What’s in a Name?
I attended a woman’s forum yesterday where a friend shared a story about the pain caused by names–brands or labels–we allow others to place on us. After she shared her story, and the pain that she felt by being labeled as “disgusting,” she talked about how Christ can redeem our name–renaming us–to reflect the image God created us for. Through Christ, she redeemed her name: “Beloved.”
I walked around branded: adopted, unequally yoked.
Adopted at birth. I thought it was a gift–wonderful. But, as I wrote in my post Adoption, Hope, Heritage–during my college years I began to see myself as having no heritage–needing to create my own. I strove for high grades, top leadership positions, prestigious jobs. Then, one day, many years later, at a woman’s retreat, God washed away that brand–that burden I carried–I realized, through Christ, that I was–and am–first, a child of God. This Earthly heritage didn’t matter.
“Unequally yoked” is another label. Pastor’s talking about marriage at church, friends talking about marriage, others questioning me about my choice. Even my mom. I was “unequally yoked” to a man I loved.
I allowed that brand to slowly create a divide in my marriage. I blamed our different beliefs on our inability to make decisions together. I looked at what I didn’t have, instead of what I did have in my marriage. At times, it created pain in the raising of our kids. I longed for my husband and I to share our faith.
But, at the same time, I fully believed that the covenant of marriage was for all time. And so, I prayed for peace about this aspect of my marriage–that the rejection and the shame–would subside. I prayed that my selfish desire would subside. I turned our marriage over to God.
Over time, the label curled up and peeled off, bit-by-bit. Rather than “unequally yoked” I began to see Christ at the center–a marriage bound together by Christ. I can’t tell you when it happened, but I began to shed the guilt and shame and pain caused by the label.
I began to see all the wonderful things I do have in my marriage rather than this one thing I don’t have in my marriage. I began to see my husband’s gifts again. The things that made me first fall in love with him. God gave us a “Perfect Mismatched Marriage.”
I fell in love with him all over again.
A little residue remains from those labels, but I am aware of it and I turn towards Christ. He redeems my name.
What name do you need to redeem? What label or brand do you need to throw off?