For the past several weeks I have thought much about identity and names. This has me thinking about how important our name is and how much it’s linked to our identity. Proverbs 22:1 says that “ A good name is to be more desired that great riches.” Or in some translations “ a good name is greater than gold.” There are different scenarios in life concerning the name that seems to lead to the same equation of who you are and your identity. One scenario is a blessing for our family but at the same time sadness for another family. One of my sons married a wonderful woman many years ago. In this marriage she brought with her two beautiful young children. We immediately embraced them as our own and now they are grown adults. When our grandson was about to be married he came to my son and asked him to adopt him. This totally took us all by surprise because there is a bio father alive. Without hesitation my son began the process of adoption. It was not difficult because of our grandson being an adult. The adoption went through right before the wedding and we now have a grandson and granddaughter with our name. Soon another adoption went through and it was for our great-grandson who was our grand daughters son when they married. I have often thought about how traumatic of a choice that was for our grandson to relinquish his biological name to bear the name of his step father. All seem to be very happy and thriving in their new identity. Another scenario is a young adult who went through great trauma as a very young child and continued on through their early teens. The two people who gave them their name at birth left this earth when they were still a preschooler and then ended up in a very abusive home until their early teens. I have watched this person struggle in ways that tell they are holding on to the things that they think gives them their identity and security but at the same time they are so insecure and unhappy. These wounds were put on them by others in their young life and now as a young adult they bears the scars. My prayer for them is that they will cry out to the one who can give them true identity and security and that is Jesus. Another is a young teenager who has again been abandoned and neglected all through their formative years. They have an opportunity to be adopted but they aren’t sure about changing their name. They seem to be holding on to the only identity they know. My grandsons decision to change his name was a willful and thought through choice. He isn’t struggling with an identity crisis. The wonderful thing about him is he knows who loves him. The others however are struggling with who they are and they are needing to know they are loved. They don’t’ know what love feels like, looks like and seem to be holding on to a false love. Philippians 2:9 tells us that the name of Jesus is above all names. In him we will have first eternal salvation but peace and security. We will be one with him. In Jesus we will have a name, and know who we are, he tells us we are His. I pray for the walls that have been built up around these hearts, to keep true love out, will begin to crumble. So that they can begin to receive true love, identity and purpose that they were birthed for. To watch an identity crisis play out in one’s life in heartbreaking. It truly takes the love of God in one’s heart to break through the wall and let that person out. 1 Peter 4:8 says“ love covers a multitude of sins.” In these people I see deep wounding and rejection. It’s Gods love that covers sins but it also fills the heart. Opening ones heart to receive love from another human and even God is often a very difficult thing to do when one has been abused. But once we choose to love and be loved and choose forgiveness that love that Peter talks about covers those sins of abuse. Accepting Jesus as your savior is the beginning of eternally knowing Gods love and who we are in Christ and who he is in us. Then we will come to know who we are inside and out.
Through the years people come and go from in our lives. When I was a young single mom I went to work at a local store. There I met another young single mom. Our sons were 16 days apart in age and when we met they were a very cute six months old. We became friends with a lot in common. Eventually we both married and began adding to our families. She added two more sons and I added four more sons. We had fun getting together with the boys watching them play and become friends. We then became involved in a card club with several other women. We met once a month at night and I enjoyed the fellowship. I can remember my friend picking me up the first night and telling me that a couple of the girls were very religious and conversation might turn to that topic. I was pretty clueless about this topic but interested non- the- less. As time went on my life began to crumble, depression and fear became a part of my battle to survive. With the help of another friend I was told about Jesus, the gospel of salvation and soon gave my heart and life to Jesus. One night at card club there were only four of us. The two sisters who were Christians and my friend and I. Our, time together started by talking about the Lord. I then chimed in with all that I had been going through and how I was led to the Lord. With amazement the sisters said that this was an answer to prayer because they felt they should stop having this club. We met a few times after that but then life took us all in different directions. My friend who introduced me was still pretty skeptical of all this religious stuff, but we remained friends and stayed in touch. Then one day as we were talking she told me that she had accepted Jesus also and that I had a lot to do with her decision. I’m not sure what kind of influence I had on her but I do know that today after 44 years of friendship we live many miles apart but are close in our hearts and spirits. We call each other and encourage and pray for each other and our families. In the Lord there is no distance or division. We are truly one in the body of Christ. And that’s living life in Christ!
Life sure has its way of surprises when least expected. Surprises, that change the dynamics of an individual life and affect the whole family. This change was out of the blue but a blessing more than anything. Our fourth son married 17 years ago. With his wife came two adorable children. A boy, two years old and a girl four years old Fast forward to this last week our grandson who is now 19 came to my son and asked him to adopt him so he could carry his name and his children will also carry his name. No one saw this coming but we are all so excited. The process since his son is an adult will be quite simple. To add to the excitement our grandson is engaged to a woman who has a little boy. This little boy has been in our lives since he was five months old, he will be two in a couple of weeks. As soon as they marry he is going to adopt this little boy. It will be quite a celebration for our family. This is a blessing that took us all by surprise. God is so good!
Good morning, this is the day that the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it. There is so much going on in our world today. Our country is about to make a life changing decision. Our world is in udder destruction that is making it’s way here. Our little corners of the world seem to be stretching us is every direction and way. In the midst of this there seems to be much heartache and great concern. I got word over the week- end that my brother was in a bad car accident. From, what I know about it. It’s a miracle that he’s alive. He rear-ended a semi that was stopped in the road and it was too foggy to see it. His hospital and rehab stay will take months. Having said all that this marks a time in my life now that I have to let the past be the past and reconcile to today!Yet, we are a family that fell apart after a traumatic situation that involved us all. This situation divided us. So for a family that was actually close this was hard but it happened. So where does one begin to live today and not yesterday? I actually started doing that the day we divided. I started with repentance and forgiveness. Asking God to forgive me for my wrong in this. Although this situation included going to court and children, I can say this, I would do it all again for the sake of children. So having said that, the division hurts but it is what it is. I then began to forgive each and everyone involved. I learned long ago that forgiveness is not a feeling it’s an act of our will, it’s a choice and an act of obedience. The scriptures commands forgiveness if we are to be forgiven. So feelings had to be set aside, rights and wrongs had to be set aside and self had to be set aside. I willed myself to obedience and forgave. Now was this a one-time thing. Well sometimes yes but the depth of hurt and the seriousness of the situation seemed to knaw at my soul so I found myself having to forgive many times even in a day. The scripture is clear in Matthew 18:22 to tell us that we are to forgive not seven times but seventy times seven. Now that’s a lot of forgiving but in order to find the release and the peace in this it was seventy times seven easy in a day! The release and the peace came and I then began to ask God to bless them. Years of silence gave way a couple of months ago to “ God you are my vindicator, please vindicate me in this and bring healing and restoration in my family. My children have been heart broken because the division has kept them away from their many nieces and nephews. So now tragedy has come and I’m faced with the decision to let yesterday go and to live in today! I have made a phone call and spoken with my niece. I will be making the two and half hour trip to the hospital to see my brother and in Gods grace let yesterday go and rejoice in today!
Have you ever sat down or stood and looked around and realized Wow, this journey I’ve been on has taken me down many paths. And yet here I am still alive, some tattered, some torn, battered, bruised, full of heartache and full of Joy, so much wiser and yet realizing how little I really know. Totally amazed as I back track along those paths looking at the choices I made, the people who have weaved in and out of my life in different seasons. All the hardships, heartaches, tragedies, triumphs and Joys. But I’m alive! At 63, soon to be 64, I’m so thankful to a Savior who hasn’t quit saving me from all that this life throws at me. There’s an old hymn that goes, “ count your blessings, count them one by one” Where does one start with that count. I would have to start at Salvation, go back to my childhood and talk about being the oldest of five children and a few family members and friends and then fast forward to motherhood. With that I would have to say I’m the most blessed woman in all the earth. 1,2,3,4,5,6 sons and 1 daughter and what a joy they are. Counting my Blessings doesn’t stop there. The many other children who have come and gone in my life, many nieces and nephews and the blessings go on and on to my 17 grand children. Not to mention the rich friendships that I’ve had through the years and still do. So tonight as I go to sleep I won’t be counting Sheep, I’ll be counting blessings. I hope that counting your blessings will put you to sleep also. Be blessed tonight. Till we talk again.