"... But they shouldn't call that lovely place the Avenue. There is no meaning in a name like that ... Other people may call [it] the Avenue, but I shall always call it the White Way of Delight." - L.M. Montgomary, Anne of Green GablesWho doesn't love Anne of Green Gables? Her imagination and joy for life is a winsome combination.
In the book, Anne insists that if Marilla (her adoptive mother) would not call her Cordelia, that her name must be spelled with an 'e', because that spelling is "so much more distinguished". To Anne, the neighbor's pond was the Lake of Shining Waters. She secretly called Hepzibah Jenkins, a girl who lived in the orphanage with her, Rosalia Devere. Poor, unfortunate Hepzibah. In Anne's opinion, Hepzibah was an unlovely name and she wasn't having it. Anne knew that naming offers the gift of recognition; that it acknowledges one's worth.
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” - Anne with an 'e'
I am sure most of us can remember the childhood names we have been called. Miss Slow Ball, by a classmate in P.E. Gordita, by a lady who didn't know I understood the spanish word for "chubby". Imagine what that did to my 12 year old identity! I was called cheater by a teacher when I was the only one who got all of the comprehension questions correct in my reading group. Just when I thought I would be praised for being an excellent reader, I was accused of cheating because the answer sheet was facing my direction. I could not convince Mrs. Warren that I did not copy the anwers.
However, none of those names are as awful as the ones I have called myself. Stupid. Awkward. Failure. Inadequate. In all truthfulness I have been each of those things at one time or another, but I have lived as if those names were my identity. I have behaved as if I were unloved.
When we give our lives to Christ, we are adopted into His family. So why do we treat ourselves as if we are a burdensome, unwanted stepchild? Used up. Unloveable. Mistake. Unforgivable. Ugly. Only your Father has the right to tell you who you are. HE HAS GIVEN YOU A NEW NAME. It is inscribed in the palm of His hand. It reads Wanted. Beloved. Fogiven. Clean. Beautiful. Lovely. MINE. God has given you the gift of recognition. He identifies your worth. Would you live differently if you began to answer to your real name? Beloved. Redeemed. Hephzibah. ... ??
Hephzibah: (Hebrew) My delight is in her.
His delight is in me? Doesn't He know who I am? I mess up all the time. As I have said before, I am inadequate. I am inconsistent. I have such a long way to go.
But...He is not potty trained yet. He runs away when you call him and cries to get what he wants. Sometimes he takes toys away from the other kids and he can't tie his shoes. Should we kick him out of the family? That would be absurd! Even if he behaved perfectly, I couldn't possibly love him more than I already do. HE DOESN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO EARN MY LOVE OR APPROVAL. I was in love with him even before he was born. He is the delight of our family.
This is how God feels about you and me! YOU ARE NOT A DISAPPOINTMENT. Your Father is delighted in you! He couldn't possibly love you more than He already does. He is in love with you, even if you have a lot to learn.
"...and you will be called by a new name ... you will be called Hephzibah ... for the LORD will take delight in you" -Isaiah 62:4
Maybe Hepzibah Jenkins was not so unfortunate after all.
This drawing has expired.
These sixty devotions by Ann Voskamp include a scripture, a prayer, a space to write your own thoughts and a portion to record the everyday graces you find in the middle of ... well, this crazy life!
The winner will be announced tomorrow, May 16 - 7:30 am, MST.
You can learn more about Ann Voskamp at www.aholyexperience.com.