Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ticking all the boxes

Of all the pieces of my history I've uncovered in the last couple of months, one of the most profound I finally put my hands on this last weekend.  I knew it existed, was pretty sure it hadn't been thrown out, have referenced it more than once to my children and other young people. But to see that piece of notebook paper, with my distinctive handwriting in columns on both sides of the page really packed a punch.

You see, it's a list of what I was looking for in a husband.  I wrote it November 24, 1978.  It was a rather interesting time to have written such a list, because I was already in a relationship.  Despite that, I didn't try to govern my deep desires, needs and wishes to the boy I was then dating. This is most clearly apparent in the physical 'requirements' of my longed-for spouse.

On one side of the paper, I divided my list two ways--'Needs' and 'Wants'.  Under needs, I wrote:
spiritual leader, wise--a teacher; ministry-oriented, intelligent, conscious of the world, verbose at times (by which I meant relationally communicative), responsible, willing to listen, patient.
Under wants: older, strong and stable (steady), attractive, active athletically, taller than me (taller than my parents), crazy (enjoys fun), affectionate. below this list, I wrote: "Reason to my emotion, rational to my irrationality."

On the other side of the paper, I divided my requirements in three ways: Physically, Intellectually and Spiritually.  Physically, I wanted: tall (over 6' feet), good looking (in my opinion), neat smile, blue eyes,  lots of hair (not balding), good build (not too fat, thin or muscle-bound)--shoulders, muscles, etc. Athletic.  Intellectually, college (and post-college) graduate, world-conscious, deep-thinker, enjoys analogies and communicating about ideas (philosopher), teacher for me (stretches me) enjoys learning new things. Spiritually, walks in the spirit (filled with the Spirit), interested in ministry (even missions), patient, listens to Jesus, a prayer-partner.
Misc.-- good listener, enjoys fun.

What strikes me about this is that that college boyfriend so patently didn't fit this list. But God absolutely paid attention to it.  CS Lewis talks about our desires being too weak rather than too strong.  And these desires of my heart remind me of this.  I was young and earnest about what I wanted in a spouse.  And God gave me those things in my husband. He's tall, of course. With blue eyes and so much hair I am jealous of it, is a listener and teacher by profession, crazy-fun yet committed to communication. And he sees his job as the front-lines of ministry...Really, it's as if I was writing a description of Beve when I wrote it. And, some of those qualifications were definitely in response to what that college boyfriend was NOT, from the physical to the intellectual, to the spiritual.  The whole thing amazes me. Though it shouldn't. Not when God has a hand in such things.

Beve and I often talk about letting our imaginations run wild with what we expect of God. Trusting Him not only to do the ordinary but the extraordinary.  And that's what I'd tell young people when they think of who God might have for them to spend their lives with.  Allow Him to help them draw up a description of the person who will most suit them. Then allow Him to produce that person--a person who is already walking around, living life, waiting to be the right person to share their Godly marriage. It's a whole lot easier, of course, to fall into these things, but God wants to share in it.  And if we allow it, He'll see to it.

Not only about spouses, of course. This also holds true for careers, children, homes and a host of other things we must choose throughout our lives.  Make a list--with Him. Check it twice, then trust Him with it.  And prepare yourself to be astonished when He checks every box.

Frankly, I had no idea what God had in mind. And I tried pretty hard to fit Andy into the list.  But God was in it. Answering the true cry of my deepest desires.  And I thank Him.

And I'm thankful, too, for the bounty of such pieces of my past.  I don't take for granted that I've kept such artifacts. The compulsive writer that I am has a huge advantage over most people, so more has been kept than most people would expect. It is well with my soul to remember such things. Encourages and blesses me today.  And reminds me to allow God more access to every corner of my life.

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