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“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”  – Colossians 3:12-14  The Message

As the temperatures dipped low last night I was delighted to feel like I was finally welcoming Fall. Strong winds ushered in temps down in the 40s during the night, and it feels like something ‘pumpkin-y’ should be on the stove. If you haven’t ever seen the SNL video on ‘Sweater Weather’ it’s pretty funny.

This is the week I finalize the unpacking process from my eight months way, and in the process of un-boxing clothes I realize I was away during an entire year of wardrobe changes. I left in January, wearing coat, gloves and winter scarves, and my snow boots for snow in the North Carolina mountains. Then there were the spring outfits for attending meetings and church, and an entire summer set for camp and seeing the sights in my temporary home. And fall sweaters and jeans for the trip back across our beautiful country. I had packed well, prepared for the many things I would do during my time away from home. As you can guess, very little of that carefully planned wardrobe was used. Spring and summer were mostly in jeans, shorts and camp t-shirts, and church worship, meetings, and sight-seeing were just not to be.

So I didn’t use much of what I thought I would wear. I had prepared to be well dressed and comfortable (and always well accessorized!).

But as I read the passage from Colossians, I am reminded that the wardrobe God picks out for me is always appropriate for any weather and setting, and always in style. I have needed that wardrobe during this ‘fascinating’ year. I have needed to put on compassion for those who lost jobs, savings, and a sense of security. I have needed to accessorize with humility as I was given opportunities to lead and be in service to a community. I have found the quiet strength from Christ that I have worn almost daily and depended on constantly, and I hope I have appeared to put on forgiveness when offended.

It’s been a good year to focus on what I usually ‘put on’ for my life, and to determine if it’s my best wardrobe choice. Or if, as mentioned in Colossians 3:9, my usual choices are ‘like a set of ill-fitting clothes’ that I need to discard. Just as I am paring down my closet now, I need to rid myself of those garments and attitudes that don’t fit or are not becoming to the person I want to be in Christ. And when in doubt verse 14 makes it simple to decide. “And regardless of what else you put on wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

 Stay warm, be thankful, and wear love!

Phyllis

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