About Me

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Rock Hill, SC, United States
"My heart is overflowing with a good theme. I recite my compositions concerning the King. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." (Psalm 45:1) This verse has become a life verse for me. As I continue to walk it out, I realize this journey as a breast cancer survivor has changed me but does not define me. I remain the loved, chosen, redeemed and blessed child of the living God who supplies me daily with more hope, strength, grace and courage than I ever dreamed I could possess! God has been so good to me ... indeed my tongue is the pen of a ready writer ... poised to tell the story of my faithful Father! I love Him so!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Can You "Smell" That?

I'm so thankful for our five "senses". They each serve such a vital purpose and we are blessed by each one. I've been reminded a lot lately about the sense of smell, in particular, and I get the feeling that the Lord has been saying something very specific to my heart about this subject. I thought I'd take a moment to share my thoughts here in this blog and let it roll around between us. Maybe you need to ponder these things as well?

You know how a scent, a fragrance, can suddenly catch you unaware and the next thing you know memories are racing in of somewhere, something or someone from long ago? I love it when that happens and when it does I like to just go with it and spend a few moments walking down memory lane to where that fragrance leads me. Sometimes it's pleasant and sometimes ... well, not so much. The memories are as varied as the scents themselves.

I love the pleasant ones ...

I was out walking the other day and in the first 1/2 mile I became aware of all the aroma's around me. First, the smell of freshly cut grass in my neighbors yard, which I absolutely love, followed almost immediately by the smell of someone else burning yard clippings and limbs in their yard. I love both of these outdoor smells and the memories they conjure up usually take me back to my childhood and to feelings of security and stability ... all was right in the world in the lens of my childhood eyes.

How about books? I love the way they smell, do you? Again, from my childhood, this scent reminds me of how I would walk to my elementary school library during summer break and check out a book or two to curb the boredom of those hot summer days.

And, I love how certain foods take me back to memories of family gatherings. Just the slightest hint of a baked ham in the air and it's Christmas dinner in my heart and mind. Or the smell of McDonalds or Bojangles buttermilk biscuits make me think of my two, widowed, Great-Aunts ~ Aunt Belle and Aunt Elola ~ the sisters of my paternal Grandmother, whom I never met. You see, they taught me to make biscuits and so much more as I spent countless summers in the country with them and the aroma of a good biscuit brings it all flooding back!

But, sometimes the scents are not pleasing to our senses at all! In fact, sometimes they outright stink! Again, while out walking just yesterday, I saw a Bradford Pear tree up ahead. It is in full bloom right now even as I type these words. Visually, I think these trees are a stunning display of the coming Spring but just as I got close enough to admire it's blossoms I caught the scent of the flowers and guess what?  They still stink! Just like last Spring! They just don't smell good!

It made me think of "ashes to beauty" in scripture ~ in life ~ and, in this case the dormant Winter (ashes) giving way to the newness of Spring (beauty). Sometimes life has to pass through unpleasantness to arrive at it's beauty. Even so, those memories hold a scent that signals something in us and we acknowledge it.

Scents, fragrance, aromas, odors, and smells touching us where our memories are stored and affecting our outlook, our mood, and even our stress levels. Have you thought much about the sense of smell lately and how each of us are affected by it on a daily basis? 

What a gift this sense of smell is and what a complicated, high speed process it is too. The simplified explanation is that the aroma hits the Olfactory Epithelium and from there it bounces along its path to the specific location in the brain which will then notify you of what, exactly, you are smelling and all of this happens in a split second.  Our human bodies are quite magnificent ... God's handiwork, in us, is astounding!

Pondering all of this is exactly how this "heart" conversation began with the Lord. I was reading a book, "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith that shared a wonderful perspective from her Pastor concerning John 12. The chapter opens with Jesus coming to Bethany, where Lazarus lived. The same Lazarus that Jesus had raised from the dead. While Martha was busy serving the guests, Mary came to the feet of Jesus, shattering a big bottle of expensive nard (perfume) and washing His feet with the pungent nard and her hair. A few drops would have been enough for all to catch the fragrant aroma but she poured it all out. She poured it all out!  At His feet! In a lavish and pure act of worshiping her Savior!

Can you imagine how long the fragrance must have lingered in that room? On her hands? In her hair? On the feet of Christ, our Savior? Can you imagine the constant reminder of that moment of exquisite worship even after His crucifixion and resurrection? Was the aroma still hanging in the air around them?

I had not considered this perspective about Mary's sacrifice. It boggles my mind to consider it because I know that while I may not have an alabaster jar of expensive, fragrant nard, I do have a life that He desires be poured out upon the altar of my worship unto Him. It is a pleasing sacrifice to Him. One that will cost me everything I have. No greater value can be attached to a life than when it is lived in utter surrender and worship to Him. We cannot escape His gaze and it pleases Him to see us being the "aroma of the knowledge of Him" (2 Cor. 2:14).  And, He longs to use us, each one of us, to spread this aroma upon the earth. I didn't make this up! Scripture says it ...

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those are being saved 
and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; 
to the other, an aroma that brings life ... (2 Cor 2:15-16)

Imagine the aroma of Christ in me, in you, pointing others to the Savior, and that will be a sweet aroma (life) to some; but, it will be a bitter, unpleasant aroma (death) to others ~ to those who refuse to believe! Just about the time I want to say ... "Paul, don't you know that it's too much of a responsibility and burden?" ... he asks (at the end of vs 16) ...

And who is equal to such a task?

Paul knew the answer before he asked the question and the answer is that no one is.  Our competence comes from God, alone. (2 Cor. 3:5) Our adequacy to carry the fragrance of Christ comes from God and He uses our fragrant aroma in ministry to a lost and hurting world. It has far-reaching effect but ...

It's Christ ...

In me ...

changing me ...

making me more like Him ... 

that will produce this sweet aroma.

It occurs to me that we are going to smell like something. Afterall, we can't walk in this world without the very real risk of it soiling us, but, I want to be found walking so close to Him that I am unmistakeably "smelly" with the beautiful fragrance of my Christ. And, to do that I must sink deep into His Word, stay on my knees in prayer, and worship Him with the same lavish surrender that Mary had when she poured it all out at His feet.

Oh, to be a fragrant aroma for Him!
Simply Abiding,

Cindy K