My obsession started as a teen. Before then it could remain hidden. There were three of us: mom, brother, me. Not four. No dad.
Sunday mornings were especially hard. Brutal. The questions probed. The Sunday School teacher asked the seemingly innocent question, “Is your dad with you today?” The friend’s mom nonchalantly asks, “Is your dad working today?” The eyes of the class on me, demanding an answer when my shrugs or a simple “no” just won’t do.
I put on my brave face, smile sweetly and say, “No ma’am, not today.” Eye contact is then terminated and a chattery conversation with the girl next to me begins. Inwardly my heart dies a thousand deaths. But outwardly, things keep rolling. I know how to keep them guessing.
Until the marriage.
My mom remarried. Our names were different. Everyone knew. I wore the shame on my red face every time I was asked.
And I began looking forward to the day my own name would change providing welcome relief from the child of divorce identity I was forced to wear for so many years.
Even though my name changed almost twenty years ago, I am still marveling at the beauty of it all. I grew up a child of divorce. I often felt the evidence I just couldn’t hide from my parent’s divorce in my mismatched last name. When teachers and fellow students met my mother and called her Mrs. My Last Name, I cringed. I knew the correction was coming and I braced myself for the public humiliation. Even in college when my mom’s new friends met me for the first time, they would often comment in surprise, “I didn’t know he was their stepdad!”
Although these social situations shouldn’t have caused me shame or embarrassment, they did. Looking back, I think they simply yanked at the scab on an unhealed heart. Even now I rarely correct anyone who assumes my stepmom is my mom. It’s just one of those things I’d rather not discuss.
Thus I know the value of a name.
When I married, my new name spared me from many of these social scenarios discussing my parents’ divorce. I loved the freedom.
As I studied Revelation this week, I marveled at how God promises a new name to the overcomer (Revelation2:17) and the victorious (Revelation 3:12). I learned in my study that there is some debate over this new name. Some scholars believe it is a pet name given to each person by God reflecting a part of their character He sees. Others believe it is the name of God Himself placed upon the believer turned victor by the saving blood of Christ.
Our leader spoke of persecution from the perspective of a potter forming a bowl. First applying pressure to the outside of the bowl to make it round. Then pressure to the inside to make it able to hold liquid.
I pondered the pleasure of a pet name. I remembered waking up on my honeymoon as my husband crooned, “Lover, what would you like for breakfast?” A name now shortened to “Love” and a moniker those who hang out with us love to tease. A name that warms my heart and draws me close the man I love.
I long to know a name God has reserved only for me. A name to make me feel special, loved, cherished by my sweet Savior. I value the preciousness of this.
Yet as I feel the sting of life in a sinful I also long for the salvation of wearing God’s name instead of my own as a familial identifier. I long for the freedom.
I see the value of complete name change. A new identity.
A pet name for only me as a reward for overcoming inward persecution. A name given for withstanding the Potter’s pressure shaping my heart to behold Him. The inward pressure that allows a bowl to hold liquid, to function as a bowl.
A family name binding me to Jesus and the rest of my spiritual brothers and sisters for all eternity. A name identifying me as His for coming through the pressure that shaping and defining me. The outward pressure that simply determines the lump of clay will become a bowl. As I ponder this concept my heart cries, “Lord, I don’t care what You call me, as long as You call me Yours!”
Revelation signifies the culmination of the church’s marriage to Jesus; and, it causes me to ponder my own marriage almost twenty years ago.
We put much time, money and planning into our wedding. We wanted it to be perfect. I wore a dress which is now no longer in style. I carried flowers which are no longer blooming. We served food which was all eaten. We took pictures which now constitute memories. I received a ring I still wear, yet the ring is only a representation of the name I took. A name I still wear proudly each day. I gained a family I still love dearly and gather with regularly.
And so it is with Christ. We take His name. After the wedding is over and we’ve gone to our new home, we are called His. His Word says, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Just as my husband’s name covered the shame of me being a child of divorce, the Lord’s name has covered the shame of my searching for love, acceptance and success apart from Him.
“You will be called by a new name that the Lord’s mouth will announce.” Isaiah 62:2b
What do you love most about your new name?
On Wednesday, Tabitha Price shares her story of grief over finding her husband’s porn addiction, how she endured his incarceration, and how God truly did bring joy as she mourned. Some stories you think are beyond redemption and yet, nothing is beyond God. Tabitha and her husband are living proof.
On Friday, Michele Morin shares her mama’s heart in “When You Don’t Know What to Pray.” She lays out why and how she started praying scripture over her boys and the difference it began to make in all their lives.
We are scheduling SDG Connections posts for January 2016! Please pray about and considering sharing your story with us! Click here for details.
Looking for some unique Christmas gifts that all so benefit a sister in need of a scholarship? Check out this year’s SDG Fundraiser!
Part of our mission statement for SDG is to be accessible. This means financially, too! We are creating subway art to raise money for the SDG retreat to provide scholarships and reduce the overall cost for all attendees. Please come over here to check out our offerings and to order!
2016 SDG Retreat Information & Registration is LIVE! Click here for more details.
SDG Gathering is on a break (but we’ll still be writing)!
Can you believe that we’ve been linking up for 243 weeks between this space and Finding Heaven? That’s 4.67 years. CRAZINESS! It’s been a joy, y’all. So many friendships and connections. So much encouragement and truth offered over the years. God has been faithful to this community.
However, since Lisa and I have added SDG Retreat planning and I’m also running the fundraiser, something needs to fall off the plate. Though we love you and love visiting you, we are going to suspend the link-up until after the SDG Retreat.
We will still be writing on Mondays and hosting #SDGConnections on Wednesdays and Fridays, so please come and talk with us in the comments. We will continue to respond there (we really want to continue to be a community and it is so helpful when you respond to us after our posts – we love to hear your voices!), send out weekly prayer requests, and converse on Facebook.