Bless My Soul


I still remember my great-aunt from the hills of Kentucky. Aunt Anise had an old, covered water well in her backyard, which was absolutely amazing for a city boy like me. She also wrung chickens by the neck, plucked their feathers, and proceeded to cook the best, mouth-watering chicken with biscuits and gravy—long before Colonel Sanders started his Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food business.

Aunt Anise knew her Bible. She also knew well her Lord Jesus. I especially learned many of her sayings, which stick with me to this day. Though I was a child, and I wasn’t always sure what she meant, I still remember her saying throughout the day, “Well, bless my soul.” Over and over again, she would repeat, “Well, bless my soul.”  

Thinking about it as an adult, her words are a beautiful saying. As I replay this expression in my mind, I am aware Anise was simply caring for her soul, which is a profound need and essential for a day and age such as ours. The soul, in fact, is the most important aspect of our being. The soul coordinates and organizes, while unifying the mind, heart, and will to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus said, “There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31b KJV).  But we know how difficult it is to keep this commandment.

No surprise. In struggling with this commandment, we find little support from a secular culture. What this means is that many modern people have simply tossed out all consideration of miracles, revelation, heaven, and yes, even the soul. Here again is where Aunt Anise speaks to me—by eliminating the soul, humanity is set at risk.

You see, Aunt Anise also spoke of lost souls. So, did Jesus: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26 KJV).

A lost soul is separated from God and broken by sin. When we were born, our life with God was separated and our soul was left vulnerable to the havoc of sin. The seven deadly sins have a way of skewing our priorities out of balance, our values are left conflicted, and our free will makes choices and decision leaving us in a downward spiral.

It can get ugly. Aunt Anise knew. She taught me a bible verse that still sticks. It was the shepherd boy David, who wrote the Lord “restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3 NKJV). As I think of Aunt Anise and yesterday, today is the day for God to do some work within us so that we can do the work of God. It begins with soul-care. And with a restored soul we can join my aunt in one of her favorite hymns, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: How great thou art! How great thou art!”

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Robin Jennings

Robin T. Jennings is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, and an accomplished author, speaker and teacher who inspires his audiences with Biblical guidance and spiritual insights into everyday life. Whether he has the opportunity to speak to churches, businesses or organizations, Robin’s lifetime of work in spiritual transformation and renewal connects individuals with timely topics such as the importance of community, hope, identity and the search for meaning which are inevitably woven into his message.

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