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 uncharted 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This post originally appeared in the Brave Girl Community.

4 thoughts on “the archaeology of a soul

  1. Good gracious, Girl. Were I not all worded out this day, were I not stumbling over all the grace and glory abounding in this one day, I’d tell you just how much this rocked my world, and heart, and just how clearly I can see so many heads nodding.

  2. Loretta,
    As always, thank you for this writing brave and sharing the broken made beautiful in you. In process: I am. You are. We all are. I am so grateful to hear the redemption singing out through the healing and the undertones of longing within the healing. The fact that our healing matters to God.blows my mind. Sometimes I think about Joseph. My younger son is named after him – and not surprisingly he is a wild dreamer child. After remembering Joseph here in your writing I realize we often talk about what “God meant for good” in terms of how Joseph was used by God. Isn’t it amazing that God wanted Joseph to heal just for Joseph too. That “just for you” leg of the journey that happened sometime in that jail cell was the precursor to the ability to lead with such wisdom and to forgive with such magnitude. How often we reverse that and try to bear fruit without first sitting for years in solitary with God. So glad for you and your gift of words and most of all for your time with God which is now bearing deep fruit.
    Love ~ Patty

  3. Beautiful words, I love how you have surrendered all to Jesus and live redemption and grace. It is amazing, isn’t it? That He takes bitter and turns it to sweet. So much I’d ask you about your life if we were at a table… So thankful for the healing power of the Truth 🙂

    1. Yes! A life of gratitude and healing is what I intended to express here and one I will surrender daily (because some days are just like that) for His use. I’d welcome that table and time with my friend Kathy… I knew when I met you that there was some kindred Spirit between us. God is just amazing in the way he pulls us all together– each with our own little basket of pieces– and that’s part of the Wholeness process too. Bless you BIG!

Welcome to the discussion!