A Beautiful Heart

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My husband gave me a card today, inside it said,  you have a beautiful heart. If I read that on a great day, being in a euphoric state of mind, it would have been humbling. But I read it today. Today which came after last night, in which we had quite a spirited argument.  I woke up just as angry as I went to sleep, even though we both take “do not let the sun go down on your anger” quite literally!

My heart wasn’t beautiful! I had a card for my husband, but I couldn’t bring myself to give it to him. When I write something or give a card, I have to be in complete agreement with it- if I am not, it would be a false representation. But he not only left this card for me to read, he wrote in it one of the most expressive notes I have ever received from him! It was extremely real, loving, kind and humbling. No one knows me better than him and no one sees the whole package like he does….and yet, he calls it beautiful.

We took time to pray before we went to work today, we prayed through, until all of the misunderstandings had subsided and the peace that surpasses all understanding guarded our hearts and minds once again. This is new for us. We didn’t used to allow work to wait before and we allowed other matters to have preeminence over our relationship. This was the right thing to do! Ask for forgiveness- Go to God and say we are weak, our wisdom lacks and He is the answer!

To tell you the truth, the card and my husband’s expression reminded me so much of Jesus. He thinks my heart is beautiful too no matter what! He doesn’t look on the outward appearance, but He looks at my heart. That is solid and mature and I am not always there. This Valentines day, is such a great reminder of that other-worldly love. A love that dies to self so others can live. A love, not always sexy and romantic the way we think of love, but solid, mature, and always there no matter what. It’s rare and I am humbled to have such beautiful hearts hold mine<3

Vulnerability

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I got to pray with some one this weekend. I spoke at a church and sang some songs I have written about my journey of forgiveness. Learning to forgive my self, others, and even God. This woman desperately wanted to forgive a particular person who has caused much pain in her life. I told her God can not bring the fruits of forgiveness until we forgive, even if we do not feel like it.

I have experienced forgiveness only works when you are vulnerable. Vulnerability can be painful. It is easier to be closed off and hard, but the rewards are only no pain (and I don’t really believe there is no pain in that.) But when we are soft and vulnerable, forgiveness and new life can flow, like healthy cells into a wound. Vulnerability in Forgiveness brings healing<3 Have a great weekend.

You Are Precious…

You are precious and are worth dying for. God absolutely delights in you and wants to be in a relationship with you- if that isn’t The God you have heard about, you have only heard religion..which isn’t God. Seek the truth through Jesus and you will find the way, truth and life♥

alabaster flask

Speaking about precious things as it relates to Essential Oils… there is an account in the the gospels of a woman bringing an alabaster flask to Jesus. This is how it reads in Luke 7:37-49;

 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

The perfume that was in this alabaster flask was Spikenard (which is named in  Mark’s Gospel of this account.) I have always loved and related to this story because I have been  this woman; sinful, transparent, affectionate, misunderstood, judged, loved and forgiven. And when I went to Aromatherapy school, I was so excited that I actually got to work with Spikenard essential oil!

In the other accounts of this story, everyone was “indignant” about what the woman did, in addition to her obvious intimate attention to Jesus, because the perfume that she broke over Him was very costly. They said that it could have been sold and the money given to the poor. So this was a known, rare and  precious perfume to everyone’s knowledge.  But her devotion and out pouring to Him and His love and affection toward her was much more valuable and worthy of her fame throughout generations!

You can read more about Spikenard in a  paper I wrote; Spikenard! A research paper by Julia Allman,  I go into depth about this amazing, ancient oil. But I want to follow up with the fact that YOU are more precious than silver or gold or anything else the world has to offer. You matter, you make a difference and God desires an intimate, healing relationship with you now and forever<3

What Are You Thinking?

 

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Thinking: we all do it. Some of us are better at hiding it than others, but no matter who you are, the things you think about will affect all of your life choices. We have amazing minds, and I don’t think we can be reminded enough of the benefits of renewing our minds.

I have written a lot of blog posts on this idea over the last year. The following is what I wrote one morning on my Facebook page. Although the focus is on shame, it ultimately goes back to what we think about ourselves:

According to the book Unashamed by Christine Caine, shame-based thinking says, ” I am not ________ enough” (Thin enough, smart enough, victorious enough, successful enough, Christian enough, a good enough parent, a good enough spouse, etc.). But those are constant lies that many of us have believed. It isn’t what God says about us. It isn’t the truth. In Genesis 2:25, “Adam and his wife were naked and they knew no shame.” That was what God created. Jesus took shame on the cross, and His Blood will wash away all of our shame if we let Him work in our lives. Run to Him! He ALWAYS wants to bring wholeness and healing to His children no matter what you have done or where you have been. He loves you so much that He died on a cross for your sin. You ( and I ) are no shock to Him! If you walk around continually defeated, feeling like you are missing the mark, remind yourself of what He says about you. You are completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Him! He is the one you are living for, so His approval is the only one that matters. He is love. Let Him free you of your shame so you can be the person He created you to be. ❤

Do you walk around continually defeated? Do you question everything about yourself and all the decisions you make? Consider taking time to question what lies you are believing about yourself. It cannot happen overnight, and it cannot happen when you are rushed. But as you take quiet time and reflection and begin to ask yourself hard questions, you can be free from these untruths that have been holding you back in life.

Here are five essential oils that can help clear the mind as well:

  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Juniper Berry
  • Peppermint
  • Sage or Clary Sage

As an aromatherapist, I regularly use and carry all five. I am here on this journey with you! You are not alone and you are loved!

Are you interested in trying these five mind-balancing oils? Have you experienced the power of renewing your mind and thought patterns? We want to hear from you today!

 

Choosing Forgiveness

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I’ve been understanding forgiveness on a whole new level over the last year. I’ve dealt with asking for forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving others and not being forgiven. One thing I completely agree with James McDonald on: “Christians need to be masters at forgiveness.” This is a challenging thought, but it’s true. And whether you’re a Christian or not, you know forgiveness changes your life and allows things to move in a healthy way that would be impossible otherwise.

The biggest challenge and help to me has been to understand that, “I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. I am totally accepted, deeply loved and absolutely complete in Christ” (Robert McGee, The Search for Significance).

With God’s help in believing this is true, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! I want to be rebuilt and energized in that truth, so I can do everything I was created to do in this life and not waste one more second in unbelief.

I want to encourage you that this is possible! You can change your life, your patterns, your habits, your hangups, and your failures. You can take that mustard seed of faith and it can grow into a flourishing tree!

I completely relate to King David when he said, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Forgiveness is not an easy road, and the battle is mostly in the mind. But unless I believe (without seeing) that forgiveness produces good fruit and leads to a more abundant life, I will give in to hopelessness and despair. I have been there many times, and it does not bear anything good! Not for me or any one else around me.

So, I am encouraging myself even as I write this, and hope I encourage you today!I encourage you to check your heart, investigate the things that weigh you down, and ask yourself if there is an area in your life (or that situation you can’t let go of) in which you really haven’t forgiven a person, or even God. Don’t let this day pass without getting it out in the open, confessing it, and receiving forgiveness for it. Don’t carry it around another minute, day, or year. This is precisely the Reconciliation Jesus Christ provided to us through the cross and what we can meditate on further through this Resurrection weekend. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can greatly aid us on this journey of forgiveness<3

 

One Thing I Do…

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This picture was taken at one of my favorite parks in Pennsylvania, during an anniversary weekend with my husband this past fall. The picture paints a thousand words in my mind.

It was a significant weekend for us, because we had been separated prior to this trip. When we went there the year before, we did not think we would ever return there as a couple, and I did not even want to take any pictures to document our time there.

We have been through a lot in the last several years. Many things had taken a toll on our marriage and we both reached points where we really didn’t want to work at it any more.

When you are weak and tired and other seemingly exciting opportunities present themselves to you, it is almost impossible to resist (but it is not impossible). I made a lot of poor decisions during that flat time in our marriage.The ramifications could have been so much worse, but the consequences will never go away. I can only thank and praise God for His mercy and unfailing love to me.

When I look at this picture of the road in the woods, I can’t help but think of the words of Dan Fogelberg’s song, “Along the Road”:

Along the road
Your steps may tumble
Your thoughts may start to stray
But through it all a heart held humble
Levels and lights your way.

The Bible calls God’s Word “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” This is true, and this is how I got back onto the road.

Another exceptional truth is that, as long as we are looking back when we are trying to move forward, we will stumble. The apostle Paul had something transforming to say about this.

He was born a Roman and a Hebrew. Both those qualities gave him many rights, much authority and power. He lived during the time when the Christian church was just emerging, and by Jewish and civil law, he was zealous in the murders of people following Jesus. He then had a life-changing encounter with Christ and began to defend the faith. He now had great understanding and knowledge concerning both sides of the argument. He also had great understanding of forgiveness and mercy, and most Christians would look at him as a man who had “attained it” who had “made it,” who “got this”.

However, he saw it differently. In his letter to the Philippian church, he said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected … I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Phil 3:13 NKJV).

One thing I do: forget what is behind and reach for those things that are ahead! This is easier said than done. It is not easy to forget what you have done, especially when it has caused a great disturbance, not just in your life but in the lives of others as well. I think it is human nature to wallow in self-condemnation until we feel we’ve reached a sufficient penance. And some religions teach this. But this is not the way God deals with us; that is the way we humans deal with ourselves.

God is instantaneous in His forgiveness when we ask. God, through Jesus Christ, answers us with “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” (John 8:11), “Though you sins are as scarlet, They shall be as white as snow”( Is. 1:18), “If he sins against you seven times in a day, and … returns to you, saying, ‘I repent’, you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:4), “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).

God is outlandish and lavish in His forgiveness toward us, as proved through Jesus’ death on the cross!

This amazing forgiveness is what I have been experiencing both personally and with my husband. It is not from this world. It is supernatural! Forgiveness is a beautiful, precious gift, and it’s Christianity’s pinnacle!

When doubts and thoughts clamor at the door of your mind, deal with them! Have you asked God to forgive you, or do you just keep thinking about them? If you haven’t asked for forgiveness, do it now. If you have, meditate on the scriptures I listed above and look up more of them. I don’t know anyone who does not need to hear this good news! I hope it has been challenging and renewing to you today.

What are your thoughts on forgetting what is behind?  We want to hear from you today!