Texoma Living Well Magazine May/June 2018 - Page 19

love you even in the midst of your sin.’” What if they had been there to offer help, asked if she needed a ride, offered resources, shelter, been there to help her out of the abusive relationship? What if they had said, “We want to be there for you.” But the message Holly got in those times was that she had killed a baby and they were done with her. “And I think, we, as Christians are missing an opportunity to love people the way Christ does; because I know, know that I know, that I know, that He was there with me. He met me at that back door, on the way out. He never left my side, even for a moment. Even during those abortions. He promises that He never leaves us or forsakes us. So that means, He never left my side even in the midst of the most atrocious sin and the most heartbreaking moments. He never left,” Holly said. “In reality, if someone would have met me with the love of Christ at that back door. Even at that first abortion, I don’t think I ever would have had a second, or a third, or a forth, or a fifth.” Holly was in an abusive relationship with the man who was selling her and felt special. She didn’t realize that by selling her and taking a cut of the pay, it was actually trafficking. One day, Holly found herself on the floor of a public bathroom. Watching her tears hit the floor, she just cried out, “God help me.” That very night Holly met someone who was 3 years sober and he took her to her first recovery meeting. Holly has been miraculously sober since that day. Holly explains, “I was ready to die to myself. And I think God loves it when we’re ready to die to ourselves, because that’s a life He can take and mold completely for His glory.” Holly knew God had rescued her on that bathroom floor, but still didn’t know who God was. So she spent a lot of years seeking God. She read every book that Oprah recommended. She tried yoga, meditation, Buddhism, and looking for God. She never would have considered Christianity, because she would flashback to Christians who weren’t very loving to her. In her search, Holly picked up a Bible she had stolen years earlier. She said, “Okay, God. If you’re real, and if you’re in here, speak to me.” She opened up the Bible and put her finger inside, and her finger landed on the passage in John 8 where Jesus forgives the adulterous woman. And Holly met Jesus for the first time. She saw God who loved someone in her sin and then loved her out of it! Holly went on to read the whole Bible. In that time, she was healed of shame and she saw God using people like her all over the Bible. After about a year, Holly went to Israel to be baptized. She didn’t know she could go to a church. Holly laughs as she recalls the story. Not knowing any better, she stood on the Jordan bank looking for someone to baptize her. Finally, a Russian orthodox priest, in full attire, agreed to Holly’s request. Holly is thankful for that time. “The word of God is what transformed me so I know it’s alive. I know it’s true. I know it works. I know that Jesus lives in it because I met Him in it. There was no person, no church community, or Christian culture that I was being formed or shaped by. It was just the word of God and it was more than enough. In fact, it was better because by the time I got in the Christian community, my identity was already so solidly rooted in who God said I was that I didn’t worry about what people thought of me. In fact, when I encounter people who are shocked by my story or upset by my story, or even subconsciously might think, ‘This person doesn’t belong in leadership, or in the church, or in God’s kingdom,’ I’m able to stand on the word of God and say, ‘No; I know, that He loves me, He saved me, He’s transformed me, He wants to use me.’” Today, Holly dreams of building a ministry that meets people at the other door. She is married to an amazing man who she met in a Bible study. He pursued her from California to Paris. Holly struggled with telling him everything. There was that fear in vulnerability but when she finally revealed her life story, he said to Holly, “Now I understand where your joy comes from. I’ve always seen such joy in you and now I understand that it’s, ‘He who has been forgiven much, loves much.’” Holly is really passionate about helping others get free of shame. She’s had incredible moments with Jesus when He showed her where He was in her past. “And I love taking people through that work as well because now, when I look back on my past, and look back on those moments, I can’t see them without Jesus there,” Holly said. “There’s no place that’s too dark for Him. He wants to redeem all of it.” Learn more about Holly at www.hollychristinehayes.com. Find Holly’s candle line at www.farmhouseliving.com. love you even in the midst of your sin.’” What if they had been there to offer help, asked if she needed a ride, offered resources, shelter, been there to help her out of the abusive relationship? What if they had said, “We want to be there for you.” But the message Holly got in those times was that she had killed a baby and they were done with her. “And I think, we, as Christians are missing an opportunity to love people the way Christ does; because I know, know that I know, that I know, that He was there with me. He met me at that back door, on the way out. 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