Once upon a time, a boy and a girl fell in love, and — as was the custom — the boy gave the girl a diamond ring to seal their betrothal. This was a special ring, chosen by the boy at a secret time — without the girl’s knowledge. It was unique and it fit the girl perfectly — one solitary diamond sparkling in a halo of gold. But it was not the ring of her dreams.

Years later, the girl — now a grown-up woman with responsibilities — was cleaning her house when she noticed that the diamond was missing from her ring. Oh, the devastation! She searched the house, emptied the drainpipes under the sinks, swept the floors meticulously, and yet could find no trace of the jewel.

With sadness, the woman realised that although she had lost the jewel that had marked her betrothal, she still lived in the marriage of that young love. Surely that was more important than a shiny piece of rock?

The woman removed her jewel-less ring and put it away. She and her man discussed their options. They could purchase a diamond to replace the missing rock, they could replace the whole ring with a new one, or they could move on, forsaking the custom and focus on the hidden wealth of their lives.

The woman, excited to be given the freedom of possibilities, chose to replace the ring with a new one. She scoured the city, browsing every jeweller’s display until she found the one ring — the ring of dreams.

It was a masterpiece — an heirloom sold for cold cash, unique in its design and made with the skills of yesteryear. It sat in the window of a hole-in-the-wall estate jewellery shop that she passed every day on her way to work.

Eagerly, the woman entered the shop and asked to try the ring on her finger. It fit perfectly.

Surely this is a sign that I am meant to have this ring, she thought. And she turned her heart to this ring and forgot all the others she had seen.

She returned the next day to photograph the ring, collect the details, and write them onto the back of the jeweller’s business card. Then she returned home to her husband, bubbling over with excitement at finding the ring of her dreams.

Her husband saw the pictures. He heard his wife’s excited description. But he could not see the value in the rocks entwined in the metal — however pretty the finished product. So he did not react.

The woman loved the ring dearly — it was, after all, her ring of dreams, but she knew that unless the gift was given freely, it was no gift at all. So she said no more. And together the couple decided to leave the ring of dreams in the shop.

Soon after, the woman was cleaning her house again. She found the card with the ring’s details on it. Resigned to the knowledge that her hand would only wear the wedding band, she threw the card away. She deleted the pictures of the ring. She did not want to yearn after it any more.

So the woman’s heart turned again. She twisted her single band of gold on her finger and became content with her simple adornment. She left behind her dreams of that ring and focused on her husband instead.

Then one day, the woman found a small, round jewel in an unusual location. She initially tossed it aside, thinking it only a rhinestone from a hair-clip. Later, as she laid in bed at night and reflected upon the day’s events, she began to wonder if that jewel could fit into the claws of her empty engagement ring.

In the morning, the woman retrieved the jewel, dug out her ring and discovered that they matched each other! She had found her missing jewel!

There was great rejoicing in the household. The woman was soon able to wear the ring of her youth, and her husband — no doubt — felt some relief that the sticky issue of expensive replacement was now moot.

Years passed, and the woman loved her ring and only occasionally thought of the ring of dreams that she had seen in the jeweller’s window. Then one night, the husband confessed to his wife that he would have liked to have bought her that ring of dreams, and that they should look for it again.

The woman was excited again. But surely the ring would no longer be available. As a custom piece on show in the centre of a busy business district, it was certain that some other woman would have seen it and bought it.

The woman decided to wait, so as not to pressure her husband to buy the ring. She wanted to see if he really meant that he would buy her the ring of dreams, or if he merely admitted to a passing guilt.

One year passed before the ring was mentioned again. The man again suggested that they look for the ring of dreams. Even if it was no longer there, the search would be enough to demonstrate his true benevolence.

When it finally became possible for the man and woman to visit the jewellery shop, the woman became excited. She hoped the ring was still available and yet tried not to hope too much.

Peering at the display in the window, it became obvious that the ring was not there. Sadly, the couple entered the shop to see if it was among any more rings available for purchase. It wasn’t.

The woman described the ring to the jeweller. Once he understood that she had last seen the ring several years ago, he explained how their jewellery’s high turn-over meant that any piece that was desirable needed to be bought immediately. Special rings always sell. But perhaps there was something else that would catch the woman’s eye?

The salesman brought out several rings for the woman to look at. They were lovely, but lacked the special factor that made her ring of dreams so desirable.

However, the couple had made a special trip to visit only this jewellery shop. Perhaps they could find a similarly unique piece to occupy the place of the ring of dreams. The woman tried some rings on, but she could not turn her heart to them.

Then the salesman reached into the display and brought out one last ring. The woman looked at it. “It’s the one!” she exclaimed. She turned to her man. “It’s the one!” she said again.

She tried it on. The ring fit — just as it had three years before.

Perplexed at how she could have not seen it in the window, she asked the salesman. He replied that it had been placed in the “wrong” place in the display and was not sitting with the other gold-set rings.

But the truth was — the ring had not been visible in the shop window because it was simply waiting for the woman to return. No one else bought it because there was only one person who would wear it.

Me.

The ring of dreams has become even more special because of that waiting period. If it had been purchased years before, it would have been merely a beautiful piece of jewellery.

Because it was matured with time, patience and love, the ring of dreams that I now wear on my finger is a constant reminder of the Father’s good plan for me. Many times when I ask for something, the Father is already replying. I just need to wait and rest. And I see the evidence of that every day, and I thank Him.