Words have such power. They literally define moments, days, and lives. I remember, not so long ago, when our oldest son was beginning his downward spiritual spiral, I reached a turning point. Let me explain.
We Atchleys are name callers...in our happy moments and in moments of angst, we name. It is how we celebrate and how we cope. Words are the tools of our trade, they are all we know. So we called our son "foolish" and a "player" and yes, even a "goober".
When I had reached one of my lowest points, and was muttering and name calling, the Holy Spirit said to me, "Rename him." Not "rename him" as in call him Bob instead of Josiah. But rename him as in calling things which be not as though they were.
I cannot begin to tell you how hard that was. You see, he had more than earned the names we'd called him. It had always been a relief and a release, of sorts, for me to call a Spade, a Spade. I am known for that. It feels honest and right and even courageous to tell it like it is.
Religious spirits are the hardest ones to discern in ourselves. Easy to discern in others, hard to see in ourselves. The God of all Grace has a ministry of renaming. Gideon was a "mighty man of valor". Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Saul became Paul, and I too will be given a white stone with my new name on it, one day.
The God of all Grace leads us to tell it like it could be.
So, almost every time (I wish I could say "every time") when a name was on the tip of my tongue, when that son of mine tweaked me the hardest, between clenched teeth, I would sometimes literally groan out these words:
Wise! Pure in heart! Godly! My wise, Godly, pure in heart son.
The rest of my son's story is still waiting to be told, there may yet be some roller coaster rides before his story line levels out. Still - I can't wait to tell the rest of his story, because I am confident in the finished work of Christ. See, government rests on Immanuel's shoulders, not mine. I am free to be in happy relationship with my boy.
All because of grace. All because of saving, sanctifying, amazing naming grace.
I named the year 2010 "Create". And "create" I have. Big masterpieces, like the atmosphere and design of a wedding...and tiny works of art like baby booties, big projects like a kitchen remodel (Tim the Tool Man and I), and smaller projects like a dining room repaint. Last year was the first time that I prayerfully sought God, and then "named" a whole year. It was so effective and so incredible that I am certain I will do this the rest of my life.
Soon, I'll share with you my name for 2011. In the meantime, what will you name the coming year? How will you re-name the circumstances and people in your life that have hurt you, and deeply at that?
God is the God of the New Name.