One of the longest running arguments I've ever had with my husband was 9 months long. Did you know that naming a baby is actually really hard? It's kind of like when you don't have kids and you make outrageous statements like, "I would never do that if that were my kid," as you watch people feed their kids Kraft Dinner. And then you find yourself boiling that KD water (and doing basically almost anything) to survive parenthood. When you're kidless, you think naming your kid something like 'Oregano' would be cool.
And, "up with the times".
Then, you get pregnant and imagine the little gaffer being nicknamed horrible things for the entirety of his/her school career and you re-think your strategy.
One thing my husband and I did agree on while I was pregnant was that we wanted our kids names to mean something. We weren't big on continuing any family names; we wanted our kids to have a new name. They were fresh from heaven and we wanted their names to reflect that.
Parker Levi Cruz
Park keeper // Joined in Harmony // Cross
Blythe Harlow Lux
Happy, carefree // Army // Light
Now, I know what you're thinking:
I made up for the lack of meaning and UMPH in his middle names. (But, he really did love Curious George for the greater part of his terrific two's so, maybe he will be a zoo keeper ;))
My kids' names define who I believe God has destined and dreamed them to be when they were in my womb. They aren't just trendy, different names. While that was important to us and is considered to be an added benefit to their personalities, the purpose behind naming them was to help remind them of their identity. It was to help mould them into who we believe God has called them to be. Ultimately, it was to remind them who they are and to whom they belong.
One thing God has been speaking so clearly to be to me about in this season is my identity.
Who am I? And to Whom do I belong?
Where do I find my identity and who has access to speak into it?
We can find ourselves with a position, with titles beside our names (earned or self-acclaimed) and part of a hierarchy that is important to keep structure and while all these things are important, at the end of the day, what matters most is who God says we are.
In every season, in every workplace, in every marriage, in every friendship, in everything.
My identity, self-worth, assurance, security is ultimately in who Jesus says that I am.
My identity isn't tied to anything but Him.
My future is dependant on knowing who He says I am and knowing it to the pit of core.
It can be easy in seasons to look to others to confirm your identity.
To validate it, to encourage you in it, to remind you of it.
While living in community and having friends to turn to, a "tribe" to keep you accountable is beautiful and so part of God's plan for us here on earth, the danger is when we begin to take their word over Gods. To give more weight to their words than the words God has spoken to and over us.
Our sense of worth and value isn't dependent on the approval of man.
Jesus already affirmed our value by His willingness to die for us.
Stephanie means "crowned in victory"; while many beautiful friends have reminded me of the significance of my name recently, if I don't draw a personal revelation from it and lean into God with the knowledge of it for myself, it's all for nothing. I believe that I was named on purpose and I will devote my life, my marriage, my friendships, everything I do, by continually finding my identity in Him.
This is a version of something I stumbled onto in one of Joyce Meyer's devotional books all around identity. I've made it my own and posted in multiple places around my home as a reminder of who I am and to whom I belong.
1. I know that God created me and that He loves me.
2. I have faults and I have weaknesses. I want to change and better who I am. I believe He is working in my life and that He changes me every day. While He is working on me, I can and will still enjoy my life and myself.
3. Everyone has faults. I am not a failure or a disappointment because I'm not perfect. I am a broken vessel; still able and worthy to be used and loved. God has made me whole; "Daughter, your faith has healed you." (Mark 5:34)
4. I will always work with God to become a better person but realize there's always going to be something to work on in my life so I won't get discouraged or frustrated with myself, or God, when He reveals something else to work on in my life.
5. I want to make people happy and have them like me but my sense of worth will not be dependant on that. Jesus has already affirmed my value by His willingness to die for me.
6. I will not be controlled by what others people think, say or do. Even if they totally reject me, lie about me, slander my character; I will get through it. God has promised to never reject or condemn me. (John 6:29)
7. No matter how many times I fail, I won't give up because God is with me to strengthen and sustain me. He's promised to never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5)
8. I like myself. I don't like everything I do, and want to be continually transformed, but I refuse to reject myself.
9. I have been made right with God through Jesus. I have been saved by grace (Romans 3:22).
10. God has a good plan for my life. My destiny and favour are tied to and woven into Him. I am going to fulfill my destiny and calling and be all I can for His name. So will my husband, and so will my children. I have God-given gifts and talents that will be used to glorify His name.
11. In myself I'm nothing and yet in Jesus I'm everything I need to be (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
12. I can do anything, everything, #AllTheHardThings, through Christ who continually gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
So, who does God say you are? Where are you finding your identity?
Does it shatter when people don't affirm it?
Or do you let God affirm who you are?
What's in your name?
If your name doesn't have a meaning, (#ParkKeeper), what have you been naming yourself?
Or what words have come against you that you've taken on?
Are you carrying words someone has spoken over you that you shouldn't be?
Who does HE say that you are?
Just sit and think about that for a second.
He will tell you all of the ways,
all of the reasons,
all of the why's,
and all of the how's of His great love for you.
And just exactly who you are in His eyes.