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Fashion Show, Anyone?
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Light the Fire Again

By Ruth Smith Meyer

Fed up to my proverbial eyeballs with resentment toward my co-worker for once more derailing my carefully laid plans was not the perfect timing to read Colossians 3. Especially not if I wanted a quick fix to make me feel good - and holy didn't quite describe how I was feeling!

That God should choose me to be holy, is an almost overwhelming idea at any time,but God did choose me to be holy even in the tough times. Thank God that I was also told he chose me to be holy, because he loves me. But right now, I didn't even feel that loveable!

I was being asked to clothe myself with tenderhearted mercy and kindness, with humility, gentleness and patience. My daily "fashion runway" was presenting me with an immediate opportunity to model these clothes. Did I have what it took to rise to the challenge?

"Allowance for each other's faults," - did that even mean my co-worker? At the moment, it felt like almost too much! Didn't I have some rights too? Shouldn't she be held responsible for inappropriate behavior? After all, the verse said "each other's." Shouldn't she make allowance for my need to carry out my carefully laid plans?

Unbidden, my memory files popped up a forgotten item, - a nurse who came to my dear mother-in-law's funeral. She shared how much they enjoyed having her in the nursing home - how much they enjoyed her wisdom, her patience, her concern for others.

Then she had the courage and grace to tell a story about herself. One morning she had come to work feeling taxed and overburdened. Life seemed almost too hard. She didn't really want to be there.

Although she usually liked her work and those she cared for in her rounds, that morning, she had been short with quite a few of her residents, including my mother-in-law's roommate.

"When I came to her bed," she said, "those big brown eyes looked at me with utter kindness as she asked, 'Did something go wrong at home before you came to work this morning?'"

"I had to admit that it had been a hectic morning. I left home with both my husband and my children upset and angry with me." The nurse's eyes held tears. "Your mother just said, 'I am so sorry! You will have to make things right when you get home. But you know it isn't fair for you to take it out on us. We had nothing to do with it. I hope the rest of your day goes better.'

"I have never been so lovingly reprimanded! I felt absolutely repentant. The rest of my day did go better, for I had also received her understanding and forgiveness

Ahh-hh! My mother-in-law had often been my coach while she was alive and now she was training me once more! Perhaps I could find a way of letting my co-worker know that I felt my needs had been trampled on, speaking frankly but with love - genuine love, clothed in tenderhearted mercy and kindness, with humility, gentleness and patience.
Ruth Smith Meyer is an inspirational Christian writer and speaker living in London with husband Paul Meyer. Ruth was the Word Guild Award Finalist for the short story in Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. She is also the author of Not Easily Broken and Not Far from the Tree, stories of a mother and her daughter based on the lives of two strong women, and Tyson's Sad Bad Day, a story to help children and their parents deal with death and grief.

Visit Ruth's website: www.ruthsmithmeyer.com