Essential Oil Steam Distillation

Since the oils used in the Bible were infused oils, I’d like to share with you the process of extracting essential oils from steam distillation, so we can better understand the differences between the two.

While there are quite a few different ways to steam distill essential oils, I will be concentrating on the methods used by doTERRA International. While there are other great companies, I chose to become a Wellness Advocate with doTERRA because they provide pure essential oils that have worked amazingly for our family.

Most essential oils are extracted through a low-heat steam distillation process. During this process, steam passes through the plant material. With a combination of steam and just the right amount of pressure, the essential oils are released. As the oils are released, the vapor mixture flows through a condenser, cools down, and the water and oils naturally separate leaving two layers. The essential oil rises to the top and is separated from the water, much like a bottle of Italian dressing separates when not being used. This allows the oil to be collected in its purest form.

Fun Facts

While there are many people who still practice the art of infused oils, the potency in essential oils is so much greater and has a much longer shelf life! Just one drop of essential oil contains approximately 40 million-trillion molecules. This number is mind-blowing when you understand that our bodies only have 100 trillion cells. Therefore, ONE drop of essential oil contains enough molecules to cover every cell in our bodies with 40,000 molecules. So, you can see why even a small amount of pure essential oil can have profound effects on the body, brain, and our emotions.

Next Up in the Healing Oils, Plants, and Spices in the Bible Series: “Shemen” – coming July 28th

Infused Oils Vs. Essential Oils

Over the next 2-3 months I will be rolling out a new Bible Study Series: Healing Oils, Plants, and Spices in the Bible. Over the last 6 months, I have spent hours researching and diving deep into the world of essential oils, as these oils have been life-changing for our family. Roughly 2 months ago, I heard so many friends talk about different “essential oils” used in the Bible, that I decided to research it for myself. What I uncovered ROCKED my world and fired up a new excitement and passion within me!

Essential oils as we know them today were not used in biblical times. In fact, the current popular method of extracting oils by steam distillation was likely centuries away from being used when Jesus walked this Earth. Healing oils of the biblical age were INFUSED oils, made largely from softening, mashing, pressing, crushing, grinding, or soaking plant matter in olive oil, palm oil, or fat.

To infuse something simply means to transfer the scent, flavor, and healing or therapeutic properties of one object to another. In medical science, we see a variety of infusion processes, including medicine given through an IV, blood transfusions, intramuscular injections, epidurals, or even skin or bone grafts! We also see infused products all over our grocery stores shelves with flavored cooking oils, vinegars, herbal teas, coffees, and all those yummy flavored chocolate bars.

Did you know you can even make infused oils in your own home? All you need is some olive oil and plant material to whip up your own special blends.

How to Infuse OilWhile we have plenty of ways to crush and grind our own material now, in Numbers 11:8 we are given a glimpse into how the plant material may have been crushed in biblical times when God gave the Israelites manna.

“The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin.The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.” Numbers 11:8

What is interesting to me is that slave women were normally the ones using the hand mills and mortar to crush the wheat, barley, grain, and in this case the manna. (Exodus 11:5) This was a very laborious job given to someone as a condemnation and considered the lowest employment in the house.

This makes me think of Jesus… “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. In this verse, Isaiah is prophesying the death of Jesus Christ who was condemned to die for our sins, in order to bring healing to the world.

And yet, when the material was changed from wheat and barley to plants, spices, and olive oil, the responsibility of making perfume and anointing oils became one of honor and held high esteem for the best perfumer in the trade.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices – gum resin, onycha and galbanum – and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred.” Exodus 30:35

It is important for us to understand that the infused oils used in biblical times were very different and less concentrated than the essential oils we use today. That being said, the Bible does provide many examples where even these less potent, infused oils were used for amazing purposes. Over the next couple of months we will not only discover the oils, plants, and spices used in the Bible, but we will uncover a beautiful love story of God’s plan of redemption. Please be sure to enter your email address to receive all new posts by email so you don’t miss this study!

Q. Do you use essential oils?  If so, what is your favorite oil to use?

3 Keys to Understanding Grief

boxing-gloves-400x400How many of you have ever gotten into a fight with someone? Perhaps you’ve had a disagreement with a spouse, family member, or best friend.

If we are being honest, we all have! BUT… have you ever been in the middle of an argument when you stop, pause, look at the other person in total confusion and whisper, “Hey real quick, can you remind me what are we fighting about?”

The subject matter has changed so many times you have no idea what the original offense was anymore. So many little issues have been building, and building, and building, because they never got dealt with when they were small. And now, you are an active volcano spewing everything and anything from your memory bank.

The same goes with grief. Little hurts and losses, combined with big hurts and losses can compound if they are not dealt with, until the grieving person doesn’t even know who or what they are grieving anymore. You just know you are broken, and you cry, and there is not always a tangible reason.

Here are three keys to understanding grief:

1. Understand the onset of any trauma will bring up past hurts and unresolved conflicts.

Sometimes the loss itself can bring up repressed memories, childhood hurts, conflict from broken relationships, self-esteem issues, unresolved past trauma or sins, unspoken words of forgiveness or closure (that may be too late), feelings of regret, and any abuse a person has previously, or is currently experiencing. This leads to a lot of confusion and sometimes displaced emotions because these feelings seem unrelated to the current circumstances. And most often, the grieving person is completely unprepared to know how to deal with these emotions.

2. Understand the fear of the unknown is terrifying.

“How do I even begin to start my life as a widow?”

“Will I ever be able to have children?”

“What if the cancer doesn’t kill me, but the chemo does.”

Two days before my first chemo infusion, I wrote goodbye letters to my husband and children. Not only did I do my best to tell them how much I loved them, but what I wanted for their lives. I was terrified of leaving my family and had to face this fear. Little did I know I would have an anaphylactic response to the chemo and very well could have died. The fear of the unknown can have a powerful grip on someone who is grieving, because their world has been shaken and they do not know how to survive in their new identity.

3. Understand your loved one has no idea how you can help them.

At the onset of our losses, people would ask, “What do you need?”

My response? I would shrug my shoulders and say, “I don’t know!” I was dealing with first time emotions that were new to me, and had no clue what would help ease my pain.

So, our loved ones would say, “Okay, well, call if you need anything!”

And, I would nod along, but did I ever call? Nope! Therefore, in their mind, our loved ones perceived our family didn’t need help because we aren’t asking for anything. But, what they did not always realize was that while we needed something, we didn’t know what that something was!

Therefore, anticipate the needs of people who are grieving. Instead of saying, “What can I do to help?” – offer a tangible solution.

For instance:

  • “Can I bring a meal over on Thursday?”
  • “Can my son mow your lawn this weekend?”
  • “I’m running to the store, can I pick up some groceries for you?”
  • “Can I keep the kids for you on Saturday so you can rest?”
  • “We are having a ladies night out this weekend and already have child care taken care of. Will you come with us?”

Q. Tell me. What do you wish people would understand about grief? Please leave a comment below.

Take Heart

Nearly 7 years ago our daughter died. And, in the last few days her short 80-minute life has reached over 10,000 people through The Un-Happy Mother’s Day post. God does not promise we will never endure difficult times. In fact, He says just the opposite in John 16:33-34.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

You may be in a situation right now that is daunting and traumatic.

You may be angry at God.

You may be angry at anything and everything.

You may not be ready to hear how God will bring good out of your pain. I certainly felt this for YEARS – and it is OKAY to feel this way!!

If this is you today, let me implore you not to shut out the world. We were built for relationships and desperately need each other. Reach out and allow others to love you. In this moment, I know you don’t believe this (just as I didn’t 7 years ago), but there will come a day where the sting fades, where the pain doesn’t tighten your chest anymore, and where the tears are shed less often.

Take heart dear friends – whether you feel it or not right now – our God loves you and He is with you!

Open Letter to Christians Everywhere

I am BEGGING you, please…


I get it. Really, I do! Your friend has just experienced tragedy and is hurting tremendously. You feel stuck. You want to help – I know you do! Your heart is aching over the fact that you haven’t the slightest clue of what to do or say, and you have no idea how to help your friend survive their pain. I’ve been there.

You open your mouth and unknowingly succumb to bad theology or a Christian cliché; one that is likely to cause your friend to hurt even more. And, you don’t even know it! Because in the middle of grief, few people will tell you how your words actually make them feel!

  • “God won’t give you more than you can handle!”
  • “Jeremiah 29:11 says…”
  • “This must have been God’s plan.”

I understand your intention. I know you want to help, but PLEASE STOP using these words. They often hurt instead of heal. Let me show you why.

1. God will not give you more than you can handle. The first time I had cancer, I was in college and this was said to me so many times, I thought it was a Bible verse. (It’s not!) This phrase comes from an inaccurate interpretation of 1 Corinthians 10:13, which states, No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

The writer of Corinthians, Paul, is addressing sin issues, not common trials or tribulations for the people of Corinth. He is warning them to avoid the temptation to repeat the sinful acts that were found in Israel’s (at that time) recent history. He is asking the Israelites to stay away from idolatry, sexual immorality, and the desire to test God. The reality is God will allow us to be stretched beyond our human capabilities in order to show us our need for Him, to deepen our faith, and to show us that His strength is limitless.

2. Jeremiah 29:11 While many people will quote this Bible verse during tragedy, these words often frustrate and anger people who are hurting. It can actually make the grieving person feel like if this tragedy, the death of my spouse, this car wreck, this child loss, this illness… if this rape is God’s plan for me, then I want nothing to do with God. This is exactly what happened with us when we had to hand a child back to his mama after she revoked his adoption plan.

The original Hebraic text for Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Please keep this verse in context. It is not about God planning every triumph, tragedy, or detail in our lives. It is about the restoration of Israel, the birth and death of Jesus Christ, and the restored relationship between God and His people.

3. “This must have been God’s plan for you!” Maybe it is. Maybe it’s not! There are many reasons for trials: Human decision. Satan’s attacks. To show God’s glory. To deepen our faith. Consequences to sin.

While there is a big difference between the two, our human brains are finite and incapable of distinguishing between what God plans for our lives, and what He allows to happen. Bad theology is born when we attempt to over-spiritualize a situation or create reasons why bad things happen.

So dear friend, can I give you suggestions of what to say instead?

It is okay to simply say:

  • “I don’t know why this is happening!”
  • “I cannot comprehend how difficult this is for you.”
  • “Grieve on your own timeline.”
  • “I can listen when you are ready to talk.”
  • “Don’t feel like you need to respond. I just want to you to know I’m thinking of you.”
  • “I have no idea what to say, but I love you!”

What you are communicating is that you don’t have all the answers, you are not trying to rationalize or trivialize their pain, and you love them! After being inundated with all of the unasked for advice, bad theology, platitudes, and clichés, your loved one is aching to hear these words!

Related Resource: For more tangible suggestions of what not to say, what to say, and how to provide support for hurting people, please check out my book, Good Grief!

Q. What bad theology, empty platitudes, or clichés have you been told while hurting? What do you wish someone would have said instead? Please leave a comment below.