Friday, April 24, 2015

The Beautiful Breaking Process of God (Deeply Cut)

I am broken.

I am cut.

Deeply to the core of my being.

And God did it.

I liken it somewhat to Jacob and his limp (Genesis 32:22-32). Wrestling with God will bring you to a place of complete brokenness, and perhaps less hair, but there is also a divine beauty in the breaking He brings. It changes you. And absolutely no one can understand this unless they've experienced it too.

It's a lonely, painful place to be. But it also produces something of great worth: refining us as gold. I call it a painful but precious process.

Through it, we find Him out. And I'm not talking about superficial things. I'm talking deeper layers. Deeper within deeper and then even deeper places. We're brought into greater depths in Him because we are in His breaking process.

Many people don't want to hear this or even entertain the thought that He works in this way, but I have found He does. And He has a purpose for it, which we don't often fully understand while it's happening.

The truth is it's gut-wrenching. It's maddening. And it feels like you're going to die. Actually in a way you do. There is a death to self. A beautiful death. We die with Christ and are also raised with Him (Ephesians 2:6, Colossians 3:1). But we also die more to the flesh in order to make room for the Holy Spirit to expand within us.

Real Talk Moment.

In this place God seems harsh, distant, and uncaring. Suddenly, and rather shockingly, He's not exactly who we thought He was. This is not as awful or fatal as it sounds but it is true. It's not fun when we're going through it, but if The Father is going to use us in a great way, we must go through His great breaking process. And through this necessary process, we come to know parts of Him we never would otherwise.

It can feel like a paradox. His kindness seems to take a back seat to the breaking that's underway. It seems severe like He's tearing us a part. It also seems awesome because He's teaching us so much and revealing more of Himself and His ways to us. It's altogether wonderful and painstaking. The key is in realizing it won't last forever. However, we will be forever changed.

You can't go deep with Him and not come out changed. 

Just as Jacob left limping after His encounter with God at Penuel, He also left with a new name. He found out who he really was called to be. He found out his true identity.

“What is your name?” the Man asked.“Jacob,” was his reply. “It isn't anymore,” the Man told him. “It is Israel—one who has power with God. Because you have been strong with God, you shall prevail with men.” Genesis 32:27-28

So it is with us.

We will all have our Penuel times with The Lord. And if we keep holding onto Him, if we don't let go, we'll emerge forever changed. We will be empowered by God because of the struggle. The question isn't will we struggle. The question is, will we keep holding onto God despite the struggle?

The holy breaking process is ordained by God himself, and will leave us cut and empowered with His will and His purposes. And it will reveal our true identity in Christ.

Just like Jacob's limp was a sign of his struggle to never let go of God, so is the proverbial cut. His cut on us is our mark from Him, so to speak. It says we've been in the deep places with Him.

So many believers are only concerned with how trustworthy God is but that's a two-way street. He is also looking for those He can trust as well.

How do you find out who you can trust?

It's usually in the most painful of places this is revealed. You'll see who you can really depend on there. Not everybody will get in the dirt with you; or for you, for that matter. Not everyone can tolerate the deep places or the heat and pressure that comes with it. But those who can, those who will, are the ones you'll find you really can trust. And they'll trust you back. It's a place of revealing.

So not only do we find Him out, He finds us out too. It's a unique place of exchange that transpires through much difficulty and controlled chaos. Like a birthing process, the pain produces something beautiful. I know that might not make much sense - unless you've experienced it. If that's the case then you know what I'm saying is true. And it's one of the most difficult truths to convey because it is such a deeper revealing of how He desires to lovingly work in our lives. 

In his book, The Root of The Righteous, A.W. Tozer pens this difficult truth so well. Or at least I think he does:
"The flaming desire to be rid of every unholy thing and to put on the likeness of Christ at any cost is not often found among us. We expect to enter the everlasting kingdom of our Father and to sit down around the table with sages, saints and martyrs; and through the grace of God, maybe we shall; yes maybe we shall. But for the most of us it could prove at first an embarrassing experience. Ours might be the silence of the untried soldier in the presence of the battle-hardened heroes who have fought the fight and won the victory and who have scars to prove that they were present when the battle was joined. Thus, it is necessary for God to use suffering in his holy work of preparing his saints, it is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply."

So we can ultimately look at this in one of two ways.

We'll either see God as being a cruel and uncaring taskmaster.

OR

We'll see the love and wisdom of our Heavenly Father at work; preparing us and purifying us for His greater purposes. And greater, deeper intimacy is always a result.

God doesn't entrust His power to just anybody; especially novices. He's looking for people who will allow Him to take them through His process. People who are truly led and walk by the Spirit. People who allow Him to operate outside of the box in their lives. This is why the breaking process is so costly. He's looking for those He can entrust His heart and His purposes to. And that's no small thing.

I've found the more He does this in my own life, the more of himself He pours into those broken open places, and the more abiding friendship I have with Him there; unlike any other place. What I realize most is how very much I need it.

Please don't mistake this for something it's not. God isn't being mean or on some kind of sadistic power trip. The breaking process is vital in a believers life. And that process looks different for each of us. Nevertheless, through it, we learn to surrender our will to His so that we ultimately know how to walk in true obedience.

Just as Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8), so do we.

Mind you, it's for different reasons, but as we truly follow after Christ, as we take up our own crosses daily, we learn to walk in obedience as our Lord and Savior did. Not in an overbearing or legalistic kind of way, but in the way Jesus was yielded to The Father. As a result, we become more deeply rooted in Him. We also take on more of His nature. It's really a transformative process. And while it is often painful, the outcome is truly beautiful and freeing.

Listen, the Lord doesn't just cut us open and then leave us exposed. Instead, He fills those places with Himself - with His beauty. As a result, we come to know Him better, and in turn; we're better able to reflect more of who He really is. He shines brighter through us.

And that's always a beautiful thing.

~ Michelle

Copyright © 2015 Michelle Holderman 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Deep Love And Tenderness Of Resurrection Sunday


“My love for people is My passion.” 

That is what I heard Jesus say to me this morning. 

He then consumed me with His love so I could fully have His heart for what He wanted me to share today. And while we mostly equate this day with power, and it's certainly true, He arose in all power, what I felt from Him this morning more than anything else was His tremendous love for us wrapped in deep tenderness. 

And then it hit me...

The power of Resurrection Sunday is found in the deep love and tenderness of Christ.

I could probably end this whole post with that one profound sentence and it would be enough. But I felt strongly from Him how much He wanted this to be more than just enough. 

He wants to elaborate. 

I feel I might fall short in this because words seem to fail me when I try to expound on the deepness of His love, especially what I felt earlier today. Sometimes tears speak the loudest. And I shed many of those this morning.

Nevertheless, I'll try my best to convey what I heard and felt from Him, even if I fumble through it.

Let me start by saying that no matter what you face in this life, the one constant you can always count on is His great love for you. 

JESUS TRULY LOVES YOU. THIS I KNOW.

He carries you in His heart. And His desire is for you to truly know and understand how much He loves and cherishes you. 

Many words are spoken about this but few can ever fully penetrate the deepness, or the defenses, of our hearts. 

Only a word from Yeshua, Jesus, himself can do this. 

Every, single one of you reading this – YOU’RE ON HIS HEART RIGHT NOW.

He wants me to let you know you are carved on the palm of His hand. You are engraved in Him. And He is holding you close this very day.

You are beyond significant to Him. 

As welcoming and fresh and pleasant as springtime feels so is His love for you.

He literally aches for you.

Have you ever just ached for someone because you love them so much? 

That's how He feels about you. But magnified a million times more. 

His longing is for you to know Him.

He is love.

He is light.

These are unchanging truths He wants you to get a hold of. Embrace His great love for you. There are not 10,000 steps to God. There's just one. And He's it. 

What you've always heard about Him is true. He came. He died. He arose. And He did it all for you. His secret ambition was to give His life away. Jesus sowed His own life in order to reap you and me.

He freely gave His life away. No one took it from Him. No one. He chose to give it away. And the only thing He’s ever wanted in return is YOU.

It’s as simple and as true as that.

Life is not perfect but His love is. And it is through His amazing love that we are sustained in this imperfect life.

No matter what anyone else ever tells you about Jesus, if it contradicts what He says, it’s not from Him.

He holds you with such tenderness, I can hardly articulate it. I mean true tenderness in every sense of the word. HIS HEART IS COMPLETELY TENDER TOWARDS YOU. Please look up the word tender to get the full understanding of this. Seriously. Look it up.

His affections for you are pure. He wants to breathe new life into your being. Abundant life. He wants to lift you up and give you wings to fly. 

His ultimate delight is in you not just knowing, but truly experiencing His love.

He doesn't just want you to know it and then move on.

No, no.

He wants you to experience His love and never get over it. He wants you to carry His love with you wherever you go, and walk in the truth of knowing you are forever His beloved.

His love is the kind of love that looks you deep in the eyes and sees you for who you really are. And YOU ARE who He delights in. He treasures you. 

His love is the kind of love that reaches for you and picks you up with such immense kindness and compassion; you feel altogether undone and whole at the same time. 

HIS POWER IS IN HIS LOVE. 

And the devil can never beat that.

I know you may feel lost and lonely sometimes but the truth is; you’re never alone. He is for you and not against you. And His love has a way of turning our winter into spring and making something beautiful out of all our suffering.

Perhaps what's most striking about this whole thing is when we feel furtherest from Him - when we feel the most beyond His love and redemption - is when He's most near.

The true Glory of Easter, of Resurrection Sunday, is Jesus, himself.

And His greatest passion every day is us. 

It always has been.

~Michelle 

Michelle Holderman
Copyright © 2015 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Agony of Saturday: The In-Between Day

Friday spoke loud and clear. Sunday has yet to speak. And so we wait in-between the darkness and the coming light. 

It is the agony of Saturday; the in-between day. 

The day of silence. 

The day of waiting.

Can you relate?

The promise was spoken but now the promise has died. So we’re sitting in-between our devastation and our hope. 


Though it looks like all is lost, will we dare to hold onto what was promised?

Despite the hot tears and the deep pain, will we keep believing anyway?

Even though we know the outcome of Sunday; Saturday is still difficult to endure. 

Everything seems bleak and faded.

And so Saturday is where we are right here and right now.

But there's a greater hope calling out to us.

It's this hope, “the hope of Glory,” that speaks a better word.

Will we listen?

Can we wait for the outcome of Sunday even if it's long in coming?

Black Saturday is just as holy as Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

Do you see where I am going with this?

Though we struggle, though we’re weary and do not understand, will we patiently wait for the prophesied outcome? Will we wait for the promise to resurrect?

Even as the Blood of Jesus speaks a better word than the blood of Abel, will we speak the better word of our faith before we see it manifest?

Even as Christ’s death and resurrection secured the promise of life for us, will we let Him secure us in the perfect will of the Father?

Can we endure the doubt and the long silence of Saturday in our own lives?

Sunday has already spoken spiritually but we've yet to see it with our natural eyes.

It’s coming. Can we keep waiting? 

Will we?

If you’re on hold or stuck in Saturday, keep clinging to the hope that's carried you this far. Don’t let go of it. Although it looks dark and dreary, although it may feel completely hopeless; dare to keep believing. Dare to set your eyes on the impending light.

The “hope of Glory” and the “light of the world” is speaking now more than ever. 

The truth is, you cannot reach Sunday without first going through Saturday. 

You've come this far. Don't quit now. You're almost there.

Your Sunday is soon approaching. 

My Sunday is soon approaching.

And even though we don’t fully understand everything that's happened, even though we've wrestled with disappointment, discouragement, and doubt, we are set to see and behold the glorious beauty and fulfillment of Sunday.

No, Saturday, we cannot escape you but you cannot extinguish the hope we cling to. You cannot take from us our battle-scarred faith. Nor can you hold us back when the dawn of our Sunday begins to break open. 

We will see and we will know the hope and new life of blessed Sunday.

We will weep tears of wonder and joy when our promise arrives. 

We will be forever changed. 

And then we’ll know - 

it was worth it all.

~ Michelle

Michelle Holderman
Copyright © 2015