Today, Hailey shares with us thoughts about her journey in healing, a specific request that has helped her grow spiritually, an app that changed the way she memorizes Scripture, and how freedom has been a theme in her life, recently. She has so much to share, and I know you will be blessed!
Inspiring Biblical passage of the moment: “Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” Zechariah 9:12.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I’m coming out of a long battle with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts, and I’m slowly learning to walk in freedom. The Israelites didn’t just have to get out of Egypt; they had to get Egypt out of them. I am a prisoner of nothing but hope, and I am learning how that looks in my day-to-day life. Also, I’m being more intentional about asking the Holy Spirit to invade my day. I’m working on staying in constant communication and feeling His presence all the time.
“The Israelites didn’t just have to get out of Egypt; they had to get Egypt out of them.”
Profession: I’m an author, a freelance writer, a freelance voiceover artist, and I work for a nonprofit that tutors underprivileged kids. Next year, I plan to get my associates degree in either exercise science or sports management, while still heavily focusing on my writing career.
A one sentence bio of yourself: Hailey is a follower of Jesus who has many passions, is in love with stories, and is probably barefoot.
When did you first encounter God: I grew up in church, but I wouldn’t say that I really had a personal encounter with God until I was thirteen or fourteen. That was around the time when I began pursuing a personal relationship with Jesus every day of the week, instead of just learning about Him on Sundays. We’ve gotten closer and closer ever since then– and this past year, as I have come into freedom, I want to live for and with Christ like never before.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season: I feel like I’ve grown so much in my walk with the Lord lately, and I can pinpoint two specific reasons: intentionally asking God to let me feel His presence, and surrounding myself with friends who speak truth to me and pray for me.
“[I]ntentionally asking God to let me feel His presence…”
Top three essentials: My gold leaf earrings, Jellie Bellies, and Broadway soundtracks.
How did God speak to you recently: I had a bad day recently, a relapse of sorts, and two of my friends spoke truth and sent me a Psalm that could not have articulated my struggle any better (Psalm 73). Within a few minutes, I also saw two social media posts from people I’ve never met that both spoke extremely specifically to my situation. Small things, but super important that day. El Roi–the God Who sees.
Hobby: Reading, working out, photography, taking day trips with my friends, learning Spanish, and snuggling with my beagle puppy, Sophie.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1) In the morning, read your Bible and pray, and hone in on a verse/phrase/word that you want to focus on that day. Write it on your hand and think about it all day. This has been super helpful for me.
2) One of my best friends recently recommended an app called ScriptureTyper
to me. I learned four passages in the first 24 hours after I downloaded it! It’s addicting, and memorizing Scripture is a great alternative to wasting time on your phone. It’s also a facet of the Christian life that I feel is overlooked.
3) Practice self-control. If something is affecting your spiritual life in a toxic way, just get rid of it. I’ve done this recently with a relationship that dragged me down, with an app that distracted me from my quiet time, and with a book series that was definitely not God-honoring. It may feel hard at first, but replace those things with Jesus, and you’ll never look back.
“It may feel hard at first, but replace those things with Jesus, and you’ll never look back.”
Favorite person in scripture: I really love David. I taught a lesson to my kids’ class at church recently about what David’s life was like before he killed Goliath, and how even when David was young, he lived with integrity and his heart was a heart after God’s. David chose to follow God, and God began to prepare him early on.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you: I’m doing a project right now where I focus on one of the fruits of the Spirit each month. My favorites are joy and kindness–I hope I can display those attributes in a way where people readily see them. Since God is love, God is joy, peace, patience, kindness, and all the other fruits of the Spirit. So by having those, I can show Love.
Favorite season: Fall is my favorite season. There’s nothing like bonfires, sweatshirts, pumpkins, and the beautiful fall foliage here in the mountains of north Georgia.
Favorite holiday: Christmas! I love absolutely everything about Christmas. The Fourth of July is a close second, though–we always hang out at the local fairground for hours with our best friends, playing baseball and Frisbee and eating food. Plus, celebrating freedom has a new meaning for me, now.
“Plus, celebrating freedom has a new meaning for me, now.”
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: On Christmas Eve, after church, we eat at Krystal because that’s what my dad did growing up. I don’t like Krystal, but I do like this tradition– stacking hamburger boxes as high as we can, greeting friends who stop by the otherwise empty restaurant, and then running through the cold to the car, so we can get on with the next day.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven: I’ve thought and thought about this one, and I’m still not sure. Luckily, I’ll have all eternity to figure it out.
Thing you want to raise awareness about:
Some states look at the reading test results of elementary school students to determine how many prison beds they’ll need in the upcoming years, and I think that is absolutely not okay. I want to raise awareness about the nationwide literacy crisis, and I’m so grateful that I had a book published by an organization that does just that.
I’m also passionate about mental health– I can’t stress enough that you never know what someone is going through, no matter how fine they seem–and youth sports. In my years playing travel and rec softball, I noticed a big disparity, and I want to start a nonprofit that allows underprivileged kids to have equal opportunities as the kids whose families have more money. I could go on about adoption and poverty and more, but I’ll stop!
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? I used to get up at 5 and do practically everything on my to-do list before 9 a.m. Two years ago, though, I became pretty sick with what we think is a chronic fatigue illness. Now I stay in bed much later–typically, the only things I have accomplished before 9 a.m. are reading my Bible, getting in some quality puppy snuggles, and eating breakfast. And honestly, I’m not too mad about it!
What is on your nightstand? My lamp, ponytail holders, and a towering stack of devotional books that I’ll get around to reading one day.
For more Hailey:
Until next time, keep witnessing!