I have read something very interesting a few weeks ago and it still is in my thoughts. I can't stop thinking about it and its results. Read the following story from a book I've recently read by Sally Clarkson entitled Dancing with My Father:
One mysterious evening before we were married or even dating, I received a phone call from Clay. He asked if I was busy on the next Saturday, explaining that he wanted me to accompany him on a surprise adventure.
“Sure!” I said.
Up to that point, we had been friends for a number of years but had both just recently moved to Denver and had been working in leadership together with a singles group in a local ministry. I tried to get him to give me a hint of what the day would include, but all he would say was that it would take all day and that I needed to dress casually. That Saturday he picked me up, and we drove on a winding road into the Rocky Mountains alongside the most beautiful clear stream. The countryside was covered with wild flowers—Indian paintbrush and blue gentians. The sky was bright blue, and a cool summer breeze wafted through the pungent air.
“According to my calculations, we’re almost there,” he declared. Within minutes, he pulled up to a quaint Polish mountain chalet in the middle of nowhere. “This is it!” he said, smiling.
As we stepped through the wooden doorway, we were greeted by a hostess dressed in a traditional Polish costume. Thick woven wool tapestries covered the walls, intricately carved boxes and figurines decorated the shelves, and Polish chess sets were strewn around the room. I couldn’t believe it! It reminded me of my time as a missionary in Poland. The hostess led us to a little wooden table with a vase full of wild-flowers as its centerpiece.
“This is wonderful!” I told him as we ate a delicious Polish meal.
“I knew you would like this place since you were a missionary in Poland the last three years,” he said. “I read about this restaurant in the newspaper and thought it would be a fun surprise for you.”
We finished eating, and as we walked out the door, Clay turned to me with a twinkle in his eyes. “Just one more surprise left!”
As we drove back down the winding road toward home, he suddenly said, “This looks like just the place.” He pulled off the road and parked next to a bubbling stream lined with an array of flowers. He pulled from the car trunk a blanket and a small cooler. Then he spread the blanket out next to the brook. He opened the cooler and took out luscious strawberries, Austrian chocolates, and some apple cider. It was the perfect romantic setting.
“I wanted to make this day a special memory for you,” Clay said. “I’ve really grown in my friendship with you over the years. I like who you are, I appreciate your convictions and your love for God, and I’ve developed a deep abiding love for you. So I wanted to give you a day filled with things that I knew would delight your heart.
“I used to make lists of the qualities I hoped to one day find in a wife,” he continued. “But one day when I was reading my Bible, I realized that God’s love for us isn’t conditional because of what we’ve done to please him. He gives us his love freely because his nature is to love generously. So I decided that when I get married, God would want me to be committed to love a woman someday, not because she’s perfect but because she’s someone God has called me to love unconditionally and to give my life to, no matter what. So I threw away my list and asked God to show me how to develop that kind of generous love he has given to me. But I’m not coming to you because you meet all the expectations I once had on my list. I want you to know that out of all on the women I’ve met, I think I would love to be committed to give my love, as best I can, unconditionally to you, and to spend my life with you, giving to you as God has given to me.”
I was so surprised by his words! All my life I felt that I had lived with conditional love. I had spent so much time and energy trying to do the right things in order to be loved. But here he was, saying that he wanted to be committed to loving me unconditionally in an act of faith and commitment; he wanted to model in our relationship the kind of love he had received and experienced from God. It was such a purehearted gift. My heart overflowed with gratefulness and a natural responsive love. How could I not respond that way? God wants that same natural outpouring from us. He has done so much to make our lives blessed, and he just wants us to recognize his great love. He wants us to respond to him out of an appreciative heart that treasures his gift of generous, thoughtful, and unconditional love—not because we have earned it or deserved it. That was the kind of love that prompted David to break out in singing and dancing before his God.
What I really like in this story is how grace works miracles. The man gave the woman such an unconditional love which changed her heart each day of their lives together.
I'm not telling you to put your list away (because I WON'T) or to not write one, but to be sensitive to what God reveals you and how He guides you. Don't search for Mr./Mrs. Perfect, but let God's harmony and peace into your heart and let it be God's Way.