Feed Your Faith, Not Your Fear

Are you feeling a bit afraid? Me too. Sometimes I walk outside and think, holy crap is all of this really going on? Are we really in a pandemic? In a month so many things have changed and, like 9/11, I think they will change, the way we do life, forever.

Well, forever, as pertains to this life anyway. When I was about nineteen years old I became, what Christian’s call, born again. I intentionally gave over the control of my life to Jesus Christ. I knew that I was living a very selfish, self gratifying life with a lot of secrets and well worn roads and I was miserable.

One night when I was driving quite a distance from home after performing some singing telegrams, that was my occupation at the time, I happened upon a Christian radio station. The old-time preacher was calling me out from the front seat of my metallic blue ’78 Mercury Zephyr. He said; “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” I said, “No” out loud. He went on to explain that Jesus came to earth, died and rose again and is seated in heaven now to take my sins and the sins of the whole world and there is nothing we can do that will make us a good enough person to get into heaven, but we must surrender our life in Christ. He went on to say, that we must ‘hand over the wheel of our life’ and give Jesus the control over it because He knows what He created us for, where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do. Well I was driving with the steering wheel in my hands and said, out loud, driving down the highway, right there on my white leather seats, “Jesus take the wheel of my life in yours, I hand my life over to you. ( And this was long before Carrie Underwood wrote the song:)

He saw me and He heard me and my life has never been the same. He became my focus and pursuit and a whole new world and possibilities opened up for me. My life was no longer focused on the next self gratifying event, but instead, I became very curious about this King of Kings, and how I fit into His Kingdom.

Today, this moment, it seems to me we are confronted with the same choice. There is an unseen virus that is wreaking havoc in every place of our lives. Our once autonomous lives are becoming less and less autonomous. There is no where to hide. We can’t leave our neighborhood, our county, our state or the country. We cannot meet up with friends like we used to. We cannot shop to get some retail therapy. We can’t get our hair done or go to the gym so we can feel a little better about ourselves. We are being forced to sit with our selves our thoughts and the families that we are bound to.

There is no game to go to tonight, no dinner reservations, no show. Some people are wearing masks and gloves and some are visibly bothered by being around others, even six feet away. Some people have to postpone graduations, weddings and even the mourning of a loved one. It’s easy to see how we can be overwhelmed by fear and panic. What can we do?

We can feed our faith. We can, like Philippians 4:8 says to do, meditate on whatever things are true, noble, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy things. Meditate means; to engage in thought or contemplation, reflection, ponder, consider, dream about, purpose, think on. The Bible says that We can transform our minds by the renewing of our minds. I know this is true, for I have spent months doing this very exercise at a time in my life when I forgot what my true identity was as a Christian.

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. He also called himself the light of the world. He said, whoever follows Me will not stumble around in darkness but have the light that leads to life. We need that light and that life today. Just like the unseen virus that roams around waiting to devour, we have an unseen enemy of our souls and his name is satan or the devil. The virus threatens our lively hood, our education, our health, our society, our world and maybe our very life. But Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.

Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy, just like the virus, but the ramifications are eternal. He seeks to take your soul through deception like lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and seeking after all the things this life has to offer. His primary focus is to convince you that you are not a child of God and God does not have your best in mind. He is a liar and a thief and loves to use fear as a primary weapon.

Faith in God is eternal safety in this life and the life to come. He invites us in to His Kingdom that is without end and offers us joy and peace that, He says, surpasses all human understanding. As the layers of what we have known as our lives get pealed away, He is there offering supernatural protection, direction and hope.

I chose this image for the blog for it’s majesty, peace, calmness and hope. As an Aromatherapist, I know the value of Lavender for it’s central nervous system calming and sedative properties. It is very effective as a support for people who struggle with anxiety or have a hard time falling asleep. It is beautiful to gaze upon and beautiful to smell. Green is the color of life and being alive.

Purple is the color of royalty and peace, very fitting for The King of Kings. Mountains are majestic and lift our eyes up to something greater than ourselves. During this time of panic and uncertainty, lift up your eyes to where your help comes from, everlasting help comes from The Lord Jesus. Call on His name, give him the wheel of your life and feed on Him as the object of your affection and your faith.

No matter where you are, no matter where you have been, He is warmly and excitedly waiting for you right now.

Blessings<3

Leap After Leap in the Dark

In a new year, it is really important to step back and take inventory to see what you have to show for the 12 months you have just lived through. I relate to Agnes De Mille, especially the last year, I have been saying things like,” I am throwing everything at the wall and I am seeing what sticks.” I have been stepping out on a limb, leaping in the dark and walking by….faith.

I have really, courageously, put myself out there. I have written a book about failure and how to recover from it, and that was not with out some repercussions. I not only thought it was the right thing to do, but I thought it was what I must, absolutely do, in an effort to progress with my wholeness and help others with theirs. But because that brings with it a certain vulnerability, I have wrestled with uncertainty as to if I went about it the right way.

I have spoken at church services and events when I have been asked to, knowing that this is the direction I must ultimately blaze, and then wishing I would have said things a different way or didn’t say a particular thing.

I have come up with classes, taken them to different venues and hoped people would sign up. Many times they did. Sometimes they didn’t. I started a new forum and winced when I would walk into the room, hoping I was never the only one who showed up- I never was.

I stepped down from a few roles while picking up new ones. Seizing the opportunity with confidence in one hand and complete unbelief that I am the person speaking or the musician who was asked to play or the employee who now does intakes with patients.

It was a year of great relational tribulation piercing the very tenderest places of my heart. And it was the year that I was convinced there was no stopping now or no sitting down when there was only one way to get to the other side of my,’ living just under my potential,’ that I have put up with for far too long in my life.

I have fiercely loved when I would have rather, easily, been apathetic and I have seen the fruit that is born when you keep loving and keep forgiving.

It was a year of joy, tears, wrestling with myself and God, surrender, struggle, surrender again and fruition.

A year of leaping in the dark, getting bruised and leaping again. My mouth is quieter. My ears listen better. My feeble knees are getting stronger and my thigh muscles are becoming more defined. And, despite the dark, I am seeing more acutely and have made friends with, not completely knowing.

Thank you for reading. Blessings to you today and in your new year.

You Have The Ability To Change

This is the Holiday Season, it is exciting and exhilarating in many ways, but for many it is filled with anxiety and depression.

I happen to be a person who loves the notorious, Hallmark, picture- perfect, movies because they always turn out the way I want them to! But that is seldom true of real life.

When there is so much going on and so much expected, it is very easy to get overwhelmed and focus on stress. It takes intentionality to be aware of the subtle blessings in life and cultivate gratefulness, especially during times of overwhelm. But that is exactly what we need to do.

We do have the ability to change. We do not have to say yes to everything that others ask us to do and we can take extra measures to carve out self care during this bustling time of year.

Here are a few suggestions:

Be intentional about eating food that makes you feel light and healthy. Start with three days this week that you will intentionally eat well and take notice of how it makes you feel physically.

Drink more water than usual. Add some lemon, lime or cucumbers to it, for an uplifting change!

Take the first 10 minutes or more of your day and pray or journal. Focus on the things you have to be thankful for. We take for granted running water, warmth, food, technology and the ability to think.

Make the decision to stretch or exercise every morning for 15 minutes and see how you feel later on in the day because of that decision.

Break out the essential oils you have laying around and pick out 2-3 that you love! Put a few drops of each into a spray bottle, fill with water, shake well and use as a room deodorizer. Remember that most essential oils are anti-viral and anti-bacterial- so it will not just brighten your mood, it will also support your immune system!

Pick out special cards for those people in your life that you need to say, “I love you”, to. Writing is very therapeutic.

Surround your self with positive music that has encouraging lyrics.

Take a walk for 10 minutes in the fresh air.

Take a bath or hot shower. Put Epsom salt in the bottom of the tub for added stress relief. Better yet, add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil into the Epsom salt first. A few drops of Eucalyptus will open up the respiratory and refresh you! (In Epsom first, not straight in water as it can irritate the skin if it lays upon water alone)

Choose to say,
” I am thankful to be alive today”, even if your not feeling it, choose to focus on the gift of life.

There! Those are some ideas to jump start you and get you thinking! You have the ability to change and make this day, and everyone to follow, better than the one before!

I am right here, journeying along with you and I would love to hear from you today! Happy Holidays<3

Many Emotions Can Emerge At Christmas

Understanding that Christmas-time can bring a host of conflicting emotions, we pray this over each of you today.

Jesus said, I am the Light of the World, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.

Blessings to each of you, in His Mighty Name, by the Power He gives in His Spirit. Merry Christmas from Honest Aromas.

Autism, Birthdays, Mistakes and Inhalers

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My son is autistic. It has been one heck of a ride! Mostly the ride has been within myself, learning to accept, be flexible and be open to a new normal. It has taken almost fourteen years and I have by no means arrived.

 Having a birthday party for him was something I swore off a few years ago…and Oh Buddy, how I did swear!! One does not always know what is going on in that beautiful mind and if you go left when he wants to go right, watch out!  I couldn’t take any more tantrums in front of friends, leaving his friends sitting at the table because they ate their cake before he had the first bite or rude comments about the presents he didn’t like and the list is endless.  It is just too stressful….for me. Does that sound selfish? Maybe it is but I think I have a better grasp on my humanity and what I am able handle peacefully.

He started planning his party 2 months ago. I see him maturing in many ways. He has no problem communicating his need for more freedom and less parental control. I didn’t handle that very well when our oldest son communicated the same things to us at the same age, but I see my error in that now. I want to help raise confident, think for your self, respectful and God fearing men-so I can appreciate his hormones and intrinsic make up better than I used to appreciate his brothers’!

No person on earth has more tested, tried, exasperated or challenged this writer, than this particular son. He makes me want to hit the escape button on my emotional hand held and I sometimes  ponder if space from each other would’n’t be a good idea. I don’t know the answer to that but I do know, he is exposing many things within myself.

As I grow deeper in union with Christ, I have found this to be true. That the people and the situations in our lives that are cataclysmic to us in someway, are the very doors of hope that God has purposed. That can look a lot of ways, can’t it? It can look like the accident,the unplanned pregnancy, the lost dreams, the divorce, the illicit relationship, the addiction or the communication break down, just to name a few. God is standing there, purposing good through it, what ever it is. His hope and future for our good, in the pressure, in the refining and in the heat.  When you are aware of it, your eyes are opened! He wants to do something in us and through us. Ultimately, He wants us to so know how loved, accepted, forgiven and pleasing we are to Him- so that knowledge is given freely to others no matter how they behave, acknowledge or appreciate us.

I am getting ready for a big Aromatherapy event this weekend and in my busyness,  I made a mistake while blending some inhalers. I see that I am maturing a bit too. I just looked at the cartridges and asked, what shall I do with you now? Ginger, Lavender, Frankincense and Bergamot…. the blend lent itself to calming anxiety and reducing stress…perfect! I will give one to each of the special boys who are coming to the birthday party tonight and give one to my son and myself! A mistake turned into a blessing! That is what they are all intended to be. Not just for ourselves, but for everyone who surrounds us as well.

Thank you for reading, I really do appreciate it. I am right here walking this path of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today.

The What and Why Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm5Gx1NfWmo

 

 

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What Is Your Drug Of Choice?

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Photo by Gabrielle Allman

I am so thankful, on this fall morning, for the peace and freedom that I am experiencing right now! I have been writing a book and have a deadline for the end of December. It is my story of recovering from an addictive, life altering event.

I have written my journey, in part, on this forum for over three years now. But in the wake of this particular event of my life, I took months off of life, to spend time with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I needed to emotionally heal and I am grateful to my family that I was able to do that. My wish and prayer is that every person could have that space of time to recover from what ever trauma they have experienced and I would love to be a facilitator of that in the future, in a greater way than I am presently.

During that time I wrote out scriptures, some quite artistically, and literally plastered my home with them. They would be in front of my face and I would read them, speak them and meditate on them all day. Yesterday, I had the privilege of reacquainting with a woman who had been at my home during the time of my renewal.  She said she will never forget seeing  those scriptures attached to my walls. She said that she used the bathroom while she was at my home and spent time just reading the verses that were attached to the mirror in there. She too had been entangled in something and God was using the means of renewing my mind, to shed light into her darkness as well. This is the ultimate power that is greater than any other pull of the world, but we have to apprehend it.

Our mind is a magnificent created universe with tremendous pathways that can be re directed. I had built unhealthy ruts in my mind through addictive behaviors and they needed to be rewired and healed.

Romans 12:2  says; Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

I had conformed to the pattern of the world and it was downright painful to pull out all of that construction and rebuild, but God had encouraged me on with every Word that He spoke through His Word to me. Jesus became very real and tangible. During that time He pulled down the strongholds of caring what others thought about me, he delivered me from depression and He showed me, so intimately, who I am in Him.

Another scripture that I wrote down in addition to Romans 12:2, was 1 Peter 1:13.

Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

This passage speaks of doing what ever it takes to focus our thoughts on those things that allow us to serve God successfully, all the while eliminating any thoughts that would trip us up. The Hebrew idea was, to pull up long robes and tie them around the waist so that quick and freeing movement could be made.

Are there things that are tripping you up? Do you feel as if you can never get free from the things that bind you and set you back? Do you have dark corners of your heart that you hide from everyone in the world? I did too. God knows, He sees, and His response is always love. No one loves or cares about you more than Him. His plan is for you to reflect His glory and be His light to others in the darkness of the world. Jesus offers Himself to you right now. He is the way, the truth and the life. I did not only say that, He said that about Himself. (John 14:6) Whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. (John 8:12) It is the most freeing, spiritual and adventurous journey you can ever take.

He cares about your life, your soul, your spirit  and your eternity and so do I.  He is here for you right this minute, again, no matter how many times you have tried and failed. Ask Him to forgive you and renew your mind and set all of your hope on His grace to you. Make Him your obsession and aim. I am right here with you walking this path of wholeness and I am so thankful for the opportunity.

 

 

Meet Me In A Forgotten Corner Of My Heart

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Be Still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I love you…that I hold you in the palm of my hand…that I have counted the hairs on your head…that you are the apple of my eye…that your name is written in my heart…”Do not be afraid it is I.”

There is nothing in us that needs to be hidden from God’s love. Our guilt …our shame…our fear…our sins…He wants to see it, touch it, hear it…and make Himself known. There is no other God than the Lord of Love.

Be still and know that I am God. God is not in the storm, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still, small voice , the gentle breeze, and the sheer silence…

Be still and know that I am God. Take these words with you in the week to come…let them be like a little seed planted in the good soil of your heart and let it grow…

Be still and know that I am God.                                                                  – Henri Nouwen

Creating Margin…

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I have known for a long time that I need a lot of space for myself to be quiet, read, and pray  to be the person I was created to be. God rested on the 7th day and Jesus often retreated to a quiet place, why do we think we can just keep motoring through hour after hour, day after day?! This morning, I was reading a John Maxwell devotional and John takes 20% of his time- roughly 3 hours a day, to schedule nothing. Doing the math, that adds up to 6 days a month and 72 days a year!! He calls this Essential Time Off.  It allows his mind to be quiet and re focus on the things that are in front of him or be present for his family. He says that he is much more efficient with this un- scheduled time, scheduled in, than he would be with out it.

I have come to find this true again and again. No one is going to provide this margin to you or I. Others will keep taking our time if we let them and this concept of creating space takes great intentionality. Our world and our lives are so complex, we need scheduled times of peace. I just enjoyed 3 days off and it was great to put demands on hold while I spent precious time with my family. When I get back into my schedule, I will continue to have a few hours off every morning to focus on who I really am and what purposes I am here for.

In seasons when I have been really over committed, I find that just one more thing, even if it is seemingly insignificant or mundane, can make me implode if I am not having sufficient quiet time.  This time ultimately allows me to release creativity and stop to think about, and address, the details of my life- something that simply cannot be done on the run. This time also re aligns me with who I really am not just the roles I fill for others. If Jesus needed time to rest and listen to His Father,  I am sure there is abundant wisdom to realize that we need it even more!

I am right here walking this path of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today!

 

True Self

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I have been on a journey the last few years. I had been calling it a healing journey, but Kelly Flanagan in his book, Lovable, has challenged me to call it being wholed. I resonate with that because I often pray Shalom over myself and others. The Hebrew word, Shalom, is often linked to the word peace but it is so much more than that, it is wholeness, integrity, completeness, perfection.

I am not writing from an attitude of wholeness today. I feel anything but whole, complete or perfect. But it does not really matter how I feel about it! My true self is whole, complete, full of integrity and perfect!

“In the first act of life, we begin to overcome the disunity at the center of our self, which was wrought by our shame. We embrace the confused and lost little one in us, we return to our worthy and good-enough soul, and we come back into union with the divine spark underneath our underneath. We coalesce around our true self.” KF

I started painting with my daughter during the time my husband and I were separated. We have continued this activity together and it has been wholing. I painted this the other evening. I have been intensely wrestling with God concerning my purpose and my passion. It feels like there is nothing left to squeeze out of me, nothing else to burn, waiting for the “who I am on the inside and what I do on the outside to become one”.

The separateness we feel is truly an illusion and I am easily convinced by it when I see how I behave sometimes or when I look at my circumstances. But the truth is, I am whole and complete and perfect. I have a life full of meaning that is repeatedly being pulled free from shame and into my divine purpose. That is my true self.