Texoma Living Well Magazine May/June 2018 - Page 18

From Basement to Sanctuary— The Story of Holly Christine Hayes By Michelle Wallace M y daughter and I own a home decor store. We curate lots of local and global products. One of the most fun things about sourcing from individual makers and creators is getting to personally know them and hearing their story. So when we were looking for a new line of candles, my daughter reached out to someone who created a line to help women coming out of human trafficking. We first learned of Holly Chris- tine Hayes when she shared her story on the podcast, “The Happy Hour,” with Jamie Ivey. And, what a powerful story it is. Holly understands better than most the trauma of being trafficked and the beauty of being fully restored, radically transformed and redeemed. Holly didn’t grow up in the church. Her parents were both professors. She explains her family was really about intellectualism and their focus was on achievement, fitting in, and doing what the world says to do. “So I didn’t have any understanding of God,” Holly said. After her parents’ divorce at age 14, Holly started a downward cycle of alcohol- ism and drug abuse which she believes stemmed from depression and a lack of true identity. Holly also shares there was some sexual abuse when she was a child. By the time she was 15, she was drinking and using drugs every day. By 16, she dropped out of school and had her first abortion. By 19, she had two more abortions and received her first DUI, along with a couple more arrests. By 21, she was homeless and had lost jobs as a stripper and a prostitute because of the drinking. She had found herself in a physical, spiritual, and emotional bottom beyond comprehension. Holly describes her memories of the first abortion. She recalls the lines of pro- lifers with their signs and plastic fetuses, shouting, “You’re killing your baby,” as she walked into the clinic. At the time she didn’t think she was killing a baby. At 16 she was already addicted to crystal meth, and she knew it was a drug baby. And, at some point, she still had this hope for a normal life. Like many women, she just didn’t feel like she had another option. Holly explains, “Not having a re- lationship with God, not having the Holy Spirit in me at that point, I really didn’t feel like I was murdering a child. That is crazy to me because I do believe now that abortion is murder. But I just didn’t know.” Holly would have 5 abortions during those years. Every single time, going in, she felt confident she was mak- ing the right decision. Holly goes on, “But then while you’re in there, your body is literally being ripped apart, there’s physical pain that happens, there’s an emotional pain that happens that you don’t expect. There’s a hormonal change and shift in your body. And there is, I believe, a spiritual awakening that hap- pens even before Christ, that happened in me at least.” When Holly walked out, she was wrecked. One time Holly remembers she had to go alone. She was in a relationship with an abusive man and as she left, she didn’t have a ride. She had no one and she was so emotionally destroyed. Holly said, “I realize now, that would have been the time for those people to be there. That would have been the time for those Christians to have taken me under their wing and said, ‘We love you. We