When you were a little girl, did you ever do that thing where you would pull out a piece of paper from your spiral notebook and practice writing your first name with the last name of the boy you liked after it? Come on, I can’t be the only one can I?! Or maybe you and your girl friends would sit under the playground at recess and whisper to each other the name of the boy you liked. Everyone would giggle and then someone would say your name with his last name and then wait for a response from the group.
“Oh yeah! That sounds so good!” everyone would say in hushed tones while laughter peeled out from behind hands clasped over mouths.
My friends and I weren’t particularly boy crazy but even so, any time a crush came over us, the name coupling game would have to be played. In our heart of hearts, we probably knew that chances were good that we wouldn’t in fact marry the boy we liked in third grade. We knew that it was probably kind of silly to practice writing our imaginary married names in our newly mastered cursive handwriting but that didn’t stop us because we were reading in between the lines of our notebook paper.
The name was just a name. We were hoping for all of the good stuff that came with it. We were hoping for love, the kind that changes who you are.
I didn’t in fact marry whoever it was that I had a crush on in third grade and by the time I met Scott I was too old to practice writing my name with his in heart bubbles in my history notebook. When he proposed though, I couldn’t wait to tack his last name onto my first. I couldn’t wait to gain all of the new titles that came with marriage. Mrs. Lasher. That’s who I would be. I was the same person but my identity was changing all because he loved me, because he chose me.
This is one of our engagement pictures. Photo Credit Duanna Matthys
When we got married, I became someone new. A wife. A member of a new family. The beginning of a new legacy. A member of a new team. The love that Scott and I had and still have for each other was transformative and touched even the most ordinary parts of my life like my drivers license. Who I am is different because he loves me.
It’s kind of like the way that God’s love changes us. He chose us. We are loved by Him, made new in His image.
In Christ, we have love, the kind that changes who we are.
“We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NLT)
Jesus’ work on the cross made it possible for us to be part of God’s family. It changed our very identity. No longer are we living under the banner of sin, shame, loneliness, and death. No, we are loved by God. That’s who we are now.
Like a groom sees a bride on her wedding day, he sees us with nothing but love in his eyes, pride in His heart, and an assurance that he chose just who He wants. Like a husband that lays down his desires, his needs, his very life for the woman that he loves, Jesus went to the cross for us and gave it all.
He gave it all, laid everything on the line so that we could have a new identity in Him. So that we can be called His people, people who are loved.
Accept the new name He’s giving you today. Embrace the fact that your identity is no longer dictated by the things that you do or think but by the one who negated it all with his love. You are loved by God. That’s who you are, you’re new name. Feel free to write it all over your notebook and whisper about it under the playground. Because it sounds so very good.