single life God's way. I have seen too many women who set out to find husbands their way, only to end up in miserable marriages.
I had also determined that I would give up any pursuit of a man and let God bring the relationships to me. I am convinced that God can bring me a mate, any time, anywhere, in some of the most unlikely places. I certainly wasn't expecting to meet Steve in an elevator in Los Angeles!
I remember his first phone call. We talked into the night. The more we talked the harder I was falling. It was like I was a teenager all over again, excited each time the phone rang. What was happening to me?
It was early in our friendship, and I had no idea if Steve would do anything on Valentine's Day. At the start of any relationship, it seems people "play the dance" to see who is going to make the next move. I ran to the mailbox and found Steve had sent me the cutest card. The front of the card had a black-and-white photo of a little boy in a baggy suit and top hat, holding a large bouquet of red roses, smiling from ear to ear.
It was as if I saw Steve standing there holding those flowers. It was a great day! This Valentine's Day was different from many I had spent. This holiday had become painful at times. I knew that, when I went to work, I would see that many women had received flowers from their husbands or boyfriends, and again I would tough it out and act as if it didn't bother me. Deep within our beings we all want to be treated as special and loved; this day was just a reminder that I didn't have that "someone" in my life.
My early years of life had been very different. From grade school through most of my college days, boys and men made me feel very special. I had received chocolates, cards, and a wide variety of flowers, jewelry, and numerous kinds of gifts. All the memories of the past flooded my mind. But on this Valentine's Day, this one little card was more special than any number of flowers or gifts I had ever received. I thought I had finally found the love of my life.
Planning the Visit
A few weeks had passed and Steve began to mention coming to see me. With each new phone conversation, more plans were in motion for his visit. As the days passed, my heart grew more and more full of excitement looking forward to the day I would see Steve again. The date was scheduled and finally it was the week before his visit.
One evening after work, the phone rang. It was Steve, and I was thrilled to hear his voice. He began telling me about his busy week of travel and how tired he was. At that moment I realized that his voice sounded different. The feeling that I had was not a good one. I asked him if he had made his plane reservations for his trip to Chattanooga. He said he had not. I knew then that something was very wrong. I feared the answer to my next question, but asked, "Are you coming?" He sounded extremely different and reserved and said, "No."
After some time of silence, I asked him why not. He said he had prayed about it, and he was just not at peace about coming; he was "not ready to pursue another relationship." It was then that all my staying cool, trying to act like I didn't care, left me ... and I began to cry.
I had always been able to hide my emotions and never show the men I cared, especially if it was too early in a relationship. This time it was different, and he knew I was very upset. He asked, "Are you all right?" but I could not talk. He kept saying he was sorry, asking if I was OK. I was far from OK. It was as though he had taken a knife and driven it straight into my heart. I could not believe what was happening. What did he mean, he was not ready to pursue another relationship? What in the world had he been doing for the last few months?
The hopes of finally having a husband, having children, building my dream home, were once again a wish and not reality. I believe the pain was so great because the thought of turning thirty-nine and being single overwhelmed me. I thought, Why, Lord? Another relationship broken. Our conversation continued, but I knew he was not just talking about the trip. This was good-bye.
After hanging up the phone I went into my living room and fell down on my couch. I could not stop crying. It seemed I cried for hours, and just could not move. All I could think was, WHY? Why was I so stupid to put so much hope in this relationship? None of my past relationships had worked out. Why did I think this one would be any different? The thought of remaining single made me angry. What was wrong with me?
What made me different from so many who just meet their mates and get married? Why? Why? Why? For years I constantly reminded myself to guard my heart. Frequently I thought, Don't get too close, and remember we are only friends. After all, he has never said how he really feels. I would do anything not to get hurt. Break my will, break my pride, but don't ... don't ... break my heart. But it was too late.
It seemed time stood still ... but the tears kept falling. I felt as if my whole body ached. All I could think of was Why? God, I have waited for so long. How much longer? What will I do now?
I battled with little desire of really wanting to go on, but I made my way to bed and cried myself to sleep. It was a very long, miserable night. Who wants to face life or anyone feeling so hurt and in so much pain? Somewhere deep within my soul, I cried out to God and simply said, "Help." God in His supernatural way whispered, "Can you trust Me?"
How do you face life when your dreams are broken?
Proverbs 3:5-8 are verses that I have held onto, believing that He does have the perfect plan for my life. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones." These verses helped greatly during this difficult time in my life.
Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of getting married. Watching Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver was part of my childhood, and I believed that someday I would have this same kind of life. Getting married and having a family was what people did—it was my American dream.
I had no problem getting dates; I just needed to grow up and get married. I would dream of that perfect wedding day, knowing I would be madly in love with my husband and live happily ever after. But these idealistic thoughts that a man would fulfill my dreams faded as I began to realize that no human could really give me true happiness.
Through the years, I have observed many marriages, and I have seen that marriage, at best, can be an enormous challenge! The unbelievable amount of heartbreak that occurs in marriages today is overwhelming. But my desire to get married was still very strong.
Marriage for me would be miserable unless I married a godly man; therefore, I have chosen to date only Christian men. God tells me in His Word that I must not be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV) and, since dating leads to marriage, dating an unbeliever is not an option. Christ is my life. What would I have in common with anunbeliever? I believe, for now, God has another calling for my life, and I must trust Him.
Through the years I had grown extremely tired of all the broken relationships. The men in my life were not always the ones who decided to end a courtship. I cannot count the number of men I have tried with everything in me to love-but hard as I tried, I just couldn't love them. Funny ... trying to love someone is something I would not suggest doing, but there were times I began to think that maybe I was not giving a man a chance. Getting to know the opposite sex in hopes that someday it may turn into a lifetime commitment of marriage can certainly have its challenges.
There are a number of good Christian books about dating, but there are no easy answers to how and when God will bring you a mate. God chooses to work differently in each life. If you trust and obey God, you can walk in confidence that He knows what is best for your life, whether He brings you a husband or not. Remember that all of your relationships should bring honor to Christ.
For some, it has happened almost like clockwork. They prayed, they waited on God, and He brought them their mates. You may be in this waiting period. If you are one who is eagerly waiting to get married, I encourage you to keep praying and trusting God. We must be careful, as many "experts" would give us a list of pat answers on the subject of finding a mate. Certainly there are good guidelines to follow in dating. But what if you have dated according to the best standards and all His precepts and you're still single?
I want to encourage you that if you are not married, this does not mean there is anything wrong with you! For more than twenty years, I have simply gotten to know men in God-honoring ways by going to dinner, to a movie, for walks together—but still have no husband.
The older you are, the longer you remain single, the more likely it is that you have experienced some broken relationships. It seems the hurt of each relationship builds upon the last one. It is not as though dating is a large part of my life, but I am forty-four years old as I write this book, and it has been a long journey. I believe this is why Steve's pursing me so strongly and then breaking it off was so overwhelming. I had become exhausted with the emotional ups and downs that come from broken friendships with men. I wanted to just give up.
I felt hurt, alone, and emotionally overwhelmed. Have you ever felt that way? Broken relationships can seem devastating. I was not looking for anyone when I met Steve. But he showed up out of nowhere, instantly pursuing me. A nice looking, godly man who is working in Christian ministry is not exactly the kind of man I run from! My expectations were high, which made the fall so hard.
God allows suffering in our lives for a reason, so I must trust His Word when He says to "consider it all joy ... when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).
Faith is a word that is used by many, but how real is it? Often faith is not evident in our lives until we have to walk through some very dark and lonely places. After Steve, every ounce of my being wanted to stay angry, continue with my pity parties, and eat everything in sight.
It seems the world says that sex, relationships, and marriage are the only ways to be happy. The majority of commercials, billboards, and movies tell us that romance gives us real happiness. I continued to battle thoughts of never having this romance and a lifetime-committed relationship. Just seeing couples walking hand in hand would sometimes pierce my heart and bring tears.
The days passed, and gradually the biblical truths I had studied over the years began to give me hope again. The underlying theme for my existence came down to my faith. God never said that life would be easy, but He did say, "For I know the plans I have for you ... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). I held on to this truth.
Broken dreams ... we all have them. But Jesus intends for me to have a life of joy despite my circumstances, a life of peace despite the storms, a life that is complete ... though single.
Excerpted from I Kissed a Lot of Frogs by Kathleen Hardaway. Copyright © 2002 Kathleen Hardaway. Excerpted by permission of Moody Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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