Let me introduce you to a most remarkable lady, that I was fortunate enough to meet last year at Newday, as we served on the same ministry team together. Alongside her husband they oversee a fabulous team of people who spend the week serving the young people through prayer and follow up. Katy spends a lot of time gearing up for this week and communicating around a large team of people to make it all happen.
I am so inspired by her in many ways including all the Newday stuff, her day to day ‘walk’ with God and how she has become a published author of many books, including her latest foray into children’s books, with the imminent release of The Thread, with her author name Lizzy Lovely Books.
She also finds time to regularly update her fabulously creative blog, (drawcloseblog), where she brings bible stories to life through her amazing drawing and painting (in collaboration with her friend Rachel Fellingham). She also posts daily on Insta, the most incredible close up photographs of things she sees in nature, as she walks her dog and spends time with God.
Be inspired by…Mrs Katy Hollway.
What prophetic words have shaped your life/ministry?
The most influential words have come at vital points in my life. At the time, they may not have seemed like vital moments but looking at them from this side they really were.
Prophetic words can often be measured in significance because of the person that delivers them to you. The words that have shaped me have come from very normal but real Christians who have stepped out and been brave.
I have had prophetic words about having a voice, writing and influencing children and young people time and time again. I now write novels for young adults (and those who want to be young adults again!), go into schools on author visits and blog.
Have there been any pivotal/tipping point moments in your life/ministry that have changed your direction?
Moving to Devon to be part of a church plant for a couple of years took my husband and I out of youthwork that had been central to our lives for over a decade. It changed our vision for the church, our marriage and our family.
The birth of my eldest daughter was surrounded with illness and uncertainty. At this time I leaned into God and discovered that He really is steadfast and supplies all that I need.
Being exposed to friends who were involved in TSM has challenged me to live supernaturally in the way that I am designed and in what God has called me to. Time spent with them is time well spent. I discovered a new path to walk with God as my father and not my master.
I think recently my discovery of Bible Journaling has transformed how I relate to God and has kindled a love for reading the Bible.
We all hear from God differently. How do you hear from God?
If you look at my personal Instagram you will find numerous close-up and macro shots of nature with the hashtag #seehimineverything … it is a choice to see God everywhere and to intentionally acknowledge Him. I can almost see Him giggling at my surprise when wherever I look He is there! It is like He has been waiting to be found in a new place and wanting to have a new conversation with me. He often talks to me through nature and what I see on my walks with my dog.
If I keep my ears open and my mind ready to hear Him, he speaks all the time. Not just on a Sunday during the preach or worship but over the washing up, the supermarket queue and the traffic jams.
The place I go intentionally to hear Him will be my Bible. It is after all the word of God! It is so full of His voice. I used to find reading my Bible a chore … you know, the thing you are meant to do as a Christian, but now I love it. I will read a section (which is usually a page) and then ask God to highlight a piece for me. Sometimes it is a few words, sometimes the story and sometimes a meaning. Then, because I draw in my Bible(!) I will think about how I can put what He has highlighted into a picture. As I draw I will find God speaks even more to me and we have a conversation. My Bible is full of these moments with God.
I used to not be aware of all the things God wanted to say to me because I was too busy. It only takes a few seconds to read just what and who we are listening to. This is something I am becoming more practised in.
Who has been an inspiration in your life or a spiritual parent to you?
I have been so blessed to have been bought up in a Christian home. My parents have been a huge influence on me and how I approach my own relationship with God. I remember, when I was a little girl and off school because I was ill, watching my mother sit at the table with her Bible out. It wasn’t dramatic, but she would sit there quietly reading. She may not be the woman on the platform or even someone that loads of people know, but without her I wouldn’t be who I am today.
My kids are also an amazing inspiration. My son, who very recently got married, has moved to Amsterdam with my lovely new daughter-in-law because of what God spoke to him about several years ago. My eldest daughter battles illness with faith (and a little sarcasm). My youngest is just imaginative and finds joy in so many places.
I think that having a good friend who challenges you, points out the lies you are believing, spurs you on and listens is essential. I have this in my amazing husband and a few other women.
Having been in the church setting since I was tiny, I have also been exposed to some incredible leaders and deep, full and truth filled teaching. I am grateful for the firm foundation that they have helped to build. Being all grown up now, I love the relationships that my husband and I have with some of our church leaders, knowing that we are loved, championed and grown is essential to us.
What do you do whilst waiting for promises to be fulfilled?
If I’m honest, I’m not very good at waiting! Being patient is something that God has been working on me over many years.
I envision waiting done correctly as being filled with prayer and peace … but in reality, it can feel far from that. There might be prayer on my part, but it tends to be shouted out in frustration! I am learning that the waiting isn’t just a static thing, it is an action. The action can be pushing at a few doors, asking others for advice, being accountable and seeking God.
I have found that the promise fulfilled is one thing but God delights in the thousand things that get us there. I hold onto this as a lifeline. He can fulfil the promise in a moment but chooses the journey to make me ready for the promise … if I am not in the promise, I’m not yet ready for it.
How have you coped with any disappointments in your life/ministry?
Again, I have done this the wrong way and the right way.
If I don’t process disappointment correctly I can get angry and frustrated at myself, others and God. This is neither helpful or what God wants for me. I have to look at my expectations and see if they were mine or if they were God’s for me. Disappointment can only be dealt with correctly by taking it to God.
Ultimately, the thing that keeps me going is that my timing isn’t God’s but that God’s timing is perfect. I have to turn back to Him and trust Him … that’s not always the easy thing to do.
What has been the key to breakthrough in your life/ministry?
Funnily enough, writing my dissertation at University was a breakthrough moment. I re-discovered a love for writing that had disappeared when I had left school and pursued an arty route instead. It wasn’t a lightning bolt from heaven or a pointed prophetic word, but was finding something that brought me joy.
It was only when my children had grown a little that I was actually able to sit down and write a book. That manuscript sat on my computer for a very long time before I had the nerve to ask a friend to read it.
Isn’t it strange how something that is said when we are little can affect how we behave when we are older? At school, I was told that I wasn’t very good at writing, I felt I couldn’t spell and that because of not being perfect in it, I chose to not continue. When my friend read my manuscript he threw those opinions out! His encouragement, red pen and coaching changed everything. He believed in me.
What do you want to see God do in your life?
I would love for God to shake up my world but fear is the thing that holds me back. So, ultimately, I want to see the eradication of fear in my life. I know that this will involve me and won’t just be a matter of waking up one day knowing that I can do all things. He won’t lead me where he doesn’t go but I know that in order for me to not be fearful, He will lead me to places where I will need to step out, be courageous and trust in Him.
What have been your biggest obstacles and how have you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle in my life has probably been comparison. It is a killer! In our world we are continually surrounded by the successes or failures of others. I used to compare myself to others all the time. I would beat myself up when I didn’t do as well as others and look down my nose when I was better. It led me to hide because I was worried that others would be the same with me. It has been a long journey to discover that I need to love God and love others as myself. When I love God I can hear what He has to say about me and those around me. When I love others as myself it brings me to a level place with them and I can see people as God loves them.
Comparison would lead me into jealousy and that is an ugly place. I now actively seek out places where I can celebrate others successes and try to put them in the spotlight. I know that the enemy doesn’t like this so I will just keep doing it!
Another obstacle for me would be the power of words that have torn me down and stopped me. I went to art college where a tutor told me I’d never make it as a painter … I didn’t paint for 20 years because of it. It made me think that I would fail and that was not an option I was going to put myself through. Of course, this has all changed now! I regularly paint in my Bible and have been creating canvases for my home … who knows, one day I might even sell some of my paintings too!
Do you have a daily routine with God and what does that look like?
My day starts with a daily verse on my phone. It isn’t long or even selected by me but will remind me to look up at the start of the day.
When I walk my dog in the morning I will often have a podcast or worship album playing. It is also the time that I enjoy nature and the beauty around me. I spend quite a bit of time chatting to God out on my walks.
Most days, I try to sit down and write. Sometimes this is a blog post for my Bible Journaling blog that I write with a friend. This involves quite a bit of conversation with Him. The posts we make online are from pages from our Bibles that were made a few months ago so there are usually new thoughts and truths that come out as we write.
When I am writing my books I am thinking quite a bit about God. My Remnant Chronicles books are based in Bible stories so in writing in that style, I am immersed in the supernatural. I haven’t finished with this series yet and I hope that there are more books to come in this genre. My Compassion Series are secular but have the flavour of the gospel threaded through them. I am currently writing the third in this series and know that elements of my relationship of God are included in the story.
I aim to pick up my Bible every day. Sometimes this is at the beginning of the day and sometimes it is at night. I will read a page and a bit before I journal. Sometimes it will take a single sitting to journal my page whilst other times it will take longer. I think that the harder the page, the more I chew on what I have read and the more I get out of it. Sometimes I will be considering the page for several days before I draw on the page. It really is a very different way to meditate on the word!
My prayer life is worked out in a hundred five second prayers throughout the day, conversations with God on all sorts of topics and through my writing. Once, I had explained to a friend that I was struggling to write a scene in my book because I wanted to bring out what God wanted to say, what He wanted the situation to look like, almost a prophetic statement and she said that it was a form of intercession. This was a revelation moment for me because I had looked at her prayer life and thought mine was pretty rubbish in comparison. But in truth, it was just different and my language to God was just that, my language.
You have written several books, how did you get the ideas and then get them published?
Book ideas come in all sorts of shapes and forms. They might arrive in a single scene or be an element that I want to portray.
The Remnant Chronicles began out of a talk I did to the youth. I was surprised at how many of them thought that Bible stories were just that, a story. I know that many of the familiar stories in the Bible have been made sweet and cartoon coloured for little children … I wanted to claim them back. I wanted people to read the truth in these incredible historic events, see the evidence of science in these stories and discover the authority of God over all creation, principalities and powers. There is a lot of angelic action in these books.
The Compassion series began with a question: What if compassion was not an emotion that evoked a response but was a prize to be won? This series explores the lives of Luca and his friends in a world where compassion is not given freely. This series has one more book left … I think!
The writing process takes time and patience. From idea to first draft, edit and then re-write … there are plenty of opportunities to give up!
Finding a publisher is difficult. You can go through an agent or approach them yourself. I used to be with a publisher in America. This, unfortunately did not work out for me so I am currently self-publishing. This has its benefits in that I get to choose book covers, how my writing gets edited and receive a higher percentage for each book sold. It is however, harder to promote my books without the backing of a publisher. I am currently seeking out a new publisher.
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There are 10 ladies in this Inspired By series, so if you have missed one please link to it from below…
Inspired By Ladies