Apr. 10th, 2020 Sawdust

I love the smell of sawdust.

One whiff and I feel like a young girl standing in the barn, holding the end of a board while my Daddy cuts it with a Skilsaw. I’m transported to a safe place to talk, to spill my troubles, to ask questions, to get answers.

With each deep breath, I can remember the unique smell of my Pa’s flannel shirts – a combination of sawdust, gasoline and sweat. I’m transported to Friday evenings sitting beside him watching Knight Rider. Or riding on the back of a tractor down to the mailbox, giggling all the way.

To me, sawdust smells like hard work and childhood.

To me, sawdust smells like love.

I thought of this several years ago as I walked through our home which, at that moment, was covered in sawdust. Despite the mess and mayhem, this home was clearly a part of God’s plan for my life, but, as usual, nothing was unfolding in the way I had expected.

God’s ways are unsearchable. His plans beyond our grasp. And sometimes, He feels so far above us, so far beyond us, as to be unknowable.

But He wants us to know Him.

As I walked down the stairs, leaving footprints in the sawdust, breathing in the delicious aroma, He whispered to me in that still small voice….

“I love the smell of sawdust, too.”

I froze on the stairs.


God loves the smell of sawdust?

Really? And why would He take the time to tell me? What was He trying to reveal to me about who He is?

Perhaps it reminds Him of long talks in a barn, holding the end of a board while Joseph made practiced cuts with a handsaw. Maybe He recalls childhood laughter with His siblings as they built towers and forts with the scraps left over from Joseph’s latest project.

Or maybe, there was a hint of sawdust in the air as He bore the cross, as the nails pierced His flesh, as He died for me.

Maybe, to Him, sawdust smells like love.

I John 4:7-10 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (ESV)


Note: I wrote the original version of this post 9 years ago. I had no idea that in 2020, we would find ourselves celebrating Holy Week from our homes due to a pandemic. But God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Even when our world is, quite literally, turned upside down, we know can know that He loves us because He sent His only Son to die for us. In the midst of chaos and confusion, this is Truth. This is Love. This is why we Hope.

Grace and peace,


Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment

  1. Rachel Alexandria says:

    I love this. Thank you for such a beautiful reminder!