My sister shared this song with me years ago that I will not forget. When she first sang it to me, I knew the Lord was speaking the words to my heart, but I had no idea how long the valley would be through which He would guide me. The song brings to mind the Sunday School lessons of Abram, Sarai, Jacob, and Saul as I contemplate my own name change, which Isaiah prophesied would be “My delight is in her”.
I will change your name. You shall no longer be called “Wounded”, “Outcast”, “Lonely”, or “Afraid”.
I will change your name, your new name shall be “Confidence”, “Joyfulness”, “Overcoming one”; “Faithfulness”, “Friend of God”, one who seeks My face.
I wanted so badly at that point to have my name changed. I wanted to see myself as God saw me; confident, full of joy, faithful, instead of how I felt others saw me, and how I was beginning to view myself; easily intimidated, afraid of confrontation or correction, and alone. Life continued on, and I remembered this song, but didn’t know what to do with it anymore, it seemed like my name was just my name, and that this song wasn’t for me.
That was all years ago. Then, this week, in an effort to reconnect with my long forgotten blog, I found a post I had started titled “A New Name” with the following excerpt from Scripture:
1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,
And her salvation like a torch that is burning. 2 The nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the LORD will designate. 3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married”;
For the LORD delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married. 11 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth,
Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes;
Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.” 12 And they will call them, “The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD”;
And you will be called, “Sought out, a city not forsaken.”
Of course it brought to mind the song, and all the old thoughts I had about who I am, how I see myself, and how God sees me. I felt that God was going to teach me about this, so I went on a bunny trail of looking up my first and middle names, to see what they mean. I already knew that my first name meant “beautiful” in Spanish…I had a Spanish kindergarten teacher who told me so. I looked up my middle name, and there are two meanings; The first is “Lively One”, but the second is from a variant of the Hebrew name “Abigail”, which means “Father’s joy”, or “gives joy”…and when I saw it, I literally was brought to tears…because, look…see for yourself verses 3 and 4.
It says that I will be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord…and I will be called “my delight is in her” (Father’s joy?)
…that’s already my name! I have been called “beautiful joy of the Father” even before I was born and named so by my earthly parents. I have not always responded positively or rightly to those names given me. I have believed that who I am is connected to how others see me, or as I see myself, instead of how God sees me. Believing the enemy’s lie, I have worn his counterfeit name tags “Unattractive”, “Wounded”, “Afraid”, and “Loser”, instead of the truth.
Maybe God is not changing my name in the way that He did for Abram and Sarai, Jacob or Saul…maybe for me, God is changing the lies I have believed about who I am, and what I aim to accomplish. Maybe it’s not about changing my given name at all. Maybe He is removing the name tags that I have chosen to wear, and giving me His…the name He already gave me, so that I can also be called “Redeemed”.
Yesterday before Mass started, I was praying for a very difficult situation that my family is going through right now. It involves watching someone I love dearly who struggles in her walk with the Lord, ride an emotional rollercoaster of choices made on the fly according to how she is feeling at the time. It’s hard to watch, and grieves us deeply.
I heard The Lord speak very clearly in my spirit “Through this experience, I am going to show you how to really love. You are going to see how I love.”
Fr. Andrew’s homily was about how Christ doesn’t judge us for our past, but chooses to meet us where we are in our now. It challenged me to deal with with my loved one in her now, and quit throwing her yesterday up in justification for my own bitterness and disappointment. I prayed that God would help me love her with His love, and that she would be irresistibly drawn to His mercy and grace.
After receiving the Eucharist, the worship team sang “Oh, How He Loves Us” and it reduced me to a puddle. I’ll post a link to the original writer’s rendition, and the lyrics below.
He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these
Afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are and
How great Your affections are for me
And Oh, How He loves us so
Oh, How He loves us
How He loves us so
He loves us
Whoa, How He loves us
Whoa, How He loves us
Whoa, How He loves
Yeah He loves us
Whoa, How He loves us
Whoa, How He loves us
Whoa, How He loves us
We are His portion and
He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently in side of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way
It is powerful, and I just had such a personal sense of Christ’s presence with me at that moment, and an assurance of His promise to be with me always.
He is jealous for me. I would never understand this, without the experience I’m in with this beautiful girl. I get it. As much as I want her with me, in fellowship with God…THAT is how He feels for me…when he watches me blow it and turn from His face and choose sin…Oh, He is jealous for me…and still, he loves me…and waits for me…and is patient with me.
And now, I am hyper sensitive to His displays of love through my day, and I’m humbled, and a little embarrassed that while I knew, intellectually, that God loves me, how did I miss the depth of that love, and how much deeper it goes, the Bible says eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it even ever occurred to the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him. I have a feeling, I’m going for a swim in that ocean of mercy.
God is good, not because today’s circumstances are good, or I’m happy, or content…not because I have everything I want or need…not because my children are all walking in truth…God’s goodness is not hinged on my circumstances! Do you get that? Have you ever been fooled into thinking that because you do not have adversity, that you are seeing a picture of God’s goodness? This is a half-truth…it’s a clever lie straight from the pits of hell…if you don’t believe me, see Job.
God is good. All the time.
He is good because it is His nature to be good.
we are disobedient – He is good
finances are tight – He is good
we are abused and rejected – He’s still good
we are falsely accused – He is good
He chooses to not give us what we ask for – it doesn’t take away His goodness…His nature has not changed by His withholding of what we consider a blessing
we suffer financial loss…or our children walk away from the Lord, and reject everything we have tried to teach them…He remains good
There’s an old gospel hymn that comes to me in my times of sorrow and adversity, and I’m singing it today.
…and the God of the good times is still God in the bad times. The God of the day is still God in the night!
(as it was defined for me as a child) praising God for who He is. Actually, the definition for adoration that I was taught at summer camp is a better definition for the word “ascribe”: though, as an adult, I can see how the two of them can go hand in hand, so maybe I missed something in the translation done by a 12 year old mind.
We are commanded in Scripture to “ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name”.
to credit or assign, as to a cause or source; attribute; impute. ex: The alphabet is usually ascribed to the Phoenicians.
to attribute or thing of as belonging, as a quality or characteristic. ex: They ascribed courage to me for something I did out of sheer panic. Source: Dictionary.com
When we ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name (1 Chron 16:29), we remind Him who He is…as He has revealed Himself to us, and when we adore Him, we pay Him special honor, and homage (bowing down to Him, recognizing His position and authority, placing ourselves in submission to Him as subservient), and respond to Him in love and devotion. In a simple term, we “worship” Him.I use a couple different tools to prompt me during this part of my quiet time.The first is music. It is said that when we sing, we pray twice. I love that thought. I have collected about forty minutes’ worth of songs that lead my spirit into a time of worship and adoration. The songs that I have on my playlist are songs about the attributes, glory, and names of God.
The second is a tabbed divider. On the front, I have listed some of the Hebrew names of God as He has come to me. I love to use the names of Jehovah that describe His attributes. There are a lot more than this, and one of these days I’m going to break down and do a whole study on them. On the back, I have the ABC’s of worship…which is just more of God’s attributes that I can take with me in my Bible or bag if I’m going to be away from home.
I keep my journal at home in my prayer closet, and I only take it with me if I’m going to be away from home for any length of time…for the most part, it is a tool for private, devotions in the privacy of my own home. My adoration section is at the front of my journal, and I have labeled the first thirteen pages with the ABC’s. On page one is A and B, page two is C and D, and so on through the alphabet. Underneath each letter’s heading are names of God that I have found in my quiet times. While my playlist is playing, I read through these attributes and names of God, and praise Him in worship for who He is. If he has answered a prayer of provision, I may be stuck on the name “Jehovah Jireh”, which means “The Lord will provide”. If He has answered a prayer for healing, I may focus on the name “Jehovah Rapha”, which means “the Lord heals”. Often, attributes will come to me through my Bible reading, or through music I”m listening to (outside of my quiet time), and I will pull out my book and add them in to have on hand next time I am in the adoration and ascribe zone.