What is in a name?
name- noun 1. a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.
Identity- noun 1. the fact of being who or what a person or thing is
Mom, mommy, mother, mama…so many names I answer to from my two boys, Will and Jack. Each one means something different. I remember when my oldest, Will, quit calling me mommy and transitioned to just calling me, “mom”. It just about broke my heart. There was a loss of innocence in it, a growing up that I wasn’t quite ready for, but at the end of the day I was still the one he looked to for guidance, support, nurturing and love. I was still his mother. So does a name really matter all that much? I was still who I was, no matter which name he chose to use. Although, I must admit I still secretly wish he would say mommy every once in a while. Who doesn’t? We have recently reached the teenage years, so I think that ship has sailed!
My boys call me different names depending on what they are feeling or what they need. Mommy means they are hurt or sad, or they are being very endearing hoping to get what they want. Mom means they just need something or we are in casual conversation. Mother usually gets associated with frustration or impatience. Mama is Jack’s way of saying he needs to snuggle. As soon as I hear which name they use, my mother’s intuition kicks in and I know how to respond. It draws me closer to them and their needs. Sometimes it softens my heart when they need help or a quick hug, or it gives me a clue that there is about to be an explosion unless I diffuse the situation and get us all back on track quickly. I know you ladies know what I am talking about! We can assess a situation within seconds of hearing an inflection or seeing a look on their face. You instantaneously know where you stand and what is about to go down!
We all have names and we all answer to them. So what about God’s name? Does it matter which name I use when I talk to him? No, not really, but to know them is to know His character and some of His qualities. They bring Him more into focus. They provide clarity to my heart and mind of who He is and how He can help me. It draws me closer to Him so that He can tenderly listen and help. It helps my mind know whom I am talking to and what I can hope and expect His response to be. It also helps me be more vulnerable which is not an easy thing for me. It takes the pretense away and gets down to the nitty gritty reasons of why I need Him to hear me and draw near. Sometimes I think I get lost in the holiness of God and forget that He is my Daddy. Yes, He is holy, but some days I know I need to just crawl up on His lap and rest awhile. I need to lay all of the pretense and agenda down and get real with Him about life and what hurdles and obstacles I am facing this day, this hour and sometimes this minute! He already knows all of it, but He so desperately wants our honesty and our hearts unhindered and unfiltered. Calling out to Him using His different names does that for me. It engages me in real and raw conversations with Him and it deepens our relationship. He becomes more tangible and present for me. Don’t we want the same things from our own children? A real and present relationship with them where there are no boundaries just a safe place to do life together knowing that the love and support is unconditional.
So what are some of His names? He is certainly Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Redeemer, and Savior, but He is also…
Elohim: “Creator, Mighty, and Strong” (Genesis 1:1)
El Roi: “The God Who Sees” (Genesis 16:13)
Jehovah-Jireh: “The Lord Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14)
El Shaddai: “God Almighty” (Genesis 49:24)
Jehovah-rapha: “The Lord Who Heals” (Exodus 15:26)
Jehovah-shalom: “The Lord Our Peace” (Judges 6:23-24)
Jehovah-raah: “The Lord Our Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1)
Jehovah-tsidkenu: “The Lord Our Righteousness” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Those are some big words and I am here to tell you some days I can’t even pronounce them and that is ok. He knows our heart and He knows we are crying out to Him. Sometimes in the depths of despair my children have just needed to call out to me and know that I am near. Sometimes we just need to call out to Him and know that what we are calling Him is who He is. That He will answer us right where we are at, whether we need a Savior, a Creator, a Provider, a Healer, a Shepherd, or a Defender. He is all of those things and more and He wants you to know Him deeply and personally.
One of the first bible studies I attended after my husband died was Hope and Healing for the Single Mom, The 21 Principles of a Healthy Single Mom by Lori Little. One of the chapters was on identity. It encouraged us to be free from guilt, shame, unforgiveness and negative programming from the past by resolving your personal and spiritual conflicts. One of the very practical activities was making index cards with the spiritual conflicts on one side and scripture to combat it on the other side. Those cards are still in my purse and are pretty well worn and earmarked four years later. They are well loved and used. There are many days when I pull them out and they give me such peace in the middle of a storm. Sometimes the storm involves little people and sometimes it is just the weariness of day to day life. Sometimes I just need to speak scripture out loud so that I remember whose I am. I have learned to add to that stack as my faith grows deeper and I learn more about my Father’s identity. I have recently added the different names of my Father and the scripture that goes with those names. That way He is always close and it is a quick reference that I can use when I am out in the world. It also is a handy tool for the kids when they need a distraction. My two boys are extremely competitive, so a little round of scripture trivia goes a long way and they are actually benefitting from it. What if you don’t know scripture or what if you don’t even know who this God is? That is ok, that is the beauty of Him. He is waiting for you to ask. He will reveal Himself through His word and He has promised us that it never comes back void. Take a chance and make your own set of cards and share them with your kids. Make it a game. Learn scripture together. Hide it in their hearts so that as they grow they know who their Father is too. They know His name and His characteristics. Teach them to depend on His faithfulness and His steadfast love.
He wants you to know Him and depend on Him. Do you trust that He can and will be all that you need in this life? Do you trust in His name and His identity? Do you know your identity in Him? Do you have any suggestions or ideas to further learn who He is? Do you have other names that you know of in scripture that you love to call Him? Please share them with us. This is a community where we want to grow and learn together. Or do you have questions about who He is? We welcome that too. We want to know you and your children and we want to share this God whom we love so much with you. We also want you to know that you are loved and prayed for and that He calls you His beloved. That is one of the names that He has for you! Claim it today sister! You cannot be plucked from His hand! You are a member of a royal priesthood, set apart, according to His purposes and you are a rock star mom who He loves dearly!
If you have questions or ever want to chat with Liesel or myself please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to get to know you better and pray specifically for you. We are praying for you today to feel the tremendous love that He has for you and your children and the peace that transcends all understanding!
Build my altar wherever I cause my name to be remembered, and I will come to you and bless you. Exodus 20:24
I will cause my name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever. Psalm 45:17
I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever…Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. Psalm 145:1,4
Identity Cards from The 21 Principles of a Healthy Single Mom by Lori Little www.hope4singlemoms.com
jealousy vs. spirit of sacrificial love – 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
deceit vs. spirit of truth – John 8:31,32 and 1 Peter 3:10-12
confusion vs. spirit of faith – Isaiah 40:28-29 and 2 Peter 1:2,3
rejection vs. spirit of acceptance – 1 Peter 1:3-5 and 1 Peter 2:9
pride vs. spirit of humility – 1 Peter 5:5-6, Ephesians 4:2 and Isaiah 66:2
religiosity vs. spirit of praise and peace – Luke 10:27-28 and Isaiah 30:15
independence vs. spirit of unity and commitment – Romans 15:5-7 and 12:4-5
prayerlessness vs. spirit of perseverance and hope – Hebrews 4:14-16 and Romans 5:2-5
rebellion vs. spirit of a fear of the Lord – Hebrews 12:29 and Psalm 145:18
fear and insecurity vs. spirit of courage, faith and trust – Psalm 118:6-9, Isaiah 41:10, and John 14:27
control vs. spirit of submission – Ephesians 5:21, James 4:6-7 and Psalm 25:9
sexual impurity vs. spirit of holiness – 2 Peter 3:11-14 and 1 Peter 1:14-16
idolatry vs. spirit of the Lordship of Christ – Colossians 3:1-3 and 1 John 2:21, 24, 25
bitterness vs. spirit of a forgiving heart – Matthew 6:14,15 and 1 Corinthians 13:5