Tag Archives: beloved

what’s in a name

You know what song is pouring through my mind as I write this?

Hello, My Name Is… by Matthew West – click here

It’s a popular one on most major CCM radio stations in the Twin Cities and I’ve heard it twice already today.

The verses start out with “Hello, my name is regret…defeat…” You know those words. I do. With every fiber of my being. They’re familiar. And we think they’re comfortable. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

What you name something is immeasurably important. Kate Middleton, for instance, no longer goes by Kate. She goes by Catherine. See the difference? Kate is more of your modern, day-to-day name. It’s a name of normalcy. It’s fun. But Catherine… now that’s a dignified name and more appropriate to her role as a royal.

What is your name? What names do you go by to those who love you? What do they mean?

Without going into too much detail (this is the internet after all), the name I was given at birth means grace.

My middle name means God is gracious.

I like that, personally. But do I really live it out? Have I truly embraced that part of me?

How about the names of some important biblical characters?

Sarah means princess.
David means beloved, friend.
Daniel means God is my judge.
Elizabeth means My God is bountiful.
Peter means Rock.

Let me take this one step further (along with the assistance of Stasi Eldredge) and ask you the following:

What names do you call yourself? What do you say to yourself when you pass a mirror? What do you tell yourself about your post-weight-loss body or your post-delivery body or your premenopausal tummy or your memory that so often seems to be slipping away? What words do you use?

Or what have others called you? What have you believed yourself to be true because of those words?

Growing up, I didn’t fit in. I still don’t, but I’ve grown to be okay with that. I’ve accepted it. But, not fitting in when you’re a child leads to territory I wish no one would have to claim or endure. I don’t remember many of the names or statements that were carelessly tossed around, but terms like stupid, idiot, ugly, short, and inadequate still stand out to me. Perhaps you had a similar childhood or home life while growing up. Maybe you still do.

There is power in what we name ourselves and in what we believe ourselves to be. There is power in what others name us as well. Both the power to bless and the power to curse come from the heart and flows out of the mouth through words. What we call something, what we are called, whether good or evil, will play itself out in our lives.

What you call yourself, someone or something is powerful. It affects your life, your relationships, and your walk with God. Stasi would also say that what you call yourself “affects your ability to become who you are meant to be” (pg. 217 of Becoming Myself).

God knows this. And He calls you Beloved.

I love that term. It has a deep, personal meaning to me, so much so that I now wear it permanently on the inside of my left wrist. It’s a constant reminder of Whose I am and it rings loud and clear on some of my darkest days, when I need it most.

Beloved

What does that mean?

It means one greatly loved.

Dear to the heart

It means admired, adored, cherished, and darling.

Beloved means dear, dear one, dearest, esteemed, favorite, honey.

It means ladylove, light of love, loved one, lover, precious, prized, respected and revered.

Beloved means you.

It means who you are to Him.

And who you are to Him means everything.

Everything

This is where your true identity lies. It’s also where mine lies…often as I seem to forget it.

God calls you to believe this. Time and time again.

He endlessly pursues you and won’t stop until you are completely His. It’s a transformation process; it starts on the inside and eventually illuminates everything you are and eventually, those around will see it and won’t be able to help wanting that too. I’m on my way there. So are you. He simply calls you to believe it.

The fruit of knowing this, of truly believing that you are His beloved, is intimacy with him and is shown through humility in your life.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis

Wise words. We cannot live our lives thinking highly of ourselves (being puffed up – that’s pride) or thinking less of our selves (also pride…God opinion does not lie here). This thinking is dangerous. You cannot live well, you cannot love well, and you cannot fulfill your destiny if you do not know who you are. You cannot become your true self if you do not know who you are to become.

So…

Who are you?

You might be like me in the fact that I just got so irritated with my last caller’s request that I rushed through getting her connected with the right department rather than taking a moment to let her feel that she is loved and cared for. I’ll be right back…

Okay, I’m back…needed to clear the air between Jesus and me for a second before I continue.

Who are you?

Going back to the song that’s been pouring through my head as I pen this: The chorus continues with this truth: “my name is child of the one true King. I’ve been saved. I’ve been changed. I’ve been set free. Amazing Grace is the song I sing..”

That couldn’t be closer to the truth.

God sees me as lovely, but lovely thoughts have not been filling my mind just now. Actually, they haven’t been for days and I need to give those thoughts to Jesus and let him take care of them. There are days when I really need help… When you and I believe that our truest identity lies in being a sinner. What we call ourselves and when we put equal weight on what others say, we believe those lies. It affects how we live, move and and have our being (which shoul only be in Him). We walk around ashamed, accused, condemned and unworthy of being called His. We are separated from God and this is exactly what the Enemy wants us to believe and how he would prefer we live.

I’d like to hit this one home with Staci’s help: “When the focus of our heart is solely on our failings, then our heart spirals down. God tells us not to focus on our failings but on his faithfulness. He calls us to gaze not on our brokenness but on our Healer.”

We tend to move toward what we focus on.

Keep your eyes on Him and learn to believe the truth of your identity. You are His.

Wholly

Completely

Entirely

His Beloved

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12.2

Sources: “Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You” by Staci Eldredge…found here

A Real Life Fairy Tale

I awoke early this morning to a green light illuminating my room. I had forgotten to place my phone face down so I wouldn’t be awakened by that light. Getting the better of me, curiosity led me to sliding my screen open to view the email that just come through…about ABC’s new hit drama: Once Upon a Time.

Having been created by the executive producers of Lost and my being a sucker for romance (not to mention fairytales), the idea behind the show intrigued me and I tuned in the very first evening it aired. I’m hooked.

A brief synopsis:

The story is set in the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine. The town is populated by characters from common fairy tales, who have been exiled to the real world due to a curse cast by the Evil Queen as part of a revenge plot against Snow White and Prince Charming (whose real name is James – who knew right?!!). Because of that curse, most of the inhabitants of Storybrooke have no memory of their true identities and have been stuck timelessly in Storybrooke for years.

This changes when Henry, the adopted son of Storybrooke’s Mayor Regina Mills, seeks out his birth mother, Emma Swan – a bounty hunter living in Boston, – an coerces her to come with him to Storybrooke. Henry, who knows about the curse from a book given him by his teacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard, informs Emma that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming and that she is destined to break the curse holding everyone in Storybrooke. Skeptical, Emma decides to stay in Storybrooke after seeing how lonely Henry is and how he is emotionally neglected by his adoptive mother. In staying, Emma continue to run afoul of Mayor Mills. The conflict only increases when Emma become town sheriff.

Each episode usually focuses on one main character who is experiencing some sort of conflict in Storybrooke. Flashbacks also show what their character’s story was in the fairy tale world of the Enchanted Forest.

The sets, characters and costumes were captivating, inviting me to reminisce on my childhood. Disney introduced me to the world of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. I read stories about Little Red Riding Hood, The Huntsman, Rumpelstiltskin and Pinocchio. My childhood imagination has now become a TV reality (with a few differences thrown into the mix).

I then started thinking how these stories (and the tale of Once Upon a Time) tied into my faith and life as a follower of Christ.

Each tale tells of a protagonist (usually a princess) and how the object of their affection (or could-be affection) woos them. There’s good. There’s evil. There’s an end where good will triumph.

Granted, the Bible doesn’t start with “Once upon a time…”, but it could. In the beginning:

In the beginning God created…Genesis 1

Time’s just about up. Revelation 1:2b MSG

The entire Bible tells of how God continuously woos His people, Israel. His love leads to the ultimate sacrifice (Jesus’ death on the cross) and shows how He continues to woo us today. In the end, Christ will have His bride…and all will live “happily ever after…” but not in that general sense.

Perhaps that’s why I love fairy tales (and romance) so much. The Lover of my soul…My Prince…came. He woos my heart and soul and saturates everything longing with all that He is. Every day. He gave Himself for me and now represents me before the King. One day, He’ll lead us all into our “ever after.”

 

Sources: www.wikipedia.com
More information: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1843230/

My Beloved

So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His Beloved. Ephesians 1:6 9 NLT

Beloved.

Dearly loved…according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Recent studies have shown that every child cries for their father’s approval. Children with involved fathers are more confident, better able to deal with frustration, less likely to commit suicide…an so much more.

Did you know that over 63% of teen suicides come from fatherless homes? Or that 90% of runaways/homeless children are from fatherless homes? I could go on.

 

Sherwood Films released Courageous this past year; a film encompassing the importance of a man’s involvement, not only in his children’s lives, but in the life of his wife and those around him; his purpose in being the spiritual leader of his home.  If you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it.

Also – for some reading. The Kendrick brothers and Priscilla Shirer wrote two compelling books (one for women and one for men) as a follow-up to the movie which were created to take you deeper, especially if you’re serious in becoming the man or woman God created you to be: The Resolution [for Men/Women]. I’ve read Shirer’s work and God has used her to lead me into making some resolutions in my life. I may be a single female in a big city; someone who used to think she didn’t have all that much impact on the world around her…but, oh, I do. Every day.

Back to the topic at hand: Something happens when a father tells his son that he is proud of him. Or when a father says to his little girl, “You will always be Daddy’s favorite girl.”

And the beautiful thing? We can follow God’s example.

A similar special moment occurred in the Bible when God the Father displayed His approval of His Son (at Jesus’ baptism) – “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Jesus’ ministry began with the approval of His Father, well before He had performed any miracle.

Some may think that God would naturally say this of His Son, Jesus, but not of us. But the truth is that Jesus came for each and every single one of us. He came as us. He died for you. He did for me. He died as us. He achieved approval from the Father for us and as us.

I wrote yesterday how Jesus came as our representative.

If that’s not enough, God even tells us in Ephesians that we are “accepted in the Beloved”!

Why “Beloved” and not in “Christ”? God is calling us to remember what happened at the Jordan River when our Lord and Savior stepped in to be baptized. God wants us to know that we are His beloved and that He is well pleased with us.

God sees us as His beloved because He made us accepted in His Beloved. He wants us to wake up each day and, having been given mercies anew, knowing that we are unconditionally loved and wholly approved.

The more we know, accept and understand the depth of that love (that it is real) and that we are treasured by God, the more we can expect to have life to the full; we become confident that we will win every fight set before us in this life as we strive to further His kingdom on earth.

That, my friends, is how your Heavenly Father wants you to live. Live today, confident that you are His beloved!

Further reading:
http://www.dadsworld.com/index.html
http://fathersforlife.org/index.html
http://www.fatherhood.org/
http://www.courageousthemovie.com/
http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/courageous/products.asp?9781433671227
http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/courageous/products.asp?9781433674013