Fragrance of Grace

It’s a sweet, kind of musty fragrance that brings it all back to me like a flood. When I pick up its scent in someone’s home, or as a random occurrence, to me it is a fragrance of grace. It takes me back to a place where I once had a pivotal meeting with God.

The distinctive smell reminds me of the candles in a cabin on the river where I spent almost a week several years ago. Occasionally I’ll come across that familiar fragrance and instantly I’m reliving the emotions of the angry, frustrated, pain-filled wife who went to the cabin seeking answers but left a changed woman.

And as I return to that cabin in my mind, tears flow.

I wasn’t a crier before I went to the cabin. Some people who knew me before my “cabin awakening” would describe me as hard and intimidating, even cold. I didn’t realize my exterior had grown caustic. My heart was to follow Christ, I loved Him, but I had a thick shell when it came to people.

I’d been hurt.

A lot.

As a little girl, I was taken from my bed while asleep. Only five, I was harmed in a way no child should experience. But I clung to my Savior who I’d met earlier that year.

Jesus Christ became my sanctuary; my safe place.

Entering my teen years, I still had a passion for Christ, still followed hard after Him, but I developed a defensive and protective attitude when it came to relationships. “I will not be held down, and I will not let you hurt me . . .” My words, intimidating demeanor and intensity could keep people at a distance. And if you wanted to debate verbally, I was more than happy to take you down.

I was ugly.

But the funny thing is—I didn’t see it. I didn’t see what others saw. I only knew that I loved Jesus and couldn’t understand why there was so much conflict in my life. But during my stay at the cabin, the Savior graciously began slowly pulling back the veil, to let me look inside at the pain I’d kept hidden there.

He let me see who I’d become and the sight horrified me. It broke me.

I started weeping and in a sense I’ve never stopped. 

People seem uncomfortable with my tears and I try to restrain them, try to gather my composure but I’ve been shown such mercy and forgiveness that the tears come uninvited, they spill because I can’t get over His grace. 

I can’t stop being amazed and grateful.

When I consider His mercy or when just a statement triggers a memory of His goodness in my life, the tears start flowing fresh almost like it’s the first time again.

I think it may be a little like Isaiah’s experience when the holiness of God became like a floodlight on the prophet’s sin. “Woe is me! I am unclean . . .” It was an eruption that forever marked him. Or Paul’s knowledge that he was the greatest of sinners. When you see your natural corruption against the backdrop of the pure Christ, you can’t help but know you are vile, the most wretched of beings.

I can relate to the sinner woman who couldn’t stop weeping because of Christ’s mercy. She loved much because she’d been forgiven much. I wonder if she had the same tendency, for tears to rush freely whenever she spoke of her precious Savior, not being able to stop the flow and not wanting to cause others discomfort, but unable to remain unmoved when reminded again of His rich grace.

There in that cabin, He showered me with His grace by opening my eyes to my sin but also by extending mercy and hope for transformation. He desires to shower you with that same grace.

Can you smell it?

Have you caught a whiff of the fragrance of grace?

Have you experienced the grace of your sin being exposed and His forgiveness being applied to your life?

How has His amazing grace affected you?

I’d love for you to share with me.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut/


  • Julie Musil

    Yes to the grace. Yes to the forgiveness. Yes to the tears. Just yesterday in church I wept during worship time. It’s become a regular occurrence, and I just can’t seem to help it.

    I woke this morning with inner struggle and immediately took it to Him. I’m still struggling, but at least I know Who to turn to.

    Thanks for another beautiful post.

  • cindy aucoin

    Thank you for sharing this post……HE looks beyond our faults and sees our needs. Thank God HE works deep within us to bring healing to brokenness to free us to be the beautiful woman HE wants us to be.

  • Vivian Etherington

    Kim, I love your tears! I have them a lot too–during worship, when I am sharing about what the Lord is doing in my heart, sometimes when I am reading Scripture and the Lord makes it precious to me in that moment ( Holy Spirit moves in my heart). I am thankful for tears!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    I love it, Julie! I love hearing how God is at work in your life right now. Tears of a tender heart . . . that is something He delights in!

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Viv ~

    Good to hear from you! Yes, tears are the response to God’s gracious goodness at work in our lives 🙂