the holy pause
The following post is content that was shared on my Patreon site earlier today. It is the beginning pages of a new chapter of life that I am writing...one that combines my passion for Jesus with my passion for mental health and well being. In short...a story that needs to be shared with everyone. So...here you go! If you are not in my Patreon community yet, enjoy sweet friend! I hope it blesses you.
My wedding ring is missing a diamond. No idea when this happened. One day I looked down and realized that something was missing. And then...I went on with my life.
Is this normal? Because I don't think that it is. I think that most women would have run to have had the ring repaired. But not me. I had bigger broken things in need of repairing.
When I chose the word "family" (or when my best friend chose the word family for me) I was unaware of the essential needs I had long ignored; needs that were in my heart and home and that the Lord was going to dig up and reveal. And dig He did, and dig He does.
Praise God for all that digging.
Because we need to dig before we plant, and we need to plant before we grow and isn't that what we all want every day of every year, new or not? Growth?
I pray you are nodding in agreement.
In short, I am done trying to be the one that fixes things. And by things, yes, I mean people. Tired of looking around at who needs repair, while ignoring my own chipped paint and brokenness.
Ladies. Why do we put ourselves last? Why do we go the extra mile for the one we love, but believe that we are not worthy of good things? How do we not see that we are the heart of the home and that bleeding-out hearts are good for no one?
You know me pretty well. I am all or nothing. Black or white. Totally Catholic or not Catholic at all. Go big or go home. All to a fault and dangerous cost. And because I have been trying so hard to live that saintly life and detach from everything, I have pressed on at an unhealthy speed, running on fumes, eating if there is time, holding my breath because someone else might need the air. I have looked at self-care as selfish, enjoyment that doesn't involve straight-up prayer and Jesus as a waste of time, and indulging in the beautiful as mere vanity.
And then the Lord reminded me.
I created beauty for you to enjoy.
Your body is a temple, take care of it.
The air is for everyone, my dear. You need it.
It is okay to want to create beautiful spaces for the ones you love.
It is good to stop.
I heard this. But I will be honest. It is hard for me to stop. To be still. To ponder. To do all of these things that I know I am supposed to do. Not always. But when I have been sideswiped by the enemy? When a tidal wave has engulfed me? When I feel like I am being pecked to death by chickens? Good Lord, but stopping and praying is like, the hardest thing for me to do. Because I NEED TO DO. My mind does not ever stop. When the Lord leads me to green pastures, I start mowing. What is a non-stop, in need of rest girl to do?
Enter in, the holy pause.
I am currently reading Healing Oils of the Bible. Because you know how I have joked that I want to throw in the ministry towel and every responsibility that I have and just buy oils? Well... I haven't given up ministry or responsibility, but I have started to buy oils. It began as a Christmas gift to myself. I have been eyeing them for years. I am big on smell, or more beautifully put...aromatherapy. When the tragedy struck our community we were hard-pressed to enter a building or office without the relaxing aroma of lavender. And it was lovely. When life feels chaotic and my home out of control, I run to TJ Maxx and buy their biggest scented candle. I light that baby like it going to change my life, burning through it in a week, and slowly killing my family with it, but it didn't matter because, at the moment, it allowed me to pause. To stop doing. To take in all that free air the good Lord has made for me. (Even though I had just filled it with toxins) But nonetheless....a fragrant space creates tangible holiness for me, and when it does...
I can finally stop. Be still. And then...I can pray.
I need this holy pause.
I share this because maybe you are like me; so in love with your Catholic faith, head over heels for Jesus, happy to run to Mama Mary...but then the you know what hits the fan, and instead of going to prayer, you fall apart, and start cleaning your house, or scrambling eggs or filling your Amazon cart...or just crying in a ball on your bathroom floor...not because you do not believe or know about the healing power of God, but because your brain simply won't stop running ahead of you...
and then, after you've bought something useless online, or mopped your floors, or eaten all of the chips and salsa, a wave of guilt washes over you as you think to yourself, "what's wrong with me, Lord? Why didn't I seek you first? Why do I trust salsa and amazon more than you to comfort me in my time of need?"
Do you do this? If so, it is not a lack of faith, my friend. Some of us just need a bridge to take us from fear to faith; a little help to settle the mind and rest in Jesus.
"One of the most powerful healing aspects of essential oils is their ability to penetrate the so-called blood-brain barrier", writes author David Stweart. "When you breathe oil molecules into the back passages of your nose, they go straight to the brain in a central part called the amygdala. This is the central headquarters of the limbic system for all your emotional experiences." He goes on to write, "That part of the brain does not understand words and cannot be communicated to with spoken or written language. It responds only to smell. Hence, essential oils provide a powerful means to contact that non-verbal portion of our brains that stores our feelings and emotions."
God bless that part of my brain because I am filled to the brim with feelings and emotions!
And what I am discovering is that maybe my silly little obsession with oils is not so silly after all.
The smell of a winter campfire brings me back to my youth, surrounded by family and friends and the Mount Carmel retreat house. Good memories.
The smell of marijuana causes an immediate change in my heart rate and a feeling of dread and fear wash over me. Bad memories.
The smell of jasmine is an automatic burst of happiness, as it reminds me of long stroller walks in Los Angeles with the sun on my shoulders and all of my children in my sight. Happy memories.
The smell of incense and chrism remind me of the beauty and mystery that is the Catholic Mass. Holy memories.
In only one week of using my oils, I have seen a notable difference in my moods and emotions. And because I am happier and calmer, guess who else benefits? My family.
Let me ask...
do you struggle to hit the pause button in life?
Could you use a bridge between fear and faith?
What aroma is stored in your brain that lifts you up and lightens your mood? What aroma brings you back to a feeling of sorrow or dread?
And friend...do you take care of yourself?
When Jesus leads you beside still waters, are you able to rest...to sit long enough for Him to anoint your head with oil, so that your cup overflows?
Or is your cup empty?
Well, we are about to fill our cups, ladies.
To breathe in all the air.
To make our lives a fragrant offering, an acceptable gift, that is pleasing to God.
We may even replace that diamond.