Stories of Renewal: Michele Holding — St. Peter's Fireside | Vancouver, B.C. 

by Stories of Renewal
October 31, 2019
3 min read

My relationship with Christ started around 3 years old when I was baptized into the United Methodist Church. During my first years of life that relationship was fostered through the children’s ministry at my Methodist church, which led me to take on roles like acolyte (just a fancy word for someone who carries the offering plates and crucifix as the priests proceed into the church). At age 13, I had the opportunity to engage in the process of being confirmed, but it wasn’t a largely transformative moment for me because my relationship with Christ was on a continual path of growth. However, I do remember having the capacity to make a choice to continue on this path with Jesus. The following 10 years were just that–a continual involvement in the church, learning more about the Trinity, growing into leadership roles in my youth group, and eventually having a staff role at a non-denominational church. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I got deterred from this. I began to have a lot of questions about who God was and how he related to me. For several different reasons I decided to take a step away from church involvement. During those several years of distance from the church, my faith in God’s existence was never a question for me, but I did get lost, distracted, and the noise of this world just kept getting louder. 

It was during this period that God began to weave my life together with St. Peter’s. When I moved to Vancouver I began attending the St. Peter’s community groups before there were Sunday services. It was through relationships with the church leadership and faithful attendance to the worship services–once they started–that I began to hear God’s voice again. In these moments of stillness and quiet it become clear to me that God was always pursuing me, I just needed to show up and listen. So over the next 5 years our relationship began to flourish again through things like Sunday services, community groups, Alpha, Rhythms of Life, being mentored, and receiving counselling.

When the opportunity arose to go through catechism, I considered it just another opportunity to show up and listen. I didn’t have any burning questions or know what I was listening for, but God did speak. Through scripture memorization, assigned readings, dialogue within our catechism group, the Holy Spirit began to illuminate truths I had never dreamed of understanding.

One of the ways the Holy Spirit speaks to me is through imagery and visions.  During the Easter service this year–which was right in the middle of catechism–I received an image of me standing at an altar facing Jesus and holding his hands while God officiated vows. The Holy Spirit was there too, binding my arms to Jesus’s. The service where I was confirmed into the Anglican church was an outward expression of what that vision meant to me. It’s a commitment to allow God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to continue transforming me into who I am… His beloved creation, His bride, His disciple, His daughter. I committed to be His.

This has not been an easy journey by any means. There have been so many humbling moments where all I have been able to do is receive God’s abundant love through this community when I had nothing to give. Thank you to all of you for being God’s hands and feet, surrounding me with God’s grace, warmth, patience, gentleness, strength, and love as I’ve gone through this refining process of knowing more of who I am in Christ.

about the author
Our Stories of Renewal feature people connected to St. Peter's Fireside who are experiencing spiritual, social, or cultural renewal. If you'd like to share a story, we would love to hear how God is working in your life! Please email us.

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