Hi! Welcome to Feels and Flowers where I, your host, talk about plants and essential oils, celebrate beauty in all its forms, and share a Christian gospel based entirely on love: Love God, love yourself, love others. Full stop. 

This week’s podcast is based on Genesis 12 and 20: two nearly  identical narratives about that time when Abram/Abraham took matters into his own hands and lied about his relationship status. What happens when in the midst of your calling you encounter a trial which seems beyond your control? 

Bear with your host as she tells you about how she lost her job, the ensuing crippling attack of anxiety, and how among the questions of how she’s going to make it through this COVID-19 crisis she managed to find peace.

When heaven is silent it is often so tempting to think that you are on your own–well, you’re not. Ok? 

The essential oil of the week is Bergamot. Ah, Bergamot, so fresh and clean, and wonderful. For you I’ll empty out my pockets so I can ever enjoy your sweet, sweet, fragrance as much as I can. Yes, Bergamot is my favorite essential oil, so you may hear me gush about it.

Find semi-accurate show transcripts, notes from the episode and extras… all at 

Send me flowers! Your comments and emails will make my day. Email me at and follow me on Instagram @feelsandflowerspodcast and Twitter @feelsandflowers. Finally, Don’t forget to subscribe to the show and tell others about it. Rate, Review, Subscribe! 


The law is for the self-righteous, to humble their pride. The gospel is for the lost, to remove their despair -Charles Spurgeon


Hi! Welcome to Feels and Flowers where I, your host, talk about plants and essential oils, celebrate beauty in all its forms, and share a Christian gospel based entirely on love: Love God, love yourself, love others. Full stop. 

As I am going through Genesis for the umpteenth time in preparation for each one of these episodes, I have come to realize that the Old Testament has been unjustly relegated to figurative dust and cobwebs in favor of the New Testament. If God has two sides, the OT is usually regarded as the antiquiated and outdated  “Justice” side of God and the NT is the updated and far more comfortable “merciful” side of God. 

But that is very not the case. You can’t have a gospel that has one without the other, so please stop avoiding the Old Testament and I hope you stick around for the rest of this series on Genesis so that you too can see how in this ancient story there is so much evidence of the fact that God is love and that we are beautiful, we are loved, and we were made with a purpose.

Last week we were introduced to Abram, as God called him to leave his country of origin for the sake of a destiny and a plan that God had for him. Because of his obedience, Abram goes down in Bible history as a man of exemplary faith. We also established just how great of a faith it really takes to leave your comfort zone, to embrace your calling.

This week, we see this faith in action. I was initially going to title this episode “Ooopsies, hold your camels!” but since I take myself way too seriously and aspire to become a very important kind of  to be a very important kind of podcaster I decided to stick to a more serious title: FEAR: Genesis 12 and 20 and Dealing With Heaven’s Screaming Silence. Stick around and learn just what happened when Abram encountered his first significant trial.  

But first, the essential oil of the week: Bergamot.


You guys guess what. Bergamot is my favorite essential oil so when I asked Liz which essential oil I should cover and she answered “Bergamot” I was ecstatic. 

We have a long episode today so I’ll keep it brief:

Bergamot is a small citrus shaped like a pear, believed to be a hybrid of either a sour orange and lemon, or sour orange and lime. While Bergamot is grown mainly in southern Italy it, like many other citruses, originated in SouthEast Asia. How it got its name and how it made its way to Europe is still shrouded in mystery. 

Nevertheless, we do know for sure that once it was introduced in Europe in the 1600s, it was grown almost exclusively in southern Italy in the region of Calabria. Yet it wasn’t until after 1750 that the characteristics of the essential oil were recognized and appreciated, especially once it became a main ingredient in the wildly popular Eau de Cologne.

Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit just before it ripens. Fun fact, this oil is responsible for the delightful flavor in Earl Grey tea. I love Earl Grey so much that I buy it in bulk. Anyway, Bergamot essential oil was traditionally used in Italy as a fever reducer and to treat intestinal parasites. Now it is mainly used for perfumes.

Learn some of Bergamot essential oil’s amazing properties at the end of the episode. But for now, let’s go back to our story and to Abram.


The story begins soon after it says that Abram moved into the area known as the Negev. It says, 

1Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. (Genesis 12:10-20)

Leading is difficult. That’s why if I can I avoid it altogether. 

It has its perks, of course. Think about the recognition, the limelight, the credit and accolades that go to the one who leads when everything goes well. But in my opinion all that is outweighed by the burden of responsibility that comes with being the decision maker, the one who calls the shots, the one who leads from behind in times of victory but takes the front line when there is danger. The one who stays behind on the sinking ship when it goes down. 

Put yourself in Abram’s sandals. You have who knows how many souls who rely on you and look up to you for guidance. Men, women, servants. Maybe there’s a few children too. They trust you implicitly, knowing but not fully understanding how it is that while they are following you, you are not the one determining the destination; you’re merely obeying God’s directive. 

So you made  a tour of the promised land, making sure to raise an altar to the true God wherever you go. And the land of Canaan is a beautiful place, but because of all the vast herds you have and the constant need to find pastures for all your animals you head on south toward the Negev. 

And then disaster strikes. There is a famine in the land: no wheat, no barley, no rye.  The sparse grass in the arid Negev region withers, so now your animals have no food. And because we can, let’s make a bad situation worse: the springs and wells dry up.

Well, this is just… great.

No one says anything at first, they just look at you with questioning eyes– Looking to you to save them, to lead them to a better land so that they and the animals may be saved. They all expect you to be strong and decisive in this time of crisis. They all look to you because until now you have been the one that leads–nevermind that you only follow God’s directive. No. This is for real. If they all die it will be on you, for you are the one with the anointing, you are the one with the direct line to God. 

Yet you KNOW how God speaks to you, and so far God has been silent. You pray for guidance, pray for patience, and persuade the others to not be afraid. God didn’t lead You out to the sticks to starve! 

The days pass, the food begins to run low. You dig up wells but find little in the way of water. Your wife doesn’t say much, and puts a brave front but you know that she is afraid. And you hate to see the worry crease her beautiful face and cloud her lovely eyes. She’s a trooper, she doesn’t nag, she doesn’t pester about what you’re going to do because she trusts you THAT MUCH.

And you pray and pray, and wish you wish you could forego mealtimes to avoid the tension in the air and the desperation you see in everyone’s countenance. And at night you go out to ask for answers up in the sky, but as you gaze out at the stars you hear nothing but that deafening silence you’ve come to dread. 

The silence is unnerving, and doubt begins to gnaw inside you. So when you learn from a passing caravan that Egypt is actually doing very well, you perk up. Egypt! Of course! It doesn’t rely on rains–it has the Nile. But for all its promises of bounty, it is not a god-fearing land. It is actually a violent land where a man may lose his life if he’s not careful. But above all, God has not told you to go there either. 

Well, he’s also NOT  told you to not go there, you reason. He’s been rather silent. Your people and your animals are still alive, you still have some food and stores; but you reason that you’re barely making it. So you make the decision and round everyone together for an announcement. “‘Kay everybody, pack your bags and tents! We’re off to Egypt.”

Oh, and you also tell your wife to lie and say you are brother and sister. 

Because that’s what you do, isn’t it? You fill in the blanks that God refuses to fill. Because, of course, that’s what leaders do.


I don’t need to keep going. You know how the story goes. Because he sought human solutions to a God-sized problem, Abram entangled himself and his wife in an imbroglio that had severe and far-reaching consequences. Consequences which come up later when Hagar, the slave girl who joined their retinue during their stay in Egypt, became a source of great trouble to Abram’s family.

However, God intervened before Pharaoh could touch Sarai. Pharaoh, though extremely upset and rightfully indignant, did not arrest or otherwise punish Abram for his deception. He didn’t even revoke the gifts he’d bestowed on him. He merely had them all deported. It must have been humiliating for this man of God to be so rebuked by the head of a godless country and to be escorted out of the country.

You’d think Abram learned his lesson.

But he didn’t.

Almost 25 years later the story was repeated. Abram stumbled in the exact same way. This time he lied to Abimelech, king of Gerar. And Abimelech, that good man, came for Sarai and took her to his household. Oh boy.

Really? Abram? REALLY? 


Look, I’m basically preaching here at myself.

This week our boss called us over for a meeting and said that due to the economic impact of COVID-19 he would shut down operations at the end of the month. He was closing it all down and I along with the majority of the staff would be out of a job.

**Side note**

Dear God, can I just tell you how much I appreciate the fact that I have to face the prospect of my pending unemployment in the week that I’m supposed to talk about the constancy of faith? Haha. It’s the kind of uncanny freaky coincidences that I live for. Nothing like life imitating art.

Or is it art imitating life? 


**End of side note.**

Anyway. I went home. I kept silent about it. I had immediately texted Liz with the news. She very wisely asked me not to tell mom or dad as dad’s already fragile health could take a turn for the worse at the news. So I’m not telling them, and I’m temporarily deleting the podcast app from my mom’s tablet so she won’t hear this episode until June, when I should already have another job and she’ll forgive me for keeping this secret.

I acted as usual once I got home. I may have hugged my mother longer than usual and swallowed a sob before quickly turning away and going to my room to change out of my outside clothes. I carried on as usual. 

Only to wake up the next day with an unbearable headache. Going to work was out of the question. And so all that blessed day I huddled in bed–a miserable, sweaty lump. Mom came to check on me. She’s an old hand at my pains and aches. She rubbed my feet with sweet almond oil, even though I think it is a lowly act that I feel is demeaning to her. And so through tear veiled eyes I looked down at her lovely, lovely face. The picture of patience and affection, and I was THIS close to blubbering and breaking down and telling her everything:

That I was afraid. That being a grownup that has to pay rent and bills and that has to go look for a job when unemployment has hit Great Depression levels was scaring me shitless. 

Sorry that if I had been braver and brasher and [most importantly] if I had loved it enough I would have become a civil engineer with a soul-sucking cubicle job away from vibrant colors and design work I love but which would have probably been more dependable.

But what I was the most sorry for was that I couldn’t trust her enough to keep silent about the situation at a time when I needed her prayer the most.

Mom left, and I remained in bed thinking, thinking, thinking. Calculating how much money I had in the checking accounts, how much in savings. How much I owed the bank as well. I tallied up my assets, foreign words like ‘liquidity’ and ‘interest rates’ came to my mind as I calculated how much I had, and how long I could live off of it. How does filing for unemployment work? Would I have to work as a freelancer? Oh God, please no. I hate freelancing. Loathe it. And it could have been the thought of the freelancing that brought on that good old-fashioned panic attack. 

God, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die, I don’t wanna die… I said repeatedly while trying to remember how the doctor had taught me those breathing exercises and mind control techniques to bring my racing heart, my elevated blood pressure and my erratic breathing under control. Eventually, I got it under control and I fell asleep: exhausted, tear-stained, sweaty, drained.



So very, very human.

Newsflash: I am a human, and so are you. Yeah, we are Christians but still fallible creatures made of flesh and bone. And just like Abram, You and I sometimes find it easier to trust God in the far-off promises than in the right-now needs. That is why when we are faced with immediate problems we tend to fall back into behaviors and thoughts that are not good for us. Survival mode, defence mechanisms, call it what you want. 

These are the attitudes, the people, substances, behaviors, habits, and thought patterns that keep us from being whole and complete. No one wants to be stuck in the same rut. No one wants to be an addict. No one wants to be a victim of panic attacks. No one wants to be petrified by fear when a crisis strikes.

No one.

But unless we actually trust God for the HERE and NOW problems, as well as for the glittering scripture promises about the future, we will continue to mess up as we attempt to fill in the blanks that God has not yet seen fit to fill in.

I am not pleased that I worked myself up to such a state of anxiety like I did a few days ago. It’s embarrassing on a personal level for me to disclose this at all. And one could say that my lack of trust dishonors God. Such incapacitating worry has no place in the life of someone who professes to have faith in Him. However, there is also no place for despair and continuous self-recrimination either. 

As Charles Spurgeon said, “The law is for the self-righteous, to humble their pride. The gospel is for the lost, to remove their despair.”

So if you failed to trust God in the past–you failed! Let’s move on so you can do it again and again until you realize once and for all that you need to let him fill in the blanks and solve God-sized problems with God-sized solutions.

Pray and ask for wisdom, then sit down and do the research and the work that you need to do in order to make the best-informed decision. Ask for counsel. Trust in the providence of God to guide you to the people you need to talk to, trust in the Holy Spirit to give you the words you need to speak. There is no need to be afraid of the future and the outcomes unless the decisions you make are in direct opposition to a command or Biblical principle. 

And while you might get it wrong–you’re only human after all–it still won’t be the end of the world. It really, REALLY, won’t be! So there’s no need to be petrified by fear of failing. And no need to think that the apparent screaming silence of heaven is indicative of indifference. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” (Psalms 46:1)

Listen, Abram was spooked by this silence and messed up. Messed up pretty bad, especially that second time in Genesis 20 when Abram dishonored God, and cast doubt upon God’s wisdom in leading him.  But you know what? God was merciful. Faithful. God did not call back His promise to Abram, because the promise depended on God and not on Abram. 

Abram went on to become the father of a great nation, the great Patriarch, the Friend of God, and in Hebrews 11 Abram is listed right up there with the other giants of the faith IN SPITE of his blunders.

So Yes. God is silent tonight, but my heart is at peace. Because I know that though I’ll have to make a few difficult decisions in the next couple of days I’ll have to trust in myself, in the fact that I am amazing at what I do, but above all, in the fact that each turn of events will be the providence of an ever-present, all-knowing God filling in the blanks.


Thank you for listening. Before I go, I’d like to briefly tell you about Bergamot essential oil benefits:

It soothes skin and helps ease acne, eczema, and many kinds of skin irritations; it acts as an antidepressant, easing anxiety and balancing mood; it has a cooling action that helps fight fevers. It has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

My favorite use of Bergamot Essential oil is to diffuse it by itself or blended with Lavender. I can go through bottles of Bergamot like no other essential oil!

A word of safety: As I mentioned in episode 9 where I talked about Citrus essential oils, I need you to keep in mind that you have to use caution if you use Bergamot topically. It is highly phototoxic and will cause a chemically induced skin irritation resembling a severe sunburn if you go out in the sun and are using it topically .

Allright! That’s it for this week.

You can find more about using essential oils and essential oil blends at Additionally you can find episode transcripts and extras like citations and links  to learn more on the post for this episode.

Send me flowers! If you’d like a shoutout or you just want to say hi, you can reach me at or you can also follow me on IG and Twitter (Links are in the description). If you enjoy Feels and Flowers please be sure to review F&F on Apple podcasts or whatever podcast platform you use. That would really help me a lot.

Love you! Until next time… please remember that you are beautiful, you are loved, and you were made with a purpose.

God Bless!


Citrus bergamia: Bergamot and Its Derivatives:

So MANY good notes about Genesis 12: