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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Family Tree

Here is our family tree for all of you inquiring minds who have asked.
Fasten your seat belts and get ready for a ride...

This is me and my husband.
Nick and Stephanie
@nickholden and @honeyholden on instagram.

We have three daughters.
Elizabeth, Lydia  and Lauren.
 @babylady3 @lydialovesmarcus and @laurenalexis19

 This was the original 5 Holdens..

Then our girls began to meet their guys.
I'm gonna go from RIGHT to left to keep it all chronological and stuff.

Elizabeth married Chris (@chrissirven) and they became the Sirven family.
They have three children who call me Honey.  Rosalyn, Julia Rose and Nate.

Next we have Mr. and Mrs. Linton...Lydia and Marcus (@mlinton1215)
You've been reading quite a bit about these two lately ;)

And last but not least is Lauren. She's still a Holden.  (Woo Hoo!!)
But the really tall guy on the left is crazy about her so we will  probably have another wedding in the near future.  His name is Blake.
He's not on instagram but you can call him Blakey-Poo like the rest of us.

 Ok. That was easy to follow.
Now let me kick it up a bit.

A lot of y'all have put two and two together and have figured out the other "Holden girl" in blog land and instagram is indeed related to me.  In fact we are sister-in-laws.  Our hubs are brothers.
She is @heatherholden and she's got a really amazing blog called wearetheholdens.
If you aren't following her, you should.  She has the skills of Martha Stewart and Paula Deen and dresses like she stepped out of an Anthro catalog  all while buying just about every cute thing she wears and owns from the thrift store.. the girls got skillz I tell ya.

This is her good looking mister
(sorry heather...i had to.)

No..really they are an amazing looking bunch.

There are 3 Holden brothers.
This pic is totally out of chronological order. 
Nick is the oldest (on right)
Jeremy is the middle. (on left)
Jode is the youngest (in the middle)

They are married to us...
Joice belongs to Jeremy.
I belong to Nick.
Heather belongs to Jode.

This is Jeremy's clan.
Joicey-Poo (yes she's the other "poo" in the family) has some serious skills too.
She can homeschool a house full of kids, whip up supper for her and two other families, then go visit  those families, gather eggs from their yard full of chickens, put together anything you give her without the directions, teach a bible study and rub Jeremy's feet all in a days work... and never complain. I wish she had a blog.  I'd learn so much from her.
She and Jeremy's bunch are as cute as they come.

Ok...So all that is pretty normal right?
Well here is where it gets fun...
Here are the Holden boys and their dad, Mr. Bubby.
Handsome bunch huh!

 Now this sweet lady is their momma.... My mother-in-law.
And this guy in the pic is her husband. 
Who also happens to be my brother. 
Yeah... you read that right.
My brother is married to my mother-in-law.
So my mother-in law is also my sister-in-law!

This is my big bother, my mom and me.
He is also my father-in-law and my mom is my grandma.
Have I lost you yet?

Before you start thinking we are some crazy family from the south who marrys their cousins...
I promise this is all legit.  No blood relations at all.

Funny thing though.. My mom is my mother-in-law's mother-in-law.
Yeah go ahead and re-read that again.  I know you need to.
This also makes my mom my girl's grand maw and great grandma at the same time.
Oh and this makes my girls my great nieces.

This also makes Nick my nephew and 
his mom is technically his sister in law.
My brother is his step-dad... 
I could go on and on.

I know by now I have totally lost you.

So here is a very brief bio to explain it some.
Nick and I got married at a very young age.
His parents divorced that same year.
She then met my brother ( who is quite older than me for the record).
They began to date, fell in love,  and eventually got married.
And in case you're wondering, no... the entire family was not exactly thrilled.
All of this was before any of us knew Jesus.
It was quite a turbulent season for all of us.
My brother at the time had an addiction to drugs and alcohol and was not exactly great "husband material".  Our family was dysfunctional in every essence of the word.

Well y'all.  God showed up and interrupted our lives and began to sweep through our family like a wildfire.  Two words that stand out during this time is
1. Grace
2. Change

You see until this time...the only ones who knew the Lord in our family were my mom and my step-dad. (my dad passed away when I was 13, my mom eventually remarried and he's a pastor) I have no doubt it was their intercession and prayers for us that were instrumental in us coming to a place of saving grace. (That's a whole post right there!)  We look back at old videos and see all the drinking and cussing and carrying on and I'm SO ashamed we acted like that around them.  I asked her years later why they never fussed at us and told us how offensive we were and disrespectful to their position of being the parents.. the "head" our family...  In her wisdom of knowing the Lord for 41 years now, she said, "Stephanie, there was no need to fight with y'all..  I knew the battle was a spiritual one. So we just prayed for y'all."
 She loved us and prayed us right into the Kingdom.

Well, Ms Dianne (my mom-in-law) was the first to get intterputed by Jesus.

And wow let me tell you it not only interrupted her life but all of ours.
I can remember that first Thanksiving after she had first gotten saved. (by saved I mean when she realized she was born a sinner and yielded her life to Jesus and He then redeemed her and saved her from a self-centered life and eternity apart from Him).  Well, that Thanksgiving she was so different!
And it made me so uncomfortable!  All she wanted to talk about was Jesus and tell us about her church and she kept smiling and stuff.  It was a total interruption to our family get togethers....All the drinking and cutting up seemed to stand out that year and for me it was the first time I was confronted with my life full of religion.  I had been brought up in the church all my life and professed to know Jesus but it was at that Thanksgiving that I realized I didn't have what she had.  At this point, I wasn't even sure I wanted what she had...maybe a little bit of it but definitely not as much of Jesus as her!
 I mean she had become a little "finatical"  in my book. lol  Little did I know back then.

You see, now my Mom and Mr. Roy had a partner to join forces with them in battle for our family spiritually in prayer.  And God honored it y'all.  Within a month... My brother (the one married to Nick's mom) got saved and set free from all of his addictions!  Then a few months later, I got saved.  Then Nick got saved and right around that time.. both of his brothers, Jode and Jeremy got saved.  It was crazy y'all in an incredible unbelievable kind of way.

And God was SOOO not finished doing His thing in our family....

We all began to grow in the Lord and love His word and then the Lord went and shook things up even more.  He began dealing with the men in our family....As in calling them to preach.
Now anytime He does this it's a miracle and incredible.  But y'all.  If you only knew my family before, you would know this is like "part the Red Sea" kind of incredible.

  • He called my brother first.  A high school drop-out drug addict to preach His glorious gospel. Pretty awesome huh!  
  • Then he called my husband. At the time he was one of the shyest people you could ever meet.  I had never even heard him pray out loud and he's telling me he feels "called" to preach.  This is a man who had never even read an entire book and now he is eating up his bible every second of the day.
  • Somewhere along the lines...he called Nick's youngest brother, Jode, into ministry and gifted him with crazy talents to lead worship and lead students. 
  • And Nick's other brother, Jeremy is one of the most gifted teachers of the word I know.  He serves faithfully in many different capacities at his church. He's one of greatest servants I know.
None of these men were brought up in church.
None of them had a godly heritage or foundation.
Their lives are just an example of what God does when He saves a person. 
 Change takes place.
And y' my, how our family has changed.
 Everything about our family has changed.

This was my brother back in the day when drugs was what he lived for.

Now he lives to help others be set free!
(Well he lives for deer season too but that's another story, lol)
This picture was taken when he graduated from New Orleans Theological Seminarry.  God did that!!

This was taken a few years back at Marvin's church when they were celebrating a new family life center that they had just built and had begun worshipping in.
These are all the men in our family (minus Marcus who we didn't know at the time BUT his family actually played bluegrass at this very celebration!! Lydia now tells us she was scoping him out all day!)
All these men serve the Lord with their lives and lead our families within our homes.
Good googily woogily!!  God did that!

Here's me and Heather back in the day.
(just felt like throwing that in...we call that lagniappe back home...a little something extra)

And here is our entire crew today!
Just one big intertwined- crazy- Jesus loving-family.

Remember...y'all did ask for our family tree!
Don't hold all the craziness against me....
I'm just along for the ride but I do admit..
I'm loving every second of it!!
Stephanie :)


  1. I officially love this!!!! Praise God for how He has moved to fulfil His good and perfect plans and purposes for your family! I love your passion for Him and the pure joy that bubbles from all of you!!! You are a blessing and amazing examples of what it means to belong to Jesus xx

  2. Bam God Did That!
    Shout to the Lord this is awesomely awesome awesomeness!


  3. What an amazing testament to the saving grace of our LORD! Not to mention an amazing answer to your mother and step-father's prayers. You have such an amazing firsthand story to tell your grandchildren of the awesome power of God! Praise God!

  4. Never knew reading a family could make me cry, but girl what a testimony. You and your family are such a blessing and such an testament to what God can do!!

  5. And I thought I was the only one with a less-than-ordinary family tree. I'll have to tell you about mine is truly amazing what God can do when he gets hold of just one person in a family. Your story reminds me some of Dr. Dan's story, and how it all started with godly grandparents praying his for his dad....and we know how that story came out! Thank you for sharing your family and your life--you have inspired me from the first time you guys came into Northcrest while Nick was still out at NAS,and you inspire me still....

    Love you lots!

  6. this is obviously the best post ever! haha i was cracking up at some of the odd connections, and so amazed at God's goodness, power and grace! holla praize. :]

  7. HOLY COW! I have a headache! HA!

    But my word! Thank you Jesus for changing these lives! How amazing and wonderful and GOD! Amazing!!!!! Amazing! Amazing!!! I cannot believe this story!

    Oh...and LOVE the phrasing 'God interrupted'. That's awesome!!! So true too!

    Loved making these connections. You have a beautiful family!

  8. This is all freakin awesome. I love it. I could sit all day and here you talk about this. God is great and has done great things in your lives!!!

  9. isn't God's plan crazy and wonderful? it's so true that He has things in mind that we could never have imagined!

  10. That was incredible!!! I love love love every bit of this story. Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. I LOVE this story! This is awesome. It made me laugh and cry at the same time. God is so good!! You have a beautiful family.

  12. Such a good post and story!! Full of some good ol' fun! And a LOT OF GOOD OL TRUTH!!! Wow!!! Y'all are certainly a family God is using to impact others. Thanks for letting Him do so.

  13. Amazing, truly amazing and a blessing to read. Thanks so much for sharing. Mostly, it was a reminder for me to keep praying for those I'm concerned about and not try so hard to get them to do the "right thing." I just need to let go and let God. By they way, that pink dress your mother is wearing in the wedding? I work that exact dress for my nieces wedding except my dress was a shade of purple. Just thought I'd throw that in!

  14. I just was reading this on the couch and just started reading it out loud to those in the room because it was cracking me up and amazing me at the same time. :) I love your story and I love that you love to tell it. A springboard to the complete power and love of God..... most definitely!!! Love you Lady!!

  15. ohmyword.
    it is absolutely amazing how God can use just one *willing* person to be a light of His gospel, planting seeds that grow into the salvation and individual conversion of each person in a family and BEYOND!
    praise HIM for His mighty works and such a Godly heritage that is being passed on!!!

  16. I loved reading every word of this! My husband's parents split and the families are like the true Hatfield's and McCoy's. Well, his aunt on his Daddy's side crossed the line and married his Mama's cousin. For the love of Pete you'd thought someone had died! We love them all. The crazy ones too.

    What a wonderful story of Jesus and how He interrupts our lives. LOVE that description!

    You have a beautiful family. I know, I keep saying that, but you do!

  17. whoa nelly!! this is awesome. god is good!


    all kinds of REDEEMED and BUT GOD in your wild family tree. i love it. stirs up hope and prompts me to do some more interceding!!

  19. This is freaking awesome. God works in the most amazing ways! Thanks for sharing your incredible family tree with us!

  20. that was really awesome! thank you for sharing that. it is so cool to see the power of God to save and to change. i am totally encouraged by reading it. (referred by my friend Bekkah, who commented earlier...)

  21. I'm so totally lost! No, not really, but yeah, kind of. The grandma/great grandma part got me. Huh?

    I'm just overjoyed at the work of the Lord in your lives. It's such a great testimony to the power of the Living God. Yay!

  22. Oh my GOSH!!! My husband and I enjoyed that SO much!!!! I had to stop several times because I started crying. Typical. It is SO encouraging to see how the Lord has worked in your family and truly encourages me as someone in ministry! God can save anybody!!! Thank you so much for sharing that!!!

  23. What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing it. I hope God continues to work in me and my family with as much power and grace as He has in it!

  24. I am truly touched by your story. WOW, God works in amazing ways! I adore following you and your beautiful girls on IG. You guys are so positive and inspiring!

  25. And of course He didnt stop there.... He put me to work every morning at 530 am with precious Ms Dianne who showed me Jesus more than anyone had showed me before or even has since. I became a believer...and then so did my parents and brother! The Lord amazes me with his lovingkindness and pursuit after His bridegroom. I love me some Holden's!

  26. What an awesome testimony! Thank you for sharing. Becca :-)

  27. Your family tree made me think of that song, "I'm my own grandpa," it sounds confusing but when you think about it, it makes sense! I wish my family tree could be so interesting!

  28. Praise God! What a testimony!! I somehow or another came across a post on instagram by your husband and was so blessed by some of his and your post that I started following you both. From there I found your blog (which I LOVE) and this post. Its such a small world in His kingdom, my husband is a graduate of NOBTS as well, we were there from 1999-2002. We miss NOLA something awfull at times... Sweet memories thank you again for sharing. Kristy Bailey (kab73 on instagram)

  29. super sweet! Have you ever heard the country song by brad paisley..."all because two people fell in love?" I always think of it when I see photos like this!

  30. I LOVED reading this post Stephanie! Your family is a wonderful group of God loving inspirational people. And ps I think Nick's twin worksout at my gym here in Austin :-) I could not stop looking at him because they looked so much alike!

  31. I was pretty impressed with myself, hahaha I pretty much know it all now...but it was still a blast to read and see all the pics, WOWZA, what a family, one ball of fun and love!!!! Thank ya for sharing this good good stuff with us :)

  32. STEPH!!!! Oh my, i LOVED reading all this and to see how the family is all connected and now all connected to Jesus together. SO so amazing, yall should seriously write a book. I know you sharing this is a testimony to so many!! i love you so much lady!!!! :)

  33. OH my heavens! I love this. Well, first of all I love Elizabeth's kids names :) And guess what? My grandmother and grandfather... well, grandma's sister married grandpa's brother... so there you have it!

  34. finally got around to reading this. SO crazy.

    and so awesome. to God be the glory!

  35. this is AMAZING. praise the Lord for His amazing work in your family's life! i am so encouraged :)

  36. Mama Holden this is AMAZING!!! How did I not see this!!
    I got curious on IG and put two and two together about Jode & Brother Nick...
    Holy moly!!!
    I'm so in awe...God is a good God.

  37. I feel validated that you and Heather are related!! I was always curious! LoL

    Loved your story
    (even if I had to reread to keep up!).

  38. Well, although I need to go back and read parts of that again, I have to say ISNT GOD AMAZING?! It doesnt matter where you come from, only where He wants you to go.
    And for the record, my moms mom married my dads dad(after my parents were married of course) so in a small way, I can relate to this mayhem:)

  39. I found your blog and I just love this post and the rest of it had me laughing with breaking down your family tree! And most importantly love your love and transparency for Jesus! :)

  40. oh hey. just me again. liking you more and more. :)

  41. I love redemption stories, and goodness gracious, is this a good one! God has been so kind to your family! Thank you for sharing His faithfulness!

  42. I literally belly laughed and then cried (at the miracles God worked in y'all's lives and the fact that He's no respecter of persons and WILL do the same in my family!). What an incredible story of GRACE. Amazing. I love this so much. It truly made my day. (((((HUGS)))))
    PS - please pray. I would love to see a revival in my family. In Jesus' Name!!!


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