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Does Lavender Live up to the Hype? A Biblical Perspective.
When I first started making skin care products I searched for the top essential oils to add to my body butters. Lavender was in the top ten for anti-aging oils and ranks as one of the most popular in use today. I felt like it was a good place to start.
Lavender loves to grow in the climate of countries that surround the Mediterranean. An area which happens to have a special place in my heart. I grew up partly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and vacationed every summer on the coast of Croatia. There on the coast, at town centers, you can find many street vendors with little lavender bags they sell as souvenirs. It is a great souvenir, one that can make your linen closet smell divine!
In Bosnia one of the best things I have ever tried was honey made from bees who pollinated lavender. That was one relaxing honey! I highly suggest it.
Lavender is a beautiful perennial shrub, although most commonly referred to as an herb and has been used throughout history for many different things. The ancient Egyptians used it for mummification as well as perfume. The Romans used it in cooking as well as in their famous baths (1). Today it is most commonly used to fight, maybe our biggest ailment in the United States: stress.
I have not met many women without stress, nor men, although I believe they use different words. I, like any mom with three kids, use words like overwhelmed or tired. I really can’t blame my kids for being stressed, however. I was stressed before I had kids.
Overcoming stress is less about avoiding it or managing it. Overcoming, in the biblical sense, starts with surrender. As we take a look deeper into the biblical background of Lavender’s use we can see a wonderful person that we can entrust our hearts to.
Mary was the sister to Martha and Lazareth. The picture we get of Mary is a girl whose heart was totally fixed upon Jesus. She was not as logically driven as her sister. Her responses to Jesus are from the heart. She does not hold anything back. Mary gives her time to Jesus to sit and listen instead of working because His words stirred something inside her. She bought an expensive and rare perfume to anoint Jesus with instead of saving her money because He meant everything to her. She gives herself in worship, even using her hair to wipe His feet as she anoints him.
Mary lived in surrender to Jesus. Mary even gives her true emotions to Jesus when her brother died. She knew he could have saved him. Mary fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here He would not have died” (John 11:32).
What is Jesus’ response to her in all of his experiences with her? He praises her when she spends time listening to his words (Luke 10:42). He encourages her act of worship when she anoints his feet (John 12:7). Maybe the most surprising to us is when He sees her weeping in her loss and becomes deeply moved and troubled (NIV).
All Jesus wanted was her heart. He is a true king, one deserving of costly perfume, but it wasn’t the perfume that He wanted. He wanted Mary because He enjoyed her and he loved that she enjoyed His presence. Her worship, her listening, and her openness to Jesus is what connected her to her Lord.
The anointing by Mary, with what some scholars believe is Lavender, is a symbol of His Kingship and Lordship as well as an glimpse into His burial. In the story of Mary we also see she was connected to the display of Christ’s authority over death as he brought her brother back to life. She was a key component in the foreshadowing of Christ’s whole mission. You see, Christ’s death was the start of our peace.
This story of Mary anointing Jesus in the Bible is one of peace. He wants us to lavish on him so that we can in turn receive the soothing effects of His presence. Through His death and resurrection we receive salvation for our souls and the joy of His spirit that we receive as His disciples.
We need to be more like Mary in our openness and devotion with Jesus. He can handle our feelings. He can handle our sorrow. He is our creator and He is waiting for us to draw close. He gave everything for us despite His position of authority and it is because of His position of authority that He was able to bare our punishment.
Our God is soothing. He is healing. He is a God who not only relieves our deepest sorrows but is moved by them. Christ also cares about our health. He does not want us rushing about when taking time to soak in His truth is so much more important. When I take time to soak in Jesus I find peace that the world can not give me and I find relief for my body from the rest it gives me.
Lavender is one of my favorite oils for this very reason. It has a strong ability to relief the physical and emotional effects of tension. I feel tension in my body very strongly. A drop of oil on the bottoms of my foot sends relief through out my whole body. I also love to put a drop (I always suggest dilution except on the bottom of the feet and palms of the hands which don’t have pores) at the base of my neck to relieve tension.
Jesus was scented in many herbs in His burial. Applying these oils while we reflect on Jesus promotes healing to the very depths of our souls. Its a reminder of who He is and the peace that He supplies. A deep breathe of Lavender and a good soaking of Jesus goes a long way!
I say these verse often. One is from Isaiah to claim what is mine. “…the punishment that brought us peace is upon HIM and by HIS stripes WE are HEALED!” Isaiah 53:5 and the other is from John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be trouble and do not be afraid.”
Think of His burial the next time you smell Lavender and all that he has taken on himself so you may have peace. He is in control and on the throne and He is with you where ever you go!
- Axe, Josh Dr, Ty Bollinger and Jordan Rubin. Essential Oils Ancient Medicine.