I didn't want to be there.
      It wasn't that I hated the store, but when you're stuck somewhere for hours, buying stuff you don't need to while away the time until you get to go where you actually wanted to shop - to buy practical things, your temper wears thin. Finally, we were checking out. I slipped off, following my sister to a shorter line than the rest of the family chose, and eyed my purchases: one, two, three cards to send to a friend, and one very worrisome pair of sunglasses. They were the first pair I could actually 'pull off' to the point where I wasn't mocked. Sunglasses usually don't like me, but, with my sensitive eyes, I need them. I self-consciously eyed them over once more. There was no mirror. Had my sisters just tried to be nice?
      A cart pulled up behind me, and I heard the familiar sounds of a happy child and a tired parent. I glanced back and encountered the most gorgeous smile a face ever held. I actually found myself wondering if this sweet little black girl's (I assumed) adopted mother would mind if I took a picture. Probably. The child was grunting and pointing to every pretty thing that caught her attention, as her mother desperately signed and spoke "Wait". It soon was apparent that this little angel was deaf and could not speak except through grunts, expressions, and sign language. I was determined to keep her smiling, and found the task easy - all I had to do was smile at this tot modeling a pink Santa hat, and she'd smile right back. She started pointing at me and grinning, and then she signed something to her mother; one of the five-ish signs I know that aren't letters. It couldn't be. She must have been talking about someone else, right?
      "Beautiful", she'd called me, and then went on to tell me, through her mother, that she also liked my hair. This radiant child, she gave me a new name, just like the Savior I could tell was holding her had given me. I swear, I have never felt so beautiful in my life as I did in that moment.
      I signed "Thank you", one of my other four signs, with as much meaning in my eyes as I could muster. Then it was my turn to check out.
      "Yes, I'll take a bag ... No, I don't need a membership ... No, I can't afford a donation ... Thank you." Funny, how I didn't want to leave anymore. I lingered there, taking my time with my wallet, then I finally had the courage to ask the mother, "What's her name?"
      How fitting, for a girl who wears Christ on her face, to wear His name for her on her worldly name tag.
      What if we could do this? Go about the world showing people their true identities in Him? To the shy girl in church, 'You are Valued'. To the woman who has lost much, Held. To the guy who's 'all that', Redeemed. To the people reading this - to you - Worth It, Prayed For, Prince(ss), Radiant, Child of the Living God, Beloved.
      Why do we (us women especially) hide our true names? It's as if we purposefully cover up our God-given name tags with the lies we believe. We look into the mirror, and somehow 'Radiant' doesn't seem to fit anymore, so we hide it under 'Ugly', 'Puberty-Ridden', 'Has-Been', or 'Awkward'. Why do we have such a hard time accepting this love that covers all? We have been redeemed! All the scars this world has pasted on us have no power against the One Who made us, yet we still say 'Guilty!' 'Failure!' 'Loser!' Ever realize what we are basically saying to God when we say these things? We're telling the perfect God that He made a mistake; telling the all powerful Savior that this one sin is too big for His grace. "You're good God, but You're not that good." Do you see how messed up this is?
      Our skin is no longer our own, nor our name. We have been remade, renamed, redeemed. His grace covers even that. His hand heals wounds that deep. His love covers you. So stand with me - praise the holy name of the One who knit you together!

      I have one more challenge for you: write down your true names. Leave them around as reminders - on your mirror, by your sink, in your car, on your heart. Never forget who you are in Jesus.

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