“I didn’t know lent would kill me. Thank God for the dying.” ~Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement
Laying there, palms upturned with my face in the carpet, my chest swelled with resentment. I felt stupid, and even in my obedience, I resisted complete surrender.
I’d ended up there because of some supernatural pull, a force like gravity drew me into that small space and pushed me reluctant, first to my knees and then to my face. The ugly truth is, I’d felt the urge to do this for days, but in utter defiance, I’d ignored it.
I wanted no part of this refinement. I knew it would burn. I’ve never been one for walking around in the fire. I didn’t have the heart for it.
Laying there on the floor, in my frustration, I whisper-shouted to Him, “What is it, why am I here?!” I waited.
Sitting up, I opened my bible, and without turning a page, I looked down:
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 NIV84
I read the words again. Instead of relief, I clenched my fists tighter. I realized this was a message, but I didn’t understand initially, all I saw was confirmation that I had done as I was told, I’d been literally in the closet. I wanted more than that.
The following morning as my husband dressed for work, I went to him in the closet, I leaned against him and wept. This was nothing new this season, as I’d been weeping for days since Lent had begun.
There aren’t always words when the flames lick at your insides, but there seem to always be tears.
I told him about the whole closet thing and the scripture. “I don’t understand what God’s trying to tell me,” I choked.
“That verse is about pride” he said. I remember the look on his face just before everything blurred in a slurry of unstoppable tears. Right then God broke me wide open, in my closet. Again. The fire engulfed me and it would be days before I’d see through the smoke.
Nothing stinks like the rancid odor of sin being burned away.
God brought me down, and I’d wrestle Him in the dirt a bit more, before I’d walk around in the fire.
I’m changed because of that season. I’m learning what it means to live bent, to lay lower–to lift Him higher. It took death to bring me here, both His and mine. I’d sought Him and He answered me, the only way He ever does, with grace and unmatched passion. He refused to let go as I struggled to accept Him.
I’m not the only one He’s refining. Maybe you know it too–when His Spirit presses you to make you clean. It hurts and the burn scalds and mostly we just want out. We cover our eyes and our hearts and push back against the process. Shame and guilt smother us and our instinct is most often to resist.
But I want to tell you, don’t. Don’t try to leap from the furnace. Walk around in the fire. Smack centered in the flames is where His love is best felt. Let Him do the work.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1Peter 1:6,7 NIV84)
Lent is traditionally a season marked by the reflection on the cost of freedom in Christ. As we consider the cost Christ paid for our own souls, we allow Him to search us, to reveal in us that which keeps us from Him, and invite Him to do the work of the cross in us. It is through this refining that we become like Him in our faith, and by our living. In Holey Wholly, Holy, I extend my hand to you, whether you need a lift up, or a companion, it is my prayer that the words scratched out there would serve as either or both in your own refining process. For a limited time, you can receive a PDF version for FREE.
As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling, mops-coordinating mother of four, Kris Camealy is passionate about Jesus and her family. Her heart beats to share the hard, but glorious truth about life in Christ with anyone who will listen. When she’s not writing, she gobbles up books like they’re going out of print and plays in the kitchen. She’s been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate. You can read more of her heart-words in her new book, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and on her blog Always Alleluia. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
also, next week’s PROMPT for Imperfect Prose on Thursdays is….