What’s in a Name?

A blister pearl, a half-sphere, formed flush a...

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A few years ago my daughter and son-in-law had a business called “Names and Things”. No matter how exotic your name was, they were able to find the source of your name and print out a beautifully scripted document with a corresponding interpretation. They also had a variety of colorful photo frames which accentuated the document. I have to admit the display was a perfect gift for any occasion.  My husband and I were happy recipients of one of these unique treasures celebrating our marriage.

Today I was reminded of the importance of words and names in shaping my self-concept. As I prepared a few items to go in the Appendix of my soon-to-be published memoir, The Price of Pearls, I was led to include a list of declarations I made during a weekend getaway with my husband. During a special retreat, where we challenged some of our “perceived” flaws, each of us spent private time describing our true names or characteristics. I remember coming back home excited about my new thoughts, typing them on rose-petal bordered paper, and putting the paragraph in the back of a notebook…far out of sight.

Recently I found myself entertaining some old friends–doubt, worry, and fear. You see, God was calling me to launch out to a new place again. In fact, not just a new place, but new places…and all at the same time! I had completely forgotten about asking God to enlarge my territory just six months ago. Some of you might be familiar with Bruce Wilkinson’s book The Prayer of Jabez. I hit the panic button and went into a tail spin.  I wanted to run and hide. I felt like Jonah in the belly of the whale. Imagine that! And I used to derail Jonah for his faithlessness! I’m sure you’ve never felt like that! So stick with me and let me tell you what I did.

I searched the Word for encouragement and pulled out my declaration, entitled “Patricia’s New Identity“. I placed the narrative on my dining room table beside my computer where I can rehearse my positive affirmations instead of my fears. I share these thoughts with you and encourage you to identify your own “perceived flaws” and write a corresponding statement to counteract those negative thoughts. Here are my new statements:

I am a confident woman of God.

I am accepted in the Beloved.

I am secure in who I am.

I am forgiven and washed in the blood of Jesus.

I am liberated to become all He desires me to be.

My new freedom allows me to be joyful in all I do and say.

I am peaceful in the midst of storms and in my daily walk.

I am energetic and enthusiastic as I approach each new day.

I remember the Word of the Lord and meditate on it night and day.

I love to be spontaneous and expect God’s presence throughout the day.

My feet are sure as I walk, not turning to the right or left.

I am connected to God, family, and friends in a healthy way.

Above all, I am a friend of God and I am daily a God pleaser.

Wow! Sounds like a perfect person, right? Wrong! I struggle just like everybody else.  Sometimes my feelings lie, especially when I’m being drawn out of my comfort zone! It’s in those times when I feel most vulnerable and press into God’s presence.

2 Corinthians 4:7 – 10 (NIV) reads, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

Our praise and worship team often sings, “I am not forgotten, I am not forgotten, I am not forgotten, God knows my name.” I may forget my real name, but God is faithful to remind me. He has too much for me to do to stay where I am. What about you?

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You’ve Got Mail!

bank of america check card, gutter

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Yesterday I was on the phone with my bank trying to get a new check card before its expiration date. If you’re like me, you’ve probably experienced the agony of using an automated system to get what you want instead of a real live human being.  Come on! I think most companies, in fact, have figured out that customers were on to the strategy of dialing “zero” when all else fails.  Worked in the past, right? Well, not this time for me.  When I pressed “zero” this time, the automated voice kindly informed me, “Sorry, that is not a viable option!”

Well, twenty minutes later (okay it was really ten) the computer gave up on me and directed me to a woman who informed me that my card would not expire until the 30th of this month. Whew! I was relieved. My car insurance company had already threatened to disown me if I didn’t make sure the expiration date was not revised by the end of the month.  They promised I would be kicked out of the automatic payment program if I did not contact them immediately.  Boo-hoo! After fourteen years of uninterrupted matrimony with such a reputable company, surely I deserved better treatment than that!

My bank reassured me I would get my new card by the end of the month.  Hmmmm….I thought.  What if that doesn’t happen? Can they be trusted? After all, glitches do happen.  I hope they can keep that promise!  But I really have no option but to trust that they will do what they said they would do.

That was yesterday.  Today I got my new bank card!  Now you and I know my bank did not act upon my request that fast.  Even UPS or FED X could not have delivered mail that fast!  What a surprise!

It was a surprise for me, the recipient, but not for the sender!  You see, the card was already in the mail, even before I asked for it!

I was reminded that our Heavenly Father is just like that.  Even before we ask, He has already put the answer in motion. He’s excited about answering our prayer.  You might ask, “Then why pray if He’s already set things in motion?”  It’s a matter of building a trusting relationship! God wants us to know Him, to have an intimate relationship with Him.  It’s not just about receiving from His hand; it’s about developing a relationship with Him. 

     We may not always get what we want, but we can be sure that He hears us and will respond.  We may get a YES or a NO or a WAIT.  Some say they don’t know how to determine His will.  As we spend more time in His presence, we learn to recognize His voice.  Maybe it’s time to turn off the noise around us and allow Him to speak or shall I say allow ourselves to  listen.

Psalms 139:1 – 3 reads, “O Lord, You have searched me, and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways (NKJV).”