The Christian Broadcasting Network
SINGLES

Twice Jilted

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

CBN.comDALLAS, TEXAS (ANS) -- Before her experience with the man who jilted her twice at the altar when she was 43, author, speaker, and radio personality Toni Trueblood had a "strategy" for finding a mate: "Dating anyone I liked, and kind of inappropriately 'salivating' myself into a relationship. Terrible," she says.

What happened in her relationship to her fiancé that led to her going to the altar twice and then being jilted by the same man more than once?

"I call it desperation -- pure and simple. I was desperately in love with him, desperate to marry him, and desperate not to be alone anymore at age 43,'' Trueblood told ASSIST News Service (ANS).

In her book "Hey God! Looking for Love Here!" Trueblood says that she "stopped a huge blessing from God by not doing things His way."

"The Bible is very clear about how to handle hundreds of situations in this life (hence chapter 4!). There’s lots of advice on love -- God’s definition of love vs. society’s definition, and the proper way to have a love relationship --for example, no sex before marriage.

"Sex is a gift from God for married people. For many years I messed things up by thinking it was OK because society doesn’t bat an eye, basically, at sex outside of marriage. I hindered myself from a Godly relationship because I didn’t know that…because I really hadn’t read the Bible very much. We can’t stand on God’s promises if we don’t know what they are."

In chapter five of her book, Trueblood describes how even though her dog Luigi was blind, he "saw" better than she did that that her fiancé was not the right man for her.

"I learned that God whispers to us and shows us signs that point to 'His way.' I ignored the signs -- justified each and everything that wasn’t right about the man. I ignored God’s whispers, which forced Him to have to drop a condo complex on my head to get my attention!

"In His loving sovereignty, I believe He helped me dodge a bullet by changing the fiancé's heart into an iceberg against me. He used flimsy, even ridiculous excuses for calling off our wedding -- twice. He was not the right man for me because he didn’t show any of Galatians 5: 22. No fruits of the spirit. Not genuinely, anyway. God will never choose a mate for you who doesn’t reflect His ways. God doesn’t reward disobedience. Like most parents, He rewards obedience, which is doing things His way, for His reasons, which we don’t always understand. My precious little Luigi never liked him -- Luigi had a keen sense that things weren’t right with this guy. He barked and barked at him, growled too…which Luigi never did to ANYONE before."

How did Trueblood meet Ed Asner, who has been a friend and mentor for her in many ways in recent years?

"Oh! I could go on and on…I guess you could call me the REAL Mary Richards. Ha! Our relationship is very much like the TV characters in 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.' He is a gruff but lovable and tender mentor and friend to me. It all started by some friends at one of the radio stations I worked at. They asked me what I’d like for my birthday one year…and I said it would be to meet my human idol -- Ed Asner. I followed him and his career for years and really admired and respected him. They arranged a live call to me on the air -- from Ed…wishing me a happy birthday. He invited me out to L.A. to see the taping of his then-TV show 'Thunder Alley' and our relationship was born.

Trueblood just saw him in July of 2002. "We had lunch and hung out. I know some things he’s gone through that I never reported because he asked me not to. (He knows he can trust me.) Our friendship helps me personally because Ed is a good example of how to be grounded in God while being a celebrity…who cares about people. Yes, he is Jewish, and we don’t agree on much politically, but I think our relationship shows what God’s love is truly supposed to be. It includes tolerance of other viewpoints. Another big way our relationship helped me is he endorsed my book. Ed hasn’t put his name on anything else!"

Trueblood says that the painful experiences in her past have shaped her into the person she is today.

"I believe now more than ever, that ministry is best coming from someone with experience about the things they minister about. There’s no way you can help anyone by spouting head knowledge like you can by offering heart knowledge. Today I am a much different and better minister of my message, especially to women."

Does she think she would have reached this place of contentment in her life had she not undergone those experiences?

"No. I think after 43 years at the time of my 'tragedy,' God decided it was time to wake me up and get serious about my God-based career, and that was the only way to do it. He had a plan for me to speak and teach all over the country and also anchor on the No.1 contemporary Christian radio station in America. He also had a plan for me to marry a REAL Galatians 5:22 man! I thank Him all the time for what I went through, but never want that kind of pain again. As you know from the book, I almost didn’t live through it."

How would Trueblood encourage today’s singles to be content with their lives when one of the strongest messages churches promote is the foundation of the family?

"I used to cry over that all the time. I wanted to be a family -- but I forgot that I already was part of a family…the family of God. Sure, we’re made for companionship and a mate, (Most of us, but not all! That’s another issue) but while we’re waiting on God’s timing, I encourage singles to do what I did: immerse yourself in God’s service at your church, and change the way you look at the world. Instead of seeing yourself as a miserable single person, hang onto Paul’s words in Philippians 4:12: 'I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…' That secret is relying on Jesus. I mean really incorporate Him into your life. And trust that His timing is perfect."

What would she say to those who believe their self worth is based on being married?

"First -- I understand. I was that way too. And we can thank society for it. Second, as Christians, our worthiness is in Christ, not society. If you accept Jesus as your savior, then you ARE worthy, my friends.

Following her experience of heartbreak, Trueblood now encourages singles to ‘live in the moment’ and learn from life’s experiences instead of trying to obtain the future that they desire.

"I suggest they remember that God’s love is the purest of all…and they already have it. It may be something they heard before…but…I learned how important it is to live for today because we don’t have tomorrow yet. It’s that 'be content in all circumstances' thing -- Paul said it. Pick one thing about your life each day that you can look forward to -- it helps you through. Your future is already set by God, (Jer 29:11) so -- (here's where I use) my Problem Pyramid again: face it, give it to God, rely on His promises.

There are 3 parts to Trueblood's "Problem Pyramid."

Face it -- "God wants us to suit up & get our uniforms dirty -- get in the game. Face our situations. Jesus didn’t come here to play it safe or live in denial. When we stand before Him in judgment, He’ll be looking for our 'battle scars,' not a life marked by tidy little events. He wants us to serve others, love others, and do good things. We can get seriously hurt doing all that, but we are to do it anyway. We are accountable. Because in the end, it won’t be between us and the people who hurt us. It’ll be between us and God.

Give it to God -- "Just hand it over so He can do his work. Put it in His hands. I think it depends on whose hands your life is in as to how it comes out. Let’s say you put a basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands -- what’s it worth…about $30 million? Put the same ball in my hands and it’s worth zip! Zero! Nada! Same thing with our situation. Put it in God’s hands because His plan is for our very, very best. We sometimes don’t know what that is (even though we think we do!) but He does.

Rely on His promises -- Sit back. Look up in the Bible what He says about your situation. See His promises, and know that He will keep them, if you’re faithful to him.

Did her church help (or hinder !) her with her struggles as a single woman?

"I can’t think of any way my church ever hindered my struggles when I was single. They were very supportive and treated me well. However, a few churches I tried before I found my home church many years ago, didn’t do such a great job. I was invisible because I wasn’t married. One lady who was organizing a bake sale told me the wives would take care of it, as I tried to sign up to help. Guess she didn’t know I’m a gourmet cook and at that time, even had my own cake business! Ha! I left and never returned. But the church I landed in was great -- taught me God’s ways, plus I got immersed in the Bible, which of course, I now teach to others.

Trueblood feels she has been able to make more of an impact both as a single woman and as a wife through her experience.

"My story has impact regardless: when single, I told of how Jesus stopped me from suicide at age 43 after being dumped twice by the same fiancé. After I got married, I was able to illustrate the fact that God had the right person for me after all, and I’d have missed it if I didn’t hang onto Him during the horrible time I went through. And the bottom line to both: God blesses obedience, not disobedience, so do things His way!

What is the one piece of advice she would give a young man or woman who has experienced relationship heartbreak?

"Don’t think you’re immune. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, it could. It may never be God’s plan for you, but it could be. Just remember that as long as you’re seriously hooked to Jesus, even if the worst thing happens, you’ll get through it."

Trueblood says that the most important lesson she has learned through her experience of relationship heartbreak is God’s way IS the best way! Toni makes choices = frequent disaster. God makes choices = glorious things!

And she feels she can apply the lessons of relationship heartbreak to other areas in life. "There is no other part of your life that can’t be better by doing things God’s way. Period! Sometimes it takes awhile to see it, but God is always faithful. He keeps His promises," she said.

How did Trueblood eventually find the man of her life?

"Oh! Definitely a God thing! He was in a singles Bible class I taught at my church. God planted him right in front of me because I was NOT looking to date yet. After I ran like the wind…I heard from God that he was who He sent. I paid attention then! Indeed, my husband is a gift from God! (It’s that Galatians 5:22 thing!)," she said.

"I’m about to turn 49, and have been married for only 3 years. I’m an expert at spending holidays alone!" said Trueblood. "I can suggest what worked for me: participating in church (I was on praise team and the drama team) in any way serving the kingdom. And I’d remind myself, it’s about Him, not me. Then concentrate on making plans to be with other friends or family members for dinner.

She has employed humorous strategies for coping with being single over the holidays.

"My dogs. Ha! You go to dog parks, doggie daycare centers, pet stores…you can always talk to someone who’s in the same boat! One time I ran into a couple fellows with 2 cocker spaniels, who became my dog’s best friends! They loved each other! So it turned out to be a gift to my dog I hadn’t planned on- plus a gift to me. I couldn’t be lonely around packs of poodles! My cards were from the dogs, my pictures were them with Santa, and I put wooden cutouts of holiday Dalmatians in the front yard. I also hung all dog ornaments on my tree with a big bone on top! People loved it, laughed, and I felt a lot less lonely…making others laugh. God laughs, you know. Ps 2:4: "He who is enthroned in Heaven, laughs..."

One of the other creative ways she celebrated during the holidays as a single was to have "Dinner with Jesus," where she set two place settings -- one for herself and one for Jesus -- and fed herself physically with food and spiritually by reading the Bible.

Toni Trueblood is now happily-married to the man of her dreams. Yet none of her heartbreak experience has gone to waste. She now regularly speaks on issues of singleness with a message of hope for singles based on the timeless truths of the Bible.

As she would say, she has discovered God's plan for her life and found her "Galations 5:22 man."

Trueblood is the news director for KLTY, 94.9 FM in Dallas, won second place in the solo vocal competition in Ohio in 1972, and was voted Outstanding Young Woman of America in 1987. She enjoys gourmet cooking, dogs, and polka dancing. She is married to Rick Carothers, a partner in the mortgage firm United American Lending. Reach Toni at www.tonitrueblood.com

Copyright 2003 Assist Ministries. Visit Assist online at www.assist-ministries.com or www.assistnews.net

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