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What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  Isaiah 43:1

 

Several years ago I was flying to meet some friends for a girls trip in Chicago. When I booked my ticket, for some reason (and why do these things always happen to me?!), it placed my name in the record as Darla Do Baerg (instead of Darla D. Baerg). I called the airline right away and they said it shouldn’t be a problem if I had my ID.

I believed them right up until the time they took my ID at security and said it didn’t match my ticket.  (Insert eye roll here). After a trip back to the ticket counter and talking to multiple people I was cleared to fly.

My friend Missy still calls me Darla Do to this day.

Another time I ordered at a restaurant and they kept calling “Delmay Deloney” over the loudspeaker. Since my name at the time was Darla Dillahunty I didn’t think it was my order.  Over and over they said “Delmay”.  “Delmay”. I finally went and asked and, sure enough … it was my order.

This morning I was thinking about names as I read my Bible. The last few years I have been noticing that the words in my Bible were becoming blurrier and smaller. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m getting older (ahem). I decided I needed a larger print Bible to use when I taught. I stopped by our church bookstore and looked at the “sample” large print Bible. Deciding it was perfect I asked if I could buy one. Unfortunately they no longer carried that particular one so I asked if I could buy the sample. I was told they couldn’t really sell it because the front cover was messed up. They had printed several names on the cover one on top of the another.

 

I told them I didn’t mind the mess ups because God knows my name so it didn’t really matter what it said on the front.

They laughed but y’all, I was totally serious. I love that it’s all messed up! It’s just like me, a big mess … but the message inside is perfect.

People ask me about it when they see it and I love telling them the same thing. God does know my name. He knows who I am. In fact He knows each of us by name. He knows the number of hairs on our head. He knows all the days of our lives before they ever happen. That’s so cool.

I love the “Cheers” TV show theme song that says … “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name”. And God’s word is certainly one of those places. The best place, in fact. He always knows us and in His word communicates peace, joy, comfort, hope … whatever we need. And it’s not just our name He knows, it’s our circumstances … our hurts, trials, joys … He knows it all.

Our lives can be as jumbled and messy as the name on my Bible … but His word meets us in the mess and provides just what we need.

I once read that our favorite word in the human language is our own name. Aren’t you so glad God knows yours?

And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name”.  Exodus 33:17  

 

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Olympics Obsession

Olympics Obsession

 

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I am obsessed with the Olympics.

Literally obsessed.  Night after night we stack up on the couch and watch whatever NBC picks for us to cheer that evening. Watching Michael Phelps win gold after gold (after gold) was so cool. And the Simone’s?! Katie Ledecky? They are all incredible!!! It’s truly amazing to see these incredible athletes do their thing.

There have been a lot of neat stories to come from the Olympics … Michael Phelps coming back after overcoming some personal demons, the 41 year old gymnast (Really?! Just wow) and many, many others.  The story yesterday of the USA 5000 runner helping the Australian up after a brutal fall … that was the Olympic spirit at it’s finest.

But one of my favorite stories from this years Olympics hasn’t gotten much press but it is truly the story I love the most. It is the story of a swimmer from Spain, Miguel Navia who was set to swim the 400 meter freestyle. He was a longshot even to final but just getting the opportunity to swim in an Olympic race was a dream come true.

When Navia stood up on the blocks waiting for the signal to start he fell in. Literally fell off the blocks into the pool as the crowd gasped.  What normally would be called a “false start” in other swim meets, in the Olympics equals an immediate disqualification.

Miguel slapped the water in disappointment, knowing he was done, and got out of the pool.  The TV  announcer said: “well, that’s the worst thing that could happen” as Navia gathered his parka and headed out of the swim facility in tears.

The crowd, in a show of sympathy, begins to clap and gave him a standing ovation as he exited. It was enough to choke up even those of us watching from the couch.  I SO wanted him to have another chance.

The swimmers prepared to get back on the blocks when all of a sudden a huge cheer erupted from the crowd. The other swimmers looked around confused as to why they were cheering.

And then Navia re-entered the arena.

Unbelievably the judge determined that Navia did not fall in the pool as a result of his own error. The judges conferred and determined that “he had heard a noise in the crowd that caused him to false start”.

He was allowed to swim.

This never happens. No one thought it was going to happen … but it did!

Navia didn’t final … he was 8 seconds behind the swimmers who made the finals in the almost four minute race ,,,

But he got to swim.

And I think the reason I love his story so much is because it is our story. Each one of us falls off the block in our lives. We may feel like the announcer’s words  … “well, that’s the worst thing that could happen” or feel like we have failed and have no chance of getting back in the race.

But because of God’s redemptive death on the cross … no matter what we have done, it is not the worst thing … he forgives us. As the Psalmist says … “he throws our sins as far as the east is from the west”.

He tells us to get back on on the blocks.

When circumstances aren’t what we had hoped or dreamed?  It’s still not the worst thing.

Even then He tells us to get back up on the blocks.

He wants us in the race.

There are no gold medals or endorsements … but there is peace and joy.

We get to swim!

Enjoy your race.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.  2 Timothy 4:7-8

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