Jess Connolly isn’t your typical pastor’s wife and she’s not necessarily the typical woman you’d picture who would be writing about holiness. But honestly – isn’t that where life gets sweet? When we step into the roles that aren’t necessarily typical for us, to be stretched and shifted, and encourage others as we go. She’s shared with me that she didn’t feel like she was the girl to write this book – that she asked God to ask let her write easier and lighter things. But thankfully, He determines who is right for which callings and He equips us all the way. Enjoy this snippet from her new book, Dance Stand Run, a book of story and study that dives into the God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground. It’s a grace to welcome Jess to the farm’s front porch today…
A little over a year ago, I had a dilemma. There was a question pounding in my heart that I couldn’t ignore any longer: have I forgotten about holiness?
I didn’t use that word a ton at the time, other than talking about God’s perfect nature.
If I was talking about myself and my relationship with Him – I used words like grace, feeling, mercy, and mess.
And man, did I feel the joy of being His mess – His redeemed and restored daughter.
But yeah, I had forgotten about holiness.
I was realizing that my head knew the truth that I stood on holy ground as a daughter of God, but my heart was having a hard time catching up.
I wanted to understand how and why I had gotten to this spot, starting with when I began to believe in grace instead of receiving it in fullness and when I had given up the pursuit for consecrated Christ- likeness.
The truth I was missing for a good amount of time was this: my faith isn’t a two party system.
We don’t have to choose between pursuing holiness and celebrating the grace we’ve been given.
Instead, we’re invited into abundant life—grace and holiness in harmony together.
Can I repeat that again with some emphasis?We don’t have to choose between standing on holy ground and dancing in grace; we get to do both all at once.
No one is saying we must live a different way, and you won’t hear the word should come out of my mouth in this context either.
I’m not passionate about this message because I believe we’re doing it all wrong. I’m passionate about this message because I think that without out, we’re missing out on the abundant life we most crave.
As much as this is a “get to,” there’s still some tension for those of us who realize this isn’t the truth we live in our day-to-day lives.
What if we sat with that, holding that tension, aware of the very real fact that something is amiss amongst the daughters of God, to acknowledge that something has gone awry. Perhaps you’re like me, and you feel it strongest within yourself.
Maybe it’s an ache you’ve carried for your sisters in Christ—you’ve longed to see them understand grace and truth, holiness and liberty.
Maybe you just feel the tenderness for all of us, the sisters and the wild women of God across the world—the ones with the heaving and heavy hearts who have longed to feel at ease in their identities and walks with the Lord.
Wherever you sit, I invite you to hold that ache and look to the possibility of grace and holiness working together in our lives—because it is going to be very essential to our hope moving forward.
My favorite pastor (my husband, Nick) illustrates abundance for me in a way that makes me yearn for more, more, more of Jesus.
I feel like Alice in Wonderland peering over the edge of the rabbit hole, ready to basically cannonball in and get lost in the mystery of all that He is. Nick describes abundance like this: Abundance is being convinced that we have all that we could ever need, want, or desire because we have Jesus.
It’s true that our God supplies what we need for us and meets the desires of our hearts—but abundance is about so much more than that.
Abundance is rooted in the undeniable and inexhaustible truth that God supplies all that we need just by giving us His son, Jesus. When we accept God’s grace without acknowledging His incredible holiness, we don’t see the full, abundant, miraculous nature of this relationship we’ve been pulled into.
Rather than being women who are slowly becoming likened to the status quo that surrounds us, grasping grace and standing our holy ground enables us to change the world—not be changed by it.
It’s not that God needs us to get this, it’s that we get to try and grasp it, so that we can taste and see Him and share Him more effectively—experiencing more of Him here on earth than we would otherwise.
The point is, we’re missing out.
If we’re only talking about grace, not receiving it and embracing it, we’re not experiencing abundance.
And if our faith lives are built on an assumption that we’ve got to work to become more holy so that we can experience grace, we’re just as lost.
It’s in the celebration of grace coupled with the awareness that we’ve already been given holy standing with God that we start to taste the fullness of our identities.
This is where it gets good, friends —
We are the daughters of God. We delight and dance in God’s grace, and we don’t want to take it for granted. We’ve been found out, found needing Him, and we won’t go back into hiding again.
We are the daughters of God, and we stand firm on holy ground. We didn’t get here by merit. We were bought and brought by the blood of Jesus. Here we stand, and here we’ll stay. Our positioning and proximity to God mean something, and both invite direction over our daily lives and decisions. We are here on purpose, a part of the world, set apart to be used by God to bring change. We don’t conform to our environment or seek its approval. We spiritually grow while our bodies groan, and we live in this now-and-not-yet reality as saints in a fallen world.
We are the daughters of God; we are compelled by His grace and held by His holiness imputed to us through Jesus. We don’t soak up the abundance of intimacy with God mindlessly, but we grab hold of all He has to offer us so we can give it away to everyone else. We run on mission, because when you hold the keys to light and life, you don’t hide them.
We are the daughters of God, and we are ready to dance, stand, and run — in faith for His glory and our good.
Jess Connolly and her husband lead a church in Charleston, SC and she’s the mom to four wild kiddos and one silly dog. She loves coffee and color, and watching women take their place in the kingdom.
Jess will be the first to admit that not long ago, like many women, she grasped grace but she had forgotten holiness. Dance, Stand, Run charts her discovery that holiness was never meant to be a shaming reminder of what we “should” be doing, but rather a profound privilege of becoming more like Christ. That’s when we start to change the world, rather than being changed by it. For anyone longing to take their place in what God is doing in the world, Dance, Stand, Run will rally your strength, refresh your purpose, and energize your faith in a God who calls us to be like Him.
[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]