I have a rather unusual maiden name.
If you were a child of the seventies (as I was), my name didn’t hint at my current career as a “Christian author” but screamed “rock star groupie” instead. Let’s just say that when I put it on social media recently, my friends who didn’t know me as I grew up had a good laugh.
What my new friends didn’t know was my maiden name gave me certain privileges growing up. At one store in town I was more than a customer. I could walk in anytime and be guaranteed a warm welcome. The salespeople knew me and often would let me come behind the counter and “help” them. It wasn’t unusual for them to take my hand and lead me over to the girls’ clothing section, point out a new outfit that had just arrived, and pull down my size. They knew it by heart. With my mom’s nod, the outfit would be put in a special bag just for me. The bag also happened to have my last name on it. They were personal like that.
Probably the best part of my last name was that it gave me access to the secret place in the back of the store. I could (and often did) run past the perfume counter and shoes and go straight to the desk where the boss man sat. He was always impeccably dressed in a suit and tie, busy working some deal or going over the sales for the day. But since I was a welcomed guest, he never minded my interruptions. Usually, he would ask if I had found a new outfit and whether my mom was with me. Sometimes, if he wasn’t too busy, he’d walk with me through the store and point out the best of what had come that day in shipment. Years later, when I was a little older, he gave me a job and usually stuffed my purse with more items than I sold.
The reason I had special access and the invitation to be more than a customer at that store is that my name was not only on the bag, but my name was also on the store marquee. My granddad owned the store and several others across the state. I carried his name not only when I walked into the store, but everywhere I went in town. So you see, not many people laughed about it back then. Growing up a Stoner was kind of a big deal. I was shocked when I found out my name sounded unusual to some people. It was so normal for me because I was born into it.
You were born into a family that is a big deal too. Long ago, before God laid the foundations of the world, he was thinking about you (and me) and how much he loved us. Ephesians 3:14 tells us that we receive our name from the Father, whom “all families in heaven above and on earth below receive their names…” He decided from the beginning of time to adopt us as his daughters through his only Son, Jesus and to write His name over our hearts. Do you know how he felt about that? He delighted in doing so. His plan was for us to be part of his special family. Being part of his family brings with it blessings of untold worth, gifts we get to experience now and forever, and more importantly access to our heavenly Father no one can hinder.
“Who am I?” is a question we often ask. Many of us have sought the answer to this question fervently and possibly looked to the opinion of others for a clue. Maybe we read self-help books to try to answer it, or we search social media for someone we want to be like and imitate them. Too often we come away feeling as though we don’t measure up—mostly because we believe the lie we have to be enough in the first place. But what does God have to say about it? Knowing his heart for us will make a world of difference in how we view ourselves and live out our story the way he planned for us to from the beginning of time. What does he say about us? I’m so glad you asked. But first we have to shift our focus. This is no small thing. The answer to the question “Who am I?” is not bound up in you at all, it is a treasure buried within the heart of your Father.
The best part is in seeking it.
Let’s not miss it.
Let’s lean in.
P.S. True Story – this was the original opening chapter to my new book which was also originally titled something else. But as book writing (and let’s face it life in general) goes, some changes and tweaks were made. The publishing industry calls them edits. Let me say, this edit was the right call and the opening chapter is even better because of it. Thank you brave editors for seeing what writers often can’t! It took some time, but we landed on a great start to the book. This story, however inspired the book, so I wanted to share it with you.
My new book, When Grace Walks In releases on 09/04/18. You can find out more about the book and read the NEW chapter 1 right here.