The Stench

You know what I love?

I love when you’re watching or reading something for the 100th time, and then all of a sudden something “clicks” and it’s as though you’re seeing it brand new, with fresh eyes.

That happened to me today.

At church.

We were reading the Lazaraus story, where Jesus raises Lauzarus from the tomb after he had been dead for four days.

Now. I’m going to be really honest. Ugly honest.

I kind of rolled my eyes when I saw that this was the reading today. I mean, it’s longgggg, I was hungry, and basically, I’ve heard this story over and over again, I tend to glaze over and try and count the thread count on my jeans.

Or scrutinize my cuticle beds with sheer horror.


But today, half-listening to the reading, I was struck by something I had never really paid much attention to in the story:

When Martha, Lazarus’ sister, tells Jesus that He’s too late to save him, she says, “Lord, by now there will be a stench.” Jn 11: 1-45


Now, I’m a “smell person.” I love candles, air freshness, perfume, freshly baked cookies. I mean, I lived for a Bath & Body Works “Warm Vanilla Sugar” hand cream back in the day.

A stench? No ma’am.


And maybe that phrase stuck out to me today because I pushed the envelope and had used dry shampoo for two consecutive days and was self conscious of smelling like a troll…

But that word, stench…well, it lingered with me…


See what I did there?? 😉


But really, it got me thinking.

Now, this story obviously hits home with me for obvious reasons that I won’t bore you with. Lazarus was dead. was nearly dead at 78 pounds with my anorexia. Jesus restored Lazarus’s life. Jesus restored my life.

You get it.

But here’s the thing that I hadn’t really considered about this whole thing.

The stench.

And for a scentfully-inclined young lady, I have some thoughts.

There is definitely an odor that accompanies death. It assaults you. And much like actual physical death, there is an offensive stench that accompanies spiritual death too.

When I was “dead” in my anorexia, my stench could be smelled a mile away. Aside from the obvious skeletal body and having my hair fall out, there were also things like, isolating myself. Being angry with a micro-short fuse. Lying. Manipulating. Outbursts of venomous speech. You name it.

It was ugly. It “smelled bad.” It was the stench of death.

But the thing about the story is that Jesus worked through the stench. Four days worth of stench. He knew what He was getting Himself into.

And so too, with me.

There was nothing that I had or thought or was carrying that Jesus couldn’t handle.

Hearing this story today, even though it’s an “oldie,” it really does give me a lot of hope. That nothing is ever too far gone.

Four days is a long time.

I can tell you that with certainty after my mom’s stroke. Four days can feel like an eternity.

But four days is a long time, for a) the stench to develop, and b) for people to grieve. To be risen from the grave after that amount of time, it just reminds us that God is fully in control. And will not be deterred by the stench we give off in our state of death.


He’s greater than that.

All this talk of stenches and odors has made me rethink my dry shampoo situation. I’m starting to get anxiety hives. I think it’s time for me to go take a real shower.

Until next time…

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275 responses to “The Stench”

  1. Beautiful 😉 thanks be to Jesus who rescues us from our spiritual death … whether it is anorexia, self harm, addictions, or what have ya ! He is good 🙂

  2. So happy you can enjoy the sweet aroma of recovery Praise the Lord for his love for you. Thanks again for your insight. Your life experience is an inspiration for me. Keep writing. John

  3. When the apostle John wrote that, he wanted to make sure everyone got it – Lazarus was dead. Anyway, I want to embrace your epiphany and raise you one more. I hope you don’t mind…

    I would like to suggest that one doesn’t have to have an ED or have a bad temper and so one. Paul says that all our RIGHTEOUSNESS is filthy rags (very nasty smelling).

    In Zechariah 3, the prophet is given a vision of the high priest. There are several clues this is on the day of atonement. The cleansing – physically and spiritually – that the high priest would do was far beyond what any of us might do. And yet, he stands before God with “filthy clothes.” The words there indicate excrement and/or vomit.

    But the Good News is, God, unlike us, seems to have smell blindness. He comes near the wretched, the filthy, the smelly and even the dead; not just near but touches them and by that touch says, “I accept you, you are my beloved.” It’s hard to resist a God who loves like that.

    Now that I’ve preached, I think I will share your post and add my comment…

  4. I love it when a Bible story or passage hits us in a new and totally unexpected way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this – I never thought much about the stench before, either, or what it signifies spiritually. You have provoked new thoughts for me. Again, thanks!

    • Hi Beverly! Me too! They’re so tried and true, and when you get one of those light bulb moments, it’s really exciting. Good, I’m glad this resonated with you. big hugs xox

  5. Very interesting. You took this in a direction I had not expected, but point well taken. I really half expected the usual story of how far along Lazarus’ death was and how that was what made it such an honest miracle.
    It made me think of the line of dialogue in The Wizard of Oz, regarding the wicked witch. Although she was not resuscitated, the degree in which one could be dead is as follows:
    “As Coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her. And she’s not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead.” This he decreed after the others previously stated how she… “Is morally, ethic’lly”, “Spiritually, physically”, “Positively, absolutely”, “Undeniably and reliably Dead”. Really an interesting sequence of dialogue if you think of it.
    It pretty much sums up, not only all the different ways we can be dead, but a stench finalizes the length and degree of death. How much more dead can one be than to give off a stench? Yet, as you say, nothing is too great for Jesus.
    No wonder you have so much appreciation for the gift he has given you. What joy it must bring him as well that you have such a deep appreciation for it.

    • Oh my gosh, I have never heard that line from the W of Oz. WOW! It really is revealing. You’re right – there are a lot of ways that we can be without life and dead. I mean, I can think back to times when I’ve walked though each one of those. i am so grateful for the second chance 🙂 (and 500th and 700th chances) Thanks for the encouragement. big hugs xox

      • Those lines are delivered by different munchkins. I think that’s why they are barely noticeable just before they sing “The Witch is Dead”. It is interesting.

  6. I almost rolled my eyes too at Mass lol but it is always such a powerful story. definitely made for Lent!

    well written! as always- you always enlighten me ❤

    • Yes! it was made for Lent indeed. haha, yeah I had that Catholic guilt surge through my heart when I looked at the missalette and nearly groaned when I saw the length. I had brunch on the brain. **I’m so bad!!** haha. Leave it to God to use that as an opportunity to really speak to my heart! thanks for stopping by! big hugs x

  7. Hi BBB, you are starting and very fascinating path with this idea of death. Think about hell it is eternal death, think about sickness that leads to death. You are well acquainted with sickness that leads to death with your close call.

    Now, the next thought, I would challenge you to think about death and sickness to death as an enemy of the highest order. I would even challenge you to hate sickness and death. Why would I do such a thing?

    I found as I hated sickness and death more perfectly in my life, I hated to see death and sickness touch even my enemies because sickness and death were bigger enemies than they were to me. This strangely led me to love my enemies compared to the hate I had for death and sickness that could hurt them.

    Oh death where is thy sting? In Jesus’s case death’s sting was swallowed up in love and grace. What do you think? I am taking nothing away from what you said, I agree heartily as I understand your thoughts.

    Feel free to tell me how this risky thought strikes you!
    Your friend in Christ,

    • Oh wow, Denny, what a powerful thought! Hating sickness and death definitely points to our life-giving Father. Lots to mull over. thanks for the great food for thought! big hugs xox

  8. Wow. I’m trying to imagine you putting together those side-by-sides a year ago, and realizing just much you’ve accomplished. You go, lady!

    • Thank Brian. Yeah, I can’t believe I published those. That’s why the post was delayed. I kept putting them in and then taking them out. Finally I just said…Just do it! It shows the glory of God! hugs xox

  9. I have a Hawaiian friend in Vegas and we were walking around. So, Hawaiians appear in two sizes Dwayne Johnson or Buddha. So me and the Rock were walking the strip and I noticed a few women that were strolling about with possible ED. My friend said, “you like the skinny ones.” I told him your story over a slice of pizza. He apologized. He brought up Louis Zamperini and focused on his similar early teenage achievement, later extreme weight loss, and his forgiveness of his captors through Christianity. Deep conversations over pizza. Belief, and restoration might be all you need.

  10. It is always a great moment when God brings something new from His Word that we feel so familiar with when reading and don’t expect much to come from it. I worked at a Christian camp for 3 years and we taught all the sessions for the students which would work in cycles throughout the year so I would usually hear the same sermon weekly for about 3 months at a time. It was always awesome when you would realize a new, beautiful truth whether during the sermon or in discussion afterward. I also have been studying through John for a few years and studied Leviticus a year or two before I started in John. Something that stuck with me from Leviticus was the opportunity and challenge to be a ‘sweet aroma’ before the Lord as it is mentioned in the sacrificial system. I thought it is a great analogy to help us seek Him more to change our natural aroma to that of Christ in order to glorify God more and more each day. Sometimes I pause over that sentence of Martha’s and let it sink in like you did today. Which takes me back to Leviticus and every Christian can look back as you do and seek the aroma brought before the Lord and how He is not scared of the stench, but this is a chance to bring Him glory as Christ explains the reason Lazarus died.

    • Hi Sonya! oh wow, what an awesome and fulfilling job. How amazing that you were able to give those kids such a moving experience. I went to a christian camp for 8 years growing it. it was really instrumental in my faith formation. A sweet aroma…wow. That’s so true! Scent is something that spans the test of time too — whether in the biblical times or 2017! thanks for your encouraging words. hugs xox

  11. So, funny thing is I was hoping whoever celebrated would do use the “short” version of the readings. I’ve always loved Martha in this story.
    But this, this speaks deeply to the heart. Best homily of the week.

    • Oh wow, Teri, you’re kind to say that. Thank you so much. Yeah, it’s definitely a long story. But it’s worth the length. It really does hit me right in the heart 🙂 thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  12. Between work and DWTS, I’m running a bit late this evening! A few items before you pop over to Patreon for comments on tonight’s article:

    Email for you. A follow up comment on last Thursday’s, Patreon, and my Saturday post, well, take a look. I trust things continue to improve for your mother. Prayers continue.

  13. Wow, its really great to read such a thing and no it didn’t stink at all. A job well done. Keep thinking deeper on the things of God. PS: You don’t even look like the same person. You have taken on a whole new transformation, hint hint for your next talking points memo. Anyway I must go for now. I know there will be others that wish to comment on your post.

  14. One of my favorite Gospels also. To know that anything is possible when you have HIM in your life. It also doesn’t hurt that my mom’s name is Martha and she has an identical twin sister named Mary, I wonder where my grandparents got the names for them.

  15. This has to be one of my favorite posts! I am a “senses” person so when you talked about stench, I was right there with you. Smell does have an impact on us in more ways then we realize regularly. Although not the most pleasant thought, death of any living thing comes with an odor. It does determine how LONG something has died.

    However, God can resurrect the grimiest , grossest, and funkiest parts of us and revive it into a beautiful fragrance to spread throughout the world!! Death really has no power around him. It is so cool to see that again through your blog.

    …. and speaking of new life….EASTER IS COMING!! 😉


  16. Once again, you nail it. I’ve heard homilies about that detail of the Lazarus story. That one word gets the point across better than a whole slew of verbiage. Love to you and your wonderful family.

    • Thanks David. Wow what a kind thing to say. Yeah “stench” is one of those words that kind of sounds like what it is: assaulting. Unpleasant. Stench just draws up the mental image and smell. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  17. As always, thank you for sharing your personal story with the world. I think that those with and those without eating disorders can benefit from your message. I know that I can. I was dead in my sin and now I am alive in Jesus. It is wonderful that he has no sense of smell when it comes to the stench of my sin.

    I know that God has a plan for you. I hope a real shower is part of that plan!

    I know that you are an actress and model; but, perhaps there is a stage that you have not considered: the stage behind the pulpit. One of my ministers in the past was a professional singer, back up vocalist, at one time, for the likes of Tony Orlando, John Denver and others. She toured the country and was living in the fast lane. One morning on tour, she work up on the bathroom floor in her hotel, stood up and looked into the mirror. She did not like who she saw there. She packed her bags and headed home. She went back to church and that eventually led to seminary. She is now a fully ordained pastor. She still sings to congregations and uses her comfort speaking to crowds, garnered as an entertainer, to speak of a risen King, to tell of the walking dead brought to life by faith, to spread the Word of God.

    There are stages that lead to worldly fame and there are stages that lead to eternity. There are words that lift you up for a night and words that lift you up forever. You were one of the walking dead, through belief in Jesus Christ you have been brought to life. In your gratitude, I see words of eternal worth come from you pen (or computer in this case). I have no clue as to where God is leading you. As it is said in Isaiah 55: 8-9:

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
    9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    My small finite brain cannot hold the infinite thoughts of God. So I cannot tell you what plans He has for you; but, I wonder if He isn’t calling you deeper, calling you to be one of those blessed with speaking His word to this hurting and hurtful world? One of those who goes from being a wounded lamb to a healing shepherd?

    Sometimes songs can reach places where words alone cannot go,
    Sometimes the heart may see things the mind will never know.

    So, I give you fragments of songs, if you do not know them, I hope you will listen to them and think about this:

    Excerpt 1:

    “Good Good Father”
    (Written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown)

    Oh, it’s love so undeniable
    I, I can hardly speak
    Peace so unexplainable
    I, I can hardly think

    As you call me deeper still [3x]
    Into love, love, love

    Excerpt 2:

    Calling You Deeper
    (by Marvin Sapp)

    There is a call
    That resounds in my ear
    It’s calling me deeper, deeper
    Breaks every failure
    And removes all my fears
    It’s calling me deeper, deeper
    See the place that I’m in
    Can no longer contain my destiny
    And this world has its pain
    But I adhere to the call inside… of me

    Its calling me deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper
    Its calling me deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper….

    ….This can’t be it
    God is so much bigger than this
    I was at a point where I wanted to quit
    Then I heard a new call

    See the place that I’m in
    Can no longer contain my destiny
    Though it may have some pain
    But I adhere to the call inside… of me
    It’s calling me… deeper


    And to conclude with some secular writing:

    As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [All the world’s a stage]
    (William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616)

    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
    Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lined,
    With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws and modern instances;
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

    In other words, we all come from ashes and return to ashes. Our time in this world, from infant to child to adult to tottering old age, is but a mere breath. We may reap some fame and some fortune: but, it is what of is of eternal worth that matters. In eternity, even Shakespeare’s works will turn to dust as at the mountains will crumble into the sea and the seas boil into space eventually. So my dear Lady, set your eyes on that which is of eternal worth. Listen to God’s call. In this timeout you have caring for your mother, spend time listening. Let God call you deeper, deeper… into His love and Light.

    Just some thought from one in the sixth age.

    God Bless.

    • Gosh, thank you so much. I am so incredibly touched by such kind words. I don’t know what God has in store for my life, but I am excited to find out. And I am definitely trying to listen for His call. And you’re right- this is a great listening season. That’s for sure. Thank you again for this beautiful encouragement. You are a blessing to me! Hugs and love xox

  18. in our church, we did a rendition of the lazarus, and I got to be Mary 🙂 coz of the shortage of women in the congregation.
    The blast from the past picture is striking.

  19. Ha-ha! You made me laugh and you also hit home and kind of slapped me in the back of my head with some things you daid. I needed all three.

    I always loved this story, since I was a kid and I first heard about it in Cathechism. It has always been a story of hope. But I had never paid attention to the stench part of it until this past weekend; kind of like you. I started to think that it made sense since it can get hot in that part of the world and bodies decompose faster as a result. I also started to think that that’s why perhaps they closed the tombs with a rock: To keep the stench from coming out. I also started to think about how bodies do not smell in other parts of the world because of colder climates. Where I live, dead animals by the side of the road do not decompose as fast in winter as they do in summer. With all those thoughts, I kept on thinking that Jesus knew that he’s beloved friend was going to be fine and that’s probably why he didn’t hurry back.

    And if you thought the readings were long this past Sunday, wait until Palm Sunday. I think that’s when they read the whole Passion. I never liked that one. Neither as a kid, nor as an adult. I would start leaning on the backrest of the pew in front of me, feeling my lower back starting to go numb, only to have my mother pull from my arm and forcing me back to stand straight. We should all be granted salvation by default just for standing through that reading! Haha! If only, right? 😉

      • oh gosh, no worries at all! me too — gosh, do i miss my blackberry with the keyboard. i resisted getting an iPhone for so long because i knew i was going to miss being able to type so well on it. The iPhone keyboard is its weakness, in my humble opinion. I have so. many. typos!! 🙂 haha

      • I’m an Android user. They are not much better. I prefer a computer and a keyboard. I can type so much better and so much faster with a computer.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. Yeah, I’m gearing up for Palm Sunday. Ever since I watched the movie The Passion, the Palm Sunday readings really come alive though. What an incredible gift He gave. hahaha i think you’re right about that! Posture for salvation! 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement. hugs x

  20. You are so right, God is not deterred by our stench. If anything he feels our pain more than anything. This is where it was written that “Jesus wept” before he called Lazarus out of his tomb. He is concerned about every area of our lives.

  21. I am so glad you are better. That before picture is a little startling because I’ve always seen you so bright and healthy. I love that you also occasionally can’t focus in church. I feel bad about it when it happens to me but my husband says it is normal.

    • Thanks Rebecca. That really means a lot. Yeah seeing the physical transformation is startling to say the least. I was hesitant to post the photo but then I realized that it just showed the power and glory of God. I am so grateful for that second chance. Haha oh yeah, totally normal!! 🙂 thanks for your kind words. Hugs and love xox

  22. I like the honesty in your writing. I’m not sure where you live, but my guess is nowhere near North Dakota 😊. If you lived closer I would love you collab on some writing and visit about Faith.
    Good Bless.

    • Thanks so much! I’m glad it resonated with you! Oh shoot, yeah unfortunately I’m not near there. Have always wanted to visit though! Have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  23. Really good post my friend! Thank you for being so brutally vulnerable on honest. This post frankly hit me very deep as I wrestle through living with an alcoholic who is closing in on death having sadly not yet hit rock bottom but has dodged the bullet multiple times. It is beyond heartbreaking. But I also know this of myself as well when I went through a season myself in a sadly broken state. I too have my pictures I look back on. But this post gives me hope. 4 days is a long time. So, thank you for reminding me of this! In the meantime, I think I will ponder this post further and wash my hair. 🙂 Be well my friend. You matter!!

  24. Yes, the stench of death really does hit home, you see people wearing their masks on the news after devastating earth events, searching for survivors. And yet spiritual death is far far more odious, and Jesus is our sweet smelling ‘spikenard’ ointment. Jesus loves you forever.

  25. Princess, I almost became a doubting Thomas on seeing the first two pictures. Great you but the two faces together thereafter and I coult tell the blink in those eyes was you. Are you having make up on in the second picture or was it the anorexia that did your skin so in? Gos talk of stench and I bet you had some back then whether you smelled that or anyone bothered to tell you. And am honest I did have a body and mouth stench a few years back – and yep I was going thru ‘real shit’ then too. But wow what you got from that gospel reading hmm only that inspring Grace directly from above leads you so. Father God spanked you hard there sensing your ‘distraction with imagined hunger’ and your ‘boredom at the length ‘ of the reading. Ain’t He Amazingly Awesome?

    • Yeah that was how gray and lifeless my skin was. I mean, sure the quality of camera has improved since then – but you can see how drastic and change was. Haha, yeah he definitely snapped me back to attention real quick! Hugs and love xox

  26. I have been reading your posts and greatly enjoy your candid writings that are obviously heartfelt and encouraging to others. Keep up the good work. One suggestion: Do away with the multiple animated GIF images; they are kind of childish, distracting, and take away from the integrity of your messages. One image per article should suffice. Think about it. XOXO

  27. St. Paul on how those alive in Christ smell, since you’re on the subject..
    “We are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” – 2 Cor. 2:15-16
    Cheers 🙂

  28. You are spot on! 2 Corinthians 2:15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

  29. You want to know the most beautiful thing about ya is? The way you use your story of your time going through anorexia, fighting it, recovering from it, and then telling others of it and the entire time you’re using it to glorify God and what He has done for you. All of us has something we’re not proud of and afraid to share with others, but you bravely put it out there and glorify God in it. Like the woman from the Bible who was sick and no treatment could cure her, tried to get to Jesus and on faith thought that if she could just touch his cloak, she’d be healed. And it happened, and Jesus felt it happened and He wanted to call attention to it, because like you, he wanted God to be glorified in that act.

    Keep it up Caralyn, it really is the most beautiful aspect of you that you love God, that you thank Him, and that you share what He has done.

    • Oh my gosh, you are so kind. I am truly humbled by your words. Thank you. Yeah, God saw me through some pretty challenging times so all I can do is praise Him 🙂 thanks again for all your constant encouragement and positivity. You’re a blessing to me 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  30. Thank you for being so open and honest about your struggles, and with your relationship with Jesus. God absolutely uses our brokenness for His glory. One of my favorite verses is from 2 Corinthians 2:15 “For we are a pleasing fragrance of Christ to God…” Life-giving words are sweet to those looking for them.

  31. I am so glad that our Lord glad has brought back from “death”. Our world needs more women like you who are radiant inside and out. One thing I can tell in looking at the two pictures of you side by side is there is a very clear difference in your eyes. The current you looks so much more alive, and vibrant, just by your eyes alone.

    • oh my gosh Jonathon, thank you so much. Yeah, the comparison side by side really shows the dead and alive me. I am just so grateful for the second chance at life! Thanks for your incredibly kind words. big hugs to you xo

      • Incidentally, I know exactly what you mean about a verse in scripture “clicks” all of a sudden. For me, it came after my Autism diagnosis. I wondered why I was born on the spectrum , but then I came to the story in the Gospel of John, Chapter 9, in which Jesus heals the man born blind at the Pool of Siloam, and the disciples start by asking him the question of if it was because of his sin or his parents sin that the man was born that way. The response of Jesus has come out all the more to me,

        “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him…”

        That verse alone is all the reason I have hope that their is a divine plan for what every conditions, maladies, and thorns we may be given. After all, God seems to like calling the broken and wounded.

      • Oh wow. What a powerful verse! I’m shocked I’ve never heard that before. Wowzer. Yes! His glory is displayed through every challenge. Thanks so much for sharing that with me. It really clicked with me too! hugs xox

  32. Nothing like a bit of visceral reality to drag us into the heart of a story! I’ve often thought how unfair it must have been for Lazarus and his family for him to have to go through death twice! Thanks for popping into my blog and all the likes recently…hugely appreciate it.

    • Haha no kidding! I’ve never thought about that, but wow yeah, that poor family. What an emotional journey they’ve had to go through. Thank you so much for this great response. Hugs and love xox

  33. If you don’t like stenches, you probably should stay away from Lima, Peru, at least certain parts of it, anyway. There was a walkway adjoining districts between Comas and Pro of Lima to get a better bus route to the richer side of Lima, La Molina (closer bus Comas-La Molina took about 2 1/2 to 3 hours vs. 1 hr from Pro). On that walkway, which was dust, people of the community would leave many kinds of garbage, particularly the larger kind–bricks and demolition–and especially, dead animals. Lima being hot and humid, the dust, the dead animals, in bags that opened and showed the death in its states of rot. The corruption, the dust, the humidity all mixed together in something you probably wouldn’t want as a scent for your shampoo. Unless, maybe, you suddenly decided to go grunge.

    “Stenchy” was my nickname in jail last fall/winter. It was not so nice in kind but nice in real time for effectiveness, as it led to a number of fights. Sometimes I think mini societies are just a quick study of emotional release, as those in these mini societies whether hospital or jail, tend to at some point release emotion in other ways than walking by the river. At times, punches are thrown. I have been on the receiving end both jail and hospitals. Mini societies are quite a good study of humanity, but so was Lima, since people live so tightly packed there, too. Emotions are often near the surface in these situations. The more opportunities people have to lash out, the easier they are to study for an observer like myself. The hotter the pot, the sooner it boils. The sooner it boils, the sooner a phase change happens.

    The gal I married always said, “Style before comfort”. Sometimes I go the other way. The best smells I find in natural flowers out on the way rather than in deodorants or colognes. My skin is very sensitive to any kind of application, even lotion.

    I suppose this post is an equating of death to stench, and I try to relate. I don’t see much difference between life and death, though, nor much to smells. It all seems the same. It shouldn’t, and I realize that, but it does. I suppose I find ways to compensate, though, and maintain this semblance of an aura that life actually does or should have meaning. But blah blah blah I better shut up.

  34. Well done! Our pastor did a series called “The anatomy of God” and one thing we talked about is God’s nose and what smells good to God. Interesting to see you write about the same thing!

  35. AWESOME post! That “stench” is something that plagues most of us at different times in our lives. I also love how God gave you a new revelation concerning a passage of scripture which you also deemed “dead,” yet He gave you a message of LIFE through those familiar words 😁 Amen. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Good parallel. I remember my grandmother always saying ‘Liars STINK in the nostrils of God’ to prevent me from lying. LOL! Stench is the obvious evidence of death, one of the more obnoxious ones. Depending on the death, you can easily gloss over what you see (for instance the old time practice of those who would take pics of their dead loved ones sitting in chairs, bassinettes, etc…getting a family picture before they were unrecognizable – creepy). However, we cannot ignore smells. They are visceral and assault us in an unapologetic way. Either it can be pleasing, complimentary or light…but death doesn’t ever have a mild odor. It’s a clear indication something is no longer living according to its original purpose and breakdown processes are either beginning or in full swing.

    The thing about the Lazarus story that I like isn’t about the death itself, but everyone’s reaction to it. I wonder what it would have been like to hear what the death experience was like from Lazarus’ point of view. Instead, we see Jesus raise him, his family and friends rejoice, the disciples become astonished. And what does Lazarus do? He doesn’t say anything, but instead sits at the side of Jesus. A fitting depiction of conquering the grave – you don’t really worry about what it’s like because you’ve been there and done that. What more is there to fear?

    • Lias stink in the nostrils of God! wow! now there’s some powerful imagery for ya!!! thanks for this thoughtful response. you’re right – seeing the reactions in that bible story are definitely interesting. Amen to that! there is nothing to fear! big hugs xox

  37. Reading something for the hundredth time and then getting a new perspective somehow speaks to me of how God’s timing is perfect for each one of His children. I have experienced this same phenomenon many times in the past few years while studying scriptures that I thought I knew forwards and backwards. Thank you for this one. You wowed me with your writing, as always.

    • Thank you Sherron. Amen to that! It really does show how His timing is perfect. I love thinking about that. thanks for stopping by and for the encouraging words! big hugs xox

  38. Yes the Lazarus Gospel is always the last before Holy Week. I can’t imagine in those cave-dwelling tomb days what the stenches must have been. You figure not every tomb had a huge stone in front of it as Jesus’, I am sure quite a stench came streaming out of even the ones of the quite wealthy. You add in, as they were doing at Jesus tomb on “Easter Sunday” (when they were addressed by the angel) that women of the families came to these tombs to anoint the body, change the dressings etc.. That must have been a bad trip on the senses!! LOL!! God Bless you and all that you have done since your time close to death, and also recently for your mother. You have transformed yourself into the fragrant beauty of a dozen fresh roses, with a blossoming smile to top it all off. xoxoxoxo

  39. Thanks for sharing this. It was inspirational and interesting, and I enjoyed reading it as always. You should write a book sometime, too. You have so much to say, and it is easy to see how your writing makes such a positive impact on people. Thanks again.

    • He stinketh!! Oh gosh I love that. SO much. How funny that language was. Sometimes I wished we still talked like that haha 🙂 thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  40. When I was in the CYMHS (Child and Youth Mental Health Service) at Mater Hospital in Brisbane, there were quite a few anorexic women there. Unfortunately, since I was suffering from severe psychosis, my behaviour was not as normal as it would of been had I not been ill, thereby making those women treat me with scorn and contempt. I remember one girl saying of me ‘And they say I (she) have an eating disorder,’ as my medication caused weight gain.
    I’m glad you are far more kind and merciful than the people I encountered in the inpatient ward. Because of your piety, God has blessed you with a healthy body. May God give you the baby you desire, when you are prepared for it.

  41. It must be our stubborn human nature, that it can take lots of reading or hearing about something before it sinks in and we finally understand
    I recently had a person Revelation, and a much needed emotional release by watching “Touched by an Angel” dealing with anger and how it spreads from one to another, by the end I was in tears and hysterical laughter

  42. Great read! Great Blog! Great story! Thanks for stopping over at mine and I hope my take on Lazarus deepened your understanding. Though, you’re pretty deep already! 🙂
    Blessings -M

  43. Too funny – I always remember the story, but not the ‘stench’ – I thought it was an odd word to use (we go to church on Saturday) and it stuck with me all night.

    I love reading your stories thank you, you are an inspiration ! 🙂

  44. Lovely post! The Lord is using you to help put many things into perspective–and I’m not just talking about the stench of death. Lol. We can be lost and found, and lost again, but we’re never out of His reach. I needed this. Thank you.

  45. Great connect between the stench of physical death and the stench of spiritual death. I think we often miss the latter, but dead is dead whether physically or spiritually. Realizing this make Jesus’ life all the more beautiful! Jesus doesn’t just make bad people good, he makes dead people alive!

    I appreciate your checking out my blog as well and sending some likes my way. Thanks.

  46. Does your pastor read from the liturgical calendar, too? We just read about Lazarus (again) on Sunday too!

    So great when we see new, fresh things in age-old material

    • Thanks! I agree, seeing with new eyes is such an awesome thing. Yes! I’m actually catholic so we follow the readings in the liturgical calendar. 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      • I knew that. That makes sense. My pastor has been using the liturgical calendar the past two years and it has been so interesting! Keeps him on task 🙂

  47. What is this Caralyn? Every visit to your writing brings some uncanny connect. Would you believe it if I told you that a leader I knew shared exactly the same message you wrote many years ago, including the phrase,’stink of death’ that hangs around an unredeemed person? He even added that although Lazarus was resurrected, it needed the stink of death that may still have hung around the tomb to be cleared away, and that although we may be redeemed by Jesus, it takes time for patterns to change, and the stink of death to be really replaced by aroma, and this requires us to emerge from the tomb.

    That message worried me, as there were so many areas of my life that needed complete transformation, and since I don’t believe in coincidences, your post was an encouragement to keep emerging from the tomb, so that the stink of death doesn’t hang around longer than it has to.

    As always, thank you for doing what you do. Would appreciate your prayers for our ongoing transformation as a family. No one sees the heart except God, and I find myself so full of unpleasantness many times, that if it wasn’t for Jesus, I would have despaired. What would we do without Him?

    BTW, my daughter is now following your blog, and came and asked me if I would be ok with her being like you. When I asked her what she meant, she said that you had the knack of being completely real and yourself, unapologetically, and at the same time, your love and pursuit of God was evident. This is an 11 year old talking. I said yes. Because that’s what I’ve always wanted for myself as well as for my family – to be totally ourselves as we’re born to be, as well as to be deeply in love with God. I realize I’ve come to trust you through your blog because I trust the apple of my eye with you.

    Much love to you and your family. You’re in our prayers. Strength to strength and glory to glory in the grace of Christ for you.

    • Indi, I am so touched by this. Truly. I’m riding the in car with my dad and I read it aloud to him and I was holding back tears by the end of it. Wow. Thank you. I am humbled that your daughter said that. Thank you with all my heart. I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers. Keep emerging from that tomb – love that so much. Sending you and your family all my love ❤❤❤❤❤

      • Oh, I didn’t see your reply! I’m so honoured you would read out this reply to him. My warmest wishes and THAT handshake to my brother. There are two dads of friends who have stood out for me because of what their daughters say about them, and he’s one of them. I’m always touched, humbled and inspired to read about what he has been and is in your life.

      • 🙂 I will definitely extend that. Yeah, he is a remarkable man. I know how blessed I am to have an upstanding man as my father. Sadly not every child is that fortunate. I will definitely pass this wonderful message along. 🙂 thanks again x

    • And not to forget how enormously different and radiant you look now. That took courage to share those photos. Am reflecting and writing on preciousness right now. Those photos were precious, and show how precious you are to God and what great beauty He has brought out of you, indeed all of us, blessed is His precious name!

      • Gosh. You and your family are such a blessing in my life. Thank you ❤ Yes, God rescued me from the depths. And forever I will sing His praises.

  48. Geez I guess I’ll never get a date with you! I just took an oil bath because my dry skin makes me itchy! Hair gets so greaaaaassy!

    But seriously, I’m like that too at the Mass. I tune out and then a certain phrase keys me in. I find the best homilists – usually- are the ones who don’t read it from a page but just extemporize. They seem more alive and plugged in.

  49. It’s amazing how God is constantly revealing Himself to us even when we feel like we have already read and heard the same passage over and over again. Thank you for the reminder not to take things and most importantly people for granted.

  50. This was so encouraging! I’ve never commented on your blogs, but just know – you’re really talented! And your story is absolutely amazing! God has done and will do soo much through you! Shout out from little ol’ missionary me in England! 🇬🇧❤️

    • Oh M, thank you so much! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the read. And gosh, that’s kind of you to say. Thank you. Wooo England! That’s so cool!! 😊😊😊thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  51. Hi BBB,

    Thank the Lord He takes us though the odor of death. Good word picture…sort of, more aroma. Thanks,

    Gary On Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 4:29 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “You know what I love? I love when you’re > watching or reading something for the 100th time, and then all of a sudden > something “clicks” and it’s as though you’re seeing it brand new, with > fresh eyes. That happened to me today. At church. We were readin” >

  52. I love reading your perspectives. I always feel so inspired after reading one of your posts! I know you’ve had a lot to contend with, but you have a gift for making others feel like they can tackle anything!

  53. I think Lazarus and his family should be the first Martyrs. Think of what he and his family when through. Then think what it must have felt like when they realized they are going to have to go all through that PAIN and GRIEF again. Now that is worse than Vanauken’s ‘A Severe Mercy’. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through the pain of the grief I’m going through now again nor my wife going through her death again. They are giving as much as any martyr for their belief. The only consolation is the second time around Christ will have defeated death and will take them directly upon there leaving their body into heaven.

    • Thanks so much for this thoughtful response. What an interesting perspective! I know, it takes my breath away to think of what that family went through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Hugs and love xox

  54. I’ll be honest… “ugly honest”… I generally tune out the second I hear “Jesus” but you wrote this so eloquently and it definitely hits close to home for me. You make such good points here that I just had to commend you for it. Thank you for sharing this and I’m so glad you lived long enough to do so. As an eating disorder “survivor” myself, I know all too well how easily ED’s can take your life. Thank you for this.

  55. You’re beautiful! And I can’t handle the word stench ahhh! I’m still new to the scriptures, four years into hearing about God, the real loving God via holy Spirit. I didn’t know Noah’s arc until age 25 bc raised agnostic and mum was a religion theology major more of a Buddhist! I love the Lazarus story heh but I’m new. Jonah is my favorite book though oddly enough

  56. I’m skimming through your earlier posts as we’ve just connected recently. This is a good one. And I’m just so amazed at the truly awesome physical transformation you (really) suffered. You look COMPLETELY DIFFERENT now than at the time of your anorexia. The wonders God does with us if we just let him… Glad you got rid of that stench inside, it shows crystal clear. Please stay beautiful. You’re a delight for tired eyes.

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