Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Memorizing God

He gently traced the spidery veins on the back of my hand, blue and smooth beneath the transparent, pale skin. To my left, another little boy smoothed my braid, over and over, sometimes burying his nose in the honey brown strands, and sometimes brushing the soft ends on his cheeks, as a smile crossed his face.

There in that pew on a Sunday morning, my little boys were lovingly memorizing pieces of their mama. I know this, because I did the same when I was young.

I remember brushing against my mama’s leg while she sat on the couch visiting with a friend, as I played with my dolls on the floor at their feet. My child-like senses enjoyed the feel of the smoothness, and I thought, I wonder what Mama’s friend’s leg feels like? So I maneuvered myself nonchalantly across the carpet, and “accidentally” brushed against her, only to find it prickly, and unpleasant. Back I went to Mama’s leg; yes, the pleasant softness was still there. My mama is the softest!

She rubbed a cream into her face at night, and wore “Emeraude” perfume, or “Jontue”. Those scents can still bring back memories for me, memories that linger in the sweetest recesses of my heart, for they make me a child again. My mama smells the best!

I inherited her fair, fair skin, and while I did not value the unique beauty of it in myself, I marveled at the contrast between her dark hair and pale, soft skin. Much the way I thought Snow White would have looked, so was my mama to me. My mama is as beautiful as a princess!

Even my husband speaks in soft, reverent tones when he tells of his mother’s hand cream, Rose-Milk, and how she used it every night. (He believes she always used too much on purpose, just so she could rub his little hands in hers to get rid of the excess!) I’ve searched in vain for this cream, for I would so like to trigger his senses again of the woman who mothered him until he was sixteen, and then passed away after a four-year battle with cancer.

Sometimes, I can hardly believe that I am now the mama, and my children think of me in the same ways that I thought of mine! It is truly wonderful and overwhelming at the same time. If they memorize those things, surely their impartial judgement will file my faults away with the rest!

I know that most days, my scented hair does little to cover the stench of my words. And many moments, lotion adorns hands that are not always gentle. Even more so, my fair skin is merely a shell on a dark spirit.

When I cried out to God and begged Him to keep my children from memorizing those parts of me that are not worthy, I was reminded that not one hair, not one cell, is really worthy of Him.

But then I found this.

For we are unto God an aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing
. 2 Corinthians 2:15

Here at home, engaging in daily character building (for everyone!), and in the world, by example, I am to be an aroma of Christ to God, and to everyone around me.

And so, to prepare, I memorize God as I once memorized my mama, and as my children memorize me.

She gently traces the lines of the Word, following the path across the wrinkled, soft page. She inhales the fragrance of His truths, letting them fall on a yielding heart, memorizing the messages so she can recall them when they are most needed.

A smile crosses her lips when she is comforted by the reminder that…

He has memorized her, too.

31 fellow travelers shared:

Holly said...

Okay, really...Elise. You DID make me cry! How beautiful your correlations are. What a comparison - paper thin skin, and paper thin leaves! And our children memorizing us, as we seek to memorize Him. We represent Him to them.w

I know the Rose Milk lotion you are talking about! Ask your husband if it is in a pink bottle, kind of like a genie bottle...with a larger bulb on bottom and a long slender neck. I think it has a picture of a rose on the front. My mom used to have some of this, too.

I will let you know if I find any!

Stacy said...

Elise-

Beautiful, as always; your writing.

My children, too, trace my hands and arms with their soft little fingers. And want me to tickle their faces with my hair. Or if I use a silly voice for a second too long they are asking for mommy's familiar voice back. Memorizing me. And what a beautiful picture- that we are to lovingly memorize Him, too.

I'll be thinking on that in the days to come. Memorizing Him.

~Stacy

Stacey said...

Hmmmm, to be an aroma of Christ. I so want to be a pleasant fragrance of Him to my family (and everyone). I want the memorized parts of me to be the softness, the laughter, the loving touches and snuggle times. The smells of my hair and the softness of my hands...I want them to long for the scent of White Gardenia lotion long after I am gone, to transport them back to that place of security and love...

Memorizing me...overwhelming.

Randi said...

Loveliness! I love the thought of my kids memorizing me (well, the good parts, anyway!) and the thought of me memorizing my Father. He is the one who will bring the worthy things out to replace the unworthy.

Kelly said...

Elise,
Thank you for sharing these beautiful reflections - for relating experience in real life to my spiritual walk. I am inspired and challenged to memorize God and be a reflection of Him to my family and others.

Mrs. S said...

Beautiful. Convicting. To think of my daughter not only remembering the vanilla scent of me, but I long for her to remember kind words, wise words. I want her to think of me as someone who always had time for her ... and so many other character traits. So often already I have failed, but we can all strive together for this. A wonderful thought to memorize our Father in heaven.

About the Rose Milk hand cream, drugstore.com has a product made by Rose milk. People's reviews speak of remembering this lotion from their childhood, so it might be similar to what your husband remembers. Search under Rose milk skin care lotion. Its expensive, but very special!

eeeemommy said...

Thank you!

Christine said...

As usual, you have hit upon such a profound message of how our children see us. I especially reread your line of lotioned hands that are not always gentle- what an image for me to remember. Beautifully written.

Mindy said...

You are a truly gifted writer!

Maxine said...

Elise,
I don't know when I've read anything more beautiful. God has gifted you with quite a way of expressing beautiful and touching things. Thank you for sharing with all of us. I remember Mama, too, but different things bring her to mind. Seldom without tears. And thanks for the reminder to memorize our God.

deb said...

Elise, I really enjoyed reading this. It sounds like a life's snippet that could be found in my "Sunshine on the Soapsuds" devotional book. You really should think about writing a book!

Kate said...

My mom always smelled like Jergens lotion--the old stuff with the cherry almond scent. I don't think she uses it anymore, but she still has that smell. Hmmmm...I wonder what smells will remind my kids of me? I don't think I smell like anything--except maybe poop (from changing their diapers all the time), or sweat (from chasing them around the house and yard all day long). Yuck! I hope they don't remember me as I am now. After potty training, I'll start "breakin' out" the good smelling stuff! Great post, as usual, Elise! Loved it!

Lyn said...

You have no idea how much this touched me. This weekend right after my mother passed away I went to the bathroom to wash my face, as I grabbed a wash cloth to dry off my face and my tears her scent overwhelmed me. It is something that will stay with me forever. then I come here and read this.

Leslie said...

Is this it?

http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=79036&catid=151&brand=27494&trx=PLST-0-BRAND&trxp1=151&trxp2=79036&trxp3=1&trxp4=0&btrx=BUY-PLST-0-BRAND

bluemountainmama said...

Incredible, Elise... I think this is your most poignant and beautifully written post that I've read so far....what great and profound truths and thoughts. And a great reminder that it's more than the outside loveliness...I pray the same over and over- that my son will remember the gentleness and love instead of the ugliness and harshness that I sometimes dish out in my humanness, weariness, and impatience......

Wendy WaterBirde said...

This made me a little sad, since as a child I was chemically sensitive and didnt know it, I was always sick and it turned out one of the harmful things was all my moms hairsprays and perfumes and lotions and room sprays and the like. So when I smell them (and she still uses them) I cringe really, not to mention still get sick from them, as the chemical sensitivity only worsened as I grew. So this makes me sad, as scent really is such a powerful thing, and in my case it can put up a wall.

But I do remember cooking smells I still love made from her hands. Chocolate chip cookies. Brownies. Lasagne. Meatballs. Muffins. (Yep, we were a health food family lol). I also really remember certian touches, like how she would stroke my forehead gently when I was upset. And so your post has reminded me tonight, there really are precious things to memorize. And i thank you for this...

Blessed Lent <>< Wendy

Me said...

The power of our senses and the wonderful ability they have for recalling unbeckoned memories. A beautiful and evocative post. To make the default Christ - should be the end of all our desires.

bluemountainmama said...

elise- i loved this post SO much, i linked to it from my blog today....

Neil said...

Blue Mountain Mama's link has landed me on this post. What a lovely reflection. I feel as if I have had my devotion for the day. I must share this with my wife. Thank you.

busybusymomma said...

I found your blog via blue mountain mama... such a beautiful poignant post. Thank you.

Natalee said...

got here through blue mountain mama. lovely...really lovely. thank you for your writing...you are gifted...

Anonymous said...

ELISE...amazing, simply amazing...thank you again..Lois

Andrea said...

So beautiful--as usual, Elise. Oh, that my children would memorize the "good scents" of me, and not the stinky ones. :) I want that for them, for me.

Grafted Branch said...

That was lovely, Elise. Truly lovely. I, too, can remember memorizing my grandmother's face -- sooooooo soft.

I haven't recognized my girls memorizing me like that in a while. I think it's time to slow down and give them a chance to. Thanks for the reminder.

L.L. Barkat said...

came over from Blue Mountain... thanks, it was worth the trip.

TaunaLen said...

Simply beautiful. I pray that what my children remember are the good smells, the softness, the tenderness. And the part about memorizing God across the wrinkled, soft page, made me want to go grab my Bible and spend a little more time in it today. Thank you, Elise.

~TaunaLen

Jenny said...

Found you through a link at Bluemountainmama's. What a beautiful post. It both brought back memories for me and convicted me at the same time. Inspirational. Thank you.

S.Hunt said...

The words you have penned paint a beautiful picture in my heart and mind. WOW!

S.Hunt

henryteachers said...

Elise,
What a special memory with your mother and children! Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such cheerful words. I'm glad you are enjoying Mr. Popper's Penguins too! I always look forward to hearing from you and reading your posts.
Take care,
Mindy

Munchkin Land said...

Oh Elise!! So beautifully written, my friend!! Have you ever considered writing devotions professionally?! You have such a wonderful way with words and getting us to relate them to Christ!! I LOVED this post...

Beka said...

Elise,
This was indescribably beautiful. That verse from II Corinthians... wow! I can't recall ever being struck by that verse before. Isn't it funny how we can spend lots of time in the Word and yet not even come close to plumbing its depths!
Anyway, thank you for a very timely and convicting message.
May God bless you abundantly!

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