I’m very excited to again this week join a talented group of women bloggers in an online, unedited flash mob free write. Week after week, these women produce insightful and inspiring posts based on a word-prompt given to us by our fearless leader Kate Motaung (whose wonderful blog can be found at katemotaung.com). My timer is set for 5 minutes; let’s see where the word “refine” takes me.

Elegant ladies — and I mean ladies — in dazzling gowns and shimmering jewels. Dazzling and shimmering yet tasteful. Men in tailored — not rented — tuxedos. Both speaking in well-modulated voices and behaving only in ways that would make Miss Manners nod in approval.


Fine wine, Precious metals purified by fire.


Tested by trials and tribulations and not merely surviving but surviving with grace and courage and coming out on the other side a better person.


I’ll never be an elegant lady; of course, neither can I ever be wine or a precious metal. But I can be a person who handles adversity with grace and courage, who is a better person because of it.

Sadly, I must confess that I haven’t consistently responded to a life challenge in a way that meets my definition of refined. No, I’ve cried, whined, retreated, brooded, gotten angry, and obsessed over what I perceive as horrible situations that have befallen me.

Even worse, I haven’t walked away from each of the trials a better person. All too often, I haven’t learned a thing and have gone right back to may old ways.

But time and experience has had its way with me in more ways than just wrinkles and some physical aches and pains that remind me of my age.

I’m also more likely to heed the warnings of small difficulties, to stop and consider what lesson those difficulties might have to teach me. I know full well that things will go better for me if I do, because if my attention isn’t caught by a small problem, larger ones are just waiting in the wings.

Refining is a process.

I’m being refined every single day.

It’s not always fun; sometimes it’s downright painful. But I’m thankful for that process. Thankful I’m being refined.

Grateful to the Refiner.