In the Refiner's Fire - Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover

We've been so very busy here this season of our life. 

In the midst of all the house organizing, school starting (for all 4 of us), rearranging of plans, getting ready to certify as a Jazzercise instructor and the typical fall household and yard things that need to be done, I was assigned to work on a project with a woman that I would never, ever in a million years have wanted to work with.

I was so upset and frustrated by it.
I didn't want to meet with her, talk to her or spend the large amount of time together that we would have to work through for this project.

This woman really bothered me. 
She was snide and rude. 
She would scream at her teenage children over the phone (including swearing and calling them names) in front of other people and complain about every little aspect of their behavior. 
She would moan and complain about everyone and everything. 

I really didn't like her company and I couldn't even imagine working with this woman.  I consoled myself with telling myself that she was highly competent at what she did (she is) and she would do excellent work on the project.

I prayed about it and I told myself that God has a plan.

I found out several things:

* This woman is so hurt and angry that she can't see anything else right now.
* She lost her last job due to circumstances beyond her control (buyout, downsizing, etc.) at the same time her husband did, which meant they ended up losing their home and had to sell a rather lucrative side business to end up solvent.
* They moved cross-country and are now living in a relatives house.
* She has had many things happen in her life that don't fit with her code of ethics'
* Having these things happen has made her feel that she isn't a worthwhile person
* One of her children has learning disabilities that make it every difficult for him to interact with others and get through a full day at school.

In addition to all of this I have learned far more about the material we have been working with than I could have ever learned on my own - and I am very, very terribly grateful for that knowledge. 
She has gone out of her way to help me several times. 
She has a very wry sense of humor that is starting to sneak out. 

This whole experience has been so good for me and I have been reminded why my parents taught (or tried to teach me) to give people the benefit of the doubt. 

Here is a woman who desperately needs love and grace and mercy and has received very little from anyone in her life.

It is my hope that I can repay her for all the things she has taught me over the last couple of months by showing her some of the love and grace that the good Lord has given me in my life.

The tiny measure of grace that we can show each other is nothing compared to the grace the good Lord gives to each and every one of us day by day.  It is my hope and prayer that we can instruments of grace for each other as we go about our daily lives.

Yes, even working with people we'd rather not.

Soli Deo Gloria.


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