He was a pretty young guy, so it kind of surprised me when he started crying in my arms. I didn’t even know him really. We’d just met. So I held him. I spoke truth to him, and over him . . . but maybe he didn’t know anything about truth. I don’t know. I only know it wasn’t more than a minute or two when I heard him say, “Mary, there’s just this fragrance about you.”

Those were some weighty words right there.

These ones took me back at least a decade. I was sitting next to a very grandma kind of woman, a woman who righted my understanding of the name Mary. She named her daughter Mary. My mom did too. The name . . . meant bitter, but that never fit me. “No,” she said, “it actually refers to when the [bitter] herbs are pressed. Mary means a sweet fragrance after being crushed. That’s what Mary means.” It was all starting to make sense.

Just a few months before, God had given me a picture of the coming season. He showed me Mary at Jesus’ feet with the alabaster jar. The year’s wage of sweet perfume, drained in an evening. At the time, the idea of spending another season at his feet was alone an incredible thought, but to go a step further and have the scent that was all over him, all over me . . . unthinkable. Too wonderful to even imagine. I just didn’t know there was a crushing coming. The fragrance would follow.

After God gave me the image of Mary at his feet, he showed me that my particular “year’s wage” alabaster jar would be the profit from selling my home. I would need to use every, last, drop to make it through the year. Okay. I could do that. I was completely in, until the time came when I was out. Entirely out. All of it, gone.

As simple as that, I had nowhere to live, very little food, and less money. I was still at his feet but had no idea what to do. I had nothing left. A day after the move, and (literally) a minute after thinking this through, someone whispered in my ear, “Mary, your worship is so beautiful to God. It’s like a sweet fragrance rising up to Him.”

Of course, it would be so much more fragrant once it was completely poured out.

When I heard, “Mary, there’s just this fragrance about you,” the linchpin was in. God encountered me, and in a moment I gained his perspective. I saw that I release the sweetest fragrance when I stay right there with him, through each and every pressing.

When I was born, He was the one who named me Mary. He then filled the meaning of my name so beautifully with an encounter, a memory, and a simply spoken word. I was crushed this past year, but I was also made more lovely. I was pressed, but the scent that spilled out was something I wouldn’t trade for any treasure out there.

By Mary Hawblitzel