By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
DALLAS, 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!). Theres lots of advice on love -- Gods definition
of love vs. societys 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 doesnt bat an eye, basically, at
sex outside of marriage. I hindered myself from a Godly relationship because
I didnt know that
because I really hadnt read the Bible very
much. We cant stand on Gods promises if we dont know what
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 wasnt right
about the man. I ignored Gods 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 didnt show any of Galatians 5: 22. No fruits of the spirit.
Not genuinely, anyway. God will never choose a mate for you who doesnt
reflect His ways. God doesnt reward disobedience. Like most parents, He
rewards obedience, which is doing things His way, for His reasons, which we
dont always understand. My precious little Luigi never liked him -- Luigi
had a keen sense that things werent 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 Id 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 hes 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
cares about people. Yes, he is Jewish, and we dont agree on much politically,
but I think our relationship shows what Gods 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 hasnt 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. Theres 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
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 didnt live through it."
How would Trueblood encourage todays 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, were
made for companionship and a mate, (Most of us, but not all! Thats another
issue) but while were waiting on Gods timing, I encourage singles
to do what I did: immerse yourself in Gods service at your church, and
change the way you look at the world. Instead of seeing yourself as a miserable
single person, hang onto Pauls 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 lifes experiences instead
of trying to obtain the future that they desire.
"I suggest they remember that Gods love is the purest of all
they already have it. It may be something they heard before
learned how important it is to live for today because we dont have tomorrow
yet. Its 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 didnt come here to play it safe or live
in denial. When we stand before Him in judgment, Hell 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
wont be between us and the people who hurt us. Itll be between us
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. Lets
say you put a basketball in Michael Jordans hands -- whats it worth
$30 million? Put the same ball in my hands and its worth zip! Zero! Nada!
Same thing with our situation. Put it in Gods hands because His plan is
for our very, very best. We sometimes dont 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 youre
faithful to him.
Did her church help (or hinder !) her with her struggles as a single woman?
"I cant 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, didnt do such a
great job. I was invisible because I wasnt 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 didnt know Im 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 Gods 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 Id have missed it if I didnt 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?
"Dont think youre immune. Just because it hasnt happened yet,
it could. It may never be Gods plan for you, but it could be. Just remember
that as long as youre seriously hooked to Jesus, even if the worst thing
happens, youll get through it."
Trueblood says that the most important lesson she has learned through her experience
of relationship heartbreak is Gods 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 cant be
better by doing things Gods 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! (Its that
Galatians 5:22 thing!)," she said.
"Im about to turn 49, and have been married for only 3 years. Im
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 Id remind myself, its 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
can always talk to someone whos in the same boat! One time I ran into
a couple fellows with 2 cocker spaniels, who became my dogs best friends!
They loved each other! So it turned out to be a gift to my dog I hadnt
planned on- plus a gift to me. I couldnt 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
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
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