I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
Those who know me well also know how much I frequent the local Starbucks. So much so, that not only do they have my drink memorized and ready before I get in line to pay, I am also on a first name basis with most of the baristas. Occasionally, someone does get the name wrong, or decides to crack a-not-so-extraordinary-anymore joke. Take for instance, the trip I made just the other day. I stood in line, chatted up my usual friendly barista, the one who has even given my drink its own special name, picked up my cup, to discover….he had also written “August” on my beloved cup.
Over my 36 years, I have learned to shake off most of these jokes. I have also had many names in those years. My maiden name (which had some jokes of it’s own!). The last name I carried during my first marriage. My current name. Some I can’t really repeat. All the names I was called in an attempt to make fun of my first name-April, Winter, Christmas, even Jupiter. And, I have even been called January Jones on occasion. Sometimes, having a name like mine has been irritating, embarrassing, and for the longest time, I used to shorten it on those cups just so I wouldn’t have to answer all the questions that were sure to come, or the jokes that followed shortly after.
While the world may identify me by my birth name, my married name, or the name used to crack those oh-so-not-orginal calendar jokes, the devil also has a few names for me as well.
He calls me January the sinner.
January the failure.
January the unloved.
He says I am forgotten, not worthy, and broken.
He says I am nothing. Too scared. Too little. Too damaged. Too insignificant.
He fills me with doubt, shame and guilt, and he wants me to base my identity on the things for which I have been forgiven. He knows just what to call me to make me question God. To question myself. To send me back to the days filled with loneliness, despair, and worry.
Yes, the world sometimes knows my name, and the devil insists on reminding me of my old ones, but God? He knows my true name. He identifies me in a different way. While the world may get it wrong, or just plain not get it (Your name is really, January???), God never gets it wrong.
He calls me January the redeemed.
He calls me His masterpiece.
He says I am January the overcomer.
January, who is never lonely.
He says I am valued. Strong. Courageous. Able to accomplish anything through Him.
January, His worthy and beautiful daughter. The one He loves as His own.
Even when those around me may call me by a different name, and may consider this name to be the only identity I possess, all I have to do is seek God and find that my true identity is much more than the earthly name I have been given. Much more than the one the world gives me. Much more than the one the devil hopes I remember.
God reminds me, that while my name may be January, my identity goes far beyond my unique and sometimes ridiculed name. My identity is in Christ, and I am a child of God. A name more special and honorable than the one written on a Starbucks cup.