Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Rose Bushes and God's Grace

The Scent of Grace
A devotional by Paula Moldenhauer

"As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us."
 — 2 Corinthians 2:15 (TLB)

Any parent of multiple children between the ages of 8 and 18 know the drill. Even when you limit their outside activities, there are days when you wish you could clone yourself. I still remember one of many weekends years ago when our family of six endured three straight days of nonstop running. Two of our boys played in a hockey tournament, and our daughter competed in a gymnastics meet. Though the events were scheduled close together, they were in three different locations—none of which were on our side of town.

At the end of the push, we came home hungry and tired. After eating out between events, I didn’t feel I could pull the “let’s just get a pizza” card. I dug through the fridge, coming up with a big bowl of pasta and some veggies. Since I don’t have much storage in my kitchen, I have a pantry of sorts in our garage. I put the noodles into heat and rushed out the back door and down our steps, in hopes I had a jar of spaghetti sauce in the cabinet outside.

As I came down the stairs, I noticed a few blossoms on the rose bushes by the garage door. I wanted to enjoy them, but instead, I cringed at the weeds in their bed. Sighing, I continued my mad dash toward the door.

Suddenly, I screeched to a stop.

The fragrance of roses filled my senses.

I paused only a second, but in that moment I felt God. The perfume of the flowers took me out of my hurry mode long enough for me to experience beauty and tugged me toward the Divine.

I wish I could tell you I chose to stop and embrace the moment. Or that I at least breathed a prayer of thanksgiving. But I didn’t. I rushed into the garage, grabbed the sauce, and flew back up the stairs.

Real life consumed me. Feed the kids, clear the table, assign chores, sort the laundry, meet that writing deadline.

Gazing at the computer screen, too depleted to write, my mind went back to the rosebush.

Too often, I treat God’s grace like I treated the rose. I catch a whiff of its beauty and rush on, noticing all the little weeds of my life instead of embracing the wonder of amazing grace. A grace He pours over me and through me like sweet perfume.

I stared at the computer awhile, longing for that rosebush. Finally, I pushed my chair back, releasing myself from the next task on my to-do list. I needed to (literally) stop and smell a rose.

A light rain had fallen, and the air outside smelled damp instead of perfumed as I tramped down the back steps. I went to the blossom, stuck my nose right in the middle of that flower, and inhaled deeply. The fragrance was heavenly. I spent a couple of minutes pulling the unsightly weeds, pausing every little bit to sniff the rose.

You see where this is going.

It’s a joy to pause and let the wonder and beauty of Christ soak into our souls. When we inhale deeply of the fragrance of His character, the busyness, the irritations—the weeds—of life are more manageable. We recognize the sweet fragrance of His grace surrounding us, living in us, flowing from us.

Oh, Jesus! How I need Your grace. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Teach me to breathe deeply, inhaling its perfume. Whether life is a blur or a saunter, it’s better when I dwell in Your fragrance.

Author Bio:

Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. 

Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents.  

Her first published novella, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction. Her most recent release is included in A Bouquet of Brides.

Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. Today’s devotion was adapted from her devotional book, Soul Scents: Rooted

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  1. Beautiful message. I pray today I will pause and soak in all the blessings God offers. :-)

  2. Thank you, Paula & Alexis, for sharing these sweet, uplifting words. It's those moments spent being still before God that bring us so much joy & peace.

  3. Lovely. We all need to be reminded to take notice and be grateful.

  4. Amen! May you be blessed sweet Melissa!