When You Forget Your Deodorant


Sunglasses photo by Holley Gerth

Anytime I go somewhere to speak it’s an adventure.

And it’s five minutes into the conference and I have a sudden realization: I’m not wearing deodorant.

Did I mention I’m leading the conference?

And that speaking makes me sweat? {It also makes me feel like I have something in my nose–but that wasn’t as much of an issue at the moment.}

I try to keep my arms pinned to my sides. I strategically plan hugs to keep faces as far as possible from the danger zone {which may have landed some people closer to my chest than they would have liked–sorry about that}.

I make it through the first night and go home stinky.

The next day I put on deodorant fourteen times. Layer upon layer until I feel like a frosted cake.

I walk out the door with more confidence. But God has other plans.

He whispers to my heart, “Shred the notes girl. I want you to get up there and tell your personal story.” I burn through those deodorant layers in one syllable: “What?!?”

Did I mention this conference is the biggest one I’ve ever done?

And that it’s in my hometown? So God is asking me to bare my soul to women I might just run into at Wal-mart. Good grief.

The clock is ticking and my heart is pounding. I tell my friend who is there with me about the change of plans. “You’re about to speak and you don’t know what you’re going to say?” she asks with wide eyes. I nod and look at the exits–wondering if I can make a mad dash and grab a cupcake with each hand on the way out.

And then it’s time.

I sit on a stool and tell everyone that God is messing up my agenda. Then I tell them all the ways He’s messed up my oh-so-good plans for my life too. And how it’s the best thing that ever happened. I share the ugly and the hurt and the wish-I-could-take-that-backs. And I tell the glory and the joy and the pinch-me-I-can’t-believe-this-is-happenings.

All of it.

With gravy on top.

A few minutes later a girl gets up and reads a beautiful blog post. And I catch my breath because some parts of my story are so much like hers and some parts of hers are so much like mine. Neither one of us knew. But God did.

He also knew that what I thought would be the stink of my life–what would drive people away–would turn out to be something totally different and unexpected. The “pleasing aroma of Christ” {2 Cor. 2:15}.

┬áVulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of all meaningful experiences. — Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

I walked out of that room less alone, less afraid…and maybe even a little more like Jesus.

{But I’m still putting back-up deodorant in my purse next time.}


I’m linking up with Kristen Strong at Chasing Blue Skies…join us?


  1. Warrior Child says

    Wow! What timing the Lord has.

    Just this morning in a ladies group bible study, the speaker that, “Sometimes your greatest message is the mess of your life. God can redeem the parts of your life you thought were wasted.” ( Pricilla Shirer)
    Then, she went on to ask if we were hiding or covering the things we hoped no one else would ever know. If we were covering and running from what we felt were the “stinky” parts of our story that we were sure no one wanted to know.
    There are many things in my life currently, that I am holding back and keeping under wraps. I feel there will be more hurt and scrutiny from them than good. The enemy has duped me in this area before. Then I run ahead of the Lord spilling things out and what a MESS that makes.
    I do want to be obedient above all. Not running ahead of frozen behind. Just doing what He asks when He ask me to do it.
    Thank you so much for sharing your obedience with all of us.
    Holy Hugs to you.

  2. Jana Kirkpatrick says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful “post”, Holley. What a wonderful testimony to the blessings of being obedient to the Lord. (even if we do forget our deodorant!) Still He worked all things for His good.

    Love and Blessaings,

    Jana Kirkpatrick
    Jesup, GA 31545

  3. Denise says

    Dear, Dear Holley, You never cease to amaze me. Just when I think I am the only one who could possibly think such thoughts, you share so vulnerably things from your truest self I would never dare to share. You made me laugh so hard, I had to share it with a friend. Yes, I know about the sweating and the layers and layers and the hugs! But you make me realize how precious it is feel secure enough to share your deepest fears even in spite of the biggest fear of all: the fear of rejection. I think satan uses that fear to keep us in bondage and isolated to keep us from reaching out for what God says He has for us – a plan and future.
    God bless you, Holley. I think this was even better than the cowboy boot!
    Denise A. (Baltimore)

  4. Lindsey Wilson says

    It was a beautiful healing moment! We appreciated your open heart to the leading of the Holy Spirit!
    Ps. Remember if you forget deodorant there is always Frebreeze! :)
    “W” director CLC

  5. Becky Jones says

    Dear Holley,
    Thanks for your open and honest message to us. I have had breast cancer and had to take radition therapy and from the very first you are not supposed to wesr deordant because it will cause the radition to burn you worse. The first week-end I used deordant and was fussed at on Monday because they had said no deordant and that meant no deordant. I sweat like all get out and it was the middle of the summer. So I would bath every morning and come home and begun to stink. Thank God that is over with for the time being and we home it does not return.

  6. karyn says

    I don’t perspire. I’m a calm person. So when I bowl, my hands do not perspire so I was very good at the game. We are also trained by our Sports Psychologist for TV interviews and live TV games worldwide and speaking and sharing on stage. I’ve always been a speaker in front of people though, so, I do not get nervous. Cool. Yes, many of the second string bowlers in our National Squad could not do what I do so they are not up in the world ranking. My best performance 2nd and 9th.

    So I went around the world twice and spoke to people and preached the gospel to strangers. Some responded well, some did not. One yelled at me. A friend. I spoke to strangers and approached strangers like in the gospel. My husband was appalled. Not again, he would say. I’ve preached the gospel to thousands. I would not find it difficult to preach to millions. It’s me. No fear of man. Only God. But now, I’m tired and worn out. So I just write and share my life.

    It’s all about JESUS. Even when I bowled I shared JESUS and got beaten up by my own team mates and yelled at for being a Christian. I still won. So, I use deodorant too. I need it. But I do not perspire.

  7. Anita says

    “I know You’re messing with me
    Doing things I can’t believe
    And I like it, yeah I like it
    You take imperfect away, leave
    All that’s good in place
    And it’s alright, yeah it’s alright.

    How You take an ordinary life
    And fill it till it’s full of light
    Because of Your love
    And I know You see straight
    Through me and I trust what
    You are doing
    Till I’m shining like a diamond….”
    – from Jaci Velasquez’s song ‘Diamond’.

  8. Maria Jones-Davidson says

    Hi Holley, there is no one like you. You are just incredible, full of surprises… I wish I were there to hear you speak at that women’s conference. I know you’d been such an inspiration to your hearers, even though, considering God removed your script, because God has other plans for you and that’s for all of us too! It was March to April, 2011 I was in the Philippines on a preaching role at my brother’s church Pastor Armando Cruzem 111. They already had me preaching a number of nights, so I thought it’s rest time for me on that Friday night at my brother’s church. I was so relaxed, enjoying the worship and then my brother came up to the pulpit to announce the speaker. I wondered who it was? Then he said we now call my sister Chona to give us the Word of God. I said to myself, I dont’ have a script prepared to preach that night. I kept it to myself… “But God has other plans…” you see. Little did I know that Friday was a pastors conference and prayer meeting. I saw them so blessed by the Spirit of the Lord, I spoke on the book of Joel that I grabbed from one of the verses I had ready in my Bible. Joel 2:25, I’ll just share part of the verse. ”
    so I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” The Lord truly blessed that evening with all the pastors praying and many crying to the Lord in prayer and consecration to the Lord Jesus. Have a wonderful day God bless you Sis.

  9. says

    Love this post, Holly. First of all, I can totally relate on the deodorant thing. Crazy as this sounds, I think anytime we serve God by speaking to others, Satan rears his ugly head and attempts to make us as uncomfortable as possible…yes, even if it means attacking our pits and making us just plain stinky. ­čśë Second, I love your obedience towards God, and willingness to follow His lead. Amen and PTL! Great post. :)

  10. says

    Wonderful post, Holley! When I was at church tonight for a special ministry time, I kept thinking, “Oh no, I think I stink.” I felt really uncomfortable about it, thinking my shirt must have missed the washer or something. Then I realized it was my hair! I just got it colored today, so that was the problem. LOL!

    Anyway, I see you like a lilac… purple, royalty, beautiful, and leaving God’s fragrance wherever you go!

  11. says

    It’s amazing where God takes us, and it is encouraging to hear your words of insecurity. Knowing that when God calls it is not always easy to answer. How did your message go? Will you do a follow up on this?! :)

  12. Tracie syck says

    I loved this. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who forgets my deodorant when my mind is going in too many directions at once. I get more out of analogies then anything and this one was a great one. Thanks for reminding me to let go and let God :)

  13. Terre says

    This post reminds me of one time that I forgot to pack my deodorant in my suitcase when I went on a trip. Didn’t realize it until early the next morning-no time to find a store open before a meeting-so I asked for one of those complementary trial sizes from the motel…. They gave me some kind of deodorant that smelled like men’s cologne…I worried all day that someone else would think I was wearing men’s cologne. Thanks for the “joy break” this morning Holley. You are a blessing for sure. I was at the CLC conference you are referring to and it was amazing. God is good!

  14. Janet Souleyrette says


  15. Jackie says

    Holley, I can totally relate! I usually figure out the deoderant is missing around 10 a.m. Yikes! Now I have a back-up in my desk at work. I admire your willingness to be used by God and let Him take the lead. By letting go, it was a blessing to both you and those in your audience. It proves that we can trust the Holy Spriit to give us words when we don’t know what to say. Blessings!


Share Your Heart

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>