What’s In A Name?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my sisters are popping out babies fast enough to exhaust the alphabet this year. Names and all their meanings have been on my mind, lately.

Names have always been associated with identity. Native Americans are the most obvious example, naming their children after the seasons in which they were born or aspirations for them to grow into great hunters.

It’s seen over and over in the Bible, too. Jacob’s name meant “deceiver”, and he lived up to it. When he was a young man, he collaborated with his mother to deceive his blind father into giving him the greatest portion of the inheritance and the birthright that belonged to his older brother.

Our names define us. They single us out in a crowd, they identify us for all kinds of legal procedures; they designate our legacies long after we’re gone. So it’s not surprising that in the Bible, when God did big things in someone’s He often changed their name. Jacob is a perfect example.

Giving someone a name is a sign of intimacy. Though not a legal procedure, as people become close and develop a unique relationship, it’s not uncommon for them to bestow nicknames on each other. Sometimes, that nickname takes over and forms the identity of one person to another and no one else can use that special title.

Think of a father who named his daughter in the birthing room. But as she aged, they bonded over daddy-daughter dates, popsicles and fishing. Now, he calls her something new, a name with special significance, something no one else understands, something no else can say. When she hears that name, she instantly knows the one who summons her, and she runs into his arms.

Revelation 2:17 says, “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”

I think that’s our Heavenly Father’s promise of a greater intimacy with Him than we have ever known. His love for us and knowledge of us far surpasses any human relationship. And one day, He will whisper that precious nickname that He has called you from the very start.

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Changing My Mind

Quietness and rest were foreign to me during the painful years of my eating disorder. In fact, they were down right scary. If my body was resting, then obviously, I wasn’t working hard enough to burn every available calorie. If my mind was quiet, then obviously, I wasn’t worrying enough about my last meal or my next one. I wasn’t meticulously counting the calories burned during my last workout or plotting my escape from a lunch date with friends. I truly believed that my frantic mind and anxious diligence made me stronger than others, both physically and mentally….

Read the rest of this post at FINDINGbalance.com

Here Comes Crazy

He’s here. Well, almost here. I’ve been saying that for weeks now. It feels like the boogieman sneaking up from behind. Or maybe it’s a three-headed purple monster, the really scary kind. Let’s call him Change.

He’s here.

I’m not so stressed out about this move as some in the past. I’m going through the motions and most of them make sense. The to-do list is crumbling in an orderly fashion, like the elaborate domino mazes I used to build with Granddad. With a tiny catalyst, like the shift of the minute hand, my final days in VA, are collapsing on top of each other… in this case, perfectly.

Patrick is home today. He’s been working with me, pulling stuff together, consolidating, eliminating, planning. It hasn’t always been this way, but I’m so thrilled to notice the buoyancy in my heart – knowing that he’s going with me, that we do this together, that when I wake up after being tackled, and drag myself out from under the heaviness of Change, he’ll still be there.

There is no one else in the world that I really need. He is my partner, he is the piece (and peace) of me that I need and can’t supply. He is the man that God has given me to cling to in the midst of Change’s attack.

My solar powers are weak today. Even in the brilliance of a temperate, delicious May sunshine, I’m feeling weary. A little sad. A lot of hope. A little of wait. A lot of NOW. Today is peace in waiting. Change is on my heels.

One more note of gratitude. They don’t live near. I can’t see them everyday. But I am so blessed, sustained by the truth that my family loves me. Their lives are revolving under the same Creator’s sunshine, on the same planet, serving the same Savior. And He is so good. Thank you, Abba

The Stranger in the Dressing Room

I stood behind her as she twirled in the mirror.

Ghastly. I thought.

“It’s me, don’t you think?” she asked? “I mean, I think I was born to wear this!”

“Are you crazy?” I’ve never been very good at keeping my opinions to myself. “That is the ugliest, most offensive piece of clothing I’ve ever seen! It looks terrible on you and it would look terrible on anyone. In fact, it’s just wrong.”

My sister dropped her eyes for a second. I could tell I’d wounded her, but someone had to tell her the truth. Nearby stood the saleslady, a few other customers and a few others of our friends.

“How can you be so cruel,” one of them asked me. “It’s really not about you now, is it? If it makes your sister happy, can’t you just be happy for her?”

“Certainly not!” Righteous indignation filled me and I began to spew lines I had heard somewhere before. “There is absolute truth, and it is absolutely true that that dress is an abomination!”

“Excuse me.” A soft, powerful voice invaded our verbal war. “I have something for you.”

I spun around intent on putting this stranger in his place. “This is none of your business.”

“But it is my business. Be quiet.” The stranger gently set me aside and walked through the crowd of opinionated onlookers. He stepped directly in front of my sister and began to take off his outer garment.

“My dear,” He spoke as if the rest of us had disappeared. “You are beautiful. Those eyes, I remember the day I chose the color, greener than freshly dewed grass.”

The stranger was in no hurry. He held his coat at his left side and brushed my sister’s hair from her face with tender fingers. I noticed a deep scar in his palm. Who was this man?

“You are so beautiful, but that dress doesn’t do you justice.”

My sister didn’t resist, in fact she didn’t even seem to notice as the stranger slid the dress off her shoulders one at a time. Soon, she stood in plain white cotton undergarments. She looked so small and humbled, but her expression was peaceful, mesmerized actually, by this mysterious man.

“My own garment will look brilliant on you. It has been tailored specifically for you, there is none other like it in all the world.” As He spoke, the stranger slipped around my sister, draping his cloak over her shoulders, letting it fall in graceful folds to her feet. I noticed His own feet. There was a scar, just like His hands.

The woman who stood before me now was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. But it was hard to get a close look at her, because suddenly she was dancing. She twirled and laughed, as if she’d been given new life, not simply a new dress.

She stopped mid-twirl and fell to her knees.

“How well you knew me!” Tears dripped and shimmered like diamonds on her cheeks. “You knew what would make me lovely. How can I ever thank you?”

The Stranger knelt too, cupping her shiny cheeks in His scared hands. “You must tell everyone about my beauty. Promise me that you will tell them that I love them and I want to make them beautiful, too.”

(Another attempt at a parable. Excerpt from my journal after a conversation with Father.)

Naked Little Me, and Loving It

I chose NAKED as my one word this year. It sounds kind of crass, I know. But I think God is getting at something with me. There are parts of me that I often try to hide, or color over. Things about me that I’d like to change. I look at others and wish I could be more like them. I wish I were smarter. I wish I were more athletic. I wish I was braver. I wish I was more assertive. I wish… I wish…

I’m not talking about sins that I should get rid of, or surface things like change my hair color or make it curly or be a little taller. I’m talking about the things that I believe make me seem insignificant, less desirable, average or second best.

Through the bitterness of my eating disorder, God has been teaching me about His pleasure in me, just the way He created me. More than simply my physical body – which He did create specifically, uniquely and perfectly for me. My Father also created my mind – scattered as it may often be. He inlaid my passions and hobbies, knowing exactly what would fulfill me – even if it wasn’t going to be a six figure career. My Father was pleased to give me an eye for the abstract and an affinity for rainbows of color – even when others might wonder why my couch pillows don’t match. He placed in me a urge for activity that sometimes overwhelms me and sends me running like a frightened child back to His comforting arms.

It’s ME. It’s just uniquely, awesomely, bare naked, undisguised ME!

In that interest, I really enjoyed this sermon by Paul White, titled, Who Told You You Were Naked.

 

Resonance

An echo in my spirit,

Like a pulsing in my chest,

An ache in my soul.

Life struck

by felt-bound hammer, and

Days pounded repeatedly, my

Pain cloaked in mercy.

Your Spirit sings near me and

Tremors erupt in my belly.

Notes of resonance, harmony.

Your voice beckons all my straining

Peels the silence away.

With strikes and songs, strokes and pelts.

You coax the music of my life

To resonate and harmonize

Where beauty lay cold and shrouded under cobwebs. 

Abandoned, deemed useless and out of tune.

You stood nearby and hung your notes between us.

I felt the rumble in my belly –

chords of life vibrating with mysterious life. Creator Life.

Then Jesus, you sat and touched the keys,

Pulled your fingers down the dusty keys,

And crescendo followed trill as songs I long thought died

came forth.

Between Heaven and Stone

Abba, there’s a rush of Heaven-water out my window.

Sounds of earth and stones gulping, swallowing and gasping,

For more of Heaven’s gift.

Cool and pelting, still soft and warm

Against skin and mud and leaves.

Leaves,

Autumn burnt and crispy till,

Heaven wishes them soggy and limp.

The boldest ones still hang on branches

drip, drip, drip.

Almost xylophone, the pavement pings

a different tone

Than petal, blade or stone.

Night refuses to rest her head,

Keeps one lid drooping over dawn.

Life by the seasons

Days of ink pens and spirals past.

Blue books, tuition rates, lectures and halls.

For 10 long Septembers, a study-less fall.

Fall makes demands, the crisp of the air.

“What are you doing with your life?”

Will you brighten up lives – like leaves to the floor?

Or comfort sad souls like soups and wreathed doors?

Will you be consistent like the turning of tides?

Winsome, patient and quiet as the moon?

Pleasing and warm as a fleshy, plump pumpkin?

Will you bring freshness to lives, like the chill in the air?

What will the season evoke?

Find a change.

Turn the season.

Drop your cloak,

And live brighter, fuller, clearer, closer.

A Mind Is A Dangerous Place

A mind is a dangerous place.

We tisk when one goes to waste.

But rare we chide one over-wrought

For lo, it might per chance

By excess spinning

Random cast the dice –

And create a universe.

Surely by our heady power

Of worry, intelligence or education

We can extend a tiny fist

Past future’s protective womb

And prevent the cancer, pinch the flame,

Erase the pain.

If we’re aware of frailty, of the finite

We whisper, “All I have is God.”

Heresy! As if by last resort we

Skeptical approach, ask Him to blow upon our dice.

Lest we rightly evoke His wrath

Let us change our sore refain.

copyright 2012, Glenn Patterson

I have God, I have everything!

What is this that He chose me?

Confused, small-minded, ineffectual.

Until I believed – I have God!

I have everything.