My niece, Erin, has been in New Zealand for the last several months, working at a camp and exploring the beauty of the island. I admit I’ve been a little jealous as she’s shared pictures of pure amazingness—gorgeous beaches, stunning mountains. I’m at a loss for words to describe how beautiful New Zealand is! A picture truly is worth a thousand words.
The other day she checked something off of her bucket list when she frolicked through lavender fields. Yes, you read that right. Here’s the video.
Don’t you want smell-o-vision?
I spoke with my sister, her mom, not long after this and she told me she’d asked Erin if the fields smelled glorious. No, she said. You needed to pick some lavender and crush it in your hand to smell the aroma.
Hmmm. Crushing reveals the aroma.
Lavender is a beautiful herb to look at, but the full effect, it’s real purpose, is revealed by being crushed.
I think the same principle holds true for people. We can be pleasing on the outside, but our true character is often revealed through trying, crushing circumstances. It is then that we see what we’re really made of. Are we bitter and hateful or trusting and hopeful? Are we whiny or serene? Do we complain about the unfairness of life or do we find a way to grow through it? What kind of aroma is revealed when we are crushed? A pleasing one, like lavender, or a putrid one, like a stink bug.
Meet Bethany, my good friend from graduate school. For the last 3 years, she has endured 4 surgeries and 21 rounds of chemotherapy as she’s battled liposarcoma. Crushing, in many ways. But can I tell you…the fragrance she exudes is AH-mazing. I’ve watched her become a remarkably bold woman who fearlessly shares who Jesus is and what He’s done in her life. She is authentic, funny, faithful, and courageous. In the midst of her own struggles, she continues to lead weekly Bible studies for her neighborhood women, pointing them to the One who gives her strength. These last years are not something she asked for nor have they been easy, but she’s said she wouldn’t trade them for anything because she’s learned to love Jesus with even more passion. She’s chosen beauty over bitterness.
The crushing reveals the aroma.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. ~2 Corinthians 2:14
All photos and video compliment of Erin McMichael.