How Making Soap is Really a Metaphor for Lofty Expectations...
Sometimes making soap is a lot like life. You have big dreams that are beautiful and colored filled and life fulfilling, but then sin or pain or outside circumstances throw a wrench in your plans.
Before I got to Nashville for my summer internship, I had huge dreams. Dreams that I would make 5 new bridesmaid’s worthy friendships, that I would know what I am supposed to do for the rest of my life, and that I would always feel prepared and never overwhelmed.
God has given me a lot of these dreams including an incredible community of new friends and an understanding of my calling, but it hasn't been a perfectly wrapped new bar of soap. It has been more like the soap my friends and I made last night- messy but useful and pleasing to smell.
So I am going to teach you to make your own personal soap, but also enlighten you on how life may never be perfectly packaged.
Select your ingredients - I decided that in order to not spend a my whole summer making soap I would start with a pre-made base. I found all the ingredients at Whole Foods, but they could be found at any health store.
+8-16 oz of unscented soap(as basic as you can find)
+water or a hot liquid, I used Mint Tea
+Essential oils- I used Lavender and Tea Tree
+Add-ins- I added Peppermint Leaves and Lavender
+Sometimes in life we have the perfect plan. We have dotted our i's, crossed our t's and set our expectations for personal success very high. Kinda like when I was buying these ingredients, I thought this was about to be the best soap the world had ever lathered…
Grate the bars of unscented soap with a cheese grater into a pot which can go on the stove. Until it looks something like this
+Isn't it funny that in order to make soap personalized we destroy what was already made? Similar to how we often have a "perfect plan" and God comes and changes our expectations by placing challenges in our lives that make us have to choose to follow him.
Place pot of shavings on a stove top on low-medium heat and add in your liquid gradually. We began with about 2 ounces of Mint Tea and ended up using about a cup and a half. Stir the shavings and the liquid frequently to keep from burning, but allow the soap to melt into your desired texture.
This may take anywhere from 15-50 minutes, so patience is key.
As we added the tea to our beautiful white shea butter soap shavings, it turned into a concoction that looked more like raw meat than soap. We kept looking and hoping that somehow the color would fade, that the chunks would melt, alas no luck.
+Often when we begin to follow the plan God has for our lives we may live in a state of uncomfortable and unknown. We have to exercise our patience as we learn how to follow His will even when it is not our fleshes desires.
Add in the fun- your essential oils and herbs of choice! We dropped about a teaspoon of Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oil gradually and stirred while the melted soap was still hot. Then we added Peppermint Leaves and Lavender.
This took our soap to a new level. A strong aroma flooded our messy kitchen as we peered into the pot and looked upon a food looking substance that smelled like a hippies house…
+When we have been trusting God for a while with a certain path in our life, he may throw in some pops of change and excitement. Maybe this is enlightening on why he had you pursuing something. Maybe it’s a new person who has revealed something cool about God to you. Maybe its just a new attribute of Father God you find out about through reading the Word.
Whatever it is- these are the moments when we find God’s goodness in all things-the moments we see that his ways are always better than ours.
Make liquid into solid by removing from heat and forming the soap into your new shape! WARNING the soap will be very hot after being on the stove top for over an hour(we learned the hard way). As the picture tells, this is messy and sticky and just gross to be honest. We attempted to role ours into balls, which in retrospect look more like meatballs than soap…
+We are formed in the image of God. He has given us shape and given us form and purpose, but often we may not be able to tell what that purpose is until we get here- to the shaping time.
Unlike our soaps, God make perfect creations. We will not make anything perfect. Luckily it's not about that though, its about seeing the character of God and his redeeming qualities even when your soap turns out looking more like meatballs for a holiday dinner.
Place the balls/bars of soap in freezer for an hour and then get lathering! The time in the freezer is just to allow the soap to harden again. We took them out of the freezer, turned on the faucet and wiped our hands clean of this mess (literally) with our new soap.
+After working for around 2 hours we had a new creation. It didn’t meet our original expectation. It didn’t even look like soap. But God used this time to bring together 6 women in community- he had a plan that was greater than ours. I hope after reading this you feel inspired to gather with women around you this summer and try something new. God uses the coolest ways to teach us about his character, and making soap truly taught me that his plans are always higher. When I set my eyes on him, and not on earthly expectations, there is no disappointment- only JOY.
Xoxo-Aubrey Johnston // @aubrey_jane11