This past year was the year of great mercy and favor shown to me by God. I completed RCIA and became Catholic; I had my healthy, 10lb. baby boy at home (who was baptized a few months after); I found and fell in love with a parish that is 2 miles from home; the Lord blessed me with many new, lasting and healthy friendships; He helped me reclaim my health and my purpose; He led me to true nourishment and vitality. Yes, there were ups and downs in 2015, but overall my heart is rejoicing. There were just too many overwhelmingly beautiful occasions synchronized within my life last year to write them off as coincidences. Indeed, the Lord showed favor to His lowly servant.
As I begin 2016 I find myself flooded with intense creative energy… the kind that makes staying asleep at 3am hard. I have so much to look forward to that the work feels easy. I no longer feel like I’m drowning in life, being drug under by the waves and barely staying afloat. I truly feel the life abundant that He promises to all of His children.
As I was contemplating the Joyful Rosary, I had to pause at the idea of the third Joyful Mystery, the birth of Jesus. I mean, really, step back from the tired tropes you’ve been told since childhood and stand in the field where the stable is. See Mary crouching as she gives birth with Joseph as her doula-midwife. See exhausted mother and baby nursing amongst the animals. See the starry sky lit up with the heavens rejoicing; the brightly cloaked angels appearing to the shepherds as they leave their flocks to see an infant child in a feeding trough. Just when you thought it couldn’t get more surreal, these three exotic dudes show up on camels, bejeweled and dressed to the nines, calm as cucumbers. They aren’t surprised at the scene they’re stumbling upon because they’ve prepared for this journey and sought Him out according to prophecy. They followed a star.
No, really, stop here and imagine packing whatever you need for a journey of which the duration is unknown and crossing countries (plural) with the stars being your road map. These guys were extraordinary. They aren’t just pawns in the peg manger on your decorated countertop. They were the cherry on top of the Holy parfait. I wonder if Mary expected their reverence or their gifts. I imagine her wide-eyed with disbelief at the Lord’s fulfillment of His word. Her Fiat made flesh and being adored by these dark-skinned travelers prostrating themselves before her. Was she sweaty and covered with straw and flecks of manure or blood? What did the reality of the birth scene look like? Was she embarrassed to have visitors or did her idea of self vanish in the midst of the glory of her Son?
The first Oily 101 class I held was on the feast of the epiphany, where we celebrate the three Wise Men arriving at the nativity scene with their gifts. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before about how God placed this calling on my heart, to learn about, use and share oils. People get so skeptical when you tell them that you’re interpreting God’s will, so I tend to keep it hush hush. Plus, He asks simple, seemingly uncorrelated things of us, the scope of which is revealed later.
It sounds silly to say “God wouldn’t let the idea of staining my hair with henna rest for two months. I tried to say no, but I wasn’t at peace until I did it.” Or “God wanted me to use Facebook Live as a platform. I heard Him clearly and clearly said no back to Him in my insecurity. But He gently pressed on, and so I just bit the bullet and conceded.” But really, I had no interest in pursuing any MLM-based ambitions. But He wouldn’t let it rest. It was like a small child tugging softly at my shirttail, waiting for me to show it attention. When I reached out to the right person about this, she received me graciously with open arms even though doing so didn’t benefit her. She was patient with my snarky, obnoxious skepticism (“ahem, I’m not in the habit of ingesting perfume“) and her words were firm. When I would say that I didn’t want people to see me as a pushy social network marketer, she plainly said to me “Oh, that’s just fear.” It hit me like a slap in the face. It was fear. Fear of how people would perceive me, that they wouldn’t believe me, that my genuineness would be discounted as manipulation. Maybe even fear of success, of radical change. I didn’t know what I was doing or where to begin, but I know I felt that gentle tug promising me that He would provide the way and the resources.
So, back to my first Oily 101 class. There was relatively good interest generated when I had invited people, which was exciting. No one left having purchased anything, but I believe they left feeling empowered and confident to make decisions regarding the use of quality essential oils in their lives. And the most beautiful part is that everyone hugged one another upon leaving. My friends from very different walks of life learned together, grew together and grew closer together. Strangers became acquaintances. Catholic, Protestant, black, white, young, old, mothers, wives, singles and childless. It was a beautiful, oily, anointed day. I swear I didn’t plan to host this class intentionally on Epiphany. Actually it was thrown together pretty last minute only a few days before.
So, as I write to you at 3:35am, I can tell you that I am grateful that I answered God’s call and have the ability to feel His tiny tugs that never disturb my free will but leave me slightly restless when gone unanswered. I’ve learned not to ask why and just go with the flow. It takes so much pressure off of me… so much precious energy is conserved by poofing down into the comfy, pillowy recliner that is God’s love. He said “come to me all of you who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest,” and He delivers on that promise if you let Him.
This doesn’t mean we have zero skin in the game. Actually, He still asks us to die to self, to put everything we have — especially the things we want to cling to most — on the line. And He also asks us to be vigilant, not lazy. We are His handmaids. He’s not going to move the puzzle pieces for us. He just puts the right pieces of the board for the picture to eventually come together.
Fast-forward to today, when I make my first enrollment. She is a dear friend who has journeyed with me through hills and valleys, but she wasn’t purchasing oils out of pity. The sample of lavender I gave her to help combat her insomnia worked. I loaned her my diffuser and it worked even better. I told her I had some lavender about to be delivered since I had run out, and she could just have it… but when she came to pick it up, she saw the value in the Premium Starter Kit for herself. She put PanAway on her bad knee and felt relief. My message was received; my intentions succeeded. I didn’t cajole or pressure her. This was all on her own accord. My first downline sale came from the class on Epiphany, celebrating the three men that brought Jesus precious oils; us small group of Oklahoman women sitting around sniffing Frankincense. That is no coincidence. I hear you, Lord. My cup runneth over.
I had been quibbling over the name of my oily endeavor and still struggling to make out the path when it came to me clear as day at 1am. I started working furiously and I’m pleased with my results. I cannot wait to build others up in this pursuit. I just know it will work out. Maybe it was the boost of confidence and encouragement from my first sale. Maybe it was the satisfaction of knowing the oils actually helped her; that I’m selling something that really can change lives. After growing and selling roses on my farm for five years now it feels nice to promise and deliver a life-altering product… I mean, rose bushes can change your life for the better, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not the same thing as alleviating insomnia or chronic pain, stimulating joy or relaxation, inspiring hope by creative supportive friendships and revenue streams. My little farm couldn’t serve the needs that I saw around me in that way. The Lord knew this and provided an alternative albeit fitting route. I’m excited for you to watch how the path unfurls as my rose farm and oily endeavors intertwine.
All this to say if you too feel that little tug on your sleeve — it could present as curiosity, perplexion, frustration, hope — reach out to me. About oils, about being a part of my team, about partnership, about new opportunities, friendships, volunteering or a book you think I’d like… I am open. God has taught me, if nothing else, to be limitlessly open. His glory has been revealed to me via open-ended surrender many times. When you have experienced that grace, you can’t help but share it with everyone else around you.