CLU Grad, Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter, The Ultimate Gift, Co-author, Never the Bride) releases a new book, Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting. This book has won April's Book of the Month contest with the Book Club Network.
The last time we interviewed Cheryl McKay was in June 2009, upon release of her novel, Never the Bride. It featured a fictional character, Jessie, loosely based on herself, who shared an active and communicative relationship with God. The story was inspired by Cheryl’s personal relationship with God and her prayer journals. It centered around her desire for God to “get busy” and write her love story. This was a sentiment shared by Cheryl in her own life with God. Oftentimes, her prayer journaling (including God’s answers back) focused on this journey.
Cheryl had no idea what she was writing in fictional form would turn out to be so prophetic; her journal entries with the Lord came to life in such a dynamic way. We caught up with Cheryl in time for the release of her next book: Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting.
CWG: Cheryl, we understand you wrote Finally the Bride mostly while you were single.
CM: Yes. I felt strongly led by God that, while I was single and in my late thirties, I needed to write this book. He wanted me to write it from a place of pain and understanding of what this journey can be like, when you have to wait a long time to find love. It’s written in “real-time” with regard to personal stories, and includes practical tips for what to do with your life while “waiting.” I had this funny idea that once I finished writing down all I felt led to write, that God would suddenly allow love to walk into my life. I wrote that book so fast, very motivated, thinking He’d move quicker if I did! Yeah, well, clearly, it was my own heart’s desires because the book sat on a shelf for an entire year without so much as a peek at it once I finished the first draft, other than its ending. When I picked it back up, it was during yet another heartbreak and disappointment with this area of life, rather than coming back to share a happy ending. My plans and God’s don’t always match. God encouraged me to be vulnerable and share about that heartbreak while it was still going on.
CWG: You’ve said the toughest thing about the release of Never the Bride was in interviews, often being asked the question, “What hope can you offer to singles who are still waiting when God hasn’t done this for you… yet?”
CM: Giving me that story, God opened up a ministry of being a person who had faith in the midst of no tangible evidence that God was at work. He kind of put me out on a limb, being out there sharing a message that God cares about this area of our lives. And yet, I was still waiting. I think, ultimately, I was more relatable because the wait had been so long. But I’ll admit: it was a vulnerable thing to tell people publicly that I firmly believed God would do this for me one day. I would privately joke with God, “Don’t make a fool out of me!” When I felt God wanted me to write Finally the Bride, I had no idea if I’d be married by the time I was ready to release it. I just felt like His heart was for me to share a very specific message with singles who’ve lost hope. But Praise God: about two years after the book’s release, I switched from “Never the Bride” to “Finally the Bride.” God proved Himself to be enormously faithful and wrote a love story for me, far beyond what I could have ever written myself.
CWG: What does it mean to surrender your love story to God?
CM: It involves surrendering the pen of control. It means submitting this area of life to Him, for Him to get involved and reveal to you what He knows is best for you. Both parties involved need to be open to hearing what God’s will for the situation is. We still have freewill, of course. Honestly, I almost didn’t choose what God had for me. That would have been one of the biggest mistakes I could have ever made. With my husband, I said “no” to his request to “court” me for six months, until God opened my eyes to fully see he was God’s chosen for me. What’s hilarious is how much my actual life ended up unfolding like the fictional story after I’d written it, including all the mistakes I made to delay the start of my own love story. You would think I would have learned from the character I conceived. But no! I had to walk through the whole journey, too. And God was with me, every step of the way. And oh, so patient with me, even as I struggled and fought against Him and His delays. (Ironically, some of His delays were caused by me.)
Not everyone wants to surrender their love stories to God. It’s hard, especially not knowing what kind of timeframe God has in mind. It’s often hard for us, even after surrendering that pen, to not want to snatch it back when He doesn’t seem to be writing anything according to our desires. But I can honestly say, God knew best. I couldn’t see how wrong for me the other guys I liked were. God didn’t give me any of them like I wanted, but He definitely gave me what I needed. And it far surpasses what I thought was best.
CWG: What role does your prayer journaling play in the book Finally the Bride?
CM: I share a lot of my two-way dialoging journal entries, a prayer activity I learned reading Dialogue with God. I share the ups and downs in my relationship with God, my cries to Him and His answers back (and when He didn’t seem to answer). They are throughout the whole book, the words I feel He said to carry me through His fire of waiting. If it weren’t for dialoging and keeping track of what God said, I wouldn’t have such a clear record of the words He spoke in advance that eventually came true. This includes His original request for me to wait on Him for this area of my life. That was back in 1994 when I read Dialogue with God for the first time. Of course, I had no idea he’d make me wait until 2011 to get married.
CWG: What’s next for you?
CM: We hope to produce the film version of Never the Bride and the sequel version of The Ultimate Gift (which is called The Ultimate Life), and I’m working on finishing up my next book, Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace. I wrote most of that book while taking Christian Leadership University classes, as God healed me from a panic disorder after twenty years of suffering. It also contains many healing journal entries, as God became my personal counselor. He really is the best counselor we could ever ask for, whether we need help with fear, anxiety, marriages, disappointments, pain, grief, or yes, even our love lives! God can counsel us through anything, if we can just learn to discern His voice. I hope Finally the Bride can be an encouragement to anyone who’s been waiting a long time for God to answer a prayer or deliver on a promise they feel He’s made to them. I hope my story can inspire others in their waiting.
CWG: Where can people get a copy of Finally the Bride?
CM: It’s available on Amazon.com. It’s available in print form as well as in Kindle formats (which can be on the actual device or on any free downloadable reader for PC, MAC, smartphones etc.) I’d love to hear from anyone who gets a chance to read any of my work. They can reach me through my website: www.purplepenworks.com
CWG: To read the interview we did with Cheryl in June 2009, visit the following link: You can see what she had to say about this journey while she was still single and waiting.
see Cheryl's book 25 Dates with God