That which we call a Rose

There has been a lot of excitement around the Flexibly Blessed household! BabyOnesieBlack

Our daughter has blessed us with a new little grandson, born on Good Friday (after 2 days labour!) Mom and baby are doing very well. And we are all thrilled!
Last September  daughter J announced she was pregnant. Okay, I guessed and caught her off guard, and the look on her face was … well … an announcement! Anyway, from the time she shared the news, one of the overriding questions was, “what will you name the baby?” She was very good at keeping this a secret as she and her Partner B wanted it to be a surprise revealed only after the baby was born. Okay, I did manage to get the news a couple months early (apparently that’s what I do!), but kept my vow of silence. The new parents believe picking the name is a sacred thing, not to be taken lightly. In fact, the new little one’s name has a very distinct meaning. 

This last week, I have been thinking seriously about names and their meanings.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (William Shakespeare)

Names! From the moment we are born we are given one. And as we grow, we get additional ones. Daughter J became “Mommy” when Baby J was born 6 years ago. And before that, she was “Daughter”. Oh, and I became “Nanny”, and hubby “Papa”. Year after year, we gain more names – student, graduate, doctor, crossing guard, hair stylist, etc. These revolve around what we do. We also derive names from relationships with others, like the ones mentioned earlier, as well as ones like friend, neighbour, husband and wife. These are the good names. These are ones we can be proud of, and that lift us up.

But there are other kinds of names too though, aren’t there? Ones less edifying. Sad names. Sometimes these are called “labels” as they are often linked with how we have been perceived. Maybe it was something we did, whether purposeful or accidental. Often these names come from misunderstandings that grow and fester. They can be hard to shake. Sometimes we give these names to ourselves. I know I have. Maybe we are embarrassed about something we did, or disappointed in our choices. Unfortunately, these names keep us stuck in the past. We are locked and chained in a tiny box. Personal growth becomes stymied with this thinking. I have realized that if I want to grow and be healthy, I have to leave these types of names behind (which is why I have not offered any examples). I have to turn my eyes off of other people’s opinions and judgments (even my own!). I need to turn my focus on to God.  This is what I have been doing. For myself. And for others too.

So, if you need a reminder (like I often do!) these are some of the names our Wonderful Creator gives us:

He calls us Friend (John 15:15) and Chosen (1 Thes. 1:4).

Ephesians 2:10 calls us God’s handiwork, created to do good works which were prepared in advance. I’ll take that one!

My Grandma used to remind me regularly that I am God’s temple, a residence of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)

Other names are: His messenger (Matt 28:16-20), His Child  (Galations 3:26), and Brand New (2 Cor 5:17)

Here’s two of my favourites: Greatly Loved (Romans 5:8) and Free, Free Indeed (John 8:36).

With Him I am Glad (Psalm 92:4) and the Singer of a new song (Psalm 40:3-5).

He even transforms my ashes and makes them into beauty (Isaiah 61:3)

And may I suggest Isaiah 62:1-5!

This list is not exhaustive. Our Beautiful Creator calls us many more names all of which lift us up and help us to reach new levels becoming who we were born to be. They free us to become our true selves!

My daughter J and Partner B took great care and pleasure to name new Baby O.

God does the same for all of us.

Now this, is a very good thing.

A Prayer for The Rest of Us

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As anyone who has followed this blog will know, my Spiritual Journey  has been a bumpy, beautiful, exasperating, and unexpectedly winding road.

I grew up as a regular church goer and raised my children in the same manner. All was wonderful. Until I hit a rocky road. To be quite frank, it was at this point that I got hurt in the church. Let me say up front, I hold no one to blame. Grace and Love has erased any judgemental attitudes. And, as always, I take full responsibility for my role in the whole muck-up. Finger-pointing is not what today’s writing is about. This is a reflection on life in the after-math. It is about my struggle to re-enter a spiritual community, and how any attempts I make leave me with a feeling of dread and fear. In short, though I will plan to go to church, the ensuing thoughts of this leave me riddled with anxiety. Again, nobody’s fault. This is just how it is for me right now.

I do, however, maintain social media contacts with church people I know. This has generally been beneficial for my Spirit. Today, though, is a different story. Today, while flipping through facebook,  somebody posted “A prayer for those of us gathering for worship and fellowship today”. And this prayer left me feeling cold, alone, and an outcast. So, in response, for me and for anyone else struggling with a church-hurt or feeling alone, I have composed this:

A Prayer for the Rest of Us

God, of all Outcasts, the Lonely and the Hurt

Be with us as we navigate this day

Send healing to our broken hearts

Bring Your Light to any darkness

That has descended upon our Spirits

Ease our anxieties

And remind us

That we, too, are made in Your Image

And, so it follows

We, too, are valuable and  worthwhile in Your Sight

Soothe our souls

with Love and Understanding

Reveal to us

That You will meet us Anywhere

and Everywhere

That even if we are unable to gather as a community

We are still Precious to You

We are still United in You

That we are not alone.

Amen