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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

By Ruth Renwick


Most single women have one. Even some married women have a secret one. Perhaps it is based on an ideal fashioned by too many soap operas. Alternatively, it may be dictated by our past negative experiences and consist of many a definite “No!”

It may be written down or just held close to the heart. Often it is discussed with our women friends, perhaps in feministic conversations in the office tea room which make our male colleagues cringe, or in soft, longing tones at our women’s prayer group.

Some may be brief and defining, others seem to be never-ending or are constantly being remodelled. Many insist that it is essential to have whilst a few say that they are too spiritual to indulge in something so selfish and conditional. (Yet, even they have one - whether they recognise it or not.)

Lest I be accused of being sexist, I must state that men are certainly not beyond compiling their own version. I really expect that it would include different things and probably be much briefer. Guys do look at such things through their blue-coloured lenses. We generally go for the rose-coloured ones. Come to think of it, I must admit that I actually am being sexist.

Would it be too crude of me to describe our inventory of all that is required in a prospective mate as a “shopping list”? We carry it with us so that if any possibilities come our way we can check off the items on our list and see whether we have found the bargain we have been waiting for. We may even go as far as seeing whether this prospect will match our décor and stand up to the wear and tear of children and future in-laws.

Not so many are prepared to pay a high price. Fewer still will invest all they have, like the farmer who sold all he had to buy the field where he found the treasure.

Many discover that their list seems impossible to fill. Will their compromises be wise?

Others have such low expectations that their list seems to be satisfied – but their heart is not. They may wonder whether the product they brought home was faulty. They learn late that in fact their list was based on faulty criteria.

What list do you have, or have you had in the past? How did you write it? Was it influenced by your parents? (eg. “must be strong like my father” or “must be gentle- not a bully like my father.”) Did past mistakes make you change your list or did it keep sending you into heartache?

There have been two of these lists in my life. I was not consciously aware of the first but I became very aware of the painful results. The second was written down and earnestly prayed over. This was the list given to me by God.

For so many years after my earlier divorce, God was my husband (Isaiah 54: 4-5). Then, in His timing, He gave me the desire for an earthly husband, knowing who would be right for me. It was He who gave me the desires that became my list and so He fulfilled His Word, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

My precious husband meets all of the requirements on the list. These include matters of character, spiritual maturity, being a godly parent to my sons, being a loving husband and loving God. I trusted God that He could bring the person He had chosen to me, even if from far away. In fact, my husband did sell up and move interstate to be with me. He says he was the one who found a treasure in a field and sold all he had to buy it. I know that it was I who received a treasure.

As we keep God in the midst of our marriage we know we can’t fail. How precious to know that we can give pleasure to God by enjoying the gift He has given us.

Perhaps you need to pull out your list now and ask God to rewrite it for you. His offers ultimate customer satisfaction and comes with a lifetime guarantee – free maintenance and repairs if kept serviced by the Maker.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 548 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne03/09/07
Interesting. Different. I'll have my list checked today.
Donna Powers 03/14/07
I had "two lists", too so I can relate to this. How fortunate you were to let God write your second list. Your husband sounds like a wonderful treasure. I enjoyed this!
Deborah Porter 03/20/07
Ruth, good on you. This was a clever take on the topic. I wasn't sure where you were going with it at first, but caught on that it was a "husband shopping list" after about the third paragraph (just before you made it clear).

Good message and it's always good to read something from a bit of a different angle when it comes to the Challenge topics.

Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator and Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine)