So, I am down visiting family again.
And when I'm in town, I like to visit the "chains," as I like to call them.
You see, our little mountain town has no chain restaurants or stores. (It's a rule that’s even written in our charter!)
Therefore, I must wait either for: 1) Errand Day – when we venture off-the-hill to do errands, or 2) Family Visitation Days – when I make the 2½ hour trek down the mountain to visit family.
I'm not gonna lie, sometimes I just might…
Peek in at IKEA or Costco.
Run into Macy's or Barnes & Noble.
Covertly sneak a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder.
Scarf down a Subway.
Indulge on a fancy dinner at Outback or Joe's Crab Shack.
But really and truly, my biggest vice is the nearly-daily run to the local coffee place –
Which is what I did this morning…
Which is where, yet again, I was confronted with one of my biggest pet peeves!
I have tried and tried to get those adorable (?) baristas to spell my name right!!
In fairness, sometimes I'll get an
But the other ones?!
Hardly ever, even when I spell it out loud and s-l-o-w-l-y.
(Refer to the photo at the end of this post for the latest version, AFTER I spelled it for them…GRRR!)
What is the deal?!
It's actually kinda humorous at this point.
But if I'm in a particularly *weird, sensitive, grumpy mood* – (which is why I am getting the caffeine boost in the first place) – I might just feel a little hurt and offended.
It's my name – it's who I am!!
Names are funny things.
They seem to creep into our very souls and become a defining part of our personalities.
Some people love their names, some people hate their names.
Some people even change their names. (For instance, my paternal grandmother despised her middle name and had it legally changed to R!).
When I entered elementary school, I thought my name sounded too old-fashioned. I can't remember which grade I was in, but I asked to be called Shari.
OK, if you think Sharon gets mangled, you should see the permutations of Shari!!
Years later, after entering "adulthood," I thought Shari sounded frivolous, so I changed it back to Sharon.
Interestingly enough, though, "The Hub" knew me in elementary school, and still calls me Shari. So do my uncle and my cousins. The rest of my family calls me Sharon.
I now like my name a lot…(I remember once having a conversation with my mom. Seems that they almost named me Patricia! Not sure what they had picked out for a boy's name!)
What's in a name?
Evidently, a lot.
I got to thinking about my name, and about how much it bugs me when it's misspelled, and I realized something.
There is Someone who never forgets who I am…
And thinking about that pointed me to four Scripture verses that have something to say about our names:
"But now thus says the LORD, he who created you…he who formed you…: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'" (Isaiah 43:1, ESV)
Isn't it rather amazing, and very comforting, to know that we are specifically and individually called by God?!
Yes, I know this verse originally referred to the nation of Israel, but don't you think that it's perfectly applicable to us today?
He created us, and formed us in the womb.
He knows who we are, and knows everything about us.
He has called us, by name, and we belong to Him.
I love that!
"'Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.'"
(Isaiah 49:15-16, ESV)
Again, though this was originally directed at the nation of Israel, I love the idea that God purposefully remembers us, and holds us close.
And our *walls* – the things that are part of us – our personalities, our thoughts and emotions, our failures and shortcomings, our joys and triumphs, our families, our concerns, our bodies, our health, our finances, our moments, all of the life that surrounds us – is constantly held in His omniscient thoughts, and centered in His omnipresent love.
"'The one who is victorious will…be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.'" (Revelation 3:5, NIV)
The Bible speaks often about the Book of Life – a record of all those who have given their lives to Christ, and accepted His gift of salvation.
It is an eternal record, and it is infallible.
A person's name is either in there, or it isn't – and that is a fact with eternal consequences.
I celebrate the fact that when I confessed Jesus as my Savior and Lord of my life, my name was written in this book.
Sealed there forever.
(I kinda like the image of Jesus taking a pen and hand-writing it!!)
One day, the book will be opened, and the names will be read.
And on that day, I will hear my own name, and I will enter into the promise of everlasting life!
I rejoice over that, don't you?!
"'And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.'"
(Revelation 2:17, NLT)
I remember when I first read this verse, I was puzzled by it.
It is a bit mysterious, and I doubt that I'll ever fully understand it on this side of eternity.
But the more I contemplated it, the more excited I became!
Yes, in so many ways, the Lord is the only one who knows who I truly am.
He is the only one who intimately knows the spirit that He created in me.
He's the only one who knows what I will look like with no sin, shining in His righteousness, complete in His perfection.
And on this day, I have a feeling that this Truth will be revealed to me, in an exquisitely intimate moment between just the Savior and me.
I picture it in my mind…
Jesus looks me straight in the eye, with one of His precious scarred hands on my shoulder.
"Sharon, I have known you since before the creation of the world. I know every part of you, even the parts that you have not known of yourself. I love you beyond your comprehension. I have been waiting for this day."
Then He gently opens my hands, and lays a beautiful white stone into my palms.
I stare at my new name, and tears flood to my eyes.
I look up at Him…
"Yes, this is who you truly are. Forever this will be your name, and forever you will be My child."
In that moment, I will know what I have never fully known or understood before….
My very being will be defined by my Creator.
I can scarcely take that in!
So, friends, what's in a name?
It's a sign of identification, a touchstone of our personality, an emblem of who we are.
But so much more than that…
It's a personal call.
It's a stamp of belonging.
It's an assurance of love.
It's a promise of life.
It's the hope of one day becoming our true self.
I am Sharon – no matter how it's spelled.
And my name is remembered where it counts!
What does it mean to you that God knows your name?
I think the barista was a pirate.
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:13-17, ESV)
"'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…'" (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV)
"Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalm 100:3, ESV)
"The gatekeeper opens the gate…and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."
(John 10:3, NLT)
"'I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father…'" (John 10:14-15, ESV)
"The LORD is good…he knows those who take refuge in him."
(Nahum 1:7, ESV)
"'Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.'" (Isaiah 43:6-7, NIV)
"Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27, NIV)
"And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life." (Revelation 20:11-12, NLT)
"You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself…" (Hebrews 12:23, NLT)
"'…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'" (Luke 10:20, NIV)
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