Today I’m sharing a when story written on another blog I kept. I’ve been thinking about names and belonging again. Rather then pen again what was already spoken from the depths of my heart, I thought I’d share those words with you here. I hope you don’t mind. When God calls your name, you don’t mind the repetition of hearing just how precious, loved, and wanted you are.
I’ve been thinking about branding. What name should I use? How can I let people know that I have something to offer in the digital world? How can I make it easy to find? I have been pondering this for a couple of weeks now, but for the moment my thoughts are interrupted by a simple fact in my right-now-life. God knows my name – the whole of it. He knows my beginning from my end and everything in between. He knows my knick names, full names, and pet names. He knows every part of me. But when I think about how He calls me, He calls me by my middle name. This is priceless. Only my family calls me by my middle moniker. Well, I did let that one friend get away with calling me by me middle name (and I do mean barely), but she’s the only one who’s been granted permission to do so. Were anyone other than this friend or my family to call me by my middle name they would get a very awkward why-are-you-calling-me-that stare. You know? The stare that says “have-you-lost-your-mind, you-are-crazy-stare? ” But I digress.
Maybe this is a reach, but hear me out. God, I believe, as always called me by my middle name. So many of the words He’s spoken to me have been about worth and value and treasure. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. If not, keep reading.God, in His infinite, merciful wisdom, has not always removed us from the fire, the storm, or the place of tribulation. #thelemonadestories Click To Tweet
It is not by accident. It is by design. My middle name is a precious gem, of worth, and a beautiful jewel. To be honest, the name is fitting. There are some precious stones that only come to be because they are crushed, subjected to fire, or created in an atmosphere of irritation. No. My middle name is not Diamond. It wouldn’t fit me. But Pearl… YES! That fits. The stone, the hidden-in-the-depths-gem, that no one sees. The stone that often goes unnoticed. The stone born in the deepest dark. The stone born from overcoming intruders. Yes.
Beauty from the hurt and that which was uninvited. Pause and think with me for a moment, a mollusk makes a pearl upon an intruder entering its shell. To protect itself it secretes stuff that protects it from the irritant (Pearl, 2013). Mind you, the irritant is still in the mollusk, but now it’s protected within itself – it’s not ejected. So it is with those called Pearl. God, in His infinite, merciful wisdom, has not always removed us from the fire, the storm, or the place of tribulation. Instead, He remains with us, shielding us, giving us gracious strength to endure, and protecting us by the power of His own hand – making Isaiah 43:1-3 all the more real (NKJV 1179):
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Pearls speak of redemption and restoration. The name speaks of a closely intimate connection between the Maker and His children and His desire for us to know He is always with us. God uses even those things we thought were liabilities-irritants-the unwanted interruption and makes them beautiful. Call to mind the work of Christ on the Cross – to redeem the lost, to call them by name, to bring lost sheep back to God the Father. This, beloved, is beautiful. Proverbs says “a good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (NKJV 1063). Have you ever heard God call your name? To be called by your name is to be seen. To be heard. To be chosen. To be noticed.
To be called by my middle name also points to a deeper truth. It means intimacy – a connection to a God is not far off. It means family and belonging. My dad called me Pearl. Ahh, loved that sound of that, and that’s how God calls me too. You may be asking why does this even matter? I’ll tell you why. It matters because for too long I attached my identity to other things and people and not always to God. It matters because I had a dysfunctional view of God has the hammer – the one waiting to let the other shoe drop. It matters because He reminds me that I am in His family and that I am his forever child and daughter. But, for Truth, God has broken the power of those lies – another blog post entirely. I can only tell you that through the process of recovery and God repeating who I am, I am now free to just be His child and without condition.
When God calls your name it changes every thing. It means He sees you. It means He wants you. It means He wants you to know that He knows you. He wants you to know Him too. Truth be told both my names fit me. A pearl comes by way of the sea, and though I have no sea legs, I have this assurance in God alone: when I walk through fire, He’s with me and I won’t burn; when I’m in the flooding rain, I will not drown. He has been with me in the crucible of making. He has been with me through it all. He has reminded me that I am precious to Him, that I am loved, that I am chosen, and that I am a treasured possession. This is who I am – a daughter of God made worthy by the Blood of His Son, Jesus! I belong.
Have you been hiding? Have you been running away? God wants you to know that He loves you. There’s nothing you can do that is going to make Him love you any less. He chose to love you long before you ever even chose him. And… He made you for good works. It’s a beautiful thing to really know who you are and who you were meant to be. The revelation that your name is written on the palm of His hand is overwhelming. That my name and your name are on His lips and on His hand is unfathomable. He loves me. He loves you. He’s calling your name. Stop and listen in the silence.
He whispers… “I love you.”
This post is a part of my 31 Days of Writing challenge and the second half of the lemonade stories. There are more stories to tell and moments of when to live through. It’s all about taking the sour things of life and reframing them to find the sweetness of faith, hope, and resilience. I hope you’ll join me on this month-long journey. You’ll also find me sharing bits and pieces on myTwitter and IG accounts. I’d love to see you here, and you can also subscribe to my blog/newsletter here.
“Pearl.” Wikipedia. 16 Feb 13. Online Encyclopedia. 18 Feb 2013.
NKJV Study Bible. Radmacher, gen ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997.