What’s in a name

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Don’t you just love it when you meet an acquaintance you haven’t seen in some time and they remember your name? Isn’t it a blessing to hear your name mentioned in prayer? There is something that is so life-affirming and encouraging when people use our names in conversation. We all love to know and be known. It’s part of the human psyche. Our name is a primary source of our sense of self. It is our identification, one of the things that help to establish our unique existence – even if someone else shares that name.

One of the custodians at our church will often greet me when I walk in by singing the chorus to Dolly Parton’s hit song “Jolene” – you know the song about the red-headed hussy who steals other women’s husbands. Part of the chorus goes, “Don’t take my man just because you can.” Oh my, that is not at all what I want people to associate with my name. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked on stage and suddenly this song will blare from the amps. The only song ever written with my name in it and it is about that kind of woman. If Dolly was going to use my name in her song, I don’t know why she couldn’t have sung about a godly short lady who loved to talk about Jesus…..but I digress.

Like you, I am known by a lot of different names in addition to the name my parents gave me at birth. I’m known as mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. These names come from my relationships with people I love. I cherish them and am honored to be identified with them. I’m known as a speaker, a youth leader, and to some degree, a writer. These names come from my passion and my calling. The identity they give me fills me with gratitude and delight. But there is one name that has had the most profound effect on shaping my identity for over 42 years – that name is the name of “Mrs. David DeHeer.” How I love being known as David’s wife. I am deeply honored, grateful, and blessed to have been known as David’s spouse. I continue to carry that name proudly. These are just a few of the names that are my identity. They help people to know me and open doors for me to know people. I love my names.

But the name that I love above all names is that I, Jolene Marie DeHeer, am Abba’s child. I am God’s treasured possession. I am His chosen one. I am His minister of reconciliation. I am His ambassador. I am His righteousness. I have been adopted into the family of God. I am His little girl. I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I am a disciple of Jesus. Oh, how I love carrying the family name of Christ as part of my identity, because you see, I, Jolene DeHeer am first and foremost a CHRISTian!! I’m a child of the King!

How about you? What are the names that define you? How do you like people to refer to you? Do people know you mostly by your given biological name, relationships, or abilities? Or are you known by your connection with God through His Son by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. I invite you to join me in daily celebrating our spiritual heritage and let the whole world know WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE KING!!

I John 3:1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

  1. Dear Jolene,

    How blessed I have been to be called your “friend” and your “SIster in Christ.” And one of my most precious memories is to have been named by you in prayer, in conversation with our Abba Father.

    Thank you, dear sister!

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