It's almost strange to me, how prominent naming has become in my life.
I never gave it much thought before.
Now, I find myself thinking about someday babies, & rather than trying to come up with the most lovely & unique name (e.g., Mykelti), I ponder names that have significance to me. I used to think that naming babies after people was so out of date ... but, now? It's not so much a thing of heritage (although I definitely want to pass down my middle name), but of deeper meaning. I want my babies to be named after a prayer warrior with a gentle spirit, or a person that always knew how to comfort those around them, & lift them up. I want to name them after artists - give them the name of some human who overcame pain & made Beauty out of their life. I want to pray those things over my children; to bless those qualities in them even before they are born, & every day after. I give them a name that, when spoken, is essentially a prayer. I could call a child Ruth, & my speaking her name would be my prayer that she would love God without boundaries, that she would lift up the cast down, that she would take risks, that she would be a beacon of faith that gives hope to those around her & springs them into action.
There is so much power in a name.
My name, in some places, is said to mean, "beautiful woman of grace."
I almost laugh, because self-image used to be one of my greatest battles, & I have been so much less than gracious in my life, & I still struggle so to receive grace.
& yet, my name.
I hear that meaning behind it when the Lord speaks to me, & when He uses His people to bless me, it's in their voices, too.
I have been called what I was not, & over time, the prayers for the knowledge of who I am to flood me have brought me here.
Here, whispering my own names to myself in the morning.
I have a list of over one hundred.
My eyes scan them when the duties of the day still loom over my head, & I breathe.
I never understood that knowing who I am was so important, until I realized that I didn't. I had no idea.
We return to the image of a petrified girl on her bedroom floor, rocking back & forth, her shoulder blades pounding on the bed frame in rhythm with her murmurings of, "I don't know who I am. I don't know who I am."
I had no notion of my identity in Christ, beyond the classic Sunday school answers, & the lyrics to songs that somehow didn't resonate with me.
I knew how to impress others; how to make them believe I not only had it all together, but could advise them in their lives. & I did know what to say to the hurting, oftentimes. I just couldn't speak it over myself. I couldn't breathe in what I exhaled, & so I ran through my life, breathless & weary.
I have described myself as inhale-deficient.
I never breathe in.
I'm learning that I need to.
I'm slowly learning how to.
Part of it has to do with that growing list of names.
Whenever someone prays a certain identity or quality over me, or whenever I see one that I can rightly claim as mine in Scripture, I write it down.
I am Called.
I am Redeemed.
I am Strong (because He is Strong).
Capable (because He is Capable).
I am a Warrior.
I am an Intercessor.
I am one who Hears Jesus.
I am Not Alone.
I am Not Forgotten.
I am Free.
I am Healed.
I read these over in the morning hours, sometimes just choosing one to cling to for that day. I remind myself intentionally of my calling, my giftings, my inheritance, & my identity. Who I am to Jesus.
& then I flip to the other side of the book. & I rub who He is to me over my soul like a balm.
He is my Protector.
The Lifter of my Head.
The Lover of my Soul.
The Good Shepherd.
I am reminded of what He does for me. How He cares for me. Why I can trust Him, & cease my vain striving. I know who I am, so therefore, I do not have to pretend to be who I am not. I don't have to try to measure up. I don't have to hide from Him, because He knows who I am, too. & I know who He is. So I don't have to save myself. I don't have to panic in the storms. I don't have to feel like I'm alone.
He calls me by name, speaking Truth over me, & reminding me of what He sees in me; who He created me to be, & who I am, in light of His sacrifice.
I call Him by name, reminding myself that in calling Him "Good," I am inviting Him to reveal to me His goodness, even in the things that confuse me & the things that hurt. In calling Him "Savior," I am choosing to believe that He does save. I am Safe.
& the love just keeps flowing. The grace does not run dry.