Fossils on Display

I am going to share a story that God is especially fond of. Once upon a time, more than 50 years ago, a baby girl was born with a root of rejection firmly embedded in her soul. She had done nothing to warrant such a burden, yet there it was, a resilient presence as she entered the world. How could this be, you might wonder? Well, her birth mother, who had never known a man, was just 17 years old when she experienced a traumatic incident on a blind date… rape. Months later, while in college, she discovered she was pregnant from that horrifying night. Overwhelmed by fear, she chose to deny the reality, continuing life as if nothing had happened. However, by the sixth month, her growing baby bump could no longer be concealed, and her parents discovered the truth. An attempt to abort the baby was well-thought-out about, but the risk at six months was deemed too great for her. Consequently, the teenage mother was sent to a home for unwed mothers, where she stayed until giving birth to a baby girl. The baby was left at the home, and the mother returned to college. Only her parents were aware of the birth, and it was never spoken of again.

This baby, conceived in rape and rejected from the womb, was born into abandonment and neglect. Months later, she was adopted into a home far from ideal. Her father mirrored a tyrant and was an alcoholic. While her mother was kind and sweet, she was submissive to her husband. Beyond the family facade, hidden from outsiders, was a home plagued by unending mental and physical abuse. This little girl never felt safe, living her entire childhood walking on eggshells. And as if that weren’t enough, at just 4 years old, a family member initiated sexual abuse that persisted for nearly a decade. The family lacked love and affection; words of encouragement were nonexistent. Instead, there was an abundance of corporal punishment, verbal abuse, and negativity, fertilizing the root of rejection she was born with. As she grew, the toxicity of that root grew with her, sprouting like out-of-control crabgrass. She survived high school, experienced a tumultuous college life yet graduated still a virgin. However, soon after graduation, she, too, fell victim to date rape, mirroring the traumatic experience of her birth mother—a generational curse. Although it was a terrifying and humiliating encounter, she, as with all her traumas, buried it deep, adding more fertilizer to the root of rejection, concealing the evidence of pain with superficial topsoil. She had become a master landscaper.

As she journeyed through life, she responded to situations from that root of rejection, completely oblivious to its existence. She was becoming her father a functioning alcoholic but she had added marijuana to the mix. Recognizing the need for therapy, she started seeing a secular counselor who affirmed her childhood as horrific but considered her to be doing reasonably well all things considered. With this professional confirmation, she felt that she was going to be ok —this was her best self, and she accepted it. She continued this way until her 40’s.  Despite her internal struggles, she presented a facade of success with a thriving career, numerous friends, and a vibrant social life. Generous and always willing to help others, she desperately sought to fit in with those who seemed content and put-together. However, she was also at times manipulative and dishonest to get her way. Nobody knew the internal battles she faced daily. Seeking superficial affirmation became her solace, it was better than none after all. Despite being surrounded by people, she felt lost and alone. A good-hearted individual, she silently suffered from feelings of unworthiness, neglect, abandonment, and shame. Recognizing she had made poor choices and was not emotionally healthy, she often wrestled with a dark cloud of acedia. Unspoken shame was easily pushed aside, rejecting truth when masked by self-medicating through drugs and alcohol, a routine lasting nearly three decades. Somehow, amidst it all, she knew she wasn’t truly alone. Throughout her life, she intuited the presence of God, even though she didn’t grow up in a church. Unfamiliar with discipleship, she struggled to find a church where she fit in. For decades, she frequented various churches, searching for a home, yet everyone seemed to have it together, and she certainly did not. Despite partial truths learned from these visits, she grasped that Jesus forgave her sins. Grateful for forgiveness, she continued replenishing topsoil over the many roots that produced bad fruit.

In 2014, she walked into a church where the energy felt different, albeit strange. People were lifting their hands, dancing, speaking in tongues, yelling out during sermons; the pastor was exceptionally passionate. Although uncomfortable and odd to her, something drew her back week after week. As she continued attending, truth and love began penetrating the topsoil, uncovering what lay beneath. Shoveling dirt away revealed stones and roots, indicating she truly was not okay. Surrendering in worship, she found herself slowly digging deeper. In April 2016, a powerful sermon on forgiveness became a major turning point in her healing journey.

And that’s where that story ends.

Now, let me tell you a story that God is especially fond of. Once upon a time, there was a baby girl re-born with five decades of experience in ‘the world’. Her new birth took her on a hacking journey with a machete and, at times, a chainsaw revealing the roots attached to her soul which were like 100-year-old tree trunks. She pruned, she chopped, which was exceptionally hard, and then she dug and dug, and it hurt, and it hurt, and hurt some more. It was awfully painful, often causing her to question whether she could bear to dig any deeper. But Jesus is faithful, and with Him, she persisted in digging deeper until unforgiveness was fully exposed. Now, a decision had to be made—to forgive unthinkable situations, both done to her and by her. It was painful and there was no more medicating pain, it was processed. As she learned about forgiveness, the lies that had sprouted and attached to her began to fall away as truth was applied. She learned that forgiveness does not condone or excuse behavior; it is simply a choice, a choice to receive the gift offered through the grace of God. The decision to forgive was hard, yet worth every precious moment of the painful process. Opening her heart wide, the Lord placed stakes to keep it open long enough to assist with the hacking necessary for that season. Forgiving from her heart and soul, not her head, she found herself becoming transparent, owning her sins, understanding that she was dearly loved by her creator. Layers of topsoil were removed, exposing nasty truths. Christ entered those areas, and her healing journey moved forward. Walking in forgiveness of everything in her past and all she faced daily, she became unoffendable. There were few instances where an offense needed extra time at the cross, but she always stood up forgiving, forgiven, shame and regret free. Jesus taught His followers to pray the Lord’s Prayer, asking for their own forgiveness as they forgave others. She sought divine forgiveness, laboring diligently to pardon the numerous transgressions embedded in her heart. Quoting Hebrews 13:5, Jesus assured, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Amidst her brokenness, she wielded a machete, slicing through the topsoil at times she needed a chainsaw, but Jesus was right with her operating a bulldozer producing fresh unrooted soil.  Together, they uprooted the deeply entrenched generational roots of sin, abuse, and self-condemnation.

One day, the ceaseless mental wrestling subsided, replaced by an indescribable peace. The realization of her newfound freedom, a priceless gift, left an indelible mark in her heart—a fossilized testament to where roots once anchored. Memories that once haunted her now lacked the power to control. The saying “unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die” found validation in her life. Unforgiveness had once bound her to denial, self-condemnation, and shame.

The gift of forgiveness shattered those chains, rendering resentment, bitterness, and anger powerless. A spring of living water nourished the soil, allowing seeds planted with Jesus to flourish. Peace, patience, love, and joy blossomed like wildflowers. Miracles flowed into her life as she continued self-improvement.

Her soil wasn’t perfect, but she no longer buried pain beneath the surface. She embraced the cross, seeking support from her church family and friends. Confession and repentance became part of her journey. As she dug deeper, she echoed affirmations of her identity as a masterpiece, royalty, and a beloved daughter of the Most High King.

Repeatedly speaking these truths, she battled internal lies until confidence emerged. Her codependent tendencies dissolved, and she came alive in Christ. Operating on Jesus’ truths rather than fleeting emotions, she discovered soul joy that surpassed superficial worldly happiness.

Despite life’s attempts to resurrect the past, her choice to walk in forgiveness and remain unoffendable yielded a soil that produced only good fruit. While she didn’t comprehend everything, she embraced the truth that God loved both her stories, equally. The misunderstood love of Jesus, as revealed in Isaiah 55:8-11, became a powerful force in her life, influencing her to choose forgiveness for others and, crucially, for herself.

Now, God showcases her life, using her unique and treasured fossils for others to learn from.  She collaborates with the Lord to unearth remnants, anticipating more blessings. Undoubtedly, God desires to share in her sufferings so she can partake in His glory.

And thus, my story marks a new beginning. To be continued.