I’ve long had a fascination with name meanings. As a child, I remember my mom gifting me with a bookmark that had my name and a meaning written on it. This bookmark read “motherly”. Although, I am unsure of the credibility of this particular correlation.
However, I’ve never forgotten. Mainly because I was the firstborn of my generation of siblings and close cousins. Naturally, I had a lot of responsibility and that “motherly” instinct kicked in when I was quite young.
When I got older, I was interested in learning the Biblical meaning behind my name. The Hebrew version of Rachel means ewe, sheep, female lamb. Hence, leading to my adoration of being one of Christ’s sheep and founding my blog name, Sheep Once Silenced.
I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.- John 10:1-3 (NLT)
I was reading this passage in John with the headline, The Good Shepherd and His Sheep. I lingered upon those words, “He calls his own sheep by name”. And God tuned my heart to hear those names with which He speaks over me.
I’ve always thought I’d hear an audible “Rachael!” from the Lord. While that very well could happen, the Holy Spirit gently guided me to receive His written truths.
As a child who was scarred from paternal abuse, I had a hard time identifying myself as a child of God. In my flesh I felt discarded, abandoned, unwanted. I believed that to be a huge component of my identity for much of my life. I perceived this was the exact way God felt about me too. Except, now I know that’s all been a lie- from my enemy, the thief. But, God. He has called me by name- His child.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!..- 1 John 3:1 (NLT)
Throughout my adolescence and young adult life, I never felt chosen. In fact, I was picked as a last resort for sports teams. I was cast aside as “just cute and never beautiful”. And I overcompensated by trying to fit in when I most always felt like an outcast. My identity had long been stripped down to a nobody. Oh, but, God. He has called me by name- His chosen.
..for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.- 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)
I have an outgoing and bold personality. Couple that with my innate desire to seek perfection. This equates to someone who battles with feeling like “too much” yet “never enough”. Every time I dwell upon all my faults and failures I think to myself, “How can anyone even love me?”. Lingering upon those thoughts drowns me in a pool of lies. Because, God. He has called me by name- His beloved.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.- John 3:16-17 (NLT)
Looking at the totality of my life, shame sticks out in the forefront of my mind. I’ve made many mistakes. I’ve been harmed by many malfunctions. I’ve caused many messes. It is inevitably a result of a sin-soaked world. But, God. He made a way through His Son, Jesus Christ. And He has called me by name- Forgiven.
He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.- Ephesians 1:7 (NLT)
Yes, I remember my past. But I’ve moved on from “living” there. I am not that same person I used to be. When I hear those names that are a result of my past, I know they come from a thief- a robber! God has called me by name. And as a Good Shepherd, He is leading me out-away from those lies. I am a new creation because of Christ. And I look forward to receiving my new name, made especially for me, when I enter into eternal paradise!
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches… I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”- Revelation 2:17 (NLT)