A couple week ago, I (Holly) was a guest speaker at the Bible study I attend at my church. The chapter in the book that I was nominated to cover was called, Women Who Loved the Lord When All Was Dark. The two ladies in the study that highlight this theme are Mary Magdalene and Madame Jeanne Guyon. I do weave these historical ladies into the talk, but the talk is mostly centered around the story of my last unimaginable three years and how my faith went through cycles of rock solid to paper thin. So, if you are washing dishes and not quite ready to turn on the Christmas music, or you need a change of pace from "Frozen" on your car trip, or specifically, if you are in one of those dark, dark, places in life, then take a minute (or about 46) to listen and I pray that in one itty bitty tiny way, you may be encouraged. You also, get the bonus of hearing Megan do announcements at the beginning (or you can start at minute 11).
Click on the box below to listen:
First of all, make sure you listen to her talk at minutes 28-30, and minutes 46-48 if for some reason you can’t listen to the whole entire thing which is completely worth every minute of your time.
Now my rant:
One thing I know for sure is that faith is perfected in the worst case scenario.
This is it! It is such a refining fire that I’d say a polite “no, thank you” to at any time. BUT this is the hope, this is the outcome when I abide and cling to truth. Scary!? YES. Horrifying? Sure. Consumed? NO. Alone? Certainly not. Will you have a story to tell afterwards?
Oh. Will you.
This is what Holly doesn’t totally get. That her faith (even in scant supply) gives us confidence to have faith and that, in turn, our faith has the power to deal out the same – life giving contagion of faith. And it’s irresistible. (And the great news is that you don’t have to resist – I mean it, you just don’t have to). Reminds me of John 6:68 where Peter says in essence: “Geez, Lord, where else would we go? You are Life.”
So, I got to listen to this talk live and in person. (I'm sorry you have to sit through my ridiculous announcements to get to the heart of it all - but that's how our church records things. Unabridged for better or for worse.) Christina set out the highlight reel for you, but if you have 46 minutes I would IMPLORE you to listen to the entire thing.
You cannot help but be challenged and changed by listening to Holly's first time spoken out-loud testimony from beautifully brutal start to gloriously painful redemptive finish. I'm not implying her "story" is all tied up with a nice neat bow, by any stretch. Holly would be the first to tell you (I think!) that much of this is just the beginning. The redemptive testimony as it stands today is absolutely breath-taking. And by breath-taking, I mean profound, inspiring, heart-breaking, wonderfully raw and strikingly complex. In the end, she points you to one place and only one place. TO JESUS.
Her wry wit and genuine tears convey the bold complexities of the Christian journey. There is nothing canned or trite. She stopped me right in my tracks when she said that if there would have been ANY other thread to hang onto besides JESUS she would most likely have grabbed on and run for the hills. But there wasn't and isn't anything else that will meet you at your point of pure brokenness. Holly's life is proof that Jesus is the only thread that will not only stand the test of trial and fire, but will actually and ultimately raise you up out of the pit and into His glorious presence.
And I agree with Christina. The refiner's fire - however "scary" at first, second and third glance is really the only place to truly burn off the dross and allow the Holy Spirit a place to dwell and thrive.