Thursday, December 29, 2011

Change

How do you like the new look?

I changed the name of this blog in November and wrote about (A Time Of Transition) being in a transitional period that would ultimately bring more blogging changes. And so it has. I thought about waiting until January to implement this but in all honesty; I couldn't wait. I'm ready for change!

My goal and desire is to simplify the look of The Ragamuffin Saint, i.e. the layout, color, content. I want to make it easier to read and to access. And I can tell you that this is really a reflection of the changes taking place within me and my life. So I'll say again; expect more changes down the road.

I suppose one of the perks of having your own blog is that you can make it exactly what you want it to be. And I do think a personal blog should be a reflection of the one writing it. So it only makes sense that this blog would be in a perpetual state of motion; just as my life is. And change is definitely apart of that.

Honestly, change used to be rather unwelcome by me. It always seemed like more of an negative intrusion than a positive turn. And clearly, some changes aren't so good and are intrusive. But after being thrust into such radical change over these past many years, I've truly come to welcome and embrace it in a much better way. I now actually desire it on many levels. And I often take time to pray about, reflect on and contemplate what changes I might need to consider making. In fact; I think it's essential.

As we prepare to enter this new year, what changes might you be contemplating?

Friday, December 23, 2011

For You My Friends

This Christmas Season, I pray and wish for you...





and...






and...






in your...






And may you...






and..






that...






...in this coming new year.






for reading my...






Always remember...






and...






I think....






and...






Each of you have beautifully and uniquely enriched my life. 






Bless you, dear friends....





And a Happy, Healthy New Year to you!




All Photos ~ Favim.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Confessions Of A Ragamuffin

I haven't been blogging much lately. The words just seem so elusive, so unavailable. Sometimes I don't even like what I write. And if I'm being really honest; I don't even like my blog all that much right now.

Sometimes I write too safe. Safe like I better be a good girl safe. Safe like really nice safe. Like I need to write in way to keep things moderate and balanced. Know what I mean? And while there's nothing necessarily wrong with safe it doesn't get my writing capacity to that place where people are stirred and challenged in a good way; even if they disagree with me. And it doesn't allow me to be fully authentic, which is something I desire to be in my blogging.

And while I'm on a confession roll, I'll also tell you I sometimes write things no one ever sees. Ever. I know all writers and bloggers do that. And maybe I shouldn't say that no one ever sees it. Sometimes its merely a matter of waiting for the right time to tweak it and then post it. But other times, it is because I'm unsure. There's good thought in it and perhaps even great content but it's raw; really raw. And its personal. So it sits there and occupies space in my draft list. Sometimes it gets deleted.

Furthermore, would it surprise you to know that I'm struggling during this time of year? Many of us do but rarely acknowledge that to anyone. I mean after all IT'S CHRISTMAS - the blessed time we celebrate the birth of our Savior. So I suppose it's a little taboo to confess such a thing as a Christian. But I just did.

I love Christmas; it's my favorite holiday. I love spending time with my family. I love decorating. I love Christmas shopping and buying gifts for people I love. I love baking. I love caroling. I love going to Christmas plays. I love candlelit church services. However, chronic illness can make the holidays really tough. It changes things. It's the most wonderful time of the year but there's never enough energy; there's never enough stamina; there's never enough feel good. After seventeen Christmases interlaced with the affects of Lyme Disease, it's still difficult. I'm still limited. I even hate to say that. And truthfully I feel as if I'm fighting to get the joy of Christmas. Yet I know that joy is present everyday; not only in December. Still it's how I feel.

I feel like I'm really reaching this year; reaching to take in and grasp this beautiful, holy season. And it pains me that's its a struggle. It pains me that Jesus, the first Noel, is not getting my all in this celebration of His birth. But He knows the truth of my heart.

Maybe it's that "feeling" I'm missing; that wonderful, cozy, special, excited feeling that comes with Christmas. That feeling of childhood that seems to elude us later in adulthood; that feeling which can actually be a poor substitute for Him on some level. Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that feeling is wrong; I'm saying allowing it to take His place is. And perhaps that's what I've done. Perhaps we all have to a degree.

Do you know what it feels like to me?

It feels like we're all waiting for this big crescendo that starts the day after Thanksgiving and peaks on Christmas Day. That we're just waiting for it to invade our daily lives and fill some unspeakable void; that we're waiting for it to spark our hearts ablaze with something grandly supernatural and otherworldly. And in essence, that is what Christmas can do. However, once the crescendo crescendos; that's it. It starts to decline. It isn't lasting.

I side with Charlie Brown on this in many ways; if you will. I see that even we, as followers of Jesus, tend to get caught in the wild rush and demand of this whole thing. That we often end up grasping for the temporary fillers instead of the eternal ones.

If I had to sum up the truth of Christmas it would be this: Emmanuel, God with us.

And perhaps that's it. Perhaps, as Stuart Briscoe alluded to, it is not the spirit of Christmas we need or long for; but the Spirit of Christ.
"The spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine person. That makes all the difference in the world." - Stuart Briscoe

I find this resonates with me very much. I want the Spirit of Christ to supersede the spirit of Christmas. I want the Spirit of Christ to supersede everything in my life that needs overhauling. Seriously. I do. And I want the Spirit of Christ to be evident in me.

But as much as I want Jesus to pervade every part of my life; I know I need Him even more.

Blessings.

Michelle

Copyright © 2011 Michelle Holderman

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holy Whispers

Through all of the decorating and planning, through the holiday busyness and rush, through the Christmas parties and family gatherings... a voice whispers ever so gently, "See Me." 

Amid the carolers and the shoppers, among the gifts and greenery, in the glow of candles and sparkling lights... a voice whispers ever so softly, "I'm here."

During the regular, ordinary days, during the difficult, painful days, during Christmas Day... a voice whispers ever so perfectly, "I love you."

While the memories pervade, as the loneliness sets in, while the uncertainties linger... a voice whispers ever so sweetly, "I'm your peace."

In the shadows of yesterday, in the dance of today, in the hope of tomorrow... a voice simply whispers, "Follow Me."

On that night when a newborn baby laid sleeping in a simple manger, on that night when angels and shepherds rejoiced, the Father declared to people of all races and all generations, "All is well. Emmanuel has come. He will save you. Receive Him." 


Holy whispers pursue us.  

Holy whispers draw us.

Holy whispers beckon us.

Holy whispers still echo through the realm of time.

"Today in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord." 
(Luke 2:11)

This is Christ the King.

This is Jesus the Savior.

This is Yeshua the Messiah.

Holy whispers.

Can you hear them?

"See Me. I'm here. I love you. I'm your peace. Follow Me."

 Michelle Holderman
Copyright © 2011