Content Warning for this episode: Violent death, Cancer.
Welcome to Feels and Flowers, episode 7. A podcast where it is perfectly okay to lose one’s sh*t while recording and where your host will weep halfway through. Sorry, this episode got a little too emotional. This week we continue our snail’s pace journey through the book of Genesis. Chapter 6 deals with the wickedness of the world before the great flood, and God’s decision to wipe out every creature on it. Ooof. Can we find grace and love and beauty in this passage? I say yes. Today’s flower is a plant called Absinthe Wormwood. Learn what it is, it’s history, and ways in which you can use it!
This episode is dedicated to Janet, my supervisor and friend from work. She shared with me a Psalm that went a long way in helping me prepare for this episode.
Also, a huge shoutout to Sofia C. from Texas! Thank you for your friendship, your words of encouragement and the lovely quotes you sent my way, as well as your continued support!
Send me flowers, and I’ll give you a shoutout! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Instagram @feelsandflowerspodcast. Find semi-accurate show transcripts and extras at https://feelsandflowers.com/
Finally, Don’t forget to subscribe to the show and tell others about it.
Additional music: “In the End” by Marcus Warner: http://www.marcuswarnermusic.com/
Content Warning: Violent death, Cancer.
No doubt about it! God is good— good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. (Psalm 73)
— [THEME MUSIC] —
Hi. Welcome to Feels and Flowers. A Christian podcast that celebrates beauty and love and explores the character of God throughout scripture. We also talk about flowers and plants and essential oil use. Now, I’ve been wanting to address this since we started but I held off because I wanted to establish myself a little better before saying this but…. apparently there’s people out there who think that EO users fall into a particular category of people who are fanatic Christian Conservatives, who are anti-science, anti-medicine, anti-vaxers. They probably homeschool their children. Other people say that EO users are hippie types who are into crystals, yoga, and other exotic practices.
Well, I am neither of those things. I am the proud outlier that says that everyone should enjoy all the goodness from nature in any form they can get them. And however you choose to incorporate the healing properties of plants shouldn’t say anything about your religion, your practices, or your political stances. Jeez people. Be nice to each other.
Today I’d like to give a shoutout to Sofia C. from Texas! A few weeks ago she sent me some really lovely notes of encouragement and quotes related to flowers and self love.
I will share with you some of them, because there were many and I would also like to keep some meaningful ones to myself. Anyway, this one was by Anonymous: We cut and kill flowers because we think they are beautiful, but we cut and kill ourselves because we think we are not. Another quote she sent me was by American singer K. Michelle that says: I treat myself like I would my daughter. I brush her hair, wash her laundry, tuck her goodnight. Most importantly, I feed her. I do not punish her. I do not berate her, leave tears staining her face. I do not leave her alone. I know she deserves more. I know I deserve more.
How true that is. We deserve to love ourselves more and we deserve to accept the love we receive from others, even when we think we don’t deserve it. Thank you for the reminder Sofia! I am glad that to you Feels and Flowers time is also known as time to cause happiness and spread joy. You are absolute delight. When you and Anna started Take A Number on Youtube I was like, “Oh, boy. She really did it. I told her she should go for it, and she did it. Now that I motivated her to do this, I really should get started on my own project.” Thank you my dear, for all the support since starting!
So, let’s get down to business. This week: Genesis 6. It deals with the wickedness of the world before the great flood, and introduces us to the starring cast of the narrative dealing with the flood. Genesis chapter 6 verses 5 through 7 says:
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
This week, God spoke to me through my supervisor. I work in a Christian organization, so I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by Christian people who pray and who truly value the work of ministering to other people. For the past two weeks I prayed and I wondered how I was going to approach Genesis 6. How can you find the grace of God in his wiping out the entire world and its people? Janet, my co-worker, shared with me a Psalm that went a long way into helping me put this together. So thank you Janet, if you ever hear this. I am dedicating this episode to you.
So can we find grace and love and beauty in this passage? I say yes. But before we delve into that, today’s flower: Absinthe Wormwood
— [ FLOWER MUSIC ] —
Though it can be found in most temperate zones, Absinthe Wormwood is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. And yes, in case you were wondering, this is the plant from which Absinthe’s flavor is derived, though not its supposed hallucinogenic properties.
The Egyptians were said to be the first ones to recognize its medicinal properties. The Greeks later also discovered this pretty little plant and spread its use. Even today it is highly valued for its tonic effect on the liver, gallbladder and digestive system. It can remove parasites from the digestive tract, and can aid in fever reduction. It is an extremely useful medicine for those with weak and under-active digestion. It increases stomach acid and bile production, improving digestion and the absorption of nutrients. It also eases wind and bloating.
Us Perez’es tend to… uh… to have a temperament that is a little on the choleric side. Tempers tend to run high, and for many of us this results in some very nasty stomach cramps. So to counter the effects of all the anger, stress, shock, and grief, we will make a tea or chew on a few leaves of dried Absinthe Wormwood. Boy does it taste awfully bitter, yet it is very effective. The bitterness gives way to a feeling of wellbeing in your tummy because it essentially helps your digestive system restart. Pretty amazing. And so, we always grow it at home or keep a stash of the dried leaves for making a tea.
Now, I don’t know what that says about us as a family. You can form your own conclusions once you meet any one of us. But I will say that whether our stubborn streak from the Mexican or the Italian side of the family remains to be determined.
Jokes aside, for me personally, I have discovered that after a particularly stressful event or when I am feeling very nervous, my stomach tends to knot up and cramp. Absinthe Wormwood is my go-to remedy. This plant takes care of those cramps almost immediately. So if you can get your hands on this plant you should. However, do be careful. Absinthe wormwood is very potent and care should be used when administering. I’ll share with you some warnings when using this plant at the end of the episode. But first… Genesis 6. Woo!
— [ END FLOWER MUSIC ] —
It’s been years and years. But some things remain fresh in my mind as if they had happened yesterday. So I can tell you that I can recall very clearly the day we got the news that one of my beloved cousins had been killed in Ciudad Juarez Mexico. I can’t forget the cold sensation of shock I felt. But most of all, I can’t forget my mom and how she cried. I hope to God I never again hear my mom cry that way again, with such gut wrenching sobs, as she cried over the young man, her sister’s son, whom she’d cared and loved as her own son when he’d been little. Between her sobs all she could say was why? Why, God.
Why? He was your servant, of all of us, he was the most faithful to you. He went to seminary to be a pastor and once he graduated he gave up a post of relative comfort for one where he could do the most good. He had a family, and a wife who was expecting another baby. He did not deserve to be killed by the narcos. He did not deserve to be riddled by bullets and left dead in his car as if his life had held no meaning or value.
Why? God? Why did you let it happen?
I also still remember how, a few years later our parents called my sister and me to the living room to share some news. Grandma had died after a very long battle with cancer. That cursed disease had finally taken the last that remained of that good and strong woman. She’d been the pillar of our family, yet even though she’d faced and survived such hardship and loss throughout her life, cancer toppled her in the most slow, painful, and debilitating way possible as it spread all over her body.
I’d known she was sick, and that the odds were not good. But I’d prayed and prayed for a miracle, or at least the chance to see once more the woman who’d cared for me and loved me so much when I was a child. But my prayers went unanswered. I never had the chance to receive her blessing, or even say goodbye. And while I didn’t let the news topple me, and while I set my teeth and willed myself to be strong, over the weeks that followed I strove against God as I asked over and over again. Why? Why did he have to take her that way?
She preached about you to countless people, pioneered churches, helped the needy, she was faithful to you, you even talked to her in dreams. Why did you have to put her through this?
God. Why do you give us so much goodness and so many blessings only to take them away? Why life? Why love? Why pleasure, if they are only transitory? And meanwhile there are thousands of people who kill, who steal from the most poor and needy, people who are in power and live in luxury. Awful people: killers, rapists, human traffickers, corrupt politicians, diabolical beings who only become more emboldened as they keep getting away with their crimes.
My soul cries out for justice.
Father, no one ever brought my cousin’s murderers to justice. And I still find it unfair that because of an act of villainy my family was splintered twenty years ago and we lost almost all our possessions, all our money, and we were forced to leave our home and our people. As a result, I had to wait years and years before I could finally return home and leave flowers at grandmother’s grave. But what good were they? She’s dead. It was too late. Too late for us.
Father I am absolutely certain that I am not the only one whose heart clamors for answers, and cries out for justice. Every single one of your children…. all of creation itself….is groaning for the day of your deliverance. See the forest fires, see the animals on the brink of extinction, see the multitudes who are dying from wars, from hunger, from diseases which no science can stop. See the children who’ve been torn from their parents. See the multitudes wondering from place to place in search of home and safety. See the cruelty of mankind rise. See how hearts are turning more indifferent. See how the hope in our hearts is withering away.
Where are you? Are you there? Are you listening?
Do you even CARE?
My darling, I wish I had all the answers. I don’t. I wish I could give you the closure you need for YOUR particular situation. I can’t.
But listen. Throughout the Bible there is a thread that winds itself through the narrative and helps makes sense of God’s delay or seeming indifference. It is mercy.
‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I am not pleased when sinful people die. But I am pleased when the sinful turn from their way and live. Turn! Turn from your sinful ways! Why will you die, O people of Israel?
God hears the cries of his children who clamor for justice and deliverance. People have died while they wait for deliverance. Yet God delays the day of his wrath for the sake of the people who have yet to make their final decision (Revelations 6:9). Their cup of iniquity is not yet filled.
What is this, cup of iniquity? You say? The full cup is based on the idea that God measures the actions of mankind. Every time we do wrong, we add a sin to our cup of grace. When all of God’s grace has been displaced by willful sin, our cup becomes full of bitterness and we have to drink the consequences of our actions.
In a similar way, God measures the actions of nations. When the cup of transgression is nearly full, God breaks His silence by sending a warning through His selected messengers. If the warning does not work, He then uses one or more of His four methods of judgments: the sword, famine, plagues and wild beasts. If the situation is redeemable, His judgments are used to bring about change. But if the situation goes beyond redemption, His judgments are totally destructive. But always ALWAYS, ALWAYS, God extends His mercy and grace until there is not longer hope for redemption.
You can see this pattern in Noah’s day, the Amorites (Genesis 15), Belshazzar (Daniel 5:26-28), Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20,21), Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:7-17), and Israel (Ezekiel 7:2-8).
You can see it at work now…. A world that more and more is beginning to sound like the world where Noah lived. God gave humans a world that was full of beauty, and mankind was gifted with long life (remember that humans used to live to be more than 900 years old). Humans had great energy, and physical and mental prowess. The world had so many resources, and humans could have taken their gifts and done great things with them, but they used their gifts for doing horrible things. Things so awful that God had to put an end to the corruption, violence, and wickedness for the sake of the few people on earth who were still faithful.
Now look around you. the world is going crazy, and yet the cup of iniquity is not yet filled. God is calling us to heed the warning signs. You see, there is going to be a figurative flood that will wipe out the wicked and their ill-gotten gains. For those of us who want an end to all the killing, the injustice, death, cancer, and suffering, the destruction at the end of times will bring an end to all evil.
Hell is not what many of us have been led to believe it is. It is not something you or I should fear. 2 Peter 3:9 says that God is patient toward us, not wishing that any of us should perish, but that we all should receive repentance. That all-consuming fire is basically, the only way in which we will ever be able to enjoy a world where pain and death are no more. When we wake up from the nightmare there will only be light, and beauty. God will wipe every tear from [our] eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever (Revelations 21:4)
[Psalm 73, a psalm of Asaph (The Message and New Living Translation)]
No doubt about it! God is good—
good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it,
missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way,
looking up to the people at the top,
envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about,
not a care in the whole wide world.
They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
and clothe themselves with cruelty.
These fat cats have everything
their hearts could ever wish for!
They scoff and speak only evil;
in their pride they seek to crush others.
They boast against the very heavens,
and their words strut throughout the earth.
And so the people are dismayed and confused,
drinking in all their words.
“What does God know?” they ask.
“Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”
Look at these wicked people—
enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
The wicked get by with everything;
they have it made, piling up riches.
I’ve been stupid to play by the rules;
what has it gotten me?
A long run of bad luck, that’s what—
I get nothing but trouble all day long;
every morning brings me pain.
If I had really spoken this way to others,
I would have been a traitor to your people.
So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
But what a difficult task it is!
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
Then I saw the whole picture: and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
The slippery road you’ve put them on,
with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.
In an instant they are destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors.
We wake up and rub our eyes. . . . Nothing.
There’s nothing to them. And there never was.
When I was beleaguered and bitter,
totally consumed by envy,
I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
You’re all I want in heaven!
You’re all I want on earth!
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again!
But I’m in the very presence of God—
oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.
God, I’m telling the world what you do!
— [THEME MUSIC] —
Thank you so much for listening. It is hard getting in so much of my heart crammed into one 20 minute podcast, so thank you for sticking with me until the end. This was by far one of the most emotionally draining things I’ve ever had to do, and I hope that if you are also looking for answers to all your Why’s, iit helped you– even if it was just a little. Of course we all find our peace with God in several different ways, so I hope that at least you are open to continuing on the dialogue with your Heavenly Father and not give up.
Too much of a good thing can be bad, I suppose. In this case Absinthe Wormwood is a wonderful medicinal plant, but it can be poisonous if used in large quantities. Even small quantities have been known to cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia and other side effects when used for a long time. Use this on an occasional basis, not on the reg. Avoid if prone to seizures. Avoid during pregnancy & breast feeding. Wormwood essential oil exists but its use is NOT recommended. At least, I don’t recommend it, I do not own it, and will not use it until I learn more about it. But as far as I have been able to tell from the reading I’ve done it is risky, and best to avoid it.
There are, however, plenty of essential oils that you can safely. 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 Use on the website if you are a newbie. We will go over almost 100 essential oils, plants, and carrier oils on this podcast, so I want you to be well-informed before you begin using this stuff. You can also find the transcript to this episode on the website. Check it out!
Send me flowers!
No, not literal flowers. I mean your emails and comments. They will make my day! To reach me, you can email me at email@example.com or you can also follow me on IG: @feelsandflowerspodcast. If you enjoy Feels and Flowers please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe on Apple podcasts or whatever podcast platform you use. That would really help a lot.
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.
Cup of iniquity: https://www.danielrevelationbiblestudies.com/brn12009.htm