His bride’s new name…. and a birthday shout-out!

Image

While waiting to go into my English class one day this week, I noticed a plague dedicating a classroom to a married couple.  “Doug Terreson Classroom. Made possible through the generosity of Mr. & Mrs. Doug Terreson…”  Since I’ve never met the Terreson family, I began to wonder who they were, whether they had both been alum of Mississippi State, etc.

When I tried to picture the Mrs. Doug Terreson, I couldn’t get beyond the image that I had pictured in my head of Mr. Doug.  After all, I didn’t even know what her first name was… Tracy?  Susan?   Allison?  In this way, it seemed that her identity before marriage was HIDDEN behind her new identity, her husband’s name.

It was then that I realized something amazing happens when a man and woman become groom and bride, husband and wife.  There truly is a submission as the bride leaves behind her last name, and even her first, and becomes one with her husband.  The bride is given a new name, that of her groom, and it’s his identity that she proudly claims as she claims herself “Mrs. (the bride of )_____.”

And as I was waiting in that hallway, I realized that I was a bride with a new name and identity–my life hidden in the name and identity of my groom.  Yes, I am only 20 and am not dating anyone, so how could it be that I’m a bride already?!  

I am a bride of Christ, and if you believe and love Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you, too, are His bride.

No longer am I just “Ms. Sarah Elizabeth Hollinger,” but all of us that believe Jesus Christ redeemed us with His great sacrifice on the cross and have been given new life through the Holy Spirit living within now have a new name:

“Mrs. Jesus of Nazareth

Son of Mary and Joseph the Carpenter,

Son of God,

the Way, the Truth, and the Life, 

mender of the broken, comforter of the widow,

servant of the slave, feeder of the hungry, father of the orphans, 

healer of the afflicted, finder of what’s lost, remember of the forgotten,

friend to the outcast, shelter of the homeless,

lover of the poor-in-spirit, giver of grace, singer of praises,

forgiver of all wrongdoings, weeper with those that weep,

comforter of those that mourn, Shepherd to the Father’s sheep,

protector of the endangered, counselor to those that falter,

sacrifice for the lowest of low,

sufferer of persecution and rejection,

Blessed in the eyes of God.”

 

Is this the Groom in whom your previous life is hidden in?  Are we servants to those that typically serve us–janitors, trash collectors, etc.?  Do we forgive when others hurt us?  Do we weep with others when they are sad?  Are we friends to the outcasts?  Do we sing God’s praises?  Do we love the lost and poor-in-spirit?  

And when God looks down from heaven,  does He look on us and say, “Ah yes, you are the beautiful bride of my Son, Jesus Christ…” ?

When we claim ourselves as the bride of Christ, I pray that we will also see that HIS Identity is the one in which we’re hidden.  I pray that our lives our living testaments to His name here on earth.

 

PS-  Happy Happy Birthday to my sweet cousin, Anna Grace!!!!

Image

I loooovvvveeeee my sweet “big sister”!  She is always such a wonderful support, inspiration, and picture of what it means to be “a bride of Christ.”  She is an incredible, young lady, and I thank God daily for her and the example she has set.  A warrior in prayer and a giver of the best hugs ever, Anna Grace, I love you with all of my heart.  Please be praying for her and the wonderful band that she is in: Highroad III . Have a blessed birthday, Sweet AG!

Advertisements

Celebrating a memory and Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

If you have ever lost a loved one, you will know what I mean when I say that some days… you just miss that person.  The sun could be shining brilliantly outside and the weather could be absolutely beautiful, but a sad, little smile of “I-wish-that-so-and-so-was-here-with-me” may cross your face…  But you want to know what I’m finally realizing?  Physical death, death of the body, is not what we should fear… On the other hand, SPIRITUAL death of the soul, separation from God, is what we should be afraid of and mourn (Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:4).  We should celebrate the receiving of our loved ones that knew Christ as their Savior back over to God 🙂 .

And so, rather than indulge thoughts of grief, I decided to celebrate my grandmother’s memory!  I whipped out the church cookbook that Mammaw (Gerry Harden) gave me and turned to the page of one of her famous recipes.

Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread!  (“Huh-why-yah” Banana Bread as my Pappaw calls it 😉 )  Next, I BRACED myself and got ready to pull out my HUGE container of oil and 25 lb. bag of flour.  Yep… can you tell that I bake bread often?

Unfortunately I didn’t have any cans of pineapple on hand in the pantry, so I did something a little different.  I added chocolate chips to two of the loaves and left one plain.  After pouring the batter evenly into the three, greased loaf pans, I added a handful or two of chocolate chips and stirred them evenly in the batter.

…if only you could have smelled this baking in the oven…

…yummy…

“Sarah’s Chocolate Chip Banana Bread”

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup of Splenda for baking
  • 1 cup of sugar (granulated)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon… and then a another dash or two (I love cinnamon)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 and (1/4) cup of oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 large bananas, mashed with a fork
  • Chocolate chips!
Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (except chocolate chips!  Save for the end)
  3. Pour in oil, ALREADY beaten eggs, vanilla, and mashed bananas.
  4. Stir until moistened but well-mixed.  Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides where dry flour stays.  *Stirring until moistened but yet well-mixed is important because stirring too much can give the bread a different texture…not quite as light and fluffy.  At the same time, biting into the bread and getting a pocket of flour would not be too tasty though…
  5. Add as many chocolate chips to the batter as you would like!  It’s up to your discretion depending on how much you like chocolate.  If you want more of the banana taste, you could add 1- 1.5 cups of mini chocolate chips.  If you wanted to have chocolate in almost every bite, you could add 1-2 cups of normal size chocolate chips.  It all depends on your taste buds and if the chocolate chips look evenly distributed once poured in the loaf pans.  Remember… those amounts are just guesses, so experiment with it!
  6. Pour batter into 2 greased, loaf pans.  (I poured it evenly into 3 pans, and the loaves were too short for my preference).  You could also make these as muffins, mini-loaves, etc.
  7. Bake time depends on what baking dish you chose.  Watch them!  Here are my “guess-timates”:  10-15 for small muffins, 15-20 for big muffins, 30-40 for 3 loaves, 40-50 for 2 loaves.
  8. Eat and share with your friends and family!

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.  His love endures forever!” 

Psalm 136:1 (NIV)

And into glorious light.

There is one fear that is instilled in all human beings.  Although right at first it can kindle a sense of adventure, even no adventure is possible when the object of this fear is full.  This fear is of darkness.

This past weekend, some friends and I went rock climbing and camping.  During many of our adventures throughout the day, we encountered some caves.  Tip-toeing down big, steep drops into the earthen holes, we maneuvered our way down into the darkness.

Yes, it was fun exploring through there, but there came a point when I was ready to see the light again!  I was ready to crawl towards the light–knowing that freedom from the cave was right there– and to climb out.  I was ready to see the world around me in the fullness that only the light can provide.

This was the scene waiting once I clambered out of the cave.  Beautiful.  What made it even more beautiful, though, was that I had to crawl through the darkness and scrape my hands on rocks along the way through it.  But eventually, I reached for a friend’s hand, was pulled out of the cave, and with that friend, we stood in the marvelous light.

———-

The same is true for all of us in our relationship with God.  We all will have times in our lives that seem to be dark just like the inside of a cave.  But, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).  If you are going through a time of darkness in your life–whether struggling with an illness, doubting God and His goodness, or choosing to leave the well-lighted path for more of an “adventure” (which ultimately leads to complete separation from God)–I pray that God will open your eyes to see Him as the Light that obliterates the darkness.  Do not choose times of darkness, and yet never forsake these times when they occur because God will still use them for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:38).  As Oswald Chambers once wrote,

“At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him…Watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet…When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.”

If you are going through a cave, seek Him and whatever it is that He is trying to teach you through this time.  May He bring you out of darkness and into glorious light…

“Because he holds fast to me in love,

I will deliver him;

I will protect him,

because he knows my name.

When he calls to me,

I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will rescue him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91:14-16

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah 🙂

Kisses from Katie

Over Christmas break when I saw this book in Costco, I pushed through the crowds to make it there to where Katie’s book was stacked among the bestsellers.  As I picked it up and held it tenderly, tears began to well in my eyes.  You see, she is not only an inspiration to me, but she is also a source of hope… Read it, and you’ll see 😉

If there is one book that I ask you to buy for all of your family members, friends, co-workers, and for your own self, it’s this one: Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.  I hope that you will also check out the links below and support her and Amazima.

Katie’s Book For Sale

Amazima’s Main Website

Katie’s Blog

Thanks for reading and for supporting Katie and Amazima ministries.  God is certainly working through them in incredible ways…

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah 🙂