Sunday, August 19, 2012

Calling, whispering, knowing my name

My name is often misspelled. It used to bother me. Although I do still cringe when someone spells it wrong in a Facebook comment because my name is right there. Seeing my name written countless times with an "en" instead of an "in" has made me more sensitive to making sure I spell other people's names correctly.

You'd think I wouldn't have named my daughter Cate. But I like it that way because she's named after my mom, who is Cathy not Kathy. She's 5, and she already corrects people: "My name doesn't start with a K. It's Cate with a C."

Cate is actually Catherine, so sometimes we find cute souvenirs with her name on them. That's an improvement over all my often fruitless childhood searching for K-R-I-S-T-I-N. I did get a free hamburger, thanks to my name, a few years ago.

I like my name. I'm not a big fan of nicknames in general, so I've always gone by my actual name. My family and friends know my name, and most don't spell it wrong, but there is one who has always known my name. And he even whispers when I'm still enough to hear.

I have written your name on my hand ... {Isaiah 49:16}

And the Shepherd calls his sheep by their name. Not as a herd. ... And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. {John 10:3}

My name.

Quite a thought, isn't it? Your name on God's hand. Your name on God's lips. Maybe you've seen your name in some special places. On an award or diploma or walnut door. Or maybe you've heard your name from some important people -- a coach, a celebrity, a teacher. But to think that your name is on God's hand and on God's lips ... my, could it be?

Or perhaps you've never seen your name honored. And you can't remember when you heard it spoken with kindness. If so, it may be more difficult for you to believe that God knows your name.

But he does. Written on his hand. Spoken by his mouth. Whispered by his lips. Your name.
{From "When God Whispers Your Name" by Max Lucado}
I read this in the introduction of the book our small group is beginning to study. And these thoughts about my name, a name I prefer to any nickname version even when it's misspelled. I thought about my daughter's name and how it honors two people we love dearly. I remembered being excited to officially change my last name 10 years ago.

And I remembered that through it all, from when my mom and dad named their first-born daughter to when I chose a name for my first-born child, God has been working. He's into the details beyond even what we're called by those around us. He's the one who does the calling, and he uses our same name. He knows how it's spelled. He knows who we are and who we'll become. He knows our failures and wants to be glorified in our successes. He knows our name and wants us to call out his. 

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