the archaeology of a soul

Age is wearing me well in some spots.

I know I’m harder in some ways and softer in others—hopefully in the right degrees and measures. Some days I just don’t know….so much about who I’m supposed to be or be like remains a mystery.

I’ve learned to live with the gaps.

It doesn’t happen every day yet, it happens often enough that it’s become familiar.  When I discover I’m biting my lip and holding my breath just a little as I stare down at a new-to-me piece of unchartered territory. It needs to be reclaimed and I know I’m going to have to work it.

Remove the boulders and stumbling blocks.
Sort and set the boundaries.
Dig.

This digging uncovers more of the“bones” and pottery fragments of my life.. broken places and pieces that look scattered and meaningless on the surface,  until I give them to God. He washes them and shows me how they can fit together. Shows me how, although they’re chipped and cracked, they’re still beautiful, valuable and good.

It’s the archaeology and uncovering of my soul. It’s the necessary, healing work of taking up these pieces and fragments of me and somehow finding a way to fit them together to form a storyline and sense of civilization— a place to stand and work from.

It’s this now.

the archaeology of a soul

These pieces of my story are jagged and rough. No matter how many times they’ve rolled around in my head and bump up against my heart over the years, there’s always a sharp edge that catches, snags and cuts just a little.   Today is no different but it’s a welcome wounding…. an offering.

*******************************************

There was a time I spoke like a child, acted like a child, thought and trusted like a child because heck— I was a child. Some said I was an “old soul” but nothing prepares a soul— young or old— for the crushing weight upon it’s innocence. Somehow, I’d entered into the presence of evil often found in those classic fairy tales.

Wicked witches and demonic spells.
An evil stepmother and a weak, unwilling to fight, father figure.
Starvation and sordid assaults upon my body and mind that even the Brother’s Grimm shied away from.

And I will too.

Because these pieces hold only part of the story and are not the sum total of who I am or want to be about. To camp out here is to miss the point of why my story matters at all. And it does matter…the whole story matters because it’s a story of wholeness— pieces made whole.

******************************************

I relate to the Biblical character of Joseph. A golden child— maybe an old soul too. Chosen for a destiny too heavy for him to carry, all the while tripping over a technicolor dream coat of pride. One could wonder why God would have given such a vision to one so young except that I believe— it strengthened him for the journey ahead and the parts of the vision he could not see.

The vision sustained him in the damp and dismal pit and prison and it gave him courage to flee the overtures and temptations thrust upon him in the darkness of a powerful palace. It comforted him through times of trial, error, loneliness and forgottenness when God

honed his focus in the dark,
trained his ear in the silence,
tamed his heart and mind with grace, mercy and wisdom.

So that in the presence of his abusive family and foes he could offer only love and forgiveness— the ULTIMATE unlocking of EVERY prison door— and declare with confidence that what they intended for evil, God made for his good (Genesis 50:20).

Whose good? God’s good and for Joseph’s benefit and theirs.

It took a long time to get there. I’m sure there were times when Joseph had thoughts as dark as the prison which held him.

I’m sure he wanted justice… until he tasted Grace.
Me too.

*********************************************

Because once upon a time, I was a child living beneath the weight of a world of accusation and abuse. Punished for things I could not comprehend and left in the solitary confinement of my mind where God freely visited , leaving me a daily portion of strength and hope to sustain me.

There is no other explanation.

So that the very weapons used against me would someday become the tools of my strong deliverance. Long hours of solitude strengthened my mind and the punishments of 1000-word essays on “Why I’m A Bad Girl”, would someday unlock the heart of a warrior for Christ who willingly wields both pen and passion for Him with grace and a measure of mercy much undeserved.

So I can see in the dark,
Hear in the silence,
Feel with a heart tamed and trained towards grace, mercy and an empathy for others,
and think with a mind set on things above.

 For His glory and honor and the benefit of anyone seeking to find freedom and instead of tasting more bitterness— there’s the sweet taste of more betterness.

********************************************

Life as a living mystery

Oh I was a child who spoke like a child and acted like a child in some ways maybe longer than I should. However, now I am grown and while I have put away most childish things, my sustaining childlike faith and trust in God’s justice expressed through His love remains…a love that is real and is good—even when I can’t see it yet.

Because I know…..I can see it so clearly; what was intended for evil, God has made for good. His good and my benefit….and now, maybe even yours.

What about you…what holds you captive?
Have you been longing for justice so long that bitterness  has begun to flavor all your relationships?
Are you searching for the key to freedom?

Maybe this is a good place to start.       I promise, you’re not alone.

BraveGirlLorretta signature

This post originally appeared in the Brave Girl Community.

going there… and beyond

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD
and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.
And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many
on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.
And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
And I answered, “O Lord
GOD, you know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them,
O dry bones, hear the word of the
LORD.” Ezekiel 37:1-4
*
******************

In this morning’s devotional reading from A Slice of Infinity I read,

There are some scenes in life we approach with utter dismay and fear at our ability to make a difference or accomplish the charge before us.”

Definitely.

The curser on this screen seems to taunt and dare me to pick up my cross now and                                                                                                        #GoThere.

going there and beyond

****************************

To speak or not to speak? That’s a real question. I want to speak no, I want to scream at all the violence and injustice in the world.   In my country, In my state, my town— my street.

Heck… in my stinkin’ heart.

In response to a N.Y Times inquiry asking “What’s Wrong With the World?”
G. K. Chesterton said it best:

“Dear Sirs,  I am.”

That’s the way I feel right now. That’s the way I feel even on my best days:
                                                                                  I am what’s wrong with the world.
Some days I feel like there’s nothing I can do about the horrors before me.

Let me tell you more…

burdens worth bearing

The cats are curled up like lazy commas all around the house and  I’m tempted to join them except  it would totally ruin my “recovery from jet lag” plan!

Instead, I find myself sitting here scanning through the nearly three weeks of pictures and the very real memory of it all hits me right between my breastbone and eyeballs: the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, the lives that were touched along the way.

The way my life was touched by theirs.

The faces.
The smiles.
The eyes.

Funny School Kids

The naked joy of uniformed school children in all degrees of dress, running, laughing and waving along roadsides strewn with trash.

The constant underlying tension of poverty and despair pulling hard against the unmistakeable beauty of life being lived more simply.

And how that strange medley of sight, sound and smell still gathers around the edges of each photo  taken in that land seemingly fueled by diesel,  dust and dung.

It gets on you. It gets in you.

It changes you.

It really has to and you sorta want it to even though you know… it won’t be temporary.

bearing burdens

I’ve done enough trips like this so that by now I expect and welcome the changes that must come in me as a result.

I’ve also learned not to exploit the situation by getting ridiculously sappy and over emotional (you can thank me later) while expressing what I know God did there– as if He doesn’t do amazing things right here or anywhere else if we only have the eyes to see that it’s not about the location.

I’m not here to say I’m moving to Africa (unless God calls us to) but I confess that I am being moved and I hope to never stop moving.

Let me tell you more…