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the scent of water | book review + personal thoughts

I’ve so enjoyed this book!!! “The Scent of Water” written by Naomi Zacharias is a compelling book on the beauty in tragedy, the grace of God experienced in the weakness of ourselves and the pain inflicted by others. Zacharias tells stories that are jarring, humbling and inspirational. The depth in which she experiences the experiences of others drew me in from the start. There is a story from a woman who was rejected and taken advantage of by her family, her husband, and society, and though she tried to make a new start in a factory after escaping from prostitution, she couldn’t awake from the nightmare when her past was revealed and again, she returned to the life she so longed to be free of. This conversation is compelling and convicting as Zacharias and her friend dialogue with this precious woman and she asks them “If I were to walk into your church today, would people see me as a woman, or would they see me as a prostitute?” Zacharias explains her thoughts as she says “I did not reply to her somewhat rhetorical question, because I wasn’t sure I was proud of the answer.” While her friend Toos responds with graceful honesty, “Some would see you as a prostitute. But they would be wrong. And it is not how Jesus would see you.” The woman replies “No, The problem with your people is, they tell me I should leave, but they never want to let me forget where I came from either.” At that line my stomach turns and I feel something like a sharp jab shake me. I’ve done that to myself, I’ve done that to others. When Jesus said He has removed our sin “as far as the east is from the west” I realize again how much I’ve held on to, how great His love is and his great mercy that He has truly made us new, made me new.  Looking back to my past it all seems to near, yet it feels like a lifetime ago. If I’m unwilling to receive the life that Christ has prepared for me, then I’m unwilling to extend that same grace to others. Tragic. Blasphemy. I’m convinced we only extend as much grace as we receive…  We have all come from brokenness of one kind of another, but Christ longs for us to come to him and receive mercy and grace, healing and rest. Imagine that, the one who is perfect and created the world, the mountains, every culture and every nationality, the one of intricately wove together your body and your heart, the one who died willingly a death of unimaginable pain and disgrace, is calling my name, is calling your name for us to come to him. He removes the weight of sin and just like he says to the paralytic man in Matthew 9 he says to us today “Take courage, “your name”; your sins are forgiven and the penalty remitted.” And he continues with words of love and welcome as He calls us to “Come to Me, “your name” who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your soul. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest, relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome, useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant, and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” May we each move forward in the grace of God, with His wholesome and gracious yoke, releasing the weight of our lives into His loving care, and extending that same grace and care to one another. I love this quote from Zacharias as she highlights the beauty and grace apparent in the scars of our lives. “The truth is, scars are an important part of our stories, as they are to Prema, to Channary, and to Latika in Slumdog Millionaire. A scar can remain as a tribute to what happened; it tells us something went wrong, that someone got hurt. A scar lets us know that she survived. The tension between flawed and special reveals something about the viewer too. It weeds out those who only appreciate the kind of beauty that is obvious. And it affords the opportunity to those with true character to explore beneath the rough edges to uncover an altogether different kind of beauty. But it’s the kind you have to roll up your sleeves to discover. Then again, if it were not so, it wouldn’t be special.”

the scent of water | stories

Click here to pick up your copy of “The Scent of Water : grace for every kind of broken” by Naomi Zacharias. We are all a little like black pearls… and that’s beautiful. much love | katee grace

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