The Studio was Julie’s own special joy. Sam had built it for her when she assuaged her long-frustrated desire to be a physiotherapist by qualifying in aromatherapy. She now practised on friends of friends, choosing the oils for each massage with loving care: Hyssop for bruises, Chamomile for headaches; exotic eastern Jasmine or Patchouli for depression. This fragrant space was her temenos, a place of quiet transformation in the busy world of Honeydew Farm.

After the long process of moving to the country, renovating the ancient homestead, and renewing the relationships lifeline that each small town throws out to its surrounding farms, Sam and Julie had settled into a workable routine of semi-retirement. Surrounded by their pets, Higgle and Piggle, the bullterriers, Slinky the cat, and Radar, their beloved blind orphan lamb, they ministered to body and soul. Friends and paying guests enjoyed Sam’s storytelling and wine cellar and Julie’s food and spa treatments. They happily took interested guests to church or prayer meetings. At Honeydew, the new lambs, the free range chickens and the eager rose garden were symbols of promise in what Sam called their “post-offspring” years. Julie woke up young to each new morning.

She viewed her massage work as a ministry. With sure softness, her hands both spoke and listened as her patients entrusted their tired, tense bodies to her touch. In her temenos, no one noticed her habitual stutter. Her hands were Aaron to the Moses of her mouth. Only her clients’ speech rose and fell in the quiet room as they gradually yielded to her peacefulness. They sensed that their confidences were preserved like perfume, as precious as the fragrant essences that lined the shelves of the room. Every day Julie thanked God for the sensitive hands that enabled her to express her love.

Julie loved because she felt loved. Sam loved her, and God loved her. He had given His Son, His Lamb, so she might live. Her faith made sense of a violent and suffering universe, dividing between good and evil and providing redemption through personal relationship with the God of that universe. Aware that most Bible-believing Christian circles treated aromatherapy with suspicion, she had prayed earnestly for confirmation. Using the formulae she had learned at church and prayer group, she had, like Gideon, “laid fleeces before God”, and, like Abraham, “offered the gift back on the altar of obedience”. Following her instincts, and in clarity of conscience, Julie had then begun her practice, but determined to remain aware that “to everything there is a season” and that it might be for a season only.

The Lord Speaks →

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