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THE CRITIQUE CIRCLE

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TITLE: Hat's Off
By Karen Story
05/17/08
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Naturally, or freely, is a whole lot easier than forcing. For instance, I love writing a story when God prompts me to. I dislike writing for a deadline. Another parallel would be to look at relationships. You know when you love someone and you know when you have to work at loving someone. Pondering a little further, you also know when you are in and when you are out. And guess what? Iím in!

Good Lord, what is this woman talking about? Well, let me explain. I have a mother-in-law, Rose, and she is totally in. Rose is a wonderful person who loves her family and her sonís wives. Sheís also a great Christian friend. Sometimes, she can tell by the sound of my voice that Iím upset. She will ask, ďKaren, do I need to take the mother-in-law hat off and put the girlfriend hat on?Ē

Iíve had a lot of experience with mother-in-laws; which Iím not to proud to boast about. As I look back at my past marriages, I can conclude that none of them had God in the center and none of the in-laws where Christians. Those marriages were doomed before they even started. I learned the hard way of what not to say to my in-laws, as they all turned into out-laws. Thatís okay. I am so blessed to have finally gotten it right this time.

No mother wants their child to be known as anything but wonderful, even when they know better. I have to tread on ice when given the opportunity to vent to my friend, my mother-in-law. Through trial and error I have learned that it is best to not vent to your mother-in-law, or a friend, or even your own mom. Why? Because when my husband and I get our problem resolved, we are okay but those we vented to may not be okay with the one vented about. Picture a vent, a tube that vents hot air. Hot air rises. For all concerned, itís best to take it up. Up as in, take it up to God, not out to the people around you.

I thank my mother-in-law, Rose, for giving me permission to talk to her about how much I am hurting. When Iím upset with my husband, I screen my calls. I donít answer the phone or return calls unless it concerns our business. I respect Rose enough to not involve her in my problems with her son. I want to keep the loving relationship we have. I allow God to fix our problems since He is the only one who can.

Do you know the best part of this story? When I allow God to do His work, it keeps my relationship with my mother-in-law natural, the way God intended it to be: easy, free, and something you donít have to work at. Plus, Rose doesnít like hats. I take my problems to the King and His hat is a crown.
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