"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, June 28, 2013

* CALLED BY A NEW NAME

Revelation 3:12 (NIV 1984) "Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.  I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name."


The first time I thought my life was a fraud was when I made a startling discovery in fifth or sixth grade.  While cleaning out a bedroom closet I found an old tin that would change my life.  I finally yanked off the lid and was puzzled by the contents.  

Baby cards.  Not just any baby cards, they were my baby cards.  My mom saved them from my baby shower.  Sweet sentiments were given and encouraging well wishes.

Then I noticed it.  The name. What? This can't be, I thought.  I thumbed through more cards. Several had my first name "Hester," but then listed a different last name.  A name I had never even heard of until that moment.  And who is "Irma"?  My mom's name is Barbara?  Why are these people calling my mom by a different name?

I marched downstairs to sort this mess out even though confusion settled in my mind.  In tears, I handed my mom the tin of cards and asked, "What is this?"  My voice told her I was disturbed by what I found.

Reaching inside she pulled out the cards.  As if the last eleven to twelve years of my life came to a screeching halt, she looked up at me with dismay in her eyes.  "Honey, I'm sorry, I was going to wait until you were older to tell you."

She proceeded to share that when I was a baby she lived a different life.  I knew my mom was a hippie, but I didn't know to what extent.  It was during this time she changed her first and last name.  For all these years, I only knew the last name "Crow," my mother's maiden name.

But this other last name did not stop with the baby cards.  I soon discovered this hideous, made-up last name was also on my birth certificate!!  It wasn't just a simple name like, "Johnson or Smith."  Oh no, my mom opened up her herb book and concocted a last name from a plant.

This tangled mess sounds like a soap opera, I know.  But, it is in fact the truth of my upbringing and discovery of "Who in the world am I?" and "What is my stinking name?"  Talk about information overload and insecurity upload!  My life was a total lie.  This news confirmed I was part of a three-ring circus.

There was no way I was about to tell any of my friends who I really was.  It was shameful to me as a young girl and I feared being rejected by others.  I have never told any of my high school friends about this little name secret, until now.  I still feel vulnerable as I write because some who I grew up with may actually read this.

This experience was pivotal.  It traumatized and caused doubt and insecurity to grow in my heart.  The enemy used this to cause me to question my worth and value.  I was disillusioned by my identity because reality was a nightmare to me.  I learned to live with it although this secret pained me.  If nobody ever found out, it was fine with me.

I couldn't change my name or wish away my circumstances.  But, thankfully God did.  He changed my name and my life when I accepted Him and was born into His family. I was called by a new name and identified by Him!  I am a daughter of the King and child of the most high God.

This truth revolutionizes my mind and my heart.  As I continue to mature in my faith, my identity and security is fulfilled in Christ.  I don't doubt who I am anymore.  I don't question my worth and value.  The difference with this new name is that I want everyone to know.  I have no secret or shame in being Beloved, Chosen, Precious, and His.

The same is true for you.  In the New Testament we learn that when we accept Christ, He gives us a new name when we are born into His family.  He identifies us as: Christian, Beloved, Forgiven, Believer, Heir, Chosen, His.  Because we are His, our identity is re-established in Him.  

While our parents pass on their physical name to us, our spiritual and most significant name in Christ redefines who we are because of whose we have become.  When God intervenes we cannot return to who we were. Lives are changed when we encounter the living God and risen Lord.

There is no need to trust in our heritage when we can trust in the hope of Christ.  There is no reason to take pride in our pedigree when security comes in our position in Him.  It is unnecessary to be discouraged by our legacy when we receive new life and lineage in Jesus. Our given name pales in comparison to the new name God gives us.

My friends, we are called by a new name!  Rejoice!!



Heart Work:
Consider the impact your new name/identity in Christ has in your life.  If you struggle with doubt, insecurity, or your worth, remember Who establishes your identity.  Build on this foundation of truth.


Heart Exam:
What names have you been labeled with by others?  How have these impacted you?  What truth about your new identity in Christ inspires you with confidence?

How has your life changed as a result of your relationship with God?  What difficult things in your family line do you need to work through and move past? (Thankfully I can now look at my situation and extend grace and forgiveness to my mother.)


Heart Transforming Word:
Psalm 61:5 "For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name."

Psalm 119:111 "Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart."

Isaiah 56:5 "To them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off."



Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen.  Edited 2013.  All rights reserved.