caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

I Stank Up the Place

Ok, so I haven’t written in a while because I have all of these lots of so many kiddos and they have the gymnastics, and the baseball (oh! the baseball.) and the choir and the homework and the daily reading shoot me now and the vocabulary words now beat with a club and the birthday parties and the laundry, and the packing the lunches, and the expectation to be fed like three separate times every single stinkin’ day. Ok, I distinctly remember feeding you yesterday. Faker.

So, alas, my writing has shifted to the bottom of the totem pole. I’m cool with it. This is my season of life. Not too long ago I would have committed murder to be this busy. I am thankful.

But, today…sister friend got to play at my folks’ house. Nana and Grandpa are saints. Truly. These people cannot be inconvenienced. They help out more than they should and always with a smile. I hope to serve my kids this well someday.

So, tonight one brother had baseball and the other got to spend some one-on-one time with Daddy, so baby girl got to go to Nana and Grandpa’s house, aka “Disney world-Keller location”. She paints, she plays dress up, she bakes, she plays games, she does makeup, she makes crafts, she eats all manner of junk – and then she comes home. It’s literally heaven for this child. Tonight was no different.

But, tonight when I arrived to snatch her away from said theme park, as soon as I entered the house, something hit me. No, not my Dad, as a delayed reaction to my years of smart-talk and rebellion. Although, who would blame him? It wasn’t a physical thing that hit me. It was a smell. Not the kind of smell you wanna partake, like freshly baked cookies, a pumpkin spice candle, or the oven roasting honey ham to perfection. No, this smell stopped me dead in my tracks.

Pungent. Startling. Gag-relex-inducing.

What was it, my friend?


Nana has some nice things. Nothing too flaunty, of course. Often these things are purchased on QVC, which she single handledly keeps in business. But, her perfume, along with her jewels  has always been among her nicer stuff. And she, Godloveher must have had a brief aneurism because she said “Yes!” when my darling rascal asked her if she could spray her own ‘puhfume’. Jesus come save us now.

This girl child is mine. No doubt about it. Lest I forget, my man reminds me daily. Love you for that snookums. So, I really can’t fault her too much. She, too, lives by my motto of “anything worth doin’ is worth over-doin’. She proved herself yet again tonight.

Nana had assumed (you know what happens when yo do that!) since she simply let her have the ‘sample spritzers’ they give away for free, not much damage could be done. Ya. Notsomuch.

My poor father isn’t going to be able to sleep in his own bedroom for a solid week.

When she proudly ran up to me for big hugs, I almost fainted from exposure. Make that, over-exposure.

“Mama, don’t I smell so pwetty!”

Um, no. You smell like Calvin Klein and Brittany Spears just had a perfume baby. And then it threw up. Twice.

“You (gasp) sure do, (hold it in…), baby girl.” (whewwww) (run awaaaaaaay)

This little girl did not stink, my friend. She stank.

Then, as she grabbed her little bitty sample spritzer, now almost e.m.p.t.y. and began the motion to spray it again– I dove at her as if slow motion, yelling “Noooooo…”

“Baby, You cannot keep spraying it over and over and over. Yikes! That makes the smell waaay too strong. You just spray a little every day. Not all of it in one day. Otherwise you take something that’s supposed to smell pretty, and you make it smell ugly.”

Whack!!! God did it. He, as always, hit me with a 2×4 to the head.

Lately, for the first time in my adult life, I have found myself surrounded by numerous people who don’t really claim their faith as an important part of their life. They are good people. Kind people. Fun people to be around. But, as far as God, church, Jesus or faith – they are either indifferent or it’s just irrelevant.

This has been somewhat of a culture shock for me, as I’ve been constantly surrounded by my family, my church friends, and the hand-picked school friends’ parents who also attend church somewhere. Aka – “my bubble”. Yes, I go feed the homeless. Yes, I help the needy. Those people mayormaynot be saved. I could technically check that off the list of being around non-Christians, if there were a list. Ps. There’s not a list. But, I don’t do life with them day in and day out. Because of my kiddos and their growing schedules, I am seeing some of these new darlings two or three times a week. Whether is be at gymnastics, making small talk every week. Or at the three hundredth baseball game we’ve sat together through. These once strangers have become some of my peeps.

And, I have found myself somewhat-neurotically obsessing shocking, I know about how I ‘should’ act around them.

Ok, I’m not going to order a margarita. Oh wait, maybe I should order one, and try to show them I can do this in moderation. Or, maybe not?! 

Crap, I shouldn’t have said that joke! Crap, I shouldn’t even have said crap!

Am I fact-telling or gossiping right now? Crap, I can’t decide?!?! Ahh, I said crap again!!

Ugh. Epic fail.

Then, I realized, I shouldn’t be ‘acting’ any certain way around them. In fact, I shouldn’t be acting at all. I should be the same silly, energetic, random, mildly (ahem.) sarcastic nut I always am. I shouldn’t be freaking out about what I say or don’t say – what I do or don’t do – because it doesn’t matter if I’m with them or with my Bible study homeys, Jesus is present every time anyway. He is the one I aim to please. Aim and fail a lot of times, but aim indeed.

Spoiler alert. When done with our own strength, in our own timing, using our own gauge of righteousness – it will be an epic fail every. single. time.

But, hey – that’s one the jobs of the Holy Spirit. It’s His job to remind us, correct us, encourage us and guide us. (Rom. 8:26, John 16:13, John 14:26) It’s our job to follow His lead.

I’ve been studying a lot lately about Paul and his journey discipling with the people of Thessolonica and Rome and Philipi. How he came to them, met them, lived with them, loved them, and missed them when he left. He didn’t just enter the town, yell “You people need Jesus!” for an hour or so and leave. He did life with these sinners. He knew he was just another one of them. And, then, tonight, God in His constant way – reminded me of His desire for us, as believers.

He doesn’t want us to just spray on a ton of Jesus No. 5 and then walk up to these friends, making them want to puke with our over-indulgent smell.

He doesn’t want us to take something that is supposed to smell pretty and turn it into something ugly.

He wants us to do our very best to wake up each day and spray just enough Jesus No. 5 on ourselves so that the aroma of love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control smell pleasant to others. We don’t want them gasping for air and running away from us, swearing off the Maker of that perfume forever!

Now, before you get  your pew-sittin’-panties in a wad – I am in no way encouraging us to blend in with the world so they can’t tell us apart. I’m not saying we go buy Worldly by Calvin Klein and douse ourselves with it so we can ‘fit in’. Don’t go there.

I’m all about the water in the boat mentality. Here’s what I mean – Boat in the water – that’s good. That’s by design. Water in the boat. That’s bad. That’s a sunken ship, actually. We, the boat, are called to be in the world, the water, but not of it. (Rom. 12:2) But, I truly and wholeheartedly feel like we, as Christians don’t wanna live ‘in’ the world anymore. We have our church, we have our tight-knit fellowship of believers who build us up, push us along and align themselves with all of our beliefs. My pastor calls that ‘us four, no more, shut the door’ kind of ministry. And I know one guy who hates that stuff – Jesus.

Read the New Testament and see what kind of people Jesus hung out with. Robbers. Theives. Prostitues. Liars. Those cast-out, judged and dismissed. And, yes, while I am VERY passionate about getting out of your church walls and serving those in need – mainly because JESUS TOLD US TO – I also think that if we are going to claim His Name, we better make sure we’re claiming it to some everyday people who don’t know it yet, too. Like, the guy across the street. The soccer Mom who always chats with you at practice. The divorced Dad who moved to your street and no one quite knows how to be-friend.

These are the people we can’t forget about.

And, these are the people who could be getting a pleasant sniff of Jesus each time we see them. Yes, each and every time.

Unless you’re me, and occasionally you choose to wear Pride by Gucci or Georgio Allaboutme. Sheesh – I really stank sometimes.

If this is going to be the life we say we’re going to live – let’s try to live it out to people all around us who really need to sample it. People who see us when we wear Selfish by Brittany Spears, but also who se us the next day wearing Grace for Women. WHat would happen if we let them smell us each and every day, knowing that some days, in our sin, we stank. And other days, because of Jesus, we smell a little better. Who knows? Maybe, God willing, after we’ve lived life with them for a while – they’ll ask – “Hey, where did you get that perfume? I love it.”

Lord, please make it so.

Amen and amen.

Ps. If you run into a older man at the store, probably wearing a Rangers shirt and camo pants – and he happens to smell like Chanel No. 5 – cut him some slack – it ain’t his fault. Poor Grandpa!

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One thought on “I Stank Up the Place

  1. Claudia on said:

    Totally receive this! Thank you XOXO

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