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WHEN GOD NAMES A CHILD

Perhaps He names every child.  I know He knits every child together in his mother’s womb and has all his days planned out. I know it is a wise parent who seeks God on the naming of a child.

And I absolutely know from Scripture and from life that there are times when He names a child. The stories fill you with awe and hope.

(I am sensitive to the fact that some, and one who has just joined us, so wish they had a baby to name. My purpose in these stories is to show you how personal God is, and I pray this will encourage you too.)

Many of you already know, my grand-daughter Lily Grace was born this Easter Sunday. We certainly didn’t anticipate an Easter birth — but God already knew, had her days planned out before she was born. He knows what she will be like, and the name He gave her fills us with hope for her future. It is also a story she will be told all of her life, a story that will whisper “You are loved, my child, by a God who has your name written on His hand, by a God who knows your name, by a God who has a plan for you to bring glory to Me.”

Big sister Miabelle holding new sister Lily Grace

Annie and David had talked about names all through the pregnancy. I had put “Lily” on a Christmas gift partly in jest. (I am always putting names on presents for future grandchildren, and my children are always laughing at me, for I have a reputation of being controlling.) They were thinking of another name, a lovely name, but didn’t have a peace about it. Annie said in February — I just don’t think that is her name.  On March 9th, when Annie was up in the night with false labor, God impressed on her heart: “Her name is Lily Grace.” When she told me, of course,  I was delighted — not just because I love the name so much, but because it is such a gift when you know God is naming a child.

Annie was overdue, so weary of being pregnant. We both hoped she would go into labor the Monday before Easter for that fit best with “our” plans. But that was not God’s plan. On Good Friday Annie called me and said, “I’m not in Labor but I need my mom.” That’s all it took, and I knew I could at least have the Easter weekend with them. Saturday night at supper Annie said, “Mom and David — would you pray this baby would come tomorrow?” The three of us prayed, asking God for that mercy. Early Easter morning, while it was still dark, Annie knew she was in labor. (I believe God put that request in Annie’s heart — but it would have happened anyhow!)

It didn’t occur to me until three hours after Lily’s birth how perfect, how providential, how personal was this name for Resurrection Day.  “You really did name her, God.” My son J. R. looked at the row upon row upon row of lilies in his church that morning, and he knew. This child was named by God.

 

Lily

David’s mother wrote: “We are overflowing with love and thankfulness for God’s gracious gift of Lily Grace born on the most glorious day of the year–the celebration of our Savior’s resurrection! I was amazed yesterday to learn from David that you had actually chosen her name way before you knew she would be born on Resurrection Sunday!”

Now we are contemplating why God named her Lily. Annie says, “I’m excited for her — that perhaps her life will be a confirmation of what Jesus said about the lilies of the field — they neither toil nor spin, for they know their heavenly Father cares for them.”

I said, “I hope her life will be a confirmation of what I see in Song of Songs. When the Shulamite maiden felt unworthy, ‘dark,’ he assured her, ‘You are a lily.’ Cleansed. Loved. We have so much trouble believing the gospel in our everyday lives — but may this child believe each day of her life that in God’s eyes she is as pure as a lily because of the power of the cross.

We don’t know why —  but we rest in the fact that God knew her before the foundation of the world, loves her, and has a plan for this child of His.

This week I’ve been in the hospital room with Annie. Her pastor and his wife, Chad and Deborah, came. They feel like family for they lived with us for a year when Annie and David were dating. They have been God’s gift of godly friendship to Annie and David. They also have a child who was named by God.

When Deborah was pregnant, they prayed diligently about the name for their son. One day Chad was in prayer and “Barnabas” came to him, but he thought, Deborah will never go for Barnabas. But, Lord, if that is his name, could you have Deborah think of it?

A few minutes later Deborah appeared at his den door and said, “I’ve been reading Acts. What would you think of Barnabas?”

I have never met a child who so fit his name. Despite his tender years, he is such an encourager! (Barnabas means “son of encouragement.”) Miabelle is so bonded to him because Barnabas is so “other-centered” and always encouraging her. He has become truly a brother to her. Oh — how she adores him! This picture made me laugh out loud for Miabelle is so smitten with her encourager.

 

Mia and Barnabas
Mia and Barnabas

 

All of his life Barnabas will know the story of his naming and God’s gifting and calling for his life.

Yesterday I was speaking at “Bloom” a wonderful women’s retreat that represented 105 churches and was so anointed with prayer that I sensed His presence, and did the women, from beginning to end. (And thanks to all of you who prayed!) They sang this song — and I knew I wanted it here.

Perhaps the most fun story I heard this week was the naming of Annie’s nursing school friend, “Hallelujah.” Here she is visiting Annie in the hospital, holding Lily Grace. Hallelujah’s parents thought her mother was pregnant with one baby, and had chosen the name “Hallie” if she were a girl. But after their baby girl was born, the doctor said, “Oh — we have another baby here!” And her mother’s immediate joyful response was “Hallelujah!”

All of her life Hallie will know how welcomed she was into this world! If she ever feared that she was too much for parents who already had an eighteen month old and a newborn, her mother’s immediate “Hallelujah” wipes that away. And they felt confident that God wanted her named that immediate shout of praise. So her sister was named Whitney, and she was named Hallelujah, but goes by Hallie.

Hallelujah and Lily Grace
Hallelujah and Lily Grace

Sunday/Monday

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?

Monday-Friday: The Naming of John the Baptist

elizabeth_baby

3. Read Luke 1:5-20

     A. What name did Gabriel say Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son was to have?

     B. What was Zechariah’s response in verse 18 and why?

     C. What does Gabriel tell him and why?

John Piper preached his last sermon at Bethlehem Baptist on Easter Sunday. Here is a written sermon entitled: “How Not To Talk To An Angel.

4. What comments do you have on Piper’s sermon?

5. If you were Zechariah, what thoughts might you have had during these nine months when you were deaf and dumb?

6. Read Luke 1:57-66

     A. Describe the discussion about the name in verses 57-63.

     B. What happened immediately after Zechariah confirmed the name was John? Why, do you think?

      C. What reaction did the neighbors have (65-66)

7. Pondering:

      A. If a verse quickened you, stay there — and share what you see.

      B. What do you learn about God from this passage?

      C. Is there anything that is speaking personally to you?

  8.  Challenge question: Can you see any facet of the gospel in this story?

  9. Sometimes God named a child, sometimes He changed a name. Name can portray hope and blessing — or a curse. Knowing what you know now, what would you suggest to couples concerning naming their child?

  10. Sometime I may take us through Ruth, for I love the book — and every single name is fascinating. Today — just consider the names of the three women and read the first chapter. Naomi means “sweet or pleasant,” but she asked to be called “Mara.” (bitter) Ruth means “a woman companion or friend.” “Orpah” means “stiff-necked or double-minded.” Read. Pray. Reflect. Share your observations and thoughts here.

On Thursday I’ll be on Midday Connection talking about Leah — and “the expulsive power of a new affection.” http://www.moodyradio.org/middayconnection.aspx

11. We studied Leah a while back — how did the naming of her children show how God replaced her idols with Himself?

12. Share one way God has been mindful of you in the last few weeks.

Saturday

13. What’s your take-a-way and why?

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386 comments

  1. What stood out to you from the above & why? This is especially nice this morning because today is my oldest daughter’s birthday (Kim – 22). Also, I share a birthday with Lily Rose. So this week is always busy with birthday celebrating! I have to admit my husband & I did not do exhaustive work to name our girls or even prayed about it. We weren’t anywhere near enough to God to do that. We just picked the names we liked. When I have time, I will go back to research their names and see if I can see God’s hand in their names anyway. I loved the pictures. The one with Mia & Barnabas is priceless. Both of them messed up with their treats just like kids should be and that look on Mia’s face! It made me laugh. On a more sober note, God does seem to be bringing into my life alot of people who have no idea how much God loves them. People who are trudging through life with no joy, no hope. I’m not sure if it is just the times we are living in or if God has a special purpose for me that I’m not even aware of yet. Probably both. I don’t think it is an accident that I found this blog and this community of women at this time. I believe it is all part of God’s great plan.

    1. “I don’t think it is an accident that I found this blog and this community of women at this time. I believe it is all part of God’s great plan.”
      I agree…it will really be cool to see all the “ins and outs” of God’s plan when we are home.

      1. 🙂

    2. WHat a wonderful ministry to tell people of God’s love for them!!! Not a coincidence at all!

    3. No accident, Jill…God’s providential hand is very visible!!!

    4. Happy Belated Birthday, Jill (you and Lily have the same birthday)! And I hope you enjoy celebrating your daughter Kim’s birthday, too!

    5. Happy Birthday Jill!

  2. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    Names are important to people. As a teacher, I try very hard to say each students name correctly. It is important to me. I have been known to be walking down the hall repeating a difficult name in my head over and over to make sure I have it right. Recently, I discussed this with a student who has an African last name. She is very tolerant of people mispronouncing her name. I told her I have practiced all year to make sure to get it right.

    2. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?

    We typically name our kids a family name and a name we just “like.” After all our children grew up it dawned on us we had unintentionally (?) named two of the boys an interesting combination. The older child’s name is John (family name). The youngest goes by his middle name, Wesley (other name). So we have John Wesley in our home!!

    1. That is so true of names. Especially with ESL students. I try so hard to know and get their names correct! They really seem to appreciate it.

  3. A. What name did Gabriel say Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son was to have?

    John

    B. What was Zechariah’s response in verse 18 and why?

    He felt he and his wife were too old to have children. He didn’t understand how this could happen.

    C. What does Gabriel tell him and why?

    Don’t believe? Then he would not speak until the child was born.

  4. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    Loved all the pictures, the stories, J.R.’s pondering “You really did name her, God.” But most of all—the evidence of how personal our God is. That part of His character, is something that melts me every time I let myself be aware of it. He knows each of us individually. I often tell people when I’m facing something big, and not sure yet what the direction is—that God knows how to talk to me. I have felt Him do it before, He knows how to get my attention, how to lead me—my part is to be willing and open. I believe He loves to name every child, if we are listening—as Annie and David so clearly wanted His name for their child over any will of their own—as so He spoke it. He cares about the very details of every flower, every blade of grass as Susan once pointed out, about the shades in the sky—all of nature reminds me He is personal.

    1. Love this Elizabeth-He knows how to talk to me when I am facing something big. How wonderful we are learning how to recognize His voice, slow down and listen.

    2. Yes! Love how personal He is!!

    3. Elizabeth, this reminded me of when my oldest was supposed to tell me he was staying after school to be in the play-I didn’t know there was a play and he forgot to tell me, and he didn’t come home after school. Oh I had thoughts of him being abducted, and other scary thoughts. As I was driving to and fro like a madwoman, scared and looking for him-an hour later I drove back to my driveway God calmed me and assured me Elijah was alright. It wasn’t one of those rational thoughts we have-but I was sure it was Him-it was so calming and He wanted me to know it was Him. Soon I did find Eli in the gym helping out with the play and I wasn’t mad at all I was so elated he was okay!

      1. Wonderful story, Rebecca!

  5. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    The pictures are precious. Similar to Elizabeth, the personal-ness of it all is what stands out to me. The world has in excess of 7 billion people living (to say nothing of all those that have come before and will follow) and the Lord knows the intimate details of each of us. He is lovingly concerned for each of His children regardless of “their” connection to Him. It just blows my mind to think of the intimate, ultra-personal messages He provides…my heart just overflows with love and awe. Secondarily, I think how many put the Lord’s messages off as a passing thoughts rather than being aware that the Lord is really speaking a message just for them (me???). My mind did wonder into thinking what special purposes the Lord has in mind for Lily (and Barnabas) with the prompting of the name…kudos to Annie & David (and Deborah & Chad) for listening so attentively and being obedient to His directive.

    2. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?

    No, unfortunately not…most names were chosen either because of a family member’s name or just because it was liked. My daughter, LeeAnna, was named after my Grandma who I loved dearly, “Anna”…there were two other older great-granddaughters named “Anna” after my Grandma, one being my sister’s daughter, so we opted for “LeeAnna”…hence the capital “A”. My Grandma was dearly loved by all her grandchildren; a lovely woman inside and out with a great love and reverence for the Lord; an incredible blessing to my life.

  6. We received a somewhat encouraging update on Jay late yesterday…as always, thanks for your continued prayers:

    4/6/13
    Day 40!
    As of today, we have served 40 days of our transplant sentence and spent 10 months battling cancer. Unfortunately, there is no time off for good behavior when it comes to cancer. Jay’s counts continue to climb, which is wonderful. He also seems to slowly be coming back to us….he is more playful and engaged than he has been in weeks.

    He made short work of his feeding tube; Jay threw up and it was out less than 12 hours after it was placed. He is still unable to keep anything down or take medications so we may have another tube placed soon. Hopefully we can keep this one in for a while….a good goal may be a whole day to start. 🙂

    Thank you to everyone for your love and support.
    With love and hope, Travis, Bridget and Jay

    1. Praying!!! Praising God too for the improvement.

    2. Nanci, I am a bit behind…could you give a brief update about Jay and his relation to you? Just for us “newbies”…thank you!!! It sounds like he is on quite a journey…

      1. Thanks for asking, Rhonda.
        Jay was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at 13 months (June 2012). Jay is the grandson of my husband’s cousin…in addition to being family, we are close friends with grandma and grandpa. Jay underwent a series of chemotherapy treatments only to have a secondary cancer, extramedullary acute myeloid leukemia (EM/AML), present itself as bump on Jay’s head in November. The bump was removed and they explored what options might be available for the future…additional chemo may be a catalyst for additional cancers so that was out…it was decided the best plan would be a bone marrow transplant via umbilical cord fluid that was as near a match to Jay as possible. The transplant took place this past March (Jay was 22 months). Pretty much all the “downs” since the transplant have been somewhat expected in the new cells trying to take over…we were so happy to get encouraging news in this last update. Bridget and Travis (Mom and Dad) moved to the Milwaukee area when Jay began treatment; Jay’s treatment/care has been taking place at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. They are a sweet young couple.

        1. Thank you for the update Nanci. As a newbie, I sometimes do feel like I’ve opened a novel in the middle :). I know I will eventually get to know you all better as you will get to know me.

        2. Love your picture here, Jill!

        3. I’m thankful for this update, Nanci. Praising God for His blessings!

        4. Oh wow, what a trying experience. Thank you so much for the update…it will help just knowing how to pray. Sounds like a brave little guy, my heart goes out to him…I will be praying for this family.

        5. I can’t imagine a little guy like that having to go through so much. So glad things are looking up for him.

    3. Nanci-wonderful news on Jay! Thank you for the updates–it is so encouraging to see His blessings

    4. Thank you for the update on Jay, Nanci…I will continue to pray.

  7. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? That God does care about every detail of our lives, even names! All so sweet and personal how God deals with each of us.

    2. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?
    Yes. I felt like so long I had been so unclean in my life because I did not know Christ and I desired my daughter to know Him as early as possible. I picked the name Kaitlyn which means “pure” for her.
    Hannah was named because it was a harder pregnancy but her name means grace of God. I knew this was God’s name for her. She has always been more of a challenge and now I know why, she has aspergers. Grace…His grace is my constant reminder for her. 🙂 He loves her so and formed her perfect autism and all. He has great plans for her.
    Then there is Dakota. When we adopt him God gave us the name, Isaiah because it means God saves. Oh and He did save him from a real pit of darkness and no real chance for a positive future. Yet God has other plans and planned that he would join our family.

    I was disappointed because I wished my name was significant…I was named after a soap opera character off of Dark Shadows. Yet as I checked out my name is means “messenger of God” That was precious to me. God knows. Even though they did not pray about it God used it still. That is my heart’s desire to be His faithful messenger.

    1. oh Angela–love this name for you–truly, you have been His messenger to ‘Little Man’! 8 more days?

      1. Love your name Angela and your kids names!

    2. Hi Angela, It is good to meet you. I love the stories behind all of your names, and I’m thankful that God brought the meaning of your strong name out from the shadows.

    3. I think it is really neat that God’s sovereignty works within the normal thinking processes of life. Yes, He knew you would be a messenger of God…HE named you!!! So sweet!

  8. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    There are a few specific life events I think that bring people, both saved and unsaved, into a powerful encounter with God Almighty and with the awesomeness of His sovereignty, power, glory, and majesty … births as well as deaths are two that come to mind. These times, in particular, are holy ground times where we become more aware of God moving intimately close to touch us and dwell among us. And it seems to me that it is at these times that we tend to take up the consideration of God and the works of His hands more with an eternal perspective. So one of the things that stands out for me is that God creates for His pleasure and glory beyond what is here and now and what He creates He creates by the word of His mouth. I am thinking about the charge Adam was given by God to name what God created and how God still gives man this awesome charge to name what He creates. God entrusts us with this! Wow! I love how God delights to bring us into His glory in ways that cause us to hush, bow low, and stand in awe. I’m thinking that my thoughts of God and what He is doing at EVERY moment in EVERY life are puny and have boxed Him in. I want God to push out the margins of my understanding not only of Him and how I look for Him and how I look to see where He is at work in all the uncommonly ordinary moments as well as the extraordinary ones, but also in how I regard my part I’ve been given by God in our relationship together. I’m also thinking about verses of Scripture that talk about the glory due God’s “name.” Every place in the Old Testament where God revealed Who He was by the name He shared with His people, gave them and gives us an opportunity to praise and worship Him for Who He is … gives us an opportunity to relate to Him and speak of Him by the truth of Who He is.

    I am a Jew and for Jewish people names and their meanings are important. I thank God for how He moved in the hearts of David and Annie and Chad and Deborah and Hallelujah’s mother as they considered and selected the names of their children. I smile to think of how, in their obedience, their children have been named according to the will of God for His purposes and that the meanings of their names are banners over their lives that will testify in many ways to the goodness, truth, and glory of God. I also love that these children’s parents (and grandparents and other relatives and friends) are being given an opportunity to speak the name God chose for these children over them as a blessing and a prayer, and that these children have a life of growing into their names for God’s glory. This is no small thing to me.

    2. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?

    I did not become saved by faith in Jesus Christ until I was in my forties. As a result, I did not raise my son, Joshua, in the knowledge of the Lord. In the years following my salvation, Joshua spiraled down into a lifestyle of debauchery and sin. I remember vividly a day when he called me weeping. He had been living with the consequences of his sin for long enough to feel miserable and he was in despair. I had, through the years, been speaking to Joshua about Jesus and had received only resistance from him. During this particular phone conversation, the Lord reminded me of why He moved in my heart to name my son, Joshua, so many years earlier. In what I can only characterize as a gift from God Almighty (to me and to my son), I asked Joshua if he knew what his name meant. He did not know. I told him that it meant, “Jehovah saves” and that every time someone spoke his name to him, they were telling him the truth that Jehovah saves. In that moment, a profound seed of truth was planted in my son. I believe with all of my heart that his life will, one day, be a glorious expression of the truth that Jehovah saves. It is not for now as he still walks in rebellion. God means to save my son and through his salvation He means to touch others with the Gospel of our Lord. One day. One glorious day. I wait patiently for Him.

    1. Laurie, I am very blessed by everything you have said here.

      I don’t know if you are new as I have not been able to keep up lately. If you are not new here I am sorry to be so late in greeting you.

      Your Jewish heritage and knowledge of names adds a richness here that I greatly appreciate. Welcome!

      1. Yes, I am new to this community, Anne. Thank you for your welcome. I look forward to getting to know you and the other women here.

      1. Thank you, Dee.

    2. Laure A., I love that you brought up the fact that Adam was commissioned to NAME the animals…what a great connection!!!

    3. Laure A.,

      I see the richness of your Jewish heritage in your post and I like the connection you made with God giving Adam the charge to name the animals, and we are still given the privilege to name the children He gives us. And this is beautiful, when you told your son what his name means: “I told him that it meant, “Jehovah saves” and that every time someone spoke his name to him, they were telling him the truth that Jehovah saves. In that moment, a profound seed of truth was planted in my son.”
      I will say a prayer for Joshua right now for that seed which was planted to grow in his heart.

      1. With every discovery of man of the things which the Lord has made for His pleasure and glory … medicines, foods, technological advancements, constellations, businesses, churches, ministries, and even blogs for instance … God continues to grant man the privilige of naming them all. And I rejoice knowing that for those who are saved by faith in His Son, there is always an opportunity, like I said earlier, to praise and worship Him through the names we give as well as an opportunity to bring our praise and worship to the attention of a watching world that does not know Him or consider Him. I am thinking of three glorious Scriptures right now about this: one in Colossians 1:16 that tells us: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” and in Romans 11:36: “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” and in John 1:3: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Having thought about this and just now in my sharing, I am reverencing God all the more. That He grants us to bring His glory into this world through the children we bear and raise, through our marriages, through the work of our hands, through the words of our mouths, through name-giving and name-calling, through our discipleships, through the testimony of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus that we bring, through the way(s) He places us in the body as He wills and through the relationships and communities He gives us to … well, I am quieted to consider it all.

        Thank you for your prayers for Joshua, Susan. One day he shall know that your faith went heavenward on his behalf and joined the intercession of our Lord Jesus. Thank you very much!

    4. Laure A.–I echo the thoughts of everyone else–this post is so rich. I began trying to pull pieces that stood out, but it is all really full. I had often thought how interesting it is that our names are chosen for us, we have ‘no say’ over something so significant. And yet, how you have tied the charge given to Adam to name, with our ‘charge’ today–this just brought such significance for me. I love the passion you have brought to this topic. One of mine, still quite young, but I long for this one to fully know the truth and meaning in her name. It has brought me comfort many times, almost as a promise, that there is hope because of the name He gave us for this child.
      I will pray too for your Joshua. It is a joy to have you here.

      1. Elizabeth, You bring up an important point that, “we have ‘no say’ over something so significant,” as the name we are given at birth. God’s ways are not our ways and it interests me that He has established a specific order in how He names us and then calls us to live out our identify in Him through the name He has given. I suspect that there are more than a few who observe the living of their child (or even a pet) and then name them. And it also interests me to read the stories of some of God’s people who were given a name change by Him well into their years … Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Saul to Paul, Simon Peter to Peter. God named each one at birth and then changed their name according to His sovereign purposes for their lives. I believe that your daughter will know the truth and meaning behind the name she has been given if for no other reason than it is something you greatly desire for her and will encourage her in, and I pray that she will, as she grows, seek our Lord for the fullest expression of her name through the life He has ordained for her to live.

        Thank you so much for your prayers for my son and for welcoming me here so generously.

        1. Laure, I think the name changes are interesting too!!! It really does indicate that God knows the path that we will take….and He has the final say about our name! These names Abram, Sarai, Jacob, Saul etc…they were shortsighted in the eternal…and God just took up the slack!!! What a great post!

        2. Thank you, Rhonda. Our Lord has really been speaking to our hearts today. I’m loving how he used Dee’s post to consider all this and share a discussion together.

        3. Name changing reminds me of Angela’s little guy. He is a gift from God and his name will be a godly name too!

    5. Wonderful Laure, I believe your son, Joshua will be saved and touch other’s lives. Praying for him now.

      1. Thank you for your prayers, Joyce, and for your faith in our Lord’s working in Joshua’s life.

    6. Oh Laure, so touching… ” I told him that it meant, “Jehovah saves” and that every time someone spoke his name to him, they were telling him the truth that Jehovah saves.”

      1. There is one last thing that the Lord has brought to mind today and it invites me to consider even more how important names are to Him … especially one name in particular … Jesus. In Philippians 2:9-11 Paul tells us: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and GIVEN HIM THE NAME which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (emphasis mine)

        Not only are names important to God but the names He chooses for us have power … although certainly not the kind of power that Jesus Christ’s name has. Perhaps I would do well to consider the power inherent in the name He has given to me and to those I know and love. I want to encourage the outworking of the power resident in our names.

        Jesus is the name above every name and one day at the name of our Lord Jesus, EVERY knee will bow here on earth as every knee bows in heaven. And at the name of our Lord Jesus EVERY tongue will one day confess His Lordship AND all to the glory of God the Father. Sisters, I’m humbled. Glory!

        1. Name above all names!!! Love it!

        2. PRAISE GOD!!

          Thank you for that, Laure.

        3. This reminds me of Isaiah:

          For to us a child is born,
          to us a son is given,
          and the government will be on his shoulders.
          And he will be called
          Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
          Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)

    7. Love this! God still is sovereign over all things!

  9. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    I find it very interesting that we are talking about this particular subject this week. I have another little community group and we decided last week to talk about the names of God…in that discussion this week (intro), we began to consider the importance of a name! Hum…I think I hear (as Margaret Feinberg would say), a “sacred echo”! So interesting…

    “it is such a gift when you know God is naming a child” – I can truly imagine the wonder and the excitement of this understanding. It would make one say, “what is that all about?” To see and understand the personal aspect of God’s involvement even from the first moments of breath! That is unbelievable. I am sure Annie and David will hold on to that gift for quite some time! Makes me think about the statement concerning Mary, “She pondered these things in her heart”…

    “While it was still dark, Annie knew she was in labor” – this statement just jumped off the page for me. WHILE IT WAS STILL DARK…it makes me think about the unknown, the unexpected, the mysterious…so interesting to me that it was in this place (of darkness) that her birth process began! Another “sacred echo”….Resurrection morning speech!!!

    “This child was named by God” – How holy is that? I’m just not sure what to say, this leaves me speechless, how about you? The overwhelming notion of this reminds me of Peter’s reaction to a boat full of fish (a very unexpected catch)….

    In Luke 5:8-10

    When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions WERE ASTONISHED at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

  10. Beautiful pictures of Miabelle and Lily and Barnabas. Nice stories too.

  11. 1. What really stood out to me is what the story of her naming would mean to Lily Grace as she grows up. How it would speak to her of God’s love for her. Of how special she is to Him. That is a priceless inheritance for a child. The understanding of it I mean.

  12. 2. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?
    Well, I didn’t really think I had a ‘story’, I never really knew why my parents named me Elizabeth and in some ways thought it was just all that was left after the line of daughters before me. I remember being in a Christian bookstore when I was 8 or so and finding one of those bookmarks that said my name meant “devoted to God”, and I thought it was like a definition—almost an instruction for me, but in a good way. Just now I looked it up and Wikipedia says “”God’s promise”, “oath of God”, or “I am God’s daughter”. That last one just felt like a special kiss from Him.

    1. Elizabeth…thanks for the idea…I googled “Nanci”…I am SO pleased with what I found. Nanci is a variant of Ann and means “God has favored me”. I checked my Grandma’s name, Anna, and found that Anna is also a variant of Ann with the meaning “God has favored me”. (www.thinkbabynames.com) How very cool…the connection fills my heart with joy!

      1. 🙂 oh that IS fun Nanci–and I have always heard it means ‘grace’–found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_%28given_name%29

      2. Nanci, thanks so much for that! It does mean recipient of His grace. As a child I took it as meaning graceful.

      3. I really like how you spell your name, Nanci, and I am smiling at the connection God has made between you and your Grandma.

      4. What a great find!!! Nanci, it doesn’t get much better than that! I think you need to wrap both arms around that one! 🙂

    2. Well, I just love that, Elizabeth (and I’m talking about your ‘name’ story)!

    3. I love that! God named you that through them! You are His precious! I love that!

    4. Elizabeth, Love how you learned about your name and it IS fitting! 🙂

      1. Dee–I had started with ‘your Elizabeth”s story in my answer–and then I erased it because I didn’t want to take from her special story–BUT, since you mentioned it ;)…I wrote it in my journal after you shared–Steve named her Elizabeth and said ‘She is a survivor’. Those words touched me so deep–I have felt since then that those are the words He wanted to me have, to answer my fears and insecurities.

        1. What a great story…and what a phenomenal name!

  13. 2. I don’t have a good name story but my name has been the source of some chuckling in my family because it means “grace” and I was the clumsiest child ever born. I still am. I decided later that I got it because I need a lot of grace. Now I might say I am the recipient of much grace and working on becoming full of grace.

    1. and Anne, I think we would all here say we see a heart that rests in His grace–so good to have you ‘back’–and see your flowers again 🙂

      1. Resting in His grace-love that!

        Thanks Elizabeth. I decided to try to do as much as I can on Sunday because Monday and Tuesday are so busy that I completely lose the comment threads and feel lost. So I may be gone for the rest of the week.

    2. I’m thinking the meaning of your name has everything to do with your heart and spirit, Anne. By the way … my middle name is Anne but spelled differently.

    3. Love the process through grace! 🙂

    4. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?

      My name “Rhonda” is welsh (in origin) and it means “good lance” or “good spear”. I have battled a lot in my life(many enemies, THE enemy, myself included). I do find it interesting that this name was just a name chosen by my parents because of preference(it was popular at the time)…no specific intent. There is definitely much to ponder in this question…

      1. I have to add this too….I looked up the name on the site that Nanci recommended…this cracked me up, just had to share!

        Since the name only became popular in the 20th century, it also possibly derives from the name of the River Rhondda, meaning “noisy”, in Wales.

        1. Rhonda, I know your not noisy! That is cute.

      2. May God use you to show others how to use the great sword of the Spirit which is His Word, Rhonda!

        1. Thank you Laure, He does give us the whole armor of God…praying that I will live into that “good spear” blessing…

    5. “like” that, Anne! (about grace)

  14. I’m just in awe of those names, Dee! Lily Grace on Easter! Barnabas; how wonderful! That picture of Miabelle looking up at him like he is her special gift from God! And he is! Hallelujah’s story blew me away!! Names and stories of these just don’t happen! It is God’s intervention!

    I have a name story:
    My name is from a special friend my mom knew in grade school…Joyce (don’t know the meaning, except Joy) and my middle name is from my grandmother, Lily, but mom and dad didn’t think Joyce Lily sounded good, so they went with Joyce Lillian. For years I hated my name so bad, but now I kinda like it.

    After I was married to an abuser for 10 years, God chose not to allow children in that marriage, so when I got out of that situation, I rememarried a few years later and I wasn’t sure if it was me that couldn’t have a baby or my first husband, so I prayed and prayed for a child and told God I would put the name Faith in her name if it was a girl (I wanted a girl so bad!) because she would be born because of my faith. I had a baby girl a year after we were married…Kyla Faith! Trevor and Kendra were names we both just picked. Kyla has said if she ever has a baby and it’s a girl, she wants to name her Lily, after my middle name! What comes around, goes around, right?! By the way, my birthday and my two daughter’s birthday’s all fall on the 14th! (of different months).

    Laura dancer was talking about making sure she pronounced names correctly, well my son just got another great dane puppy and named her Leia, pronounced Lay-ah. (from star wars) I’ve been trying to remember how it’s spelled and pronounced for two weeks!! It’s finally sinking in!

    1. Aww Joyce…you are always bringing joy to me!

    2. I love that You told God that you would name her “Faith” in faith! Those kind of conversations with God are not easily forgotten! Such a beautiful story, Joyce!

      1. Dee, that is funny! I always put Joyce L. as there are so many Joyce Peterson’s in this world! Everyone assumes my middle name is Lynn! A second cousin of mine named her baby girl’s first name Lillian and never knew that was my middle name!

  15. 5. I am sure he felt that he was being punished. I would have, at least at first. I would have been mortified that i had offended an angel of The Lord. It is good to be silent, to think and listen. I would have prayed and repented of asking for more proof than was given. I would have prayed for faith. And I would have pondered the things that Gabriel told me about my son. Those are awesome prophesies about John’s ministry.

    I may be totally wrong here but I wonder if he was not silenced because of how words of unbelief would taint this holy work. This was the beginning of the gospel. He was standing on holy ground. He was a priest of The Lord and his words must not mar it.

  16. It’s been a hard few weeks for me. Many disappointments and I have been so down. I can’t seem to shake it; I don’t know why. I didn’t feel like getting dressed for church today so I just stayed home :(. Luckily I have this site and Dee’s thoughtful assignments 🙂

    This really hit home with me today from John Piper’s sermon:

    “This is a warning to us, lest we like Zechariah demand too much evidence before we will believe God’s promises. How many of us, when we are laid low by dark and distressing circumstances, cannot believe that God is working it all out for our infinite good until some ray of light, some extra evidence, shows us that it is all going to be OK? O, how often we fail to take God at his word! ”

    I will have faith.

    1. Praying for you Laura-dancer. Rest in Jesus.

    2. Laura-dancer, Thank you for your honesty about where you have been these past weeks and for your last sentence: “I will have faith.” I understand sadness and depression intimately. I am praying for you and rejoicing that there hasn’t been a solitary moment during these last few weeks of disappointments and feeling down when God Almighty hasn’t held you tight.

    3. Praying for you Laura! So sorry it has been hard but He sees you and will get you through this!

    4. Father, I pray for Laura today…I thank You for being present to her today, specifically through this community. I hear her say, “I have been so down”…as I pray, I think of a portion of Psalms 3, use it to minister encouragement to my sister, “Be the lifter of her head”…

      But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
      my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
      I call out to the Lord,
      and he answers me from his holy mountain.

      I lie down and sleep;
      I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

      1. Laura, I pray with our sister’s here. Since your a dancer, I alwayed imagined you as a joyful person…as we dance when we are happy. I hope you will feel like dancing again and being joyful. I know you have a very full plate, with your teaching and grading paper’s in the evenings, with your family to care for too. I will be upholding you in prayer, sweet sister.

    5. Praying for you, Laura-dancer. These verses became precious to me last week, so I’ll pass them along to you:
      Psalm 94: 17 – 19
      If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
      If I should say, “My foot has slipped,” Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
      When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul.

      Lord Jesus, please delight Laura-dancer with the reminder of how close you are to her and of how much you care for her. Thank you for your grace and steadfast love.

  17. Dee, I just read #10. God endeared me to that book just this Saturday morning. I finished something that I was doing in Ruth 1 so it was laying there open. When I looked at it and the name Ruth at the top I was affected, endeared is the closest word I can find. It called to me and I remembered what you have taught us about stopping when that happens. I read through it a couple of times. There are so many wonderful aspects of that book. The one that touched me this time is how God not only took care of Naomi in her old age, but how He blessed her!

    With your mention also of the book I sense there is more…

  18. What stood out to me? Go’s providential hand in joining you and your daughter together to share in this momentous occasion together. The beauty of your grandchild’s name and the sweet picture!

    Name story-our youngest girls are twins. When I was 18 wks pregnant we found out that my lupus-like antibodies destroyed the AV node in baby A’s heart causing her heart rate to drop from 130 bpm to 70 bpm within a week. Baby B was unaffected. As we neared the 36th week of pregnancy, I realized referring to the girls as Baby A and Baby B wasn’t going to work and we needed to buckle down on names. Now, I don’t “know” when God is speaking to me….at least until hindsight is involved, but I loved two names: Miriam Estelle and Victoria Grace. Who was who though? The night before my 36 week check-up I had a dream I was holding a fragile baby not much bigger than my hand. I stroked her hair and called her Miriam. I told her I was sorry. At my appointment, I was dilated to a point it was time for an emergency c-section. As I drove myself to the hospital, I praised God for taking that additional burden off my shoulders so I could affectively focus on what was about to happen. When the babies were born, Baby A was Miriam Estelle.

    On an unrelated note, She was singing and dancing two weeks after we had her pacer implanted this past September….with what in her hand? A tambourine! I know that is not why she is named Miriam, but it was sure cute nonetheless!

    1. Rebecca, I loved that story about your twin girls! How old are they? Their names are so pretty, too.

      For our new sisters, we have two Rebecca’s. The other Rebecca has a picture and she has three boys. How are we going to tell them apart? Maybe a middle initial?

      1. Joyce, I can change my name to Rebecca D. No problem. 🙂 I have four boys but that is okay-I can’t keep track of them either! 🙂

        1. Sorry Rebecca, I don’t know why I said three…I knew you had four boys! Thanks for willing to put your middle initial in. Let me guess your middle name….hum….Darlene?

      2. Thank you, Joyce. The girls are 3 now. I praise God for their energy, but secretly wish I had some of it!

    2. Rebecca,

      I LOVE your name story. 🙂

    3. As I read your beautiful story I was blessed to see how the Lord revealed His will through the dream you had and the effect that had on you.

    4. Rebecca…thank you for sharing your naming story of your twins…really touching.

  19. OK, guys. Something funny! I have never known why I was called Diane. Yes there is the Greek goddess Diana, but my parents were Christian so I didn’t think that would be significant. It does mean “heavenly or divine”, which is kind of nice really. But I started searching Wikipedia and found that there was an intense hurricane named Diane that was barrelling up the Atlantic coast the day I was born. I was born in a coastal village. It was so intense and did so much damage that they ended up “retiring” that name for any future hurricanes. Apparently I am very dangerous and can cause a lot of damage. I don’t recall my parents ever admitting to naming me after a hurricane but with my Dad’s sense of humour, he just may have! To be fair … my parents would have had no way of knowing that the hurricane would become so intense in the days after my birth. Perhaps they were a bit reluctant to tell me that I was named after such a destructive hurricane. Anyway, my name may have a double meaning both good and not so good! I wonder …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Diane

    1. Diane, that is a total hoot! Ha!

    2. Diane, I loved that your named after a hurricane!! Where were you born…in Canada?

      1. Yes, Joyce. I was born in Canada, in a little fishing village of Advocate Harbour in Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy. My father had a summer pastorate there but we moved away from there within a few weeksof my birth for my Dad to go back to university where he was studying to become a pastor. I was born in August and classes started early September.

        1. Love your story, Diane and it sounds like a beautiful place that you were born.

    3. Diane, I have to ask (because it is so small, I cannot really determine) but what type of flower is displayed on your Avatar?

      1. My avatar flowers are really early spring tulips. The picture was taken during a previous spring. It is a bit too early here for even them yet, but I was getting so anxious to see flowers that I posted it anyway. We have had some warm days but recently it has turned chilly again and we have experienced flurries and cold winds again. Still, signs of spring abound. I had 50 robins hunting for worms on my lawn last week and I see new birds at my feeder almost every day. Some have had spring flowers bloom in sheltered spots in their gardens. This is spring in central New Brunswick, Canada.

        1. They are beautiful and that red image just pops as I scroll…it does make me think of resurrection…my curiousity couldn’t be contained! I am so thankful for the sunshine it is definitely healing (it has been a long winter), wishing you more and more of it! 🙂

    4. This made me chuckle, Diane…:)

    5. Okay Mom, that is funny. 🙂 You need to ask Grampy about this!

  20. Dee, I have to say…your grandkids are just adorable! Love all the pictures…the one with Barnabas is very telling! So cute!

      1. I understand that…and so appreciate your nurturing grandmother heart, what a gift to those kids!

  21. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    The stories-Annie and David, Barnabas’ story and Hallelujah! 🙂 Also that God is personal and cares about every decision, every thought we have. Also that He is sovereign-even when I don’t hear Him in a decision, afterward i see His hand in it.

    2. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?

    Isaac’s name means he will laugh-laughter. I wasn’t fond of his name but knew God wanted that to be his name. Isaac always laughs, makes us laugh and smiles a lot. He is a delight to all he is around even though he has autism. I also think God named him Isaac because of what God was going to show me about His resurrection power. How He can shape the hearts of anyone-even someone with autism. He is a mighty, mindful loving God.

    1. Oooh, Rebecca, I am blessed by your obedience to God in naming your son. Resurrection power is a reality that I am passionate about. What a gift your son is! Your testimony is praise!

      1. Laure A, Amen! so wonderful to see the passion He has given you for Him! “Resurrection power is a reality.” loved that-Yes it is, every day. 🙂

      2. Dee,

        Did they get you a flight yesterday or did you have to stay over night? Hated to hear you were stranded!

    2. Rebecca, so amazing that you followed God’s voice (even at that stage of your child’s life)…what nurturing love that displays and visionary hope from a mother’s heart! It is sweet to know this about you…

  22. Congratulations Dee on your new addition. I miss you all so. 5 weeks until summer break and I will be back. Working and school full time has taken its toll but my God is so good to me! I am soaking in His grace and mercy amidst the hectic schedule. Love all the wisdom shared and I read with a hungry heart! Thank you all for your honest words.

    1. Hi Becca…you have been missed…best wishes in these final five weeks of your semester. I’m sure that summer will be a welcome break…and it will be good to have you back for a bit.

    2. Becca! Hi!!! You know how much I have missed you here. 🙂 So glad we have Facebook! <3

    3. Miss you Becca. I’m glad you got a job…hope you like it!!

  23. I found this quote and just felt I needed to share it (though not on topic). I have been keenly aware that Chris S. has not been commenting much recently and that she was struggling during the Easter season. (Miss you, Chris and pray you are clinging to Jesus).Now Laura dancer is admitting that she is down. There are others who also have mentioned emotional struggles, I know. I, too, have been going through dark deep intense waters that at times leave me in great grief and panic. I hope this quote by Keller will be of some encouragement. May we all get enough of a glimpse of His glory to be revealed in us to help us hold on to Him in our dark times.

    “In the Christian life, suffering and glory are inextricably bound up together, because our great forerunner, our great pioneer, our Savior, Jesus Christ, came to glory through suffering. As a result, that is the pattern for all of us. Servants, you are not above your master.”

    A couple of verses on this as well:

    Hebrews 2:10
    For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

    1 Peter 4:13
    But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

    1. Oh, Diane, I so appreciate this post…your love and concern are intentional and evident…thank you for the reminders of Christ and His love in the midst of suffering…I too pray for our sisters that God would pull them close and allow them to reconnect as they are able…no condemnation, just prayers, concern and loving support…

  24. Amen, Diane!

    If I may add …

    1 Corinthians 10:13

    “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

    So much of our life in Christ rests on these 4 words: “BUT God is faithful.”

    Father,

    I ask that You would minister Your faithfulness to Laura-dancer and Chris and any one of us who is suffering. I stand on Your Word, Lord. Sanctify these precious women by Your truth, Your Word is truth! Refine them as pure gold. Father, by the words you gave to the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:1-11, I pray for my sisters and ask for Your glory to meet them and rest upon them …

    “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

    10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”

    May grace and peace in the knowledge of Christ Jesus be multiplied to my sisters. Thank You for the testimony You are building in them. Amen.

    1. Thank you for that, Laure. I pray also for Chris..Please let us know you are okay, Laura Dancer..(How is your mother and Sarah doing?), Julie..(How are Kyle and Alli doing?), Renee, Mary Canada..(How is your brother Glenn?), Cyndi, Sarahsal, Dawn, Laura Marie, Mellany, Liz.. (How is your brother, Andy?), Cherie, Phyllis..(how is Megan?) …and so many more…we miss you and praying for you.

      1. Hi Joyce, just saw this and wanted to give you an update on mom. She is getting stronger and has started trying to stand on her own! With help, she is walking several steps. Mom’s brain seems basically unaffected by her fall and surgeries. I wonder though, if the fall affected her agility, as she was totally mobile before this happened. I do know that 5 months in bed would atrify the muscles. The wound is still her nemesis however. No one can seem to understand how to take care of it, even the doctor. All their fault that she is in this position now. God does not think it is time to take her because she hasn’t died (officially) yet!

        On a side note, I was trying to get a summer job with an observatory near here to help pay for some outstanding bills we have. I guess it was to meant to be because I didn’t get it. I will be able to go and spend some time with her this summer. That is good.

  25. Postscript:

    These words of Corrie ten Boom have girded me many a time when I was in the pit …

    “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

    Hallelujah!

    1. PTL!

  26. sorry I have been MIA! life has got a little more crazy then normal, all good crazy, but very busy.
    My name means source of light, I pray that I live up to my name 🙂
    Lily was named because the lily is in so many Chinese pictures and is so important to that culture.
    the coolest name story is that I named my friends baby when she was 6 weeks pregnant. she was VERY upset because she has a lot of health issues and really did not want to be pregnant. When she told me she was prego, I laughed out loud as she cried, she was not happy with me 🙂
    she was SURE it was a boy….very sure, but abby and I both knew it was a girl, abby had had a dream about her that came true 3 years later but that’s another story! so anyway, I told my friend lisa that it was a girl and her name was Sarah, because of the laughter that she caused in me… kinda kidding but kinda not 🙂 its not like im some future teller I just had such a strong feeling from God. Well she picked out boy names and another girl name “just in case” but was sure the entire time it was a boy so I never said another word about it, but abby and I “knew”
    when Sarah was born they took one look at her and knew her name was Sarah 🙂 it was not until I came to see them at the hospital and she told me her name that she even remembered what I has said 6 months earlier 🙂

    1. Loved that story, Cyndi. Thanks for checking in with us!

  27. Read Luke 1:5-20

    A. What name did Gabriel say Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son was to have? His name was to be John…as I thought about this…I remembered that prior to the Gospels there was a long period of SILENCE. In the silence many had to be wondering has God forgotten us? What is going on? And then, in a most unexpected way…God come to this elderly couple and states…”you will have a child and his name will be JOHN”…meaning, “God is gracious”! God stepped into the silence with a bold and certain declaration…I AM GRACIOUS! Because of my graciousness, I am giving You a forerunner of things to come! AWAKE out of the silence…HE IS COMING!

    B. What was Zechariah’s response in verse 18 and why? “How can I be sure of this”…we always want certainty…”give me some proof”…I think we often fault Zechariah when in reality, how many of us would have responded in the same way? This man had waited all his life for a child and to have this encounter at the time when it was least expected! I can see where humanity would kick in!!!

    C. What does Gabriel tell him and why? “I am Gabriel” (meaning…strong man of God, God is my might), “I stand in the presence of God and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you good news” Gabriel wanted Zechariah to understand by what authority he had been sent! Gabriel’s name was an indication of his ability to deliver THIS message!

  28. 1. Love the song from the weekend. I felt God speaking to me tenderly as I listened.

    2. I looked up my middle name, Faye, and it means confidence, trust and belief. These are words I would use to describe myself spiritually.
    My daughter in law and I are constantly talking/sharing names whenever we get together and just last night we saw a name on a tv show that is perfect for her (Melody) to name a future daughter. We both agreed it is the most beautiful name we have ever heard. The neat thing is that it starts with the first three letters of her name. I dare not share it here for I will lose my good mother-in-law status! Perhaps I will share it someday.

    1. I think I remember her name…wasn’t she on here for a short time, one time, Kim? How are your headaches..any better?..I hope and pray they are.

      1. Yes, Melody was on for a time.
        Thank you for your prayers regarding my headaches. The dr. put me back on steroids because the pain was intolerable. I am going to try something today that a nurse friend suggested. I trust Him with all of it.
        Love to you, Joyce

  29. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Everything and how blessed u and your grandchildren are. I esp. enjoyed the picture of the Mia and Barnabas. That is too cute. Makes u wonder if God has a plan for the two of them. I chuckled over the story of Hallejah. That mother has great faith. Her journey with 3 little ones will be joyful and I imagine tiring. She must have a lot of help with her family, friends and husband and of course God.

    2. Do you have a “name” story that showed God’s mindfulness?
    My second dtr. Jessica was a difficult birth. I was not saved but when she was born the cord was wrapped around her neck. They had to call in a specialist. That was the first time I remember praying in public. I put my hands together and called on God to help. He did. The point of the story is that I was going to name her Sophia but after I prayed the name Jessica came to mind. I knew of no Jessica’s -no friends, no people by that name- Now of course 30 years later I know of Jessica but not then.
    I was saved, came to know the Lord 4 months later. So my dtr. Jessica and I were both born again in 1984.

    My grandmother named me and spelt my name Mellany not Melanie.
    All of my life I have had to correct the spelling of my name.-school, bank loans etc.
    It makes me smile
    When I get to know people I just say call me Mel, it makes life simplier.

    B/c I tend towards being melancholy(sp) I have to let u know
    I met with my neice and my sister.
    I was able to pray with them and ask God to provide blessing after blessing.
    I so want God to break intergenerational bonds with Leah and her children.
    There is such a story there but Leah does not keep her children safe. Livvy her dtr. was sexually abused already from one of Leah’s b/f. She is no longer with him and Livvy turns 7 this year. But now Leah is about to give birth to a little boy and she has not involvment with the father.

    I am sad with sharing this information. But still believing God can do miracles. That all is not lost. I pray and believe that God can bring a mentor into Leah’s life and that my sister will stand in the gap for her dtr. and her grandchildren. My sister was not a great mom but now she is saved and God is in the picture. God makes all the difference.

    Sometimes I feel like a reject relaying my tales of woe.
    My family has not served God but God did deliver me and now my sister.
    My dtrs. do serve the Lord except for the youngest but God is good and He is soverign and I will stand on His word.

    I just so long for my life, my children’s life and my future grandchildren (if any) will be totally different.
    Focused on God and serving Him only and no one else.

    Dee, u and your family and friends are so blessed. I am happy for you and I see the blessing of God on your life. Your children and grandchildren are so blessed.

    I do thank God that He answers prayer and that His presence is mighty to save and mighty in battle. I will continue to pray. I will let u know when her baby is born and what his name will be.

    1. Mellany, you are not a reject. When I read your post, I read of a woman who loves God and is trusting Him in tough areas. Who loves her family and is waiting for God to work in their lives. Tell Satan to take a hike. You are a daughter of the King and He has good planned for you. The circumstances aren’t good right now but NOTHING is too hard for God when you give your life and the lives of all you love to Him.

    2. Father, I hear Mellany’s words today, “I feel like a reject” and oh, how I want to reassure her of Your love! I know these words are accompanied by pain and I pray that today You will ease that pain. There are hopeful words here too…”God is good and He is sovereign and I will stand on His word”…I know this declarative statement is made in faith, especially in the midst of this trying time. Bless the heart behind these “faith filled” words…show Mellany just how GOOD you really are. I pray that she will hear Your word to her heart today, let it be a medicine to her soul…”All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out”….Thank You for this promise Father!

    3. Glad your here Mellany. Yes, let us know the baby boy,s name when he is born.

  30. Okay, I’ll tell the story of how I got my name. No deep meaning to it but we always can use a laugh. I have two older brothers who received wonderful biblical names (David & Paul). They were both large babies, each almost 10 pounds and born only 14 months apart. When my mom became pregnant with me, the doctor told her she must not have another large baby so he put her on a strict diet and she did well. I was less that 7 pounds. But my parents did not have a name for me. My dad is not so keen on girls so he was planning on a third boy. Back in the 60s, moms stayed in the hospital alot longer but they couldn’t come up with a name. Finally, the nurses said, “You’ve got to name this child”. My dad came back to the hospital and told my mom, “I think we should name her Jill because a gill (soft g) is a small unit of measure and she is so much smaller than the boys” so that’s how I came to be called Jill. It wasn’t until I was older that I looked up gill and it is a small unit of volume, 1/4 pint, usually used to measure wine or other alcoholic drinks! Now my dad was raised by an alcoholic father and I wonder if he was familiar with a gill from his home life. To my dad’s great credit, in all his 89 years, he has never touched alcohol because of his upbringing. I have looked up Jill and it means either youthful or girl and my middle name Eileen means light. I have no idea how they came up with Eileen.

    1. I’ve never heard of Eileen either, Jill..very nice story! Eileen reminds me of my mom’s middle name Elaine.

      I just thought of a funny name story again. I have three older brother’s is all…all starting with D and mom’s first name was Dorothy, altho dad’s name was not a D name, they tried to think of a D name for me, but couldn’t agree on anything, so mom picked Joyce. But all the years of growing up with older brother’s teasing me all the time, my brother’s always said our name’s were: Dennis, Dwight, Duane and Dumb-bell. Sometimes they called me Doyce… I was not amused! It’s okay, you can laugh:-)

  31. Several things stood out to me above. Most of all was the song, He knows my name. I love the song soo much! It is truly one of my favourites. Whenever I hear it I am reminded once again of God’s great love for me.
    Another thing that stood out to me was the picture of Mia and Barnabas. Sooo sweet! Such admiration in her eyes!

    I LOVE name meanings. All of my boys have Biblical first names. Stephen (the first Christian martyr, means crowned one, but I actually didn’t know the meaning when we named him), Joshua (he goes by Josh, and his name means Jehovah Saves), and Caleb (means faithful). Also I named the two babies I miscarried. I felt they were both girls. My first I named Alannah Ruth which means dear child, companion (also I choose Ruth because it is Mom’s middle name). My second I named Elizabeth Malaika which is after my Grammy, Betty, who passed away just a couple of months before my miscarriage (Elizabeth means consecrated to God). Malaika means Angel, it’s a Swahili name. My family lived in Kenya for a few years when I was a little girl, and I wanted her to have partly a Swahili name. I just found this on that name, so neat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaika

    My name means child of God. 🙂 I love that meaning. My middle name is Beth, after my grandmother. My parents thought that Krista Beth went together better than Krista Elizabeth, and I agree! I love it!

    Oh yes, I also have a Swahili name that I was given when we lived in Kenya which is Mueni (moo-a-nee). It means “The new one, A visitor.” Every once in a while my dad will call me Mueni and I love it. 🙂 Brings me back to when I was a little girl and back to a place that was home to me. I truly hope to go back to visit where we lived again some day!

    1. Krista, I am so sorry you lost two babies. All of the name’s of your three boys and your name and your daughter’s name’s are so beautiful. One day you will met your daughter’s in heaven. I hope to meet a miscarried baby, I felt like was a daughter also, one day.

      I love that song also..”He knows my name”…it is beautiful!

    2. Krista, I have a friend who lived in Uganda as a child. She is now in her early 60’s and often spoke fondly of Uganda to me. There is a Ugandan man in her church. It is a wonderful story how God wove us all together for I also work with this man. It happens that he is from the village that she lived in. He is a doctor and in the process of developing a clinic there.
      Last year she visited there and met the woman who took care of her as a child. She is very old but you can imagine how blessed she was to see her. In June she will go back for 6 months to explore the possibility of hosting a guest house for visiting medical personnel.
      I say all of this to encourage you. Hang on to God during this difficult time. Trust Him alone. He is so good. I don’t know if He will ever call you back to Kenya but I know His heart is good toward you. He has plans for you.
      This friend just a few years ago was concerned about the very real possibility of Alzheimer’s. I have watched her devote herself to ministry, even teaching a BSF class which is no small commitment. I keep thinking she is doing too much but I have to shut my mouth because I see what is happening.
      I am sorry to go on so. I’m on a roll I think. But we have developed a practice that is so beneficial to us that I think it is worth mentioning here. We meet for tea as often as we can and try to alot time for prayer after. So we have tea and talk about our problems. It can get pretty glum BUT THEN we pray for however much time we have or until we are done. We pray about the things we have just aired out. Once I confessed a temptation that I really wasn’t facing up to and the moment I put it into words it became clear. I had known it was there & sort of tried to pull myself up out of it but that confession broke its power absolutely.
      I am going to miss her terribly when they leave but God has already provided another friend like this through my Moms in Prayer involvement.
      Krista I pray that God will bring such a friend to you. She will be a balm to your soul. Keep your eyes peeled and try to get involved with women who pray. Love and prayers to you.

      1. Anne…thank you. I needed to hear those words. I truly do need such a friend and I will pray for that s well. I have been feeling very lonely and like I’ve lost a lot of my friends through this difficult time in my life. God bless you.

  32. Okay, so I guess we are looking at middle names too…my middle name is “Lea” (pronounced, Lee)…I received this name in honor of both grandmothers. Both had the middle name of “Lee”. I looked this name up and discovered it means…”delicate; weary; meadow or pasture”…

    1. Love your name Rhonda Lea!

  33. I have hesitated to jump in on this particular discussion, because I certainly have nothing “gold” to contribute. In fact, until this blog, I have never given thought to the spiritual meaning of names. I think it is a very good idea, but its a little late for me 🙂
    As I mentioned several weeks ago, I was named after singing movie star, Deanna Durbin. My mother told me that Deanna Durbin frequently ended her movies with a closing song of “God Bless America.” That is as close as my name gets to being spiritual 🙂 Most authorities say Deanna is a variant of Diana, meaning goddess. I think it hearkens back to the Roman goddess of love (quite pagan!) When my husband and I chose names for our daughters, we pretty much chose names we liked, and were careful not to name our children anything that other children could use for teasing or harassment. However, it just didn’t occur to us to give them a specifically spiritual name.

    1. I love your name Deanna…did you have a nickname? Mom wanted a name for me that no one could tag a nickname to, also.

      1. Yes, Joyce — a couple of nicknames. My mother always called me Annie, but my friends called me Dee. However, as I got older, the “Dee” faded out a bit. My husband and several of my friends and a couple of nieces call me Dee still.

  34. 5. If you were Zechariah, what thoughts might you have had during these nine months when you were deaf and dumb?

    I would have probably been afraid that I would never actually speak again and then realized how stupid I was. I thought he was just dumb though. Was he also deaf? I guess I would trust that the Lord would provide at some point and then bs patient.

    Read Luke 1:57-66.

    A. Describe the discussion about the name in verses 57-63.

    Well, “they” came to circumcise the baby and were going to name him as well. Who were “they?” was it a doctor? Was it a priest with doctor skills? Why would “they” be naming him and not his parents? Eventually Zechariah and Elizabeth do name him, but not a family name. Everyone is surprised, but it is what they are supposed to do according to the angel.

    B. What happened immediately after Zechariah confirmed the name was John? Why, do you think?

    He could speak! It is because that was what God said would happen as long as he followed the direction God gave him.

    C. What reaction did the neighbors have (65-66)

    They were astonished! They told everyone they knew and thr word spread all over the land. They wondered about the child; how special he was, because he had God with him.

    1. i noticed no one had answered your question about who performed the circumcision. That is a very good question!
      When i looked in my concordance, i didn’t really get any help, though it did look like Joshua may have personally performed all the circumcisions before crossing Jordan. eek.
      In the Jewish Virtual Library article on the ceremony, it says this is traditionally done by the father. However, “Since most fathers do not have the appropriate training, a specialist called a mohel” will more likely do the actual procedure. This man may or may not be a doctor, and probably did his first circumcision on his own son.
      The JewishEncyclopedia.com, where i looked first, was far more lengthy and less useful (TMI!), but it did contain one usage worthy of note. ” the penalty of non-observance being (circumcised), excision from the people (Gen. xvii. 10-14, xxi. 4; Lev. xii. 3).” Cut the body, or cut the entire person.
      So, leading to your next question, this was a family celebration. The relatives were trying to name the baby traditionally, like everybody else did, like my Southern friend tells me is OF COURSE the norm, and yes, his parents were, or actually his dad was, naming John.
      Thanks for letting me drop in!

  35. 3. Read Luke 1:5-20

    A. What name did Gabriel say Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son was to have?
    John. He will be a joy and delight to them, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while in the womb and will bring the Israelis back to God, and will make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

    B. What was Zechariah’s response in verse 18 and why?
    He didn’t believe-he questioned the angel because he and Elizabeth were old.

    C. What does Gabriel tell him and why?
    He said he is Gabriel who stands in the presence of God and that he has been sent to tell Zechariah this good news but because Zecharaiah didn’t believe he will be silent and not able to speak until this happens.

  36. I have been following the study since the beginning and have been truly blessed by each and every lesson and comment. Thank you for following God’s leading. This has been life changing!

    This lesson on the names is interesting. I was named after my dad’s sister. Being the middle child, I was basically treated and felt like “Cinderella” my entire life. My name means warrior. I never felt like a warrior, other than being rebellious and fighting against authority. God has been so gracious to preserve me and over the past 5 years, brought me to see that I am to be a warrior, a warrior for Christ! He has lifted me up and replaced the years the locust have eaten. Praise God for allowing me to truly understand my name in HIM.

    1. Welcome Marci! So loved your testimony of your name-how God takes a rebel warrior against authority and turns her into a humble warrior for Him. 🙂

    2. welcome Marci–glad you have joined the discussion!

    3. Hi Marci. Welcome to the group. I love the meaning of your name – warrior. It makes me think of strength, loyalty, courage.

    4. Marci, Welcome…I love your name! Sorta kinda akin to mine, your words are inspiring…”brought me to see that I am to be a warrior, a warrior for Christ”…so glad to have you here!

    5. Welcome Marci, I know a Marci…lovely woman.
      So glad you’ve joined us!

  37. John Piper preached his last sermon at Bethlehem Baptist on Easter Sunday. Here is a written sermon entitled: “How Not To Talk To An Angel.“

    4. What comments do you have on Piper’s sermon?

    That God wants us to respond to Him like Mary did rather than Zechariah but when we do respond like Zechariah we must repent and accept God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ. We all fail to trust God every minute, day by day, but the key is that we repent and turn over and over again.

    5. If you were Zechariah, what thoughts might you have had during these nine months when you were deaf and dumb?

    What a great question! I would be thankful God didn’t strike me down in the temple. Then I would feel sorrow that I didn’t believe God. I would then feel like a fool and would struggle deeply with being deaf and dumb. This would most likely awaken me of His mindfulness, care, and how He is deeply personal. and I would feel loved. He knows my thoughts, my heart-what is behind my words, my actions, and not only is He going to bless me with a son, this son will be preparing the way for the Lord. God still honored and blessed Zechariah and Elizabeth even though Zechariah walked in unbelief at first.

  38. So Elizabeth, Marci and others have made me want to find out the meaning of my name. I found it but don’t understand the meaning yet. It means “To tie, or to bind”. I have even seen ‘snare’. My poor husband lol! I am not sure I like my name now!

    I have seen ‘loyal’ as well and that is true of me my whole life it seems even even before I knew Jesus.

      1. Dee, I also saw ‘captivating’-not sure that is right-but I thought of God being captivated by me-and me Him..The Shulamite woman and Jesus-Him taknig me to higher places. He is my beauty. 🙂

      2. Oh yes.
        A book i’ve been reading recently pointed out that Rebecca is the only woman in the Bible whose birth is mentioned. The author points out that Rebecca & Isaac were from the same family, cousins.
        i’ve noticed before how eager Rebecca was to be TIED to the lineage of grace.
        The Biblical Rebecca came from the same family as Isaac, but unless she made a deliberate choice, she would not have been bound to the promise.

    1. sweet Rebecca–I know I’ve actually looked yours up before–when we were giving “blessings” here, after you shared you story–I remember because it said the Hebrew meant “to bind”–as in being loyal, faithful. I picture you like the peacemaker, the faithful tie around your family. And I’m thinking–isn’t it with a “kah” in the OT and spelled your way in the new? Maybe there is something to that. Too many great puritans named Rebecca for it to mean something negative! Love you dear friend!

      1. Dee and Elizabeth-what a sweet fragrance you both always are to me from Him-thanks so for the encouragement! Well and the other Rebecca’s here should be encouraged too! 🙂

        Another odd thing-not sure what to think but one of our boys is named Isaac and the other Jacob..Oh my..(I didn’t plan it that way!) and my boys thought I favored Jacob-and even though I didn’t love him more I kind of did favor him more-he is so cute and full of life and the youngest. Then I thought of Rebecca and how destructive that could be! So I stopped.

        1. LOL! Then God was gracious toward my boys in me not being aware, for maybe if I knew I might have been tempted to name one Esau-lol! 🙂

    2. Well, one thing that comes to my mind is that your input here helps us to bind together…maybe its a description of an ability to bring “unity”….just a thought! I like it!

      1. or healing…”bind up wounds”…I think there is a lot of good stuff in your name…

  39. My friend Lee sent me this blog site and I had a brightened morning from reading it. My time of naming children as long passed but I am encouraged to hear that many younger people are taking the naming process seriously and making sure the name is one that expresses a wonderful quality that is shown in the scriptures. I pray there are many more Barnabas’ to come. Thanks Dee for the tender story. May God’s blessings cover all your grand children over their life time.

    1. Welcome Pat, so glad to have you here!

    1. Well, what I hear in that…is the sweetness of sisterhood (your giftings definitely enhance that for all of us)! I think Dee reflects that well, God loves the family and all the playful nuances contained therein! So sweet…

    2. Dee, Oh I see God’s hand in the meaning of your name-I am saying this in truth and love. I mean look at how He has raised you up and made you a spiritual leader among women-a protector from the lies of satan-how you expose this in Idol Lies and look at how He has moved in hearts through you the past 30 plus years! Your heart aligns with God’s-His desires- and He has raised you up and rightly so for He has made you a humble, confident woman of Grace, and a mentor with a play dough heart- which so pleases Him. I have more but I will stop. 🙂

    3. Hmm…when I read “protector of the sea”…my mind went to “love beneath the waves”…Truth calms the sea–and you speak His Truth.He has surely used you, speaking His Truth, to bring calm to my storms!
      I have been curious before about my “new name”–(rev. 2:17)?

    4. Dee, When I worked with Steve at the clinic, you were called DeeDee…how did that come about? When Steve would say “Poor DeeDee”?

    5. I love your name, Meredith, Dee. Isn’t one of your grandaughter’s named after you?

  40. Thank you friends for pulling me along, I suppose I have been sitting in a puddle of self absorption without even really acknowledging the struggle to myself. I fell behind on here last week and felt unable to catch up.
    This Sunday I was exhausted and realized by the end of the day that I am sick, a weird cold or sinus infection with a sore throat, I found myself once again so quickly wishing to check out of life, hoping I have some terminal illness.
    I read this last night in Ragamuffin Gospel and it hit me where I am.

    “to choose between generativity and stagnation, between continuing to have an impact or sitting around waiting to die.”

    I do desire to live above it all, to be victorious in everything, to be an overcomer. Ugh, how quickly and unexpectedly I slide again, into the pit, I feel like depression ‘desires to have me’
    It is hard to confess this stuff, I would rather hide till I feel stronger.


    I read through the comments this morning, I felt weepy, Laure I too have a wayward Joshua. My mom named me after a doll she saw when she was pregnant with me, I looked up Christina and found it to mean ‘follower of Christ’… more tears.


    Thank you friends for nudging me

    1. Oh Chris…your words…”hoping I have some terminal illness”…Father, each and every one of these words we submit to Your keeping. I know the pain is GREAT! I know Chris feels overwhelmed…but I am so thankful to know today that You have named her, “follower of Christ”…a lamb following her Good Shepherd. I pray that You will bind up her broken heart and soothe her troubled soul. Thank You for bringing her back to us…revive her spirit and show us how to pray!

    2. OH Chris, I can so relate for I too have had a rough few weeks feeling like the floor has dropped out from under us financially with all these emergencies happening at once-wondering when it will end so we can recover-and then needing to make changes in our life schedule wise so that I can take more care of my husband. I too have felt like you-Oh I will pray for you!! Love you.

      Father I cry out for Chris for she is down-God lift her up in her weakness and help her to once again see your face and fall in your arms trusting you in her grief and her daily trials and exhaustion. Give her your rest in the middle of this chaos and a sweet taste of you deeper in. In Jesus name, amen..

    3. Chris, Chris, Chris. I could have written this post myself. I just contacted my Dr. about a possible medicine increase because of how I’ve been feeling. I totally understand the “hoping” to have a terminal illness. How selfish of me!
      We have gotten mixed news in the last week. My 25 year old son got engaged on Sunday and plans on marrying in August because he is starting fall semester at Moody Bible Institute in Washington (all the way across the country) and wants to take his girl with him. My 27 year old unmarried son just told us that his girlfriend is pregnant…with twins. I never wanted or expected any of my sons to have children out of wedlock. These will be our first grandchildren and while I absolutely couldn’t wait for grandkids this isn’t the way I would have chosen.

      1. Dawn MS, I believe I may understand where you are in response to the news that your son and his girlfriend are having twins. My son, Joshua, has a son out of wedlock. I am praying for you as you receive God’s presence, love, wisdom, and leading.

    4. I am praying for your son, Joshua, Chris.

    5. Chris, You are a wonderful “follower of Christ” and I’m so glad your okay….please get to feeling better…we need you here.

    6. Chris, I have missed you and you have been on my heart so much–will continue to pray for you dear sister

    7. Chris, I am glad you are able to speak out on how you feel. I have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for as long as I can remember. I remember feeling this way when I was in elementary school. I don’t know you well enough Chris to truly make any suggestions. Each one of our struggles is individual. But I can say, do not keep your struggle secret. That is where our enemy lives. To lie to you that you are alone, that no one will understand, that you will be rejected if you confess how you feel. Those are lies from the pit of hell. Have trusted friends that will surround you with support and prayer. My dear sister, I will be praying for you.

    8. Thank you so all of you, I don’t know why it is so hard to share when I am struggling, it always lessens when I do and when you pray. Most of us seem determined to keep up a good front, for fear of discouraging others, when honest sharing is what really encourages.

      I have more to say in response, but my head is aching terribly and my thinking is muddy so I will hope to say more when I feel a bit better.

      1. I feel like this often these days:

        “I do desire to live above it all, to be victorious in everything, to be an overcomer. Ugh, how quickly and unexpectedly I slide again, into the pit, I feel like depression ‘desires to have me’
        It is hard to confess this stuff, I would rather hide till I feel stronger.”

        When I come and confess, you ladies build me up. Thank you so much for being here for us.

        Chris, although our struggles are different we have much in common emotionally. Know that you are not alone. I am praying dear cyber-friend 🙂

  41. What comments do you have on Piper’s Sermon?

    “This is God’s work. These births were not unusual coincidences found by God and used. They were ordained and ordered by his sovereign will.”

    I loved these sentences…it just reminds me of the fact that God is the giver of all life! He “births” through our lives by His sovereign will. This idea is HOLY to me…one of those realizations about our “control” factor in this world! Another quote, “He is in control here and something unexpected and stupendous is beginning to happen in the world”

    “Note well that Jesus is not belittling evidence for faith; he is exposing the hard and unrepentant hearts of his contemporaries because they cannot see in his miracles and character sufficient signs of his truth”

    I see how troubling this is to Jesus….and Gabriel’s response (as God’s messenger) to Zechariah reflect the heart of God…you will be silenced!

    “But a spirit of earnest longing to know more of God’s wisdom and a humble readiness to be taught something new—this spirit pleases the Lord.”

    Oh, to always be teachable!

    “But thanks be to God, though we may have to endure some chastisement for our unbelief, God does not cast us away, if we repent and set our hope afresh on him..”

    I see the charge…

    “walk fearlessly in all his commandments…” even when it seems crazy, unbelief and a spirit of fearfulness are totally contrary to God’s heart!

  42. 4. What comments do you have on Piper’s sermon?
    It cleared up the question I had about why Zachariah was chastised for questioning, but Mary wasn’t.

    5. If you were Zechariah, what thoughts might you have had during these nine months when you were deaf and dumb?
    How could I be so foolish? What if this lasts the rest of my life? I’ll never question God again.

  43. I do have a prayer request and praise for how He has come to me. I would ask that you pray whenever God brings it to mind. 🙂

    I have had a rough month-well we have had a rough four years since my husband’s income has been dwindling, and it seems when we get ahead saving for our emergency fund something happens! I know He allowed satan to test Job-and God loved Job, and Peter turned away and Jesus loved Him and showed Him Grace upon Grace and transformed Him so!

    Last night He led me to Job 12:7 in our Sally Lloyd Jones family devotion at dinner-(From her book “Thoughts to make your heart sing.”) It was “The Little Bird Teachers.” OH how we had a great discussion with the boys about God’s sovereignty and His love for us-How He is personal and mindful of every inch of everything about us-and Jacob, my youngest, asked so many wonderful questions-and we were able to share how much God passionately loves him so much that He being Holy became man-gave up His glory to become sin for us-that He was willing to be scorned and abandoned by God so He could have us. We stayed focused on the cross last night-it was a jewel hanging on a gossimer thread from heaven turning and showing my boys another brilliant facet while reminding Patrick and I too of His love and care. 🙂 And our lives can get so busy and chaotic with schedules these times at dinner can get lost-so it was a huge praise! (GOD WORKS THIS WAY-NOT ONLY DOES HE SHOW ME HE IS MINDFUL OF ME, HE WENT OVERBOARD THROUGH HIS WHISPER OF LOVE AND CARE IN THIS DEVOTION BUT ALSO IT WAS RIGHT THERE-HIS DEEP PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT WITH ALL OF US AT THE DINNER TABLE AS WE GAZED INTO THIS FACET OF THE GOSPEL. I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT!)

    As soon as a position in a kitchen opens up I will prayerfully consider it. If God leads and the kitchen doesn’t have a bad reputation, I will take the position. It will be the cushion we need to build our emergency fund back up. But if God doesn’t open that door I want to be content and trust Him.

    I remember asking Him to take away anything I was depending on more than Him to make me turn to Him more and more. Not sure that is why he is allowing this-but I can say that He has provided just enough for us always!

    I must cling to Jesus harder. So pray! 🙂

    1. Rebecca that is a huge praise to have that wonderful discussion at the dinner table. I have been secretly praying for you and Diane for finanial answers every since you both mentioned it. I can’t imagine raising four growing boys in today’s world. Praying for you sweet, sister.

      1. Just want to say thanks, Joyce, for your prayers. You are so sweet. It really does encourage me. I know God is answering but I do not see the answers yet.

        1. Will still be praying for you and Rebecca, Diane…I know he will answer somehow.

      2. Joyce, I am grateful for your ‘secret’ prayers-I so appreciate your friendship and am so thankful for you! 🙂

        1. Thank you, Rebecca…I am you, too!

    2. Rebecca, you amaze me! Here you are handing out accolades to everyone else, while underneath it all you are fearful about your finances — it takes real spiritual moxie to do that!! My prayers for you are on their way. I’m sure God has a plan here, and it might or might not involve a “kitchen.”

    3. Father, I pray right now for Rebecca and her family. Lord, there is no need beyond your abilities…you are listening even as Rebecca verbalizes this struggle, please be present to her family and provide all things from Your abundant supply. I thank you for the opportunities that they have had as a family to see You in new and fresh ways. Use the faith displayed in this season (by Rebecca and her husband) to continually teach their sons to rely on You! Thank you for this testimony!

      1. Thank you Rhonda, may we all join in with your prayer and also for Diane.

  44. Rebecca, I am blessed to read what you asked of our Lord, “to take away anything I was depending on more than Him to make me turn to Him more and more.” And I am blessed by your testimony of God’s provision for you and your family always.

    I am praying for you … that God would open doors no man can shut and shut doors that no man can open. May you know with greater assurance the truth from Isaiah 40:30 that as you wait upon the Lord, HE WILL renew your strength.

    1. Laure,

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  45. Sisters, I am aware that God is speaking to me about my participation in this community. Because I have a loooong history of idolizing relationships (particularly with women), I am already seeing how my sharing and responding to your sharing may open a door to temptation and idol worship in an area that has been bondage for me. I want to engage with you in this community but in the most godly way and I honestly don’t know that I am spiritually healthy enough. I am observing myself and checking my motives and need to hear from our Lord. I’m thanking God this afternoon that He is putting His finger on something serious in my life … something I have not talked about with women before this. I trust God to lead me and ask that you pray for me to discern His best.

    1. Hi Laure, I haven’t introduced myself to you. I am Krista and my mom who is also on this blog is Diane. When I read this post from you I knew I needed to reply. I completely understand. I have really struggled in this area as well, so much so that I lost my dearest friend in November because of some very inappropriate things I said. Still praying for the healing of our friendship. Having been separated from my husband in October, then losing my best friend in November, I got to a very low place in my life. I hit rock bottom, but God was right there. He lifted me up again. I finally realized that only HE can meet my deepest needs and desires. I finally gave my all to Him. Yes, at times it is still a struggle, but daily I keep giving it over to God. The women on this blog are a Heaven-sent, for sure, and I hope you will remain here. Yes, it is good to be cautious, but I truly believe this could be a healing place for you.
      My prayers are with you,

      Krista

      1. Hi Krista. Thank you for your reply and thank you for sharing with me what has happened in your marriage and friendship. I am grieved to learn of the pain you have known. That you have hit ‘rock bottom’ as you say and have turned to God the way you have, is an encouragement to me for my process and life. I have lost so much in my life because of my idolizing relationships and self-protective ways. How does God use this place to bring healing to a relational idolator like me? I mean no disrespect to you or any woman here in asking the question. How did God do this in you? The revelation of my sin against God by this idolatry, my repentance, and my seeking Him for restoration is fresh and I’m choosing to tuck myself deep under His wing. I confess to being weak. Thank you for all that you wrote to encourage me.

        1. Laure, you are forgiven as all of us are and given his grace. All we can do is pray to God that we put him as our idol instead of these other things or people. It is a daily struggle and I’m on the same road as you!

        2. It’s hard to answer that, as it is still at times a daily struggle, but I have to keep giving it to God, over and over again. Lay it down at His feet. He is faithful, He will heal and restore, trust Him. That is what I have to do.

    2. Laure, I appreciate how you open up your heart to us and I will pray that you are lead by the Lord in this area.

      1. Thank you for your prayers, Joyce.

      1. Thank you for your prayer, Dee.

    3. Laure,

      Will be praying for discernment for you! So appreciate your honesty and encouragement to others here. 🙂

    4. Laura A., I believe God is so personal that He will tell you exactly what to do in this…just trust Him…He is the author of relationship! Thank you for your honesty…

  46. My daughter…whom I’ll go by Faith (since she works for the FBI and needs to be kept private) and her husband will start flying out from San Diego to Scotland tonight. He lived with his grandma since he was 15. (he’s 38 now) and she is in the hospital and not good. They were saving to go for 2 weeks in Sept. as it cost a lot of money to go. Faith’s husband hasn’t seen her since he moved to the US three years ago. Please pray for their safe trip (It takes like 48 hrs) and for Maggie to hang on until they get there. Maggie has heart trouble and cancer in remission and is blind, (that is why he lived with her since she had gone blind). She is in her 80’s. He has a lot of family there, that are with her, but he wants to see her so bad again. I’ll keep you posted when they get there. Thank you so much!

    1. Maggie also has pneumonia and they are flying out at 8pm tonight CA time.

      1. Praying for your family, Joyce.

      2. Father, we pray for Maggie that You will give her peace in this time of struggle…I pray that you will protect Joyce’s family as they travel…let this be a time of sweet connectedness and great remembrance…

    2. Joyce–I saw this earlier but couldn’t respond, but I have been and will continue to pray–keep us update. Love you Joyce!

    3. Oh sure sweet Joyce! Will be praying-how hard this is for Maggie as well as your daughter and her husband. I hate to even think of either one of my parents suffering so I can imagine how her husband must feel.

    4. Joyce,
      Praying for your daughter and her husband’s trip to Scotland to see Maggie – I’m sure she will be so happy to have them with her for the time they’ll be there .

    5. Joyce, I am praying from Deuteronomy 33:27 for Maggie, your daughter and son-in-law, and all of Maggie’s family … “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” God is faithful to his word.

  47. 5. If you were Zechariah, what thoughts might you have had during these nine months when you were deaf and dumb?

    Well, first I probably would have been thankful for the fact that the angel spoke a timeline for resolve! God was forbearing enough to give him that…however; I think my perception of God and His Holiness would have probably been heightened through the process. I imagine that Zechariah had a deeper more clear indication of who God was (especially in light of his occupation). I think I would have been thinking a lot about that concept of “unbelief” and how important it is to BELIEVE God. I would have been saddened to not be able to verbally tell Elizabeth the story (immediately), I imagine that their inability to communicate verbally during that exciting time was grievous to them.

    6. Read Luke 1:57-66

    A. Describe the discussion about the name in verses 57-63. On the day of his circumcision “they” (unclear but perhaps neighbors and family definitely not Zechariah and Elizabeth), were going to name him “Zechariah” (meaning – God has remembered), I think this is interesting because they were focused on the namesake and the fact of the barrenness of Elizabeth and Zechariah…but ELIZABETH speaks up and says NO! She was determined to do what God said…she said his name will be John (God is gracious), this was more about the previous disobedience and the season of darkness, the silence being broken and the Messiah being born (more eternally focused), not that God didn’t want to intersect the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth with a sweet gift but it was bigger than that issue. Apparently family and friends weren’t too happy with her decision so they turn to Zechariah (after all it would be his name sake)…yet it is him who WRITES…”his name is John”

    B. What happened immediately after Zechariah confirmed the name was John? Why, do you think? His voice returns. I believe this is because he acted in obedience and confirmed his belief in God (by vocalizing this publicly). He was following through on God’s initial instructive…

    C. What reaction did the neighbors have (65-66) The neighbors were filled with awe and wonder…they realized that the unusual aspect of this birth and specifically the naming process indicated that God was up to something supernatural.

  48. Thank you all for all your kind words, scripture to ponder, and prayers. I really don’t want to be “whiny,” but it is nice to have people pray when you aren’t feeling well. I am working through my low state; several life things have occurred that are disappointing and I just need to get over them. God is here, but His silence is deafening.

    SAGA AND SOAP OPERA…SKIP IF NECESSARY!

    One of the disappointments is that Sarah decided she wanted to leave home for good. That was what was going on a week ago when she left and was gone a few days. She has made contact, and I kind of know where she is (not a very good place), but she refuses to come home. We were supposed to go to visit a cosmetology school in NY this coming weekend. She has no money, 1 change of clothes that I know of, and I’m not sure exactly how she has been surviving. She calls the other day and wanted to know how the cat (!) was. This is my girl who can talk to animals! I guess it is time for us to break our ties, but I am so sad that she won’t let us help her.

    P.S. I wrote this early yesterday morning but never submitted. Yesterday afternoon Sarah called and wants me to pick her up today. I have prayed that God soften her heart toward us. I have prayed to God by just saying “Help!” like Annie. Here is what God did…..her phone got dropped into a glass of coke (yay!) for it is her only communication with the horrible people she is hanging out with. Contract for her is up on the 16th and she will have to find a job and earn money to get a new one. The biggest thing is that the girl she is hanging with is going to jail today. It’s an old charge (fighting with a cop) and she doesn’t have $1000 to pay. This means (I hope) that Sarah is at the end of the game with no one to help her survive anymore. God MUST have provided those two situations. I pray she makes it home today.

    Through all of this I have been patient. I have NOT been controlling. It has been hard but I have waited for God to take care of the situation. He doesn’t need my help! When I have talked to Sarah I have been semi good at letting her know I support her decision but would like her to have some clothes and things to take care of herself. I have asked her to not kust “ditch” her family; that we love her. I have tried to not be “mommy.” I think I have GROWN 🙂 thank you again for helping me to do this Dee and the wonderful ladies here! I AM FREEING MYSELF FROM MY CONTROL IDOL!!! GOD IS TAKING OVER AND IS DOING A GREAT JOB 🙂 thank you Lord.

    1. Oh wow, Laura…such trust in God! God sees her…he hasn’t forgotten her. I just keep going back to the woman at the well. Jesus was so intentional…He will MEET your daughter (somewhere) around a glass of coke (even) HA! Just trust His love for her (it is GREAT)…He NEVER lets us go!!!

    2. Wow Laura-dancer,
      I see you being set free from the idol of control…so, so hard when it’s about your daughter and b/c of your love and concern for her…but I see how God is moving in Sarah’s circumstances – you are doing a great job trusting in Him!

    3. Laura, I love this…” Through all of this I have been patient. I have NOT been controlling. It has been hard but I have waited for God to take care of the situation. He doesn’t need my help”! I strive for this everyday, Laura! You are giving it all to God. I’m still praying for Sarah and all of you.

  49. 6. Read Luke 1:57-66

    A. Describe the discussion about the name in verses 57-63.
    The people were trying to get Elizabeth to name John Zechariah after his father-but Elizabeth and Zechariah exclaimed NO, his name is John.

    B. What happened immediately after Zechariah confirmed the name was John? Why, do you think?

    His tongue was loosed, his mouth was opened and he could speak and he began praising God.

    I think there is something more here..I see the Gospel-OH WAIT-several facets of it perhaps?! Not just one-but I could be going overboard here! 😉 His resurrection power is here-both in His transforming power as well as in saving from the penalty of sin-I also see his redemptive power in the future when all is restored-oh my.. So where do I start?

    I see Elizabeth and Zachariah abandoning themselves to Him-letting Him take them out of the cave and up the mountain. I think back then to name your child after the father must have been expected but not only did they refuse to do that-fall to idolatry-THEY DIDN’T HESITATE to trust God one bit! Before Zechariah hesitated and walked in unbelief but this time he didn’t. God’s transforming power! Zechariah could have grown cold against God for the suffering he had to endure like the older brother did-but Zechariah didn’t.

    I also see the beauty here of being broken and how trials are our friends. (see I am all over the map-i start seeing things but it helps to have someone else to bat this back and forth with. would love to hear what God is revealing to others here!)

    God restored Zechariah and brought Him closer in to the dance-delighting in Him as Zechariah began praising God immediately..Notice Zachariah wasn’t focused on being able to speak but on lavishing God with praise. More abandonment to God of everything he has and is.

    There is resurrection power in transformation but also in complete restoration in the future because of the cross. Everything will be renewed and justice will prevail-just as Zechariah was completely restored and able to speak.

    C. What reaction did the neighbors have (65-66)

    They were filled with awe and throughout the country people were talking about it for they knew God’s hand was on John. Wow, before John even spoke a word God was paving the way in proclaiming the Gospel even through Zechariah’s unbelief-God even turned that around for His glory.

    1. Oh yes, Rebecca…I love how you brought up this point (cannot leave this out), “His tongue was loosed, his mouth was opened and he could speak and he began praising God”…Zechariah broke out into song!!! Both he and Mary became composers!!! Different initial responses but the same outcome!!! Singing and Praising God…God is GRACIOUS! I love your thoughts!

      Also, I can attest to the gift of brokenness…there is really no other way to enter into an intimate relationship with God. Before brokenness, there was SO much self sufficiency in my life…after brokenness I realized I HAD A NEED and that is why I needed a SAVIOR! To not see the need (yet trying to carry on the external religious facade) is futile. It is the NEED that brings the sweetness of Jesus to our lives…the humility, the intimacy, the nearness. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God, mourning brings joy!! When I realized my poverty stricken state (spiritually)and brought that before God and others, I was astonished…to admit that I had a need was the hardest thing I ever had to do(especially with my performance driven conformities) but it was the most joyful thing I ever was priviledged to do! It opens the door to abundant life not just existing! I am so thankful for brokenness! God knows my heart in that statement!!! If anyone feels hesitant about this…do not hesitate any longer, fall at His feet and let Him in…He will heal and restore like no other!!! HE IS GOOD AND HE IS FOR US!

      1. Rhonda, You mean you read all of it?!? lol! 🙂 You are such an encouragement to me-I do love being around other broken people for they are the most gracious, and merciful people I know. This is beautiful: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God, mourning brings joy!! When I realized my poverty stricken state (spiritually)and brought that before God and others, I was astonished…to admit that I had a need was the hardest thing I ever had to do(especially with my performance driven conformities) but it was the most joyful thing I ever was priviledged to do!”

        -I think that is why I am so drawn to Rich Mullins, Dee, and Ann Voskamp-and many women here on the blog including you! Brothers and sisters who are broken yet beloved! 🙂 I struggle with being around judgmental people who are rule oriented-bashing everyone around them who struggle with sin-or might have dysfunctional things going on in their families-it just bothers me almost to anger because Jesus came for the sick and hurting not the pompous proud-yet that was a judgmental thing for me to say! Yikes..;)

        1. I did read it all…you always share good stuff girl! 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement! So sweet…