The Importance Of Our Name… Hello Weekend Readers. Al and I are all packed up and leaving on Sunday, April 7th to northern New Mexico for 6 months at Abiquiu Lake. We love camp-hosting, we love the care that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has for us and we love all the people who come. Yes, we do get a few sourpusses, but you keep up the smile and remind yourself they aren’t here for a long time!

That being said, as I was packing I couldn’t find my badge. Sounds silly, but for others, knowing your name is one of most important things for communication. Then my phone dinged so I stopped fussing, and it was a friend of mine who writes devotions. I needed the break, so I read her story and it just hit me. With her permission, I share a part of it.

“I held Harper’s hand as we walked into the restaurant to place our name on the waiting list. Actually, I walked; my 7-year-old grandniece skipped. I gave the hostess the number in our party, expressed the desire for an outside table, and told her yes, crayons, please. Then the hostess asked my name. I replied, “Sharon.” Harper quickly corrected me: “No. She is Aunt Sharon.” Smiles and giggles went all around. Harper had no idea what was so funny.”

Her story was just what I was looking for—my name badge! How many names do we have throughout our lives? I looked up the probability of people using a nickname and it was 87%! My full name is Cynthia, I call myself Cyndy, my mother still calls me Cynthia, or ‘Cyncy’ which came into my life when I was young and we had a dog named ‘Mincy’ – thus me and the dog and rhyming names! As I looked up name probabilities, I laughed at many of them and I also thought, “thanks Mom for not dubbing me with that nickname!”

It reminded me of the story of Naomi in the bible. She was broken in heart, her husband and then shortly later her two married sons died. They had lived in Moab, so with the deaths of her family, she decided to go back to Bethlehem, the only help she had was Ruth, her daughter-in-law. When she arrived in Bethlehem, friends were concerned and asked, “is that Naomi? She seems so miserable and forlorn.” In the Book of Ruth 1:20-21, [VOICE] we read:

“Do not call me Naomi ever again, for I am no longer pleasant. Call me Mara instead, for I am filled with bitterness because the Highest One has treated me bitterly.” In Hebrew, the name ‘Naomi’ means pleasant. The name ‘Mara’ means bitter. And that is where Naomi was at the time. Death surrounded her and she didn’t even like her name!

Have you ever called yourself another name, like loser, inadequate, worthless? There are a lot of times we are so undone we choose a name that we think describes who we are but God says, “No-no-no-no! You are NOT any of these names. I created you in your mother’s womb, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are my beloved child, don’t do this to yourself.

My writer friend also put a list of Scripture of the names God calls us—it’s powerful:
*Anointed (2 Corinthians 1:21-22) *Appointed (John 15:16)  *Accepted (Romans 15:7) *Reconciled (Romans 5:10)
Righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21) *Redeemed (Galatians 3:13) *Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7) *Free (Romans 8:1) *Friend (John 15:15) *Chosen (Ephesians 1:4) *Holy (Colossians 1:22) *Dearly loved (Colossians 3:12) *Justified (Romans 5:9) *Qualified (Colossians 1:12) and Jesus’ bride (2 Corinthians 11:2)
 These are the names we need to remember!

Later, Ruth married Boaz and had a son. Her song changed: Praise the Eternal One. He has not abandoned you. He did not leave you without a redeeming guardian…May he strengthen you and provide for you in your old age.  (Ruth 4:14a-15a, NLT).

Our identity and dignity were given to us by God before our parents even knew! I was adopted so there are times I wonder what my birth mom would have called me. But, would that have made a difference in my life? I don’t think so, because I know that I am God’s child. The parents that God wanted for me told me so. I am happy with the name they gave me. But, more important, is the name God whispers to me in those bitter times saying “I have called you by name, you are mine.” Bitterness gone—my heart restored, AMEN.

(P.S. After I wrote this I found my name badge! I’m thinking God had it all the time, but there was a lesson I needed to hear and then share with you all.)