Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's your name?

 
 
 
 
 
Psalm 16:11
Thou wilt make known to me the path of life;
In Thy presence is fulness of JOY;
In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.
 
 
My children and I participated in a service project for our
Homeschool group the week of Valentine's Day.
 
 
We made handmade Valentines cards and handed them out to the elderly residents at a local nursing home.
 
We went room to room handing out our little love notes and visiting with them.
 
I'm happy to say that my kids really enjoyed it.
 
But most of all...the residents were tickled that we took our time to pour some love on them.
 
Their faces lit up when they saw the children, and even more when they saw their Valentine cards.
 
There were many rooms to cover, so our homeschool group split up and each took a hallway.
 
My two children and I walked up and down the hallway making sure we did not miss anyone.
 
We approached a room that was lit up bright, but very quiet.
 
There was a woman lying in a bed near the window with her face towards the wall.
 
As we walked in, I announced us with a "hello", but she never turned to see who we were.
 
We walked on the opposite side of her bed, near the window, when I realized that she could not move her neck to greet us.
 
She was paralyzed in one position with her face looking towards the wall.
 
My heart broke for her.
 
I bent down close to her so she could see me, then told her why we were there and showed her the Valentines card we had for her.
 
She grinned a huge grin and said "thank you", then asked if my two children would come close to her so she could see them.
 
Her face radiated.
 Her skin was flawless, a soft pasty white.
 And she had the bluest eyes.
They looked transparent, and glistened like the ocean.
 
I bent close to her once more, so she could see my face, and then I asked her,
"What's your name?"
 
She responded,
"Joyce. My name is Joyce."
 
I answered back,
"Well that's a beatiful name. It's a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Joyce."
 
She smiled a big smile and said,
"It's nice to meet you.  What's your name?"

And before I could answer her question, she says excitedly,
"Your name is Joy."
 
I responded back,
"No ma'am. My name is Tammy."
 
She looked at me intently and repeated,
"Your name is Joy."
 
I giggled and said back to her,
"Well thank you, but my name is Tammy."
 
She said back to me,
"No, your name is Joy."
 
To which I gave in and said,
"Okay. I'll take the name Joy, if that's what you want to call me."
 
She smiled looking pleased at my response and said,
"Yes. Tammy Joy. That is your name. You are Joy."
 
I then patted her on her tiny fragile shoulder and we said our goodbyes.
 
I thought about her sweet response to my name and her unforgettable face for a few days after.
 
It lingered with me. Resonating in my spirit.
 
About a week later, I was in the bathtub, talking to God and listening to worship music.
 
Yes...this is my best time to talk to God.
 
It's one of the only times I have to myself and a good place to tuck away from the busyness of the world around me.
 
I laid back in the tub, dunking my entire head under the water, watching the steam rise up around me.
 My ears were silenced.
I closed my eyes and allowed the world to disappear for those few moments.
 
I thought of her...Mrs. Joyce.
I saw her sweet face and her blue transparent eyes.
I heard her voice saying, "You are Joy", and I smiled under the water.
 
Then,
just as if He were standing right in front of me,
God's voice whispered softly in my water covered ears...
 
"That's what you are to Me. You are my Joy. You have always been my Joy and you always will be. You are Joy."
 
The tears began to flow and trinkle into the water around me.
They were unstoppable.
 
I cried with my entire body,
 shaking, trembling, and pouring out years and years of pain right there in the bathtub.
I sat in the tub motionless,
crying,
 until the water was cold and chilly.
 Until, all those years of heaviness and pain left my body.
 
I've spent my whole life haunted by a name that wasn't meant for me.
 
That name was "pain".
 
I was the 8th child born to a very broken family, three months after my Father's vasectomy.
Needless to say, I was quite unexpected.
It was a yours, mine and ours kind of family that screamed for help in every way...
a family that desperately needed God.
Their lives were already spilling over with chaos and plenty of children,
I was the last thing my mother wanted or needed.
She found herself in a desperate place.
She drank herself in a stooper the entire pregnancy for me,
in an attempt to miscarry me.
 
She told me from the time I could understand words,
 that she was miserable her entire pregnancy for me,
 and that she cried every day because I was the last thing she wanted at the time.
 
She told me that I was the reason why she was overweight.
She said she had become so depressed when she had me, that she began having an eating disorder.
 
All I ever knew, was that I had caused her pain.
 
Lots and lots of pain.

Maybe those were words she had heard whispered into her own life.
Maybe those were the only words she knew, so they just fell down to me.
Maybe it was the only way she knew how to love.

Whatever the case, those words soaked into me.
It doesn't mean they were true, it's just what I was told.
At the time, I had no other truth offered to me.
 
 
Throughout my life, when things would go sour, I blamed myself.
I blamed myself for the pain in all of my relationships.
I closed off from people that I loved, because I thought that if I removed myself from them,
they wouldn't have pain in their life.
I thought I was doing them a favor in some way.
 
I blamed myself when my marriage went bad.
If only I didn't cause pain, he wouldn't be so angry and miserable all the time.
Maybe he would love me enough to straighten up his life.
Maybe we could finally find happiness.
 
I blamed myself for my many miscarriages.
If only I didn't cause pain, God would give me more children.
 
I identified with the story of Jabez in the Bible.
I can laugh as I say this now, but I felt as though he was my brother from another mother.
His mother named him Jabez, meaning "pain",
 because she experienced so much pain during his birth.
What a label to carry around? What a name to be called?
Even so...I felt his anguish. I knew his pain. I could relate.
 
I memorized the Jabez prayer and made it my anthem,
"Oh God, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!
 Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will not cause pain."
 
I prayed with every fiber in me, that He would make my life bring joy to others,
 and not so much pain.
 
In an attempt to try and fix what I thought I was, I became a perfectionist.
If I were perfect, then I would have no way of causing pain to someone else...
or so I thought.
I obsessed about everything, became an over achiever, and created a fake cold stale world to live in.
 It sent me spiraling down a road of misery, including an eating disorder,
 the same one that afflicted my mother.
It ripped away my joy.
 
Oh, on the outside I smiled,
and made it look like I had it all together.
 But on the inside,
I was a big hot emotional mess. A train wreck!
I felt like a failure who just caused pain wherever I went.
 
I had believed every lie that was spoken over me. Every last one.
I listened to the enemy, the accuser, the puppet master of lies.
 
And now, today...somewhere deep inside, part of me still believed it.
 
I knew that I had been redeemed and changed by God when I took Him in as Savior of my life,
but I failed to do one thing.
 
I failed to let go of that old name tag, the one that the enemy had stuck on me since my conception.
I held on to it. Maybe thinking I deserved it instead of what God had for me.
Maybe, I folded it up and placed it in my back pocket, just in case, down the road,
 I would fail God and cause Him pain too.

 
But how many of you know, that when God takes control of your life...
He tears off that old name tag,
and He gives you a new one!
 
He gives you the name you were meant to carry all along.
The one He set aside just for you!
One filled with love and with His stamp of grace upon it!
 
 
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


God doesn't see the old you, or the old name you used to wear,
He only sees the new you!

The old man, the old name, is gone--VAMOOSE--and new things are happening!


He is the creator of all things new!
It's who He is.
He is newness of life. He is the Redeemer!
He rescues. He saves. He delivers.
 
When I accepted Him as Lord of my life I was reborn, and I had finally heard the real TRUTH spoken over me. And I needed a new name to go with my new birth.
 
God changes our name, not because we have changed on the outside,
but because we have changed on the inside.
There is a transformation that happens within us.
He gives us a new name, because our status changes.
 
Just as a soldier in the army changes rank, going from Private to Corporal.
His status changed, so his name must change.

When we become Christ followers, our status changes.
 
We are now a part of His Kingdom!
We are heirs of His blessing!


Romans 11:17
"But some of these branches from Abraham's tree-some of the people of Israel-have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God's special olive tree." (NLT)
 
And one day, one glorious day,
we will wear the name Sergeant First Class, as we live eternally with Him in Heaven!

When you...yes you,
took Jesus Christ as your Savior, something supernatural took place.
There was a shift in your status.
You were made new and renamed by the blood of the Risen Lamb!
You belong to the Father!


1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

 
This isn't something that God has just started doing.
 
God has been in the name changing business for a long time...
 
He changed Abram to Abraham, meaning "father of a great multitude".
 Abraham became just that, a father of many nations!
God gave him and his decendants His inheritance!
(Genesis 17:5-8, Romans 4:17)
 
He changed Abram's wife's name Sarai to Sara, meaning "mother of nations".
God showed Sara that her own efforts were in vain, but with God's grace everything is possible.
(Genesis 17:15-16)
 
He changed Simon to Peter, meaning "the rock".
Jesus said to him, "Upon this rock, I will build my church."
And He did!
(John 1:42, Matthew 16:17-19)
 
He changed Saul to Paul, meaning "small or humble".
Paul humbled Himself before the Lord, so that God was greater in His life than anything else, and God used Him greatly.
He turned from persecutor to apostle.
 He went on to write 2/3 of the New Testament!
(Acts 9:1-6, 10-16)
 
He changed Jacob to Israel, meaning "having power with God".
Jacob had wrestled with man and with God and had overcome!
God used Him mightily and blessed Him greatly!
(Genesis 35:10, 31:1-32)
 

He changed my name from Tammy "thought to cause pain", to Tammy JOY!
Joy means "a feeling of great pleasure and happiness, delight, gladness, mirth, something to be rejoiced or celebrated."
God has showed me that I am someone worth celebrating!
He has showed me that through Him and because of His grace,  I am made whole...
in every way!
 
God is in the name changing business!
 
He has a new name for you!
 
He wants to whisper that new name into your heart!
 
He probably already has!
Maybe you just don't know it,  because you haven't let go of your old name.

If you are reading this right now...
I encourage you today, to let it go!
Don't let one more day go by allowing that name to control or harm you.
Rip that old name tag off. Surrender it to God.
He wants so much for you to know how loved you are,
 how great the sound of your name is upon His ears,
 and how adored you are.
 
 His name for you is much sweeter and filled with blessing and freedom!
 
Not only did I carry the name "pain" on my collar, but I believed that I actually was pain.
As God spoke into my heart with His name for me,
all of that pain began to pour out of me.
All the pain that I thought I caused, I had become,
 and just with the whisper of His voice calling me by my new name, it began seaping from me.
 
As it literally dripped off of me, I felt light and free, almost airy.
I had carried the burden of that name "pain" for so long, that it began to weigh me down.
 
I am so excited to say, that I am finally free of it!
Free of the weight and the burden of a name that wasn't mine to hold.

I realized that my new name is something I have to conciously decide to take on every day.
I have to choose to let go of the old name, the old me.
The enemy will try to remind me of what I am not,
but God continues to remind me of what I am!

I am His.
 I am a new creation with a new name!
He calls me His Beloved.
 
 
What name are you holding onto?
What label have you been wearing for way too long?
What name or names have been spoken over you and battered you around your whole life?
What name clouds your hearing to where you can't hear God calling you?
 
Is it failure?
Is it worthless?
Is it pain?
Is it addict?
Is it burden?
I'm sure the enemy has a list that goes on and on.
 
 
Let me let you in on something...
the enemy is a liar!
 And he has a sack full of lies for you and for me.
 He will either tell you those lies himself,
or use the mouth of someone else to whisper those lies to you.
He wants to shame you.
 
He wants you to believe his lies so that you will not become what God has called you to be.
 
But God...
He cannot lie.
He only offers truth.
 
 
Numbers 23:19
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

He loves you for who you are!
He can't love you any more or any less than He already does.
 
He offers everlasting life with His truth and with the name that He has for you.
His name will not shame you, nor make you feel less of who you are.
 
His name will lift you up.
It will give you purpose. It will give you hope!
 
His name for you is sweet as honey and brings a smile to His face.
 
He has it written on the palm of His hand and when He looks upon it,
He smiles and calls you His Beloved.
He marvels in you and celebrates your very creation.

He has called you Redeemed!
 
His name for you will bring glory to Him.
It will bring peace and joy to you.
 It will put praise in your heart and a song on your lips!
You will want nothing else but to worship Him, the very reason we were created.
 

There is a song by D. J. Butler titled I Will Change Your Name.

I hope these lyrics speak to your heart...

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid
I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face.

 
So, I ask you...what's your name?

Seek after God's heart today and find out who you really are.

Allow Jesus, the Name above all names, to speak over you.

Let Him tell you who He says you are!
 
Don't you hear Him calling you?


 
Isaiah 51:3
 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
 
 
Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                      -Tammy
 
 


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