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.
While reading John chapter 4 I was struck by what happened to the woman at the well. I know much has been said about the woman at the well, but when scripture comes alive in you its worth talking about. It was while she was talking to Jesus a couple of things stood out. One that was when Jesus told her “ that whoever drinks from the water that I give them shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.Then, she asked for that living water. But then the second thing is, He brings her to the place of confessing her sin. Oh how I love Jesus, he is truly the way, the truth and the life. He presents life eternal, brings us to repentance and we confess our sin accept Jesus as savior and lord and are saved. Then the third thing that really struck me is that he filled her with that living water she asked for. Jesus said that the well of living water would spring up to eternal life. That eternal life welled up in her and then she went back to the men in her city and told them all that Jesus had said to her. The interesting thing about that to me is that her words were living water springing up to eternal life to those men and then they went to find Jesus. They said they believed because of the words of the woman, “ He told me all things that I have done.” Oh but then after they found Jesus they said to the woman. “ It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the savior of the world.” That living water, full of life and revelation that leads to eternal life. That’s what our lives say to those we speak to about our Savior, out Lord, our Jesus. For our living lives, filled with living water that flows out of us to cause others to seek after the savior on their own until they find him is glorious and beyond human words to explain. Its eternal! And that’s living life.
One of the things I love about my job is the interesting people who come in to the store. A few weeks ago an older woman came into the store and as I was helping her I asked her what project she was working on. She told me and we talked about it for a minute but them she said to me “ hold out your hand I want to give you something” I was not sure what to think but I held out my hand anyway. She placed in the palm of my hand, this little rock that was painted like a ladybug. As I looked at it she began to tell me that she finds these little rocks and paints them to look like little bugs of some sort. This happened to be a ladybug. She then went on to tell me that she selects certain people to give them too and I was the one she selected that day. She went on to tell me that she gave it to me to pray for me and that it was to remind me to pray for someone and her. I felt honored that she chose me that day and placed the rock in my pocket. I did pray for her and someone else that day every time I put my hand in my pocket and felt that rock. But then it ended up on my dresser. Today as I was dusting I saw that ladybug rock and was reminded not only of that beautiful lady but, of what that ladybug rock meant. So now it’s in my office next to my bible and my computer fulfilling it’s purpose to remind me to pray for that precious lady and someone else today. My prayer for that precious lady is for her health and a steady hand to make those little rock bugs and the boldness to reach out and encourage others to pray.
Often times in the morning as I’m waking up I find myself in far away places and almost always talking to a group of people. Call it dreaming or vast imagination or even imagining your worst fear. For me speaking in front of people has quite a fear connected. So anyway as I was in this place which happened to be my class reunion. I was telling my fellow classmates my life story from the point of graduation to the present. To the high achievers in my class I’m sure I was quite boring and to those who lived similar lives it was hum drum. But I was telling them the highlights the lowlights the tragedies and the triumphs of my life through the years. I do know that in reality I have the most children and grandchildren of those in my class so I highlighted that quite well in my talk. Besides the fact I shared that early in my adult life I became a believer in Christ.
I even shared some struggles when I made that choice. As I was ending my talk a scripture came to mind and its in Revelation 12:11 “ And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony;” I began to have a revelation of the power of this scripture. I was sharing the tragedies, triumphs and struggles and realizing that at the moment of accepting Jesus in my heart I had the power of the blood of Christ to overcome the adverse things. The “ him” is the one who seeks to kill, steal and destroy us in anyway he can. John 10:10. And the word of their testimony is Jesus Christ who is the word and our testimony is our life in the word, Christ in us. That our lives are a testimony of Jesus in us as Savior and as Lord. As I fully woke up that morning I had a revelation in me that will never leave me or forsake me. For I am that living testimony of the life of Christ in me and the power of the blood of Christ that covers me. And that’s living life!
Family dynamics are always full of drama, heartache confusion and miscommunication. I’m pretty sure every family has some if not all of these. Yes my family has it all. As I was talking to a family member this past week, she was telling me that she had a family meeting with her sisters, brother and their spouses. In this meeting they were able to begin the process of reconciliation over so much hurt that had divided them for far to long. As she was telling me all about it I could see an onion being peeled by layers and as she talked each layer had a different aroma. You guessed it, not a very good one at that. But also as she was talking and the layers were being peeled back I began to see the good that was coming out of this meeting and that once they got through all the layers the aroma was going to be a blend of sweet over powering the strong pungent aroma along the way. Also with each layer came a new set of tears. Beginning with bitter stinging tears and ending with tears of joy. Now she did tell me that they are still in the process of peeling back the layers but so far the communication has begun to flow and reconciliation has begun. This family member is encouraged and since she is in the middle of this family dynamic I think I’m more encouraged than she is. The scriptures tell us that Love covers a multitude of sin, and when it’s a family dynamic and many family members are involved there is surely a multitude of sin. But the key is to have a heart that is willing to listen and receive and to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. Repentance and forgiveness is key in all relationships and as we embrace them here on earth then we will be embraced by them with our Heavenly father. For as we forgive we are forgiven. I will continue to pray for each one of them that their hearts will be truly humbled and the multitude of sin will be covered by their love for one another.