This week I am thrilled to share about a dear friend, Holly Holt, in our series “A Life Lived Beautifully.” I met Holly last year at the Influence Conference and immediately knew she was the real deal. She not only hungers after the Lord, but she creates art that shares that same hunger. Each of her products in her shop was made with a deep purpose to share Christ. Holly is an encourager, speaker of life, and talented designer. I know you will be blessed reading her story and testimony!
Introduce yourself like we are having a cup of coffee together. What kind of coffee/tea would you drink?
Hello friends! I’m Holly, and I am so grateful to be sharing a virtual cup of coffee with you today! Since it’s winter and incredibly cold outside, you’re most likely to find me with a mocha in hand (although in the summer months it would definitely be a passion tea lemonade!) and a cinnamon coffee cake by my side. I currently live in Minneapolis, MN, with my husband Derek and kitty Phoebe. I create for Holly Holt Design where I live out my passions for encouraging others, creating community in the midst of hardship, and building a strong marriage. These passions have come out of personal experience facing hardship with my husbands health and have bubbled over into every aspect of my life.
What is your definition of a “life lived beautifully”?
A life lived beautifully is living life completely surrendered to the Lord and trusting Him no matter what life throws your way. It is embracing each moment and seeking joy each and every day.
When did you start following Jesus?
I began following Jesus at a very young age and consider myself incredibly blessed to have grown up in an environment where faith in Christ was emphasized. Although I grew up believing in Jesus as my Savior and knowing all the right answers, my faith was paper thin. I often found myself confused at how to study the Bible and how others were so confident in their faith. I suffered from severe anxiety and honestly did not understand what was “wrong” with me. Two years ago, shortly after my husband and I were married, we were thrown into a series of trials that lead me to rock bottom where I was left with two choices – be swallowed up in despair or truth that God is Who He says He is. I chose to trust and He has totally transformed my life. I am continually amazed at His amazing love and grace poured out over my brokenness, and His willingness to turn these broken bits of clay into a beautiful vessel for His purpose.
What are some verses you constantly cling to and bring life to your soul?
The entire book of Philippians, specifically 4:4-9, has been a constant comfort to me throughout my entire life. It is probably the most marked book in my Bible! Other favorite passages include 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Psalm 73:26, Psalm 37:23-24, and Job 23:10. These verses have gotten me through the toughest of tough days and remind me that the Lord is enough. He is my Comforter, Guide, and Savior through it all.
How did God give you the vision to start your Etsy shop?
My original vision for my shop was totally different that it is now, but that is ok! I’ve learned pruning and change are part of the process. When I first opened my shop, it was a custom design and stationery shop dedicated to creating for life’s celebrations. I absolutely loved it and was thrilled when things seemed to be going well right from the start. A month after I opened shop, Derek relapsed in his health and became extremely sick forcing me to stop pursuing my entrepreneurial dreams in order to care for our family. I took everything out of my shop and was honestly angry at God. Why would he lead me to start something only to take it all away just a couple months later? In the months that followed, Derek began treatment, our little family settled back into the new normal, and a new shop mission began to take shape. After months of confusion and bitterness about the hardship we were experiencing, hope started to resurface in the dark. When I reopened my shop, it was no longer just a custom design and stationery shop, but a print shop dedicated to creating community and products with purpose for women in the thick of hardship. As time goes on, God continues to shape this vision, and I am so excited to see His vision continue to unfold!
How do you integrate the gospel into creativity?
When Derek first became sick, I found myself digging back into my creativity that had been buried under years of busyness, fear of failure, and self-doubt. I began lettering song lyrics and verses that spoke straight to my heart and posted them all around me to constantly remind me of who I was in Him rather than being overwhelmed by the reality of our life. Getting out my paints again and worshiping the Lord through my art brought me so much peace in the middle of chaos. Because of this, the gospel is integrated in every aspect of my creativity and business – whether it’s creating a lettered print with His promises on it or seeking out new ways to be an encouragement to those who need it most.
If you could do anything for the glory of God, what would it be?
Although many dreams and possibilities come to mind, my heart longs to be a mom and a homemaker, raising a family with my husband together bringing glory to God through the little everyday moments. The “for better or worse” part of our vows became very real very quickly for us, and I remember one night realizing in complete horror “What if God chooses not to heal Derek?” What if.. What if all I hope and dream for is not able to become a reality someday? This realization has driven me to make each moment count, to share God’s love with those around me through Holly Holt Design, and to encourage others in the thick of hardship each and every day.
What books are you currently reading?
Oh my.. My booklist is quite long! Currently I am working my way through Waiting on God by Charles Stanley and Restless by Jennie Allen. Last year I set a goal to read one book a month to fill my time with things that bring me life, and I chose to bring that goal into 2015. Finding Faith in the Dark by Laurie Short was my January book and highly recommend it!
If you could tell every woman reading this blog one thing God has laid on your heart, what would it be?
Friend, if you are finding yourself in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation, be still and wait on the Lord. Silence the noise in your life and make room for what is truly important. Speak life and truth out loud into every moment. I’ve always thought that “ waiting” and “being still” was basically the same as doing nothing… As in that time was wasted, but the truth is it is not. Like a server at a restaurant waits on their table and gets to know how to serve the guests best, we can spend our time doing the same for God. Waiting on the Lord is not a passive activity – it is very active! Society tells us waiting is negative or not worth while, but Scripture says “They who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31. Waiting is actually participating in God’s plan. It is trusting, looking forward, and doing everything we can right where we are in life. Guilt, anxiety, and apathy can get in the way experiencing the true joy that is found when we wait on the Lord and trust in His plan.