Natalie Steel: [Chapter One] The Scent of Christ

Dear Sadie:” Natalie started to write in her journal. She had titled her journal after her grandma who had died a few years back. Grandma Sadie had been one of those few selective people Natalie had trusted her life secrets to. To be the sole keeper of her granddaughter’s deepest desires and far-fetched dreams, darkest secrets, and heart-felt sorrows, had been Grandma Sadie’s pride and joy. Grandma Sadie was not just a grandma with wisdom that came only with age, but she was Natalie’s confidant—her kindred spirit. And now that she was gone, Natalie turned to the comfort of the blank pages that her journal provided, in an effort to somehow fill in the void that she felt inside—to somehow make up for the loss of her dearest friend: Grandma Sadie.
            I wish Grandma were here to help me. Natalie continued writing. I wish she were here to comfort me. Guide me. I am lost and alone. You understand, don’t you Sadie? Why did God have to take my Grandma away from me? What was his reason for leaving me alone? Grandma Sadie was my best friend. I told her everything and she gave me the advice I needed, and the strength I needed to face my struggles head-on. And now that she’s gone, I don’t know how live without her! Life seems so confusing now that I don’t have her to help me. Oh, Sadie what will I do without her? I still need her—does God not understand? I don’t know what to do….
            I need her right this very minute, because I am struggling to understand something serious. Ever since my mom and dad put me in Public School, it’s like they don’t know me anymore….They don’t know what I am going through! Why does life have to be so hard, Sadie? Why does it have to be filled with the mixed emotions that constantly plague those who are weak and powerless? Why does life have to contain so much pain and deat,h that it is almost impossible to live a life completely submersed in happiness? How can God expect me to be happy and take joy in my trials, when he keeps giving me more than I can handle? Does God not see that I am unable to handle my current situation? Or does he simply not care?
            It amazes me that in the blink of an eye, you can lose not only you’re your dearest friend, but a fellow team member. Sweet Sadie, I regret to inform you that my beloved team member Gracie committed suicide two nights ago. It’s a loss I must bear, and a heavy guilt that I find cumbersome to swallow. I am afraid I might drown under this mighty pressure of guilt, as it attempts to take over the very breath that I breathe. Gracie— dear, sweet, innocent Gracie—was the victim of bulling by the cheerleaders in our school. I am afraid that these cheerleaders— these cruel, insufferable teenaged bullies—are also my friends. Having no part in this cruel act of juvenile violence, I find myself wishing that I had been. I find myself wishing and beating myself up over the fact that while they bullied Gracie, I stood on the sidelines and watched as they stripped her of her pride, self-confidence and sense of worth.  I watched her walk to and from school every day—a lifeless being scared by the constant abuse she received daily.  She was a girl that barely existed, but a girl that endured the torture of those who wished her harm, carefully clinging to what was left of her battered dreams and hopes—her cries for help a silent whisper in the dark….
            Putting her pen down, Natalie slowly closed her book, unsure whether or not she was finished writing the first solemn chapter of her journal. She was a brave girl, confident and self-assured, but she felt an overwhelming emptiness in her heart that ached to be made whole again. Reaching over to Grandma Sadie’s Bible that sat cockeyed on her messy desk, Natalie flipped through the old and tattered pages. The fragrance of coffee and vanilla—a liquid mixture for one of her famous chocolate cakes—that her grandma had spilt on her Bible long ago, grew stronger with each page that Natalie flipped.
            It reminded Natalie of Grandma Sadie’s love for life, her desire to spread the love of God to those who were hurting and in need, the weak and the weary, the desperate and the lost. As she thought of Grandma Sadie’s joy for sharing God with others, Natalie thought of her grandma’s life verse—2 Corinthians 2:14-15: “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ, and spreads through us in every place the SCENT of knowing Him.  For to God we are the fragrance of Christ."
            Grandma Sadie was the fragrance of Christ, Natalie knew. She had always been a lady on a mission. Time and again she had told Natalie of her desire to travel the world proclaiming Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. And every chance Grandma Sadie got, she used her time to further the Kingdom of God. Whether it was in a homeless shelter, pregnancy crisis center, or a Food Bank, Grandma Sadie had devoted her life to the Lord and allowed him to lead her and work in her. She was His vessel, His arrow, His clay. He was the Potter, the oil that filled her soul and the target that kept her following the straight and narrow path that lay before her. Her target, she always said was her guide, her comfort, and the very reason she woke up every morning and existed yet another day. It was the same target that she devoted her life to leading others to, Jesus Christ.
            Natalie stared at her grandma’s bible for a while contemplating on the verse that she had read, and the feelings that were overwhelming her— engulfing her in an endless love and a sense of desire and urgency. She knew what this all meant. Her life was not over simply because her grandma was gone. On the contrary, Natalie’s life had only just begun. Because she had been given the courage, the strength and the enduring promise her God, her beautiful Jesus Christ, Natalie knew that her mission was to further the Kingdom of God in her own unique way. As her grandma had done before her, Natalie would do as well… trusting in the mighty hand of God to lead her along the way.
            Taking up her pen once again, Natalie quickly opened her Journal and began to scratch out her frustrated statements of doubts and confusion. God had not forsaken her because he had called her grandma home…he had only enabled her to spread her wings and fly.  


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