Take Me to a Place
by Katie Smylie
October 12, 2022
There are a few scents that instantly transport me from the here and now to a place in my past. One whiff of spearmint and I’m standing at my grandma’s dresser where she hid her stash of chewing gum. It was right where she kept her denture supplies, but we can save that for another time. Warm cinnamon rolls remind me of my husband’s grandma. Even now I can picture the spot in his parent’s kitchen where she told me I could make them myself, “It’s not that hard, kid.” An outdoor barbeque brings me directly to South Quad in college where the Knights of Columbus worked some kind of royal magic making steak sandwiches.
Reading Scripture can take me to a place as well. A phrase or a verse that floods me with the emotions, experiences and the way the Spirit spoke in that moment or a season.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
These words from Psalm 95 jump off the page every time I see them. The first time I remember reading them was many years ago, the morning after I had ignored the Holy Spirit. He had given me a nudge—thoughts that wouldn’t go away, circumstances all lined up, and an open door—but I froze in a mixture of uncertainty and fear. Was it God’s voice? Did I just make that up? Doesn’t it feel so hard to know sometimes? In a flash it was gone, but in God’s providence, He let me watch that He took care of the situation I had ‘opted out’ of by sending another woman in. The next morning, sitting in a hotel room almost in the dark, I read Psalm 95 and marveled at how it was meant for me in that time and place. The psalm goes on to encourage its readers not to harden their hearts if today they hear God’s voice.
Yes, Lord, I am listening.
The experience was life changing. I didn’t feel ashamed or like a failure. Rather, I felt flooded with God’s grace. There was no lightning strike, rather a loving opportunity to see him as he is—the Creator of all things, lovingly sovereign over every person and circumstance. Psalm 95 was a different kind of nudge. A squishy hotel room chair was the first place I understood that God was inviting me into a real life adventure of worship and awe.
At times I am tempted to get on a plane and fly back to that place so God can do it again. As it turns out, just reading the first refrain from that Psalm fills my heart with the experience of worship and awe. It takes me right back. It’s not the place, it is God, worthy of each deep longing of my heart. Lord, take me to wherever you are.
Katie is the Shepherd of Growth Ministries at Fullerton Free. Her happy place is her backyard watching her kids shoot hoops, and she loves the smell of freshly cut grass.