I found a recipe for Homemade Tomato Soup and it sounded really good so I thought I’d make it.  I planned to pair it with a super yummy sounding artichoke/spinach/cream cheese grilled sandwich.  Perfect fbasil and garlicor a chilly night!  As I chopped onion and minced garlic, the kitchen filled with the aroma and my stomach and appetite followed suit.  I gotta have something NOW! my appetite yelled.  I cut open an avocado and mashed it, mixing in a little of the garlic I had minced.  I threw a dash of salt in and then dug in the extra fridge for the bag of jalapenos I had bought a couple days before.  In a matter of minutes I had homemade guacamole in a bowl…all to myself.  I foraged for tortilla chips and literally licked the bowl clean.

The aroma of the garlic and onions, crushed beneath my knife as I chopped or minced them, filled the air and led me into a full-fledged snack attack!  The tomato soup was bubbling on the stove and ready for a fresh basil chiffonade to be added and some freshly grated parmesan.  I’d better wait on this step, I thought, knowing full well that the aroma of crushed basil in the air and fresh parm would send me into dinner mode immediately and I wouldn’t be able to wait for Youngest Man-child to get home.  The chopped artichoke hearts didn’t do that to me.  The chicken stock didn’t do that to me.  The aromatics filled the whole kitchen with their tempting fragrance and I was drawn in just like a bee to a freshly opened blossom.

My life recently has been a series of “crushing” events.  Those of you who know me don’t panic.  You haven’t missed anything critical.  It’s just that I am in a growing stage (and I don’t mean weight gain!) I am being pressed and stretched and molded and some days it is, quite frankly, overwhelming and painful.  It has been a long time since I looked at myself in the mirror and said, ‘I don’t know what in the world I am doing.’  As the pressing began, my brain hurt…literally.  I hadn’t thought like this for years!  All the voices speaking AT me and TO me and AROUND me and my head literally hurt.  The second week was better and the third started up again.  However, the next round of crushing didn’t make me want to lie down.

I have been challenged greatly.  Minced, chopped, and mashed.  I’m still here.  I’m still functioning.  I’m actually encouraged.  Hard to believe isn’t it? It’s because of the Holy Spirit in my life.  He is the aroma of Christ in my life.  Let me tell you how this has been…

For the last few weeks, I prayed and felt like my prayers were a bad round of racquet ball.  Immediately bouncing back off the wall with greater velocity and a lot of noise.  At times I would pray and it seemed like someone turned the volume down to nothing.  I am speaking out loud  but I’m not hearing a thing!  I’d start into a conversation with the Lord and it was just trail off, my own interest in my prayers disintegrating into dust.  And then the crushing started.

As the crushing, mashing, pulling, twisting began in my life, all of a sudden it gave voice to my prayers!  I had complete sentences uttered in great need to the Lord….often filled with HELP ME, LORD!  I realized that my prayer life was revitalized and a renewed hunger for the Word flared within me.  How did this happen?  It was the crushing.  The smashing.  The twisting.  The total-lack-of-ability-to-do-anything-without-God that released the fragrance of the Holy Spirit into the room.  Like a sleeping appetite, I smelled the aroma and hungered.  I needed to eat my fill of His presence.

My friend, if you are in a difficult situation, a crushing time, a twisting trial, TAKE HEART!  Ask the Lord to release the aroma of his Holy Spirit through you.  You will be encouraged in the midst of your trial and you will hunger and thirst for righteousness anew!  Difficult times are not for nothing in our lives.  Look for God.  He is there.  Allow Him to mold you and shape you and make you into something different and usable for His glory.  He will use your crushing to draw hungry souls to himself.  AND He will use the crushing to remind you how wonderful the aroma of God in your life truly is.  Everything else pales in comparison.  Trust me.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  (Matthew 5:6  ESV)