October 30, 2018

My Idea of a “White, Picket-Fence Life”

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 30, 2018

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14b

Before my husband and I tied the knot, I had lots of rules about what I believed would make me happy in marriage. One of my rules was to never date men with kids, because I was definitely not going to become a part of a blended family.  My logic went like this: “If God’s plan is one man with one woman for life, nothing else will be His best for me.”

I believed that marrying a man with kids meant I would be trapped in unending blended-family drama. But if I married a man without kids I would have a happy life.

As the years rolled into my thirties, I dated a few guys without kids and learned (the obvious lesson!) that just because a man hasn’t been married doesn’t guarantee a happy relationship.

Then I met Clark. He made me laugh; he loved God, had loads of integrity, and he was my good friend. But I wasn’t interested in him mainly because he had kids. Granted, they were almost grown, and he had the biblical right to remarry, but I had always felt that if I married a man with kids that I would not only be unhappy, but I wouldn’t be welcome in my new family. We’ve all heard stories about the “evil stepmom.” I had no desire to wear that label!

But something happened that began to change my perspective: I read the Book of Ruth.

In the Cliffs Notes version of this beloved Bible story, Naomi has two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. Naomi’s sons die, leaving her alone with her with these two young women. Then, Ruth meets and marries Boaz. Together they have a son and name him Obed. As a result, Naomi’s joy is restored—and later, Jesus comes through Ruth’s lineage!

As I read I thought, “Wait a minute! If I had written this story, it would have a different plot and wouldn’t be so messy. Naomi’s sons wouldn’t have died and Ruth wouldn’t have remarried. The family would have stayed together. It would have been a ‘white-picket-fence life.’” But that’s not how God chose to script the narrative. Instead, he took three people who were not biologically related to one another: Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz—and he made a new family!

Through reading the Book of Ruth with fresh eyes, it struck me that since the fall God has been bringing about redemption for His people. He takes broken people whose lives have been torn apart through tragedy and sin and makes utterly beautiful things. That’s what happened in the book of Ruth.

Through my new revelation, the Lord began to change my heart. He helped me to see that there are times we get to play a part in His redemptive story, just like Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi did.  And, he convinced me that I could play a redemptive role in my new family. So instead of seeing myself as someone who didn’t belong, someone who no one but Clark would want, I started to believe I could have holy purpose, not because I am good but because God is.

So, what does this mean for you? This means that even when life doesn’t turn out the way you envision, God is at work bringing about redemption in your circumstances. And perhaps He may want you to play a role in His story to be a redemptive gift for someone else. Will you open your heart to that possibility today?

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9).


Lord, please help me to be open to however you would like to use me to be a blessing and to reveal your glory to others. Amen.


Take a few moments to read your favorite Bible story and note the ways that God was at work to bring about redemption.

Related Reading

Romans 5:3-5; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10

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God takes broken people whose lives have been torn apart by tragedy and pieces together stunningly beautiful things. #WisdomHunters #imperfectlife

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