Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement by Kris Camely

I went into the reading of this book with a confused heart – knowing it would go deep, resisting the necessity of surrender I knew would come. Only pages in I messaged Kris, feeling the break, asking her to pray my heart would be willing to hear what HE wanted me to hear. This is a response to what I am hearing. All quotes are directly from her book.

Growing up I knew the word Lent and associated it with giving something up – but I had no idea why nor any real inclination to participate. I thought it silly, foolish to give something up for 40 days, only to pick it right back up again when that time was over. What was the point of giving something up only to take it back again?

I don’t think I was wrong in my thinking, though now I understand better why we should surrender things, ourselves, hearts’ desires – because when we go to “giving something up it leaves a space behing aching to be filled”. What with? With more of HIM.

Looking back now over the past week I can see this has been God’s plan all along, bringing me to this place of surrender and brokenness. Last week was brutal with attitudes and behaviour with the kids. I spent more time crying out over their hearts, but holding back from truly surrendering them to the Father.


Sunday’s sermon on sin brought me low, and to my knees at the front of the church, in brokenness and surrender, baring my heart before the Lord (as if he doesn’t already know), willing to make a change, to let God turn things around in my heart as I struggle through with this anger. To receive his sacrifice, truly, deeply, which makes me worth it all.


Christ was obedient to death – even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)


“Living full in Christ requires bent knees, bowed heads, humble hearts–confession. And in return He resurrects the dead, breathing new life where only a husk existed. He is risen, and, in Him, we rise.”


Monday I read Romans 12 and stopped short on the very first verse. “Present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

What does this really mean? What is really a sacrifice to me? Is it worth it for me to give it up as an act of worship? Even as I write this I think, juggle ideas around in my head, pray, and come to a conclusion.

I want to be transformed – through the word, prayer, fasting – renewing my mind by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2). Filling the empty with what is good, acceptable, perfect – h0ly.

Lent is about learning to die to self, confession of sin, resurrection through baptism of the Holy Spirit. Getting low, being holey, so I can be wholly holy. It’s not just about the 40 days, but about a life-long commitment to God’s refining.

HoleyWhollyHoly WM2

“But fasting isn’t about food. Fasting is about faith. It is about consciously choosing Christ when we want nothing more than to stuff ourselves with that which is temporary.”

Not about doing things in my own strength, but doing what he wants in HIS strength. I can’t, but he can. Replacing the gnawing in my stomach, aching in my head, emptiness in my heart with MORE OF HIM. Making room, making way for HIM. (Isaiah 58:1-14)

“In the absence of the object of our fast, we would draw closer to Christ as we lean into Him for strength. Remember, your heart behind the fast is what matters, not the fasting itself.”

 Even now I feel my flesh fight against me as I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to be made low – but I ache for the openness and closeness that will result from doing so. The refinement and the holiness that will come.

“We must wrestle out the ugly that has for years made a home in the dark festering places.”

It hurts, it kills, but it’s worth it. 

“The grace of it is that, through the scalding, we become renewed. The Father grafts new skin to cover old wounds, and in time we gain wisdom and strength. We become healthier, holier, a little bit more like Christ, and less like us. That is our highest calling. I’ll live in the fires of refinement, if that’s what it takes.”

I resist, pray. I push back, pray. I surrender, pray.

“When God kindly asks us to set down our bundle of wants, it’s not likely that we refuse Him outright. Rather, we’re often very good at pretending to submit while grabbing for the goods when we think He’s not looking. With fingers crossed behind our back, we live as if we can operate outside the scope of His vision. The truth is, He doesn’t just want our bag of dreams and longings. His desire is for us to be wholly His, that He might make us holy for Him.

It’s much the same with our faith—with our desire for redemption. We want the gold without the fire—the resurrection without the horror of the cross. But His words are clear. “For [His] sake, we face death all day long” (Psalm 44:22). The only way to get closer to Him is to lay down and die with Him. Daily. When we’re stagnant in our faith that usually means it’s time to die. Don’t worry, resurrection is coming.”

Won’t you hear his voice, obey his calling, bow the knee, be brought lowly, so he can make you wholly holy?

For the course of Lent you can download Kris’ book for free. Please do so, prepare your heart, read it, and let the Spirit move to change you. Won’t you join me in the search for understanding Lent?


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