My journey with Christ reminds me of the trip every little girl dreams of taking. That special day when she walks down the aisle in a breathtaking white gown while the love of her life awaits her at the altar. My own personal trip to “the altar” has been just that – a trip. I don’t mean the vacationy kind of trip that involves fun, sun and laughter. I mean that trip you take when you stumble over a crack in the sidewalk and hit the concrete face-first breaking out your front teeth.

As a single mom who has spent a significant amount of her life “looking for love in all the wrong places,” my trip to the altar has been more of an expedition. It has been a long and excruciating journey replete with stumbling, falls and times where I just simply sat down in the middle of the aisle crying the “ugly cry” with mascara running down my cheeks.

The most heart breaking part of my trip, though, wasn’t the ugly cry, the stumbles, the temper tantrums or the faltering. The worst part was when I turned back. I pulled a Julia Roberts and turned and ran right out the church door certain that there was something more for me out there.

And there was! I did find other Loves I thought were better: more attractive, full of fun,adventure and promises. The ones I picked, the ones I wanted, the ones I chose. And choose I did. And- in His great love for me, He allowed me to choose- and lose.

Every “other” that I gave my heart to- shattered it with reckless indifference. Promises always came with ultimatums, a hook, a catch and a “love” ankle deep. So, I loved (or so I thought at the time) and lost. A lot. I lost until every last imposter of a groom was pried from my tightly clenched fist.

The last loss left me down in such severe depression I wanted to die. Down in brokenness. Down in surrender and down where the sinful woman who wept at His feet had been when she poured out her heart in her tears. It was here, on my knees where I looked up and understood for the first time in my life what and WHO she saw! I WAS her!

And finally at the darkest place on my life I sat and wept at His feet and drank in what I had been missing my entire life – Eternal and perfect love. Love that doesn’t take but never stops giving. Love that doesn’t destroy, but instead restores. Love that is not fleeting and shallow but never leaves, never abandons, never forsakes.

He had come for me. I still do not understand how He could look down at me in my dirty, tattered, bloody gown, into my swollen and bruised face, and not only love me and forgive me but still even want me!

After decades of searching for the perfect “guy”- I am finally now on the narrow aisle with The One. And, instead of stumbling around in alleys with a stained, torn dress, I am amazed each new day to find myself in a spotless, pure white gown marching one step at a time toward my beautiful groom. Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…

If I ever have the opportunity to walk the aisle again, it will have a completely different meaning for me- because now I know that any gift He gives me in this life is icing on the wedding cake of my relationship with Jesus, my one True Love. ~Kaytha Coker

Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what lies ahead… I press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in the face of Christ Jesus.   2 Corinthians 5:17  

Sacred Story is honored to have Kaytha Coker as a guest contributor this month. Kaytha describes her journey of having an unconventional life as a singer and an actress for a decade before “retiring” to become a mom and an art teacher. In her spare time, Kaytha enjoys creating “art for the heart” as well as singing, writing, running and any opportunity to encourage her sisters in Christ.