• What’s in a Name?

    Summer break means different things to different people.

    For some, it is about swimming, barbeques and vacations.

    For me growing up, it meant staying up late watching old movies with Mom.

    Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Cary Grant became familiar faces to me, as much as any of the modern day ones, in my Tiger Beat or 16 Magazines.

    Send Me No Flowers and An Affair to Remember are still on my watch list.

    Camping out on the couches in our family room, curled up in front of the console TV is one of my favorite childhood memories.

    So you can only imagine the excitement I felt when my own children wanted to camp out in our family room.

    The scene is slightly different, with a flat screen TV, sectional and bean bags sprawled across the floor.

    But I could picture Mom’s face smiling as if she were still sitting next to me.

    On one particular summer evening, after the boys have fallen asleep, I switched the channel to TCM to find one of my all time favorites, Blossoms in the Dust.

    Based on the life of Edna Gladney, this 1941 film starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon tells the story of this child and adoption activist.

    The opening scenes highlight Edna and another young woman, raised as her sister, at a phase in life where each is about to marry. It was discovered by one of the future mothers in law that the character about to marry her son is a “nameless foundling,” The word “illegitimate” is written on her birth certificate. At the time, this was considered scandalous and meant that a child with this distinction had no inheritance rights. No birth right. The mountain of shame this brings prompts the character to take her life, as she sees no hope for her future.

    Edna Galdney is not only known for her life’s work for placing over 2000 orphans into good homes, but also for her perseverance in having Texas legislators remove the word “illegitimate” from the birth certificates of children born out of wedlock.

    Watching this movie still brings tears to my eyes as an adult, but now stirs up a different message in my heart as an adult.

    How many around us today feel hopeless because of a label attached to our lives?

    What shame and brokenness makes us feel as if we are not worthy or have legitimacy in this life?

    This classic movie, over 70 years old, still carries a timeless message.

    The Bible, over 2000 years old, carries of a message of hope and love for all of God’s children.

    None of us are nameless.

    We have been given a name by the great I AM.

    We are HIS.

    We have an inheritance.

    “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will…” Ephesians 1:11

    ”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He caused us to be born again to a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by God’s power are guarded through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

    1 Peter 1: 3-5

    We have a birthright. We are heirs.

    “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:29

    We come from a royal lineage.

    Brothers and sisters, remember that you have a name.

    Remember that you have an inheritance.

    Remember that you are HIS.

    Friends, remember to share that message of love with those around you

    Give hope to a broken world.

    Hope has a name.

    Jesus.

    Amen.

  • Staying Connected

    Coffee in one hand, cell phone in the other, I sat down on the couch to send a text message to my step-daughter, Victoria.  

    I wanted her to know I was thinking of her.

    “Good morning, beautiful.  Hope you have a great day. Love you.”

    I hit “send” and took a sip of my coffee.  

    Moments later I heard that annoying sound, the one that lets me know that my text had not gone through.  

    I glared at my phone.

    “Message failed.  Try again.”  

    Frustrated, I hit “try again” and waited.

    The connection signal is sometimes weak at our house.

    Again, I heard that annoying sound.

    Ugh.

    Would she ever get the message that I loved her and was thinking about her? 

    It was with this failed attempt that God whispered a bigger message into my heart.

    “How many times have you not received my message due to a weak connection?”

    Honestly, there are many days that I miss God’s voice.

    Sometimes my connection is weak.  

    Instead of taking time to sit in His presence, pick up my Bible or pray, I get distracted by my own thoughts or the busyness of the day.

    But wIth each sunrise, God sends me a message that He loves me and is thinking of me.  

    How many times do I miss that?

    What if I never received the message that I am loved?

    Gratefully, the Creator of the universe hits “try again” because He wants all of His children to receive the message that we are loved.

    He never tires of showing us just how much.

    “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, because His compassions never fail.

    They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3: 22-24

    God sends us daily reminders faithfully.

    And even when our connection is weak, He remains strong and constant in pursuing us because He loves us.  

    So much that He sent His only Son to die for us on the cross.

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

    His message comes through quickly when our connection is strong. 

    And even when we get caught up in the distractions of life, God will continue to send  messages of His extravagant love.

    Friends, our Heavenly Father wants to have a relationship with each one of us.

    Keep your connection strong by staying in His word, praying and seeking Him throughout your day,

    And remember, even when our connection is weak, He will try again and again.

    Thank you, Father God for never giving up on sending messages to Your children of Your unending love.