Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How Do You Smell?

Earlier this summer we made a weekend trip to Chattanooga. It was hot, boy was it hot. As we pulled into town, we decided to go see Chad's mom and her husband first. After two hours in the car, we were all ready to stretch our legs. Our toy poodle Paddington needed to run and since they live on several acres, it was the perfect way to start our family visit.

We pulled up and got out of the car. Almost immediately one of the girls said "Gag a maggot mom, what is that smell?" I gave her the "mom look" that pretty much said, hush your mouth and don't say anything else.

As Chad's mom came out she told us that earlier in the morning, a skunk had wandered down very close to the house. The dogs spooked it and he "hid" up against the house. I guess the dogs wouldn't leave the poor little skunk alone, so he decided to leave them a gift. (Oh yes he did, and from the way it smelled...he didn't have any stink left in him.)

My first thought was, thank goodness it was outside and the little stink bomb didn't get into the house!! I'm so glad I didn't say that out loud! My mother in law then told us that their entire house smelled like skunk all morning, but that the smell was better now.

We headed into the house for the comfort of air conditioning and to escape the skunk smell only to find, it was worse in the house. That one daughter of mine, the one that had already been pretty vocal, looked at me with huge eyes. She started to say something, but I quickly gave her the look again. She hushed and put her hand over her nose and mouth. And yes, I talked to her about that once we got back into the car.

I felt so bad for them! It had been almost 8 hours since the "spraying incident" and the odor was still very strong. Bless her heart she had tried everything...opening windows, candles, air freshener you name it, she tried it. As hard as she worked, you can't just air that smell out over a couple of hours. It takes time as much as anything. After the initial aggravation of the entire incident wore off...she was having a good laugh. I still felt bad for her!

We had a nice visit and got in the car to head to my parents. Once we got there, my mom hugged us and said...did you hit a skunk on the way here? We cracked up and told them the story. Here's the thing...

We had spent about an hour or so with Chad's mom. And yes, the aroma was startling to begin with, but the longer we were there the less shocking it became. We didn't realize that just being in that environment would change OUR aroma.

We immediately changed clothes and tossed our skunk scented clothing into the washing machine. We washed our hands and realized that we would have to wash our hair too.

Until Saturday, the Skunk Incident of 08 had slipped my mind. This Chinese Proverb was on my calendar Saturday:

"Flowers leave their fragrance on the hand that bestows them."

I thought about my recent actions, my words, my attitude. I had been pretty "skunky" last week. As a result there were several days that I know my children's behavior was a direct reflection of MY actions. They were irritable because I was irritable.

I did not bestow sweet smelling flowers very often last week.

My "stink" rubbed off on them.

God's word tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

"Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

Whew...that hit home big time. We, believers in Jesus Christ ARE the aroma of God in this world.

And you know what God REALLY impressed on my heart?

The world....

starts at home.

"How am I smelling God?" It's a question I'm starting to ask more often. I don't want my girls to grow up around "stink" and think that it is normal or part of life. I want them to smell God in our home and on me.


BethAnne said...

When my attitude stinks, I can see it so clearly in my boys. If mama stinks, then so does the whole house!!! Good word, my friend.

Melinda said...

What a great story...and a convicting one! Isn't it true that, not only do we reflect the aroma around us, but that those around us soak in OUR aroma? Is it delightful, or is it repelling? Such great food for thought.

I'll be asking myself the same question.


Heather said...

I love to read your writing, Steph. This is SO TRUE and such a memorable way to see the concept the Lord has for us.
Thanks for the reminder, friend.

The Stokes Family said...

What a great application. I have had a few 'stinky' days myself already this week, so this hit home. Thanks for the reminder!


Teresa said...

Love it! The world...starts at home...Praying this home is saturated in the armoma of Christ!
Great post!

Patty said...

What a great story and a great lesson for all of us. Reading your story reminded me of my own incident with a skunk. I had a jack russell terrier named, Topper. He loved to chase anything in our yard and I was always having to save him. One night he wanted out back. I usually didn't let him out back at night because there was nothing but a huge field behind us. Only God would know what lived in that field. I decided to let Topper out. A few seconds later I hear him barking and I go out to see what it is...at first it looked like a cat but them I realized what it was and it was close to me now,,,,the skunk wandered off to get away w/out spraying us BUT Topper wouldn't give up that easy and didn't obey me when I told him to get in the house. Topper was sprayed in the face by the skunk. It smelled so bad and so did my house. I bathed him in everything I could and the smell got better but I could still smell that for days. It was awful. The next day was church and I am sure I didn't smell good to my church family at all. LOL!!

Love you,

Carol said...

What an awesome post. It reminded me of this verse: But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

I'm still cracking up at the "gag a maggot" comment, though.

Fran said...

I can sure stink it up Stephanie. But I sure want to be smellin it up with some lovely fragrance! What a great visual story. Carrying it with me for the rest of the week. I need it.

Much love,