Wednesday, August 23, 2017

the beauty from ashes project: a photographic journal series


Photo copyright © Michelle Holderman

I'm starting a new project. It's a journal of sorts; a photographic series about life and beauty and hardship and creative expression. Actually, Holy Spirit exhorted me to begin this on Facebook earlier in the summer. And so now, I'm going to be sharing it here on The Ragamuffin Saint as well.

I'm calling this the beauty from ashes project, which I think speaks for itself. I also think many of you will be able to relate to it in some way through your own life's journey or experience.

Whatever the ashes, we all have an innate desire for meaning, value, and beauty. Still, it can be really difficult to find when we're in the thick of it and dealing with things that impair our bodies, rip our hearts, and/or challenge our faith. But in our longing and struggling, I believe we might discover something more; something deeper, greater, and unexpected. Perhaps we'll discover Jesus right in the ashes with us.

I suppose this project is ultimately a revelation of that. And of His love, grace, and hope at work; even in the little things; even in the painful things.

For me, a photo always captures a moment in time and reveals a piece of the grander story. Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's simple and sometimes it's complex. Nevertheless, it speaks.

So it is with these photographs.

This is a work in process and is probably for me as much as anyone, but I do hope it can speak to other hearts in a way that words cannot. If it does, I'd love to hear from you. And if you'd like to share your own beauty from ashes photo in the comments; I'd love to see it. Or should I say listen to it?

Thanks so much for following along, friends.

God bless you all,

- Michelle

All photos copyright Michelle Holderman

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Holy Is

Holy is loving God. Holy is also loving your neighbor as yourself.
Holy is being led by the Spirit. Holy is also walking by faith.
Holy is seeking first the Kingdom. Holy is also serving others.
Holy is worship and obedience. Holy is also joy and peace.
Holy is personal. And holy is also communal.

Holy is taking care of your family.
Holy is teaching your children.
Holy is doing it everyday.

Holy is plowing the field.
Holy is growing the vegetables.
Holy is inviting others to sit at your table.

Holy is laughter and tears.
Holy is sound and silence.
Holy is rest and labor.

Holy is buying a cup of coffee for someone who needs it.
Holy is cooking a meal for somebody who can't. 

Holy is clothing one who has none.

Holy is acting justly.
Holy is loving mercy.
Holy is walking humbly with God.

Holy is ministering to the broken and the hurting.
Holy is caring for someone who is sick or injured.
Holy is taking the time to genuinely listen to a troubled heart. 


Holy is rejoicing with those who rejoice.
Holy is weeping with those who weep. 

Holy is the mountaintop and the valley.
Holy is in the beauty and the ashes.

Holy is truth.
Holy is grace.

Holy is faithfully doing the work the Lord's given you to do.
Holy is doing that work as if you're doing it unto Him.

Holy is as much in the little, ordinary things as the big, grandiose ones. Holy is as much doing the natural part as the spiritual; it's both. We cannot separate the two in living out our faith. 

Scripture says faith without works is dead (James 2:17). What does that mean? I think it means putting tangible action behind our words and beliefs. It means giving faith our eyes, ears, voices, hearts, hands, feet, trust, time, money, energy, and attention. 

Holy is serving people as much as serving Christ. In doing one; are we not doing the other? 

I know we mostly associate holy with purity and righteousness, and this is true. However, it's not in the context of keeping or adhering to rules and regulations. Rather holy is being dedicated to God and this happens through a relationship with Jesus. 

We are holy in our union with Christ. 

We participate in holy living through spiritual intimacy with Jesus, which naturally flows out into our daily lives. We find holy in our genuine, intimate, transparent, ongoing communion with Him. But I believe we also find holy in our communion with each other. 

In this way, holy isn't religion; holy is relationship.
In this way, holy isn't just going to church; holy is a lifestyle.
In this way, holy isn't a Sunday thing; holy is a heart thing.

And the older I get, the more clearly I see through this lens.

Jesus, please help us be holy as you are holy.
Help us honor you and honor others.
Help us live holy everyday lives.

- Michelle

Michelle Holderman
Copyright © 2017 


Photo Source: drodd.com