Scent of Water by Penelope Swithinbank

My stop on the Scent of Water blog tour #SCENTOFWATER

Penelope Swithinbank’s book, Scent of Water – Words of comfort in times of grief is the featured book today here on Celtic Connexions.
scent of water

Scent of Water


When Penelope Swithinbank’s mother died tragically and suddenly as she watched the out-of-control car sweep her away, she plunged into deep depression. She found nothing that reached her dark soul of the night, nothing that helped her know that God was still with her. She was numbed by grief, frozen into solitude and nothing and no one seemed to be able to penetrate her protective walls. She found it very difficult to pray or to read the Bible. She couldn’t concentrate, nothing seemed to help, and she wished there was a specific daily devotional to help her to connect with the Lord in and through the grief. For a full two years she was there. When hugs rubbed her raw and consoling, well-meant clichés did not ring true. When God seemed far away. She was far away. She couldn’t read. Anything, let alone the Bible. When the depression and the blackness were all-consuming and life was barely worth living. Eventually, out of that experience, she wrote a daily devotional to help others going through the first six months of bereavement. Those who found it on her website and either used it themselves, or passed it on to others who were grieving the loss of a loved one, kept asking her to publish it so that it could be easily given to those who mourn. Maybe as a gift in their time of need. So here is A Scent of Water. Penelope hopes it will help others in times of bereavement and grief. Just a verse and a few thoughts for the times when mourning and grief mean that anything longer, anything deeper, is impossible.


A NEW DAY DAWNING – a daily remembering
Each new day dawns with the awakening moment of remembering. Each new remembering still hits hard, contracts my gut, releases tears. What will this new day bring in terms of memory, of pain, of loss? The anxious moment jumpstarts my day – unless I turn to the Lord.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
That could read, could sound, so glib:
Don’t worry, just pray.
But it’s true. Lord, this loss causes me anxiety about today, about
every day. I bring that anxiety to you, thanking you for the good memories of happier days, of love and laughter in those long-lost moments.
Here is my worry, my anxiety, my loss, Lord. My grief, really. Take it for me. Hold it for me. Hold me in the hollow of your hand.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 (NLT)
Again, Lord, I hold out this worry, this anxiety, this loss, to you. Thank you for taking hold of it for me.
I long for your peace, the peace I need, yet can barely comprehend at the moment.
Let it come, Lord! Let that peace you give pour over me now and through today.

Thy God hath sent forth strength for thee . . .
Psalm 68:28 (BCP)18
Another new day, another time of not knowing what lies ahead. Another fear that I haven’t the strength to meet the unknown, the unexpected, the reminder.
And yet now I know it will be all right, that all will be well – because my God (yes, mine, even mine) has already sent out the strength I need, ready for when I need it.
Thank you for sending out the strength I need already! I’m taking hold of it as best I can!

My God with his lovingkindness will meet me . . .
Psalm 59:10 (ASV)
That difficulty coming to meet me, that unexpected reminder, that clearing out of _(PERSON NAME)__ ’s things which I have to do – all that and more, I don’t have to confront alone.
Before it can meet me, my God will meet me with all the love and kindness I need, poured out upon me.
Meet me today, Lord. Meet me before I meet that anxious moment.

I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.
Psalm 63:8 (NLT)
Cling is the Hebrew word for glued or stuck to. It is also the word for following or chasing, in order to grab hold. So that’s what I need to do today – stick myself to the Lord, and grab hold of him! Or maybe grab hold of him and then stick to him.
And make sure I don’t let go of him.
But could you please hold me securely – not let go of me? Because I may not have the strength to grab hold and cling on to you! Thank you that your right hand holds tightly on to me, not letting me fall or sink.

An angel from heaven appeared to him [Jesus] and strengthened him.
Luke 22:43 (NIV)
It’s a comfort to know that when there was a need for special strength, you, the Father, sent an angel to your Son, Jesus, even though Jesus had already said he had ‘overcome the world’ (John 16:33).
Lord, I need your special strength to keep going through all of this. Thank you that I can tell you what I need; thank you for all you have already done.

About the Author
Penelope Swithinbank

Penelope Swithinbank is a chaplain at Bath Abbey and a spiritual therapist and counsellor for clergy. Since becoming a vicar nearly 20 years ago, she has worked in churches in the UK and the USA, and has led pilgrimages in the UK and in Europe. She and her husband Kim have been married for more than 40 years and have three children and six grandchildren.

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