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Kissing Frogs: A Chat with Author Kathleen Hardaway

By Laura J. Bagby Producer Kathleen Hardaway is on staff at Precept Ministries International and has produced and directed Kay Arthur's TV show How Can I Live? for more than 17 years. A single herself, Hardaway is transparent in her first book, I Kissed a Lot of Frogs: But the Prince Hasn't Come (Moody, 2002). In person, she is just as lively and sincere when discussing her heart for single women. I sat down with this exuberant author to find out her secret to staying joyful no matter what the relational circumstances.

What compelled you to write this book?

It wasn't like I decided that I was going to write a book. I was sitting there getting ready, and this title came into my head. I knew that it was from God. I knew that He had a message for single women because, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 44 percent of women are single -- that is 47 million women who are single.

When I turned 30, that was when it was very hard. I thought, 'I am 30, and I am not married.' So many are saying the same thing: 'OK, God, where is my prince?' We grow up thinking that that is how it is supposed to happen. So I think that God wanted me to be a spokeswoman for women who are hurting and wondering.

You talk about the time when you were 38 when this whole thing happened.

Here I was 38, about to turn 39, and I was not looking at the time and I meet this guy on an elevator in Los Angeles. He starts pursuing me. I was so excited because you know how if you spend some time with somebody, it doesn't take long to know if you are compatible or not, and it just seemed like we were. Then he, after pursuing me for a few months, called and said, 'I just feel like the Lord doesn't want me to be pursuing you anymore.' The thought of turning 40 and not being married absolutely overwhelmed me to the point that there were days that I didn't want to get out of bed. When he called and broke it off, I went to bed crying and woke up crying. I know so many women who have gone through that.

Even though I had been in Christian ministry for years, I had taught Bible study, what it comes down to is are you going to live in circumstances you don't like? I had a choice: Am I going to be bitter or better? Was I going to believe the world, which says if you don't at least have a relationship, if you don't have sex, if you don't have a husband or children and build your big dream home -- this is what the world says you need to be happy-- or was I going to hold onto the Word? I had to hang onto the Word of God. In Jeremiah 29:11 it says, 'I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.' I had to hold onto that and say, 'Lord, you have a plan for my life.' That is what I did to get through that period of my life.

One of your favorite verses for singles is Proverbs 4:23: "Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flows the springs of life.' How can we guard our hearts?

That's a great question because you do have to guard it. So many women will get hooked in, and lots of times it isn't even by a godly man. They will think, Maybe he doesn't meet the qualifications that I would really like, but what if someone else doesn't come along? They give in and get into sexual sin, or they get into this relationship that God never intended for them.

I would much rather be where I am today. I would much rather be in the center of God's will, in the palm of His hand exactly doing what He wants me to do. That is where the joy is, not in a wrong relationship, not in trying to make a marriage. There are so many miserable married people, especially women. They wake up miserable because they realize they settled for less.

You have got to guard that heart. A guy will come along or someone will say, 'You have got to meet this guy' and I will pray, 'Lord, I don't want to meet him if You don't want me to meet him, yet my heart would like to,' and then they are not interested. I know when that happens that God is saying no. That is a way to guard your heart.

You mentioned earlier that 47 million women are single. When I hear that, my heart sinks. Do you have that feeling, even though you know that your destiny is in God and you know that we are free, like Paul, not to worry about anything but God?

People say, 'Get out there and meet somebody.' I think, Well, I go to the grocery store and I work out at the fitness club and I have been to singles groups. You don't just stay in your house and expect that the prince is going to knock on the door. God can do that if He wants to, but at the same time you do have to continue to come back to God and know that He is greater and bigger and He can orchestrate it if He wants to.

How much is my part and how much is God's part as a Christian woman? Women are told even by the church culture to get out there.

I have been asked, 'Do you believe it is wrong to date?' I believe it depends on the person. What is God telling you to do? What is your conviction? If you are going to see someone, you can call it what you want to, but if you are going to get to know someone of the opposite sex, just be sure it is with integrity. So many women are so desperate, so hurting, so wanting somebody that they are giving in. The guy might not be treating them with respect. He says that he will call, but doesn't. He says he will come get her, but he is late. Don't do that.

Speaking of giving in when we shouldn't, the whole issue of purity, obviously you are big on that. How do you do that? After 44 years of being single, how do you stay pure?

By the Word of God. I don't know too many people who are in constant Bible study, that are in the Word, that are in church and they are messing around. But more than that, you have to have a passion for purity.

My past is not perfect. When I talk about kissing a lot of frogs, I did. I started kissing too young. When I was 21, I decided that was it. I was only going to start dating godly men. Not everyone you go out with is going to be a Christian. You might think they are Christian, but they might not be. You don't know that for sure, but overall you can have a sense. That is where it starts. Who are you spending time with? If you know that you are spending time with the wrong person, then you are already opening yourself up. From a practical standpoint, that is what I did over 20 years ago.

I know that when I was growing up, the teenagers would ask, How far should you go? That is not the issue. The issue is as He says in 1 Peter, 'Be ye holy for I am holy.' If your desire is to please God in all you are doing, then that is how you can live a pure life. You have to want it and you have to want it bad. In 2 Timothy 2:20, it says, 'Flee youthful lusts.' That is the most practical verse for staying pure. Not only do you flee, but you pursue righteousness. The Word asks, 'How can a young man keep himself pure?' It says, 'by the washing of the Word.'

It comes down to the heart issue. Even though when I was growing up my father was a pastor, I thought I was saved. I was baptized young, but my heart was really more for men than it was for God. That is what gave me joy. Then it came to the point where when I got saved I thought, No, my joy is in the Lord. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 16:11: 'In his presence is fullness of joy.' It is in Him.

You talk about a gift of singleness. What do you mean by that?

In the Word there is no definition that says the gift of singleness makes you happy not being married. In 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul says, 'I wish that all men (and women) were as myself.' What was he referring to? He was talking about singleness. 'God gives one one gift and one another gift.' He is referring to the fact that some are married and some are single. He is talking about today. Today, if you are single, that is the gift God has given to you. That is the grace that He has given you. Same thing for those who are married. That is what He has given you today. That does not mean that you won't be married tomorrow. Jim Elliot says, 'Wherever you are, be all there.' That is what you have to do when you are single.

My passion is for women to know that it is in the Lord, it is in the prince of peace. He is the one who is going to give you joy. When you have that, married or single, whichever you are, then this life is worth living.

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