Welcome to Feels and Flowers, episode 6. This week we continue our journey through the book of Genesis. Chapter 5 is just a long genealogy, but within the list of Adam’s descendants is the mention of a man who walked with God: Enoch. This week’s flower is Lavender. Learn all about its history and uses.
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A few years ago, when I was still grappling with my faith, it seemed that the more I read the Bible, the more I saw signs of a capricious God who liked to play favorites. And boy did THAT bother me.
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Hi. Welcome to Feels and Flowers. A Christian podcast that celebrates beauty and love and explores the character of God through scripture….aaaand where we also learn plant and flower trivia and essential oil use, because why not. I am your host Paula Perez.
So….week 6! I honestly can’t believe we’ve made it so far. You may not be able to tell from hearing Feels and Flowers, but I am the queen of starting project after project without finishing a single one. I have unfinished novels, unfinished CD albums, incomplete online classes, musical instruments which now gather dust, as well as mountains of crafting supplies that testify to this fact. But don’t worry, so far my attention and energy are still engaged on this podcast, so unless disaster strikes and I finally decide to start a cooking tutorials channel on YouTube, I’ll still be here!
We are going chapter by chapter though the book of Genesis. At the rate we are going, we are going to finish the book of Genesis by the time Christmastime 2020 rolls around, which actually is a very solid plan, in my opinion. I only hope we survive the year.
Anyway, this episode is on Genesis 5: Adam’s Descendants to Noah. Believe it or not, I can still find something to talk about even in a boring old genealogy, so get ready.
But first, today’s flower.
Today’s flower is…Dun Dun DUUUN!… Lavender!
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Wow. What to say about lavender? That it is the most popular and versatile essential oil you can have? That it is very safe and gentle, thus the first one that newbies should purchase? Well, yeah! If you are even considering starting the essential oils vice…I mean, journey…. with me, you should probably start with this one. In fact if you were to only have ONE essential oil, this would be it.
The name lavender comes from the Latin verb lavare, to wash, because the ancient Romans used lavender in their bath water as a perfume as well as for its therapeutic properties.
The Greeks called lavender Nardus, referring to a city in Syria called Naarda, where lavender was often sold. Many simply called the plant Nard. When Mary Magdalene anointed Jesus at the feast, she was said to have broken open an alabaster box of spikenard. Many people believe that she had been using lavender oil or lavender perfume to show her devotion. In either case, it was a very expensive gift.
Whatever the name, Lavender has a long history of medical and folkloric use. Lavender was a key ingredient in amulets and oils used against the plague, a renowned herbalist in the 1500s named William Turner claimed that washing men’s heads with lavender helped treat [their] mental illness. Additionally, during those dark, dark, times, unmarried women would drink lavender in hopes that they would be granted a dream in which they would see their true love, while married women would use it on their husbands as an aphrodisiac.
And while all that sounds pretty wild, it’s actually not as far-fetched as you would think! Back in the 90s, the Chicago-based Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation studied male and female arousal in relation to food and perfume odors. They came to several enlightening conclusions: One was that odors related to food were more effective to increase arousal, and Two, was that the magical blend of pumpkin pie and lavender increased male arousal — as measured by penile blood flow — an average of 40 percent.
Well! Good to know. Good to know!
However, of far more interest to me, is how lavender can help relieve stress and anxiety. So I’m going to share with you my favorite way to use lavender to promote restful sleep and increase feelings of well-being. I’m gonna put this at the end of the show. But first, back to what we began.
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I’m not even going to bother reading Genesis 5. It is basically a quick rundown of Adam’s descendants all the way to Noah. This is what you should basically know. Noah was descended from Adam through Adam’s son named Seth. Between creation and Noah’s birth, there was a time period of approximately 1056 years. And between creation and the flood 1,718 years. Oh, and also in verse 21-23 there is the interesting little tidbit about the man who disappeared.
Genesis 5 says: When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he fathered Methuselah. And Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah three hundred years, and fathered sons and daughters. And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God, and he was no more, for God took him.
And so, just like that one man who walked the earth, who was a husband, a father, and was pretty much like everyone else in his family was suddenly the special one that God favored and was taken from the mortal realm to live with God.
Throughout the Bible you find stories like that. Stories of people who God simply takes a liking to, regular nobodies whom God raises to roles of leadership and renown. People riddled with flaws whom God still singles out as the recipients of his special blessing. Enoch, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Elijah, John the beloved disciple, and other giants of the faith.
When we read about these people, or come within the orbit of men and women who enjoy such closeness with God, we can’t help but wish we could also enjoy the same favor. Face it, it is an undisputed fact that some Christians seem to experience a much closer intimacy with God than others. They appear to have a kind of familiarity with God that we could never dream to have. Is it a matter of favoritism? Some arbitrary choice that God makes when he singles one person but not another? Or if there is something we can do, then how do we qualify to become the “Teacher’s Pets”?
A few years ago when I was a young adult and still grappling with my faith, it seemed that the more I read the Bible, the more I saw this and the more it bothered me. It bothered me A LOT. I wanted to understand the true nature of what I thought was God’s “favoritism.”
You see, In my life I’ve never been anyone’s special anything, except with my family and close friends. I’m just a regular looking girl with a quiet humor, a quieter voice, and introverted tendencies. Girls like me never stand out. Not in school, or with the boys, even at work unless we work extra hard. Life was already hard. The thought that God might also have His favorites drove me up the wall. NOT FAIR!
I have since learned to let the Bible speak for itself. In cases like these when passages or questions in the Old testament stump me, I’ve learned to look to the New Testament for answers, or to take a moment and stand back and see the full narrative of the Bible to show me the completed picture of the Character of God. If we fast forward from Enoch a few thousand years, we reach the time of Jesus, where he said these words: Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35)
There are some ties that are even closer than those of family. From among those early followers who placed their faith in Him, Jesus chose twelve to walk with him and live out life with him on an everyday basis. And it was these twelve which he referred to as His family.
Yet within the twelve, there was a circle of three with whom Jesus became especially close: Peter, and the brothers John and James. They were closer to Him than any of the others, and on four occasions, Jesus singled them out and took them with him to experience His power and divinity, such as at the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:51), on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:1), on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13:3), and in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:37).
Could any of the twelve have been among that favored group? Or were the three specially selected arbitrarily? With Jesus there was no whims or favoritism at play. Their relationship with Him was the result of their own choice as they responded much more favorably to His love and His training (which all disciples equally received).
So what keeps disciples from the inner circle? Perfection? If so, then Peter, who denied Jesus would not be eligible, and neither would have been the ambitious status-seeking James and John. So were they just nicer guys in general? I doubt it. Peter was of a volatile temper: reckless, foul-mouthed, and quick to draw the sword, and James and John, who were aptly named the sons of thunder, were far from sweet-tempered. When faced with rejection, they wanted to have fire rain down on their offenders.
Yet even among the three, John seemed to have even more favor. He had the seat closest to Jesus where he could lean on his breast, he was admitted to his trial on that awful night when Jesus was apprehended, and when Jesus was dying on the cross, John was entrusted with the care of Jesus’s own mother.
Well, simply because he alone appropriated the place of privilege that was available to all. It was love that drew John into a deeper closeness with Jesus than the other apostles. Jesus loved them all, but John alone appropriated the title “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” If Jesus loved John more, it was because John loved Him more. Mutual love and confidence are the key here.
In other words, we—not God–determine the degree of intimacy with Him that we enjoy. We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be. The place on Jesus’ breast is still vacant, and open to any who are willing to (for the lack of a better word) pay the price of deepening intimacy. We are now, and we will be in the future, only as close with God as we really choose to be.
In some translations of the Bible, it says that Enoch walked with God. But not simply walked, but walked steadily, he walked steadfastly, walked continuously, with God.
I think it played out like this: Enoch used to take late afternoon strolls after the day’s work was done. He loved his life, he loved his wife, and his family, but this time alone with God was his favorite. During this time he continued his stream of conversation with God, a stream that had started upon his waking and only ended when he went to sleep. But then one day the talk went deeper than usual, the walk extended miles and miles from Enoch’s home. So much so that God must have said. “Hey, we’re closer to my place than yours. How about you come over to mine instead? I’ve got plenty of room. Mansions of room. And time. So much time. How about it?”
Well what do you say to that? To dwelling forever in God’s presence? To make your Home at God’s side? Obviously Enoch was seen no more.
You know, there are some things I can never ever aspire to, and things I’ll surely never become: Popular? Nope. I’m too much of a shy introvert to get out there and market myself. A famous artist? Ha! Definitely no. But I can live with that because there is one thing that I can attain, even if I only began working at it today: The favor of God.
Because contrary to what we’ve always thought, being “the Friend of God,” the “beloved” of Jesus, and HIS chosen one, is something that you and I DO stand a chance at becoming.
Life is a road that stretches ahead of you. It’s uncertain, sometimes dangerous. Sometimes you can’t even see more than a few feet ahead of you. But you don’t have to be alone, because God is also there, and so is His invitation to walk with him each and every day. Will you choose to walk with him?
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If you’ve reached this far, thank you for listening.
As promised, my favorite way to use Lavender so that I can relax and have a restful sleep is through diffusion. I like to play with different Lavender-based blends and diffuse them at night an hour or two before bedtime. I love Jasmine and Lavender together, and Bergamot and Lavender is a smell I absolutely can’t get enough of. For more blends and a full breakdown of all the things you can do with Lavender, please visit feelsandflowers.com and look under the blog category “Flowers” to find a post on this and all the other flowers we’ve talked about so far. Additionally, please refer to Safe Essential oil Practices on the website if you are a newbie. We will go over almost 100 essential oils, plants, and carrier oils in this podcast, so I want you to be well-informed before you begin buying stuff.
Finally, I’d like to thank everybody who has reached out to me via email, instagram, and snail mail. Today I received a card from a special friend, and to you I want to say, “Thank you very much!” Next week I’ll share some more listener mail. Your emails and comments will make my day!
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Until next time… please remember that you are beautiful, you are loved, and you were made with a purpose. So go on out there and live like you believe this is true.